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TORn AMATEUR SYMPOSIUM Day One - "Galadriel, political animal of Middle-earth", by Demosthenes
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TORn Amateur Symposium
Bree


Nov 10 2013, 10:21am

Post #1 of 106 (949 views)
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TORn AMATEUR SYMPOSIUM Day One - "Galadriel, political animal of Middle-earth", by Demosthenes Can't Post

Welcome to November 2013 TORn Amateur Symposium, the second TAS!

To kick things off, we are very pleased to present the very first essay for TAS2:

"Galadriel, political animal of Middle-earth", by Demosthenes

Abstract:

Elves of Middle-earth in the Third Age are commonly held to be beings of magic and mystery, above human concerns and "petty" politicking. Especially so for Galadriel, regarded as some feminine aspect of the divine. However, evidence indicates that she accumulated, and wielded, political power in a most practical and pragmatic fashion.

To view an essay, please click on the link above.

Our authors have written essays and analyses that are concerned, in some way, with the legendarium of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. These essays may be philosophic opinions, scientific theories, or analytical approaches to understanding or highlighting some facet of Tolkien's writings and world. These pieces are written with the goal of amateur scholarship at their core - thus inspiring our Symposium title. Authors may choose to include citations or footnotes, but they are by no means required. Keeping in mind the dual spirit of enjoyment and inquiry that we believe in (as much as we value cheer and song), and which is of paramount important to both the TAS team and our authors, we fully encourage discussion of the essays presented.We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy posting it. The TAS is open for discussion, and any comments, questions or thought you wish to share about this essay can be posted in this response to this thread.

We have quite a full schedule of essays - essays will posted every other day, followed by a catch-up day every three essays. The schedule can be found here.

So please, go forth and enjoy all of the works we have posted for this 2013 November Session. The entire TAS Team, (Elaen32, DanielLB and Brethil), is both delighted and proud to present the essays our TAS members have crafted, relating their interests and skills to the world of JRRT that we all love; a world most intricately crafted, and one that "takes hold of us, and never let's go."

Smile


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 10 2013, 12:47pm

Post #2 of 106 (396 views)
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Yep, a tough customer.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Great start to the Symposium.
I was wondering whether their use of, and attitudes to their Rings also set Elrond and Galadriel apart?

In the Council of Elrond chapter, Elrond says that the Three Rings can't be used as weapons - they are about "understanding, making and healing, to preserve all things unstained". But in The Mirror of Galadriel, Galadriel implies strongly that she's using hers for magical surveillance: "I say to you ,Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves."

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Demosthenes
Sr. Staff


Nov 10 2013, 1:23pm

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ringalingdings. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Great start to the Symposium.
I was wondering whether their use of, and attitudes to their Rings also set Elrond and Galadriel apart?


We don't see it in Lord of the Rings, but Elrond was very active against Sauron in the Second Age when Eregion was invaded and destroyed. As Gil-galad's war leader (i guess?), he holds Sauron at bay and establishes Rivendell as a bulwark.

So there are some similarities between Galadriel and Elrond there I think. Course, Elrond did not have Vilya at that point -- it was in Gil-galad's posession afaik.

But perhaps during the Third Age, possessing one of the Three might have helped them see the wider picture (leveraging your quote below). That might make them less insular than their fellow elves (*waves fist at Gildor Inglorious*) and more driven to help the other Free Peoples.

Or I might be reaching. :)

In the Council of Elrond chapter, Elrond says that the Three Rings can't be used as weapons - they are about "understanding, making and healing, to preserve all things unstained". But in The Mirror of Galadriel, Galadriel implies strongly that she's using hers for magical surveillance: "I say to you ,Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves."


I think when Elrond and Boromir both say "weapon", they mean something to crush, kill and destroy The Enemy. The powers of The Three are quite opaque, but they most certainly can't do that. But does Elrond employ Vilya to summon the flood on Bruinen? Is the veil around Lorien that Frodo perceives at one point the work of Nenya? Does the possession of Narya sustain Gandalf in his long battle against the Balrog?

