Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers, Return of the King
Strider, Elessar, Estel, Thorongil
Aragorn first appears in Fellowship of the Rings when he begins travelling with Frodo, Sam, Merry & Pippin. Originally they knew him only as a ranger named Strider and didn't trust him until they realised he was a friend of Gandalf. Even then it was a long time before Sam truly trusted him. Aragorn became one of the central figures in The Lord of the Rings and became the king referred to in the title of the third book. He was also later known as Elessar (Elf Stone).
Aragorn's father Arathorn was chieftain of the Dúnadain from the northen regions of Eriador. Arathorn died in an orc raid when Aragorn was only two years old. Aragorn and his mother Gilraen went to Rivendell where Elrond raised Aragorn as a son. Aragorn wasn't told of his true name and lineage until he was an adult and until then he was known by the name Estel. When he was twenty years old Elrond gave him the shards of Narsil - sword of his ancestor Elendil. He also gave him the ring which was given to one of Aragorn's more distant ancestors Barahir in the First Age. The ring of Barahir was a token of friendship between his people and elves and was later kept by the kings of Numenor. Aragorn later gave this ring to Arwen and she kept it until they were married. Elrond also had the scepter of Annúminas, though he didn't give that to Aragorn until he later became the rightful king of Gondor. This scepter was the chief symbol of royalty in Numenor and later in Arnor.
For the next thirty years, Aragorn travelled far on his own and with the sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir. He travelled under different names in different lands and always helped the people in those lands to oppose Sauron's forces. He became a close friend of Gandalf and learned a lot from him. For a time he went in disguise under the name of Thorongil (meaning eagle of the star) aided King Thengel of Rohan (father of Theoden). From there he went to Gondor and served Ecthelion II the steward of Gondor (father of Denethor II). As Thorongil he was seen as a rival by Ecthelion's son Denethor.
While Aragorn was at Rivendell, he met Arwen, Elrond's daughter who had come to visit. Arwen had been living with her mother's people in Loth Lórien since her mother Celebrían was the daughter of Galadriel. Aragorn and Arwen later married after he was crowned. However, her choice to marry a mortal man meant that she also had to live as a mortal and forsake her family.
Aragorn was a descendant of the kings of Numenor through Elendil and his son Isildur. He carried the sword of Elendil during much of the story and was often referred to as the heir of Isildur. He was the only rightful heir to the throne of Gondor and at the end of the story he was crowned as King Elessar of Gondor. After Aragorn was crowned, he married Arwen. They had a son named Eldarion who later inherited the throne of Gondor from Aragorn.
The Peter Jackson film portrayed Aragorn as being initially reluctant to take on the role of king for fear of falling in to darkness as Isildur did. In the book there was no such reluctance. It was widely accepted by him and his people from the north that he was the chieftain of the northern Dúnadain and was the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor.
In early drafts of Lord of the Rings, Strider was going to be a hobbit ranger named Trotter. Obviously at that stage he wasn't also going to become the king of Gondor.
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