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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Unfinished Tales Discussion: The History of Celeborn and Galadriel
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Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Feb 7 2014, 6:31pm

Post #76 of 125 (226 views)
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My sympathy for your IE problem. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll just shut up now.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 7 2014, 6:43pm

Post #77 of 125 (225 views)
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Indirectly, I suppose [In reply to] Can't Post

Since the light was created by Yavanna in making the Trees and hallowed by Varda in the Silmarils, and they are vicars of Eru, that's possible. But whether Tolkien intended this Light (which he capitalized at times) to be directly the Holy Spirit or not, he certainly intended it to be an ethereal essence and not just photochemical luminescence, and it buttressed Frodo's spirit, especially at Minas Morgul when he was tempted to put on the Ring and betray his presence. So those are grounds for seeing it as the Holy Spirit of the Catholic Trinity.

On the other hand, the Phial didn't do Frodo any good after he returned to the Shire and his spirit seemed to whither away. The only help he had there seemed to come from Arwen's diamond and from Sam. It seems that if the Phial embodied a spiritual source, it should have kept working, shouldn't it? But that's my "appliance reasoning," when I think everything in fantasy worlds should have an off/on switch and work as directed. Maybe the Phial was only ever intended to help during the Quest. Anyway, great question!


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 7 2014, 6:55pm

Post #78 of 125 (224 views)
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No more boxes for us Precious! No! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 7 2014, 6:56pm

Post #79 of 125 (222 views)
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Happily FFH got me unboxed... [In reply to] Can't Post

With a Basic Editor trick. Cool So all good! And thanks - because by posting about it, it got fixed!

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 7 2014, 7:03pm

Post #80 of 125 (226 views)
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Intercession and the Ban [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I totally forgot her farewell song to Frodo, but religious or not, I've always felt like she was making some poignant appeal on his behalf, even "praying" he can find a way to Valinor when she cannot.






Yes and when I read CT's notes on that section I was surprised when he says that there is no indication of the Ban being present...but in a purely reactionary way to reading that whole section and the interactions between Galadriel and Frodo in LOTR it feels to me like there *is* something that she feels I keeps her from the West, more than just a sense of duty (which I do not think would inspire such sadness.)


If the ban idea was there, I think it makes that idea even more self-sacrificing and an actual intercession: she hopes for Frodo what she cannot have.


We will cover it more in FOTR I know...I wonder what other people's response to that section is.

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 7 2014, 7:46pm

Post #81 of 125 (236 views)
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Maybe that's a bit too literal [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
If Tolkien wanted Galadriel to be Mary-like, that posed a huge problem, because she couldn't ask for favors from the Valar for mortals or Elves while under their ban.

One of the differences between Catholicism and other flavours of Christianity is that it's less literal, less rational - it's more about emotion and aesthetics, you might say (since after all Protestantism came about as a "protest" against all that emotion - all that art and music and such - at the time of the scientific revolution when rationalism became the new way to see the world). I think a lot of what makes Galadriel Mary-like is the aesthetics, as Tolkien seems to say himself when he talks about Mary being his touchstone for beauty. So I don't think there has to be a literal follow-through of facts to back up the connection - just an aesthetic sense of how Galadriel appeared, to the hobbits in particular. I really like Brethil's suggestion about her "prayer" for Frodo, but I think it's also in Sam's "praying" to Galadriel for light and water, and then believing that his prayers are answered when he gets what he asked for. But it's just an idea in Sam's mind - an aesthetic sense in relation to "the Lady" that might remind a Catholic of the way they think of "Our Lady" as someone you can bring your troubles to, and who will intercede for you in loving-kindness. (Full disclosure: I was brought up a Catholic and still find the aesthetics of it very moving although I now consider myself a humanist.)

Your idea about her "interceding" via the Phial is a great one, and very Catholic too, you might say, given the importance of "holy relics" to provide a direct channel from a supplicant to a saint in heaven.

