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Galadriel

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The main part of this article relates to the last versions of Middle-earth's history, and as such may controvert parts of The Silmarillion. See Middle-earth canon for a discussion. This subject's portrayal in earlier or alternative versions is discussed in the other versions of the legendarium section.

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Galadriel - ROTK
Galadriel at the Grey Havens

Galadriel

Biographical information

Other names
Altáriel, Artanis, Nerwen
Titles
Lady of Lórien, Lady of the Galadhrim, Lady of the Wood, Lady of Light
Date of birth
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Still alive: Departed over the sea on September 29, 3021
Realms ruled
Spouse
Weapon
Elven Magic, Nenya

Physical description

Race
Gender
Female
Height
Tall
Hair color
Golden
Eye color
Light Blue
Voice
Character


"This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper."
Galadriel to Frodo Baggins

Galadriel was the co-ruler and Lady of Lothlórien along with her husband, Lord Celeborn. Neither she nor Celeborn took royal titles as they saw themselves as guardians of Lothlorien.

She was the only daughter and youngest child of Finarfin, prince of the Ñoldor and of Eärwen, whose cousin was Lúthien. Her elder brothers were Finrod Felagund, Angrod, and Aegnor.[2] Galadriel was a niece of Fëanor, one of the most important elves of the First Age.

She was one of the greatest of the Eldar in Middle-earth, and surpassed nearly all others in beauty, knowledge, and power. She was also the bearer of Nenya, one of the three Elven rings. Tolkien thought of her, along with Gil-galad the Elven-king, as one of the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves left in Middle-earth.

Biography

First Age

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Galadriel while in Aman, by Szilvia Szarvas

Galadriel was born in Valinor during the Years of the Trees, before the First Age had even begun. Much of Galadriel's story is confusing, and there are several distinct tales told about her collected in the Unfinished Tales. According to the older account, used in the published Silmarillion, Galadriel was an eager participant and leader in the rebellion of the Ñoldor and their flight from Valinor due to her desire to one day rule over a patch of Middle-earth herself.

She was eager to see Middle-earth, having heard of it from Fëanor, and wanted to rule a realm of her own. She swore no oaths and was in like mind with Fingon, son of Fingolfin.[3]

However, separated from Fëanor and his kin, she and her people did not take part in the Kinslaying at Alqualondë. They followed Fingolfin instead and crossed the Helcaraxë in the far north.[3]

Once in Beleriand, she lived nominally with one of her brothers, most likely Finrod, but spent much time at the court of Thingol and Melian in Menegroth, where she arrived in FA 52 and was welcomed because of her family relationship to Thingol's brother Olwë, Galadriel's maternal grandfather. She met Celeborn, a kinsman of Thingol, in Doriath.[4] She also traveled to visit her brother, Finrod, in his realm of Nargothrond multiple times. All three of her brothers were killed during various battles in the First Age.

Galadriel became friends with Melian the Maia who wanted to know the cause of the exile of the Noldor. Galadriel only briefly narrated the story, leaving out the death of Finwë, the Kinslaying at Alqualondë, and the burning of the ships at Losgar. She dwelt in Nargothrond with her brother Finrod, and asked him if he would take no wife. But Finrod had taken an oath only for himself, and his beloved was left in Valinor.[5]

She played a relatively insignificant part in the wars of the First Age, as she thought that defeating Morgoth was beyond the power of the Eldar, and when Morgoth was defeated by the coming of the Valar out of the West she, having played no part in the Kinslaying, was offered safe return to Valinor. But Galadriel, being prideful, chose to remain in Middle-earth.[6]

Second Age

Celeborn and Galadriel traveled first to Lindon, where they ruled over a group of Elves as a fiefdom under Gil-galad. Sometime later, they had a daughter, Celebrían. They moved eastward and established the realm of Eregion, or Hollin, which they ruled under Gil-galad, the High King of the Noldor. Eregion, to the west of the Misty Mountains near Moria, was a prosperous kingdom during this time, and had open trade with the Dwarves. Also, during this time, they made contact with a Nandorin settlement in the valley of the Anduin, later to be known as Lothlórien. Subsequently, while Celebrimbor now ruled over Eregion, they left Eregion by way of the mines of Khazad-dûm and became the Lord and Lady of Lothlórien.

Galadriel recieves the Ring

Galadriel, Gil-galad, and Cirdan receive the Three Rings of Power.

During the Second Age, the Maia Annatar, the "Lord of Gifts", guided Celebrimbor and the other Ñoldor of Eregion in the creation of the Rings of Power. Galadriel took an immediate distrust to Annatar, and it later turned out that this mistrust was justified, as he was finally revealed to be Sauron. It was she who counseled Celebrimbor in the hiding of the rings, and when Eregion was attacked, Galadriel was entrusted with one of the Three Rings of the Elves. Her ring was Nenya, the Ring of Water.

