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Old 10-25-2004, 01:48 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Leaf LotR -- Book 2 - Chapter 07 - The Mirror of Galadriel

This is Galadriel’s chapter! Though we readers were in “the heart of Elvendom” at Cerin Amroth in the previous chapter, the middle of the three Lothlórien chapters concentrates on Galadriel as the heart of the present Elven kingdom, and at the end, we find out the reason – Nenya.

Tolkien introduces the land and its rulers with descriptive writing, though most of the chapter concerns the characters and their interaction. Celeborn is the first to greet the members of the Fellowship, and the relationship between him and his wife is one of the highly interesting aspects of the chapter. They are very different and react quite individually; she is apparently more powerful, yet calls him “the wisest of Elves in Middle-earth and a giver of gifts beyond the power of kings”. Her gaze seems to be a part of her power; not only does she test each member silently, but also shows Gimli “love and understanding” in the “heart of an enemy”. That opens his heart, prompting his gallant reaction and the courtly love which has often been discussed, as well as preparing the way for his friendship with Legolas.

Again, Aragorn’s sharp reprimand, spoken to Boromir, prepares the reader for the latter’s later downfall and echoes the remarks in the previous chapter, that the only evil present here is that which its bearer brings in himself.

Though we read that the Elves sang songs of mourning for Gandalf, none of them are recorded. Frodo’s poem is the only one in this chapter – with Sam’s added stanza.

The Mirror is a mysterious object; if it is “dangerous as a guide of deeds”, just what is its merit in this situation? The statement “Some never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them.” reminds me of the story of Othello, in which the attempt to prevent the fulfilment of prophecy is the very instrument of its fulfilment.

What is the significance of Sam and Frodo’s visions? Which parts are past, present or future?

Though Galadriel foresees the negative effect the destruction of the One Ring will have for her kingdom, she assures Frodo that he is not responsible for that “but only for the doing of your own task”. The chapter ends with her temptation; she passes the test, and in doing so, opens the way for the quest to continue.

What do you think of Galadriel, Celeborn, and Calas Galadon? What is important about this chapter for the story?
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Old 10-25-2004, 04:34 AM   #2
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1420!

Well the intended quotes I was going to show would delve deeper into the Boromir topic of the previous chapter, but just so happens, I realize those quotes are in the next chapter "Farewell to Lorien." So, the anticipation will just have to mount for another week lol. Here's what I got.

Quote:
There is a little bit more on Boromir to point out.
"To me it seemed exceedingly strange," said Boromir. "Maybe it was only a test, and she thought to read our thoughts for her own good purpose; but almost I should have said that she was tempting us and offering what she pretended to have the power to give. It need not be said that I refused to listen. The Men of Minas Tirith are true to their word." But what he thought that the Lady had offered him Boromir did not tell.
I will have to say that Boromir could be right here. The Lady looked each Fellowship member in their eyes, and from the previous paragraphs Merry, Pip, Sam, Frodo all said it seemed like she offered them something. It would seem Galadriel acted as the Ring. Offering the people their desires, what they want. As Boromir said "she pretend to have the power to give," which I would think that's right. She tempted them, but did not have the power to give it to them. As Boromir said "Maybe it was only a test," that's what it appears to be. The Lady just testing the Fellowship members, seeing if they would hold true.

Then we have the wonderful Boromir boasting about the Men of Minas Tirith. It's a pity that we don't know what the Lady offered Boromir (or the others) but we can definately make a logical guess.

Quote:
"No," she said. "I do not counsel you one way or the other. I am not a counsellor. You may learn something, and whether what you see be fair or evil, that may be profitable, and yet it may not. Seeing is both good and perilous.
Here we see the difference between the Elf-lord of Rivendell and the Elf-lady of Lothlorien. She does not counsel, or "contrive plans" to defeat the Enemy. Where Gandalf and Elrond both came up with the plan to beat Sauron. Even though Galadriel does not counsel, what she does show, is in a way "counselling." The Mirror (in both Frodo and Sam) shows a snip of the future, and what is revealed, as Galadriel says, "you may learn something."

I don't have the time to quote the two paragraphs of Sam and Frodo looking into the water, so you will all just have to trust me lol.

In both cases they see the future. Sam sees the devastation of the Shire, he also sees Frodo lying pale cold under a dark cliff (sounds sort of like Shelob). Frodo sees a wizard in white, and since it reminds him of Gandalf, it probably is Gandalf, since from the Appendix Gandalf has just returned to life on the day they view the Mirror of Galadriel. Then Frodo also sees the future doom of Minas Tirith, black sails (Corsairs), a fortress with seven towers, bearing a White Tree as an emblem (Minas Tirith). Then there's smoke and Fire.

Sam after seeing the Mirror wishes to go home, the Lady responds.
Quote:
"You cannot go home alone," said the Lady. "You did not wish to go home without your master before you looked in the Mirror, and yet you knew that evil things might well be happening in the Shire. Remember that the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them. The Mirror is dangerous as a guide of deeds."
Ahh, the "danger" of the Mirror is revealed. It's as if Tolkien is trying to say, it's dangerous to see the future. For Sam's path is with Frodo, all of a suddenly he see's what will happen to the Shire, and he wants to leave to "prevent" it. I can't think of that saying right now, but it has something to do with the future, lol. Also, I think it deals with fate too, Sam's path is with Frodo, if he turns from that path, if he turns away from his "destiny," who knows what will happen.

Finally, just one thing I need to point out, as I found this out just a couple months ago, whilst rereading the chapter.

Quote:
Frodo gazed at the ring with awe...
"Yes," she said divining his thought, "it is not permitted to spek of it and Elrond could not do so...
"He suspects, but does not know-not yet. Do you not see now wherefore your coming is to us as the footstep of Doom? For if you fail, then we are laid bare to the Enemy. Yet if you succeed, then out power is diminished, and Lothlorien will fade, and the tites of Time will sweep it away. We must depart into the West, or dwindle to a rustic folk of dell and cave, slowly to forget and to be forgotten."
Quote:
"And did you not see and recognize the ring upon my finger? Did you see my ring?" she asked turning agin to Sam.
"No, Lady, he answered.....
What I just learned was the three-elven rings are invisible while on their bearers finger. Frodo can see it because he wields the one ring, and it only goes to resemble the fact that if the One is destroyed, the Three will lose their powers. Then Lothlorien will fade...etc. That is why in the Grey Havens, Sam then sees Vilya on Elrond's hands, not something important, just something I found out a couple months ago.

Anyway, some to bring up, this just goes and reinforces the fact that look at what the Elves are giving up. They're giving up this wonderful home of Lothlorien to see Middle-Earth restored back to peace. Really amazing, and courageous, if you think about it.
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Old 10-25-2004, 05:57 AM   #3
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I suppose I have a slightly different take on what Frodo & Sam see in the Mirror - though I think Boromir88 makes important points regarding it

There are a few significant points in this chapter, specifically centred around the central event - the Mirror. This is one point in the story where the events in the early drafts are enlightening in the context of the finished version.

As in the movie, the original idea was to have Frodo alone looking into the Mirror, & he was to have witnessed the destruction of the Shire. Tolkien decides against this, & introduces Sam as recipient of these sights. Why?

Sam sees the Shire - his home, what it was & what has happened (or will happen) to it. This shows where Sam’s heart is. His vision strays for a moment to Frodo & the journey, but almost immediately it comes back to the Shire, his true concern. Frodo, however, sees nothing of the Shire. His vision is of the greater world, ‘the great history in which he had become involved’. The only thing he sees which relates to his ‘old’ life is Bilbo - but not Bilbo back in Bag End: he sees Bilbo the exile from the Shire, in Rivendell, lost among his papers - which will turn out to be not simply his own journal, but also his ‘Translations from the Elvish’, The Silmarillion. Sam is still (& will always remain) a wanderer from the Shire who will return home in the end. Frodo, even at this point in his story, is a permanent exile, for whom there can be no going back. He has chosen another world, one which touches the mortal world only tangentially, & is splitting from it with increasing rapidity.

Sam has wished to see Elf magic, because the Elven world is alien to him, a place of wonder & novelty, where ‘magic’ happens, genies offer three wishes, trees walk, carpets fly & pumpkins are transformed into coaches at the wave of a Fairy Godmother’s wand. Frodo doesn’t desire to see Elf magic, because Faerie is not like that for him - he is more like an exile returning home. He is ‘content’ with Faerie just the way it is - he has no desire for it to start playing ‘tricks’. Sam wants to be entertained by Faerie & then go home. Frodo is home, finally, & is about to be exiled from it in order to take the Ring to the Fire, & if he succeeds in doing so he will destroy his home. Sam is on the Quest to save his home, Frodo is on the Quest (he now realises) to destroy his home.

We also see again how the Ring begins to grow on Frodo: he asks Galadriel ‘I am permitted to wear the One Ring (‘NO YOU AREN’T!!!!!): why cannot I see all the others & know the thoughts of those that wear them?’

Finally, a point I think I brought up elsewhere & I can’t at the moment remember which essay I originally read it in: Galadriel says that if she took the Ring ‘All shall love me & despair. This is significant - Sauron is served by slaves who are motivated by fear. Galadriel’s ‘slaves’ would serve her out of love. She would be more dangerous than Sauron, more powerful, because while Sauron’s slaves would wish to be free of his rule, Galadriel’s never would. Sauron’s slaves would slay themselves out of terror of him, Galadriel’s out of love for her. We can see here the potential for a terrible fundamentalism in her followers: slaying others & sacrificing their own lives at her wish. I don’t think Tolkien pursues this idea anywhere else - his fanatics are either driven by fear or desire. But ‘love’ as a motivating force for atrocities is at least a potential danger in Middle earth. All that said, it is strange that her taking & wielding of the Ring could inspire ‘love’ in her subjects - in what way would they ‘love’ her?

Boromir's other point regarding the invisibility of Nenya is reminiscent of Bombadil & the One - both he & Galadriel seem more powerful than the respective Rings. But, back to the 'magic' question - is it for the same reason? Is the same kind of power being used by them both, or are they using different powers to produce the same effect?
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Old 10-25-2004, 10:18 AM   #4
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Estelyn wrote:
Quote:
This is Galadriel’s chapter!
Just as the seventh chapter of the previous book was Tom Bombadil's chapter. I think that your repetition of that introduction points to some important analogies between I-7 and II-7. In both cases we are in the middle of a three-chapter detour from the main plot, in a safe haven in a forest (which Lorien certainly is on the surface, despite any underyling peril). And just as Goldberry is often forgotten, Celeborn seems often to fall by the wayside as it were. Celeborn is an interesting figure. If we are to go by the writings from shortly after LotR, he is a Sinda and a relation of Thingol; in some very late writings he becomes a Teler from Alqualonde.

