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The Mirror of Galadriel 6: "Do not touch the water!"
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a.s.
Valinor


Mar 16 2008, 5:46pm

Post #1 of 37 (1073 views)
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The Mirror of Galadriel 6: "Do not touch the water!" Can't Post

Well, it's Sunday afternoon here on the east coast and I haven't seen a post about the essential part of this chapter: the mirror itself and Galadriel's "test". So, hoping that Altaira is feeling better soon and that I'm not going to interfere with something she's planning to post later today (if so, she has the power to delete-edit-discipline me already, being the PTB and all anyway), let's talk a little bit about the Mirror.

1. Is the Mirror "magic"? Could any elf have figured out how to make the Mirror work, or is it a power of Galadriel's Ring that makes it so special?

2. Why does Galadriel tell Frodo not to touch the water?

3. There's a time difference in Lorien, of some kind...or a difference in the way one experiences time there. Is this fluid time related to the experience of looking in the Mirror and seeing things that may or may not have happened or will/won't happen?

4. If the Mirror is "dangerous as a guide of deeds", why does Galadriel want Sam and Frodo to gaze into it?

5. Does Frodo see Gandalf or Saruman in the Mirror?

After the mirror gazing, Galadriel reveals her ring to the hobbits, and Frodo offers her the One Ring. To me, this passage contains some of the strongest lyrical language in LOTR: those "footsteps of doom", that Queen "beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow on the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightening!"

6. "All shall love me and despair!". Comment?

Frodo asks directly why, if he is "permitted to wear the One Ring", he cannot "see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them" and Galadriel answers simply that he has not tried to do this. She strongly counsels him to not try it, because it would destroy him. For one thing, the Ring gives power according to the "measure" of its possessor, and before Frodo could attempt to use it this way, he would "have to train your will to the dominion of others".

7. Did Galadriel have this training, training in domination of other wills? Did Elrond?

8. Does this message of Galadriel's help us understand what happens when Frodo does command Gollum while wearing the Ring?

9. Any thoughts on the ending of this chapter?

a.s.

"an seileachan"

"Good night, little girls, thank the Lord you are well!
Now go to sleep" said Miss Clavel.
And she turned out the light and shut the door,
And that's all there is. There isn't any more.


(This post was edited by a.s. on Mar 16 2008, 5:48pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 16 2008, 10:13pm

Post #2 of 37 (431 views)
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Seeing with a keen eye [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Is the Mirror "magic"? Could any elf have figured out how to make the Mirror work, or is it a power of Galadriel's Ring that makes it so special?

Galadriel says it's "elf-magic", although she also admits that she's not sure what is meant by the term... I think Galadriel (through her Ring, perhaps, as you suggest) is the only Elf who can command the Mirror. It is, after all, the "Mirror of Galadriel". She is the one who has the power of reading thoughts, and I think this experience with the Mirror is linked to that.

2. Why does Galadriel tell Frodo not to touch the water?

She says it first of all to Sam, as a simple instruction on how to use the Mirror at the very start of the session, and Sam looks and sees "only stars, as I thought". When she says it to Frodo, it's after he has his vision of the Eye, and it's her "Do not touch the water" that breaks the spell and frees Frodo to see "the cool stars twinkling in the silver basin". The simple repeated phrase seems to start and end the whole Mirror experience. I wonder what would happen if you did touch the water? Maybe it would be like a pensieve...

3. There's a time difference in Lorien, of some kind...or a difference in the way one experiences time there. Is this fluid time related to the experience of looking in the Mirror and seeing things that may or may not have happened or will/won't happen?

It doesn't seem to be quite the same thing, and yet perhaps the two phenomena are related, to the extent that Elves exist on a plane that we mortals can't fully experience, outside of time as we know it. On a side note, it took me many readings before I noticed what this sentence is actually saying: "Some [things] never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them." So believing something is going to happen, and trying to prevent it, may be the very thing that causes it to happen. If I've understood that correctly. Are there any examples of that happening in the story, I wonder?

4. If the Mirror is "dangerous as a guide of deeds", why does Galadriel want Sam and Frodo to gaze into it?

Well, "seeing is both good and perilous." Elves don't like to counsel others, and prefer to leave the decision up to each individual. It's not that she wants Sam and Frodo to look into the mirror, just that she offers them the chance to do so. In Sam's case, I think it was because he wished to see Elf-magic, and she grants his wish. Elves are dangerous that way - you need to be careful what you wish for! In Frodo's case, she seems to be offering him a chance to learn something that will help him with his Quest, although none of the visions seem to help him much. In the end, it's seeing the Eye that is the real moment of truth for Frodo, and it allows him to understand what Galadriel's own power is all about.

5. Does Frodo see Gandalf or Saruman in the Mirror?

It's presumably Gandalf. Frodo recognizes him, but then thinks he must have made a mistake because the wizard is dressed in white. He has no way of knowing that Gandalf will soon return as the White.

After the mirror gazing, Galadriel reveals her ring to the hobbits, and Frodo offers her the One Ring. To me, this passage contains some of the strongest lyrical language in LOTR: those "footsteps of doom", that Queen "beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow on the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightening!"

6. "All shall love me and despair!". Comment?


Galadriel represents all that is "fair and perilous". We see a hint of her power to command love in the way that Gimli falls for her - in fact, all the Fellowship are deeply affected by her. If she had the Ring, I think, it would be impossible not to love her, and the loss of free will, even through love, would be intolerable.

7. Did Galadriel have this training, training in domination of other wills? Did Elrond?

No, but they aren't attempting to use the One Ring. The Elven Rings, I assume, don't require the user to dominate others. The bearers of the Three themselves, despite their massive mental power compared to Frodo, know that they couldn't actually control the One Ring.

8. Does this message of Galadriel's help us understand what happens when Frodo does command Gollum while wearing the Ring?

Not the message so much, for me. But the similarity in the descriptions of Galadriel reacting to the Ring, "tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful", and Frodo accepting Gollum's oath, "a tall stern shadow, a mighty lord who hid his brightness in grey cloud", does make me think that something similar is happening to them both.

9. Any thoughts on the ending of this chapter?


"I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it..." I think Frodo's phraseology is important here. He is behaving like an Elf - he's not asking Galadriel to take the Ring, he's offering her an opportunity that she must decide on for herself. Earlier she said to Frodo, "I do not counsel you one way or the other." Now Frodo has turned the tables. He's beginning to see with a keen eye indeed!