But I'm not sure the ban is still in force anyway by the time Galadriel is providing succour to the hobbits. If the ban was essentially self-imposed because of her pride, then once she renounces her ambition and learns humility ("I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel") she's surely already forgiven and the ban is lifted. Even in this very first statement of her new humility, going into the West has become her acknowledged destiny.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 8 2014, 12:33am

Post #82 of 125 (238 views)
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Thanks for making that distinction [In reply to] Can't Post

And while I know we're discussing Galadriel and [random male husband], the overall emotional sense I get from reading LOTR and the Sil is that Varda is really the Mary that people cry out to for intercession. The Elves sing her name in praise all the time, and only hers. We never hear them singing about Manwe, Aule, Ulmo--any of them. When the Valar hold a council about the coming of the Elves, I believe it's Mandos who suggests Varda light up the sky with more stars and that the Elves will ever cry to her at need.

Frodo just has to say her name to hurt the Witch-king, which seems to me like throwing holy water on a vampire to burn it.

But as people have said before (I think it was you, FFH, but I'm typing in a hurry and don't have time to review all the entries--5 pages--we are a talky bunch!), there is no single Christ figure in LOTR, and I don't think there's a single Mary one either. Varda is easy material to work with, because she starts out divine, but of course the real Mary started as a human, so Tolkien would also need someone earthborn to attribute some of her qualities to to round out the picture.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 8 2014, 11:29am

Post #83 of 125 (238 views)
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Totally agree. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Varda is really the Mary that people cry out to for intercession...

Yes, I agree that Varda is another "aspect" of Mary, and the one that is most clearly and movingly cried out to. Not so much for "intercession" though, because her powers are quasi-divine and she can intervene directly.

I love your point about there not being a "single Mary" in LotR, just as there's no "single Christ figure" despite there being
aspects of Christ in various characters (yes, it was me that brought that up Smile).

I think you could say that Varda, Galadriel and even Arwen (whose obedience and self-sacrifice remind me of the Mary of the Annunciation) all have aspects of Mary, just as Gandalf, Aragorn and Frodo all have aspects of Christ.

Which has just made me think of who that "random male husband" of Galadriel's reminds me of - Joseph, the faithful but very ordinary husband of Mary.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Elthir
Gondor

Feb 8 2014, 5:11pm

Post #84 of 125 (201 views)
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Interesting! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
One of the differences between Catholicism and other flavours of Christianity is that it's less literal (...) Your idea about her "interceding" via the Phial is a great one, and very Catholic too, you might say, given the importance of "holy relics" to provide a direct channel from a supplicant to a saint in heaven.



Interesting! Some food for thought there for sure!



Quote

But I'm not sure the ban is still in force anyway by the time Galadriel is providing succour to the hobbits. If the ban was essentially self-imposed because of her pride, then once she renounces her ambition and learns humility ("I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel") she's surely already forgiven and the ban is lifted. Even in this very first statement of her new humility, going into the West has become her acknowledged destiny.




Externally I think Tolkien has run into a bit of a glitch here, as the ban does not seem to be present when Tolkien wrote this line where Galadriel says she will pass into the West -- even after just rejecting the One! Especially if we look at other material from the 1950s the ban doesn't seem 'in place' yet -- despite the suggestion of the song that follows this statement I mean.

Years later when Tolkien published that Galadriel was banned [in RGEO], one might look at this moment in The Fellowship of the Ring and think that Galadriel somehow knew the ban would be lifted once she rejected the One -- but the problem there is that her song comes after this moment, and not only does it seem to imply a 'ban' but that is how certain words in the song are interpreted in RGEO!

So one might ask, why sing these words after Galadriel 'felt' [received an internal message? if so] that the ban was finally lifted? Just to sing as a song that she had already composed, but now knew did not really apply to her, if still to Frodo? Hmm. Plus, Tolkien would [again in a late text, although never published by him] state that this song was an extemporaneous outpouring!


So we are left with two author-published descriptions, one that appears to suggest that Galadriel believes she can sail West directly after she rejects the One Ring, despite her later song in the same book, which could be interpreted that she cannot sail -- versus a direct statement that she was banned [and not a self imposed ban], along with commentary that certain lines in her later song do indeed refer to this.

So [so far], my interpretation is that Galadriel means she will diminish, and pass Over Sea again *if it is ever allowed, possibly hoping now that this act will be noted by the Powers but she is still not sure in any case -- although 'if it is allowed' remains unsaid here, as this matter need not be noted or referenced to Frodo at this moment...