Particularly with the former story, Lorien becomes a sort of echo of Doriath. The power of Nenya plays something of the same role as Melian's power, putting a kind of protection over the realm. As in Doriath (and as has been noted), there is something of a "provincial" outlook, for lack of a better term. This analogy is also supported by the story of Aragorn's meeting with Arwen, which of course echoes Beren's with Luthien. One wonders to what extent Celeborn is responsible for this. If he is a Sinda then he is at once closer to Doriath and to the Silvan Elves of his realm than Galadriel, a Noldo in every account.

Galadriel's story also fluctuated considerably. Like Celeborn, she was invented for LotR - but Tolkien seemed to consider her a major personality in the Legendarium, and expended considerable effort trying to find a place for her in the Silmarillion. The earlier story is that she rebelled along with the rest of the Noldor, though apparently for better reasons than many others, and returned to Middle-earth. In one account she is too proud to accept the pardon of the Valar and that's why she remains after the War of Wrath. In another (and this I think fits best with her portrayal in LotR) she, being the only remaining leader of the rebellion, is not pardoned by the Valar. This story lends great significance to her "passing of the test" in this chapter, for by refusing the Ring she finally gains re-admittance to the West. But in the same late writings that make Celeborn a Valinorean, the story is altered so that Galadriel does not join the rebellion but leaves Valinor with Celeborn for reasons of her own - and she would have been permitted to leave had her voyage not coincided with Feanor's flight. These three different accounts generate quite different readings of the chapter at hand.

One miscellaneous bit from this chapter that I find curious is Merry's reaction to Galadriel's gaze:

Quote:
'That's funny,' said Merry. 'Almost exactly what I felt myself; only, only well, I don't think I'll say any more,' he ended lamely.
What's Merry's secret? Or is it nothing?
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Old 10-25-2004, 10:58 AM   #5
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One impression that I would like to point out before it slips my mind completely is regarding Galadriel’s temptation the fellowship:

Quote:
All of them, it seemed, had faired alike: each had felt that he was offered a choice between a shadow full of fear that lay ahead, and something that he greatly desired….”
Until now I had always felt that Galadriel was testing the character of each in the fellowship with a purely benevolent motive, but at this reading I had the distinct notion that she was weighing her own temptation at the same time, and that her impetus for searching their thoughts might have been prompted by both the proximity of the Ring and her own desire for it. If she had found them any weaker I wonder if it would have affected the ultimate outcome of her test.

She knew of their purpose, and that they sought to destroy it, or be caught trying. Can't help but wonder if it were also a choice between "a shadow full of fear that lay ahead and something greatly desired" for her as well!

Edit: This is be no means to say that she would be impolite and seize the opportunity, unless of course it was "given her freely" and she deemed it necessary. If Elrond, Gandalf and Aragorn trusted her, who am I to have doubts. I like to think though, that she found in the company the inspiration she needed to resist. (She has seemed to have mellowed a bit since her UT days.)

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Old 10-25-2004, 11:15 AM   #6
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Galadriel's Chapter

I really enjoy this chapter. Whatever people may say about Goldenberry or Arwen, Galadriel and Eowyn are the only strong women in the story who even approach the status as major characters.

There are several scenes that I think PJ captures especially well, and this chapter contains one of them: the tempting of Galadriel after Frodo and Sam look in the mirror. In fact, I remember approaching this section of the chapter last week and wondering to myself if PJ altered it much from the book (been a while since I read the books). I was hoping that this one was true to the original because I enjoyed the scene in the movie so much. I was pleasently surprised that the paragraph in the story and the scene from the movie were so close.

The idea that Galadriel and Elrond keep their realms safe through the power of their rings leads me to wonder how Cirdan has maintained the havens since he gave the third ring to Gandalf 1500 years before. My guess would be his distance from Mordor - any further and you're swimming.
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Old 10-25-2004, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldarion
There are several scenes that I think PJ captures especially well, and this chapter contains one of them: the tempting of Galadriel after Frodo and Sam look in the mirror. In fact, I remember approaching this section of the chapter last week and wondering to myself if PJ altered it much from the book (been a while since I read the books). I was hoping that this one was true to the original because I enjoyed the scene in the movie so much. I was pleasently surprised that the paragraph in the story and the scene from the movie were so close.
I think this is a perfect example of how fans of the book can differ in the way they 'see' events. I have to say the movie depiction was, for me, all wrong. There's a wonderful analysis of the movie scene in Brian Rosebury's 'Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon:

Quote:
In the book, Galadriel as she imagines herself transformed by the Ring seems to Frodo 'terrible & beautiful' in the light of her own Ring Nenya, which she holds aloft; the fact that Sam, who is present, does not even see this ('I saw a star through your finger') confirms that Frodo's Ring-heightened perception is at work, & that Galadriel's terrible beauty is grounded in her actual charismatic presence. In the film, Sam is eliminated, & by means of uncharicteristically crude visual & auditory distortions (which make nonsense of her line 'All shall love me & despair!') Galadriel is literally transformed into a roaring seagreen hellhag: she staggers when the effect wears off.
I often wonder how much of what she actually does at that moment is simply aimed at showing Frodo what she would become, & not some overwhelming desire that sweeps over her.

Still, as I say, its all down to each individual's interpretation - as it is with so much else.
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Old 10-25-2004, 12:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Aiwendil
.

One miscellaneous bit from this chapter that I find curious is Merry's reaction to Galadriel's gaze:



What's Merry's secret? Or is it nothing?

Wistful thoughts of Estella Bolger maybe?
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Old 10-25-2004, 12:53 PM   #9
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1420! Elf Magic vs. The Deceits of Evil

There's one quote in this chapter that strikes me as the difference between Elf Magic and "evil" magic.

Sam wonders about "Elf-Magic" and later Galadriel says...
Quote:
"And you?" she said, turning to Sam. "For this is what your folk would call magic, I believe, though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy."
It's apparent Galadriel (and probably the other Elves) don't call their powers "magic." To the mortal races (Hobbits, Men...etc) it's odd, it's a power they don't have, so they term it as "magic." Where it seems the Elves who have that power, don't see it as "magic" but more of as a "gift," or something they were born with.

Another thing, what's interesting is Galadriel makes a distinction between "Elf Magic" and "evil magic." She calls it the "deceits of the Enemy." If you think of Saruman and Sauron their magic is very deceitful. If you look at deceitful, there's other terms like "fake, artificial, dirty work." Then we look at Saruman, his magic is very deceitful, he makes it sound sweet and "honeyed." But, really all it is, is "fake promises." He uses his voice to persuade people, he fills them with "deceitful hopes" to get them to fight for him (Dunlanders) or to get people to join him (Gandalf). Then we look at Sauron. I think we can go right to the One Ring. This would be considered "magical" by Sam, or some "non-magical" person, it grants them invisibility, command Sauron's Armies, command the Wraiths...etc. However, that is very deceitful, it offers you your greatest desires, but is very deceitful. It may grant your wishes, but it doesn't show you the "bad" part. Look at Galadriel, she wanted to wield the Ring to cast down Sauron, but she knew that wasn't likely, and so she passed the test and refused the Ring. Look at Faramir, he said he would not pick it up if it lie on the road for he doesn't want anything the Ring has to offer. It will "trick" you into taking it just so it can get back to it's master. So the Ring is also very deceitful.
And there's even more deceit, or "artificiality" about the ring, in the fact of being invisible. Sure you're invisible, but you aren't to the Ringwraiths, who just happen to be Sauron's servants sent out to find the Ring. So more deceit.

Now look at "Elf Magic." Elf Magic, some examples the flood of the River Bruinen, Lothlorien, Mirror of Galadriel. These aren't anything of deceit. The Flood was caused by Elrond to stop the Nazgul from crossing. Lothlorien is a peaceful, beautiful place without a "blemish," it's like you're in a dream. The Mirror of Galadriel shows you the past, present, or future. Shows you what has happened, what will happen, or what could happen.

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Old 10-25-2004, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Boromir88

As Boromir said "Maybe it was only a test," that's what it appears to be. The Lady just testing the Fellowship members, seeing if they would hold true.
The answer to this is found a little later in the chapter, when Frodo offers Galadriel the Ring. She says, "Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting." So yes, she was testing them. I think that what is important is not what she was doing, however, but why she was doing it. Just before Galadriel tested the Fellowship, she said, "your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true." (One of my favorite lines in the book.) So maybe she was seeing whether all of them intended to remain true? (Hilde made some interesting comments on this, as well.)

On Boromir, I think that perhaps she offered him the Ring. He says she offers something, and is this not what Boromir covets most? Sam sees this most clearly of all, perhaps, and shows it when speaking to Faramir. ("He wanted the Enemy's Ring!") Or, maybe he was offered something to do with the defeat of Sauron, and "rule" over Minas Tirith (for which he sees the Ring as a nearly-essential tool). I can see why Boromir would be extremely defensive about it. He already has premonitions about entering Lorien in the first place, and now Galadriel, who he has very likely heard tales about, is offering what he wants most.

Contrast this to what she may have offered Frodo: relief from the Ring, perhaps? Though the Ring is not yet such a heavy burden on Frodo as it would come to be, many times he has shown his reluctance to take (and keep!) the Ring, even though he said he would take it to destroy it. He offered it to Gandalf first, and then at Rivendell he expresses his wish to be able to remain there. Now he is offering it to Galadriel. Whether Frodo actually failed at Mt. Doom (time enough for that discussion then), had Galadriel taken it Frodo really would have failed. Elrond specifically says "On him alone any charge is laid: neither to cast away the Ring, nor to deliver it to any servant of the enemy nor indeed to let any handle it, save members of the Company and the Council, and only then in gravest need." At any rate, Galadriel says to Frodo, "You have preceived my thourhg more clearly than many that are accounted wise." Had Galadriel offered Frodo relief from his burden, perhaps Frodo would have interpreted this to mean that Galadriel actually did desire the Ring.