I think those are possible (though not clear-cut).

Funnily, I think in part, this feature began with me musing about the powers of the Three -- another piece that I began last year but haven't finished because it's crazy-complicated.

TheOneRing.net Senior Staff
IRC Admin and Hall of Fire moderator


DanielLB
Immortal


Nov 10 2013, 2:57pm

Post #4 of 106 (382 views)
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Thank you for kicking this off for TAS! [In reply to] Can't Post

And a brilliant essay to start with. Galadriel has, and always will be, one of my favourite Tolkien characters (and not just because of her pretty dresses.)

This is more of a film-oriented question, but I'd still be interested in your opinion/s. Boyens (infamously) said of Galadriel:


Quote
"the most powerful being in Middle-Earth at this time [of The Hobbit]"


What do you think of this? Is she right, and in what aspects is she both right (and wrong)?

(And this is more speculative, than anything) One thing I do wonder is how the character of Galadriel would have turned out had she been a male. As you say, Galadriel is as driven as Feanor, so would she have be as highly regarded had she in fact been a he. And what about her relationship with Elrond, Gandalf and The Fellowship? I suppose everything would've been significantly different had Tolkien written her as another male guardian. Perhaps that is what Tolkien's motive was ... (starting to ramble now). I suppose Thranduil is (somewhat) her male equivalent?

And another quite random thought is that Galadriel was simply keeping Gimli happy (3 strands of hair) - she's politically driven, and so she's just buttering him up. Is there any sincerity behind it?



(This post was edited by DanielLB on Nov 10 2013, 3:02pm)


Demosthenes
Sr. Staff


Nov 10 2013, 3:30pm

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powerfulness [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
And a brilliant essay to start with. Galadriel has, and always will be, one of my favourite Tolkien characters (and not just because of her pretty dresses.)

This is more of a film-oriented question, but I'd still be interested in your opinion/s. Boyens (infamously) said of Galadriel:


Quote
"the most powerful being in Middle-Earth at this time [of The Hobbit]"


What do you think of this? Is she right, and in what aspects is she both right (and wrong)?


Well, powerful can mean different things. It can be the ability to beat the ever-loving wotsit out of someone else. It can be more subtle... like political influence, the ability to get others to do things to suit your agenda.

Those are the obvious ones. (there are probably others ... it's late here. :))

Certainly Galadriel doesn't win on the first count at the time of TWOTR. Most powerful elf. I think yes, absolutely. More powerful than any Man, or Hobbit, or Dwarf? For sure. But she couldn't hope to defeat Sauron w/o the Ring (Tolkien says as much in Letter #mumblemumble). I suspect for sheer output of Art/Magic/Will (strength of Fea, I guess?) that all the Istari would "take her down" in a "head-to-head" contest. (And now I have images of Bartertown in my head).. There's also Durin's Bane to consider.

But ... at the time of The Hobbit? Was Sauron "reformed" enough? Maybe. It does say in the books that Sauron withdrew to the East when the WC moved against DG. Does that imply significant weakness? It could. I think a case can be made that way, but it's not conclusive.

That would still leave the Istari, and Durin;s Bane too. But let's try this:

Galadriel is more powerful than Glorfindel
Glorfindel beat the Balrog but died.
Gandalf the Grey beat the Balrog but died

Ergo, Gandalf the Grey (important distinction) is about as powerful as Glorfindel.

But Galadriel > Glorfindel.

Ergo, Galadriel > Gandalf the Grey.

That would only leave trying to match her up against Saruman the White. If we can take Gandalf's acquiescence to Saruman at Orthanc to mean he was the weaker, then Saruman could be as mighty or mightier than Galadriel. But Gandalf was in a tight spot too ... S had all the advantages. So it's not an even contest.

I dunno if that was actually helpful.

For geo-political influence, she might rival Sauron, even though the elves are estranged from others in the Third Age, her ability to wield power through the White Council gives her a small measure of influence over even Rohan and Gondor via Gandalf and not-wholly-evil Saruman. Yes, that's circiuitous, but that's what political power is all about. On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be much traffic between Lorien and Thranduil's realm. It's a tough argument to make, but one that is not impossible imho.

