• Ricky Argenbright

Mana Pool Matchup #1 | Arthas vs. Aragorn

The Crown Prince of Lordaeron takes on the King of Arnor.

Welcome to Mana Pool Matchups! The arena where fictional characters endure a tactical analysis to reveal who would win in a brawl!

In one corner, we have the humble king of the free men of Middle Earth: Aragorn! In the other, the conflicted but steadfast heir to the throne of Lordaeron: Arthas!

Aragorn [Strider]

Caught in the middle of who he is and his fear of it, Aragorn stayed away from the land he called home to be alone with his thoughts. Another reason for this personal retreat is the fact that the Dark Lord Sauron, Lord of the Rings would have no trouble finding him if he used his birthright name. So, he hid in the wilds of Middle Earth at the request of the elf Lord Elrond, and led a tribal sect called the Rangers of the North that assisted in protecting the free folk of the Shire.

Once Sauron’s power grew and his armies mobilized, the denizens of Middle Earth could ignore it no longer, and Aragorn led a group called the Fellowship of the Ring in order to cast out the powerful relic that Sauron could unleash unto the world. Throughout his travels protecting the one who would bear the Ring, Aragorn uses the skills he has honed to defend the purpose of the Fellowship. As the war builds, Aragorn eventually takes up the king’s sword, Anduril, to lead the charge against Sauron’s forces at the gates of Mordor.

He later claims his rightful place on the throne at the capital city of Minas Tirith to rule alongside his wife, Arwen.

Arthas, Ner’zhul’s Champion

Idealistic and hard-headed, Arthas was raised in great admiration of the Light. He became a paladin at a young age and followed his mentor’s actions closely in order to someday succeed his father as king.

During the war against the Scourge, Arthas grew increasingly frustrated with the difficulty of fighting against such an overwhelming force. His responses grew ever more bold and dangerous in order to gain the upper hand and finally defeat them and save their lands.

Deciding to strike them at their heart, Arthas traveled to Northrend to end the onslaught. He falls prey to a clever gambit set by the powerful ruler of the undead, the Lich King. Taking up the mighty sword, Frostmourne, he believes that he can end the Lich King’s reign and stop the Scourge. Instead, his heart grows cold and he is used as a pawn by the Lich King. The kingdoms begin to fall at the hand of the unfathomable power granted to him by the Lich King. He murders his own father and returns to Lordaeron to mercilessly annihilate those who resist the Scourge.

What we have here is more than a simple skirmish between warring kingdoms. Both contenders have had troubled pasts that have haunted them well into their days of royalty. Their comebacks though, are what truly make them powerful.

Prince Arthas, Paladin of the Light

Arthas began as a shadow to the devout followers of the Light that surrounded him, until he took the defense of his homeland into his own hands. He forged his own name on the strength of his determination. Although some would argue that this was his downfall, it became his true pinnacle of power as well.

King Elessar

Aragorn had to remain hidden from the world in the beginning with Sauron hunting anyone and everyone that could stop him. He remained in the wild until duty called and he came home expecting to be honored as king after the defeat of the Dark Lord. Sad tales for both of these swordsmen until they fit into their crowns.

And what would a king be without his trusty weapon at his side? Each of these regal leaders wields a mighty sword. Arthas owned a typical paladin’s hammer until he took up Frostmourne, utilizing its power to command the Scourge.

Arthas wielding Frostmourne

Aragorn on the other hand wields Anduril, the sword that was reforged from the Shards of Narsil — the shattered pieces of the legendary sword, Narsil. When Narsil was broken upon the battlefield, Isildur, Aragorn’s ancestor, grabbed the hilt of it to strike Sauron and cut the Ring from his hand. A grand honor hovers around this royal relic.

Aragorn wielding AndurilEach of these expert swordsmen have used their elegant weapons to bring down their enemies in very large numbers.

So far, I would say that it could go either way! Let’s analyze their rule:

At the peak of their power, each of them had the ability to command massive armies. Arthas controlled a segment of the Scourge to fell the Azerothian kingdoms he once protected, while Aragorn has commanded the Dead Men of Dunharrow, using them to wipe the Fields of Pelennor clean of the Haradrim.

Actions like these are what make a king memorable. Both of them. Hmmm, it still sounds like a draw.

Well, we know they can both swing a sword… Let’s look at something else. Just how many Scourge are there exactly, and just how powerful are the Dead Men of Dunharrow? Silly questions it seems at first thought, but valid.

The Scourge

The undead Scourge, first crafted by the Burning Legion as an experiment to prepare Azeroth for invasion, became the army of the Lich King after he had manipulated Arthas into taking the helm and binding it to himself, thereby uniting them and becoming one of the most powerful beings in existence.

The assault from the scourge was relentless. The new and improved Lich King had spread a Plague of Undeath throughout the lands to cultivate more soldiers for his ever-increasing army. It was not until the Horde and alliance forces were able to join together that the reign of the Frozen Throne came to a halt.

Dead Men of Dunharrow

The Dead Men of Dunharrow, loyal to no one, pledge allegiance initially to Sauron and then to Isildur. If not choosing a side was bad enough, Isildur called upon them for aid and they did not answer. He cursed them until they decide to fulfill their oath to the royal bloodline. They remain under the Dwimorberg (the Haunted Mountain) until Aragorn presents Anduril and asks the undead men to fight alongside him.

Once unleashed, the Dead Men of Dunharrow are an unstoppable force. They follow Aragorn through the battles at Pelennor Fields and Minas Tirith and eliminate all combatants without regard or concern for which side they fight for — brutal.

Aragorn grants their oaths fulfilled and they disappear in the wind before the march on Mordor’s gates occurs, but if they were there, I imagine it would have been earth-shattering.

All in all, these were two kings of men in their own rights. Arthas fell to his own thirst for domination and Aragorn conquered his fear of evil, donning the crown and leading his Reunited Kingdom on missions to gain back territories that had been lost in previous ages. Without the assistance of the Dead Men of Dunharrow, I would give the win to Arthas. Since we are talking about Arthas and not necessarily the Lich King as he eventually becomes, we cannot include the fact that his power is bolstered by the orc Ner’zhul, the original Lich King. Regardless, his drive for victory is too great to be ignored, and even though it did cost him in the end, he was a very mighty ruler indeed.

There is something to be said about the never-ending honor that Aragorn carries about himself, though. He united kingdoms rather than destroying them, and ended an evil that encompassed many regions. Sauron’s rule being similar to that of the Lich King and then being overtaken by the destruction of the Ring proves tact and wit over the enemy rather than brute strength. Numbers do not always win the war.

Although I am inclined to say that Arthas would take this one, I will have to award the first Mana Pool Matchups honor to…

Aragorn — MPM #1 Champion

Aragorn! Long live King Elessar!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next Mana Pool Matchup, featuring Jack Skellington and Beldam (The Other Mother)!

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