Conscious of Sauron's power, and wishing to thwart it, she did not openly use the powers of her ring as long as the One Ring was in Sauron's hands. However, during the Third Age, when the One Ring was lost, she put it to good use protecting the borders of her realm, for the powers of her ring were protection, preservation, and concealment from evil.[7]

Third Age

Through Celebrían's wedding to Elrond, Galadriel was the grandmother of Elladan, Elrohir, and Arwen.

The tales tell little of Galadriel or of Celeborn during many centuries in the Third Age, but after the formation of the White Council in TA 2463 she put forth her might in opposition of Sauron. She played a pivotal role in the formation of the Council, though her counsel to put Gandalf at its head was not followed.[7] After Sauron was ousted from his fortress of Dol Guldur, Lórien kept vigilance over the region until the time of the War of the Ring.

War of the Ring

Mirror of Galadriel

Galadriel pours water into her Mirror.

During the War of the Ring, Galadriel hosted the Fellowship of the Ring after their escape from the mines of Moria.

Once in Caras Galadhon, Galadriel allowed Frodo and Sam to peer into the Mirror of Galadriel, enabling them to glimpse possible events of the future. She, in turn, was tested when Frodo Baggins later offered to place the One Ring in her keeping. To illustrate what would happen if she accepted, she presented an image of herself corrupted by the ring, declaring, "In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!" In the movie, what she says is different, which is: "In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me, and despair!"

Then swiftly she returned to her original form, seemingly smaller and frailer than before, declaring, "I pass the test," refusing the Ring and accepting the fate of diminishing (as the time of the Dominion of Men had come), and returning at last to Valinor. As the Fellowship departed, she gave each member a gift and an Elven cloak, and outfitted the party with boats and supplies. Gimli, in particular, was touched by Galadriel's lordliness and beauty, and asks for one strand of her golden hair as an heirloom of his house; she generously gave him three, which he later set in an impregnable crystal.

Apart from the strands of hair given to Gimli, she gave a Mallorn seed and a small box of earth from her garden to Samwise Gamgee; a green stone set in silver to Aragorn, along with a scabbard for his sword; and a belt each to Boromir, Merry, and Pippin. To Legolas she gave a long, stout bow of the Galadhrim. To Frodo she gave a magical phial, which captured the light of Eärendil's star, without which Frodo and Sam would have been unable to pass through Shelob's lair to complete their quest. After the departure of the Fellowship, Galadriel acted to ensure the success of the quest. It was she who summoned Gwaihir to rescue Gandalf off the peak of Celebdil, and it was she who nursed him back to health, dressing him in white, symbolizing his status as the new leader of the order. 

Later, she sent word to Aragorn about the Paths of the Dead, and messages to the Rangers of the North asking for their aid in the War. As Sauron put forth all his power during the end of the War of the Ring, he was aware of the threat of the Elves and their ancient potency, so he sent armies to besiege many of their settlements in the North while simultaneously assailing the major cities of Men and Dwarves. Lórien itself was assaulted three times, but the armies of Dol Guldur were driven back due to the courage of the Elves and the power of Galadriel's Ring.

Elves head to Valinor

Galadriel, her husband Celeborn, and Elrond about to leave for Valinor

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 Mirkwood and their elven allies, crossed the Anduin into Dol Guldur, where they tore down its walls and laid bare its pits. She then traveled to Minas Tirith for the wedding of King Aragorn and Lady Arwen, and continued living in Lórien until TA 3021 when she traveled to the Grey Havens and, with the remaining Ring-bearers, took a ship and returned at last to the Undying Lands whence she had come so long ago.[8][9]

Character

U54a

Galadriel shows her mirror before Hobbits.

Galadriel was highly praised for her beauty, particularly that of her hair, which was a deep and radiant gold, shot with silver. It was said by the elves of Tirion to have ensnared the light of the two trees, Telperion and Laurelin, and possibly to have inspired the creation of the Silmarils by Fëanor. She was also the tallest of elf-women, standing at around 6 feet 4 inches, or 193 centimeters. Because of her wisdom and power, she had very important roles throughout the history of Middle-earth, especially during her time in Eregion and during the War of the Ring. She had a penchant for dressing in the deepest white.