I'll have to sleep on your other Qs. :)

TheOneRing.net Senior Staff
IRC Admin and Hall of Fire moderator


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 10 2013, 3:49pm

Post #6 of 106 (366 views)
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The politicking of a young Elf maid [In reply to] Can't Post

Your well placed reference to her swearing no oaths to Feanor, yet following the Noldor from the Blessed Realm is really such an early and clear sign of Galadriel's long term goals, as well as a sign of what she was willing to do to achieve them. Setting aside the variability of the Kinslaying (in which accounts differ) the mere choice to follow in Feanor's van - Feanor whom she actively disliked, and appeared to distrust - really shows her as compromising for gain as a relatively young Elf. Which is surprising in a people who seemed to have just about everything they desired in Aman; so it does not originate with a direct lack of comforts. Instead maybe, as the chapter is titled, this Noldor needed 'to fly' from somewhere within herself? Indeed 'her heart remained proud' ages later, and the pardon of the Valar seemed unneeded and almost, it seems, unwelcome. So it feels like perhaps instead of opposites attracting, certain qualities of Feanor seem quite in common with the ethereally perceived Lady of Lorien. Yet Feanor and Galadriel are perceived entirely differently.

Not that we see that in the LOTR portion of the legendarium. One must compare the two to get the entire picture - as you have done so here: when this surface is scratched the 'etherealness' becomes a luxury and a trapping of a later self-styed queen, versus an ambitious young maid who had dreams of an empire of her own.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 10 2013, 3:56pm

Post #7 of 106 (349 views)
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Dwarf allies [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

And another quite random thought is that Galadriel was simply keeping Gimli happy (3 strands of hair) - she's politically driven, and so she's just buttering him up. Is there any sincerity behind it?




Interesting in the context of the quote Demosthenes used - Galadriel regarding the Dwarves of Khazad-dum as available warriors "with the eye of a commander"...

A mix of politicizing and esteem? Certainly the gift of her hair is a personal and very classical one; we know with certainty (I think it is safe to say) that Gimli's request is an emotional one. Is Galadriel's response? There is no indicator of it being anything else in LOTR; but the hints in other texts may be more of a political and very savvy move towards unity and against the cardinal Enemy?

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Nov 10 2013, 4:18pm

Post #8 of 106 (355 views)
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I see alot of similarity between [In reply to] Can't Post

Galadriel and Eowyn. Both chafed at the constraints of what they perceived their lives were vs. what they could be or what they could be if they had been men. It's an as much an artifact of Tolkien's very male-centered world as his seeming inability to write well-balanced female characters. He had to put in a few but he really seemed to struggle with them.

Galadriel is not a favorite or mine (full disclosure) so I find her politicking to be very self-centered than Elrond, who seemed to be looking out for not only his own but tried to balance the forces that were at work in the whole of Middle Earth. He, at least, had an interest in the little people (and I'm not just talking about Hobbits). Galadriel strikes me as the kind of person who likes to be the biggest frog in the pond so she goes and finds a pond that suits that goal. I've always wondered what it was like for her stepping off the boat when she reached the West. Back there, she was such a little frog compared to her status in Middle Earth.

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings



CuriousG
Valinor


Nov 10 2013, 4:41pm

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Interesting comparison [In reply to] Can't Post

And I agree with you. But I have this funny image in my head of the two of them trying to have lunch together and it being awkward due to their different levels of social sophistication.

Galadriel: "Shall we get a cappucino? I haven't had one for ages."
Eowyn: "Cappucino? Is that a fancy name for fried horse liver?"
Galadriel: "Well, let's just look for a place for brunch."
Eowyn: "Brunch? Why do people have brunch? I'm always too full from breakfast, and then it ruins my appetite for lunch. Let's skip the food and go find a dark alley where we can bait bandits and cut their heads off."


Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Nov 10 2013, 5:02pm

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well, yes... [In reply to] Can't Post

But then I think I'd rather have dinner at Edoras than in Lorien. Lorien strikes me as a place where one is not sure one should sit on the sofas.

