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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Power of Galadriel in the Third age- That of a Maiar?

Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Dec 15 2018, 9:48pm

Post #1 of 18 (1604 views)
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The Power of Galadriel in the Third age- That of a Maiar? Can't Post

The question is not of her power in the first age vs the created power of a maiar, but of her power vs general maiar in the third age. I have argued that the Maiar are overrated in their power and I also argue the strength of the Noldor [individually not collective] increased from the first age to the third age. I think it vital to read before deciding the question.

read post 1-4
http://www.thetolkienforum.com/index.php?threads/the-power-of-galadriel-in-the-third-age-that-of-a-maiar.23835/



Galadriel

“Lady Galadrial....was of the Noldor and remembered the day before days in Valinor, and she was the mightiest and fairest of all the elves that remained in middle earth.”
-The Silmarillion

“Galadriel..is the last remaining of the great among the high elves, and “awoke” in Eldomar beyound the sea.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 144

“Galadriel, noblest of the Noldor still in middle-Earth.”
-Karen Wynn Fonstad the Atlas of Middel-Earth Revised Edition Houghton Mifflin Company Boston NY 1991

Born in Valinor the only daughter of Finarfin high king of the Noldor in Valinor and niece of Feanor, also a high king of the noldor. In Valinar the Noldor elves “thirst for more knowledge , and in many things surpassed their teachers” [valar]. Lady Galadrial was taught by Yavanna [valar] and Aule. Later she lived with and became close friends with Melian the maia learning from her.

“Galadriel remained long with Melian, for their was much love between them.”
-The war of the Jewels

“Galadriel....remained long in Doriath....there learned great lore and wisdom concing Middel earth.”
-The Later Sillmarillion the war of the Jewels


Also Melian also learned from Galadriel, such as what had happened in aman. In the third age she was the holder of the elf ring of adamant [Nenya] the last of the rings to be made [besides the one ring] and the most powerful. The rings main power was protection, preservation and concealment, however it also enhanced the natural powers of the holders [130 letters of Tolkien].

“for the power of the elven rings was very great.”
-of the rings of power and the third age

"Throughout the second and third ages Lorien remained safe from Sauron, For Galadriel's power was such that she knew his mind but hers was closed to him, and she could protect Lorien from assault by any power less than Sauron himself"
- Robert Foster the complete guide to middle earth

Protected within Lothlorien in part by the power of her ring, she could also use her mirror “the mirror of Galadrial” to see “things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be” to further her knowledge of middle earth and counter moves by sauron. She was also a member of the council of the wise having another source of great knowledge of middle earth.

In the letters of Tolkien he says of the "free people" of middle earth Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel are the most powerful and in 246 he suggested Galadriel would have been able to face Sauron alone if she had his ring. In “flotsam and jetsam” Aragorn named Galadrial as one of the three that could stand up to the maiar Sauruman.

She helped force Sauron out of dol Guldor, sent Gwaihir to rescue Gandalf, of the flight of noldor galadriel helped lead the house of fingolfin to middle earth over the dangerous mountain pass, tore down the walls of Dol Guldur, and helped defend lorien from assaults.

"Lórien itself was assaulted three times, but the armies ofDol Guldur were driven back due to the courage of the Elves and the power of Galadriel's Ring. It is said that the power of her Ring could not be overcome unless Sauron himself would come to do battle. After the fall of Sauron she, with Thranduil of Mirkwoodand their elven allies, crossed the Anduin into Dol Guldur, where they tore down its walls and laid bare its pits. She is, however, no mere fey being, but a lady of great power. She bears one of the Great Rings - Nenya - the Ring of Adamant, and with the One Ring in her grasp as well, she would be a mighty match for the Dark Lord Sauron. Galadriel possessed a tremendous amount of magical powers, and was said to be the greatest of the Ñoldor after Fëanor..
-Galadrieal one wiki to rule them all


Glorfindel the mighty first age eldor warrior, became “almost equal” to the maiar, yet was not as powerful as Galadriel the most powerful third age Noldor.


"or long years he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar. To these he had now become almost an equal, for though he was an incarnate (to whom a bodily form not made or chosen by himself was necessary) his spiritual power had been greatly enhanced by his self-sacrifice.
-History of Middel Earth The Last Writings, Glorfindel

Galadriel also posses intercessory powers she also seems to have divine powers, reading the hearts/minds of the fellowship..

