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Old 05-22-2016, 08:40 AM   #1
Gothmog, LoB
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Eldarin kingship and succession

The question how the hell Eldarin kingship and succession works is often discussed when the High-kingship of the Noldor comes up, and how the succession to Gil-galad works.

However, this is an intriguing question in a broader context.

1. Preliminary thoughts

The first and most interesting question is what the hell a king actually is in the eyes of the Eldar? We know that the kingship of the Edain (i.e. the Kings of the line of Elros Tar-Minyatur) comes from the Half-elven line of the descendants of Eärendil and Elros. Prior to them the Edain of Beleriand didn't have kings, but only chieftains and lords.

In that sense we can safely assume that the specialness that set the normal men apart from Edain royalty was indeed the elvish-divine ancestry of Elros and his descendants. This continues on all the way to Aragorn and the rejuvenated Kings of the Dúnedain at the end of Third Age symbolized by the marriage of Arwen Undómiel and King Elessar.

But the Eldar don't have such special infusions of divine blood aside from the special case of Lúthien Tinúviel (who never actually rules as queen over any realm).

Instead, the Eldar (and perhaps all the Quendi) have a specialty of their own. They are immortal and even if slain they never leave the circles of the world. A royal succession makes little for them and is actually a contradictory concept which only makes (some) sense under the special circumstances of Arda Marred (in the sense that a dead king in Middle-earth cannot really return to his people so that for pragmatic another king has to take his place).

Therefore it makes sense to grant administrative rights of the king to still living successors, especially in war-time. But the *true king* of, say, the Noldor would always remain Finwe, regardless where the hell his fea was hanging out right now,

And we know that the kingship can be given to the heirs of a king, usually a son or otherwise close descendant, if a king is actually slain.

2. Various kingdoms

Another matter are the various independent realms and kingdoms various Elves founded at different times. The nobles doing this simply seemed to have set themselves up as the rulers of new lands like Elwe claiming Doriath and Beleriand for himself, and the exiled Noldor later doing the same things with the realms they made themselves in Middle-earth (Nargothrond, Hithlum, Gondolin, and whatever political entities the sons of Feanor claimed to rule over). Those kingdoms were new and independent political constructs and the succession and laws therein were, most likely, dependent on whatever rules and laws the kings who founded them set up.

For instance, we know that Denethor, the son of Lenwe (who was either dead by this time or had chosen to remain wherever he and his people dwelt before Denethor's people came to Beleriand) was the King of Nandor living in Ossiriand until his death but after his death the Nandor didn't choose a new king - suggesting Denethor's kingship was either not hereditary or he did not leave any heirs of his own body who could inherit his crown.

The High-kingship seems to be independent from that because in the cause of the Noldor this goes back to the way things were back in Valinor and reflects, in a sense, the ideal situation of one people of the Eldar under the rule of one (eternally reigning) leader.

3. The status of Ingwe

Of most significance is Ingwe in all of that because his title refers to him as the High-king of all Elves. Granted, this office is effectively highly ceremonial due to the fact that Ingwe never actually interacted with any of his subjects outside of Valinor for a very long time, but it reflects still an authority that seems to be based on more than mere presumption. Considering the fact that the only Vanyar dying would have died before Orome came to Cuiviénen (or later during the War of Wrath) one would have to assume that Ingwe must either be identical with the first unbegotten Elf, Imin, or at least be of his line because else it would be difficult to explain how Ingwe could usurp or rise to the kingship of the Vanyar (and, in fact, all the other Elves) if he was just some random elf who ended up traveling with Orome to Aman. After all, the Elves would have leaders and chieftains even at this early stage in their history.

The time passing between the awakening of the Elves and Orome's arrival is only 35 Valian Years (about 330 Sun Years) so we would not assume that the Elves were able to multiply all that much - perhaps the 144 founders already had great-grandchildren by that time, but there couldn't have been many more generations than that.

If Imin, Tata, and Enel were still alive by this point they most likely would have been the leaders of their particular tribes, and most likely those Quendi who decided to go with Orome to see Valinor with their own eyes. It is, of course, imaginable that they had already been killed or abducted by Melkor's minions.

Anyway, my idea is that if Ingwe wasn't Imin, or at least his son or grandson, then his presumption to be the King of all Elves would be just that - a presumption. He wouldn't be universally recognized as such because it makes no sense that the guy who ended up at Manwe's feet in Valinor is the great high-king just because of that.

We also know that all of Imin's people, the Minyar, went to Aman, so there is no chance of Imin becoming an Avar.

The main argument against Imin being Ingwe is the fact that Indis was either his sister or his sister's daughter and that he later had children in Aman, as did Olwe and Finwe. While it would be strange for the Eldar to have children so late in life it is not unheard of (e.g. Elrond only fathering his children in the beginning of the Third Age) and such a development might actually be part of or a symptom of blessed life in Valinor (both Finwe's and Feanor's many children are very uncommon among the Eldar). Ingwe could easily already have had children back at Cuiviénen.

The fact of Ingwe having a sister is trickier, but there is no reason to assume that the unbegotten Elves did not consider their companions their siblings in a very ultimate sense - perhaps even more so than later generations perceive their blood relations.

However, it is quite clear that Finwe and Elwe/Olwe (and Elmo, if he existed) were among the First Elves. Elwe apparently didn't have any spouse until he met Melian (unless we assume she is only his second spouse, the first one being lost) and Feanor, Míriel's only child, was only born in Aman.

In any case, I think it is quite clear that Ingwe must be Imin's son or grandson, and Imin himself must have died or disappeared before Orome's arrival or else he would have been the leader of the Minyar.


4. High-kingship vs. 'normal kingship'

As said above, it seems that any 'noble Elda' could set up his own kingdom in unclaimed land rather easily. For the Teleri there doesn't seem to exist anything resembling a 'high-kingship' because the Falmari in Aman took Olwe as their king whereas the original senior leader of the Teleri on the Great Journey, Elwe, remained behind and became Elu Thingol, King of the Sindar, Doriath, and Beleriand.

The High-king of the Noldor in Middle-earth seems be considered to be Finwe's successor in Middle-earth (while the King of the Noldor back in Valinor became Finarfin).

5. Succession

This is really a tricky thing because of the whole male vs. female inheritance thing. There are a lot of special cases to consider.

If we take Gil-galad as Orodreth's son, son of Angrod, then the succession Finwe > Feanor > Fingolfin (with Maedhros as head of the House Feanor abdicating in his own name as well as the name of his brothers) > Fingon > Turgon > Gil-galad makes somewhat sense.

However, there are problems:

Gil-galad can only become High-king of the Noldor if we assume that the throne could not pass through Idril Celebrindal, sole child of Turgon, to Eärendil and his son Elrond who all belong the the elder line of Fingolfin.

At first glance a succession sort of modeled on the Salic Law (absolute exclusion of both females and male descendants through the female line) makes sense, but we know this was obviously not the case for the succession of the kingship of Doriath (and subsequently, presumably, the 'high-kingship' of the Sindar of Beleriand).

Elu Thingol and Melian only had one child, a daughter, Lúthien Tinúviel, and after the death of both Thingol and Lúthien the kingship of Doriath passed to Thingol's grandson by Lúthien and Beren, Dior (rather than, say, Thingol's younger brother Elmo or any descendants of Elmo - like Celeborn!). In a Salic Law scenario (or even agnatic primogeniture) descendants through the male line - like Elmo himself or his descendants - would have come before either Lúthien and Dior. But this clearly wasn't as the Sindar of Doriath saw it in the stories.

Therefore I'd actually see Idril as Turgon's viable heir, eligible either to inherit the crown of Gondolin herself should her father die or to at least pass it along to her son, Eärendil. Just as Lúthien passed her claim to Doriath on to her son, Dior.

In that sense Eärendil should have been the high-king of the Noldor of Middle-earth at the Mouths of Sirion rather than Gil-galad unless we assume that for the high-kingship the male line took precedence (i.e. Idril/Eärendil might have been able to rule over Gondolin but not the Noldor as a whole).

It is also imaginable that Eärendil - feeling closer to the Edain than the Eldar - gave up any claims he may have had just as Maedhros once did (and this could also explain why Elrond later could not claim the high-kingship after his father had disappeared because Eärendil would have decided for his entire house/line just as Maedhros once did).

