View Full Version : The phial of Galadriel

06-15-2000, 01:01 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Spirit
Posts: 0</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Ah Elbereth Gilthoniel...

The phial had the light of the Silmaril within it. Would it be right to believe that this may have been constructed before the rings of power, and if so has it got a power seperate to those of the rings?

Was it that the light within was ancient and from the time of the trees that aided Frodo and Sam against Shelob and the Silent Watchers, or the fact that these beings abhorred anything Elvish?

Are there any other references to (&quot;magical&quot;?)items constructed with the aid of the Silmarils.


The Barrow-Wight
06-15-2000, 05:05 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The Chief Wight
Posts: 0</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: The phial of Galadriel

The phial captured the light of Earendil's star as it was reflected in the Mirror of Galadriel. So the phial, like the Mirror, was a product of Galadriel's Ring and not something created in more ancient times.

When Frodo and Sam were trapped by Shelob, it was Frodo's advance that daunted Shelob more than the light of the phial. Only after Sam had stabbed her eye did she react violently to the light of the phial. It's brightness pierced her damaged eye and drove pain into her mind.

When Sam used it to gain entrance to the Tower of Cirith Ungol the will of the Silent Watchers was broken by the power within the phial, the power of the Ring.

As for the power of the Silmarils. I believe their only power was to create an unnatural desire to posess them in anyone who laid eyes on them. The light in them was occasionally put to good use (as in the phial or Earendil's Star), but the jewels themselves created nothing but jealousy, lust, and treachery.

mailto:barrow-wight@kitgraphics.comThe Barrow-Wight</a>
http://www.barrowdowns.comThe Barrow-Downs</a></p>

06-15-2000, 06:45 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Spirit
Posts: 0</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: The phial of Galadriel

I donīt even think that this was a power of the Silmarils. They were not created to make others greedy or jealous, so their nature cannot be that way.
I think it is only that, after the destruction of the two trees of light, the Silmarils were the only things which were yet unstained, and those who have seen the pure light of the trees crave for the gems not because of the jewels themselves, but because of what they are: the last preservation of unstained beauty in Middle-Earth (or Aman).


The Barrow-Wight
06-15-2000, 09:50 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The Chief Wight
Posts: 0</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: The phial of Galadriel

True ... The power I was speaking of was not meant to be a literal power, but that the Silmarils had the effect of making people desire them.

mailto:barrow-wight@kitgraphics.comThe Barrow-Wight</a>
http://www.barrowdowns.comThe Barrow-Downs</a></p>

06-15-2000, 05:00 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Spirit
Posts: 0</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
Re: The phial of Galadriel

When the Two Trees were destroyed Yavanna said she could heal them using the Silmarils. As far as I am aware this is the only occasion it is ever suggested that they could be used for anything other than giving light.

Since the Silmarils would have been destroyed during this process, it seems likely to me that they were not meant to be used in any practical way.


01-13-2001, 06:20 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
Posts: 207</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>
one from the shadowed mists of the Downs past

I think this deserves a bit more consideration.

Especially in the light of all this talk of magic.

As to the Silmarill's power to corrupt
[witness the oath of Feanor , the death of Finwe ,and Melkor going way out of his way to snag them , even risking Ungoliant being too near when he nabbed them [a concern that comes up in Morgoth's ring] ,
I think this power came from Feanor's co-creative skills being literally poisoned by arrogance and pride, this was amplified when mixed w/ the light of the trees and possibly amplified by the crystallization process.

Another seeming instance of the healing powers of the Silmarill was the placing of the recaptured jewel on to Beren's hand and he reviving briefly, and the fact that beren's hand , clutching the jewel stayed intact in the Wolf's belly against all laws of digestion.

As to Yavanna saying she could heal the tree's , well she would have had to break them ,thus indicating to my mind that is wa not the jewels doing the healing , but rather the Light which had been captured.
I dare say she might havebeen in for a suprise ,if Feanor's passion filled magic/co-creating had some how intermixed w/ the light of the jewels , had this light been able to revive the trees, the result could have been a subtle [or not so subtle] Feanorization of all of Valinor via the 24hour illunination process!


"What then was this hope , if you know ?" Finrod asked "They say" answered Andreth :" they say that the One will himself enter into Arda , and heal Men and all the Marring from the begining to the end." Lindil is often found on posting on the 'New Revised Standard' Silmarillion at the Barrowdowns discussion board. </p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000076>lindil</A> at: 1/13/01 7:25:23 am

05-07-2003, 08:44 AM
The phial captured the light of Earendil's star as it was reflected in the Mirror of Galadriel. So the phial, like the Mirror, was a product of Galadriel's Ring and not something created in more ancient times.Its funny but my mind drew a parallel between the Phial and the Simiril when I read the Silmarillion the first time, and with this explanation there is the tie-in, since Earendil's star is the silmaril upon his brow as he sails the heavens.