In fact, that is the impression I had of her throughout all her dealings. Her management style is that of a ruler, not as much a leader. Rulers tell you when to sit on the sofa, leaders make themselves examples of the correct behavior and let you decide when it is best to sit on the sofa.


Thank you Demosthenes for giving us much to think about. She is fascinating, isn't she?

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings



Mikah
Lorien

Nov 10 2013, 5:09pm

Post #11 of 106 (341 views)
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Politcal animal indeed. [In reply to] Can't Post

Galadriel is such an interesting character. To be a descendant of Finwe, I think about her mighty kin; Finrod, Fingolfin, and Feanor to mention a few. She made her impact upon Middle Earth with grace and diplomacy which were foreign to them, with the exception of Finrod perhaps. At first glance I think we just accept that Galadriel is a powerful character, because Tokien tells us so. But you have done a great job outlining exactly what sets her apart.

I have often thought about Galadriel denying the pardon of the Valar. I am in complete agreement with her. I am not exactly sure what it is that they believe that she needed to be pardoned for. I understand that they were angry regarding the kinslaying at Alqualonde, however there is no indication that she participated. As a matter of fact. there are accounts that she fought in defense of her mother's kin. I will even take it a step further and say that I am not sure it was wise of the Valar to have called the elves to Valinor in the first place. It seems to me if Eru wanted them there he would have put them there. This is a topic of another essay, however!

Okay, I will get off my soapbox regarding Galadriel and the Valar...sorry about that. Anyway, this is a very thought provoking essay and I am so glad you wrote it!


CuriousG
Valinor


Nov 10 2013, 5:38pm

Post #12 of 106 (339 views)
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Proud cousins [In reply to] Can't Post

Galadriel vs. Feanor: equally proud and ambitious. Interesting how you question Galadriel's scruples, since they are questionable. Wink When Feanor was drawn to her beauty (specifically, her radiant hair) in a way that repelled her (reminds me of Melkor and Varda), her gut instinct was that there was something fundamentally wrong inside of Feanor. Was there something a little bit wrong in her too, just not to the same extent? If you think of it, her equals (Gandalf and Elrond) weren't tempted by the Ring to the same extent that she was. She also admitted to Frodo: "For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands." Can you picture Elrond spending the centuries wondering what he'd do with the One? Or Cirdan? Certainly not Gandalf. The others are more humble in comparison to her, and I think her pride was what drove her greatness but was also the nick in her moral armor which the Ring was able to worm into.

A big point of departure between Galadriel and Feanor is her ability to grow wiser over time. Had Feanor survived, I don't see him getting wiser. He'd be either more bitter in defeat or more vain in victory. She, by contrast, is on a path of learning and seems self-conscious about it with "I pass the test."

Back to Demo's great essay: I think it says a lot about Galadriel's political acumen that she was able to get a Valinor pass for Gimli, who didn't have a very strong claim for a tourist visa since he wasn't a Ring-bearer. Mandos openly talked of killing Earendil, a Man who dared set foot in Aman, even though he was on a peaceful mission--these were not hospitable hosts. For Galadriel to persuade the Valar to let in a mortal Dwarf was quite a coup.

If you compare Galadriel to ALL the other Elven leaders, she's the boldest geopolitical activist against Sauron, isn't she? The others just stayed put: Gil-Galad and Cirdan never established an eastern kingdom to thwart Sauron's power. Rivendell was established as a refuge after the collapse of Hollin, but that was a reaction to disaster, not Elrond waking up on a Monday and saying, "I'm heading east to build a city to thwart Sauron's advance." Thranduil just happened to be in Sauron's way when they had conflict in Mirkwood. Galadriel was the only one who seemed to take out a map of Middle-earth and say, "This is where we are, that's where Sauron is, and this is where we need to be to counter him." I suppose Gandalf thought in geopolitical terms too, but not being the ruler-type, it was up to Galadriel to do the nation-building.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 10 2013, 6:19pm

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Limited by her gender? [In reply to] Can't Post

Not sure I agree that Galadriel is limited by her gender: it's pretty clear whose in charge of Lorien. For historical parallels, I think we'd have to go to Queen Elizabeth I of England: ran rings around the other leaders of her time. Used her gender when it suited her, ignored it when that suited her.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 10 2013, 6:35pm

Post #14 of 106 (319 views)
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Hope I'm not splitting hairs here… [In reply to] Can't Post

The hairs are Gimli's idea, after the elves have (somewhat unrealistically?) not thought of a gift for him.

