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Old 01-06-2002, 05:10 PM   #1
Carannillion
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Sting Galadriel and her redemption

Actually, this is sort of a side thread to the post 'Eowyn Arwen Galadriel', but it would be too much off topic to start it there, so here we go..

In the aforementioned topic, it is mentioned that one of Galadriel's plusses is that she was strong enough to stay in Middle-Earth until 'the end', not forsaking it. In this post I think [img]smilies/confused.gif[/img] it will be made clear that she had no choice but to stay in Middle-Earth.

According to the Doom of the Noldor, all of those who left The Undying Lands after the Kinslaying would fall under this curse.

This includes Galadriel.

The Curse says that
"Tears unnumbered shall ye shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains.

Those who are of the House of Fanor, and all who follow them, shall die by weapon and by torment and by grief, and stay in the Halls of Mandos along with the spirits of those they killed in the Kinslaying. Those who do not die
"shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after. The Valar have spoken."

Galadriel did not die (duh...) but still, when the company comes to Lothlrien, she seems as beautiful and radiant and majestic as none other in Middle-Earth.

Question 1.
What was she like when she dwelt in Valinor? And how incredibly fantastic must then the Valar be, as they are beyond comparison with any of the Children of Ilvatar..?

Question 2.
After the War of the Ring, Galadriel went over the sea, back to the Undying Lands. The Curse of Mandos does not say anything about an opportunity for forgiveness - the moment they stepped out of the Undying Lands, the way back was closed forever, save in death or at the end of time, when all shall return to Ilvatar. How was Galadriel then allowed to return? Her effort against Sauron?

BTW: Don't get me wrong, I don't 'hate' Galadriel, she is my favourite as well, but I just wanted to get some input on this subject. It's been nagging me for a while now.
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Old 01-06-2002, 05:54 PM   #2
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The following is JRRT's commentary on Galadriel and her 'redemption' from 'The Road Goes Ever On'. The song referred to is 'Namarie'.

"The question S man i yulma nin enquantuva? and the question at the end of her song (Vol. I, p. 389), What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?, refer to the special position of Galadriel. She was the last survivor of the princes and queens who had led the revolting Noldor to exile in Middle-earth. After the overthrow of Morgoth at the end of the First Age a ban was set upon her return, and she had replied proudly that she had no wish to do so. She passed over the Mountains of Eredluin with her husband Celeborn (one of the Sindar) and went to Eregion. But it was impossible for one of the High-Elves to overcome the yearning for the Sea, and the longing to pass over it again to the land of their former bliss. She was now burdened with this desire. In the event, after the fall of Sauron, in reward for all that she had done to oppose him, but above all for her rejection of the Ring when it came within her power, the ban was lifted, and she returned over the Sea, as is told at the end of The Lord of the Rings."

[ January 06, 2002: Message edited by: Tar Elenion ]
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Old 01-06-2002, 06:01 PM   #3
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Sting

After the war of wrath all of the elves, even Maedhros and Maglor are pardoned (Before they steal the Silmaril and die that is) and allowed to come back to Valinor if they want. After the War of Wrath all of the half elven were given choices of whether or not they wanted to stay immortal or share the fate of men. From the 2nd Age on any elf, moriquendi or banished eldar were allowed to return.
[img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

[ January 06, 2002: Message edited by: Thingol ]

[ January 06, 2002: Message edited by: Thingol ]
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Old 01-06-2002, 06:50 PM   #4
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Sting

Re commentary by 'Thingol':

Not quite, see above for JRRT's own words from RGEO.
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Old 01-06-2002, 09:14 PM   #5
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In the Unfinished Tales I'm pretty sure it gives two (maybe 3) accounts of the wanderings of Galadriel and Celeborn, and in one I think it said that all the elves were pardoned after the war of Wrath but Galadriel chose to stay with Celeborn in ME. I think Christopher Tolkien made a comment that in his father's notes J.R.R. Tolkien indicated that he did not wish for there to be a sense of animosity between the Valar and Galadriel. I don’t own a copy of The Unfinished Tales so I can’t produce a quote, and there is a possibility that I am totally wrong. Check in the Unfinished Tales and tell me if I’m off base, its been two years or so since I looked at UF (I should really buy all the Tolkien books, anyone want to give me $50) [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]
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Old 01-06-2002, 09:34 PM   #6
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Sting

Thingol, you are correct that UT has three versions of the story of Galadriel and Celeborn. Tar Elenion is also correct about Road Goes Ever On. This is a "canon" problem. When there are several versions of a single story, which one is correct? Which is the "final" version? One rule of thumb is to go by what was published during Tolkien's lifetime, which would mean that the Road Goes Ever On version trumps the others. Another rule of thumb is that the latest version is most likely to be correct. By that rule, one of the three UT versions is the "real" story. Either way we end up debating what JRRT really intended.