So, in sharp contrast of each other: Boromir, desiring to have the Ring, and Frodo, desiring to be rid of it!
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Old 10-25-2004, 04:14 PM   #11
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Natural/Supernatural

Boromir88 brought up a great point about the difference between "Elf-Magic" and "Evil Magic." It's evident that the Elves are very close to nature, so it seems to me that the Elf-Magic is a sort of natural magic, whereas Evil Magic is more supernatural.

The Elves' magic is based off of that which they can create inherently -- Galadriel's Mirror, for example. She seems to empower or "activate" the Mirror by breathing on it. The elven cloaks, lembas, and rope which we see in the next chapter all have magical qualities: they respectively can make the wearer all but invisible, can sustain a person for a long time, and can support great weights and untie when necessary. To quote Mr. Hedgethistle over in the Music and Magic in Middle Earth thread:

Quote:
The way I like to think about the magical items, moments, places and persons in M-E is through analogy with our modern way of controlling and ordering the world: technology. Elves have a technique that they use in making rope which means that it comes untied when you need it to. This is perfectly sensible and normal to them but unknown to Sam, who calls it 'magic'. In the same manner, Sauron knows how to make the One Ring; his precise technique and motivation are different, but the process is similar -- he has a technique that is unknown to others, with the result that it appears magical.
As Fordim points out, the magic, whether for good or evil, is like technology. There are those who know how it works, and can make it work for them, and then there are those who do not have this knowledge, and it seems amazing, almost magical, to them.

So when does the natural become the supernatural? When corruption occurs. Sources of Elven power are even natural in appearance: the basin of the Mirror is upon a base carved like a tree, and Nenya resembles a star. To the Elves, nature is power. Since the Elven Rings are closely tied into nature, they are not as "binding" as the One Ring. Twice, Elven Rings were given away freely and for the better good: Gil-Galad gave Vilya to Elrond, and Cirdan gave Narya to Gandalf. With the Elven or natural magic, what you see is not always what you get, but it is not malicious. The supernatural sort of magic controls others, as is seen with the One Ring, and also with the nine rings of Men and the voice of Saruman. They deceive, as Boromir said. They contort reality, or try and bend people's minds to their will. When the boundaries of nature are overstepped and the domination of others becomes the goal, natural becomes supernatural, and the potential of good withers.

I do hope this was coherent; I'm trying to get these thoughts out before I have to leave for orchestra.
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Old 10-25-2004, 08:23 PM   #12
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Oh, indeed, there is much here to discuss. Like davem, I must register my disappointement with the Blanchett Galadriel--but not to disparage those who were happy with the movie's queen of the elves. I was disappointed on two levels. First, that she appeared to look so much younger than Elrond. I know the text tells us that there was no sign of age upon either Celeborn or Galadriel, yet I could not help but wonder why Galadriel's son in law, Elrond looked older than she, with his receding hair line and furrows of worry. I wondered why we could not have a more mature but handsome and beautiful Galadriel, perhaps played by someone such as Susan Sarandron, or Michelle Pfieffer, or even Angelica Huston (with blonde hair). An older Catherine Deneuve is what I would have wanted. Also, the pyrotechnics of the temptation scene disappointed me. We had Gandalf's great scene in Bag End where Ian McClellan handled the scene himself, without any special effects. Why did Galadriel's temptation have to be delivered via the skills of someone other than the actress? But this is a diversion and, I repeat, my own personal response. I think I can understand how someone who thrills to the special effects of movies would enjoy this Galadriel.

About book-Galadariel I have much to say, particularly cocerning her role with the Mirror, which several of you have already admirably discussed..

Quote:
Estelyn posted
Her gaze seems to be a part of her power; not only does she test each member silently, but also shows Gimli ?love and understanding? in the ?heart of an enemy?. That opens his heart, prompting his gallant reaction and the courtly love which has often been discussed, as well as preparing the way for his friendship with Legolas.
Quote:
davem posted:
Galadriel says that if she took the Ring ?All shall love me & despair. This is significant - Sauron is served by slaves who are motivated by fear. Galadriel?s ?slaves? would serve her out of love . She would be more dangerous than Sauron, more powerful, because while Sauron?s slaves would wish to be free of his rule, Galadriel?s never would. Sauron?s slaves would slay themselves out of terror of him, Galadriel?s out of love for her. We can see here the potential for a terrible fundamentalism in her followers: slaying others & sacrificing their own lives at her wish. I don?t think Tolkien pursues this idea anywhere else - his fanatics are either driven by fear or desire. But ?love? as a motivating force for atrocities is at least a potential danger in Middle earth. All that said, it is strange that her taking & wielding of the Ring could inspire ?love? in her subjects - in what way would they ?love? her?
Quote:
Hilde Bracegirdle posted
Until now I had always felt that Galadriel was testing the character of each in the fellowship with a purely benevolent motive, but at this reading I had the distinct notion that she was weighing her own temptation at the same time, and that her impetus for searching their thoughts might have been prompted by both the proximity of the Ring and her own desire for it. If she had found them any weaker I wonder if it would have affected the ultimate outcome of her test.
Quote:
Boromir88 posted
Now look at "Elf Magic." Elf Magic, some examples the flood of the River Bruinen, Lothlorien, Mirror of Galadriel. These aren't anything of deceit. The Flood was caused by Elrond to stop the Nazgul from crossing. Lothlorien is a peaceful, beautiful place without a "blemish," it's like you're in a dream. The Mirror of Galadriel shows you the past, present, or future. Shows you what has happened, what will happen, or what could happen.
Quote:
Encaitare posted
So when does the natural become the supernatural? When corruption occurs. Sources of Elven power are even natural in appearance: the basin of the Mirror is upon a base carved like a tree, and Nenya resembles a star. To the Elves, nature is power.
Quote:
Firefoot posted
The answer to this is found a little later in the chapter, when Frodo offers Galadriel the Ring. She says, "Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting." So yes, she was testing them. I think that what is important is not what she was doing, however, but why she was doing it. Just before Galadriel tested the Fellowship, she said, "your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true." (One of my favorite lines in the book.) So maybe she was seeing whether all of them intended to remain true? (Hilde made some interesting comments on this, as well.)
I am going to step back from all these approaches for a bit and suggest something different for Galadriel's power. I am not going to be as shocking as davem when he, in the previous chapter, drew a similarity between Boromir and the Nazi youth who augmented Hitler's armied. But at least initially my comparison might be shocking.

Most of us here, I think, are aware that Tolkien was drawing heavily on imagery of the Virigin Mary in his depiction of the elven Queen. (This, I suspect, makes Celeborn similar to St. Joseph, the patron saint of cuckholded husbands and in some way might account for his seeming disappearance in the face of Galadriel's power. To my mind, the ancient Catholics had a good sense of humour.) Yet I have been uneasy with this artistic attempt to combine the medieval courtly regime with the veneration of Mary. Mary is for me, as she is for Diane Schoemperlen in her recent novel (Our Lady of the Lost and Found), "the perfect house guest" rather than a female available for male adoration. But this is really a digression....

I am going to suggest that Galadriel's role in this chapter, particularly in her seeing into the heart of the members of the Fellowship and in allowing Sam and Frodo to view the Mirror, is more akin to an ancient role in the Old Testament. Galadriel is an adversary, not in the sense of being an opponent, but in the sense of challenging human activity for the purposes of trying it, of making it firmer and more resolute. Those of you who know the old Hebrew Bible might know the term satan, not as a diabolical agent who opposes God but as an angel who, not necessarily malevolent, opposes human desires for the purpose of warning them against a bad path.

This would explain why Galadriel claims she will not give counsel, as she is not a counsellor.

Quote:
I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another, can I avail; but in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be.
The effect of her gaze is rendered thus:

Quote:
Then they sighed and felt suddenly weary, as those who have been questioned long and deeply, though no words had been spoken openly.
How does Sam describe to Frodo his experience?

Quote:
She seemed to be looking inside me and asking me what I would do if she gave me the chance...
Merry says it was almost exactly what he felt. And the others agree.

Quote:
All of them, it seemed, had fared alike: each had felt that he was offerred a choice between a shadow full of fear that lay ahead, and something that he greatly desired ...
It is Boromir who speaks the less allusively of what Galadriel offers:

Quote:
but almost I should have said that she was tempting us, and offering what she pretended to have the power to give. It need not be said that I refused to listen.
If indeed Galadriel is testing the Fellowship, as the satan urged Yahweh to test Job, in order to determine Job's true righteousness, we can only wish that at this point Boromir had had the courage of mind to listen to what Galadriel was holding out to him .

This is also the test of the Mirror of Galadriel, that she shows Sam and Frodo what they most desire, as a lesson in their true devotion. Sam can save The Shire only by, at this point, not succumbing to his desires and returning to it. Yet it is not a desire he must turn aside completely.

With Frodo, of course, the test of his desires becomes also a test of her own. Yet I think it is important to recognise that Galadriel's powers lie in making the members of the Fellowship more aware of their own role and desires, if they choose to listen. It is a test of self-knowledge and their own integrity. This is the true perilousness of the perilous realm: to be sought after by the greatest of your own desires, yet to withstand them.
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Old 10-26-2004, 12:53 AM   #13
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Zipping in and out, enjoying the read but with no time to respond in an organized way. Still, a few ideas off the top of my head...

Bethberry, how interesting that you point to the Hebrew Bible in your analysis of Galadriel. In my personal reading of the text, I have often sensed this connection with the ancient Hebrew text. Your description is apropos:

Quote:
Galadriel is an adversary, not in the sense of being an opponent, but in the sense of challenging human activity for the purposes of trying it, of making it firmer and more resolute.
While acknowledging the aspect of Satan that you bring up and the possibility of applying it in this context, my reading of these passages is somewhat different than your own. Look more carefully at the quotation above. You have given us the perfect description of the biblical "prophet": the individual who seeks to compel people and society to search within themselves and to come to grips with what they find.

I do not know if you are familiar with the works of Abraham Heschel, particularly his two volumes entitled The Prophets. They are among my favorites. These books explore many themes which I've always felt also applied to Galadriel: sensitivity and awareness of evil; the inevitable tension between admonition and compassion (both of which I see encapsualated in her behavior and words); the message of doom versus the message of hope.

Of course, the Hebrew prophets were not the only ones who performed such a function. I think we can sense the same in medieval mystics like Theresa, Birgitta, and Mechthild; even the dervishes of the Moslem world; and the shamans of the Ural-altaic peoples.