Galadriel's contribution is to praise Gimli for his courtliness - a skill that dwarves aren't popularly supposed to have.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Nov 10 2013, 6:47pm

Post #15 of 106 (318 views)
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Exactly! [In reply to] Can't Post

Except Elizabeth I may have had fewer things in the way to ultimate power where she was where I think Galadriel would have been hard pressed to gain the kind of power she craved by staying where she was, surrounded by peers of similar race, ability and breeding.

What sets her apart from those others is her ambition. And that is why she had to go and find a place where she could wield that kind of power. That is part of what makes Middle Earth so tempting for her. She's the big frog in Lorien because there are very few like her and her gender *doesn't* matter. She's bigger than that in ME. But keep her penned up with a bunch of elves that were her equal (as far as race and breeding were concerned) and she would have had a harder time shining. And note I say harder time - that ambition would have carried the day I think, but it would have been a tougher clog. She *had* to leave to find a place were she was above everyone else. Her ambition got her out from under and as Demosthenes says, put her in a place of relative power. But it's all relative, isn't it.

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings



elaen32
Gondor


Nov 10 2013, 7:59pm

Post #16 of 106 (315 views)
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Galadriel was undoubtedly remarkable, but, [In reply to] Can't Post

as you say, she was among a lot of other people who were remarkable, for most of her life. By the Third Age, obviously there were fewer High Elves left in Middle Earth, and yet, in order to have her own realm, Galadriel ends up in charge of a group of lesser Sylvan Elves.

Continuing the Elizabeth I comparison, I think that they both had significant obstacles in their way, but these were different. Unlike Elizabeth, Galadriel's royal blood and position were not in question, nobody was trying to have Galadriel executed or accused her of being illegitimate. They both DID use their femininity to their advantage at times, but I think both did suffer from it too. If she had been male, Galadriel could have wielded military power as well as her innate abilities. This would have, arguably, given greater power to rule. On the other hand, she may have been slain as nearly all her kin were.

In the end, she got there as the result of her own ambition and skill, but, interestingly, there is little evidence that she trampled over the rights of others in order to achieve Power. And, at the end of day that makes all the difference imo


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 10 2013, 8:39pm

Post #17 of 106 (299 views)
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Well let your hair down NoWiz....! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The hairs are Gimli's idea, after the elves have (somewhat unrealistically?) not thought of a gift for him.

Galadriel's contribution is to praise Gimli for his courtliness - a skill that dwarves aren't popularly supposed to have.




True - the gift is Gimli's idea, but the response is Galadriel's. I didn't express it that well, but that's why I think that the one facet is purely emotional (Gimli) where the other side is *potentially* more diplomatic (?) - Galadriel. Praising, as you say, Gimli's courtliness...which can certainly be genuine surprise and appreciation OR diplomacy, or a mix. It reads as appreciation in LOTR, but as Demosthenes point s out there are currents in so many other texts alluding to more possibilities in Galadriel's choice.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





elaen32
Gondor


Nov 10 2013, 8:50pm

Post #18 of 106 (312 views)
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Long ago, before I had read any Tolkien... [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember hearing a song by hippy rockers, Barclay James Harvest, entitled Galadriel. It was mysterious and beautiful in tone, with a slight feeling of uneasiness. To my shame Blush I didn't read LOTR until some years later. Yet on reading the passages in Lothlorien, the same feelings were invoked of this ethereal and mystical being, who was on the side of good and still seemed dangerous.