“I dont like leaving it and that's a fact as he [Sam] stroked the ropes end and shook it gently “it goes hard parting with anything I brought out of elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself too, maybe, Galadriel” he murmured, nodding his head mournfully, he looked up and gave one last pull to the ropes as if in farewell. To the complete surprise of both the hobbits it came lose.” I think the rope came off itself- when I called”

“To call upon galadriel even unawares, is for her to answer.”
-Ralph C Wood The Gospel According to Tolkien Westminster John Knox Press Louisville Kentucky 2003

Later prior to the battle of the Pelennor fields when the dundain were sent as reinforcement “yes you have it” said Gimli “the lady of the wood she reads many hearts and desires.” Much of Galadrial comes from the teachings of Mary the mother of Jesus and like Mary is to Catholics, Tolkien said in letters 353 Galadriel was 'unstained': she had committed no evil deeds.

“Galadriel was 'unstained': she had committed no evil deeds. She was an enemy of Fëanor. She did not reach Middle-earth with the other Noldor, but independently. Her reasons for desiring to go to Middle-earth were legitimate, and she would have been permitted to depart, but for the misfortune that before she set out the revolt of Fëanor broke out, and she became involved in the desperate measures of Manwe, and the ban on all emigration.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 353

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


squire
Half-elven


Dec 16 2018, 2:14am

Post #2 of 18 (1540 views)
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When making an argument as fundamental as this [In reply to] Can't Post

You should, I think, avoid quoting any secondary sources (Foster, Fonstad, Wood, onewiki, etc.). After all, this question is about what Tolkien wrote about Galadriel. Any other sources than he can only be paraphrasing or quoting what he said, and more dangerously, they may be projecting or imagining information that another (you, or me, or other readers) might well not agree with as being what Tolkien wrote or implied. Stick to Tolkien.

Secondly, with a character like Galadriel, who was invented during the writing of The Lord of the Rings, with no previous existence in the long history of The Silmarillion before LotR was ever thought of, a very careful attention to the chronology of Tolkien's invention is called for. He 'retrofitted' her into the Silm's textual apparatus in the late 1940s, and her origins, ancestry, and moral status was rather various through several drafts. Not all Tolkien quotes are equal: he changed his mind readily, yet many of his earlier ideas are nevertheless recorded in the many books of his notes and drafts posthumously published, One can quite easily 'quote' Tolkien contradicting himself, if one doesn't care to explain the timing and setting of the quotes.

Finally, I personally regard Tolkien's statements about the 'power' of his various characters as being somewhat equivalent to his words on the 'beauty' of his various female characters. In both cases, the context is legendary, not literary much less scientific. To put it politely, there is some flattery or exaggeration going on in some of the passages you quote about Galadriel's "power" relative to the other Eldar, or the Maiar with whom she associated.



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Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Dec 16 2018, 2:22am

Post #3 of 18 (1533 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You should, I think, avoid quoting any secondary sources (Foster, Fonstad, Wood, onewiki, etc.). After all, this question is about what Tolkien wrote about Galadriel. Any other sources than he can only be paraphrasing or quoting what he said, and more dangerously, they may be projecting or imagining information that another (you, or me, or other readers) might well not agree with as being what Tolkien wrote or implied. Stick to Tolkien.

Secondly, with a character like Galadriel, who was invented during the writing of The Lord of the Rings, with no previous existence in the long history of The Silmarillion before LotR was ever thought of, a very careful attention to the chronology of Tolkien's invention is called for. He 'retrofitted' her into the Silm's textual apparatus in the late 1940s, and her origins, ancestry, and moral status was rather various through several drafts. Not all Tolkien quotes are equal: he changed his mind readily, yet many of his earlier ideas are nevertheless recorded in the many books of his notes and drafts posthumously published, One can quite easily 'quote' Tolkien contradicting himself, if one doesn't care to explain the timing and setting of the quotes.

Finally, I personally regard Tolkien's statements about the 'power' of his various characters as being somewhat equivalent to his words on the 'beauty' of his various female characters. In both cases, the context is legendary, not literary much less scientific. To put it politely, there is some flattery or exaggeration going on in some of the passages you quote about Galadriel's "power" relative to the other Eldar, or the Maiar with whom she associated.



I agree with everything you have said. I shall update this in time with more LOTR sources.

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


InTheChair
Lorien

Dec 16 2018, 7:47pm

Post #4 of 18 (1452 views)
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The Power of Galadriel in the Third age- That of a Maiar? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's stated somewhat diffusely.