... or something Wink


(This post was edited by Elthir on Feb 8 2014, 5:25pm)


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 8 2014, 5:29pm

Post #85 of 125 (189 views)
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'if still to Frodo?' [In reply to] Can't Post

Incidentally, I mean any part of the song that had meaning for Frodo would appear to be extemporaneous in any case, unless it was somehow part of the original song!


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 8 2014, 6:38pm

Post #86 of 125 (187 views)
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Interpreting the Ban (?) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote


Externally I think Tolkien has run into a bit of a glitch here, as the ban does not seem to be present when Tolkien wrote this line where Galadriel says she will pass into the West -- even after just rejecting the One! Especially if we look at other material from the 1950s the ban doesn't seem 'in place' yet -- despite the suggestion of the song that follows this statement I mean.

Years later when Tolkien published that Galadriel was banned [in RGEO], one might look at this moment in The Fellowship of the Ring and think that Galadriel somehow knew the ban would be lifted once she rejected the One -- but the problem there is that her song comes after this moment, and not only does it seem to imply a 'ban' but that is how certain words in the song are interpreted in RGEO!
So one might ask, why sing these words after Galadriel 'felt' [received an internal message? if so] that the ban was finally lifted? Just to sing as a song that she had already composed, but now knew did not really apply to her, if still to Frodo? Hmm. Plus, Tolkien would [again in a late text, although never published by him] state that this song was an extemporaneous outpouring!
So we are left with two author-published descriptions, one that appears to suggest that Galadriel believes she can sail West directly after she rejects the One Ring, despite her later song in the same book, which could be interpreted that she cannot sail -- versus a direct statement that she was banned [and not a self imposed ban], along with commentary that certain lines in her later song do indeed refer to this.

So [so far], my interpretation is that Galadriel means she will diminish, and pass Over Sea again *if it is ever allowed, possibly hoping now that this act will be noted by the Powers but she is still not sure in any case -- although 'if it is allowed' remains unsaid here, as this matter need not be noted or referenced to Frodo at this moment...

... or something Wink




I'm with you on the 'or something' Elthir. Laugh
From my first reading of LOTR without any knowledge of the Ban it reads as sad, and wistful but without any explanation beyond the general Elven condition of sadness with the changes in the world. Yet from the first time I read about the concept of the ban I felt an sort of internal 'click' like the emotional part of the passage suddenly made sense to me. But not in a linear sense, because as you say the lament comes *after* the episode at the Mirror. Crazy I wonder if the two can be reconciled.


We have the statement from her in FOTR post-rejection of the Ring that "I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel." (Bold by me) And as JRRT writes as a notation to Letter (a draft, 1967) #297, "at that time [of her lament, so post-rejection: note by me] she believed this to be perennial, as long as the Earth endured." The phrase 'she believed' I think might be key, as JRRT had before used key characters possessing false information (Like Treebeard and the Orcs creation) to display non-narrative knowledge bases. If she does indeed believe it to be perennial, that 'diminishment' idea may be open to question. Does it mean merely the opposite of not expanding, and growing in power by the taking of the Ring? Or, in a more perhaps reconciliatory manner, does it refer to her idea that with the Ban extant permanent, she will simply become smaller and fade until the ending of the world, upon which in an apocalyptic scenario her fea would go 'into the West'? (In, one can note, a very non-Assumptive way in this case. Bodiless, presumably, which interests me in light of my posts upthread on Assumption motifs.)


So whether expressed to others or not, perhaps the Ban idea was in the works (ie: in the evolving firmament of JRRT's mind) so somehow known in a flawed and incomplete way to Galadriel herself?


Or an I retrofitting and apologia-ing? (That can be a verb, I think.) Laugh

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





(This post was edited by Brethil on Feb 8 2014, 6:43pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 8 2014, 6:59pm

Post #87 of 125 (172 views)
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Adding one more thought... [In reply to] Can't Post

to clarify: that the return to the West may be seen as an inevitability *unless* the fea was so changed and disturbed - ie by taking the Ring - that thus there could be no return to the West even at the ending of the world.
I wanted to clarify the possible (from her standpoint) idea of inevitability of return to the West in apocalyptic condition. The question of the Ban being as a living Elf in body or an unhoused fea at the very end (and since the Elves cannot see their own fate) to unknown end.