Even more years further on, and having read many more of Tolkien's works, she still comes over to me in a similar way. However, now tempered by a practicality and grounded strength, which belies the ethereality to some extent. I love the fact that Galadriel is not just a floaty, ethereal spirit of goodness. It is this very practicality which enables us as readers, and the Hobbits and other members of the Fellowship, to feel some connection with her, despite the awe she may inspire. I also like the fact that, as you quote, she effectively rejects the Pardon of the Valar, because, like any of us would, she feels a sense of injustice (among other things). She has too much pride to go crawling, metaphorically, back to Aman, with her tail between her legs, when she feels she has done nothing wrong (which of us has never been in the position whereby we refuse to apologise for something we haven't done?) I think that, when she does eventually return, at the start of the 4th Age, she has lived through and seen so much, fought the "Long Defeat" with some victories along the way for millenia, that she is welcomed by the Valar. Maybe her old friend, Melian, smooths the way for her? In recognition of her courage and all that she has done for Middle Earth, she is, perhaps, granted some boons by the Valar?

Sorry, I've waffled on for long enough. Thanks for a really interesting essay, Demosthenes- a great discussion and a great start to the TASSmile


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 10 2013, 8:58pm

Post #19 of 106 (292 views)
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I'll try not to get tressed, or to up-braid anyone, or to resort to plait -it- tudes… [In reply to] Can't Post

Politician aside, I do wonder whether Galadriel is not both amused and flattered by Gimli's request. Having decided it's politically harmless or beneficial, she can just go for it.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Nov 10 2013, 9:01pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 10 2013, 9:07pm

Post #20 of 106 (306 views)
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Galadriel and Feanor (and Eowyn too) [In reply to] Can't Post


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Galadriel vs. Feanor: equally proud and ambitious. Interesting how you question Galadriel's scruples, since they are questionable. Wink When Feanor was drawn to her beauty (specifically, her radiant hair) in a way that repelled her (reminds me of Melkor and Varda), her gut instinct was that there was something fundamentally wrong inside of Feanor. Was there something a little bit wrong in her too, just not to the same extent? If you think of it, her equals (Gandalf and Elrond) weren't tempted by the Ring to the same extent that she was. She also admitted to Frodo: "For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands." Can you picture Elrond spending the centuries wondering what he'd do with the One? Or Cirdan? Certainly not Gandalf. The others are more humble in comparison to her, and I think her pride was what drove her greatness but was also the nick in her moral armor which the Ring was able to worm into. Oh that's a nice point CG. The words themselves, "many long years..." are a subtle little hint aren't they? Because I can see Gandalf and Elrond pondering for many long years on how to destroy it, yet without perhaps a second thought as to possessing it. Gandalf indicates in his words to Frodo in bag End that he is aware of its danger...but it doesn't give quite the same feel as JRRT wrote Galadriel saying that bit, does it? Indeed the element of pride is a decisive difference between Gandalf and Galadriel...Elrond, whether for less pride, more wisdom or less invested in ruling (? -open to debate) sees destruction as the clear choice. A big point of departure between Galadriel and Feanor is her ability to grow wiser over time. Had Feanor survived, I don't see him getting wiser. He'd be either more bitter in defeat or more vain in victory. She, by contrast, is on a path of learning and seems self-conscious about it with "I pass the test." Well...sigh...I suppose that is true. I have that sneaking fondness for Feanor, but no, I don't see him becoming tempered or wiser with time. Perhaps the very responsibilities of realizing her dream of ruling is a change in spirit for Galadriel, something Feanor never experienced (or seemed to want to.) The politics of the author are of interest here: he seemed to feel that those seeking power are thus, based on that desire, rather unqualified for the job.