05-07-2003, 10:01 AM
Well said once again Lindil. I will have to look up my physics book on that law of digestion..... although in college i do think i covered that subject a few times when it came to beer consumption lol

I would throw in an Ulmo influence as well as Yavanna's concering the Phial since water was the medium in which the light was captured... something to think about

Child of the 7th Age
05-07-2003, 01:18 PM

Regarding the Phial and the Silmaril, and the tie that existed between them...

There is yet a third link in this chain, and this link is Frodo Baggins himself. This can be seen in Gandalf's description of Frodo that appears in the chapter "Many Meeings." I have italicized the sentence that is critical to this link.

Gandalf moved his chair to the bedside, and took a good look at Frodo. The colour had come back to his face, and his eyes were clear, and fully awake and aware. He was smiling, and there seemed to be little wrong with him. But to the wizard's eye there was a faint change, just a hint as it were of transparency, about him, and especially about the left hand that lay outside the coverlet.

'Still, that must be expected,' said Gandalf to himself. 'He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in the end not even Elrond can foretell. Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.'

The last is obviously a clear allusion to the Phial itself. Frodo is to be stretched beyond himself to become like the Phial--a tiny sliver of the purest light in Arda.

In a sense this image is astounding; Tolkien thought it possible for a small and otherwise unremarkable hobbit to become a tiny reflection of the purest light of creation. Many have pointed out what a pessimist JRRT was, and how depression often gripped his soul. But this shows the other side of the man--his belief in the potential of even the humblest creature to transform himself into something more.


Morwen Tindomerel
05-15-2003, 08:41 AM
Feanor's character was indeed stained by a spirit of covetousness that tainted his creation the Silmarils causing them to excite similar emotions in most of those who saw or possessed them.

But was it *only* Feanor's covetice that made them such a magnet for greed? Remember the Light within them too was hoarded, denied to Middle Earth and kept for the Valar and their followers alone. Could it be the Trees themselves were also tainted?

05-15-2003, 03:12 PM
I don't think that it's an issue of being tainted as much as it is just having to look at who was after the the silmarils and the trees and why.
Morgoth and all of his legions went after the trees to pursue them because it was a work of the "good guys" and he being a bad guy meant that he was sworn by the bad guy oath to defile it. He pursued the trees not because they were tainted, but because they were pure.
I think this is also true with the silmarils. Morgoth absolutely hated the elves and all other children of Iluvatar and any of their creations. The idea of an elf, Morgoth's "enemy", having created something so beautiful and perfect meant that he either needed to destroy it or let his own greed kick in and hoard it.
The reason the other elves wanted the silmarils was out of sheer greed as well. The only elves who had any real claim for them would've been Feanor's own kin and children. To the other elves, the silmarils were just a chance for a smash and grab operation to own "the best" of something. The elve's love for all things beautiful was certainly one of their downfalls as was Morgoth's contempt for them.
As Tolkien once stated,
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
I think that this was point he was trying to get across here.