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





elaen32
Gondor


Feb 8 2014, 7:49pm

Post #88 of 125 (167 views)
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Exactly what I thought FFH [In reply to] Can't Post

concerning the Celeborn/Joseph parallel. I've been enjoying reading this thread, but have had to lurk somewhat, since I've been unable to keep up due to work commitments (darned real lifeMad) . I love the ideas concerning the multiple "divine female" characters- Varda, Yavanna etc and their parallels with Mary, Queen of Heaven. The songs to Elbereth, so beloved of the Elves, are somewhat reminiscent of the hymns to the Virgin in Christian tradition. When I first read "A Elbereth, Gilthoniel" it had a feeling of familiarity, but I wasn't sure why. Now I know......


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 April. Happy writing!



elaen32
Gondor


Feb 8 2014, 8:02pm

Post #89 of 125 (162 views)
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Interesting.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that the idea of her "diminishment" may well be, as you say, the opposite of the expansion of her power. Galadriel left Aman because she desired to rule lands and people of her own. She had several attempts at this and succeeded in Lothlorien, but this was really a very small power base, with largely Sylvan elf subjects, not the Heroes of the Eldar of old. In fighting "the long defeat" I think she hoped to banish Sauron and expand her power subsequently (but not in an evil way) After rejecting the Ring, she sees that the final defeat of Sauron is not to be won by her, nor by any of the Eldar, but by a humble Hobbit. Her power will diminish with the destruction of the One Ring, because of the effect that this will have on the Three. Even if Sauron is defeated, she will no longer be able to exert the powers over her domains as she did, without Nenya. I believe that, in this she is diminished, she has decided to allow the One and thus the Three to be destroyed, diminishing her personal power, but for the greater good. As a result, she can return to her life as Galadriel of Aman.


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 April. Happy writing!



FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 8 2014, 8:25pm

Post #90 of 125 (171 views)
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My attempt to interpret the Ban [In reply to] Can't Post

You've both made some incredibly strong points here, Elthir and Brethil. I've just been re-reading the Unfinished Tales fragments to see if I can somehow make things fit together. I think there's no getting around the fact that Tolkien hadn't completely clarified in his own mind how he saw Galadriel's situation in LotR, and that he toyed with a number of possible scenarios in the years afterwards. I seem to recall that he often used the technique of writing various accounts of scenes until he "found" the "true" one, and perhaps that's what he was trying to do for Galadriel. If so, it seems he never really found her "true" history, but I think there are some fundamental points that run through all the attempts.

So based mostly on LotR, plus some comments from Tolkien's Letters and Unfinished Tales, how about this for the basic story:

Galadriel leaves Valinor under a cloud - either after taking part in the rebellion or just getting swept up in the events and leaving without permission (as a late version has it). She either does get included in the Ban or, at the very least, assumes it must apply to her because she left Valinor without permission during the "lockdown". Most of the versions say that forgiveness was offered but she refused it out of pride. And there are also several mentions that it was her pride, and her ambition to use her talents to rule a land of her own, that was both her reason to leave Valinor, and her reason to refuse forgiveness and remain in Middle-earth.

By the time we meet her in LotR, she has already become a powerful force for good in Middle-earth, and is on good terms with messengers of the Valar like Gandalf and Saruman (not to mention being Elrond's mother-in-law). So I'm finding it hard to think that she's still in the Valar's bad books. It's more like she's in a self-imposed exile because to ask for permission to return to Valinor would mean admitting she'd been wrong to leave. She's just too proud to do it - not to mention proud of what she has achieved, and thinks she may still achieve, in Middle-earth.

Then comes the Ring - and her pride is put to the test. As she says, she has often wondered what she would do if she was offered such an opportunity to achieve so much good in Middle-earth. But now at last she sees why it can't work, and that her pride has led her astray. She changes in an instant, as Frodo watches, from a "terrible and worshipful" being to "a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad." I think that's when she finally overcomes her pride, and becomes humble enough to accept the forgiveness of the Valar - forgiveness that has been hers for the taking all these ages, but that she was too proud to accept.

So does she immediately assume she's forgiven? That's harder to say. My take would be that she does know that once she confesses her sin of pride and makes amends, she will be forgiven and taken back into the fold (there are lots of echoes of the old-fashioned Catholic sacrament of Confession here, for me).