Galadriel technically could have made a bid for the high-kingship after Gil-galad died without issue because she was the last remaining descendant of the House of Finarfin left in Middle-earth at this time. But one assumes that styling oneself 'High-king/queen of the Noldor' in those days would have been pretty moot because there were no longer enough Noldor (or Noldor kingdoms) left in Middle-earth for such a title to have any meaning. Even Lindon was no longer a Noldor kingdom.

If we assume the succession laws of the Númenórian kings were at least partially based on the rules of the Eldar then it is also clear that claims can pass through the female line, even before Tar-Aldarion changed the law. I'm actually inclined to believe that the early Númenórians based the rules on Eldarin wisdom because the prominence of a woman like Haleth among the early Edain makes it less likely that they would have excluded females from inheriting the Númenórian sceptre.

However, it seems that the Faithful were much more conservative and excluded women from the succession again or else one would have expected to see at least one Ruling Queen of either Gondor or Arnor/Arthedain in two millennia. Fíriel's claim to Gondor is cited by Arvedui but it is claim by right of his wife. He has no intention to have his wife crowned as the new Ruling Queen of Gondor so that their son can one day inherit both the crown of the northern and southern kingdom.

That's about it. Any comments on any of that?
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:28 PM   #2
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I will a more detailed answer later, but I think there are two points I need to bring up.

1. There is no reason to assume that the Sindar and the Noldor have the same culture or ideas when it came to the succession. As we see they have different languages.

Just, because the Sindar accepted female rulers and the descendants of the female line to inherit does not mean the Noldor did. Any more than saying that the Numenoreans accepted ruling Queens would mean the Rohirrim did.

The facts as we have them are that no female has ever claimed the High Queenship of the Noldor, no female has ever been a Queen of the Noldor and no descendant of Finwe through the female line has ever been king either.

This could be coincidence, but it does indicate that the Noldor may have practiced a form of Salic Succession, where only the males, through the male line could inherit. Perhaps women and males, through the female line could only inherit after there were no more male descendants through the male line.

This would help explain why the kingship jumped from Turgon to Gil-galad.

2. Following from Part 1, Elrond at least favoured to trace his ancestry through Thingol. If Elros did the same then perhaps the Numenorean succession and culture was more closely aligned with the Sindar than Noldor.

Your points and possibly hypothesis are all well researched and perfectly valid. I also am inclined to think that Earendil did not want the High Kingship of the Noldor, feeling closer to the Edain like Elros.
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by cellurdur View Post
I will a more detailed answer later, but I think there are two points I need to bring up.

1. There is no reason to assume that the Sindar and the Noldor have the same culture or ideas when it came to the succession. As we see they have different languages.
That is certainly a possibility. Although I'm not sure whether such customs would have changed the same way as languages did (if we assume that the changes in the languages of immortals who, on a regular basis, should be able to talk to their great-great-great-great-parents on a regular basis, makes all that much sense).

Another important thing to consider is that Lúthien most certainly embodies the noblest union in the entire history of Arda. Lúthien trumps any Vanya insofar as her status is concerned. If Ingwe is the High-king of all Elves then Lúthien (and Dior) most certainly could make a case to be the rulers/monarchs of Beleriand/Doriath or the high-king/queen of the Sindar.

Melian's special status might very well have changed Lúthien/Dior's status.

Quote:
The facts as we have them are that no female has ever claimed the High Queenship of the Noldor, no female has ever been a Queen of the Noldor and no descendant of Finwe through the female line has ever been king either.
The published Silmarillion seems to refer to Idril as Turgon's heir. I'm not sure whether this comes from JRRT and I'm right now not able to double-check that. However, I'd not be surprised if that was the case. Was Maeglin's desire for Idril not partially caused by his wish to (possibly) succeed Turgon?

The idea that Beren-Lúthien could have inherited Thingol's crown and co-ruled Doriath under other circumstances doesn't seem far-fetched. If so, then Idril and Turgon (and eventually Eärendil) might have been able to do the same. Especially if Turgon had accepted Tuor as his foster son - which he seems to have done, in a sense, when he married Idril to him.
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Old 05-22-2016, 04:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gothmog, LoB View Post
That is certainly a possibility. Although I'm not sure whether such customs would have changed the same way as languages did (if we assume that the changes in the languages of immortals who, on a regular basis, should be able to talk to their great-great-great-great-parents on a regular basis, makes all that much sense).
I am not an expert in language, but even the Queen's accent and pronunciation has changed in the last quarter of a century. New generations were being born and I imagine that despite having regular contact with their ancestors they were making slight changes to the language. Feanor certainly was improving on things.

However, when it comes to culture I can see many reasons for there to be a great change. The Noldor were not lower down the hierarchy and power scale in Aman. They lived a life of peace if in a limited space. The Sindar had wide lands to roam in and always knew should they roam too far there were dangers.
Quote:
Another important thing to consider is that Lúthien most certainly embodies the noblest union in the entire history of Arda. Lúthien trumps any Vanya insofar as her status is concerned. If Ingwe is the High-king of all Elves then Lúthien (and Dior) most certainly could make a case to be the rulers/monarchs of Beleriand/Doriath or the high-king/queen of the Sindar.
I think the Sindar would actually except this. From the way that Legolas speaks about Elrond's sons, I think the Sindar even in the third age would have excepted Elrond as their King. Legolas shows reverence to Aragorn, because of his descent from Luthien. Luthien is the the most noble and the most beloved of the elves.

I have always thought it strange that Arwen is referred to as Queen of Elves and Men? Does it refer just to the colony of Elves that Legolas has in Ithilien or something greater?
[QUOTE]
Melian's special status might very well have changed Lúthien/Dior's status.[/QUOTE}
I wouldn't be surprised if it did as would Luthien's own great deeds.

I think one thing that has to be taken into account is that the Noldor had come to fight a war against Morgoth. The position of High King was also a military one. Tolkien tells us the difference in strength between Elvish men and women was much smaller than ours, but still for other reasons it was predominantly men that led the armies of the Eldar. Perhaps the Noldor decided for this reason to have only men inherit the High King title.

This is similar to what Numenoreans in both Gondor and Arnor do when they return to conflict in ME.
Quote:
The published Silmarillion seems to refer to Idril as Turgon's heir. I'm not sure whether this comes from JRRT and I'm right now not able to double-check that. However, I'd not be surprised if that was the case. Was Maeglin's desire for Idril not partially caused by his wish to (possibly) succeed Turgon
Does it? I can't recall. I do know that Maeglin thinks to himself Turgon has NO HEIR, which implies that Idril was designated as Turgon's heir. That's one of the reasons why he is keen to go to Gondolin.
Quote:
The idea that Beren-Lúthien could have inherited Thingol's crown and co-ruled Doriath under other circumstances doesn't seem far-fetched. If so, then Idril and Turgon (and eventually Eärendil) might have been able to do the same. Especially if Turgon had accepted Tuor as his foster son - which he seems to have done, in a sense, when he married Idril to him.
I have no doubt that Luthien alone let alone with Beren could have ruled Doriath, but they had done the impossible and taken a Silmaril from Morgoth. As I said before they also came from a different culture.

Tuor is certainly the leader of the survivors after the Fall of Gondolin. Perhaps you are right, but Tuor did not press his claim, because it would lead to conflict.
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Old 05-22-2016, 05:15 PM   #5
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Does it? I can't recall. I do know that Maeglin thinks to himself Turgon has NO HEIR, which implies that Idril was designated as Turgon's heir. That's one of the reasons why he is keen to go to Gondolin.
As far as Idril and Gondolin goes, it is possible that Idril could have been Turgon's heir to the throne of Gondolin yet not a potential Heir of Finwë as High King--after all, Gondolin was a new realm, even if its ruler belonged to an established Royal House, and a realm, after all, whose subjects included a significant number of Sindar (I can't remember whether Tolkien says one-third or two-thirds, but that's somewhat insignificant to my argument).