Whenever I read the interaction between Galadriel and Frodo, I have this odd sense that she is an Elf who has somehow ascended to another realm and learned something of the "secrets" there and thus has gained the ability to challenge hostile powers or spirits. Eru's name is, of course, never mentioned in LotR, and the Valar themselves seem very distant. Yet in Galadriel's presence I have the clear feeling that Frodo has a glimpse of what many of us today would call 'holy'. Davem's mention of faerie may be akin to this: perhaps we are describing the same thing with different words.

Lorien is the point on earth that seems closest to the West and Aman (even more than the Havens), and Galadriel seems to be its "gatekeeper". The fact that her own past is so flawed makes this all the more interesting. In her presence, Frodo of the Shire must have felt a bit like Dorothy awakening to the realization that this isn't Kansas anymore!

Strange thoughts at 2 in the morning when I should be in bed asleep!

One last impression.... We often speak of Galadriel as the prime example of a powerful female character in LotR. Yet sometimes I wonder about this. To me, at times, she seems almost genderless, if such a thing is possible. (Perhaps this ties in with the Virgin Mary, an issue that others can better address?)

Does anyone else view Galadriel as "genderless", or do you see her in a different, more feminine, light?
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Old 10-26-2004, 10:39 AM   #14
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I would be remiss if I didnt throw down my opinion on my fav. chaper(s) in the books. Perhaps JRRT was hinting at allusions to Mary in her character, I can see why there would be some who draw that conclusion. I would not call her genderless either. For me, from read #1 back in the day, the wonder and interest came from the fact that here is an elf who was and Elf. The personification of what was being laid down in the treatment of Lorien itself. An embodiment of the Elder days. As if it werent wonderous enough for us to get a glimpse of a bygone time/imagination walking with hobbits in ME, here we have a moment to ponder an even more glorious/heroic age that is more ancient than what we are experiencing.

This was later reinforced by JRRT's choice of treatment of the character evolution in The Silm. Here was an Elf Lady who is in ME, and remembers walking in a Valinor that was illuminated by the Two Trees. The same Elf who turned down a request from Feanor himself. Strong woman indeed. Apprenticing with Melian for how many years..?

Her temptation of the fellowship was for me logical. She is not a councilor as already proven. She was a major player in events. Her participation in the White councils shows this. If she was at Rivendell at the time of the formation of the fellowship i could see her sitting down with each and every member, doing what she did in Lorien, testing and challenging hearts...

As for elf magic /technology - yes i agree most of what Sam calls magic is simply a result of a culture of people who live for thousands of years and have gained an Understanding of things in their world. But i would say there is 5-10% that is Mystery that probably comes from their Fea.

The movie treatment - Blanchett as a choice - ok - could have been better. Her temptation scene treatment - rediculous. I do like PJ's treatment of Lorien itself a wonderfull quick glimpse (too quick) at the "other side" of the elvish experience - most scenes at night with the wonderfull lighting, dangerous, intriguing, Mysterious.
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Old 10-26-2004, 11:46 AM   #15
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A very hurried and rushed reply....

Quote:
[bChild[/b] posted
We often speak of Galadriel as the prime example of a powerful female character in LotR. Yet sometimes I wonder about this. To me, at times, she seems almost genderless, if such a thing is possible. (Perhaps this ties in with the Virgin Mary, an issue that others can better address?)
hmm. We get into many kinds of problems here. Galadriel had a daughter and grandchildren. She has a husband, but as Estelyn and Aiwendil suggest, his depiction is mixed--Galadriel even 'corrects' him at one point, does she not?

Quote:
"... And if it were possible, one would say that at the lat Gandalf fell from wisdom into folly, going needlessly into the net of Moria." [spoken by Celeborn]

He would be rash indeed that said that thing," said Galadriel gravely.
My understanding of the Catholic tradition of Mary is that she remained a virgin even after bearing Christ. (The concept of virginity is related to purity rather than corporeal fact.) Some traditions say that she and Joseph never had children; others, that they did. Others more knowledgeable than I about the Catholic tradition will have more to say, but to me Mary is usually represented without the stain of human sexuality but nevertheless has gender as the Mother of God.

Particularly in the interactions with Gimli, Galadriel is represented as part of the courtly love tradition (for Tolkien's view of this, see letter #43 to his son Michael). Tolkien describes the best of the tradition as " the highest ideal of love between man and woman." Particularly with the exchange of Galadriel's lock of hair, which could easily be an eroticised object, I think the characterisation stays firmly within a gendered depiction of Galadriel, but one well removed from sexual connotations.. But then, Tolkien's tone removes much sexual connotation from his characterisation. Perhaps it is this high tone ("free from dross", if I am remembering jHelen's thread correctly) which creates your sense of a genderless Galadriel?

To my regret, I do not know Abraham Herchel's [i]The Prophets[/b]--something I should redress I think. My understanding of prophets is that they carry God's message to others, they speak for God in His name. Would this be possible in a work of Middle-earth, particularly one where Eru's name is not mentioned? This gets us into the realm of Tolkien's allusions ("consciously so in the revision" as I recall Littlemanpoet's excellent thread). Given that LotR does not make explicit the cosmology of TheSilm, I myself can not see Galadriel as a phrophet (prohetess?) in this text. For this reason, I preferred to think of her as a challenger who helps stimulate the members of the Fellowship to reflect upon their roles and the self-knowledge and self-discipline which will be required of them.

davem has asked me, when he repped my previous post, to pursue my ideas further and explain what exactly Galadriel is up to, but alas I have no more time now to devote to posts--later tonight perhaps.

I'm sure that others will take up Child's very interesting idea that Lothlorien is somehow closer to the West than the rest of Middle-earth.
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
To my regret, I do not know Abraham Herchel's [i]The Prophets[/b]--something I should redress I think. My understanding of prophets is that they carry God's message to others, they speak for God in His name. Would this be possible in a work of Middle-earth, particularly one where Eru's name is not mentioned? This gets us into the realm of Tolkien's allusions ("consciously so in the revision" as I recall Littlemanpoet's excellent thread). Given that LotR does not make explicit the cosmology of TheSilm, I myself can not see Galadriel as a phrophet (prohetess?) in this text. For this reason, I preferred to think of her as a challenger who helps stimulate the members of the Fellowship to reflect upon their roles and the self-knowledge and self-discipline which will be required of them.
Bethberry -

Heschel's ideas are complex and difficult to convey in a concise manner. His two-volume study, first published in 1962, was widely read among both Jewish and Christian scholars and is today regarded as a classic. He is a theologian who writes like a poet: this can be clearly seen in his popular volume God in Search of Man, which I think you might find especially enjoyable.

Heschel did not deny the reality of revelation to the Hebrew prophets, but the emphasis of his own study is very different. Perhaps I can give you a taste of what Heschel meant (and, as a side line, what I mean by applying the term prophet with a little "p" to Galadriel) by throwing out just a few quotes from his introduction:

Quote:
The prophet is a person, not a microphone......The prophet's task is to convey a divine view, yet as a person he is a point of view. He speaks from the perspective of God as perceived from the perspective of his own situation. We must seek to understand not only the views he expounded but also the attitudes he embodied: his own position, feeling, response--not only what he said but also what he lived; the private, the intimate dimension of the word, the subjective side of the message.....

The prophet is not only a prophet. He is also poet, teacher, ...social critic, moralist. There has been a tendency to see the essence and chief significance of prophecy in the display of one or other of these aspects. Yet this is a misapprehension of the intrinsic nature of prophecy.....

Heschel's stress is not on revelation but response. He is looking at the individual who has struggled with questions on another plane of being, one who has stepped into a world beyond the commonplace, yet who now returns and, because of that struggle, is able to combat hostile powers or spirits.

Doesn't such a description fit Galadriel? She is a prophet with a small "p" reacting from the depths of her own experience, able to interpret the reality of unseen things because she has struggled with them herself. Galadriel is certainly not a direct spokesmen for Eru, but she has grappled with things that others scarcely know exist, something which others sense. I certainly felt that in my own reading. Galadriel knows more about the West and the music of creation than most of those whom she deals with, even among the Elves.

Just as Elvish art looks like "magic" to most of us, so too a hobbit like Samwise would have a hard time truly comprehending Galadriel's past life: her experience in the West, how the great events of the Silm touched her life for good or evil, and the degree of understanding and wisdom she has gained. Moreover, Galadriel has taken such a tortured route to get to the place where she is now: the point where she can actually reject the Ring. Her spirit pervades Lorien, and it is this spirit that compels each of the Fellowship to look inside themselves and ask difficult, even disturbing questions. If we leave aside the question of revelation, that is surely the central function of a prophet. It is not a matter of judging the person or offering a complete assessment of what is going to happen. Instead, it is suggesting possibilities and inviting another person to examine the things inside their own soul in terms of those possibilities. This is what Boromir, and also Samwise and Frodo, found so challenging, even frightening. To put it bluntly, Galadriel is a very "scary" figure. She is someone who makes us look in the mirror and confront ourselves. She also seems quite different than any of the other female characters whom Tolkien developed in either LotR or Silm. Why is this, or has my mind been twisted by the scenes in PJ's move? I would love to hear other views.

In terms of Galadriel's gender....yes, she certainly had marriage and a family. The marriage, however, is also depicted in a manner that is unusual for Tolkien. At the end of the story, we aren't sure where or when or even if she and her husband will come together. I can't think of too many "good guys/gals" in Tolkien who voluntarily separate themselves from their spouse! Tolkien is very careful to keep many of his characters single precisely because he does not want them to have the responsibilities of wife and hearth that would tie them down. "Good" married couples just don't go running off in two separate directions in Middle-earth. But once again, Galadriel is different.

And sorry for running off in this particular direction instead of focusing on the chapter as a whole. But I always have the feeling that she and Frodo stand at the heart of this chapter, and everything else is secondary.
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C7A
One last impression.... We often speak of Galadriel as the prime example of a powerful female character in LotR. Yet sometimes I wonder about this. To me, at times, she seems almost genderless, if such a thing is possible. (Perhaps this ties in with the Virgin Mary, an issue that others can better address?)