Not all Maiar were of equal power though they may have been of equal stature.

That mirror looking into the future deal is kind of neat of course. Not many others could pull that of. Sauron maybe, and the Istari since they were originally maiar and may have heard some of the original music. Wonder how Galadriel pulled it off.


(This post was edited by InTheChair on Dec 16 2018, 7:48pm)


Saruman
The Shire


Dec 24 2018, 6:20am

Post #5 of 18 (1304 views)
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It seems strange to me... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that the Maiar had such varying skill levels. Saruman and Gandalf were very powerful, Radagast somewhat powerful in an earthly sense, and the Blue Wizards apparently not very powerful at all, since nothing is known about them and they probably were killed.

By all accounts, in the main narrative of LotR at least, Galadriel seems more powerful than Radagast, who is a Maiar.


"I have seen it..."


squire
Half-elven


Dec 24 2018, 7:12am

Post #6 of 18 (1306 views)
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Maiar is a classification, not an armament kit. [In reply to] Can't Post

Any being of the heavenly orders, who is not a vala or ruling figure, is a maia. As the narrative tells us, that encompasses beings of a wide range of talents and stature. It's virtually meaningless to say that so-and-so is a Maia and so could 'beat' another so-and-so. Tolkien was not writing a game, in which any character's 'power' is calculable according to a rule book.Yes, they had different 'skill levels' - a tree spirit is a Maia, Gandalf is a Maia, and Sauron is a Maia. But Gandalf could 'beat' the tree spirit, if he wished; and Gandalf knows perfectly well that he'd be toast in a one-on-one against Sauron, absent the Ring.

It's true we know nothing about the Blue Wizards - Tolkien made them up after he wrote that there were "five Wizards", which sounded good when he wrote it. Were they powerful compared to the others? Did they die? No one knows - Tolkien quite evidently did not care, as he changed his mind about their history and fates at least once.

There's no way to say what Radagast's power was - because Tolkien didn't think consistently or obsessively about the "power" of his characters. Remember, "power" is a bad thing with Tolkien, but a good thing in the world of gaming. It's absurd to say that Galadriel's 'power' is greater than that of Radagast, simply because Radagast is set up as a patsy in the LotR narrative. Tolkien never imagined the two of them setting up against each other, and only in that particular case could we observe and conclude who had the greater "power".

The thing to remember, I'd say, is that although Tolkien admitted that his books resembled a game, and that he himself was often tempted to think of them as such, in the end he resisted that temptation and stuck to the idea that rules and powers are too reductive as devices in a story.



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noWizardme
Valinor


Dec 24 2018, 11:14am

Post #7 of 18 (1295 views)
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And, moreover, Tolkien does not explain the 'rules' [In reply to] Can't Post

I suspect this is an entirely deliberate choice: Tolkien could presumably have provided an Appendix or essay about magical systems and powers in Middle-earth, had he felt that was interesting or important. No such thing appears in Tolkien's writings as far as I know. Instead, he defends his 'casual' use of magic by saying he wated to avoid burdening the story with 'a pseudo-philosophic disquisition' (Letter 155). The consequences of that choice (and so maybe some of the possible reasons for it) have been set out nicely, I think, by Brandon Sanderson:


Quote
In [Tolkien's] books, you rarely understand the capabilities of Wizards and their ilk. You, instead, spend your time identifying with the hobbits, who feel that they’ve been thrown into something much larger, and more dangerous, than themselves. By holding back laws and rules of magic, Tolkien makes us feel that this world is vast, and that there are unimaginable powers surging and moving beyond our sight.

However, there is something you have to understand about writing on this side of the continuum. The really good writers of soft magic systems very, very rarely use their magic to solve problems in their books. Magic creates problems, then people solve those problems on their own without much magic. (George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” uses this paradigm quite effectively.)

There is a reason that Gandalf doesn’t just fly Frodo to Mount Doom with magic, then let him drop the ring in. Narratively, that just doesn’t work with the magic system. We don’t know what it can do, and so if the writer uses it to solve a lot of problems, then the tension in the novel ends up feeling weak. The magic undermines the plot instead enhancing it.