What's more, it's also possible that Turgon hadn't definitively ruled on the subject--even with the precedent of kings dying well-established, it would be consistent with Elven nature not to require a succession plan (a chain of command, yes, but Turgon hardly intended on his realm being overrun). It is entirely possible Maeglin's opinion on the matter was merely one of many.
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Old 05-23-2016, 12:00 PM   #6
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I am not an expert in language, but even the Queen's accent and pronunciation has changed in the last quarter of a century. New generations were being born and I imagine that despite having regular contact with their ancestors they were making slight changes to the language. Feanor certainly was improving on things.
Well, what Feanor did should/would actually be seen by the Elves as a presumptuous messing with tradition. That is, if we take the Elves seriously as an immortal race whose very nature was to be, well, immortal and unchanging.

They would be the ultimate conservatives. A young elf would not learn how things are and are supposed to be sitting at the feet of his/her parents and grandparents, but at the feet of all his paternal and maternal ancestors (especially in Aman and on Eressea).

What right could an elf like Feanor have to mess with the way his elders spoke?

The idea that such beings would make (or allow) such changes leading to the development of Quenya and Sindarin is actually very unlikely. I mean, Elwe lived from Cuiviénen throughout most of the First Age - the idea that his brain/mind went to various stages of Elven tongues from the proto-forms to Sindarin just doesn't make any sense. Nor does it make any sense that there were only two generations between the speakers of the earlier forms (Finwe, Míriel, Ingwe, etc.) and Quenya as Feanor, Fingolfin, Galadriel, etc. brought it back to Middle-earth.

Languages need time to change, and the Elvish languages would realistically needed much more time to change - and, more importantly, many more dead fathers and grandfathers. Many generations of Elves would have to be cut off permanently from their forefathers and the way they spoke.

I mean, our languages only change because old people die and the young can establish new forms and ways to express themselves. If the old would not go away then we would all speak more or less the same language for centuries if we assume we would still speak to each other - but even if we didn't we would be still able to understand our elders because they would have taught us their way of speaking when we were young.

But that's a separate issue.

Quote:
However, when it comes to culture I can see many reasons for there to be a great change. The Noldor were not lower down the hierarchy and power scale in Aman. They lived a life of peace if in a limited space. The Sindar had wide lands to roam in and always knew should they roam too far there were dangers.
It is, perhaps, also to be questioned where the kingship stuff originally came from.

If we go with 'the eldest rules' kind of thing to explain Ingwe's exalted position then this is fine, and could also shed light on the status of the early elves whose kings (Ingwe back at Cuiviénen included) would be more chieftains rather than kings.

I guess the whole kingship thing is more some sort of the Eldar beginning to emulate the Valar who also have their Elder King. And Elwe certainly would have learned about the Valar from Melian and earlier from Orome and during his visit in Valinor.

What the high-kingship of the Noldor essentially is seems unclear to me. That seems to be more some sort of honorary title, perhaps symbolizing the role Finwe had back in Valinor for them.

But it is quite clear that pretty much nobody of the Exiles pays the high-king any mind (especially the Feanorians), and there is no hint that Fingolfin or Fingon have any right to interfere with, say, Finrod, Maedhros, or Turgon set up their own realms.

In that sense I don't see any good reason why the hell a descendants through the female line (or perhaps even a woman or her husband by right of his wife) could also clain the high-kingship if we are sort of in agreement that this might have been happened also with Noldorin kingdoms like Gondolin.

I mean, Turgon clearly had only one child, so his successor would have been either Maeglin or Idril-Tuor/Eärendil, all of which would have been his kin through the female line.

Unless we make some perhaps not so justified assumption about the nature of the high-kingship (military/supreme leader, etc.) then there is actually no reason to believe why a woman or the male descendant of a woman should inherit it.

Celeborn also has supreme authority over all the domains of Galadriel by the right of his wife despite the fact that he is inferior to her in mind and (spiritual) strength (just as Elwe Singollo clearly was inferior to Melian). But in Tolkien's world the men rule, not the women. The consorts of kings - even Galadriel - restrict themselves to the roles of wife, mother, and counselor, not monarch. In Doriath and Lórien Thingol and Celeborn made the decisions, not their wives. They were asked about their opinion and usually the ruler did follow their counsel (or should better have done so) but neither Galadriel nor Melian actually ruled.

They were 'queens', of course, in a sense, but queen consorts, nor queen regnants. Kings need female consorts, after all. And in that sense Idril most certainly was in a very powerful role in Gondolin as the first woman of the kingdom, filling in for her own lost mother and aunt (at least after Aredhel's death).
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Old 05-23-2016, 04:50 PM   #7
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Celeborn also has supreme authority over all the domains of Galadriel by the right of his wife despite the fact that he is inferior to her in mind and (spiritual) strength (just as Elwe Singollo clearly was inferior to Melian). But in Tolkien's world the men rule, not the women. The consorts of kings - even Galadriel - restrict themselves to the roles of wife, mother, and counselor, not monarch. In Doriath and Lórien Thingol and Celeborn made the decisions, not their wives. They were asked about their opinion and usually the ruler did follow their counsel (or should better have done so) but neither Galadriel nor Melian actually ruled.
I'll come back to the other points later, but this view seems egregiously off the mark. To say that "Celeborn has supreme authority" misses the mark by quite a measure. If anything, Galadriel and Celeborn were coeval in rule of their land, and in everything else, Galadriel was the superior, a leader among leaders. She called the White Council, it was her power in conjunction with her Ring that stayed the hands of time in Lothlorien, and it was Galadriel at Dol Guldur who "threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed," at the end of the War of the Ring. Galadriel let Celeborn parade around with his shiny army while she did the major work in Middle-earth.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:49 PM   #8
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I'll come back to the other points later, but this view seems egregiously off the mark. To say that "Celeborn has supreme authority" misses the mark by quite a measure. If anything, Galadriel and Celeborn were coeval in rule of their land, and in everything else, Galadriel was the superior, a leader among leaders. She called the White Council, it was her power in conjunction with her Ring that stayed the hands of time in Lothlorien, and it was Galadriel at Dol Guldur who "threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed," at the end of the War of the Ring. Galadriel let Celeborn parade around with his shiny army while she did the major work in Middle-earth.
Perhaps I exaggerated a little bit there. What I meant to say is that Celeborn was the man and the Lord of Lórien. He wore the pants - at least publicly. How Galadrien and Celeborn's private arrangements were is another matter (as is what happened behind closed doors). I guess he deferred often to her and followed her counsel.

As to the White Council - Celeborn himself is never mentioned as a member but one assumes he was part of it, too.

However, if you read how things are described in Appendix B then Celeborn is mentioned a lot more than Galadriel. He leads the army, he takes Dol Guldur, he meets with Thranduil and comes to a new agreement with him.

Yes, Galadriel is mentioned as the one cleansing Dol Guldur, but nobody ever doubted she was strong and powerful with this kind of stuff.

The question is - is her power in that department (or her general wisdom and power) transferring into power in the political field and making her the official number one (i.e. a sort of Ruling Lady/Queen) instead of Celeborn. And I think the obvious answer to that is no.

Just as Thingol was the unquestioned ruler of Doriath (despite that the fact that his precious realm was completely dependent on the Girdle of Melian just as Lórien was on Nenya in the Third Age), Celeborn would have been the unquestioned ruler of Lothlórien.

Another hint in that direction is that it is Celeborn who first addresses the fellowship in LotR, not Galadriel. If he had been the ruler/number one it would have been her prerogative to do this. But she doesn't.

In that sense I find the idea of Celeborn and Galadriel originally setting up the kingdom of Eregion (either as monarchs or mere lords) only to be eventually overthrown by the Gwaith-i-Mírdain under Celebrimbor a very plausible scenario. We see how Celegorm and Curufin are able to influence public opinion in Nargothrond against both Finrod and Orodreth, and one could easily see the Noldor-smiths being less than pleased with deferring to some Sinda and his Noldor wife, be she Galadriel or not. Especially not when they were at odds about Annatar and/or the 'Rings of Power' agenda of the Mírdain.

