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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
My bet is on Varda


Dec 24 2012, 11:07pm

Views: 837
My bet is on Varda [In reply to] Can't Post

The movie has Galadriel appear to Frodo in Shelob's Lair to encourage him, so that's one possible interpretation, but I think JRR's intent was that it was Varda who was aiding them, and that Jackson didn't want to go into an explanation of Varda for non-book lovers, which I think was the right move.

If you go back to the Nazgul attack on Weathertop, Frodo seems surprised by his own cry of Elbereth, which turns out to be exactly what was needed when everything else was going wrong. I think that was divine intervention. Galadriel wasn't in the story yet, and I don't think it came from Gandalf or Strider.

I think she helped again when the hobbits needed her in Mordor. There was also the last-minute urging that Frodo and Sam both felt without discussing it, the need to move forward despite their exhaustion because Aragorn's army was in peril. Varda may not have been acting alone. Manwe was the Vala of air, and I interpret the winds that blew back Sauron's darkness and helped speed Aragorn's fleet to the Pelennor battle to be his work. But when Sam saw a star beyond the murk of Mordor and felt inspired, that was 100% Varda, Kindler of Stars.

I'm not sure how literally to take each instance and the element associated with each Vala. When Sam hoped for water, was that Ulmo? Ulmo was the most active in aiding the Noldor in the First Age, so wouldn't he be the most likely to help now? Or do the Valar not workly strictly according to their domain of interest, and if you hope that Varda gives you water, or if she's looking after you on her own, can she fulfill a prayer for water directly? My belief is the latter. It seems too mechanical and bureaucratic otherwise. "I'm sorry, Sam, but water is not my department. You need to contact the Vala Bureau of Water and Minister Ulmo for that request, down the hall to your left."

As great as Galadriel was, I don't see her reaching across Middle-earth to help the hobbits. Otherwise she would have been more help in the Sammath Naur, but her phial flickered out there because it couldn't contend with Sauron's power. She could contend with him on her own turf, but not on his.

Though I will admit that I wonder if Sam's box of soil from her garden was more than Elven Miracle-Gro. She said it contained what virtue she still had to bestow. Did it help the hobbits in subtle ways with that virtue? Nothing really points to it, yet it seems possible.

Great question!

(This post was edited by CuriousG on Dec 24 2012, 11:09pm)

Subject User Time
Help from Varda? Nerven Send a private message to Nerven Dec 23 2012, 4:00pm
    My bet is on Varda CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 24 2012, 11:07pm
        With Nerven Send a private message to Nerven Dec 25 2012, 10:36am
            Part of the wonder of Tolkien is that the workings of 'magic' are hidden, but I think both Varda and Galadriel SilentLion Send a private message to SilentLion Dec 26 2012, 8:25pm
    Maybe both dubulous Send a private message to dubulous Dec 25 2012, 11:43am
    Eru Cyberia Send a private message to Cyberia Dec 27 2012, 12:49am
    Mostly Ulmo, I think. Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Dec 28 2012, 12:23am
        Fascinating argument, and very well-constructed.// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 28 2012, 1:18am
            Thanks, CuriousG! I see I wrote "relatives" (of Frodo) instead of "parents." Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Dec 28 2012, 3:04am
                Au contraire, quite enjoyable to read them// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 28 2012, 6:05pm
        It Nerven Send a private message to Nerven Dec 28 2012, 6:49am
            You know the lore of the Phial. You saw it being made. Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Dec 28 2012, 4:55pm
                "Do not touch the water" question CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 28 2012, 6:12pm
                    I think It's mainly a mirror, actually. Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Dec 30 2012, 9:42pm


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