Does anyone else view Galadriel as "genderless", or do you see her in a different, more feminine, light?
Mary is often considered the absolute ideal of motherhood, hence, definitely not genderless. If (to preclude confusion and facilitate discussion) I may summarize the main differing views, so that those who are not Catholic-- especially our beloved and passionate protestants-- might have a doorway to Tolkien's likely outlook, in the hopes that there might be respectful understanding all around. First, a verse often discussed regarding of Mary's virginity is Matthew 1:24 & 25
Quote:
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.
Both sides agree that Mary and Joseph were, clearly, separate 'til Jesus was born and that Joseph has no genetic claim to Jesus. But afterward? The key phrase that gets argued over (and over and over-- but of course, not here on the Downs ) is: "did not know her til she had brought forth ", the key word being 'til'. Upon this little three-letter word hinges great and profound matters into which we will not delve on the Downs, but here is the essence of the debate:

Catholics hold that not only didn't Joseph know mary 'til" she brought forth her firstborn son, but that Joseph didn't know her afterwards, either. In contrast, Protestants hold that once Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph entered into normal marital relations and Mary had children after Jesus. In order to support this they often refer to Mark 6:3, as follows:
Quote:
Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?”
Catholics respond saying that "brothers and sisters" are debatable terms and may also refer to half-brothers, half-sisters, and/ or cousins. Protestants reply: "Half brothers, yes; they both had Mary as a mother, but Jesus' father was God, and the rest had Joseph as a father." Catholics reply, "No, these were children of Joseph by a previous marriage, and half-brothers via the name of Joseph only."

I don't know Greek so don't ask me.

Okay, so that's the debate and we can leave it there, right? (Right?) So, why on earth do I bring all this up, risking wrath all around, from Protestants, Catholics, AND The Barrow Wight to boot?

Because either way you look at it, Mary had a houseful of children. Either they were Joseph's by a previous marriage, in which case she generously adopted and cared for Four Older Boys plus several sisters. (Yikes!) Or-- they were her own, and she bore them to Joseph. Whichever doctrinal approach you prefer, you must acknowledge the following: she had a houseful of children, for whom she cooked, cleaned, hauled water, did laundry, taught scriptures, prayed over them and with them, and all the rest of those things that hebrew families did in those days; she was very family oriented and very maternal. Hence very feminine. Just to show that all this is no mistake, on Golgotha, John adopted her as his mother. John had known her for three years and was no fool... she must have been a great mom. Nothing genderless here.

She is clearly listed in Acts as being present in the upper room, which to me implies she was probably still there at Pentecost. Simply put, that means spiritual power, and a lot of it. Yet she is hardly mentioned again in Acts after that. Like Anna, one can easily imagine her devoting herself to a retired life of prayer and hidden power. So here we have a maternal, respected, powerful presence, yet reserved and retiring.

I would say the same thing about Galadriel. She exercises her queenly power by supernaturally protecting Lorien from the gaze of Sauron. She is a quiet power; reticent; hidden; yet formidable. Elrond is much easier to find and meet than Galadriel; all her power is hidden from sight. Yet neither does her power reduce her femininity. If I may jump forward to Ithilien, to recall Sam's description of her:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Gamgee
Beautiful she is, sir! Lovely! Sometimes like a great tree in flower, sometimes like a white daffadowndilly, small and slender like. Hard as di’monds, soft as moonlight. Warm as sunlight, cold as frost in the stars. Proud and far-off as a snow-mountain, and as merry as any lass I ever saw with daisies in her hair in springtime. But that’s a lot o’ nonsense, and all wide of my mark. ..... But perhaps you could call her perilous, because she’s so strong in herself. You, you could dash yourself to pieces on her, like a ship on a rock; or drownd yourself, like a hobbit in a river. But neither rock nor river would be to blame.
Galadriel's power is here described as at once very deadly and very feminine. This reminds me of davem's comment that Galadriel would be loved first before she was feared. I think Sam, like Gimli, would have been at risk there.

EDIT: Cross-posted with Child; now to go back & read her dissertation
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:44 PM   #18
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There are also other dimensions that are very "un Mary" like about Galadriel. Pride is the first that comes to mind. She first refuses to acknowlage the ban of the Valar and also refused the pardon. She also expresses the sub-creation desire, or at the very least the desire to lead and organize. Wonderfull sublties that JRRT layers on her.
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Old 10-26-2004, 01:59 PM   #19
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No wonder I was frowned upon in Sunday School when I wondered what it must have been like to have Jesus as a half big brother. (No, I am not Catholic.)

Helen, isn't there some tradition which suggests that James the discipline was the brother of Jesus?

(sorry, off topic)

Child, I did a very quick net search when you first mentioned Heschel. I will look for his book.

It seems to me that we have a textual problem interpreting Galadriel, one which Aiwendil hinted at in his post. Do we take LotR as a stand alone text, or do we incorporate UT and The Silm into our readings?

From my perspective, given that Tolkien revised and drastically altered his character of Galadriel so that we have a very mixed portrayal (see Aiwendil's breakdown of the changes above), we should either limit our readings to LotR alone, or make very clear that we are collating textual versions.

sorry for the rush and haphazard post. Must return later.
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Old 10-26-2004, 02:04 PM   #20
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Some points already touched on (esp. by Child, but no time to edit)

Galadriel, as Esty says, is at the centre of this chapter, but she seems to manifest aspects of three figures, two within the Legendarium, one outside it. Within it we find aspects of Elbereth & Melian, outside it of the Virgin Mary. If we take the latter aspect first, & look at the 16th Century ‘Litany of Loreto’, we find a series of titles, among which are:

Mother of Divine Grace; Mother most pure;Mother most chaste; Mother most pure; Mother of good counsel; Mirror of justice; Seat of wisdom; Spiritual vessel; Mystical Rose; Gate of Heaven; Morning Star; Health of the sick; Comforter of the Afflicted.

Clearly, Tolkien is using images of the Virgin to emphasise Galadriel’s nature, & her role within the story. She is a reconciler of ‘enemies’ - almost the first thing she does is bring peace between Celeborn & Gimli. She seeks to know the hearts of the Company, principally for their own good: they need to know themselves, to confront their own motives & desires. She effectively shows them themselves - so its significant that her symbol & ‘magical’ tool is a Mirror, & that the Ring she bears is the Ring of Water (though originally it was to have been the Ring of Earth). She is Mistress of the knowledge of past, present & future.

She also displays aspects of Melian, in her role as guardian & protector of Lorien. She keeps alive, & accessible, the Elder Days - in Lorien Elvendom is present in the waking world. But we also see something else in Galadriel, & its not something entirely comfortable. She tells Frodo that if she takes the Ring ‘All shall love her & despair.

Quote:
She lifted up her white arms, & spread out her hands in a gesture of rejection & denial. Earendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven Lady cast a dim shadow on the ground...

‘In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And i shall not be dark, but beautiful & terrible as the morning & the night! Fair as the Sea & the Sun & the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm & the Lightening! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me & despair!

She lifted up her hand & from the Ring that she bore there issued a light that illuminated her alone & left all else dark. She stood before Frodo now seeming tall beyond measurement, & beautiful beyond enduring, terrible & worshipful.
If we look at Tolkien’s description of Elbereth from ‘The Road Goes Ever On’, we find:

Quote:
As a ‘divine’ or ‘angelic’ person Varda/Elberethcould be said to be ‘looking afar from heaven’ (as in Sam’s invocation)... She was often thought of, or depicted, as standing on a great height looking towards Middle earth, with eyes that penetrated the shadows, & listening to the cries for aid of Elves (& Men) in peril of grief. Frodo & Sam both invoke her in moments of extreme peril. the Elves sing hymns to her.
It seems that with the Ring she would become a kind of pseudo-Elbereth (at least at first. But she ‘passes the test’, rejects the option of becoming Middle earth’s Elbereth (as Sauron would become Middle earth’s Eru) & chooses to ‘diminish, pass into the West, & remain Galadriel’.

So, we maybe get a glimpse of what she means by ‘all loving her & despairing’ - she would have become a ‘goddess’ within the world. This is interesting in itself - we have the idea that in taking the Ring one would become a monster but Galadriel would become beautiful as the morning, fair as the Sun & the Snow upon the Mountain (I think the image of Oiolosse is deliberate). And Celeborn? Would he be her Manwe? How much, how deeply, has she pondered what she would do if she found the Ring? She seems to have pondered the options & the outcome in some depth, & even constructed a whole scenario - what she would do, how she would rule - even how she would appear to her ‘slaves’. In this, she is probably a greater danger to Frodo & the Quest than any of the Great - she has everything planned, & would get straight to work.

But in the context of LotR alone, what does she symbolise? The otherworld? She is a test (as others have pointed out). Its almost as if the ‘danger’ she symbolises is not ‘Galadriel becoming an evil version of Elbereth’, but rather the danger of the otherworld itself overwhelming the mortal, everyday world, of Dreaming overwhelming waking, of the Unconscious overwhelming consciousness, the irrational overwhelming the rational, & sweeping them all away. Its interesting that the images she uses of herself are all natural things - sun, sea, a mountain, morning, night, storm, lightening - none of them are ‘conscious’ or ‘rational’ things. Its almost as if the ‘danger’ she represents in LotR is not the danger of a ruling deity but rather of a sinking back into a participation mystique of the rational consciousness, a reversion to unselfconscious ‘nature’, where the separation of rational consciousness from the great Sea of the Unconscious is swept away. ‘All shall fall asleep, & there will be no awakening’. Galadriel with the Ring would not simply turn the whole of Middle earth into Lorien, she will force it all into an eternal ‘dream’ among the Mallorns.

Sauron, whatever else he may desire, is, strangely, attempting to ‘awaken’ the world to full consciousness, to the ‘rationality’ of the Machine. Its significant that his most powerful foes are Elves, & Wizards - beings from the Dreaming. But is it so simple? The Elves & Wizards are attempting to defeat Sauron - not in order to put a spell of sleep on mortals, but to enable them to awaken in a different way - not to the ‘reality’ of The Machine, but to another ‘reality’, one which is in harmony with the living world, in which Sun, Sea, Mountains, Storm & Lightening is not either worshipped or controlled, but loved & respected - which is the place of mortals within the great Music.

(Re Bb's question about James - traditionally Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus ('Thomas' & 'Didymus' both meaning 'twin') & there's the whole Gnostic thing of Jesus having married Mary Magdelaine & having children by her, etc, etc, which i don't think we want to get into here!)
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Old 10-26-2004, 02:13 PM   #21
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Helen, isn't there some tradition which suggests that James the discipline was the brother of Jesus?
No tradition needed: it's in Galatians 1:19. And Bb, if I could figure out what thread to put your typo in, "James the discipline" is too hilarious to leave, especially in light of his letter. Oh, it's too good. Where should that go? It doesn't really belong on Merendis' list, does it?