And this seems to me to be completely in agreement with JRRT's general view of women. They all have, in essence, supplementary roles as helpers, healers, consolers of men - none of them is active in a man-like way (i.e. as a hero, leader, warrior). And those who try to do so are either punished or at least criticized for it - Galadriel, Aredhel, Éowyn. Even the Ruling Queens of Númenor are portrayed as somewhat unpleasant women - Ancalime ends the support her father has granted Gil-galad against Sauron, Telperien is described as proud and willful, and refuses to marry and give birth to an heir, and was one of the first monarchs of Númenor who came very close to rule until the day she died. And Vanimelde was a weak ruler who allowed her husband to play king, leading to him usurping and withholding the crown from his own son upon her death.

This is all not very favorably towards the concept of a female ruler.

And one can actually salvage a little bit from that by actually accepting the dates for Telperien's reign from TLoE, making her, and not Minastir, the victor over Sauron's armies in Eriador. She would most likely have dispatched a navy under the command of Minastir her nephew and heir, but considering that she would have been the Ruling Queen at this time the victory over Sauron would have been hers, and that would actually be pretty neat...
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:57 PM   #9
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Perhaps I exaggerated a little bit there. What I meant to say is that Celeborn was the man and the Lord of Lórien. He wore the pants - at least publicly. How Galadrien and Celeborn's private arrangements were is another matter (as is what happened behind closed doors). I guess he deferred often to her and followed her counsel.
Deferred often to her? He wore the pants? Do you actually think he did anything without her consent? I mean, really, think about Celeborn's situation. You are married to the most powerful Noldorin Elf left in Middle-earth, born before Ungoliant and the destruction of the Two Trees, who, by the way, learned arcane secrets at the feet of Melian the Maia, oh, and who just happened to wield one of the Three Rings of Power, and also had enough innate power to destroy Dol Guldur single-handedly - after the One Ring was destroyed and the Three lost their power. There is enough information in the books that implied coequal rule within Lothlorien, but outside the bounds of that land she was one of a handful known as the Wise and a leader of the Free Peoples. There are three Ringbearers, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, who were the most prominent. No one gave a Ring to Celeborn.

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As to the White Council - Celeborn himself is never mentioned as a member but one assumes he was part of it, too.
Doesn't matter, Galadriel convened the Council. That Celeborn is barely mentioned speaks volumes as to who wielded the power in Middle-earth.

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However, if you read how things are described in Appendix B then Celeborn is mentioned a lot more than Galadriel. He leads the army, he takes Dol Guldur, he meets with Thranduil and comes to a new agreement with him.
He had to do something. Think how embarrassing his situation would be if Galadriel also led the armies, in addition to protecting Lothlorien under her mantle. There's a reason the Fellowship felt a drastic change in weather once they entered those enchanted woods.

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Yes, Galadriel is mentioned as the one cleansing Dol Guldur, but nobody ever doubted she was strong and powerful with this kind of stuff.
You make it sound like all she did was get out a scrub brush and a bucket to spiffy up Dol Guldur. The exact line is "threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed."

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The question is - is her power in that department (or her general wisdom and power) transferring into power in the political field and making her the official number one (i.e. a sort of Ruling Lady/Queen) instead of Celeborn. And I think the obvious answer to that is no.
A king would have say so in regards to political alliances outside his realm, yes? Galadriel handled that, not Celeborn.

I will leave you with a quote from Galadriel:

“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 Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!”

How does Celeborn fit in there? Is he mentioned? He's the "King" supposedly (they are referred to as Lord and Lady, which doesn't necessarily imply one has precedence over the other), shouldn't Galadriel dutifully hand her sovereign the Ring, since he "wears the pants"? What part would Celeborn play if Galadriel actually took the Ring? My guess would be a hasty divorce in Las Vegas, and if he survived, exile in the Dead Marshes.
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Old 05-24-2016, 03:07 AM   #10
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Deferred often to her? He wore the pants? Do you actually think he did anything without her consent? I mean, really, think about Celeborn's situation. You are married to the most powerful Noldorin Elf left in Middle-earth, born before Ungoliant and the destruction of the Two Trees, who, by the way, learned arcane secrets at the feet of Melian the Maia, oh, and who just happened to wield one of the Three Rings of Power, and also had enough innate power to destroy Dol Guldur single-handedly - after the One Ring was destroyed and the Three lost their power. There is enough information in the books that implied coequal rule within Lothlorien, but outside the bounds of that land she was one of a handful known as the Wise and a leader of the Free Peoples. There are three Ringbearers, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, who were the most prominent. No one gave a Ring to Celeborn.
Well, if you put it like that you really make the man look like a clown in comparison to her. But we should keep in mind that he was at least as old as she was, and presumably resided with her in Doriath (or was there even before she came across the sea).

Now, I don't know what version of Celeborn's origin you prefer, but in any version that is not the original Nando version - which is the one actually used in the text of LotR when Galadriel remarks that she came to Celeborn - he certainly has the chance to be a wise guy in his own right.

He wouldn't have as much Noldo knowledge from the Valar, but he also had the chance to learn stuff from Thingol and Melian.

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He had to do something. Think how embarrassing his situation would be if Galadriel also led the armies, in addition to protecting Lothlorien under her mantle. There's a reason the Fellowship felt a drastic change in weather once they entered those enchanted woods.
That is one way to see it. I'd say it is improper for a woman in Tolkien's world/mindset to lead an army, regardless how much power she actually wielded. She simply couldn't do that, and that puts the actual visible/political power back in Celeborn's hands.

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You make it sound like all she did was get out a scrub brush and a bucket to spiffy up Dol Guldur. The exact line is "threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed."
I know that. I don't want to make Galadriel appear weak. I know she is very powerful.

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A king would have say so in regards to political alliances outside his realm, yes? Galadriel handled that, not Celeborn.
Hm. That alliance between the Greenwood elves and Lórien was made by Celeborn and Thranduil. Galadriel isn't mentioned. Whether the White Council was some sort of political body is questionable, too. We don't really know what that was besides a debating society for the Wise who claimed to keep a watchful eye on Sauron and his servants (they seemed to have done a very awful job at that considering that it took centuries before one of them decided to investigate Dol Guldur personally, not to mention that none of them actually ever attacked the place or urged Gondor to do so).

I'm also not sure whether Galadriel actually convened the meetings. We know she instigated the formation of the council but that doesn't mean she was in charge. Saruman was, after he had been elected, and the fact that he was also indicates that Galadriel's influence wasn't that great. We also know that the meeting in TA 2851 was in Imladris, so one could assume that Elrond also had the authority to convene a meeting (or at least invite the other guys to join him). The meeting before the attack on Dol Guldur was most likely in Lórien considering that this would have been closest it, but we don't know that for a certainty. It could also have been at Isengard.

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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 Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!”

How does Celeborn fit in there? Is he mentioned? He's the "King" supposedly (they are referred to as Lord and Lady, which doesn't necessarily imply one has precedence over the other), shouldn't Galadriel dutifully hand her sovereign the Ring, since he "wears the pants"? What part would Celeborn play if Galadriel actually took the Ring? My guess would be a hasty divorce in Las Vegas, and if he survived, exile in the Dead Marshes.
That's actually a very interesting quote. Especially the last part. It illustrates how Tolkien imagined Galadriel as Dark Lord would have ruled. As a femme fatale, a woman who would have subdued and dominated anyone in Middle-earth by the power of her beauty, basically. There is no mentioning of the strength of her armies, the power of her mind, or the sharpness of her sword. Just compare that to the Song about Gil-galad or ask yourself how Gandalf would have been described as Dark Lord. Nobody would have said that 'all shall love him and despair'.

I actually assume that a Dark Lord Galadriel would actually still have had Celeborn to do the manly stuff for her. Sure, she would have sat on a throne and her word would have been law, and all. But Celeborn would have led her armies and would have done the manly stuff.

