A is for — Aragorn and Allanon — from my two favorite book series, The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara.
Aragorn, the reluctant heir to the throne of Gondor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Rings series, embodies honor, integrity, and courage. He may not look like much, but he is a true hero in every sense of the word. One of my favorite quotes regarding Aragorn comes from The Fellowship of the Ring, where Frodo, Sam, and Pippin are deciding whether or not to trust Aragorn.
Frodo says to Aragorn:
“You have frightened me several times tonight, but never in the way that servants of the Enemy would, or so I imagine. I think one of his spies would — well, seem fairer and feel fouler, if you understand.”
And Aragorn replies:
“I see. … I look foul and feel fair. Is that it? All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.”
Whatever his looks, the gold of Aragorn’s character shines through as he declares, “I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and if by life or death I can save you, I will.”
Allanon, the mysterious Druid of Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, is more the Gandalf type — a guardian of the Four Lands, who uses magic to help the descendants of Jerle Shannara fight the evil that threatens the Lands. He is the last of the Druids, tasked with, among other things, safeguarding the remnants of the written histories and destroying an evil spellbook called the Ildatch. He is a darker character, though — grim, secretive, and forbidding. None of Gandalf’s folksy charm, here.
I can still remember reading these stories — being glued to a chair for hours, living the adventures of Shea, Wil, and Brin Ohmsford and of Frodo Baggins and Sam and the Fellowship. These inspiring tales propelled me into stories of my own, much more humble, but equally thrilling to me. They will always be my favorites.