Back on topic, I want to applaud Child's very apt description of the prophetic and the prophet. Much food for thought.
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Old 10-26-2004, 02:48 PM   #22
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Child of the Seventh Age wrote:
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We often speak of Galadriel as the prime example of a powerful female character in LotR. Yet sometimes I wonder about this. To me, at times, she seems almost genderless, if such a thing is possible. (Perhaps this ties in with the Virgin Mary, an issue that others can better address?)
And Bethberry:
Quote:
We get into many kinds of problems here. Galadriel had a daughter and grandchildren. She has a husband, but as Estelyn and Aiwendil suggest, his depiction is mixed
Bethberry has also pointed out the problems with bringing Silmarillion material into a discussion of LotR. But it should be noted that, if we do consider those writings, their evolution has considerable bearing on this issue. Interestingly, in the late text where she refuses the pardon of the Valar, her mother-name is "Nerwen" - "man-maiden". Here she is (obviously) represented as being initially rather proud, and only at the end of the Third Age has she gained in wisdom sufficiently to let go of her pride and return into the West. In this and the earlier version where the ban upon her is not lifted, she certainly has the fierce independent spirit of many of the Noldor, and she is "stained" in that she participated in the rebellion of Feanor (though not in the kin-slaying at Alqualonde, according to the later text).

But it seems likely that the motivation behind the latest story (and late it is, dating from the last month or so of his life) - the one where she and Celeborn leave Valinor together, independently of Feanor - may have been specifically to make her more "pure". In this version, Galadriel's dislike for and opposition to Feanor (which is mentioned in one of the earlier texts) is very much emphasized. She is later pardoned by the Valar and rejects the invitation to return to Valinor, but it is not said that this is done out of pride.

The implication may be that Galadriel was not thought to bear much of a relation to Mary at the time when LotR was written, but that later Tolkien considered any suggestion of moral failure on her part a problem. However, it ought to be noted that all three texts referred to above come from the late sixties or early seventies, so any inference concerning the time of the writing of LotR is suspect.

While I'm on the subject of these texts, I ought to amend what I said in my previous post. I neglected to mention the earliest story concerning Celeborn (preceding the version in which he is a Sinda and a relation of Thingol) - that he was a Silvan Elf who dwelt in Lorien from the outset. This may well have been the intention when the chapter was written, though the Sinda story had replaced it by the time the appendices were written in the early 1950s.
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Old 10-26-2004, 07:11 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Aiwendil

Interestingly, in the late text where she refuses the pardon of the Valar, her mother-name is "Nerwen" - "man-maiden".
I'm so glad someone pointed that out; as I was reading from Child's post regarding Galadriel's "genderlessness" I was a tad surprised to see it wasn't mentioned sooner.

In this respect, she can be considered a maiden with man-like qualities, referring to her great strength and willpower. The "man" and the "maiden" in her could perhaps cancel one another out and leave her genderless, but she has always seemed feminine to me. We see aspects of the Crone in her; although she shows little sign of age she carries the wisdom of many years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem

Mother of Divine Grace; Mother most pure;Mother most chaste; Mother most pure; Mother of good counsel; Mirror of justice; Seat of wisdom; Spiritual vessel; Mystical Rose; Gate of Heaven; Morning Star; Health of the sick; Comforter of the Afflicted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethberry

Those of you who know the old Hebrew Bible might know the term satan, not as a diabolical agent who opposes God but as an angel who, not necessarily malevolent, opposes human desires for the purpose of warning them against a bad path. This would explain why Galadriel claims she will not give counsel, as she is not a counsellor.
I am not Christian and am hardly a theologian, but I found davem's mention of Mary being called "Morning Star" very interesting. I do believe that "Lucifer" also means "morning star," and Lucifer fell and became known as Satan. Bethberry makes reference to satan as an angel who seems to be an opposing force but is really acting for the better good. It all seems to come full circle back to Galadriel.

Just some food for thought; if anyone with more knowledge than me on matters of Christian theology cares to expand upon this, please do.
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Old 10-26-2004, 07:16 PM   #24
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Silmaril Some scattered thoughts ...

... provoked by the Chapter and the previous discussion.

But first, I must start with an apology - to Aragorn. I rather agreed with the notion that Aragorn displayed foolhardiness in his charge against the Balrog, assuming that (being versed in Elven lore) he would know its nature. That assumption, however, appears to have been incorrect:


Quote:
"An evil of the Ancient World it seemed, such as I have never seen before." said Aragorn. "It was both a shadow and a flame, strong and terrible."
It seems that, though he may have heard legends of Balrogs, he did not recognise this one as such.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry
She has a husband, but as Estelyn and Aiwendil suggest, his depiction is mixed--Galadriel even 'corrects' him at one point, does she not?
Poor old Celeborn! She actually corrects him twice. Bęthberry referred to Galadriel admonishing his rashness in suggesting that Gandalf fell into folly. But there is also this only moments earlier:


Quote:
When all the guests were seated before his chair, the Lord looked at them again. "Here there are eight," he said. "Nine were to set out: so said the messages. But maybe there has been some change of counsel that we have not heard. Elrond is far away, and darkness gathers between us, and all this year the shadows have grown longer."

"Nay, there was no change of counsel," said the Lady, speaking for the first time. Her voice was clear and musical but deeper than woman's wont. "Gandalf the Grey set out with the Company, but he did not pass the borders of this land ..."
I must say that I find the character of Celeborn rather curious. He is referred to by Galadriel as being "accounted the wisest of the Elves of Middle-earth" and yet with her first words she corrects him and goes on to jump down his throat for speaking rashly, something that he acknowledges and subsequently apologises for. And although he is the first to greet the Fellowship, Galadriel very quickly "takes command" as the central figure in Lothlorien and, of course, in this Chapter. She also describes him as a "giver of gifts beyond the power of kings", yet is she who, in the next Chapter, bestows gifts on the Fellowship (including one very much beyond the power of kings: the Phial).

I can't really put my finger on it, but Celeborn somehow comes across in this Chapter as rather "impotent", particularly in comparison with his Lady. And this seems to me to be rather a strange depiction for the Lord of such a great realm and the husband of such a powerful Lady (not to mention the wisest Elf of Middle-earth). Perhaps this is somehow related to Child's impression of Galadriel being almost genderless. Is Celeborn too genderless in the same sense? Perhaps their status and the length of their time together has somehow obviated the need for overt gender roles and rendered harmless the kind of petty admonishments that might cause ructions in a marriage of mortals. I do recall reading on a thread here that Tolkien described Elvish marriages as moving to a state, once children had been borne, whereby the partners have little interest in sexual matters. I may be misremembering here, so feel free to correct me, but that would certainly lessen the importance of one aspect of gender roles in a marriage as long lasting as that of Galadriel and Celeborn.

And, while on this topic, it is worth noting the description of Galadriel's voice in the quote given above. It has both masculine (powerful?) and feminine (intuitive?) aspects, being "deeper than woman's wont" and yet "clear and musical". This would support Child's theory of her as a genderless (gender neutral?) character. Also, the "music" in her voice might be identified with her magic, a connection which has been noted in previous discussions.

As for Galadriel's magic and its comparison with that of Sauron, it is I think worth quoting from Letter #155 in The Letters of JRR Tolkien (a draft letter to Naomi Mitchison). Apologies for the length, but it all seems relevant:


Quote:
I am afraid I have been far too casual about 'magic' and especially the use of the word; though Galadriel and other show by the criticism of the 'mortal' use of the word, that the thought about it is not altogether casual. But it is a v. large question, and difficult; and a story which, as you so rightly say, is largely about motives (choice, temptations etc.) and the intentions for using whatever is found in the world, could hardly be burdened with a psuedo-philosophic disquisition! I do not intend to involve myself in any debate whether 'magic' in any sense is real or really possible in the world. But I suppose that, for the purposes of the tale, some would say that there is latent distinction such as once was called the distinction between magia and goeteia. Galadriel speaks of the 'deceits of the Enemy.' Well enough, but magia could be, was, held good (per se), and goeteia bad. Neither is, in this tale, good or bad (per se), but only by motive or purpose or use. Both sides use both, but with different motives. The supremely bad motive is (for this tale, since it is specially about it) domination of other 'free' wills. The Enemy's operations are by no means all goetic deceits, but 'magic' that produces real effects in the physical world. But his magia he uses to bulldoze both people and things, and his goeteia to terrify and subjugate. Their magia the Elves and Gandalf use (sparingly): a magia, producing real results (like fire in a wet faggot) for specific beneficent purposes. Their goetic effects are entirely artistic and not intended to deceive: they never deceive Elves (but may deceive or bewilder unaware Men) since the difference is to them as clear as the difference to us between fiction, painting, and sculpture, and 'life.'

Both sides live mainly by 'ordinary' means. The Enemy, or those who have become like him, go in for 'machinery' - with destructive and evil effects - because 'magicians,' who have become chiefly concerned to use magia for their own power, would do so (do do so). The basic motive for magia - quite apart from any philosophic consideration of how it would work - is immediacy: speed, reduction of labour, and reduction also to a minimum (or vanishing point) of the gap between the idea or desire and the result or effect. But the magia may not be easy to come by, and at any rate if you have command of abundant slave-labour or machinery (often only the same thing concealed), it may be as quick or quick enough to push mountains over, wreck forests, or build pyramids by such means. Of course another factor then comes in, a moral or pathological: the tyrant lose sight of objects, become cruel, and like smashing, hurting, and defiling as such. It would no doubt be possible to defend poor Lotho's introduction of more efficient mills; but not of Sharkey and Sandyman's use of them.
So Tolkien is here saying that both sides use magia, or "physical" magic, and goeteia, or "illusionary" magic. The Girdle of Melian, and perhaps the magic used by Galadriel to protect Lothlorien, might be described as "illusionary", in that it could “deceive or bewilder” mortals. Galadriel's Mirror might be similarly described. It certainly had the potential to deceive or bewilder Sam and Frodo, had Galadriel not been present to guide them. The difference, therefore, is not in the nature of the magic, but in the purpose to which it is put. Sauron and his minions use their magic to pursue dominion, whereas Galadriel's magic, like that of Gandalf, is used for beneficial effect, to guide and inform rather than to coerce, and also to offer hope and invigorate spirit (in the case of the Phial, for example, and also Lembas and Miruvor). Save in the destruction of Dol Guldur, I cannot think of one occasion where Galadriel's magic is used "actively" to command or destroy (and Gandalf only uses his magic in this way in extreme circumstances).