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


squire
Valinor


Mar 16 2008, 11:34pm

Post #3 of 37 (411 views)
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Some [things] never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always loved that line, partly for the triteness of the observation: "You must stick to the path appointed to you; if you turn aside, the bad thing may happen." If you think about it, this saying makes the mirror useless. You should stay on your "path" and accomplish your goal or not, depending on fate. But if the mirror seems to show a bad outcome in the future, you must not do anything to stop it that involves not doing what you were going to do anyway, before you looked in the mirror!

Another question comes to me that I haven't thought of before, though. Who is Galadriel referring to here, who may have had the unfortunate experience of trying to use the Mirror as a "guide to deeds"? Who else uses the Mirror besides her? Is she citing her own past experience? And if so, what event/non-event is she referring to, that she caused to happen by trying to cause it not to happen?

The fatuity of the Mirror becomes apparent when we try to come up with an answer. Reviewing what we know of her past history. The Mirror foretold to her that Saruman would betray the Council, so she lobbied for Gandalf to take the job anyway, and her actions aroused Saruman's suspicions and Gandalf's reticence, guaranteeing that Saruman got the job after all! She foresaw her daughter's injuries and torment, and bade her come home to safety from Rivendell, and on that journey Celebrian was taken and tormented! Etc. What're ya gonna do? What's this Mirror good for, anyway, if not as a guide to deeds?

Of course this sort of paradox is not limited to Tolkien, and satirists have had their fun with the vagaries of trying to foretell our fates before this:

GAL. Black sheep dwell in every fold;
All that glitters is not gold;
Storks turn out to be but logs;
Bulls are but inflated frogs.
FROD. (puzzled). So they be,
Frequentlee.
GAL. Drops the wind and stops the mill;
Turbot is ambitious brill;
Gild the farthing if you will,
Yet it is a farthing still.
FROD. (puzzled). Yes, I know.
That is so.
Though to catch your drift I'm striving,
It is shady — it is shady;
I don't see at what you're driving,
Mystic lady — mystic lady.

GAL. (aside). Stern conviction's o'er him stealing,

That the mystic lady's dealing
In oracular revealing.
Yes, I know—
That is so!
FROD. Though I'm anything but clever,
I could talk like that for ever:
Once a cat was killed by care;
Only brave deserve the fair.
GAL. Very true,
So they do.

TOGETHER Though a mystic tone I/you borrow,
You will/I shall learn the truth with sorrow,
Here to-day and gone to-morrow;
Yes, I know—
That is so!
[At the end exit Galadriel melodramatically.

FROD. Incomprehensible as her utterances are, I nevertheless feel that they are dictated by a sincere regard for me. But to what new misery is she referring? Time alone can tell!




squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
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Modtheow
Lorien


Mar 17 2008, 2:19am

Post #4 of 37 (391 views)
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Some thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Hooray! Questions on the best part of the chapter!

1. Is the Mirror "magic"? Could any elf have figured out how to make the Mirror work, or is it a power of Galadriel's Ring that makes it so special?
"Magic" is not a word that Tolkien generally approves of, since he sees it as a technique whose "desire is power in this world, domination of things and wills" (On Fairy-Stories), something that’s different from art and enchantment. Galadriel doesn’t seem to approve of the word entirely either, though she recognizes how it’s commonly used when she says to Sam: "For this is what your folk would call magic, I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy."

I think it’s probably only Galadriel who can make the Mirror work: she calls the Mirror "the magic of Galadriel"; it’s named after her; and she says "Many things I can command the Mirror to reveal." (Interestingly, though, it’s not totally under her command: "But the Mirror will also show things unbidden...").

I’m sure that Galadriel’s Ring plays a part in this, but I also think that Galadriel’s power is connected with water and the star E
ärendil. All those streams that surround Lothlórien and lead into the Sea, the shimmering fountain that’s the main landscape feature on the lawn around Galadriel’s tree-home, and the water for her Mirror coming from the same source – all these waters are what protect this place and give rise to sea-longing and remind the Elves of their home across the sea and their connection with Ulmo and the Great Music.... I also love that moment when she lifts up her hands against Sauron, and Eärendil shines on her and her ring "as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand." Galadriel's "magic" seems to reside in a connection with water and starlight, which is more natural than the trickery of a magician with props and deceits.

2. Why does Galadriel tell Frodo not to touch the water?

I’m not sure why Sam and Frodo are told not to touch the water, but here are the best answers I can think of. Galadriel prepares the Mirror herself by pouring water to the brim and breathing on it. What the heck the breathing is supposed to do I have no idea, but it seems to be part of the special preparations making the water look "hard and dark," which might be spoiled if someone else touched it. When Sam first sees things in the Mirror, it’s as if a "dark veil has been withdrawn" – another window image! – so maybe touching the water is like crossing through that window into a place where you shouldn’t be. It’s okay to look through the window at the past or future or other places in the present, but not okay to go through and into them. When Frodo is almost drawn into the water in the vision of the Eye, the water is growing hot and steam is rising, almost as if the fire-rimmed Eye was right there in the basin. I always get the feeling at that point that if Frodo were to be drawn into the water, he would be crossing a threshold where the Eye could actually see him and get hold of him.

3. There's a time difference in Lorien, of some kind...or a difference in the way one experiences time there. Is this fluid time related to the experience of looking in the Mirror and seeing things that may or may not have happened or will/won't happen?
Lothl
órien is a "timeless land that did not fade or change or fall into forgetfulness." Aragorn re-experiences the past in this place when he appears as a "young lord tall and fair" speaking to Arwen. The present time almost seems to stand still: "They remained some days in Lothlorien, so far as they could tell or remember." And there are visions of the future in the Mirror. In this place that seems to be both spring and winter at the same time, all times seem to co-exist, and the Mirror is one way of looking at these different slices of time. The trick is interpreting what you see; as with the palantíri, the visions may be difficult to understand, or they may be deceptive if you’re only looking for what you desire (shades of Harry Potter!).

I think it would be important to Tolkien for the visions to show what may or may not happen, because to be certain about the future would be to appropriate God’s knowledge about what will be, and to have such knowledge would rob the individual of a free will by which to decide what actions to take in response to circumstances.

After the mirror gazing, Galadriel reveals her ring to the hobbits, and Frodo offers her the One Ring. To me, this passage contains some of the strongest lyrical language in LOTR: those "footsteps of doom", that Queen "beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow on the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightening!"
"All shall love me and despair!". Comment?
Love this section! I practice that last line on my family all the time (though it never has the desired effect).

