Isildur and Aragorn share a long history and bloodline, leading to the founder of Gondor and Arnor, Elendil the Tall. Both Isildur and Aragorn were mighty warriors, true Kings, and leaders of Men, but only one had the respect of the Elves – and there’s a reason. So, if Isildur and Aragorn ever fought while both in their prime, who would win, and why?
Aragorn would probably win in a fight with Isildur due to the purity of his heart. Isildur let the power of the Ring corrupt him, whereas Aragorn knew what damage it might do, so he refused ever to carry it or wield it. It might seem cowardly to some, but it was, in fact, the only brave thing to do.
Both of them are phenomenal warriors, so it’s hard to say who would win in a straight one-on-one fight. That being said, I can hardly think of why they would fight in the first place. Many other things put Aragorn over Isildur than just fighting. Keep reading to find out who wins between Isildur and Aragorn, in what ways, and why.
Both Isildur and Aragorn were of Numenorean heritage (also known as the Dunedain). Elendil the Tall, Isildur’s father, was a Faithful Numenorean, the people who the Eldar and Illuvatar granted prolonged life for their help during the War of wrath against Morgoth.
After Sauron got captured and held prisoner in Numenor, he felt many Numenoreans were scared of death, envious of the Elves and their immortality. He soon corrupted them and turned them to the Dark side, making them the Black Numenoreans, whereas only a handful of Faithful Numenoreans kept true to their old ways and loyalty to the Light.
Elendil was their leader and created the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. He and his sons, Isildur and Amarion, ruled the realms together, still blessed with prolonged life. That is until Sauron regrouped and attacked again.
Apart from a long lifespan, the Eldar gave the Dunedain immense wisdom and physical attributes, enhanced compared to regular Men. They were strong and big, with 6’4’’ (193 cm) being the average height among Numenorean men. Elendil the Tall was over 7 feet (213 cm) tall but still agile, strong, and quick.
The same goes for Isildur and Aragorn – they were both physically imposing, tall, strong, well trained in combat, and experienced. It’s hard to determine who the stronger one would be physically, so I’ll give them both points in this category.
Point(s): Isildur (1:1) Aragorn
Combat Skills & Signature Traits
When you get deep into what the two Kings have in common, you realize that the list is endless – almost as if history repeated itself. Both Isildur and Aragorn were incredible warriors who later became the High Kings of Arnor and Gondor (known as the Reunited Kingdom during Aragorn’s reign).
They were also both masters of the palantiri of Feanor and had either lived or had family members who lived at Imladris with Elrond Peredhel, one of the wisest, most powerful Elves ever to live.
They wore trademark equipment and the heirloom of the House of Elendil (Isildur’s father and Aragorn’s great39 grandfather). Those pieces were the winged Crown of Gondor, Narsil (reforged into Anduril), the Sceptre of Annuminas (which Aragorn later passed onto his son, Eldarion), the Ring of Barahir, and Elendilmir (the Star of the North Kingdom).
Also, Isildur and Aragorn both requested fealty of the Men of the White Mountains. In Aragorn’s case, they were an Army of the Dead, while they betrayed Isildur when he called upon them, causing the curse which kept them on this world.
Finally, both Isildur and Aragorn led their armies into combat, fought many battles, and won many wars. They also had a healing touch, passed to them from Elendil. However, there are a few differences.
Aragorn worked as a Chieftain and a Dunedain rager for years, learning how to be not just a warrior but a stealthy tracker, spy, and assassin, if need be. Also, it seems that he had a higher resistance to the power and corruption of the One Ring, albeit he held it less and had constant guidance from Gandalf.
In conclusion, it’s impossible to determine whose skills and traits are superior. Both Isildur and Aragorn, again, deserve points in this category.
Point(s): Isildur (2:2) Aragorn
Isildur’s heritage is vast. However, it would probably be even larger hadn’t it been for him keeping the One Ring after cutting it off from Sauron’s deadly finger.
He was the son of Elendil, the founder of Arnor and Gondor. He and his brother, Amarion, ruled the Kingdoms with Elendil until Sauron brutally murdered him during the final battle of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
It was Isildur who took the shards of his father’s sword and cut off the Dark Lord’s finger, taking the One Ring away and crippling Sauron. Instead of destroying it, Isildur decided to keep the Ring.
A while later, he and his crew, including three of the four sons Isildur had, were ambushed by Orcs. The three sons died while Isildur escaped with the Ring to prevent the Orcs from getting to it. He died moments later in the river while the Ring was lost.