It is interesting too that Galadriel herself does not have full control over the Mirror:


Quote:
Many things I can command the Mirror to reveal," she answered, "and to some I can show what they desire to see. But the Mirror will also show things unbidden, and those are often stranger and more profitable than things which we wish to behold."
So, in the case of the Mirror, Galadriel is unable to command it to show that which might be most beneficial, let alone use it to command others. Although her breath "activates" it, her primary power here is to guide Sam and Frodo concerning the visions that it shows to them. And that, it seems to me, is more a matter of wisdom, empathy and intuition than magic.

Finally, I think that we come more closely to understand the peril of Lothlorien in this Chapter. As Fordim noted in the discussion of the pervious Chapter, there is danger in the potential for Galadriel to succumb to the Ring. But the greatest peril for each member of the Fellowship individually lies in Galadriel's testing of them. As davem says:


Quote:
She seeks to know the hearts of the Company, principally for their own good: they need to know themselves, to confront their own motives & desires.
Yet, there is peril for any member of the Fellowship who does not remain true - who cannot overcome their motives and desires, having confronted them. As we know, there is one member of the Fellowship who is unable to do so, and he practically gives himself away:


Quote:
Well, have a care!" said Boromir. "I do not feel too sure of this Elvish Lady and her purposes"
Having (correctly) recognised that she was testing the Fellowship, tempting them by "offering what she pretended to have the power to give", he expresses suspicion as to her purposes. Typical Boromir! He has been tested and found wanting, but refuses to recognise this, believing (or rather deceiving himself) that it is Galadriel's motives which are suspect, not his.

And as if to emphasise the point, Aragorn repeats the line, almost word for word, from the previous Chapter:


Quote:
"Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel!" said Aragorn sternly. "You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself. Then let him beware!"
Once again, the comment is directed at Boromir. And once again, I wonder how much Aragorn suspects concerning the “evil“ in Boromir‘s heart and the course of action which it is likely to lead him to pursue. In any event, I shall certainly be keeping a close eye on Aragorn's interaction with him more closely from now on.
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Old 10-26-2004, 08:40 PM   #25
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Okay, I'm detecting two radically different responses to Galadriel.

One: Deep-voiced and powerful, she's macho and Celeborn is a joke.

Two: Deep-voiced and powerful, she's "beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful... (then)... a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad." Or as Sam later says: "Beautiful she is, sir! Lovely! "

Why the dichotomy?

And while I'm at it: Celeborn receives several rebukes from Galadriel. If Celeborn was always one step ahead of Galadriel, someone would criticize Tolkien for his weak female characters (again). To me, Celeborn's ability to accept and handle contradiction smoothly is a sign of wisdom and strength. If he was cocky or defensive or he ignored her, I'd be much less impressed by him.

We've been discussing Galadriel as a prophet(ess). Supposing for a moment that she is indeed prophetic, why would her husband's acceptance of that power in her (and subsequent submittal to her rebuke) be counted a weakness? A king who cannot receive council isn't wise and deep, he's narrow and simple and therefore weak.
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Old 10-26-2004, 09:17 PM   #26
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Mark12_30:
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Celeborn receives several rebukes from Galadriel. If Celeborn was always one step ahead of Galadriel, someone would criticize Tolkien for his weak female characters (again). To me, Celeborn's ability to accept and handle contradiction smoothly is a sign of wisdom and strength. If he was cocky or defensive or he ignored her, I'd be much less impressed by him.
Agreed. I admit that Celeborn comes across as a somewhat weak character, at least on the surface. But I have a higher opinion of someone who's willing to admit he's wrong than someone who at all costs avoids coming across as weak. I think Celeborn is perhaps analogous to Goldberry - not the dominant personality in Lorien, but an important one. There is also something like an analogy in Doriath - while Thingol certainly takes a more dominant role than Celeborn, he is not at all afraid to take advice from Melian. And when he refuses to listen to her, the results are generally disastrous.
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Old 10-27-2004, 01:48 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by mark12_30
A king who cannot receive council isn't wise and deep, he's narrow and simple and therefore weak.
Yes, Aiwendil, upon reading that sentence I too immediately thought of Thingol - we criticize him for not reacting as Celeborn did, yet judge the latter as weak for doing just that! I too see Celeborn's relaxed attitude as a sign of true inner strength and greatness - it takes a man with a healthy sense of his own worth to be able to accept a woman with great gifts as his partner! The ones who react loudly and negatively are the ones who feel their weakness the most.
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:04 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by mark12_30
One: Deep-voiced and powerful, she's macho and Celeborn is a joke.
I wouldn't go that far, although I think that it is one aspect of her personality.

As for Celeborn, I don't question his wisdom in accepting Galadriel's counsel and being comfortable with her power. I just wonder whether there might be a better way of portraying this without having him criticised and upstaged by his Lady in front of guests. It just rankles with me. Perhaps I am just reacting as I would if I was in his position, but then I'm no mighty Elf Lord.
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Old 10-27-2004, 04:05 AM   #29
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You say Kelery?

Celeborn = politician, and an adept one.

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Old 10-27-2004, 07:29 AM   #30
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Concerning Celeborn, I would agree with the Doriath analogy. In many repsects, Lorien is a micro-Doriath. Thingol I am sure accepted the fact early on that without the Girdle, his kingdom would have been mostly overrun. I always viewed Celeborn's involvement in Lorien/ME affairs as tactical, having (in what would be I suppose the accepted version of cannon..?..?) a Teleri or Sindarin point of view, whereas Galadriel would have a more strategic take on events. Reading these chapters, I can see where one can interpret the attitude of Celeborn towards the fellowship as that he is almost (initially) ignorant of its mission. Clearly in Galadriel's testing, she recognizes the critical nature that the motives of 8 individuals could play in the success or failure of it.

I always appreciate the submission of Letters in these threads. I am confused - Is the magic generated by Galadriel in "activating" the mirror producing the goetic effect of warping time/space/causality that is perpetrated on the viewer?? Can someone define goeteia?

I always assumed the "Lorien effect" (no blemish, unstained etc) was a direct result of Galadriels presence. Do we think that the pre Lorien of Amroth had a similar condition? Also, were there mallorns there pre Galadriel? I thought she was the one who introduced them there.
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Old 10-27-2004, 07:52 AM   #31
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Do we think that the pre Lorien of Amroth had a similar condition?
Well, I do, though I'm hard pressed to prove it conclusively! The whole Cerin Amroth section indicates to me that that 'stainlessness' predates Galadriel's involvement in Lorien (as ruler, anyway.)

Quote:
Also, were there mallorns there pre Galadriel?
Certainly. Amroth's flet was built in a tall mallorn and there were more in a ring around it.

Rimbaud, your comment regarding politicians was funny, but I'm going to disagree. Who did Celeborn have to win or to impress? I might consider him a 'diplomat'-- although the same argument holds; he didn't travel much.

Maybe that's just it-- he's not in the habit of impressing anyone. He just is who he is, and couldn't care less what anyone in the fellowship thinks.
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Old 10-27-2004, 08:00 AM   #32
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Can someone define goeteia?
Its a form of ritual magic in which the magician commands demons to perform tasks for him/her (further info in two medieval 'grimoires' in particular - The Lesser Key of Solomon, & The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage - though my advice is to avoid them, 'cos they'll mess with your head)

Magia, on the other hand, involves the invokation of 'Higher' powers, like Angels, Arch Angels, gods, etc. (also much info in 'Abra Melin').

So, Goetia = demonic magic, & Magia = Angelic/Divine magic.
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Old 10-27-2004, 08:18 AM   #33
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Who did Celeborn have to win or to impress?
We may have to agree to disagree. I have always viewed him as the politician, careful and cautious in speech, observant and a little tricky to pin down. I don't agree that he had nobody to win over, rather I hold the impression that there is a strong political flavour to the greatly hierachial Elves. We meet him at a point of flux for Elven history, and there are many currents for the leaders to navigate.
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Old 10-27-2004, 08:54 AM   #34
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Gosh – I wanted to post last night but it took me all evening just to read through the posts. I had originally wanted to address specific points by specific posters, but I got overwhelmed by it all and can longer readily remember who precisely said what. So I will just post away, with apologies to those whom I refer to without naming.

Galadriel as Mary, Galadriel as genderless, Galadriel as prophet, Galadriel as satan – can I just say “yes, wahoo” to all these and leave it at that? Of course not…how about this as well: Galadriel as ‘sorceress’. I’m thinking here of the figure as we find her in the Homeric tradition, specifically Kirke and Kalypso from the Odyssey. These two women (rather incorrectly translated as being ‘witches’ in most modern English texts) bear a lot of fascinating similarities to Galadriel. They rule their own lands which they protect from the outside world with magic. They welcome the male hero (Odysseus) but they are extremely dangerous to his quest – one might almost say perilous . Kirke actually enchants Odysseus’ followers, turning them into pigs, but she does finally relent and return them to their human form so that Odysseus can continue his quest to return home. Both of them give the hero advice and counsel, as well as gifts (Kalypso even gives Odysseus a cloak that she has woven herself, and a special kind of provision for the trip home); they also tell the hero about the perils that lie ahead enabling him to navigate past the monsters (as the Phial will help Frodo and Sam get past Shelob).

These are rather circumstantial similarities, however. What I think is the most substantial point of comparison between these Homeric sorceresses and Galadriel is in the peril that they all pose to the male quest: each of them is motivated by a ‘feminine’ desire for self-fulfillment. The Homeric figures both fall in love with Odysseus (after their own fashion) and desire him to stay. In both cases, this desire is overcome and the hero is allowed to continue on his quest for the wife and land that he loves. As with Galadriel, who also must conquer her desire, the women who are left behind dwindle and become much less powerful than they were. I think that when looked at in this light, we can see the source of the strange ambiguity that surrounds Galadriel and gender. She is feminine, powerfully so, insofar as she is closely tied to her land (the Homeric ideal of the omphalos, the hearthside, comes to mind; closer to Tolkien, the Victorian ideal of the ‘angel in the house’), but like Kirke and Kalypso she is also independent – yes, she’s married to Celeborn, but, well, it’s already been said… I would just add that when it comes to the scene at the Mirror, Celeborn is absent: Galadriel’s greatest display of her power, and her triumphing over the gravest test, is done wholly on her own without the support of ‘her man’.