Galadriel's temptation clearly is political power and rule, and I really think her character (development) greatly suffers from Tolkien's late attempt to make her holier (and Celeborn her companion since Aman is irreconcilable with all the established facts about Celeborn). And I think part of Galadriel's sins could also be seen in the fact that she wants to rule over men in a way she is not supposed to. This is not touched upon directly, of course.
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:27 AM   #11
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one would have to assume that Ingwe must either be identical with the first unbegotten Elf, Imin, or at least be of his line because else it would be difficult to explain how Ingwe could usurp or rise to the kingship of the Vanyar (and, in fact, all the other Elves) if he was just some random elf who ended up traveling with Orome to Aman.
That doesn't necessarily follow. We know that Elves who had been in Aman were physically and mentally enhanced, very obvious and perceptible traits emphasized at various points early in the LR as well as the Silmarillion. Elwe, Finwe and Ingwe might well have been "just random Elves" with the stones to accept Orome's rather daunting proposition, but when they returned they would have been perceived immediately as "a cut above." Still, given Tolkien's predeliction for noble lineages I venture that if asked he would put those three in the hereditary lines of Imin etc.
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:31 AM   #12
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On linguistic changes: have you read Quendi and Eldar, and The Shibboleth of Feanor? Tolkien commented that the Elves delighted in change, including changes in language; they altered their tongues often not because they had to but because they chose to. (Extreme consrrvatism seems to have been a trait of the "fallen" Elves of the later ages, engaged in a sort of cultural taxidermy.)

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Old 05-25-2016, 11:31 AM   #13
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We all know that Galadriel really wore the pants, but at the same time she was careful to observe the polite fiction that her hubby was the senior. Note how to the Company she is always talking about "the Lord of the Galadrim" being and doing this and that, even though it's obvious she's in charge.
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:38 AM   #14
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Instead, the Eldar (and perhaps all the Quendi) have a specialty of their own. They are immortal and even if slain they never leave the circles of the world. A royal succession makes little for them and is actually a contradictory concept which only makes (some) sense under the special circumstances of Arda Marred (in the sense that a dead king in Middle-earth cannot really return to his people so that for pragmatic another king has to take his place).

Therefore it makes sense to grant administrative rights of the king to still living successors, especially in war-time. But the *true king* of, say, the Noldor would always remain Finwe, regardless where the hell his fea was hanging out right now,

And we know that the kingship can be given to the heirs of a king, usually a son or otherwise close descendant, if a king is actually slain.
That in fact raises a very interesting issue, one which indicates that sometimes Tolkien allowed his sense of drama to outweigh strict adherence to the internal consistency of his subcreation: why did Feanor and Fingolfin nearly come to blows over who was Finwe's heir? In Valinor it simply didn't matter: nobody ever died there (Morgoth's intervention being completely unanticipated). "Heirship" generally would have been utterly meaningless among the Amanyar.

Yet when Tolkien added this massive expansion to The Silmarillion circa 1958 it added the driving force necessary to propel the story forward from the rather tedious history text the 1937/51 version was.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:20 PM   #15
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That doesn't necessarily follow. We know that Elves who had been in Aman were physically and mentally enhanced, very obvious and perceptible traits emphasized at various points early in the LR as well as the Silmarillion. Elwe, Finwe and Ingwe might well have been "just random Elves" with the stones to accept Orome's rather daunting proposition, but when they returned they would have been perceived immediately as "a cut above." Still, given Tolkien's predeliction for noble lineages I venture that if asked he would put those three in the hereditary lines of Imin etc.
I've just listened to the audiobook version of Sil_77 again and Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe are clearly only described as lords of their particular tribes at this point.

So perhaps we should go with the assumption that the 'divine aspect' of Ingwe's kingship either came later or was greatly enhanced later when his nobility of age and his nobility of rank/mind blended each other. From the very day he took his place at Manwe's feet he would have been pretty much sacrosanct for all eternity.

And considering that the concept of 'kingship' in general (in comparison to 'lordship' or being a chieftain) seems to only have come up after contact with the Valar was established the early leaders of the Quendi would have been simply been elected/chosen rather than ruling by right.

But then, the ones they would have chosen would have been their elders, those they thought knew better or more than the most of them.

The proto-Teleri might have been more egalitarian/less inclined to look to their special elders because the Cuiviényarna mentions that the later groups Imin, Tata, and Enel stumbled upon were already awake when they met them. So they would not be so inclined to look to the Three Old Guys for leadership (unlike those who were woken by their elders).

And that fits well in with the fact that Lenwe, Nowe-Círdan, and presumably others rose to lead part of the Quendi, not to mention those original Avari leaders.

On kingship in Valinor:

We can interpret the whole thing as the kingship not being fully developed as a concept. Finwe's descendants are all hungry for glory and lands of their own. The whole struggle who is in charge instead (or immediately beneath) their kingly father might have been the way how the half-brothers dealt with their ambitions.

The fact that the question of Finwe's succession is actually an open question after Finwe's death can be seen as confirmation for both - that the kingship/royal succession was basically a non-existent or not very well established concept (with death being a non-issue) and that primogeniture wasn't as important as one might think. Feanor had many followers, but Fingolfin did, too. Finwe's second marriage brought a rift in the entire house which could not be healed by Feanor stating that he was the elder and thus the guy in charge.

In that sense we should, perhaps, not assume that there were fixed rules for the succession of the Noldorin high-kingship in Middle-earth.

And perhaps Gil-galad only took the high-kingship after the War of Wrath, anyway? I mean, after the Fall of Gondolin there was only one elven kingdom in Beleriand, anyway. If you want to call the dwellings of the Elves at the Mouths and on Balar a 'kingdom'.

I've read both 'Quendi and Eldar' and 'The Shibboleth of Feanor'. It has been a while, though, and I did not really think about the realism of the whole thing.

I can, of course, accept and see how the Elves would play with their languages if they are so inclined. But the idea that they would actually want to change their language to such degrees as the differences between Quenya and Sindarin suggests is pretty much beyond me.

I mean, this could only work if the elder generations would come to accept the changes the younger generations made, and how likely is that if you try to imagine it. Does anybody see, say, Legolas or Arwen teach Círdan how to speak properly? Or Orodreth Ingwe? I don't think so.

As to Galadriel:

Now, the interesting question there is - is Tolkien also of the mind that Celeborn is just this poor figurehead guy with Galadriel calling the shots?

I know you can get this impression but just as Thingol is the King of Doriath - the guy who has the last words and makes all the decisions, heeding Melian's decisions or not (there are certainly instances when he does not care what his wife says, especially in the end) - Celeborn is the Lord of Lórien.

Tolkien has some powerful female figures that are revered (and feared) by men (like Varda, Melian, Galadriel, and Lúthien) but are they really set up as rulers?

I think they are not. They are basically spouses and (aside from the Ruling Queens of Númenor) they are all basically healers, advisers, mothers, and helpers. They are not active in the same way men are.

Haleth may have been an exception, too, but we know to little about her. Although the fact that she (and Telperien) remained unwed is another hint in that direction. Women cannot be married in Tolkien's world to be really independent rulers because if they are married then the proper way for the wife would be to defer to her husband and let either rule him in his own right or in her name.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:21 PM   #16
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Well, if you put it like that you really make the man look like a clown in comparison to her. But we should keep in mind that he was at least as old as she was, and presumably resided with her in Doriath (or was there even before she came across the sea).

Now, I don't know what version of Celeborn's origin you prefer, but in any version that is not the original Nando version - which is the one actually used in the text of LotR when Galadriel remarks that she came to Celeborn - he certainly has the chance to be a wise guy in his own right.
There is no indication in any version of the story that has Celeborn as ancient as Galadriel.

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He wouldn't have as much Noldo knowledge from the Valar, but he also had the chance to learn stuff from Thingol and Melian.
Let's stick with facts. There is no indication anywhere that Celeborn had anything to do with Melian. In fact, the text explicitly refers to Galadriel learning directly from Melian.

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That is one way to see it. I'd say it is improper for a woman in Tolkien's world/mindset to lead an army, regardless how much power she actually wielded. She simply couldn't do that, and that puts the actual visible/political power back in Celeborn's hands.
Tolkien refers to Galadriel as second only to Feanor in power among the Noldor, not just magic/goetia, but physical strength and agility. In fact, at the time of the War of the Ring, Tolkien refers to her as "the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth". If you want to conjecture, if Sauron came to Lothlorien, who would contest against him, Celeborn or Galadriel? The answer is quite simple. Celebrimbor handed her a Ring of Power for a reason, and conversely, he didn't hand it to Celeborn for the same reason.

Also, it is well known she herself fought against Fëanor in defense of her mother's kin in the Kinslaying of Alqualonde.

