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Old 11-04-2011, 12:03 PM   #13
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 934
Galin has been trapped in the Barrow!
Originally Posted by FlimFlamSam View Post
(...) Also, not all the Lothlorien elves were tree-dwellers. Legolas states that the elves of Lorien did not delve under the ground or build forts of stone before the Shadow came. Meaning they did so afterwards. This is c.1000 or thereabouts.
I agree not all the Galadhrim need have been Tree dwellers, but I don't think they began delving underground or building forts of stone after the Shadow arrived. Concerning Thranduil's folk: 'In fact the subjects of the king mostly lived and hunted in the open woods, and had houses or huts on the ground and in the branches.' The Hobbit

However when the Shadow came Thranduil did delve in the ground 'like a Dwarf' (although in his mind, like Thingol or Finrod I would say) and seek protection with stone. The reader is already aware of Thranduil's halls, or at least The Hobbit was already on bookshelves, and I think Legolas is basically referring to what he knows, based on his own experience, versus what he yet does not know. After Nimrodel is said to live in a house built in a tree: '... for that was the custom of the Elves of Lorien, to dwell in the trees, and maybe it is so still. Therefore they are called the Galadhrim, the Tree-people. Deep in their forest the trees are very great. The people of the woods did not delve in the ground like Dwarves, nor build strong places of stone before the Shadow came.'

And 'maybe' it is so still, but in any case the 'people of the woods' did not delve in the ground like Dwarves unless need drove them -- and so maybe the Galadhrim have as well -- but at this point he has yet to find out for sure -- and he does know that deep in the forest the trees are very great, anticipating the 'city' of trees that the reader will soon encounter.

In short: maybe they still live in trees, but in any case the Silvan folk didn't live underground before the Shadow came. And I think this interpretation can be somewhat supported by the drafts. In an outline published in Lothlorien (Treason of Isengard):

'Make for Lothlorien. Legolas' description The Wood is in winter (...) They lived in houses in trees before the darkling world drove them underground.'
So at first this is a fact. Christopher Tolkien notes

'At this point, then, my father conceived of the Elves of Lothlorien as dwelling underground, like the Elves of Mirkwood. CF. Legolas' later words on p. 255: 'It is said that Linglorel had a house built in the branches of a tree, for that was the manner of the Elves of Lorien, and may be yet (...) And our people [i.e. the Elves of Mirkwood] did not delve in the ground or build fastnesses before the Shadow came.'
But it enters that Legolas does not truly know the Galadhrim's response to the Shadow, and thus he can only note what his people have done. I think this meaning essentially remained, despite the change of 'our people' to the people of the woods.

Gimli responds that in these latter days, a dwelling in trees might be thought safer than sitting on the ground, and so in The Lord of the Rings it is revealed to the reader that the Galadhrim are still the Galadhrim, as they have a fortress in their city of trees, not underground as in Mirkwood, and they live in flets -- and if not all of the Galadhrim, others can still retreat behind the walls where Galadriel and Celeborn reside -- just as the Tawarwaith of Mirkwood can leave their houses and huts to find safety in Thranduil's halls.
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