My view is that Galadriel, as a leader in the rebellion, by failing to accept the summons of the Valar and submit herself to judgment in the West subjected herself to a continuing ban on her return. In other words, she continued to act in rebellion and was subject to the penalty for her actions. For the reasons stated by Tar Elenion, the ban was ultimately lifted. This view most closely resembles one of the UT versions but also reconciles it with RGEO.
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Old 01-06-2002, 09:44 PM   #7
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Sting

I dunno, I always thought of the Valar as forgiving and would be willing to allow Galadriel to remain in ME if she wanted to, without the added bonus of resisting the temptation of using the ring. Also if we are to assume that Galadriel was banned from returning to Valinor, we would have to assume that all the rebelling elves still in Middle Earth would be constrained by the same ban. This seems to me to be a little extreme, just a personal view of the Valar, but you are correct Mithadan, it's a matter of cannon. I was looking at the discussion of cannon in New Silm project and it is really fascinating. I'm doing a little rereading myself, before introducing myself to them. They really know their stuff in there.

[ January 06, 2002: Message edited by: Thingol ]
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Old 01-06-2002, 10:34 PM   #8
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Sting

In Letter 297 JRRT wrote: "The Exiles were allowed to return - save for a few chief actors in the rebellion of whom at the time of L.R. only Galadriel remained."
The variant tradition given in UT is very late (ca. 1972) and not in keeping with the published account. To use it would conflict with RGEO and thus involve a rewriting of 'history'. While JRRT may have intended to do this (though he is noted to have been reluctant to change already published accounts) it is not part of the more established tradition and I tend to accept those things published by JRRT in his own lifetime as more canonical.
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Old 01-07-2002, 12:20 AM   #9
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the help. It was sort of what I suspected; [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img] her efforts against Sauron and resisting the One Ring. But noone answered question 1... [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 01-07-2002, 02:06 AM   #10
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Tolkien

The best answer to question #1 is to read the Silmarillion, then you will know about all the splendor of Valinor and of the Valar. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 01-07-2002, 04:10 AM   #11
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Silmaril

I have red Silmarillion, several times, but I'm having difficulties imagining such beauty and majesty. I have my image of Galadriel in my head, and I have seen the movie, but how can you - in the eyes of us mere mortals - appear more splendid than that?
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Old 12-29-2002, 07:13 PM   #12
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1420!

Surely you mean "read" the Silmarillion. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] And as for how the Valar appeared, they could change form, or not have form.
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Old 06-23-2003, 11:58 PM   #13
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Yes, as everyone's mentioned above, her rejection of The Ring was the main reason she was forgiven. I thought I'd add a quote to that. At the end of "The Mirror of Galadriel", she says something along the lines of 'I pass the test. I will diminish, and GO INTO THE WEST, and remain Galadriel." (Sorry about the caps; I couldn't figure out how to bold or italicize it.)
Namarie,
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Old 06-24-2003, 03:30 AM   #14
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Sting

I do not take that quote to be a confirmation that there was a ban on Galadriel's return. That she 'passed the test' does not mean neccessarily that the Valar were testing her, but, more probably, a moral test that she needed to take herself. At any rate, it is doubtful that she would have reacted to her passing of this test in such a mundane and museful way, if truly at last she had won the right to go back to Valinor in that moment. She did not ever seriously consider taking the Ring anyway; just pondered trivially over what could happen (as one does) -- however Frodo saw it. She was merely playing; it was not a serious test. Nevertheless the fact that her morality prevented her lust for power from taking the Ring was important, as it showed her, to either herself or the Valar, to be essentially 'good' and on the side of the West.

I believe that this issue is looked into very clearly in UT (unfortunately I don't have it handy; I'm in the middle of an operation to remove all five or so of my important Tolkien books from my bedroom bookshelf to the one near my PC, but unfortunately Unfinished Tales has not yet been shifted). Tolkien himself did not come to a conclusion on whether the ban on Galadriel existed, leaving it open -- thus we can not truly say which is correct with any certainty, any more than we can say whether Aragorn's Elessar was that forged in Gondolin. To prove that a ban on Galadriel was in place, beyond doubt, or even with small doubt, is impossible.

Two probable explanations were discussed in UT. It would appear that either, as Galadriel was 'the only remaining leading member of the Noldor's rebellion', she was sentenced to remain in Middle-Earth until the Valar relented (i.e. until she lost her pride and proved herself repentant), or her pride would not allow her to go back to beg forgiveness at the feet of the Valar, while she could still hold on against the tide in Middle-Earth. In the first explanation, her humbleness, abstainance from taking the Ring, and work against the vanquished Sauron caused the ban to be lifted, and in the second, her final letting go of pride and the realisation that she could not remain in Middle-Earth as Lady of Valinor any longer were what enabled her to move on.

It is also possible, I suppose, that the idea of a ban existed only in Galadriel's embittered mind.

Personally, I believe the second explanation to be the true one. It does not seem, from any evidence, that Galadriel was metaphorically begging to return West and that the Valar would not allow her to. In all senses she seems to be rebellious against them still, with the spirit that took her out of Valinor in the first place, and unwilling to go back to be humbled and to sue for their pardon -- again metaphorically, her neck would not bend. Rather, it is a self-realisation that appears to happen after the War of the Ring, or perhaps leading up to it while she watched the Dominion of Men rise around her, that her home is in the West and that there is nothing to be gained but further suffering by staying. For a while, she held out, but in the end could not stem the tide and returned.

