Did you know: The Ring that Aragorn wears through-out all the movies is known as the ring of Barahir. The Ring of Barahir was an ornate silver ring given to Barahir by the Elven King Finrod Felagund (Galadriel’s brother), in reward for saving his life in Dagor Bragollach. This dates back to the 1st age, thousands of years before Sauron, Aragorn, Gandalf and most of Middle-Earth.
The important thing to remember here is it was a sign of eternal friendship between Finrod (elves) and the House of Barahir (men) and it became a heirloom of his kin. This dates back to the 1st age thousands of years before Aragorn was born.
So how did Aragorn come to wear it? And what makes this ring so special? Let us take a look into the history of this ring:
Finrod gave the ring to Barahir:
There King Finrod Felagund, hastening from the south, was cut off from his people and surrounded with small company in the Fen of Serech; and he would have been slain or taken, but Barahir came up with the bravest of his men and rescued him, and made a wall of spears about him; and they cut their way out of the battle with great loss. Thus Felagund escaped, and returned to his deep fortress of Nargothrond; but he swore an oath of abiding friendship and aid en every need to Barahir and all his kin, and in token of his vow he gave to Barahir his ring.
— The Silmarillion, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin. Then later on we learn that the ring moved from Barahir to his son Beren.
Barahir’s hand and ring were taken by the orcs that killed him, but were retrieved by his son Beren when he avenged his father. Beren laid the hand to rest with his father’s remains, but kept and wore the ring. This is the same Beren that loved the Elf Luthien. Aragorn sings about them in the quest to to destroy the one ring, the same Beren and Luthien that is considered to be the greatest love story ever written. The same Beren (man) that loved an Elf (Luthien).
Beren used the ring to prove his lineage to Thingol (elf) when he first entered Doriath (the elfish kingdom) and again when he sought Finrod’s help in the quest for the Silmaril. Here’s where it gets really detailed but we’ll only mention the important parts: The ring was passed from Beren in direct line to Dior, then his daughter Elwing and her son Elros, who brought it to Númenor during the Second Age. It became a heirloom of the kings of Númenor until Tar-Elendil gave the ring to his eldest daughter Silmariën, who was not allowed to succeed him on the throne. She in turn gave the ring to her son Valandil, first Lord of Andúnië. It was handed down to succeeding Lords of Andúnië to the last one, none other than Elendil.
We know Elendil is the direct great great…great…grand-father of Aragorn and survivor of the Downfall of Númenor, and the founder and first King of Arnor and Gondor. This is the name Aragorn always shouted when chargin into battle. “Elendil!!”
Before we go further, lets step back a few years and mention that Aragorn and all his direct ancestors (Isildur, Elendil, etc.) were all Dunedain. The Dúnedain (singular: Dúnadan) were Men descended from the Númenóreans who survived the fall of their island kingdom, Númenor, and migrated to Eriador in Middle-earth, led at first by Elendil and his sons. The below video shows how much respect and renown there were for people who were part of the first men.
About the ring itself:
The ring was described as the likeness of two serpents intertwined with eyes made of green jewels. This was the symbol of the House of Finarfin. The serpents met beneath a crown of golden flowers that one upheld and one devoured. The jewels at least were crafted in Valinor and sometimes seemed to burn with green fire.
(…)green jewels gleamed there that the Ñoldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.” (Silmarillion)
Tolkien described the ring in verse in the Lay of Leithian:
“Proud are the words, and all there turned
to see the jewels green that burned
in Beren’s ring. These Gnomes had set
as eyes of serpents twined that met
beneath a golden crown of flowers,
that one upholds and one devours:
the badge that Finrod made of yore
and Felagund his son now bore.”
We love this tale and even more so the fact that this was included in the movies.
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