The Fellowship of the Ring
How we cite our quotes:
"Hey there, Aragorn!" shouted Boromir, as his boat bumped into the leader. "This is madness! We cannot dare the Rapids by night! But no boat can live in Sarn Gebir, be it night or day."
"Back, back!" cried Aragorn. "Turn! Turn, if you can!" He drove his paddle into the water, trying to hold the boat and turn it round.
"I am out of my reckoning," he said to Frodo. "I did not know that we had come so far: Anduin flows faster than I thought. Sarn Gebir must be close at hand already." (2.9.42-4)
We have said elsewhere in this learning guide that Gandalf's fall into darkness in Moria is a necessary plot device to remove some of Frodo's support. With Gandalf around, everything is too easy for the Company: they can rely on his wisdom to lead them (mostly) correctly. But it's not just important for Frodo to learn independence. Aragorn's sudden promotion to leader of the Company is an important step for his own character development, as well. Before joining this Company, we get the sense that Aragorn's battles have been largely solitary. He leads the Rangers, certainly, but they are a lonely bunch and do not seem to work together in groups all that much. Still, someday, Aragorn has to become king of Gondor. He has to learn to take command. When Gandalf first dies, Aragorn appears fearful of his own decisions: even in Lothlórien, he cannot decide where the Company should go next or what its goals should be. Here, when he almost leads the Company straight into death in Sarn Gebir, he admits to Frodo that he is making mistakes. The Fellowship of the Ring is still early in his character arc, but over the course of the Lord of the Rings series, he must grow into his role as a leader.