7. Did Galadriel have this training, training in domination of other wills? Did Elrond?
One thing about Galadriel that always sticks with me is this description from the Silmarillion, from "Of the Flight of the Noldor": "she yearned to see the wide unguarded lands and to rule there a realm at her own will." I think there’s a side of her that likes the idea of having power, as is clear when she recounts her dreams of getting hold of the Ring. On the one hand, we can say that her refusal to tell Frodo and Sam what to do demonstrates her unwillingness to dominate others; on the other hand, her testing of the hearts of the fellowship earlier in the story is a kind of domination that made most of them uncomfortable.

9. Any thoughts on the ending of this chapter?

After the poetical language, the intense testing of a ringbearer, and the revelations of Galadriel, the last note is the ordinary language of Sam and his rather narrow-minded take on things: "You’d stop them digging up the gaffer and turning him adrift. You’d make some folk pay for their dirty work." It reminds me of a similar chapter ending in "The Council of Elrond"; after lots of heroic speeches and deeds, the tone is deflated with Sam saying "A nice pickle we have landed ourselves in, Mr. Frodo!" My reaction is sort of like Galadriel’s, who, even though she seems to find Sam’s language slightly amusing, is respectful enough not to mock him: " ‘Like as not,’ said the Lady with a gentle laugh."


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Mar 17 2008, 4:01am

Post #5 of 37 (451 views)
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Topic too good to pass up [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm exhausted, but I'll do my best...


Quote
Well, it's Sunday afternoon here on the east coast and I haven't seen a post about the essential part of this chapter: the mirror itself and Galadriel's "test". So, hoping that Altaira is feeling better soon and that I'm not going to interfere with something she's planning to post later today (if so, she has the power to delete-edit-discipline me already, being the PTB and all anyway), let's talk a little bit about the Mirror.



And I am so glad you did!


Quote
1. Is the Mirror "magic"? Could any elf have figured out how to make the Mirror work, or is it a power of Galadriel's Ring that makes it so special?



Perhaps any elf who had studied mysteries as deep as Galadriel had in Valinor could make a mirror work, but not this particular mirror, attuned to her alone. And perhaps not one as effective. As for the magic, I think that what she practices differs from what Sauron practices in being more of a cooperation with mysterious forces rather than wrestling them to her will. She might, for instance, tap into the power of the Silmaril in Earendil's light because she once knew Earendil personally, back when he walked in Middle-
Earth, and because her friendship persuades him to help her out.



Quote
2. Why does Galadriel tell Frodo not to touch the water?



I am not sure if I want to know! The mystery adds to the feeling that they're messing with something powerful and dangerous, here. As pointed out before, the steam rising from the water when Sauron's fiery eye filled the image certainly suggests something!


Quote
3. There's a time difference in Lorien, of some kind...or a difference in the way one experiences time there. Is this fluid time related to the experience of looking in the Mirror and seeing things that may or may not have happened or will/won't happen?



It might be. Einstein once said that we have time "so that everything doesn't happen at once." Some physicists speculate that perhaps everything does happen at once, but that we can only perceive it linearly. Perhaps elves are not quite so limited. It is true (or alleged, if you prefer that) that shamans can move into and out of a level of existence where their spirits can travel through time and space without the usual boundaries and witness useful things, and some dreams are like that, as well.


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4. If the Mirror is "dangerous as a guide of deeds", why does Galadriel want Sam and Frodo to gaze into it?



And cars are a dangerous mode of transportation, but quite useful for those who can handle one. In the next book, a certain beloved character says to Gimli (after Gimli says, "I thought _____ was dangerous") (trying not to give away spoilers in case anyone's reading along for the first time)

"Dangerous! And so am I, very dangerous, more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Gloin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion." Dangerous does not mean "useless", it means, "stop and think before you do anything rash with the information you are about to gain."

Not everyone could handle the dangers of the mirror, but Galadriel has chosen these two out of all of the company to try. (I shudder to think of what Pippin might have done!) The Ring has increased Frodo's insight into arcane things, while Sam maintains a curious balance between pragmatism and intuition that ultimately sees him through the experience of all kinds of trials besides this one.

Why show them the mirror? Because the fragments that make no sense to them now might, at some later date, fit right in place with future experiences, enabling them to cope better than they might have. Sam, for instance, must have rehearsed in his mind many times after that vision exactly how he would repair the Shire if what he saw ever happened--enabling him later to take the chief role in restoring his beloved land. Galadriel might have also picked up from his mind what he saw, inspiring her to give him the box of super-dirt and the mallorn seed.

A friend of mine used to be a chemist, a rocket-scientist to be precise, studying potential rocket fuels--very volatile stuff. One day she made a mistake in the laboratory resulting in an explosion that should have killed her--but one of her colleagues rushed in and did all the right things to save her life without losing his own. As it turned out, he had been having nightmares about this very accident for some time, rehearsing in his sleep exactly what to do to rescue her. (This is why she switched her specialty to oneirology.) I think the hobbits here had the same opportunity, knowing no more about the mirror-visions than this man knew about his dreams--until the proper time.


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5. Does Frodo see Gandalf or Saruman in the Mirror?



I really don't know. I think the ambiguity might be deliberate, because Gandalf does say that in a sense he is Saruman, now, Saruman as he ought to be. (Sorry--can't avoid the spoiler, given the question.) And why should Frodo have such a glimpse? In part because he needs to know the thin line between the choices that lead to a Gandalf or a Saruman (later relevant to the thin line between a Frodo or a Gollum, if he's not careful) and in part to open him up to the possibility of support from a distant friend, if only subconsciously.


Quote
After the mirror gazing, Galadriel reveals her ring to the hobbits, and Frodo offers her the One Ring. To me, this passage contains some of the strongest lyrical language in LOTR: those "footsteps of doom", that Queen "beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow on the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightening!"

6. "All shall love me and despair!". Comment?


This shows the deepest secret, the darkest temptations in Galadriel's heart. I believe that just as men have a competitive drive that can serve good or ill, so too women have a harmonizing drive that can equally serve good or ill (speaking only in terms of overlapping bell-curves, and admitting that both genders have some degree of both.) Here we see harmony-drive in one of its ill aspects--the desire to win approval, corrupted not only to the common extreme of desiring approval from the entire world, but magnified even further to commanding worship from the entire world. The Ring turns this desire into a form of power--without regard for (or even indulging a sadistic delight in) the horrific effects of everyone simultaneously loving one person hopelessly and forever out of their reach. The sadism, in fact, springs wholly from the power aspect--as pointed out in the book, "1984", cruelty satisfies the need to prove your absolute control over others. The One Ring perverts every desire into a lust for total domination--even Sam's pleasure in gardening, later on.