But we still have to account for the song she sings to Frodo. As you say,


Quote
So one might ask, why sing these words after Galadriel 'felt' [received an internal message? if so] that the ban was finally lifted? Just to sing as a song that she had already composed, but now knew did not really apply to her, if still to Frodo? Hmm. Plus, Tolkien would [again in a late text, although never published by him] state that this song was an extemporaneous outpouring!


Why indeed would she sing this now? Here's my completely made-up explanation: She is thinking so deeply and emotionally about going to Valinor because this is the first time in Ages she's allowed herself to believe it might happen. Those last lines might even be her finally coming to terms with the doubts and longings she's repressed all this time:

O Lórien! Too long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore
And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.
But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

Perhaps she realizes how close she's come to never seeing her true home again - and she prays that Frodo, the one who saved her from herself, may one day see it too.

(Here's a personal story to illustrate how this kind of thing can happen: when we first came back to the British Isles after years in Canada, I unexpectedly found myself experiencing a kind of delayed homesickness - I'd never let myself dwell on missing home while we were living abroad, then we came back and it suddenly hit me. I found myself processing all the feelings I hadn't even known I had. That's actually how I ended up calling myself FarFromHome despite that fact that, for the first time in many years, I wasn't far from home any more!)

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 8 2014, 8:54pm

Post #91 of 125 (158 views)
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I love the point about Joseph that you have made! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
Varda is really the Mary that people cry out to for intercession...

Yes, I agree that Varda is another "aspect" of Mary, and the one that is most clearly and movingly cried out to. Not so much for "intercession" though, because her powers are quasi-divine and she can intervene directly.
I love your point about there not being a "single Mary" in LotR, just as there's no "single Christ figure" despite there being
aspects of Christ in various characters (yes, it was me that brought that up Smile).
I think you could say that Varda, Galadriel and even Arwen (whose obedience and self-sacrifice remind me of the Mary of the Annunciation) all have aspects of Mary, just as Gandalf, Aragorn and Frodo all have aspects of Christ.

These are great points about the prismatic nature of his faith and how it appears in an analytically recognizable sense while NOT being allegorical. Those innate truths... Smile

Which has just made me think of who that "random male husband" of Galadriel's reminds me of - Joseph, the faithful but very ordinary husband of Mary.
*THAT* is an excellent point. Gives me an entirely different sense of Celeborn...somehow easier to integrate, and to comprehend Galadriel as well. Nice. Thank you. Cool


Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 8 2014, 9:19pm

Post #92 of 125 (152 views)
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Pride and diminishment [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think that the idea of her "diminishment" may well be, as you say, the opposite of the expansion of her power. Galadriel left Aman because she desired to rule lands and people of her own. She had several attempts at this and succeeded in Lothlorien, but this was really a very small power base, with largely Sylvan elf subjects, not the Heroes of the Eldar of old. In fighting "the long defeat" I think she hoped to banish Sauron and expand her power subsequently (but not in an evil way) After rejecting the Ring, she sees that the final defeat of Sauron is not to be won by her, nor by any of the Eldar, but by a humble Hobbit. Her power will diminish with the destruction of the One Ring, because of the effect that this will have on the Three. Even if Sauron is defeated, she will no longer be able to exert the powers over her domains as she did, without Nenya. I believe that, in this she is diminished, she has decided to allow the One and thus the Three to be destroyed, diminishing her personal power, but for the greater good. As a result, she can return to her life as Galadriel of Aman.


Yes, it is that conquering of Pride (which she seems to share with Feanor) that she overcomes and thus regains the way to the West. I am still debating within myself if the diminishment relates to her having an idea of a ban, or not...the insights in thread has been simply fantastic in exploring this idea. Angelic

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





elaen32
Gondor


Feb 8 2014, 9:26pm

Post #93 of 125 (151 views)
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My personal take on it is.... [In reply to] Can't Post

that she does feel that she is under a Ban- but whether it is real, or whether Galadriel feels she cannot return to Aman defeated, having not achieved her goals and face the Valar, I am not sure. At the moment of realisation of the truth and her rejection of the Ring, she feels she has earned the right to take the ship to the Undying Lands, although whether actually to Valinor is another matter.Crazy


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 April. Happy writing!



