FoTR - The Mirror of Galadriel: Bk II, Chapter V11

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Postby Philipa » Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:27 pm

Merry wrote:I think, or rather hope, that anyone involved in the vanquishing of Sauron on the destruction of the Ring gets a 'get out of jail free' card!


:lol: :lol:
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Postby Iolanthe » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:26 pm

:lol: I should say so!

I seem to remember reading in one of Tolkien's letters that he said that Galadriel thought that she would be powerful enough to defeat Sauron if she had the Ring, by commanding troops and going into battle but not in a direct confrontation. But that long years of careful thought had taught her that this was a bad plan and her rejection of the Ring was the result of a resolve made long ago.
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Postby Lindariel » Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:49 pm

Found a very interesting essay about Celeborn entitled "Prince Valium" by Marnie on the Stories of Arda website. For those, like me, who appreciate the somewhat cranky, mysterious Sindarin Lord, and who felt PJ's movies did not do him justice, you will enjoy this:

http://www.storiesofarda.com/chaptervie ... 5&cid=8911
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Postby marbretherese » Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:57 pm

Thanks Lindariel, this essay is a must-read!! Movie-Celeborn is a pale shadow of the book character.

I've always viewed Celeborn & Galadriel as masculine/feminine archetypes, two halves of a whole - Celeborn used to being obeyed, quick to anger and just as quick to apologise to Gimli for having spoken harshly, Galadriel more subtle and intuitive. How anyone could regard him as wishy-washy is beyond me!
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Postby Merry » Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:13 pm

Yes, thanks, Lindariel! Marnie is a good thinker and writer--great title, don't you think?

As I've said before, I think one of PJ's mistakes was to make Lothlorien creepy as a way of maintaining tension. So the Fellowship's first meeting with Galadriel and Celeborn used the weird technique of having them speak so slowly, among others. I miss the immediate sense from the books that they were safe and in a good place.
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Postby Airwin » Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:43 am

I believe PJ shot the scenes in Lothlorien at a different (film?) speed probably to make them more graceful and other-worldly. But then the ADR is weird, because the actors have to speak slower to match the mouths on film. PJ did it in a few other places as well. The scene at Galadriel's mirror and Frodo nearly killing Sam in Osgiliath come to mind.

Very interesting essay! Thanks Lindariel! :flower:
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Postby Iolanthe » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:27 pm

I've finally had time to read the essay, Lindarial, and it's full of interesting stuff, thanks for posting the link.

It's the first time I've thought of the consequences of the Balrog if Gandalf hadn't sent it into the chasm. No wonder Celeborn was alarmed. And somehow I hadn't tied it in with the story of Amroth or that Gandalf must have known it was there. I've probably read all the information over the last few years but it's been scattered and I never put two-and-two together.

I also love the comments that Celeborn allows Galadriel to be a Queen 'acting in a social context which is now foreign to us' by letting her bring peace and stay his temper. It's very perceptive and something Tolkien would have understood well.

Another insight is that Celeborn is an elf in the mould of the Silmarillion Elves 'He can be greatly moved by grief, he can clearly be angry and aggressive. We haven't seen an elf like this since the Silmarillion'. Readers of LotR before the Sil came out would see him differently, but this really puts him in context.

And 'in order to see Celeborn accurately, you have to take Galadriel out of the picture' is so true.

Wonderful essay!
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Postby Lindariel » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:41 pm

I think it is also interesting that so many people assume that the gifts the Fellowship received in Lothlorien were from the Lady Galadriel alone, when in fact Galadriel herself tells the Fellowship:

". . . the Lord of the Galadhrim is accounted the wisest of the Elves of Middle-earth, and a giver of gifts beyond the power of kings."

When the Fellowship prepares to leave Lothlorien, they are given lembas, elven cloaks, boats, and hithlain rope. The lembas and the cloaks were made by Galadriel and her maidens, but all are given by the grace and goodwill of the Lord of the land. Then, on the island of Egladil, when Galadriel presents the gifts of parting, she says:

"I have brought in my ship gifts which the Lord and Lady of the Galadhrim now offer you in memory of Lothlorien."

Again, as Marnie points out, Galadriel is serving her ceremonial function as the Lady and wife of the Lord of the land, but the gifts themselves come from his bounty. When Galadriel says "I give you this . . ." it is understood that she means "On behalf of the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood, I give you this gift."

The only gifts that really fall outside of this category are the Elessar stone, but that gift truly does not come to Aragorn from Galadriel but from Arwen; the three strands of hair that she gives to Gimli; and the phial she gives to Frodo, since this is a magical gift she made herself. Even so, none of these gifts could have been bestowed without the advice, consent, and goodwill of Celeborn.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when Feanor learns of Galadriel's gift to Gimli. In Aman, before the Exile, Feanor had asked Galadriel (then called Artanis/Nerwen) on three occasions for a strand of her hair, and she refused him all three times. Gimli "names" one hair as his wish, but does not ask for it, and Galadriel gives him three. That's quite a statement of her opinion of Feanor, isn't it? No wonder Celeborn "gazed at the Dwarf in wonder."
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Postby Iolanthe » Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:33 pm

I love the way you've tied the 'hair strand' gift in with Feanor! That must have been in Tolkien's mind. What a great example of how rich his storytelling is beyond the immediate needs of the book and the reader.