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Frodo asks directly why, if he is "permitted to wear the One Ring", he cannot "see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them" and Galadriel answers simply that he has not tried to do this. She strongly counsels him to not try it, because it would destroy him. For one thing, the Ring gives power according to the "measure" of its possessor, and before Frodo could attempt to use it this way, he would "have to train your will to the dominion of others".

7. Did Galadriel have this training, training in domination of other wills? Did Elrond?



Yes. They have both been leaders, and possibly both (depending on which notes of Tolkien's you believe) have commanded as generals in battle. Some domination of other wills comes with the territory. Whether on the front lines literally, or commanding from a distance, they have had to inspire others to march into situations where everyone knew for a fact that some of them would not get out of the experience alive.

But this sort of dominion differs from what the Ring offers. They have voluntarily limited their domination to necessity only, in the service of protecting a larger freedom. They have shouldered responsibility for others in their leadership, rather than merely using others. The Ring would have built upon their experience, but it would have also perverted it.


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8. Does this message of Galadriel's help us understand what happens when Frodo does command Gollum while wearing the Ring?


Yes.


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9. Any thoughts on the ending of this chapter?



Galadriel says, "Let us return! In the morning you must depart, for now we have chosen, and the tides of fate are flowing." Interesting and subtle statement, that! First, "we" have chosen. Galadriel just got through chosing to refuse the ring, and Sam chose to sever from himself any inclination to look backwards to the Shire until after he fulfills his mission (and perhaps acquired at this moment the power to not second-guess himself?) But what did Frodo choose?

In any event, we have here another answer as to why they should look in the mirror in the first place--to make the choices that would seal their fates--the choices that would determine which of the many possible futures they would tread. This act seems to have broken the spell of timelessness, and now they must move on.

Could Galadriel's renunciation of power have also broken her ability to fend off time's effects on Lorien? After all, when she renounced the Ring, she also stepped away from the rebellion that made her create Lorien in the first place. At that moment she sets in motion its doom, because to let Frodo destroy the One Ring means willing the destruction of Nenya's power, too. But by some paradox, if all time happens at once in Lorien, it includes the moment when Lorien will one day enter the timestream again--as soon as Galadriel makes the decision to go down that path.

My website http://www.dreamdeer.grailmedia.com offers fanfic, and message-boards regarding intentional community or faerie exploration.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 17 2008, 9:04am

Post #6 of 37 (388 views)
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The last note... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...is the ordinary language of Sam and his rather narrow-minded take on things


Nice observation! I like Tolkien's habit of using Sam to puncture an elevated scene and bring it back down to earth. It's one of the things that makes LotR so much more accessible than the Sil or a story like the Children of Húrin. I recall hearing from people who've read HOMe that it was when Tolkien eventually came up with the character of Sam that the story really got underway, and I think this ability of Sam's to bring all the high-flown language back down to comical simplicity is an important element of the storytelling technique.


...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


weaver
Half-elven

Mar 17 2008, 2:07pm

Post #7 of 37 (398 views)
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Do not disturb the water, and doors that work differently... [In reply to] Can't Post

In the films, Aragorn warns Merry and Pippin not to disturb the water outside the gate of Moria -- I'm in a hurry, so I don't know if that was a book inspired moment...

Isn't "not disturbing the waters" a folklore/mystical kind of thing? I know there are folklore traditions about evil things not being able to cross water -- which plays out in Tolkien with the Nazgul's reluctance to cross rivers, perhaps.

Is not touching the water in Galadriel's well related to this? I don't know...but water does seem to be boundary of some kind in this scene..

On another note, Galadriel's words to Sam about "elf magic" remind me of a Star Trek episode where Picard is mistaken for a god by a primitive race, and ends up taking their leader to his ship to show her that he's not a god, but just more advanced technologically than her.

When she thinks the walls obey his command, when an automatic door opens, he says "'the doors merely work differently here".

That always sounded like a very Galadriel-like thing to say, to me...

Weaver



FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 17 2008, 2:41pm

Post #8 of 37 (393 views)
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Isn't that always the way with prophecies? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"You must stick to the path appointed to you; if you turn aside, the bad thing may happen." If you think about it, this saying makes the mirror useless.



That's the Catch-22 of prophecy really - the more you try to wiggle, the more it's going to get you! It seems to be a recurring theme in Classical mythology, and in Celtic mythology too. I suppose the underlying message is that the best you can hope for is to be prepared for whatever Fate has in store for you, and go on to meet it stoically. But Galadriel's phraseology also seems to suggest that if you do stay on the path, you may avoid having the bad thing happen at all - not part of the standard-issue prophecy, as far as I recall.

What surprises me a bit in this scene is that the visions seen by Frodo seem to have no further bearing on any decisions he has to make - they are little, cryptic hints of what's to come, but don't test his will in any way. Sam's visions are a bit more interesting - he does have to make the decision not to turn aside from his path to prevent what he sees happening in the Shire, and although those things do come to pass, at least his decision to carry on to the end of his appointed path makes it possible for him to set things to rights again. He also has the vision of Frodo "sleeping", which, when he recognizes it later, he proceeds to second-guess. His vision, it turns out, was true - but he decides he had been wrong about the vision, and that Frodo is dead. Visions and prophecies are slippery, tricksy things - even when they're true they can lead you astray!


...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


sador
Half-elven

Mar 17 2008, 9:15pm

Post #9 of 37 (381 views)
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"As long as it is in the world, it will be a danger even to the Wise" [In reply to] Can't Post

Quoting Gandalf, in 'the Council of Elrond'