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Hm. That alliance between the Greenwood elves and Lórien was made by Celeborn and Thranduil. Galadriel isn't mentioned. Whether the White Council was some sort of political body is questionable, too. We don't really know what that was besides a debating society for the Wise who claimed to keep a watchful eye on Sauron and his servants (they seemed to have done a very awful job at that considering that it took centuries before one of them decided to investigate Dol Guldur personally, not to mention that none of them actually ever attacked the place or urged Gondor to do so).
A debating society? That's what you got out of reading the story?

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I'm also not sure whether Galadriel actually convened the meetings. We know she instigated the formation of the council but that doesn't mean she was in charge. Saruman was, after he had been elected, and the fact that he was also indicates that Galadriel's influence wasn't that great. We also know that the meeting in TA 2851 was in Imladris, so one could assume that Elrond also had the authority to convene a meeting (or at least invite the other guys to join him). The meeting before the attack on Dol Guldur was most likely in Lórien considering that this would have been closest it, but we don't know that for a certainty. It could also have been at Isengard.
But the text states the White Council was formed at her insistence (again, stick with the text, not making stuff up). Saruman, a Maia, was elected to lead the Council, whereas Galadriel, in her wisdom, wanted Gandalf (another Maia) to lead the Council. It was because Saruman was elected that the Council failed for such a long time, and he was deliberately sabotaging their efforts. That a Maia was elected to lead the Council, whether Saruman or Gandalf, is the only logical choice since Manwe himself sent them on their mission. Again, reading the text is necessary here.

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That's actually a very interesting quote. Especially the last part. It illustrates how Tolkien imagined Galadriel as Dark Lord would have ruled. As a femme fatale, a woman who would have subdued and dominated anyone in Middle-earth by the power of her beauty, basically. There is no mentioning of the strength of her armies, the power of her mind, or the sharpness of her sword. Just compare that to the Song about Gil-galad or ask yourself how Gandalf would have been described as Dark Lord. Nobody would have said that 'all shall love him and despair'.
Again, you need to read the text. "No mentions of the power of her mind?" Now I think you are showing yourself to be merely a chauvinist and ignoring the story altogether. There are countless mentions of her wisdom in both LotR and The Silmarillion. As far as her sword, I believe she preferred a javelin. But do you really think she even needed a weapon? Seriously? She throws down the walls of Dol-Guldur (not Celeborn and his army, but her, specifically).

She left Valinor to rule, the text states it specifically. In the Silmarillion the wording is such that you can't mistake who wears the pants:

...whereas the Ring of Adamant was in the Land of Lorien where dwelt the Lady Galadriel. A queen she was of the woodland Elves, the wife of Celeborn of Doriath, yet she herself was of the Noldor and remembered the Day before days in Valinor, and she was the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth.

So, reading that you get GALADRIEL, oh, yeah, and she married that Celeborn guy.

I think you have a skewed view of Galadriel that is not consistent with the books. She was much different from Melian, and more like Luthien, who was also a co-ruler with Beren.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:38 AM   #17
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@Morthoron:

I think we are not on the same page. I'm not trying to diminish Galadriel's power or status. If Tolkien calls her queen then she was a queen. And this also no chauvinist attitude - I'm actually motivated from a feminist perspective there because the thing I'm trying to point out is that even the few strong female figures in Tolkien's work have to stick to the established gender rules, and that means that wives defer to their husbands.

There is a trait in the work that great male heroes (Beren, Tuor, Aragorn) claim female spouses as prices for their great deeds that are nobler and more powerful than they are. I really think you can integrate both Elwe-Melian and Celeborn-Galadriel into this whole pattern.

I'd always concede that at least the LotR-Galadriel and the one in the Later Quenta Silmarillion comes closest to breaking the pattern and being more than a price for her husband. By comparison to Melian, Lúthien, and Arwn she is much more active and man-like (that is also made clear in her name) But this is mostly because Celeborn isn't a hero the story is focusing on. Galadriel is much more important for the narratives she shows up than he is.

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

Just check Galadriel's words when she passes her final test: ‘I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.’ 'Remaining Galadriel' can be seen as her giving up all her grand dreams she has once had as Nerwen in her youth. There is not much left of the 'man-maiden' of old, or is there?

Not to mention that, you know, the very name 'Nerwen' confirms that there are fixed gender roles in Tolkien's world and it is unusual/not the rule that a woman fancies herself to be a man or do stuff a man would do. Else Galadriel's mother-name would have been something else, say, something like 'great woman' or 'strong woman' or 'great queen'.

My question is whether a female ruler - regardless how powerful she might be in spirit, word, or deed - can fulfill the same role as a man in the same position (especially if she is married herself)?

I'm not sure about that. Perhaps one can see Galadriel as the sole (or at least partial) exception, but I'm not really convinced that this is the case.

The examples you cited stress the importance of Galadriel in the stories - and I never doubted any of that. But I'm not sure they touch upon what I meant. And that's the question whether Galadriel can, politically, play a more important role at her husband's court even if we agree she is more powerful, wiser, stronger, whatever. The fact remains that she is a woman, not a man.
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Old 05-26-2016, 04:13 AM   #18
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Now I think you are showing yourself to be merely a chauvinist
That was a bit presumptuous.
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Old 05-26-2016, 06:23 AM   #19
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That was a bit presumptuous.
Hmmm...but is it? I would say when one ignores textual evidence to continue a line of reasoning, then perhaps the boot fits the Stoor. For instance....
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:12 AM   #20
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I'm trying to point out is that even the few strong female figures in Tolkien's work have to stick to the established gender rules, and that means that wives defer to their husbands.

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

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

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

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

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

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

She set out to do it and accomplished it.

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The examples you cited stress the importance of Galadriel in the stories - and I never doubted any of that. But I'm not sure they touch upon what I meant. And that's the question whether Galadriel can, politically, play a more important role at her husband's court even if we agree she is more powerful, wiser, stronger, whatever. The fact remains that she is a woman, not a man.
She did play a more important role, and it is there in the books if one wishes to actually read it. Celeborn is not even mentioned in the Councils - Councils that decided the fate of the West, whether good or bad depending on Saruman's betrayal, right up to expelling Sauron from Dol Guldur. If she were to play the womanly role you want to saddle her with, then he would call councils, he would be mentioned as primary lord when sitting with Gandalf. Sauron, Elrond, Cirdan, Glorfindel, etc., but he isn't. Celebrimbor gives Galadriel a ring directly, as he does with Gil-Galad, indicating who among the Elves is most powerful. There was no consideration of gender in the giving.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:36 PM   #21
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I don't think Galadriel overcame any man like qualities, but she did humble herself rather in the mode contrary to her earlier drive, to rule over realms of her own. This is what drove many of the princes of the Noldor to Middle-earth and her uncle really helped push this idea along, that the Valar were holding the Elves back from being rulers in M-E.

She does have great mental and physical abilities and was mentored by Melian. She was said, I believe, in The History of Galadriel and Celeborn to be like the prime opposition to Sauron since the Second Age. She is compared to Manwe in her role in the Third Age, but I also see her like Melian via her Ring and her power (Girdle of Melian) and Galadriel is the one referred to when it is said why the Nazgul avoid Lorien.

She mentions how bows and arrows alone do not defend and maintain Lorien and it is also said the power in Lorien could only be overcome if Sauron himself led his forces there. Three times of course his armies from Dol Guldur were repelled, hardly doing anything on the outskirts, and the Nazgul would not challenge her power either. Although it was Celeborn, and not herself who chased those armies into the forest and aed Thranduil. Again, her in her Manwe capacity.
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Old 05-27-2016, 01:00 AM   #22
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The High Kingship of the Noldor appears to have passed by agnatic succession. In short, when a High King died, his eldest brother became king; if there were no eldest brother (nearby, at any rate), his son became king. If there were no brother or son, his daughter inherited the kingdom (cf. Idril daughter of Turgon), and she and her husband ruled. This is how kingship was passed among the Anglo-Saxons.

