The Fourth Age: The Years of the King

by Lindorie

I have identified with Aragorn's character since I first saw FOTR just over 2 years ago. We have a lot in common, he and I. Neither of us have really belonged anywhere. I was a military brat, when we moved, all my connections were lost. Home is where I hang my hat, my sword, my bow, etc.
We also have a strong sense of justice and the belief that all people have value and are equal in essentially every way that really counts.

The reason that I tell you this is to let you know why I feel that I know him so well. Linaewen knows Boromir like kin; I feel that I know Aragorn as a sister. I have used that to write my long tale, Lind's Story, which some of you are kind enough to read.

The story tells of the events of the war of the ring, but continues afterwards. I have outlined years ahead, though I doubt the tale will be fully written. I have a different view than many of you about what the years of Aragorn's rule of the Reunited Kingdoms. I asked the question this morning to initiate a discussion. Unfortunately, it is far below so I choose to make my reply here, the one I promised to do this evening.

I don't think that things were very rosy for Elessar, not for many years. It is true that Sauron has been defeated and the orcs, those that are not dead, have gone back to hiding as they have done before. Elessar's biggest problems, I believe, will be in his own back, or front yard.

Denethor was not alone in the belief that no heir of the Northern Kingdom should ever take the throne of Gondor. That opinion was widely held in Gondor. There had been no king in the south for almost a thousand years, and roughly a hundred years longer for the north. That's a long time to hold out hope that a King would come and a very long time to become comfortable with the situation the way it had been for all those years since Earnur went to battle with the Witch King and never returned.

I think that perhaps there was a 'honeymoon' period in which the rosy glow enveloped the reunited kingdoms, but there were people that wouldnt be entirely pleased with an elf-raised Northerner as King, and an Elf (or 3/4 elf) for a queen. Eventually there would be rumbles of discord. Remember, there was a huge amount of suspicion about the elves in Gondor. I have my doubts that the short visit by Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, and their entourages really dispelled much. I dont think that the fact that most of them left Middle earth soon after helped much, either. It's hard to maintain a realistic impression when 'truth becomes legend, legend becomes myth,' etc.

Aragorn would have to deal with this discord or face the destruction of his government from within. He would have to be firm, fair, and compassionate, without showing weakness.

In my story, I have a man who is one of these disgruntled types. He has a band of followers and a lot of connections and the ability to make people believe what he tells them. Without raising a finger, he is a dangerous man.

I dont think that the problems with Harad were over after the war of the ring, either. The bad feelings between Harad and Gondor go back long before Sauron regained his power. The two kingdoms had disputed the west bank of the Anduin near its mouth and the lands further down the coast to at least Umbar for almost the entire Third Age. The fact that their armies were decimated during the war of the Ring would be a setback for a while, but eventually they would be rebuilt. There was a whole generation left behind that knew that their fathers had been killed in Gondor. I doubt that they forgot it or let it lie. Aragorn would continue to have periodic skirmishes with the Haradrim throughout his reign. It is likely that there would be some conflict on his far eastern borders, as well. The Easterlings may have also felt that they had a generation to avenge. Aragorn would have to keep a close mind on his borders.

Tolkien may have said that Aragorn had a long and happy reign, but the evidence he leaves in the little places lead me to believe that life was not the fairy tale we would like to believe. I do think that life was much better for the people of the Reunited Kingdoms, and Aragorn's rule was long and successful. I just dont think it was as idyllic many believe.