Elthir
Gondor

Feb 8 2014, 10:21pm

Post #94 of 125 (152 views)
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I can't ban the ban... [In reply to] Can't Post

... as the following must be my true internal story, erasing other conflicting posthumously published ideas. For me it might as well be in The Lord of the Rings itself, as Tolkien published it for his readers, even 'future' readers.

Anyway, here is the fuller text...

'The question Si man i yulma nin enquantuva? and the quesion at the end of her song (Vol. I, p. 389), What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?, refer to the special position of Galadriel. She was the last survivor of the princes and queens who had led the revolting Noldor to exile in Middle-earth. After the overthrown of Morgoth at the end of the First Age a ban was set upon her return, and she had replied proudly that she had no wish to do so. She passed over the mountains of Eredluin with her husband (one of the Sindar) and went to Eregion. But it was impossible for one of the High-Elves to overcome the yearning for the Sea, and the longing to pass over it again to the land of their former bliss. She was now burdened with this desire. In the event, after the fall of Sauron, in reward for all that she had done to oppose him, but above all for her rejection of the Ring when it came within her power, the ban was lifted, and she returned over the Sea, as is told at the end of The Lord of the Rings.'

JRRT, RGEO

That said I think your...



Quote
Why indeed would she sing this now? Here's my completely made-up explanation: She is thinking so deeply and emotionally about going to Valinor because this is the first time in Ages she's allowed herself to believe it might happen. Those last lines might even be her finally coming to terms with the doubts and longings she's repressed all this time:

O Lórien! Too long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore
And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.
But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

Perhaps she realizes how close she's come to never seeing her true home again - and she prays that Frodo, the one who saved her from herself, may one day see it too.




... is good, but I'll add a couple more citations for possible consideration.

'... the Farewell was addressed direct to Frodo, and was an extempore outpouring in free rhythmic style, reflecting the overwhelming increase in her regret and longing, and her personal despair after she had survived the terrible temptation. [..] In the event it proved that it was Galadriel's abnegation of pride and trust in her own powers, and her absolute refusal of any unlawful enhancement of them, that provided the ship to bear her back to her home.'

JRRT, Of Dwarves And Men

'Her Lament -- spoken before she knew of the pardon (and indeed honour) that the Valar gave her -- harks back to the days of her youth in Valinor and to the darkness of the years of Exile while the Blessed Realm was closed to all the Noldor in Middle-earth.'

JRRT, The Shibboleth of Feanor

These last two are from late texts, however both are posthumously published too. According to my general approach to things, I could therefore, in theory at least, set them aside if 'need' be in trying to resolve the matter, despite how instructive they might be regarding Tolkien's mind at the moment.

But again it is the earlier statement ['diminish' and so on] that seems more problematic to me, within the context of the Ban; and this cannot be simply set aside in my opinion -- not that you or anyone here is doing so of course.

Interesting thread in any case Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Feb 8 2014, 10:33pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 8 2014, 10:41pm

Post #95 of 125 (135 views)
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Yes, the sticking point! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

But again it is the earlier statement ['diminish' and so on] that seem more problematic to me, within the context of the Ban.
(Wonderful use of citations Elthir, as always.)
Exactly! Quite right. That's what I have been attempting to think around with a possible alternate and contextual meaning of 'diminish'.

And her realization or expectation of returning West does not seem to increase post the ephanic event of the Ring's rejection. Her words to the Fellowship as they depart are still, "Now lost, lost to those from the east is Valimar!" and then comes her prayer for Frodo to find it. So accepting that the rejection is indeed the turning point in Galadriel's spiritual journey, it would seem realization of any ban would have to have come later on?

Thus still stands the contradiction of (and linear-wise, out of place) diminishing and returning West *prior* to these seemingly hopeless words of both the Lament and the departure song. That's why I was theorizing that the 'diminishment' and returning the West may refer to the inevitability at the end of the world (and in a disembodied sense) versus talking ship as a living and penitent Elf. All purely UUT and head-canon in the last word though I think! (Though endlessly pleasurable to discuss with present company). Angelic

Its definitely one of those questions that, if the Professor were still with us, we would have to implore him with.


Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 8 2014, 10:46pm

Post #96 of 125 (135 views)
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I do love your interpretation [In reply to] Can't Post

and the very real personal context you shared (which I can empathize completely with) makes it very real and believable from Galadriel's POV. That longing for home and sense of loss and no return...I know in JRRT's life that feeling seems to have been very real to him as well in a literal sense and maybe the loss of the faerie/childhood sense. I think he captures it hear fantasy-wise and in a female gender in an extremely effective way. The coming of Frodo as a footstep of doom in more than one way...the doom he carries, and perhaps the one he inspires in her for her old home.
This is, I think, why despite the ban vs. no ban the scene *works* and resonates so deeply.

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 9 2014, 12:05am

Post #97 of 125 (134 views)
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Terrific synthesis of it all // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


FarFromHome
Valinor


Feb 9 2014, 12:22pm

Post #98 of 125 (117 views)
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Those are great quotes. [In reply to] Can't Post

I especially love the one from The Road Goes Ever On - I knew about the Donald Swann musical interpretations, but I didn't know that Tolkien had added so much extra commentary there! As far as I recall I've never seen any of these quotes before, but mostly I'm coming away from them thinking that what I'd come up with based on LotR itself wasn't so far from Tolkien's intention.

Based on your quotes, it looks to me as if Tolkien was still working out in his mind the deeper story behind what he'd already written in LotR. That seems to be the way his creativity often worked - the development of Bilbo's ring in The Hobbit into the One Ring is one big example. This habit of his for working out the deeper implications and complexities of characters and scenes he'd already written is one of the things that makes the idea of 'canon' such a difficult one, I think. But for me, trying to come up with something 'canonical', in terms of factual 'events' in the legendarium, is far less interesting than trying to get insights into the workings of Tolkien's endlessly creative mind, because that's where I think you can see the deeper layers behind his writing. Here I see the fundamentals of Galadriel's character and experience becoming deeper and more meaningful in terms of Tolkien's great themes - of pride, and forgiveness, and ultimate joy.

I see pride rearing its head again in the first two of your quotes, so I do think that this part of her character is very firmly fixed in Tolkien's overall conception of her story. The yearning for the Sea, too, seems to fit with my basic idea - she longs for it, and yet proudly refuses to ask for it.

Based on your three quotations, I find myself thinking that Tolkien was coming to see her exile more and more a consequence of her pride. After all, why she was so much more susceptible to the Ring than either Gandalf or Elrond? Pride (and prideful ambition) is the great theme running through the story of the Ring - as we see with Saruman, and (at a lower, human scale) with Denethor. Yet she, of all of them, is the only one who finds the strength and wisdom, at the very last moment, to reject her pride and ambition, and to become, in Tolkien's word, a penitent. I think that the idea of the ban ups the ante on this scenario - it means that once she renounces her pride and humbles herself to admit that she longs to go home to Valinor, she can have no expectations. Your second quote speaks of "the overwhelming increase in her regret and longing, and her personal despair" - the ban means that she has reached rock bottom, the moment of despair. She now sees how much she longs for Valinor, and how far she has separated herself from it. It's as if Tolkien is imagining her personal eucatastrophe - her "Amazing Grace" moment when she goes from the depths of despair to the joy of salvation, as she receives, as your final quote puts it, not just pardon but "indeed honour".

As all our discussions have only made clearer, it seems, Tolkien never really came up with a way of integrating all his ideas with the already-published text. I think you're right that it's that early line, "I will diminish, and go into the West" that is the real spanner in the works. As far as her personal journey is concerned, I think you could say that that's the first time she's ever even thought that she should humble herself enough to consider going into the West, despite her longing for it. But it may also be that when Tolkien wrote this line he didn't have the ban in mind, and was only thinking of the underlying myth of all the Elves gradually disappearing into the West - so that all she's saying at this point is that she renounces her earthly ambitions, and intends to withdraw from the world and fade away.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Feb 9 2014, 12:26pm)


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 9 2014, 12:29pm

Post #99 of 125 (106 views)
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Very well said! [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 9 2014, 12:35pm

Post #100 of 125 (108 views)
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other points of view [In reply to] Can't Post

I shall muse more about your idea Brethil [the 'diminish' line and so on], and in any case this is another reason why chatting Tolkien is good, as I had never thought about this interpretation before.

Thanks!

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