The High King might be compared to an early Holy Roman Emperor. Charlemagne was the first Holy Roman Emperor and a powerful monarch. When he died, his eldest son, Louis the Pious became Holy Roman Emperor. When Louis died, his sons became kings of different regions: Lothair, the eldest, became Holy Roman Emperor and took possession of “Middle Franconia”, the region along the Rhine into modern Switzerland and Italy: the rich north-south trade route (sometimes called “the Bowling Alley”); Pepin, his second son, received Aquitaine and Maine (the western half of modern France); Louis, his third son, received what is now western Germany (receiving the sobriquet “Louis the German”); and Charles (the Bald), his youngest, received part of what is now France, and upon the death of Pepin, the rest of it. The brothers fought against one another and rebelled against their father. The office of Holy Roman Emperor lasted until 1806.

In exile, two descendents of Finwë built fortresses and became local kings: Turgon in Gondolin, Finrod in Nargothrond. Both of them acknowledged the overlordship of Fingolfin as High King. Fingolfin was, presumably, arbiter of disputes (in ironic jest, the Sindar accused the Noldor of returning to Middle-earth so that they could have more room to argue among themselves) and supreme leader in warfare. The Sons of Fëanor mostly cooperated with Fingolfin, at least in military matters; none of them assumed the title “king”. After Fingolfin’s death, the High Kingship passed agnatically until, by whatever lineage, Gil-galad became High King. In the Second Age, Gil-galad was recognized as High King by Galadriel, Elrond, and the Noldor of Eregion, though that did not prevent either Galadriel or the smiths of Eregion from acting independently of him. (The Noldor were a contentious bunch.) Upon his death, no one claimed the High Kingship of the Noldor: presumably Elrond as grandson of Turgon could have taken the title, but did not; by declining to succeed to royal authority, he diffused any rivalry with Galadriel, and set a precedent for the Chieftains of the Dúnedain, who did not take the title of king after the ruin of Arnor. (Elendil and Isildur were High Kings of Arnor and Gondor; Aragorn called himself High King of Gondor and Arnor.)

I don’t know who the kings were among the Elves before Oromë, or if the Elves even had kings. The four emissaries who initially went with Oromë to Aman were either appointed or acknowledged as kings upon their return: Ingwë, Finwë, Elwë and Olwë. Elwë and Olwë had a brother, Elmo (tickle me!), father of Celeborn, who did not go to Aman with his two brothers. Thranduil was related to Celeborn, and Círdan was somehow related to Elwë, Olwë, and Elmo. This implies there may have been several generations of Elves at Cuiviénen before Oromë discovered them. Perhaps Ingwë, Finwë, Elwë and Olwë were among the first Elves to awaken (there were originally 14 Minyar (later Vanyar), 56 Tatyar (half of whom went to Aman and became Noldor, half were unwilling, or Avari), and 74 Nelyar (the same number of Nelyar as Tatyar refused to go and were Avari; and of the rest, half went with Olwë to Aman and became Teleri, half remained in Beleriand to search for Elwë and became Sindar)), but there seems no reason that must be so.

In Silmarillion, Thingol in his rage at the Dwarves of Nargothrond when they try to take the Silmaril after mounting it in the Nauglamír says his “life began by the waters of Cuiviénen”. Perhaps he was indeed one of the 74 Nelyar who first awoke there, or perhaps he was born there; for myself, I think he was born there. Silmarillion indicates a great number of Elves followed Oromë in the Great March to Beleriand, but not whether they were numbered in scores, hundreds, thousands, or ten thousands: there were many more than the 144 who first awoke beneath the stars, and that can only mean several generations of Elves lived there before meeting Oromë.

As for Galadriel, Tolkien calls her the greatest of the Noldor second only to Fëanor. Of the two, I suppose most of us would prefer to deal with Galadriel rather than Fëanor: while Fëanor might be more entertaining, Galadriel would likely be better (and far safer and less arrogant) company.

The relationship between Galadriel and Celeborn mirrors that between Melian and Thingol. There is no question that Melian, a Maia, was far more powerful and possessed much deeper insight than Thingol. For instance, when Thingol sends Beren off on a suicidal quest for a Silmaril, Melian quietly rebukes him,
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O King, you have devised cunning counsel. But if my eyes have not lost their sight, it is ill for you, whether Beren fail in his errand, or achieve it. For you have doomed either your daughter, or yourself. And now is Doriath drawn within the fate of a mightier realm.
Compare that to Galadriel’s gentle rebuke of Celeborn, who wisely understanding that a Balrog might burst forth from Moria to follow the Company of the Ring into Lórien, says he would have barred not only Gimli the Dwarf but even Aragorn and Legolas his kinsman from entering:
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Do not repent of your welcome to the Dwarf. If our folk had been exiled long and far from Lothlórien, who of the Galadhrim, even Celeborn the Wise, would pass nigh and would not wish to look upon their ancient home, though it had become an abode of dragons?
She then proceeds to make peace with Gimli. Galadriel intentionally patterned some of her actions after Melian’s.

Looking back for a moment to Noldorin kingship, notice that neither Galadriel nor Celeborn assumes any royal title in Lórien. Like Elrond in Rivendell and Círdan in Lindon, they are unquestionably the rulers of the land; but the last king of Lórien was Amroth, whether he was (as was Tolkien’s intention when he wrote Lord of the Rings) the son of Celeborn and Galadriel (echoed in Treebeard’s greeting, A vanimar, vanimalion nostari!, “O beautiful ones, parents of beautiful children!” i.e., Celebrían and Amroth) or of a Silvan or Sindarin lord Amdír (later in Tolkien’s life).

Arwen and Aragorn saw their relationship as a clear reprise of that of Lúthien and Beren; but there are striking similarities between Lúthien’s relationship with Beren and that her mother shared with her father; in fact, since Aragorn reigned as High King of the Dúnedain, he and Arwen may share more similarities with Melian and Thingol than did Lúthien and Beren. In all four relationships – Melian and Thingol, Galadriel and Celeborn, Lúthien and Beren, and Arwen and Aragorn, the female is more powerful and wiser than the male; and in every case except Galadriel and Celeborn, she is especially older than the male.

As an aside, for Lúthien and Beren, Melian and Thingol, and Arwen and Aragorn, when the younger male dies – in the cases of Beren and Thingol, violently – the female soon chooses to leave Middle-earth, too. (This situation is reversed for Galadriel and Celeborn: Galadriel leaves Middle-earth, and Celeborn is left behind: Galadriel is not a descendent of Melian.)
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Old 05-27-2016, 03:29 AM   #23
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Hmmm...but is it? I would say when one ignores textual evidence to continue a line of reasoning, then perhaps the boot fits the Stoor. For instance....
A little, yes. I normally enjoy your posts, but going SJW (do not pass "GO") on someone is becoming a bad habit in today's society.
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:07 AM   #24
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@Morthonon:

Yeah, Lúthien played an important part in Beren's heroics. But she is still just his helper in the quest, and the means she uses to help him are clearly identifiable as connected to her female gender.

She does not fight with swords or other weapons, and she doesn't use any violence at all. In fact, she only uses spells to hide herself and Beren, and to escape. It is Huan who defeats Draugluin and Sauron, not Lúthien. And finally she sings a lullaby for Morgoth and his court. That certainly is a great task, but it is certainly not the way a male elf would have accomplished the same thing. He would have defeated both Sauron and Morgoth in battle (or rather he would have been able to knock off Morgoth's crown all by himself to cut the Silmaril out of it).

I know that Galadriel is also tempted by the Ring in Lórien. But it is also about her wish to rule great lands of her own in Middle-earth, and those are, in essence, un-womanly desires because generally only male elves are rulers in Tolkien's world. Galadriel's desires are an exception from the rule, not the rule. The only female Noldor of importance are Aredhel and Idril - and Idril is a good daughter whereas Aredhel shares some of Galadriel's traits. But she never decides a realm of her own just freedom (and not being a good girl she is severely punished for that desire, allowing evil to enter Gondolin in the process).

And we should also keep in mind that Tolkien never gives us a scene in which a man (be it Gandalf, Elrond, or Glorfindel) shows similar signs of being tempted by the One Ring. They certainly would have been, presumably, but it is Galadriel the woman who is actually tempted by the Ring. Just compare her to Faramir who is so much above this kind of thing. Not to mention Aragorn. One can wonder why that is?