His youngest son, Valandil, survived, and the heritage stemming from him goes all the way down to Aragorn II Elessar, who is the 39th heir of Isildur, the rightful King of Gondor (and Arnor, through heritage linking him to Isildur’s brother, Anarion), and the one who reunited the Kingdoms.
Aragorn was the kind who defeated Sauron for good. Of course, he had a ton of help, but after Sauron’s defeat, all the people bowed to their new King, acknowledging his heirloom and right to the throne. Aragorn had a son, Eldarion, who was the Second King of the Reunited Kingdom after Aragorn passed on the crown and the heirloom of the House of Elendil to him.
During Eldarion’s reign, Findegil served as the King’s Writer and wrote the Thain’s Book. The complete Translations from Elvish were included in the book, and within them, there was a prophecy.
It had been foretold that Eldarion should rule a great new realm that will endure for a hundred generations until a new age brought new things. From Eldarion should come the kings of many realms in long days after. That means that not only Aragorn’s past is his heritage, but the future his and his son’s reign brought upon all the Men of Middle-earth.
Although Aragorn has done more to restore peace and prosperity to the Kingdoms, his heritage is also Isildur’s heritage, so I have to give both points again. Don’t worry; things get different in the next category.
Point(s): Isildur (3:3) Aragorn
I will keep this short – regardless of the respect that Isildur had during his life, he doesn’t have everyone’s respect after his demise. You see, Isildur fought under his father for almost the entirety of his life. He was a moral warrior and a true hero until he got in possession of the Ring.
Instead of destroying it, Isildur kept it for himself, allowing himself to get corrupted by its power swiftly. Had he destroyed the Ring while Sauron was at his weakest, none of the events regarding the One Ring would ever happen the way they did – Sauron would be defeated three thousand years before his final demise.
That is why the Elves don’t have the same respect for Isildur as they do for Aragorn. They find Isildur responsible for the actions he made.
On the other hand, his heir, Aragorn, was raised in Rivendell by Elves after his father got killed while hunting Orcs when Aragorn was only two years old.
Aragorn earned everyone’s respect due to his actions and leading Men during the darkest days of their history. Opposingly, when it was Isildur’s time to shine and lead, he succumbed under pressure.
This is Aragorn’s category, and it’s not even close.
Point: Aragorn (4:3) Isildur
Finally, it takes skill to be a leader, but first, it takes courage, and courage comes from the heart. Whereas Aragorn proved countless times that his heart is as big as his wisdom, Isildur showed the opposite.
When Isildur got a hold of the Ring, it corrupted his heart in a second, despite just witnessing the murder of his father. He kept the Ring to himself, and when push came to shove, he escaped and left his sons for dead. In all those efforts, the One Ring got lost, and Isildur got killed, only to be revived by the Dark Lord and turned into a Nazgul (Ringwraith).
On the other hand, when Aragon was presented with the Ring, he refused to wield it, knowing it took more heart and courage to resist the power and temptation it brings than to succumb and keep it.
Also, when Helm’s Deep was surrounded by ten thousand Orcs, while they had only three hundred men within the walls, Aragorn was willing to die in battle as one of them instead of esca6ping.
Finally, he was the one to reunite the Kingdoms. And, instead of having everyone bow to him, he bowed to the tiny hobbits who destroyed the One Ring in Mordor, followed by the entire city of Minas Tirith bowing to them as well.
If that wasn’t a move of a King with the biggest, purest heart of all, I don’t know what is.
Point: Aragorn (5:3) Isildur
Isildur Vs. Aragorn: Who Wins?
In the end, Aragorn would win against Isildur if the two ever matched up. Perhaps the fighting and combat skills are around the same between the two, but Aragorn has simply done more to prove himself as a King and a true leader.
Even in the darkest times, he had never fallen in despair, whereas Isildur let the Ring corrupt and blind his judgment.
Of course, Aragorn knew more about Sauron, the Ring, and its powers, growing up in Rivendell among Elves and having constant guidance from Gandalf. Isildur never had those things, so one could argue that he would resist the Ring’s influence had he known everything Aragorn knows now.
Nevertheless, Aragorn’s heritage transcends Isildurs, as he reignited the spark that saw him create the Reunited Kingdom and stem a new bloodline of kings that would rule the realms of Men for a hundred more generations after Aragorn’s son, Eldarion.