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Old 05-26-2016, 07:12 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Gothmog, LoB View Post
I'm trying to point out is that even the few strong female figures in Tolkien's work have to stick to the established gender rules, and that means that wives defer to their husbands.

I'd always concede that at least the LotR-Galadriel and the one in the Later Quenta Silmarillion comes closest to breaking the pattern and being more than a price for her husband. By comparison to Melian, Lúthien, and Arwn she is much more active and man-like (that is also made clear in her name) But this is mostly because Celeborn isn't a hero the story is focusing on. Galadriel is much more important for the narratives she shows up than he is.
Luthien stood up to Morgoth alone. I am wondering if you even read what she did on her adventures - on the road with and without Beren, facing vampires, supernatural wolves and the Dark Lord himself. To say she wasn't "man-like" and writing off what she did on her shared mission with Beren, and then lumping her with two more stereotypical women characters such as Melian and Arwen, is questionable.

Originally Posted by Gothmog, LoB View Post
And, of course, Galadriel has to be humbled and eventually overcome her man-like qualities. Just as Éowyn cannot remain a shield-maiden of Rohan. She has to become a housewife and give birth to Faramir's children.

Just check Galadriel's words when she passes her final test: ‘I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.’ 'Remaining Galadriel' can be seen as her giving up all her grand dreams she has once had as Nerwen in her youth. There is not much left of the 'man-maiden' of old, or is there?
She did not "overcome her manlike qualities". Her "humbling" as you put it, has nothing whatsoever to do with a woman resigning herself to womanly roles. The misreading on your part is preposterous! Her diminishment was surrendering to the Valar's judgment and returning to the West. She "passed the test"- do you even know what she meant when she said that? She showed her wisdom in abandoning the offer of the Ring, like Gandalf refused the Ring when it was offered to him. Because she did what she did, the Ban of the Valar was lifted, and she returned to Valinor - without Celeborn. So much for the bonds of matrimony. As Tolkien said in Letter 320 (25 January 1971):

"...Galadriel was a penitent: in her youth a leader in the rebellion against the Valar (the angelic guardians). At the end of the First Age she proudly refused forgiveness or permission to return. She was pardoned because of her resistance to the final and overwhelming temptation to take the Ring for herself."

Originally Posted by Gothmog, LoB View Post
Not to mention that, you know, the very name 'Nerwen' confirms that there are fixed gender roles in Tolkien's world and it is unusual/not the rule that a woman fancies herself to be a man or do stuff a man would do. Else Galadriel's mother-name would have been something else, say, something like 'great woman' or 'strong woman' or 'great queen'.
No one said there isn't fixed gender roles in Tolkien's work. I simply think you are misreading when it comes to two specific characters who go against this stereotypical pattern: Galadriel and Luthien. Tolkien is explicit in his treatment of Galadriel:

"Galadriel, the only woman of the Noldor to stand that day tall and valiant among the contending princes, was eager to be gone...for she yearned to see the wide unguarded lands and to rule there a realm of her own."

She set out to do it and accomplished it.

Originally Posted by Gothmog, LoB View Post
The examples you cited stress the importance of Galadriel in the stories - and I never doubted any of that. But I'm not sure they touch upon what I meant. And that's the question whether Galadriel can, politically, play a more important role at her husband's court even if we agree she is more powerful, wiser, stronger, whatever. The fact remains that she is a woman, not a man.
She did play a more important role, and it is there in the books if one wishes to actually read it. Celeborn is not even mentioned in the Councils - Councils that decided the fate of the West, whether good or bad depending on Saruman's betrayal, right up to expelling Sauron from Dol Guldur. If she were to play the womanly role you want to saddle her with, then he would call councils, he would be mentioned as primary lord when sitting with Gandalf. Sauron, Elrond, Cirdan, Glorfindel, etc., but he isn't. Celebrimbor gives Galadriel a ring directly, as he does with Gil-Galad, indicating who among the Elves is most powerful. There was no consideration of gender in the giving.
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Last edited by Morthoron; 05-26-2016 at 09:40 AM.
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