1.Is the Mirror "magic"? Could any elf have figured out how to make the Mirror work, or is it a power of Galadriel's Ring that makes it so special?
Yes, it is. What do you mean by any elf? I would guess only the most gifted ones, like Feanor and Celebrimbor; but it's not neccessarily connected to Nenya.
I think, the Elessar might be more connected to it, especially if I take somebody's words here (sorry, I've already forgotten who) which connect it to Earendil, which was reknown by a green stone, actually (according to UT) the original Elessar.
Assuming this train of thought is true, Galadriel's gifts next chapter involve the shattering of the Mirror - Aragorn receives the Elessar, and Frodo Earendil's light (in the phial).
As a side note, both the Elessar and Nenya were gifts of Celebrimbor; so perhaps there is a connection. But of course, Galadriel was pretty powerful herself, even before Celebrimbor was born.
2. Why does Galadriel tell Frodo not to touch the water?
Was it FarFromHome who mentioned Galadriel's brething on the Mirror in order to activate it? Thanks to her; it is a very important observation. And of course, it answers your question.
3. There's a time difference in Lorien, of some kind...or a difference in the way one experiences time there. Is this fluid time related to the experience of looking in the Mirror and seeing things that may or may not have happened or will/won't happen?
A very intersting point, and the following discussion did it justice. I'll just add that the fluidity of time, makes for the difference between the Mirror and the palantiri.
4. If the Mirror is "dangerous as a guide of deeds", why does Galadriel want Sam and Frodo to gaze into it?
Simplest answer, she realises the fate of the quest actually rests with them; therefore she wants a further test.
Most provocative answer, she tries to lead Frodo to surrendering the Ring to her, or dropping it, so she can take it and 'save the world'. But he offers her it, thus forcing her to actively choose, and save herself. Was it FarFromHome who pointed this out, oir DreamDeer? Thanks to whoever it was!
Also, Elves are expert in being not very helpful advisors: offer you the possibility, but leave you with the responsibility (remember Gildor?)
But I'd like to point out, Sam does use his vision, in determinig to take the Ring from Frodo as he lies poisoned in Torech Ungol. The Mirror was quite dangerous - if Sam had really understood what he saw in it, he wouldn't have saved the Ring, and the quest would fail!
5. Does Frodo see Gandalf or Saruman in the Mirror?
According to 'the tale of years', Gandalf returned to life on the day Frodo and Sam looked in the Mirror. I'm not sure whether that answers your question, but it is important to realise.
How were the two things connected? I would hazard a guess, that Galadriel saw Gandalf in the Mirror (possibly when Frodo saw him there), and therefore sent Gwaihir to look for him.
6. "All shall love me and despair!". Comment?
"...full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens: not a mistress of many slaves, nay, not even a kind mistress of willing slaves" - Faramir's ideal, from 'The Window on the West'
7. Did Galadriel have this training, training in domination of other wills? Did Elrond?
Galadriel of course, Elrond probably, and Gandalf more than either (didn't Tolkien himself he was the only one who had a chance against Sauron if he took the Ring?. But he is subtle.
8. Does this message of Galadriel's help us understand what happens when Frodo does command Gollum while wearing the Ring?
I would put it the other way round: Gollum loves Frodo and despairs.
9. Any thoughts on the ending of this chapter?
I'll sum up what I wrote before: Galadriel's Mirror is shattered. Gandalf reawakens. Frodo has a first glimpse of the dangers the Ring holds, even to the best people.
Clearly, it's time to go.

Thanks for this discussion!

"lesser men with spades might have served you better" - Boromir

(This post was edited by sador on Mar 17 2008, 9:16pm)


Beren IV
Gondor


Mar 17 2008, 11:23pm

Post #10 of 37 (419 views)
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A speculation on the Mirror's Origin... [In reply to] Can't Post

The Mirror is an ancient art that apparently only Galadriel knows.

I speculate that Galadriel and Lúthien co-developed it in Doriath during the First Age. I also speculate that since G&L both have it, and it can look into time, that they might even be able to communicate with it across the time gap!

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist


squire
Valinor


Mar 18 2008, 12:49am

Post #11 of 37 (501 views)
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The mind boggles at the image you conjure up [In reply to] Can't Post

   
G. Mirror, mirror, in the sink, who's the fairest one, you think?

L. Don't you wish! I'm the fairest now, then, and in the future. And you know it.

G. Oh. It's you. Hello, dearest step-mom, or whatever.

L. Is that a frown line? Tch.

G. Lovely to hear from you, of course. How's Valinor? Lively, as always?

L. Just blessed, sweetie. And how is my lovely great-granddaughter-in-law, the fairest Elven maid on Middle-earth?

G. I'm fine. How nice of you to acknowledge my unsurpassed beauty, for once.

L. Oh no, not you. Not you, dear -- I was asking after sweet Celebrian. You're once removed on the other side, remember.

G. Ah. Well, you would know better than I how young she is, wouldn't you? But she left here several centuries ago, heading your way. Leaving Mr. Wise-Man behind to save the world, bless her. If you get my drift.

L. Odd. She hasn't come by.

G. Possibly she shrinks at the thought of finally comparing her incomparable beauty to your incomparable beauty?

L. Do you think so? Hmm...mmm... oh -- is that a

G. Do not touch the water!

L. Right, sorry. But a mirror is a mirror, don't you know. Or don't you?

G. What a burden you must bear as the long-years advance and the body begins to fade, dear great-great-great-stepmom-in-law.

L. No heavier than the long slow burden of years spent in mortal lands doomed to fade. Dell and cave, my dear, isn' t that the phrase? ... dell and cave.

G. Kiss off, you crone!

L. Meow! Listen to blondie!

G. You'll regret that when you meet my grand-daughter - the Evenstar of our People, fairest Elven-maid ever to live, image of the Lady Luthien of ancient lore but several thousand years younger!

L. She's nothing to write an epic about, so I've heard... and seen, in the Mirror!

G. The Mirror is dangerous as a guide of deeds... and of vanity, Tinkerbell!

L. I don't know why I ever let you in on this thing! I hate you!

G. I wish you never had! You witch!

L. Go away now!

G. I'm leaving!

L. Good-bye!

G. Farewell, beloved Lady!

L. Same time next week?

G. Of course, my dear.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


a.s.
Valinor


Mar 18 2008, 1:27am

Post #12 of 37 (393 views)
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seriously (not that I doubt squire is serious) [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink
I don't know how or if that would work, but it does follow that if the Mirror technology isn't unique to Galadriel--if other elves or immortals can use it--then they must occasionally "run into" one another in the visions. Across time, as you say.

I don't know if they could use the Mirror(s) to "communicate", though. It doesn't seem to enable two-way communication, like a palantir does. Or does it?

a.s.

"an seileachan"

"Good night, little girls, thank the Lord you are well!
Now go to sleep" said Miss Clavel.
And she turned out the light and shut the door,
And that's all there is. There isn't any more.


a.s.
Valinor


Mar 18 2008, 1:54am

Post #13 of 37 (368 views)
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isn't she "dominating" Sauron's will? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
7. Did Galadriel have this training, training in domination of other wills? Did Elrond?
they aren't attempting to use the One Ring. The Elven Rings, I assume, don't require the user to dominate others. The bearers of the Three themselves, despite their massive mental power compared to Frodo, know that they couldn't actually control the One Ring.