05-16-2003, 12:05 AM
i dont know if this is going to help but im gonna try. this is fron the complete guide to middle earth by robert foster:
Silmarilli (Q.: 'brillance or jewels of silma,' sing, silmaril The three jewels shining with the light if the Two Trees, made by Feanor in the years following the unchannin gof Melkor. The Silmarilli were the greatest works of craft ever produced by the Children of Iluvatar, and, like the Two Trees, thier creation could not be duplicated. The shell of the jewels were composed of silma, but at thier heart was the ever radiant light of the Trees, and the Silmarilli shone by themselves. They were hallowed by the Varda so that any impure hand touching them would be burned and withered.
The inhabitants of Aman loved the jewels, but Feanor gave his heart to them and Melkor lusted sfter thier light. At first Feanor wore them at feastivals, but as the lies of Melkor influenced him, he began to keep them locked away, and his love fro them grew arrogant adn greedy. When Melkor and Ungoliant poisened the Trees, Feanor refused ti give up the Silmarillito restore the Trees, and at that moment they were stolen by Melkor from the Noldorin treasury at Formenos, even though his hands were burned and ceaselessly tormented him.
The lust of Melkor and the arrogance of Feanor (expressed by his Oath and the revolt of the Noldor) tainted the jewels, so that thereafter all desire fro them came to an evil end. Melkor and Ungoliant quarrled over them; after the Darl Lord overcame his former ally; he set the jewels in his Iron Crown. There they remained, luring the Noldorin Exiles to thier doom, until Beren, impelled by his love fro Luthien and the demad of Thingol, cut one out. This Silmaril was soon swallowed by Carcharoth, who bit off Beren's hand in the process, and was not recovered for some time, until Carcharoth was slain in the Hunting of the Wolf. The dying Beren gave the Silmaril to Thingol, thus fulfulling his quest.
At this point the Silmaril began to work the Doom of the Noldor. Thingol refused to give it to the sons of Feanor; soon after he hired Dwarves of Nogrod to set it into the Nauglamir, but he was killed by the Dwarves, who coveted the jewel. Although the Silmaril was recovered, Doriath was ruined, for after the death od her husband Melian left Doriath, the Girdle of Melian was broken, and Menegroth was sacked by a Dwarf army. The Nauglamir was recovered by Beren, and Luthien wore it in Tol Galen until her second death, becoming the fairest vision of beauty of all the Children of Iluvatar.
After that, the sons of Feanor, driven by thier Oath, pursued the Silmaril, sacking Menegroth and the Havens of Sirion and slaying Dior, Nimloth, and thier sons. At last Elwing, Dior's heriess, and Earendil sailed with the Nauglamir to Aman, for the light of the Silmaril enabled them to pass theough the Shadowy Seas and obtain the mercy of the valor. The Silmaril was removed from the Nauglamir and bound to Earendil's brow, and he was set in the sky as a star signaling hope to the Eldar and Edain in Middle-earth. From this light ultimately came that if the Phail og Galadriel.

its long, i know. but this was all i could find in the resorces i have at the moment.

05-16-2003, 12:59 PM
Odd that the Phial transformed the corrupting influence of the sole remaining Silmaril and turned it into a force for good. But, it seems as if the light of Earendil's Star gave hope when the Elves first beheld it.

Lily Ahern
05-18-2003, 01:25 PM
I myself think while the phial of Galadriel did not have the same power as the rings, it did have substantial power of it's own. I also think it's presenance helped Frodo to deny the one ring. smilies/wink.gif

08-05-2003, 09:24 PM
A grand old topic, brought up again and again...
those who have seen the pure light of the trees crave for the gems not because of the jewels themselves, but because of what they are: the last preservation of unstained beauty in Middle-Earth (or Aman).
I think, as to the nature of the Silmarils, I would have to agree mostly with SharkŻ, that they are symbolic, rather than possessing an innate power of their own--they are a reflection and a microcosmic embodiment of the pure Light of the Trees. I think, rather, that it was Morgoth's concerted efforts against FŽanor that bore the rotten fruit of corruption that resonates through history. But...

I dare say she might havebeen in for a suprise ,if Feanor's passion filled magic/co-creating had some how intermixed w/ the light of the jewels , had this light been able to revive the trees, the result could have been a subtle [or not so subtle] Feanorization of all of Valinor via the 24hour illunination process!
I do find this concept interesting and evocative, since it is axiomatic to me that the Elves and the Valar themselves put a great deal of themselves into their creations; certainly there is a piece of FŽanor in each Silmaril in some sense, but I refuse to believe that that part would confer corruption on the work itself.

As for the Phial of Galadriel, I found another thread (also relatively old!) that suggests that Celebrimbor made the Phial for Galadriel. I have not been able to check this, but if it is mentioned in the UT, I'll sniff it out! The thread is rather short, but is here if you'd like to read it:
Topic: why did Celebrimbor allow Sauron? (http://forum.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000571)

Of course, there's also speculation on that thread that the Silmarils give off green or red, white and blue lights (it's Christmas in the House of FŽanor! Yipppeeeeeeee!!!!! String the Silmarils on the tree! ) Forgive me! smilies/biggrin.gif Just an attack of "Sillymarillion Fever." BTW, lindil, I enjoyed your term "FŽanorization."

But now, what are we talking about? The Phial of Galadriel! That's it! I came upon a rather unusual article that addresses the significance and purpose of the Phial, and although I disagree with some of it, it was still worth reading to me, just for its far-out value! Here is the link:
Mystic alignment (http://alt-tolkien.com/r10mystic.html)
It is entitled "Mystic alignment of the Two Trees, the Silmarils, the Three Rings & the Phial of Galadriel" Quite a mouthful and it even has a diagram that goes with it! An interesting exercise in drawing connections if you're interested!