All that having been said, I don’t think that I would want to argue for my Homeric-Galadriel ‘over’ the other views of her. I think that what we have here is a figure that just crops up in mythological/symbolic systems: the powerful woman, independent of male authority in her own land, motivated by a selfish desire that must be overcome by love of or for others. I think that Tolkien, being the Catholic that he was, had the easiest time approaching this figure through the system he was most familiar with: the cult of Mary. But she is clearly not an exact replica of Mary – instead, Galadriel inhabits the ‘place’ in Middle-Earth that Mary inhabits in Catholic theology, prophets in Hebrew literature (what a neat idea!) and ‘witches’ in Homeric epic.

But to turn more specifically to the chapter at hand: I do realise that I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but I cannot let the point go about the connection between Lorien and the Shire, particularly given davem’s eloquent (and convincing) arguments for Lorien as an utterly ‘other’ realm of faerie. Sam says at one point:

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‘I reckon there’s Elves and Elves. They’re all elvish enough, but they’re not all the same. Now these folk aren’t wanderers or homeless, and it seems a bit nearer to the likes of us: they seem to belong here, more even than the Hobbits do in the Shire. Whether they’ve made the land, or the land’s made them, it’s hard to say, if you take my meaning. It’s wonderfully quiet here. Nothing seems to be going on, and nobody seems to want it to. If there’s any magic about, it’s right down deep, where I can’t lay my hands on it, in a manner of speaking.’
There’s an interesting juxtaposition here. On the one hand, Sam seems to be reacting to Lorien and the Lorien Elves as being utterly familiar, and even Shire-like. Even his description of Lorien (‘It’s wonderfully quiet here. Nothing seems to be going on, and nobody seems to want it to’) seems to be equally applicable to the Shire – at least from the point of view of outsiders. At the same time, he responds to the wondrous and even miraculous ‘otherness’ of this place insofar as he entertains the idea of the place’s “magic”. But this is fascinating how he approaches the magic: “‘if there’s any magic about’” he says. Why the doubt? I think it’s because Sam is beginning to realise that the magic of Lorien is like the magic of the Shire – it’s not about the imposition of will or power by a people, but about their close connection to and with nature: “‘Whether they’ve made the land, or the land’s made them, it’s hard to say’”. I believe it was Encaitare who made the nice distinction between Elf magic as ‘natural’ and evil magic as ‘supernatural’: what I would like to say in extension of this is that the magic of Lorien is, in this way, remarkably similar to the magic of the Shire, in the close, almost definitive bonds that exist between the land and the people who dwell in it. And perhaps I can link this idea back to my Homeric-Galadriel, insofar as Odysseus must choose between not just two women (his wife Penelope or the sorceress Kalypso) but between two lands (his homeland of Ithaca and the island of Kalypso – Kalypso, by the by, means “to have one’s head in a bag” or, more colloquially, “end of a bag: Bad End”).

I guess then that my ‘take’ on Galadriel is most like Bęthberry’s insofar as I see her as an obstacle rather than as an enemy; an obstacle that tests the heroes; unlike Satan, however, she is an obstacle that overcomes herself – an important point. She both tests and is tested, and this, I think, is testimony to the overwhelming power of the Ring. It presents to her the same kind of desire that she presented to the members of the Fellowship. Boromir88 briefly made the point above that Galadriel is like the Ring in her temptation of the Fellowship, and I would like to say ‘hear hear!’ to that excellent point. The big difference between good and evil, in this chapter, would seem to lie in the fact that the good is able to deny the same desire for control that motivates evil. That is, Sauron’s desires (as embodied by the Ring) and Galadriel’s are similar, and what makes the latter good is that she is able to recognize the perilous nature of her desire and to overcome it – which is interesting, as we normally think of evil as the negation of good, but in this case we are seeing good as the negation of evil (Galadriel’s goodness = saying “no” to the Ring; Frodo’s goodness = destroying the Ring).

One last point that I would like to make is about the all important distinction between “will” and “shall.”

Tolkien at several points in LotR uses the inherent ambiguity of the word “will” to great effect, and nowhere does he do this more so than in the present chapter. When Galadriel invites Sam and Frodo to look in the mirror she says:

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‘I have brought you here so that you may look in it¸if you will.’
Sam looks in and receives his remarkably ambivalent vision. When Frodo, seeing this, feels doubt about what he should do and asks the Lady for guidance she says:

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‘Yet I think, Frodo, that you have courage and wisdom enough for the venture, or I would not have brought you here. Do as you will!
In both instances, it would appear that the ‘magic’ of the mirror is in the purview of the person looking in, rather than with Galadriel. Each time she emphasises that all she has done is to bring the viewer to the mirror, and it is up to the viewer to decide if he will look in it – rather, to decide of his own free will what he will do. It’s already been pointed out how much Galadriel has to do with desire (both her own, and with tempting others with their desires) – but here she is subtly different, challenging Sam’s and Frodo’s “wills”: she challenges Frodo to make a choice: “Do as you will!”

When Galadriel goes off on her grand moment (my favourite part of the book, and the one that still raises hackles on the back of my neck) she uses quite a different word altogether, at least in relation to herself:

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‘And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! 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 MOutnain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!’
See the shift? If Frodo “will” give the Ring to Galadriel, she “shall” become a terrible new force, and all “shall love her.” The difference between these words is crucial at this point: “will” means that something is going to happen in the future through the exercise of one’s choice on one’s self (“I will go to the store; I will give you the Ring”); “shall,” however, is different insofar as it (turning once more to my beloved Oxford English Dictionary) is used when:

Quote:
expressing the speaker's determination to bring about (or, with negative, to prevent) some action, event, or state of things in the future
The ‘good’ magic of the mirror, and the ‘good’ actions of Frodo in offering the Ring, and of Galadriel in refusing it, are motivated by acts of the will, as the self operates on the self – decides what is ‘best’ or proper for the self to do in the future. The potential ‘evil’ of Galadriel’s taking the Ring is motivated by the desire to command others, or to determine for others, what they “shall” do – there’s all the difference in the world between “all WILL love me and despair” (a statement of fact) and “all SHALL love me and despair (a command). I don’t think it’s going too far to say that Galadriel’s choice in this chapter, maybe the story of the quest as a whole, can be understood in terms of what people “will” or “shall” do with the Ring – on the one hand is the free will of the free peoples, which motivates ‘good’ magic and which leads them to choose love (“I will love you”); and on the other is the Ring, which commands people to desire it (“you shall love me”). Galadriel, in this moment, is confronted with the desire to command love, born of Frodo’s willing offer of love.

Of course, she passes the test (shivers up my back as I approach this moment again):

Quote:
‘I pass the test,’ she said. ‘I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.’
The battle here, that she has won, is between choosing for other people what they “shall” do and choosing for herself what she “will” do.

Postscript: don't blame me for the length of this post, but the posters above this who inspired it!
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Old 10-27-2004, 09:00 AM   #35
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I have to disagree with both mark12_30 and Rimbaud concerning Celeborn. He hardly displays the skills of a consumate politician or diplomat in his botched initial address to Gimli, which Galadriel's admonishment is partially addressed towards. What's more he apologises - something that politicians never do.

And, if he couldn't care less what the Fellowship thinks of him, he wouldn't feel the need to apologise for his rash outburst.

My impression of him is of one so comfortable within his relationship with Galadriel that he gives no thought to her admonishment and is content to accept that he has spoken rashly and apologice for doing so. It's just that, for me, this whole episode simply doesn't square with his description as the wisest of Elves in Middle-earth.
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Old 10-27-2004, 09:13 AM   #36
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And, if he couldn't care less what the Fellowship thinks of him, he wouldn't feel the need to apologise for his rash outburst.
Saucie, I think the apology would be regarded as common courtesy in any setting once the wrong was exposed, and it would not occur to Celeborn to neglect it whether he cared about the fellowship's opinion or no.

In terms of diplomacy-- the only elves I can think of who consider dwarves recipients of diplomacy are Rivendell and Galadriel; other elves seem to think of them as, well, several steps above orcs. "Have an eye on that dwarf!" Lorien was in the thick of the Durin's Bane mess, after all, and that was only a thousand years ago.

But I take your point anyway. Interacting with other cultures hasn't been on Celeborn's job description for a while, so diplomat isn't it either.
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Old 10-27-2004, 09:30 AM   #37
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Just sticking my nose in here for a bit,

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My impression of him is of one so comfortable within his relationship with Galadriel that he gives no thought to her admonishment and is content to accept that he has spoken rashly and apologice for doing so. It's just that, for me, this whole episode simply doesn't square with his description as the wisest of Elves in Middle-earth.
Isn't his wisdom shown in his apology?
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Old 10-27-2004, 09:54 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by mark12_30
Saucie, I think the apology would be regarded as common courtesy in any setting once the wrong was exposed, and it would not occur to Celeborn to neglect it whether he cared about the fellowship's opinion or no.
A fair point. But the manner of his apology, and the general manner in which he addresses the Fellowship suggests to me that he is showing more here than bare courtesy.


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Originally Posted by Imladris
Isn't his wisdom shown in his apology?
Yes, to a degree. But I question whether the "wisest of all" would have spoken the words requiring the apology in the first place. In the wisdom stakes, Galadriel trumps him by recognising the rashness of his words. And I can't imagine Elrond speaking so rashly (OK, he is Half-Elven, but you get the point). He is undoubtedly wise, but the wisest?

Ultimately, my point boils down to the fact that, as I see it, Celeborn's deeds do not match the description that we are given of his character, and he appears (to me) the weaker for it.
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:05 AM   #39
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:08 AM   #40
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Thumbs up 'Ray us

Just popping in to say that I've come from Stalker Central -- otherwise known as "Who's Online" -- where I saw that at the moment there are no fewer than seven people reading or replying to this thread!

I always suspected that this chapter would be a popular one, but wow!! I've ben loving the discussion in the last few weeks.

To make this at least a bit on topic: Celeborn seems to me to be the perfect mate for Galadriel. He is steady and dependable where she is perilous. He is both lesser than her, but also greater: he does not provide counsel as wise as his wife, but neither is he a threat to take the Ring. He could, perhaps, be a vision of what will happen to Galadriel after the Fellowship leaves. Having forsaken her dynamic desire between good and evil, she will fade into a rather bland and uninteresting 'wise and all powerful figure of the woods' who, strangely, has lost much of her power to compel. She will indeed diminish. . .
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