I posted that in a hurry and it was rather poorly worded. I didn't mean to imply that there was some kind of "training camp" for learning to dominate the will of others! LOL. I just meant has Galadriel or Elrond learned how to dominate other wills?

I think Galadriel can dominate the will of Sauron in a specific way, when she blocks his knowledge of her Ring, when she says she has successfully kept him from reading her mind (I'm without my books at the moment, so paraphrasing). It seems pretty clear that Galadriel has no doubts she could use the Ring if she accepted it, set herself up as a Dark Queen. So she must feel she already has the ability to dominate the will of others.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

"Good night, little girls, thank the Lord you are well!
Now go to sleep" said Miss Clavel.
And she turned out the light and shut the door,
And that's all there is. There isn't any more.


a.s.
Valinor


Mar 18 2008, 2:05am

Post #14 of 37 (361 views)
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good comparison! [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
When she thinks the walls obey his command, when an automatic door opens, he says "'the doors merely work differently here".

That always sounded like a very Galadriel-like thing to say, to me...





I'm not a Star Trek fan so don't know the characters or anything, but that really does say it well! "Things just work differently here" is a good answer; the elves themselves are puzzled as to what "magic" might be because they are so used to the "automatic door" element of it.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

"Good night, little girls, thank the Lord you are well!
Now go to sleep" said Miss Clavel.
And she turned out the light and shut the door,
And that's all there is. There isn't any more.


Beren IV
Gondor


Mar 18 2008, 2:54am

Post #15 of 37 (367 views)
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Hand signals? [In reply to] Can't Post

The thing that having a palantir does for you is that you can be aware that somebody else is looking at you just as you are and can communicate telepathally. You couldn't do this with the mirror, no - but I'm sure that G&L could figure out how to communicate somehow. They know when they're looking at each-other!

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 18 2008, 11:02am

Post #16 of 37 (350 views)
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I don't think so [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think Galadriel can dominate the will of Sauron in a specific way, when she blocks his knowledge of her Ring


I see a difference between dominating someone's will, and simply defending yourself against them. I don't think the Wise ever try to dominate Sauron's will - that's the one thing they never seem to attempt, to force someone else to see things their way. They give Saruman, and Gollum, every chance to repent, but they don't try to force them to do so.

On the other hand, I take your point that Galadriel is imagining herself dominating wills when she imagines herself as a Dark Queen who forces others to love her. But I don't read her words about "training" one's will to be something she approves of, or has done herself. The whole idea of training sounds too regimented, too single-minded, to be something the Elves would counsel. She's actually warning Frodo against doing it of course - and not just because he's too weak to achieve it, I think, but because it's fundamentally the wrong thing to do.


...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Mar 18 2008, 1:50pm

Post #17 of 37 (349 views)
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Possibly my most beloved scene in the whole of LotR... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I couldn't exactly say why, except that it is so intensely *sacred* in some very deep way... and it touches some very deep chords in me personally as well.
And your questions are great, let me try and answer them!

1. Is the Mirror "magic"? Could any elf have figured out how to make the Mirror work, or is it a power of Galadriel's Ring that makes it so special?
- It is the Mirror of Galadriel, as she says it herself: not the Mirror of anyone else, nor of Nenya or anything else. I see it as quite different from the Palantiri, which are crafted, solid objects, that can be used it seems almost by anybody... except that it may be very dangerous if the person at the other end happens to be Sauron!!! That Mirror is made of water she pours anew herself every time, and she also breathes on it, so her own personal 'magical' power is definitely involved; the breath purposely put out, even without any 'magic words' added to it, can have awakening, enlivening power on matter: isn't it how God himself is supposed to have 'awakened' Man or something, if I remember well?... In a controversial but in my eyes very beautiful scene of PJ's second film, it is the way Arwen, with a kiss, gives life back to Aragorn fallen from a cliff during a warg attack, and the exquisite piece of music from Howard Shore for that scene bears the title 'The Breath of Life'... In both cases, as in all real magic power, it is actually the power of Will, further intensified as Intention, which is the basis and main source of the result, all the rest being simply additional means enhancing this indispensable primary power in a certain being.
The physical medium used by Galadriel is Water, the element she is specifically attuned with. As someone else rightly said, water is present everywhere in Lothlorien (even more than in Rivendell/Imladris would I add) and this Nenya she is the Keeper of, is the Elvish Ring of the Water element.
Water scientifically is quite an enigmatic element, with very particular and strange, unique properties; in it the characteristic vibrational frequency of all other substances and even of emotions can leave its imprint, changing temporarily the very structure of the water. In that way the superconscious part of the person looking into that Mirror may well receive and translate into visible images whatever that person subconsciously knows or fears about the future - or it can be images from his or her past too. So that no one can tell, as Galadriel explains, what the Mirror will show - not even herself, who has no real control on it but can herself use or propose for others to use. In that sense this Mirror wouldn't be reflecting the outer appearance of the person, but something of his/her inner self and subconscious knowledge beyond Time.

2. Why does Galadriel tell Frodo not to touch the water?
It must be precisely not to disturb whatever she has done to constitute the Mirror in the first place. But I like very much also and find quite valid and fascinating what other people have said in answer to that question!...

3. There's a time difference in Lorien, of some kind...or a difference in the way one experiences time there. Is this fluid time related to the experience of looking in the Mirror and seeing things that may or may not have happened or will/won't happen?
Definitely related, I would say.
The true reality of Time, by the way, according to what not only Einstein but more and more scientists have found out, is not absolute but relative to the perceiver, and many people with more-than-normal experience describe it as an 'Eternal Present' or 'Spacious Present'.

4. If the Mirror is "dangerous as a guide of deeds", why does Galadriel want Sam and Frodo to gaze into it?
She only proposes that to them - because, I would say, the Mirror seems to bring out some of the contents of one's inner self - fears and all. The main Secret is that the Future isn't actually fixed the way we think it to be; our own individual Freewill plays also its part; a bit, I would imagine, like actors improvising along the main lines of an overall Script... or refusing altogether to take on a certain part originally meant for them. The Mirror may be a help for one's consciousness in making one's choice at important points in linear time - but for the best results to be those which will happen, the choice must not be based on one's fears and on trying to avoid those outcomes we fear, but on what we know inwardly is what we have to do for the overall Plan/Script to work out in the intended manner.