Brandon Sanderson - Sanderson's First 'Law' of Magic
https://brandonsanderson.com/sandersons-first-law/



That's not to say that the Pseudo-philosophic Disquisition Inquisition will be round to stop any discussion about whose powers exceed whose; but I agree with squire if he's saying that there's a decided limit to what one can learn about this from 'Critical analysis and discussion of Tolkien's literary works'. The nearest thing to a Pseudo-philosophic Disquisition in Tolkien that I can think of is The Palantiri, an essay in Unfinished Tales. Tolkien's attempt there to describe the palantiri mechanistically just sems to me to mire him into more and more questions and objections. For me, it ends up undermining the plot, rather than enhancing it.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


squire
Half-elven


Dec 24 2018, 2:30pm

Post #8 of 18 (1276 views)
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Oh my God, here comes the Pseudo-philosophic Disquisition Inquisition! [In reply to] Can't Post

Flee the Reading Room now, or face the Rack!

Tolkien, in the letter you cite (#155), makes a point that fans of 'magickal' fantasy might not be comfortable with. He explains that in his book, there is both magia (white magic or illusory craft) and goeteia (black magic or sorcery), but he cares less about which is which than about how either type of magic is actually put to use!

Well enough, but magia could be, was, held good (per se), and goeteia bad. Neither is, in this tale, good or bad (per se), but only by motive or purpose or use. Both sides use both, but with different motives. The supremely bad motive is (for this tale, since it is specially about it) domination of other 'free' wills. The Enemy's operations are by no means all goetic deceits, but 'magic' that produces real effects in the physical world. But his magia he uses to bulldoze both people and things, and his goeteia to terrify and subjugate. Their magia the Elves and Gandalf use (sparingly): a magia, producing real results (like fire in a wet faggot) for specific beneficent purposes. Their goetic effects are entirely artistic and not intended to deceive: they never deceive Elves (but may deceive or bewilder unaware Men) since the difference is to them as clear as the difference to us between fiction, painting, and sculpture, and 'life'. - JRRT, Letter #155, 1954




squire online:
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noWizardme
Valinor


Dec 24 2018, 3:49pm

Post #9 of 18 (1265 views)
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Nobody expects the Pseudo-philosophic Disquisition Inquisition! [In reply to] Can't Post

...smart scarlet uniforms, though.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 25 2018, 1:29pm

Post #10 of 18 (1188 views)
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Hmm. Not sure this point holds true for Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with the rest of what Sanderson said, but this kinda jumps out at me as not reflecting the facts:

Quote
The really good writers of soft magic systems very, very rarely use their magic to solve problems in their books.

1. Black Riders crossing the Ford of Bruinen in pursuit of Frodo? Solution: reveal a High Elf in his wrath while releasing a magic flood which is magically enhanced with cosmetic effects.
2. Yes, the fire on Caradhras.
3. Gandalf putting a shutting spell on the door in Moria, then magically breaking the Bridge.
4. Galadriel and her Mirror, giving understanding to the hobbits to strengthen them on their journey.
5. Gandalf's shaft of white light to drive off the Nazgul at Minas Tirith.

I'm not going to make an exhaustive list of counter-examples since those should suffice. None of this magic backfires and creates more problems, as Sanderson says it will. There are arguments in his favor, such as how creating the Rings of Power caused problems. But I find it odd for him to make such a statement. I must be in fact-checking mood, or maybe it's because the Inquisition was mentioned. Smile

Fact-checking aside, I certainly agree with him that since we as reader-hobbits don't know all the rules, we feel like we're in a great big magical world where the magic is just lurking over the horizon, so it doesn't have to happen for us to feel like it's there.


noWizardme
Valinor


Dec 27 2018, 6:19pm

Post #11 of 18 (1084 views)
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These are good objections... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and so probably Sanderson’s comments do need some caveats (or something).

I notice that sometimes magic solves a problem, but not The Problem: Gandalf’s magical fire stops the Fellowship freezing in the snow, but it doesn’t enable them to finish their journey across the pass. Or burying the Beater Of The Drums only gives the Fellowship a short respite before the Balrog.

Sometimes, magic solves a problem only at the expense of causing a bigger one: Gandalf defeats the Balrog, but at the apparent cost of his own death, and at the actual cost of separating him from Frodo for the rest of the adventure. (Arguably this turns out to be What Was Meant To Happen, But that’s not apparent for some time). The Rings themselves are a better example, perhaps, of using magic to solve one problem only to cause a thornier one - maybe none of the Rings would have been made had the makers been able to foresee the consequences.