The thing I wonder is how is the Light imprisoned inside the Phial? If it is caught in Galadriel's Mirror waters, how is it held? Perhaps the very nature of the waters themselves? A magical/chemical property invoked by Galadriel herself? Or has the Light been captured previously and then "set amidst the waters of my Fountain" as she tells Frodo when she is bestowing this gift upon him?

And a last note on the Silmarils, what is this silima of which they are made? It sounds much like silica, of which many terrestrial stones and gems consist. And the question of the Ages, why is Beren's hand not consumed by digestion inside the mad Wolf's stomach? Maybe, just as the Silmarils burn the hands of those unworthy to hold them, perhaps it coats, soothes and relieves the worthy hand of Beren! smilies/biggrin.gif


P.S. Thanks, Sharon, for drawing that parallel of Frodo and the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor, the purest Light of Arda! It is always good to know there are others on this forum who think as highly of Frodo as I do! smilies/smile.gif You do have a gift for expression, especially when talking about Frodo, and it is always a joy to read your posts! (I cannot elaborate on it, because it was said so perfectly to begin with!)

[ August 05, 2003: Message edited by: Lyta_Underhill ]

08-06-2003, 02:35 AM
Let me try something, inspired by Flieger's Splintered Light. It was originally put together about the movie, but maybe someone will find it relevant here.

In the movie, Arwen defies the Ringwraiths at the Ford. She has already told Aragorn that she does not fear them. But The Ringwraith's greatest weapon is terror. They make one go to pieces with terror. That is how they effect virtually everyone who encounters them. When they want to kill someone they have to use weapons.

In Tolkien's philosophical/theological worldview this 'make one go to pieces' is important. Bear with me.

Tolkien sees the process of change as being based in fragmetation/splintering of a primal unity. Change is necessary - it is the manifesting of the Music of the Ainur, but it is a movement away from unity.

The world begins when Eru speaks the single word EA! ('Let these things (the things sung in the Music) Be!'). Then this single word becomes language, as more words (because more 'things') are brought into being. So we have Valarin, the language spoken by the Valar. This is intimately tied to the idea of Light. At this time ME is lit by the lamps, which Melkor subsequently throws down. The light of the Lamps is a constant, pure light. Byt the time the Elves arrive, Light is supplied by the Two Trees, the Light is now dual, Gold & Silver, & it pulsates, so the Light is splintered & lessened. Therefore the language of the Elves, Quenya, is lesser than the Valarin, but it still reflects the Light. The Light is further splintered into the Silmarils, its now three. Then we return to ME with the Exiles, & we encounter Sindarin, a lesser language, but there are also other Elven languages - Tolkien depicted various fragmentations of Elven tongues, a continuous process, with the Green Elves, etc. Light is splintered & so is language, moving further & further away from a language which can express the purity of the Light, to ones which brings in more & more metaphor & similie.

So the idea Tolkien is trying to communicate is of Unity fragmenting into smaller & smaller parts, moving further & further from the single word & Light of Eru. Necessary change if the music is to be played out, but change away from, rather than toward an ideal - at least until the ultimate ideal is achieved, & the music is played out in full.

So as the Light is fragmented it is lessened with each fragmenting. Ultimately, the fragmentation, if pushed to its extreme, is darkness, the darkness of Ungoliant, if you like, an 'unlight' rather than mere absence. The Ringwraiths symbolise this. At the Ford, Nine fragments of darkness are confronted by One Light - Glorfindel. And it has to be Glorfindel. It cannot be Arwen. Arwen is one of the Half Elven, as much in danger of the power of the Ringwraiths as any other 'ordinary' being in ME. She would 'go to pieces - her being would be fragmented. She would be 'infected by their fragmentation, which would overwhelm her 'unity' of identity.

Glorfindel, on the other hand, is one of the Exiles, who had seen the light of the Trees. The Light (unity) of Aman was in his face. He had also died, & been purified of his 'sin' in Mandos, so he also has returned to his state of primal perfection, before his 'fall' in the rebellion. He can defy the Ringwraiths, as he did the Witchking earlier in the Third Age. Arwen could not. What the filmakers do, by having Arwen able to stand against them, is to lessen their power, & go directly against Tolkien's philosophical/theological vision

We see the same thing happen when Gandalf the White(the 'single', unified' light), confronts & overcomes Saruman of Many Colours (the 'fragmented', broken light - 'He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of Wisdom'. Saruman has broken the primal unity of Light & Language, & therefore betrayed his mission, which is to fight the deliberate, malicious, unnatural fragmenting of the Light by Sauron.) Change, fragmentation is necessary, but it can be pushed too far, & lead to the complete shattering of Arda, where darkness replaces light, & the music is ended before it can be completed