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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
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.

BiographyEdit

First AgeEdit

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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 Feanor, 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 AgeEdit

Celeborn and Galadriel traveled first to Lindon, where they ruled over a group of Elves as a fiefdom under Gil-galad. Later 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. In Lórien Galadriel and Celeborn had a daughter, Celebrían, who later married Elrond half-elven of Rivendell.

Galadriel recieves the Ring

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

They gave Galadriel two grandsons: Elladan and Elrohir, and a granddaughter, Arwen. 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 AgeEdit

Mirror of Galadriel

Galadriel pours water into her Mirror.

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 RingEdit

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 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 crystal.

Apart from the hairs 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; a belt each to Boromir, Merry, and Pippin; and a knife each to Merry and Pippin. To Legolas she gave a short, stout bow of the Galadhrim. To Frodo she gave a magical phial, 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 the white of his 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 boat and returned at last to the Undying Lands whence she had come so long ago.[8][9]

CharacterEdit

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]

PowersEdit

Galadriel Dol Guldur

Galadriel destroying Dol Guldur.

Galadriel wielded an incredible amount of magical power. Some said she was among the greatest of the Noldor, along with 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[Source?], 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.

EtymologyEdit

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 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 StylesEdit

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 FinarfinEdit

House of Finarfin

Finwë
   
   
Indis
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Fingolfin
   
   
Finarfin
   
   
Eärwen
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Finrod
   
   
Angrod
   
   
Eldalótë
   
   
Aegnor
   
   
Galadriel
   
   
Celeborn
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Orodreth
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Celebrían
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Finduilas
   
   
   
   
   
   
Gil-galad


Appearances in the Books and FilmsEdit

In the booksEdit

In the moviesEdit

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

The Hobbit film trilogyEdit

Galadriel in The Hobbit AUJ

Galadriel in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

She is seen again in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in a meeting of the White Council. She supports Gandalf's claims that the Necromancer is becoming a bigger threat and that something must be done with Dol Guldur. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, she sends Gandalf messages to investigate the tombs of the Nine in the High Fells and encounter the Necromancer. Galadriel returns in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, where it is that she and Elrond help Gandalf escape in Dol Guldur.

BotFATrailer30

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

According to the Official Movie Guide for BOFA, “In coming to Gandalf’s aid, Galadriel has to grapple with the seductive power of the Necromancer to draw other beings into a void of darkness, despair and decay. She has to summon every particle of her strength to resist and, in doing so, we see Galadriel’s incredible power and realize that — but for the finesse and strength of her spirit — how quickly power for goodness could be turned to evil.” Blanchett also says Galadriel “uses the language of the enemy.” Jackson has mentioned that Galadriel will fight Sauron.

Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit

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

In Peter Jackson's movie trilogy beginning with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel was played by Cate Blanchett. In the movie adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel narrates the prologue, explaining the creation of the Rings of Power and the War of the Last Alliance. Earlier plans considered were to have either Frodo or Gandalf narrate the prologue, but this was dropped:

Frodo was not alive until thousands of years after these events happened, and although Gandalf was alive, he was not present in Middle-earth at the time, the Wizards came some one thousand years after the prologue ends. Thus, Galadriel narrates the prologue, because she had first-hand accounts of this history and actively participated in its events. Later in the films, Galadriel frequently seems to be consulting telepathically with Elrond; there is some indication from the books that the two were able to communicate in some way, but the specific instances in the movies (particularly the discussion with Elrond in The Two Towers) have no direct counterparts in the books.

However, some of the posthumous writings of Tolkien reference the osanwe — the "thought speech". She does at one point send messages to Aragorn and certain members of the Fellowship, which do not make it into the movie. Further, the notion that Galadriel would send her warriors to assist at Helm's Deep is practically unthinkable in the context of the books, where Lórien is itself under threat of attack at the time. By the same token however, as the Films did not show the Elves to be under any threat, this sequence in the film did serve to show that the Elves were still involved in the world and fighting against Sauron.

Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the RingsEdit

LOTR78 Galadriel

Galadriel in Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings.

In Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings film, Galadriel was voiced by the Scottish character actress Annette Crosbie.

Radio seriesEdit

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

Video gamesEdit

  • 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 actorsEdit

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)
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

In Popular CultureEdit

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.

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ReferencesEdit

  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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