The defeat of the Black Riders at the Ford does seem to defy Sanderson’s law outright, though. Had the river not magically flooded, (and this quite unexpectedly from anything Frodo or his readers know) it’s hard to see what else would have prevented the Ring’s capture.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


noWizardme
Valinor


Dec 28 2018, 12:49pm

Post #12 of 18 (1018 views)
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"Some magic happened, while you were {swooned/ away/ busy}." [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking that I can't remember previous discussions here in which anyone found the flood at the Ford contrived, and yet it has several aspects of a deus ex machina escape. So I was pondering how Tolkien manages it so that it doesn't seem contrived.

I suspect it is important that we're gives exclusively Frodo's point of view of the affair, which then ends prematurely as he swoons. We hear the rest from Gandalf along with a bundle of other news and while we're still relieved to find that Frodo is alive and the Ring un-captured. And then we move on to other matters. If Frodo is curious enough to ask one of his companions for an account of how it all looked from the opposite bank, then we don't hear it. And, although there is a feast to celebrate the victory, we don't get any speeches or songs about the matter. It strikes me that Tolkien does that other times - Gandalf tells us about his magical tug-of-war with the Beater of the Drums, for example, but we don't get to 'see' it. Even Gandalf's battle on the bridge is over with almost samurai swiftness, whereas a 'hard magic' accout full of the various spells of Arnor or Udun would go on for pages, I suppose. The obvious Gandalf vs. Witch King 'boss fight' later on doesn't happen at all....

I expect that Sanderson's 'law' would have bitten harder had Tolkien made more of these matters.

Maybe if a storyteller wants to give the impression that 'there are unimaginable powers surging and moving beyond our sight', then the story must contain a few instances of these powers breaking the surface, or at least creating currents. But I think it remains true that Tolkien does it mostly by suggestions. As a reader I go along wih the idea that certain people or things in Middle-earth are greatly magical, but I rarely actually see much evidence. The Ring is a good example:


Quote
“What is shown instead of the actual power of the Ring is the reaction of characters to it. Bilbo lies to maintain his right to it, and cannot freely give it up. Gandalf is afraid of it, Galadriel tempted by it, Boromir is corrupted by it (as is Denethor who has never seen it), Grishnakh covets it, and Saruman loses his wisdom and his position as head of the White Council for it. We see all these manifestations, and we refer them back to the Ring. It is we, not Tolkien, who confer power on the Ring, and he was wise enough to know that we would, and to let us do it”.

Veriyln Flieger, “Fantasy and Reality: JRR Tolkien’s World and the Fairy Story"
Essay in Green Suns and Faerie,
published by Kent State University Press, 2012


Edit: Thinking I might have used that Fliger quote before, I discover that I have indeed become a very repetitious old ent... (see http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=821722#821722 for much more of much the same). Hoom hoom.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Dec 28 2018, 12:54pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 28 2018, 5:28pm

Post #13 of 18 (991 views)
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OMG, you're recycling posts from 3 years ago. But, that is environmentally friendly. [In reply to] Can't Post

Kidding, of course!

And thank you for expanding on your thoughts about the Ford of Bruinen, because you put a bee in my bonnet (if people still use that expression, and no, I don't wear bonnets) with your comment:


Quote
The defeat of the Black Riders at the Ford does seem to defy Sanderson’s law outright, though. Had the river not magically flooded, (and this quite unexpectedly from anything Frodo or his readers know) it’s hard to see what else would have prevented the Ring’s capture.

Maybe we've discussed this before and I just forgot it, but your comment made me realize that on my first reads, I never thought the magical flood at Bruinen was contrived, I just accepted it. I think especially with the story being told from Frodo's weakened, bleary point of view, we as readers are sucked into the same dreamlike state he was in, and anything can happen in a dream. (I probably wear bonnets in my nightmares.) And as you say, we only hear about its detail and explanation after the fact, so we're one step removed from it. It's definitely a plot cliffhanger--how are they going to get out of this Big Mess? Oh, look, an unexpected magical flood saves us all from disaster.

I think it's significant that some of the big magic battles, such as Gandalf defending Weathertop against the Nine and Gandalf fighting the Balrog, appear only from a distance and are related secondhand. That's part of the idea of decorating the landscape with magic yet keeping it mostly out of reach, so it's more of a magical atmosphere than a magical nuts & bolts story. I think it's also why we never have the story go to the footstep of Sauron's throne--it's better to keep him offstage.