When I re-read LotR again after watching the films the fact that the gifts were mainly from Celeborn and given/created by Galadriel really struck me forcefully. I think that in the film this was lost sight of because of the need to have a strong female presence in the film to balance all that male heroism, and over time, since first reading it in the 1970's, I'd forgotten it.
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Postby Philipa » Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:43 pm

You know I was just thinking the other day as I was reading Tuor on how the Noldor seem such a doomed group due to their flight. I wonder if Galadriel's test of the ring also helped ease her mind she was worthy of being called the Eldar after refusing the ring. Those renegades the Noldorians probably lost face after that fiasco of Feanors. :roll: Sound crazy?
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Postby Merry » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:27 am

I think that's a good point, Philipa. From reading LOTR alone, one gets a little impatient with all these elves who sing and give advice and a few gifts, but not much manpower, if you catch my drift. I think I'm understanding more that they're just out of hope and why they call it the Long Defeat.

Galadriel understood Frodo's offering of the Ring to her as a test. From what I remember, Tolkien had several versions of her role in the uprising, some making her look better and some worse, so I guess he struggled with her relative guilt and innocence in his own mind.
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Postby Philipa » Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:42 pm

Merry wrote: I think I'm understanding more that they're just out of hope and why they call it the Long Defeat.


Yes, I'd forgotten the Long Defeat phrase. It really rings home the Elves going home is quite a blessing in disguise. Think if they were truly 'banned' from doing so just by virtue of being a Noldor.

Galadriel understood Frodo's offering of the Ring to her as a test. From what I remember, Tolkien had several versions of her role in the uprising, some making her look better and some worse, so I guess he struggled with her relative guilt and innocence in his own mind.


I can imagine the power which writers have when they have their characters at their mercy. Here fate could have been much worse.
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Postby Iolanthe » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:14 pm

I see her refusal as her final release from the terrible events that took place when the Noldor left Valinor (amazing how much stuff in the book isn't in the book but sits in the background :lol: ). I think that refusal is her own signal to herself that she can depart Middle-earth and return, having now somehow atoned. Even though Tolkien took an increasingly soft attitude towards her involvement as he kept on revising, there is still a lot of guilt by association, and a family guilt even if Tolkien lessened the personal one.
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Postby Lindariel » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:05 pm

Galadriel is such an enigma, all the more so because Tolkien created different and often conflicting tales about her life and work. Depending upon which version one reads, it can be interpreted that Galadriel's "exile" in Middle-earth is more or less self-imposed. In one version, at the end of the War of Wrath, Galadriel has the opportunity to return to Valinor and chooses NOT to go. She is still curious about Middle-earth and desires a land to order and rule. It is implied that she desires power -- certainly a benificent power, but power nonetheless.

I often wonder if Galadriel isn't so much required to "atone" (After all, what evil has she done for which she must atone?) but to "learn." She is a very powerful being, and she desires the opportunity to exert that power. Sometimes I think the Valar decided to give her the chance to spread her wings and really learn from experience the tremendous responsibility of power and the very fine line one must walk between ruling well, exerting power justly, and becoming a tyrant.

And she does undertake and exert power, and she and the people and lands she "rules" reap both the benefits and the consequences. Her final and most devastating exercise of power is her stewardship of Nenya. With it, she was able to enhance, protect, and preserve (embalm?) Lothlorien -- certainly something that must have been at times exhilirating and deeply satisfying -- but ultimately at what personal cost? What did the destruction of the One and the "death" of Nenya do to her?

By facing and refusing the Ring, the "test" that Galadriel has passed is not so much one that has been imposed by the Valar, but her own test of herself: Has she learned, REALLY learned, the path that must be followed in order to resist the seduction of ultimate power? The answer is Yes.

If we apply the images of the fairy story (and The Professor LOVED fairy stories!) to Galadriel, then we can view her sojourn in Middle-earth as a journey "into the woods" -- that primeval place where one is tested, learns from hardship, and returns home refined and forever changed. Isn't this exactly what happens to Galadriel?

In literary terms, Galadriel is also another foil to Saruman (along with Gandalf). She is a powerful being who desires to wield power, but unlike Saruman, she does not succumb to the evil of the Ring.
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Postby Merry » Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:10 pm

I like the 'into the woods' insight, Lindariel.

I'm not an expert on the Sil, so you can tell me if I've got this right or not, but I thought that the Valar sort of strongly advised the elves not to leave, that it wouldn't be a good sojourn for them. They didn't forbid it absolutely, but gave a very strong warning. So what did Galadriel do wrong? She went against the advice of the gods in favor of her own ambition.

I don't know if the Valar forbade her return or not. Is this ever made clear anywhere? Maybe even Galadriel didn't know the answer to that. She was a proud woman, and the thought of asking to come back and being refused had to be intolerable, so maybe she had to be certain.

ETA: More! This is an example of hubris, right? Thinking one knows better than the gods. Major wrongdoing in the ancient world. But--and this is cool--ultimately, Tolkien is not a pagan thinker. So rather than getting smitten down or some other punishment from the gods, Galadriel gets to find her own way and, doing that, ultimately gets to make a contribution to the salvation of the world. This, I think, is Eru adjusting the song, right?

But I wonder: as she sails away into the West, did she think she had made the right choice?
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