"[...] and she grew to be tall beyond the measure even of the women of the Noldor; she was strong of body, mind, and will [...] Even among the Eldar she was accounted beautiful, and her hair was held a marvel unmatched. It was golden like the hair of her father and of her foremother Indis, but richer and more radiant, for its gold was touched by some memory of the starlike silver of her mother; and the Eldar said that the light of the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, had been snared in her tresses."
Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn

Regarding her decision to remain in Middle-earth, a passage says:

"After the overthrow of Morgoth at the end of the First Age a ban was set upon her return, and she had replied proudly that she had no wish to do so."
The Road Goes Ever On [note 1]

Powers

Galadriel Dol Guldur

Galadriel destroying Dol Guldur.

Galadriel wielded an incredible amount of magical power, and was said to be the greatest of the Ñoldor after Fëanor. She was a friend of Melian the Maia and it is possible that Melian taught Galadriel many things during the First Age. The nature of her magic is not well understood. Much of Galadriel's power stemmed from the great artifact she controlled, Nenya, the Ring of Water. In some tales, Galadriel is depicted with the power to communicate over vast distances and to predict the future. She also stated that she could perceive the mind of Sauron, while he could not perceive hers. Her mirror could reveal events from the past, present and future. Whatever her powers may have been, they were enough to protect Lórien from any attack, and it is said that only Sauron himself could have overcome this. Galadriel was also familiar with ósanwe, the skill of entering others' minds. After the destruction of the One Ring Galadriel communicated mentally with Elrond and Gandalf on their return journey from Minas Tirith.[10]

Galadriel was incredibly enigmatic, and even the immensely powerful Saruman, and an Elf as perceptive as Elrond found it difficult to understand her powers and her past. Her power was key to the destruction of Dol Guldur, a fortress whose power was multiplied by Sauron's magic. Besides her magical powers, Galadriel was very wise and highly intelligent. She was not fooled by Sauron in the Second Age and therefore suggested to Celebrimbor to hide the Three Rings. She had great physical beauty and charisma, so much that she charmed the dwarf Gimli, who had a deep grudge against Elves. Whatever Galadriel's powers, they were such to bring doubt in the minds of the non-Elven inhabitants of Middle-earth.

Etymology

Galadriel was originally named Artanis ("noble woman") which was her Father-name and Nerwen ("man-maiden"), which was her Mother-name (referring to her height and strength). Galadriel is the Sindarinized version of Telerin Quenya Alatáriel, the name given to her by her lover Celeborn, meaning "maiden crowned with a garland of bright radiance", which referred to her hair.

The name Galadhriel was used outside Lórien by the people who did not know the ancient days and Galadriel's history, confusing her name with the Elvish word galadh ("tree") and the name of the Galadhrim, the people of Lórien.[9]   

Names and Styles

She is referred to as The Lady of Lórien, Lady of Light, The Lady of the Galadhrim, or The Lady of the Wood interchangeably. Within the realm of Lothlórien, she was referred to as simply Lady Galadriel or The Lady.

When she and Celeborn were being referred to collectively, they were known as The Lord and Lady.

House of Finarfin

House of Finarfin

Finwë
   
   
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Finrod
   
   
Angrod
   
   
Eldalótë
   
   
Aegnor
   
   
Galadriel
   
   
Celeborn
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Orodreth
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Celebrían
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Finduilas
   
   
   
   
   
   
Gil-galad


Appearances in the Books and Films

In the books

In the movies

Portrayal in adaptations

Bakshi's Lord of the Rings

LOTR78 Galadriel

Galadriel in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 adaptation.

In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 Lord of the Rings, Galadriel is voiced by Scottish character actress Annette Crosbie.

Lord of the Rings film trilogy

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."
Galadriel to Frodo Baggins

Galadriel is portrayed by Cate Blanchett in Peter Jackson's film trilogy. She appears in all three films as a supporting character.

Galadriel narrates the opening prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring, describing the War of the Ring and the initial defeat of Sauron. She is shown receiving one of the elven Rings of Power. Galadriel appears in person later when the Fellowship arrive in Lórien, greeting them alongside her husband Celeborn. She speaks telepathically with Frodo and leads him to her mirror, in which he sees a vision of Sauron's victory. Galadriel warns Frodo that Boromir will try and take the One Ring, upon which Frodo offers The Ring to her. In that moment, Galadriel herself is tempted by the Ring, but she is able to overcome the temptation and "pass the test." She gives Frodo a phial of light when the Fellowship departs Lothlórien.

In the extended edition, Galadriel gives the other members of the Fellowship various gifts as well.

In The Two Towers, Galadriel appears in a single scene, warning Elrond telepathically that the One Ring is tempting Faramir. She then urges him to send aid to the people of Rohan at Helm's Deep. Strangely, the elves that do arrive at Helm's Deep under Haldir are from Lothlórien, not Rivendell. Although there is mention of osanwe ("thought speech") in Tolkien's writings, Galadriel's scenes from The Two Towers have no direct counterparts in the novels.