Back to Demo's great essay: I think it says a lot about Galadriel's political acumen that she was able to get a Valinor pass for Gimli, who didn't have a very strong claim for a tourist visa since he wasn't a Ring-bearer. Mandos openly talked of killing Earendil, a Man who dared set foot in Aman, even though he was on a peaceful mission--these were not hospitable hosts. For Galadriel to persuade the Valar to let in a mortal Dwarf was quite a coup.
If you compare Galadriel to ALL the other Elven leaders, she's the boldest geopolitical activist against Sauron, isn't she? The others just stayed put: Gil-Galad and Cirdan never established an eastern kingdom to thwart Sauron's power. Rivendell was established as a refuge after the collapse of Hollin, but that was a reaction to disaster, not Elrond waking up on a Monday and saying, "I'm heading east to build a city to thwart Sauron's advance." Thranduil just happened to be in Sauron's way when they had conflict in Mirkwood. Galadriel was the only one who seemed to take out a map of Middle-earth and say, "This is where we are, that's where Sauron is, and this is where we need to be to counter him." I suppose Gandalf thought in geopolitical terms too, but not being the ruler-type, it was up to Galadriel to do the nation-building.
I can see the nation-building in this context as potentially and (in a global sense) a very female role, albeit a strong one, in JRRT's view. The growth of alliances, the quiet summoning of resources...versus the warrior-king-prince motif. Gandalf being something else entirely - the wandering guide, the teacher, the court mage? Can extend and interesting parallel here between Eowyn and Galadriel: both start off rather brash and a bit on the side (Eowyn more so) of the warrior-prince motif, but both mature (as it were) into the nation-builder.


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





CuriousG
Valinor


Nov 10 2013, 9:58pm

Post #21 of 106 (304 views)
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Very cool point! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Can extend an interesting parallel here between Eowyn and Galadriel: both start off rather brash and a bit on the side (Eowyn more so) of the warrior-prince motif, but both mature (as it were) into the nation-builder.


Bravo!

Now, would you like a cappuccino as a reward, or fried horse liver? We might even let you sit on the sofa.


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 10 2013, 10:10pm

Post #22 of 106 (283 views)
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*dipping liver in cappucino* Sweet! Skooch over CG. // [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
Can extend an interesting parallel here between Eowyn and Galadriel: both start off rather brash and a bit on the side (Eowyn more so) of the warrior-prince motif, but both mature (as it were) into the nation-builder.


Bravo!

Now, would you like a cappuccino as a reward, or fried horse liver? We might even let you sit on the sofa.


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!





CuriousG
Valinor


Nov 10 2013, 10:15pm

Post #23 of 106 (294 views)
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Amen to that [In reply to] Can't Post


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I love the fact that Galadriel is not just a floaty, ethereal spirit of goodness.


Wouldn't that ruin her for Tolkien fans? Angelic beings are a common motif, and I think they're fine, but she's so much more interesting than a fairy godmother who gives Frodo a magic flashlight. The fact that she is a little bit scary, while still one of the good guys, makes her leap off the pages for me, and I always wish Tolkien had written more about her. One of the best things about The Silmarillion is reading more about Galadriel and how complex she is, such as being close to Melian but unwilling to reveal all of the Noldor's misdeeds to her in what seems to be very human, divided loyalties.


elaen32
Gondor


Nov 10 2013, 11:18pm

Post #24 of 106 (273 views)
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The power that Galadriel, [In reply to] Can't Post

and to a lesser extent, Eowyn, eventually wield depends largely on the " softer" skills, more often associated with women. The communication skills, the diplomacy and peace making, nurturing etc. These go hand in hand with the more physical aspects of power and both need each other to be wholly successful. Eowyn may initially scorn the traditional role expected of her. To provide food, lodging etc when the men return from war. She feels these are without renown, but they are, of course, as essential to the wellbeing of the people as the battle that has been fought imo. Galadriel, however, so ancient and wise, realises how best to use her particular strengths and how to rate those of others. In essence, the requirements for a successful leader


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



(This post was edited by elaen32 on Nov 10 2013, 11:20pm)


elaen32
Gondor


Nov 10 2013, 11:24pm

Post #25 of 106 (280 views)
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I also enjoy.. [In reply to] Can't Post

reading the Galadriel chapter in UT. Although it is quite bitty and often contradictory, I love some of the snippets in there. Looking forward to discussing that next yearSmile


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!


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