5. Does Frodo see Gandalf or Saruman in the Mirror?
Thanks for this thread and someone else's answer to this question, I have learnt today that on the very same day when Frodo saw in the Mirror what he thought must be Saruman, Gandalf was brought back to life as Gandalf the White, soon to come himself too to Lothlorien. What I see illustrated in that fact intended obviously by Tolkien, is the capacity our spirit has to connect inwardly from afar to what is happening to someone we love or are intensely preoccupied with for whatever reason, love being the strongest possible one. The Mirror simply is an aid, an amplifier so to say, of that inner capacity in us. Interestingly, in PJ's second film a similar vision of a Gandalf actually surviving came to Frodo in a dream while being lost in Emyn Muil.

(6) After the mirror gazing, Galadriel reveals her ring to the hobbits, and Frodo offers her the One Ring. To me, this passage contains some of the strongest lyrical language in LOTR: those "footsteps of doom", that Queen "beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow on the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightening!"
Yes, the evocative power of these images is just superb!...

6. "All shall love me and despair!". Comment?
Well... Galadriel too has a strong Ego, as most powerful beings do; she is definitely a Ruler, even if a benevolent and protective one. It is to have that very experience of being a Ruler in her own capacity that she came to Middle-earth long before. But she is nevertheless a Woman, if of an Elvish kind: the way she secretly wishes to dominate all others is through her beauty. How deeply feminine a trait, quite rightly given by Tolkien to her who had been loved by Fëanor himself, and in the understandable pride of her exceptional beauty must have had many times the temptation of becoming somehow a seductress, just for the sheer enjoyment of the admiration of others.
It is such a nice thing to know that in the ancient days of Valinor she had refused to the arrogant and fierce Fëanor the very same three hairs of her golden head that she will this time give to the humble and totally self-given Gimli, the love of whom is revealed to her... only after she has gone victoriously through the Test and renounced once and for all even that vanity satisfaction that the Ring would have also given to her, had she chosen to take it.

Frodo asks directly why, if he is "permitted to wear the One Ring", he cannot "see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them" and Galadriel answers simply that he has not tried to do this. She strongly counsels him to not try it, because it would destroy him. For one thing, the Ring gives power according to the "measure" of its possessor, and before Frodo could attempt to use it this way, he would "have to train your will to the dominion of others".
7. Did Galadriel have this training, training in domination of other wills? Did Elrond?
Great answers given by others, no need to add anything!

8. Does this message of Galadriel's help us understand what happens when Frodo does command Gollum while wearing the Ring?
Frodo bears the Ring on its chain, but doesn't have it on his finger, so I don't think his commanding voice and appearance come so much from the Ring itself than from the memory he may have subconsciously of Galadriel in that impressive moment, or, even more perhaps, from the subconscious memory he has also of Gandalf, whose grave and prophetic words about Gollum still resonate in his being, activated again since the moment when he actually met Gollum, and realised he indeed pitied him. The deep sense of responsibility that awoke in Frodo at the contact of those two great beings gives him that heightened authority when speaking to Gollum about the terrible threat the Ring represents, and the utter seriousness of the promise Gollum is about to make. It is important to note that Frodo has learnt also true humbleness from those two beloved mentors, but knows that he must be for Gollum the Master who will have the stern inner authority that will help Gollum to remain true to his promise.

9. Any thoughts on the ending of this chapter?
I just love the so simple, so moving few words with which Galadriel, in all humility, ends by stating aloud the crucial Choice she is making at that very moment, as if speaking to herself as well as to Frodo and to those Valar far away in Valinor where she decides now she accepts to go back.
The presence of Sam allows us to realise that only Frodo has been able to see Nenya; and through Sam's prayer to Galadriel, urging her to take the Ring in order to set things right, particularly in the endangered Shire and concerning the Gaffer, whe hear from Galadriel herself once again, in the soft, simple words even a Sam could understand, the reason why things would turn out finally for the worst...
Wonderful scene till its very end!!!


'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


Daeorn Aldalómë
Bree


Mar 18 2008, 2:08pm

Post #18 of 37 (329 views)
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On Elf-magic [In reply to] Can't Post

What surprises me about Tolkien is that he leaves a LOT to mystery. Maybe that is in his advantage, in that is causes much discussion. The Mirror, the Palantiri, the Elven-rings, even the Silmarili all are a mystery (as "magic" should be). He doesn't give us an insane amount of magic in the elven world like in modern fantasy... or try to explain how it works in every detail. He just gives us glimpses. We are very much Sam, in that we are in the dark as to not only how they can do their magic... but WHAT they can do. I know I was very surprised when I read The Silmarillion that Luthien could turn herself into a bat and Beren into a wolf.. however, I shouldn't be.... Beorn, from The Hobbit, has shapshifting powers after all. Its in the universe Tolkien created. Its just that thinking exactly what the extend of their abilities are is something you don't really think about.

I see the Mirror and the Palantir as being the same "magic". Whatever spell or enchantment placed around the obsidian balls is the same as applied to the mirror.



Curious
Half-elven


Mar 19 2008, 3:41pm

Post #19 of 37 (328 views)
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The purpose of prophecy is to prove [In reply to] Can't Post

the existence of Higher Powers, and of a Plan. Those who attempt to use the prophecies for any other purpose -- such as the Witch-king, who is confident that no man can harm him -- are as misguided as those who ignore prophecies altogether. Ultimately a vision, dream, foresight, or prophecy should not be the sole reason for taking a course of action, and certainly should not dissuade anyone from doing the right thing; but for those already determined to do the right thing, visions, dreams, foresight and prophecy can provide some comfort that they are not alone, and that there are Higher Powers on their side, and that even if they personally fall or fail, the Plan will continue, and Good will win in the end.


Curious
Half-elven


Mar 19 2008, 4:15pm

Post #20 of 37 (329 views)
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Note, by the way, the contrast with the Harry Potter [In reply to] Can't Post

series, in which the only true prophecies were self-fulfilling prophecies, or perhaps the long-term but ultimately useless prophecies the centaurs read in the stars. In particular, the prophecy that Harry Potter would be Voldemort's nemesis came true only because Voldemort believed it and acted upon it. Rowling doesn't seem to think much of prophecies, true or not, perhaps because she has serious doubts about the existence of Higher Powers. Although she leaves open the possibility of an afterlife, Higher Powers play no role in her story, and prophecies play a role only to the extent that people like Voldemort mistakenly accept and act upon them, and thereby force Harry to react.