In The Return of the King, Galadriel appears in a vision to Frodo near Cirith Ungol, urging him to continue his quest. She also appears at the very end of the film alongside Elrond and Celeborn at the Grey Havens. She departs with them, Gandalf, Frodo, and Bilbo to Valinor.

The Hobbit film trilogy

Galadriel in The Hobbit AUJ

Galadriel in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Galadriel's role in Jackson's The Hobbit film trilogy is entirely invented for the adaptation, as she does not appear in the original novel. She appears in all three films as a supporting character.

Galadriel first appears in An Unexpected Journey at a meeting of the White Council alongside Elrond, Gandalf, and Saruman. She believes Gandalf when he claims that the Necromancer is becoming a bigger threat and that something must be done with Dol Guldur.

In The Desolation of Smaug, Galadriel telepathically encourages Gandalf to investigate the tombs of the Nine in the High Fells and to confront the Necromancer.

BotFATrailer30

Galadriel aiding a wounded Gandalf in Dol Guldur, surrounded by The Nine.

In The Battle of the Five Armies, Galadriel rescues Gandalf from Dol Guldur. Initially, it seems that she has come alone; she defeats an orc with a blast of magic and restores Gandalf with a kiss. However, she is quickly cornered by the spectral forms of the Nazgûl as the disembodied voice of Sauron begins taunting her in the Black Speech.

Galadriel vs sauron by amarzbar-d8aom79

Galadriel expels Sauron from Dol Guldur.

Galadriel then reveals that Saruman and Elrond have accompanied her to Dol Guldur, and the two battle the Ringwraiths while Galadriel attempts to heal Gandalf. Radagast arrives to whisk Gandalf away, and Galadriel resists Gandalf's plea to have her join him. After the Ringwraiths are defeated, Sauron himself manifests before the White Council, threatening them with the fall of the East and the rise of Angmar.

While Saruman and Elrond recoil in horror in the presence of the Dark Lord, Galadriel rises in an ethereal form to challenge Sauron. The two engage in a duel of wills as Sauron tempts Galadriel. Ultimately, Galadriel overpowers Sauron, who is flung into the East as an orange orb of light. The encounter saps Galadriel's energy, however, and Elrond instructs her to retreat to Lórien while Saruman promises to handle the threat of Sauron himself.

Throughout Jackson's Hobbit it is suggested that Gandalf may have romantic feelings for Galadriel, in a total invention from the book. Celeborn is not mentioned.

Radio series

Galadriel was voiced by Marian Diamond in the BBC's The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series).

Video games

  • In The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth, Galadriel appears as one of the ring heroes, making her one of the two most powerful units in the game. She has the appearance of her corrupted image in Jackson´s films. She fights using magic which can swipe dozens of units in a single hit. Her power was to summon a tornado as the one she used to destroy Dol Guldur.

Voice Dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Spanish (Latin America) Gabriela Gómez (The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit)
Irina Índigo (The Lord of the Rings re-dubbing)
Verónica López Treviño (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies)
Spanish (Spain) Nuria Mediavilla
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Neuza Azevedo / Miriam Ficher (The Hobbit trilogy)
German Dörte Lyssewski
Italian (Italy) Cristiana Lionello
French (France) Déborah Perret
Polish Danuta Stenka (The Hobbit trilogy)
Czech Republic Simona Postlerová
Slovak Daniela Kuffelová
Turkish Özden Ayyıldız

Translations around the World

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Hong Kong) 凱蘭崔爾

In Popular Culture

The name Galadriel has moved outside of Tolkien's work and into the wider world; parents occasionally give it to their daughters, and at least one high-end shop has adopted it as their own. The Led Zeppelin songs Stairway to Heaven and The Battle of Evermore contain many references to Galadriel. The band Barclay James Harvest also wrote a song named "Galadriel." Galadriel was the given name of the main character in the Katherine Paterson novel The Great Gilly Hopkins. In the novel Panic, there are a group of computer hackers known simply as Galadriel Jones and the elves. Since Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released, the elven names of Galadriel and Legolas, and Elrond were often used by fans to name their characters.

Lady of Lothlórien
Preceded by
Amroth (As King of Lórien)
Galadriel Succeeded by
None, sailed to the Undying Lands
Mid-Third Age - September 29, 3021


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References

  1. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring, The Annals of Aman
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter V: "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  4. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIII: "Of the Return of the Noldor"
  5. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XV: "Of the Noldor in Beleriand"
  6. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Unfinished Tales: The History of Galadriel and Celeborn
  8. The Lord of the Rings
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
  10. The Return of the King, Chapter VI: "Many Partings"

Notes

  1. This passage is also mentioned in the Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn


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