There are still magical things that happen close to hand, like Sting glowing when orcs are near or anything the Phial does, or even Sam's Lorien rope, or the Morgul-knife evaporating--on and on. But the big stuff is kept remote.


Saruman
The Shire


Dec 28 2018, 9:08pm

Post #14 of 18 (975 views)
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Absurd? [In reply to] Can't Post

Squire, you strike me as a scholar of Tolkien, yet are on a power trip of your own. Pun intended. Firstly, I am not a "gamer," so am unsure if your explanations hit their mark. I think it's perfectly natural to compare magical power between beings in Middle-earth, most especially because Tolkien made it so convoluted a subject that it is impossible to say the length of any one being's powers. And, since there is no set "rule book" or standard at which magical power is held to in M-e, it is only natural to compare a figure like Galadriel to Radagast and measure them up based upon what we know of their "powers," which is not a whole lot without the guidance of Tolkien's Letters and Unfinished Tales, etc. Am I imagining a physical duel in my head, like Saruman vs. Gandalf at Orthanc as seen in PJ's films? No. As far as the Hobbit narrative of LotR goes, Galadriel *would* appear more magical or magically powerful than Radagast, for they felt the "magic" of Lorien first-hand, and know nothing of Radagast save for Gandalf's brief tale at the Council of Elrond.

"I have seen it..."


uncle Iorlas
Rivendell


Dec 29 2018, 2:04am

Post #15 of 18 (931 views)
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to the power of zero [In reply to] Can't Post

Supposing all maiar to be of precisely the same magnitude is like thinking all birds should be the same size. Wanting to get out your thaumatometer and get exact measurements is... gamery.


InTheChair
Lorien

Dec 29 2018, 12:09pm

Post #16 of 18 (914 views)
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I think Gandalf himself does talk at some point about not beeing strong enough to face the witch-king. Although... [In reply to] Can't Post


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As far as the Hobbit narrative of LotR goes, Galadriel *would* appear more magical or magically powerful than Radagast, for they felt the "magic" of Lorien first-hand, and know nothing of Radagast save for Gandalf's brief tale at the Council of Elrond.


Then if the narrative treats them so different, what is the point of comparing?


No One in Particular
Rivendell


Dec 31 2018, 1:39am

Post #17 of 18 (796 views)
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Death Battle! Gandalf the White vs. The Witch King of Angmar! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

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As far as the Hobbit narrative of LotR goes, Galadriel *would* appear more magical or magically powerful than Radagast, for they felt the "magic" of Lorien first-hand, and know nothing of Radagast save for Gandalf's brief tale at the Council of Elrond.


Then if the narrative treats them so different, what is the point of comparing?



When he's talking to Denethor after the ruin of the causeway forts, he states that their (Galdalf and the Witch King) trial of strength has not yet come, at least implying that he was unsure whether he would be able to match the Witch King, who would also presumably be pretty much at his peak strength this close to Mordor and with the full will of the Eye supporting him. (The Eye without the One Ring to be sure, but still...)

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 31 2018, 11:38pm

Post #18 of 18 (763 views)
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Not absurd at all. Tolkien teased readers with his own power comparisons and rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

So why shouldn't normally curious readers make comparisons of their own? Or do we act like fundamentalists, where we are not allowed to think beyond what Tolkien explicitly wrote, lest we commit some Tolkien sin?

Glorfindel in "Flight to the Ford" about Elves vs Nazgul:


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There are few even in Rivendell that can ride openly against the Nine; but such as there were, Elrond sent out north, west, and south.


Glorfindel at the Council of Elrond about Bombadil vs Sauron:


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‘But in any case,’ said Glorfindel, ‘to send the Ring to him would only postpone the day of evil. He is far away. We could not now take it back to him, unguessed, unmarked by any spy. And even if we could, soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it. Could that power be defied by Bombadil alone? I think not. I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come.’


Aragorn, commenting on the power of Saruman's voice and who had the power to withstand it:

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There are not many in Middle-earth that I should say were safe, if they were left alone to talk with him, even now when he has suffered a defeat. Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel, perhaps, now that his wickedness has been laid bare, but very few others.’


Galadriel vs Sauron in The Tale of The Years:

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Three times Lórien had been assailed from Dol Guldur, but besides the valour of the elven people of that land, the power that dwelt there was too great for any to overcome, unless Sauron had come there himself.


 
 

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