Darkstone
Immortal


Mar 19 2008, 5:02pm

Post #21 of 37 (338 views)
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Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee! [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Is the Mirror "magic"?

Sure.


Could any elf have figured out how to make the Mirror work, or is it a power of Galadriel's Ring that makes it so special?

I’d say any female Elf could make her own mirror work. But messing around with someone else’s divination tools is a big no-no in magic.


2. Why does Galadriel tell Frodo not to touch the water?

It would pollute the water. The purer the medium, the truer the vision. For example, the best mirror of divination would be a mirror that had never shown a reflection. That’s why Galadriel pours the water anew in the bowl. It creates a new mirror surface.


3. There's a time difference in Lorien, of some kind...or a difference in the way one experiences time there. Is this fluid time related to the experience of looking in the Mirror and seeing things that may or may not have happened or will/won't happen?

Nope. The time difference is a property of Faerie.


4. If the Mirror is "dangerous as a guide of deeds", why does Galadriel want Sam and Frodo to gaze into it?

As Gildor Inglorion says, “… advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.” The problem is that the advised may let the advisor make the decision that the advised alone must make. A widespread saying amongst diviners is “The stars impel, they do not compel.” (Instead of “stars” it can be cards or tea leaves or mirrors or whatever). A divination indicates the influences that are involved in the matter. (It’s more what you call guidelines than actual rules.) The final decision is up to Frodo and Sam, and it would indeed be very dangerous if they made the decision solely based on the vision in Galadriel’s Mirror.


5. Does Frodo see Gandalf or Saruman in the Mirror?

Gandalf.


6. "All shall love me and despair!". Comment?

“Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee!
All shall love me hopelessly!”

Like the geek fantasizing about the popular cheerleader. Or in this case the geekette fantasizing about *being* the popular cheerleader. Galadriel was strong, athletic, and tall for an Elf (much less a female Elf.) Indeed, her mother named her “Nerwen” which means “man-maiden”. (Like the sadistic parent who named their kid "Ima Hogg".) So one could easily imagine Galadriel’s high school days being a living heck. Getting the ring means she can go back to her high school reunion as the hottest girl there and so get revenge on everyone who called her “geek”, or “Nerwen”. A common adult fantasy.


7. Did Galadriel have this training, training in domination of other wills?

She’s the queen, isn’t she?


Did Elrond?

He was the Elf King’s herald, wasn’t he?


8. Does this message of Galadriel's help us understand what happens when Frodo does command Gollum while wearing the Ring?

Yep. Indeed Frodo isn’t Frodo anymore at that point.


9. Any thoughts on the ending of this chapter?

“That is how it would begin. But it would not stop with that, alas!”
-Galadriel

“Doing right ain’t got no end.”
-Captain “Redlegs” Terrill, The Outlaw Josey Wales

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Curious
Half-elven


Mar 19 2008, 6:43pm

Post #22 of 37 (315 views)
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Priceless!// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 19 2008, 8:15pm

Post #23 of 37 (334 views)
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Do they prove anything? [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't think of a prophecy in LotR that isn't self-fulfilling (the Witch-King's is a good case in point - he wouldn't have been killed by a woman if he hadn't been made overconfident by a prophecy). And, as Galadriel says, you can't rely on visions in any case. I don't see them as proving the existence of the Higher Powers - although I do see the characters' belief in prophecies as proving the characters' belief in the Higher Powers. So prophecies provide comfort, as you say. But belief provides comfort whether well-founded or not.

There's a story about a group of soldiers stranded in the Alps after some rearguard action in the Napoleonic wars. They wandered aimlessly at first and thought they would die, until one of them found a map in his pocket. Using the map, they managed to find their way to safety. Only after they were down did someone notice that it was a map of the Pyrenees.

I think prophecies are a bit like that map.

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Curious
Half-elven


Mar 19 2008, 10:55pm

Post #24 of 37 (328 views)
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The Witch-king's is not a good case in point [In reply to] Can't Post

because the Witch-king makes the mistake of relying on the prophecy. Gandalf, on the other hand, deliberately enters Moria despite Aragorn's prophecy (of which Gandalf was probably well aware) that it would cost Gandalf personally to do so. Aragorn turns his back on Minas Tirith despite the prophecy that he must go there to reclaim the throne. Sam sticks with Frodo despite a vision, which turns out to be true, of bad things happening in the Shire. Frodo continues despite his true vision of Sauron's Eye, always looking for him. Tolkien's heroes are as liable to act despite prophecies as because of them.

But when Frodo is in the Council of Elrond and learns that he had a true vision of Gandalf, that may have given him comfort, just as the dream that appeared to Boromir may have given him comfort. Those are not the reasons why he accepted the mission, but they may have assured him that, as Gandalf had told him, Someone meant for him to have the Ring, and that Someone is not Sauron.

Perhaps "proof" is too strong. As always, Tolkien sticks with ambiguity, and allows room for skepticism. The visions, dreams, prophecies, foretelling, and foreshadowing in LotR, which are truly pervasive and appear throughout the book, constantly hint at the existence of Providence and Higher Powers without ever proving that the Higher Powers exist. They provide comfort for believers, while failing, as you say, to persuade nonbelievers and skeptics. In the Primary World prophecies may indeed function like that map, a placebo, a fictional comfort that nonetheless aids the downhearted. But there is no indication that the prophecies of Middle-earth are mere superstitions or placebos or fictions. On the contrary, I can't think of any prophecies that prove to be untrue. Not one. In Middle-earth, all prophecies are true.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 19 2008, 11:17pm

Post #25 of 37 (315 views)
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I think prophecies tend to be true [In reply to] Can't Post

in the real world as well, simply because the ones that aren't true are forgotten. That's why people continue to believe in horoscopes, for example. There's always something that can be made to fit what actually happens, and everything else is forgotten.

But I do agree with you in principle. The prophecies we are told about in LotR all foretell things that later come to pass. Of course, as Sam so astutely points out on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol, heroes who don't succeed are forgotten, so we never hear about them. Likewise with prophecies that don't come true.

(Frodo's dream of Gandalf on Orthanc, by the way, has always struck me as very ambiguous. As Gandalf points out, it came to Frodo long after Gandalf had actually escaped. And Frodo only remembers it when Gandalf tells the story, at which point he remembers seeing Gandalf in the moonlight. It's a common experience to reinterpret an old dream in light of new information like this. I'm sure that Frodo genuinely believes that he had a "true dream", but there's plenty of room for the skeptic to wonder.)

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.

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