Of course, there could have been a ban after all and with her keeping a stiff upper lip and making the best of life in exile, giving the semblance of her hanging on for the sake of pride. It is true, however, that she was a proud figure.

Lastly, there is not really any reason why while the rest of the Noldor could return, even those who had participated actively in the rebellion if not actually being a leader of it, she had to stay. Eonwe even entreated the las two sons of Feanor to go back with him; surely then he would have taken Galadriel. She was, after all, the daughter of Finarfin the repentant.

Ok that's my opinion anyway, hope you've got time to read it all

- Gwaihir

[ June 24, 2003: Message edited by: Gwaihir the Windlord ]
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Old 08-03-2003, 11:28 AM   #15
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Sting

Here are a couple of quotes from Letters on this topic:

Quote:
At the end of the First Age she proudly refused forgiveness or permission to return. She was pardoned because of her resistance to the final and overwhelming temptation to take the Ring for herself.

~Letter 320 25 January 1971
and
Quote:
Galadriel was 'unstained': she did not reach Middle-earth with the other Noldor, but independently. Her reasons for desiring to go to Middle-earth were legitimate, and she would have been permitted to depart, but for the misfortune that before she set the revolt of Feanor broke out, and she becme involved in the desperate measures of Manwe, and the ban on all emigration.

~Letter 353 dated 4 August 1973
I put the dates in because I believe they are relevant to Tolkien's evolving views on his myth. I believe this to be pretty good evidence that Tolkien's final view was that Galadriel did have a choice.
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Old 08-09-2003, 12:23 PM   #16
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Eye

Short and sweet. Even the Valar have compassion. Time heals all wounds.
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Old 04-12-2004, 06:17 AM   #17
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1420! Confused

Quote:
Galadriel was 'unstained': she did not reach Middle-earth with the other Noldor, but independently.
Urghh?? Can anyone shed some light on this and explain how it makes sense? Cheers...
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Old 04-12-2004, 07:37 AM   #18
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Silmaril

Well doug*platypus

Quote:
Galadriel was 'unstained': she did not reach Middle-earth with the other Noldor, but independently.
To me it says that Galadriel did not went with the Noldor and their rebelion ( thus being unstained, because she didn't rebel against the Valar, her 'masters' ), but she went shortly after it, and reached ME alone.

Cheers mates!

Aethelwine.
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Old 04-12-2004, 09:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
To me it says that Galadriel did not went with the Noldor and their rebelion ( thus being unstained, because she didn't rebel against the Valar, her 'masters' ), but she went shortly after it, and reached ME alone.
This is part of the 'canon' problem associated with the multiple histories of Galadriel. I believe she is also said to have met Celeborn alternately in the West (in the house of Olw) and in Doriath. In the Silmarillion she is classed with the rebellious and crossed the Helcarax with the Host of Fingolfin as the other Noldor who took part in the rebellion did; in the UT, she is drawn in active opposition to Fanor and comes to Middle Earth independently( I think through the auspices of the Teleri). I do not have my sources handy at the moment, but it appears that, as time wore on, Tolkien redrew Galadriel as less and less stained by the Noldoran rebellion and more pure. However, the Valar would have forgiven her, just as they forgave all after the War of Wrath, and the later drawings of her as less involved with the Fanorians would seem to indicate her as even more eligible for forgiveness if it were to be in question. I think she is voluntarily fighting the "Long Defeat" and the test of the One Ring is her own test of herself.

Cheers!
Lyta
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Old 04-12-2004, 12:52 PM   #20
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She did not take part in the Kinslaying
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Old 04-12-2004, 03:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
She did not take part in the Kinslaying
Certainly she did not, in all versions of her story. However, it is made more clear in the UT that she and Fanor were in all ways opposite and that she actively opposed him at Alqualond (perhaps aiding the Teleri in fighting Fanor's forces off, as I seem to recall in one telling--sorry for the vagueness!), as contrasted to the less clarified version of her story in the Silmarillion that told of her desire to rule her own realm and to cross to Middle Earth and thus her classing as part of the rebellious group of Noldor (although not in sympathy with the aims of the Fanorians--more independent in that respect).

Cheers,
Lyta
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Old 04-12-2004, 05:56 PM   #22
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Question

Question- What exactly were the differences between the Children of Valar and those of Iluvatar?
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Old 04-12-2004, 08:44 PM   #23
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the only children of the Valar that i know of are the Dwarves, made by Aule.
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:38 AM   #24
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that is something i wished JRRT could have had more time to elaborate on. The relationship her and Feanor had. The gift to Gimli that was refused to Feanor thousands of years prior - i loved that idea.

I dont remember reading anything about her defending the Teleri at the kinslaying. But she did leave for ME (via boat?) not with the rebellious Noldor, but after the Ban. Hence her indirect invlovement with the Doom of the Noldor.
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