As to the White Council:

Honestly, I only see them as a debating society. They accomplished nothing, regardless whether Saruman is to blame for that or not. There is no hint that they ever included to truly militarily powerful Stewards of Gondor or the Kings of Rohan into their design. How do you think the White Council could have challenged Sauron if they lacked the troops to do so? The attack of the White Council on Dol Guldur in 2941 TA was a farce. Sauron was prepared to and intended to leave the place anyway because it was time to move to Mordor.

Yeah, Sauron fled Gandalf in 2063 TA but that was nearly a millennium earlier and had presumably more to do with the fact that he wasn't fully incarnated yet and/or not strong enough to prevail against an Istar in a direct confrontation. Not to mention that he didn't want the Wise to learn yet that he had returned (or was in the long process of returning).

@Belegorn:

If we would do a real gender discussion where usually various attributes of character are coded to be 'male' or 'female' then one could actually say that all the Noldor who repented and went to Eressea overcame their male nature of being dominant, powerful, and active. Even Tolkien uses symbolism to depict that when he has Saruman say that they will return in a grey ship full of ghosts. Saying that they would behave like frightful old women wouldn't be that much different.

But then, Galadriel is technically the only exiled Noldo of note left in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age (unless we consider Gildor Inglorion as another descendant of Finarfin - say, through an unknown sister of Orodreth or something like that) so she is the only one who has to cope with the whole Ban of the Valar thing. She is the only one who is still rebellious until she finally gives in and returns.

@Alcuin:

It seems to me that there was no rule/law in effect that stipulated agnatic succession. The whole (high-)kingship of the Noldor is actually a marred thing. Finwe is the only true king of the Noldor but he eventually died - and even before that his kingship was marred and twisted because of Feanor's exile and Finwe's decision to accompany his son to Formenos and technically give up his kingship until such time as he can live with his son again in his house in Tirion.

Finwe's succession isn't clear, either, most likely because the entire concept is new and essentially 'wrong' because elves are not supposed to die. Finwe's two marriages brought strife into his own house, setting up a rivalry between Míriel's son and Indis' children that essentially caused a struggle for power even before Finwe was killed.

It is clear that Fingolfin enjoyed more support than Feanor and his sons even during the flight of the Noldor. If Fingolfin had wanted to seize the kingship he most likely could have done so because he would have had more support (what prevented him from doing so was apparently his previous oath to Feanor to follow his elder brother).

After Feanor's death his sons most likely simply lacked the power and popularity to seize the kingship over all the Noldor - even if we assume that Maedhros would have wanted to do so after he had been saved by Fingon (which was clearly not the case). Offering Fingolfin the kingship was both a move to save face as well as an attempt to reconcile the exiled Noldor.

And then afterwards childless Fingon and eventually Turgon succeed to the kingship.

But we should not assume the high-kingship was governed by any written or official laws. The very concept of succession itself would have been a fruit of the evil of Arda Marred, and subsequently Eru's true plan for the Quendi would have been that they are ruled by one and the same chieftains/lords/kings throughout the entire history of Arda. Because originally the Elves were not supposed to be slain nor to wane with the age of the earth.

As to the status of the original leaders of the Quendi:

The main problem for Finwe being one of the first is that it is actually stated that he and Míriel only fell in love with each other/had their son Feanor in Aman. So Finwe cannot have been Tata, or one of the other unbegotten elves. And the same goes for Elwe because he, too, was without a spouse until he met Melian. However, Ingwe is another matter. We know all the Minyar went to Aman, so Ingwe certainly could have been identical with Imin. The fact that he has a sister (who is either identical with Indis or her mother) doesn't contradict that. The Feanturi are also called brothers, and Nienna is their sister. If something like that can be the case with the Valar (where it most likely refers to something different from 'biological kinship') then there is no reason why we cannot assume the unbegotten elves had 'siblings', too.

Finwe and Elwe/Olwe's father might have remained behind with the Avari. But Ingwe's father (if he wasn't Imin himself) couldn't have remained behind. So the only explanation for Ingwe not being Imin would be that Imin was one of the poor guys who were either slain or captured by Melkor's minions, but that would mean we have to believe the first Vanya was also the father of the Orcs or himself the first Orc (if we go with the assumption that there must have been Orcs of Quendi-origin in the First Ages, which I think we have to assume). I'm not sure Tolkien would have liked or espoused that possibility if he had ever thought about that.

I'm wondering whether it could make more sense to see Elmo as son of Olwe rather than his and Elwe's brother. We have no idea when Olwe had his first children, and the Elmo chap easily could have been born at Cuiviénen but deciding to stay back and look for his uncle. He could have died in the First Battle to leave his son Celeborn behind in Doriath.

I'm not sure being high-king of the Noldor is more than an honorific, actually. There are no hints that Fingolfin and Fingon/Turgon had any authority over the other Noldorin princes, most especially not about Finrod and Nargothrond (but also not over Feanor's sons). In addition, later on Gil-galad clearly only has authority in Lindon. He cannot command Galadriel or Celebrimbor.
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Old 05-27-2016, 12:25 PM   #25
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And finally she sings a lullaby for Morgoth and his court. That certainly is a great task, but it is certainly not the way a male elf would have accomplished the same thing. He would have defeated both Sauron and Morgoth in battle (or rather he would have been able to knock off Morgoth's crown all by himself to cut the Silmaril out of it).
Well, I don't know about this because it is shown that "Felagund strove with Sauron in songs of power" (Of Beren and Lúthien)

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Originally Posted by Lay of Leithian
Then Sauron laughed: 'Patience! Not long
shall ye abide. But first a song
I will sing to you, to ears intent.'
Then his flaming eyes he on them bent,
and darkness black fell round them all.
Only they saw, as through a pall
of eddying smoke those eyes profound
in which their senses choked and drowned.


He chanted a song of Wizardry,
of piercing, opening, of treachery,
revealing, uncovering, betraying.
Then sudden Felagund there swaying
sang in answer a song of staying,
resisting, battling against power,
of secrets kept, strength like a tower,
and trust unbroken, freedom, escape;
of changing and of shifting shape,
of snares eluded, broken traps,
the prison opening, the chain that snaps.


Backwards and forwards swayed their song,
reeling and foundering, as ever more strong
the chanting swelled, Felagund fought,
and all the magic and might he brought
of Elvenesse into his words.
Softly in the gloom they heard the birds
singing afar in Nargothrond,
the sighing of the sea beyond,
beyond the western world, on sand,
on sand of pearls in Elvenland.


Then the gloom gathered: darkness growing
in Valinor, the red blood flowing
beside the sea, where the Noldor slew
the Foamriders, and stealing drew
their white ships with their white sails
from lamplit havens. The wind wails.
The wolf howls. The ravens flee.
The ice mutters in the mouths of the sea.
The captives sad in Angband mourn.
Thunder rumbles, the fires burn -
and Finrod fell before the throne.
A vast roar echoes in the halls of stone.
Behold! They are in their own fair shape,
fairskinned, brighteyed. No longer gape
Orclike their mouths; and now they stand
betrayed into the wizard's hand. (2164-2205)
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Old 05-27-2016, 02:16 PM   #26
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Well, I don't know about this because it is shown that "Felagund strove with Sauron in songs of power" (Of Beren and Lúthien)
Well, but that wasn't them fighting each other. That was Finrod trying to maintain the magical disguise that made Beren and him appear like Orcs.

How exactly that works in detail isn't make explicit there, but one assumes that Sauron could not see who they truly were before he won that 'battle' despite the fact that Finrod sang of rather obvious Elvish themes in the song. That most likely means we cannot take this as literal fact but rather as that both Sauron and Finrod used magical songs to either maintain the illusion (some Orcs standing in front of Sauron) or breaking the illusion (Sauron suspecting that the guys standing in front of him are not, in fact, Orcs).

However, in general it is clear that this kind of behavior would, in a gendered discussion, not be coded as 'male'.

You can certainly say that Beren would have been completely doomed without Finrod's and Lúthien's help but in the end the story has him cut the Silmaril out of Morgoth's crown and not Lúthien. And it is he who heroically dies in the fight against Carcharoth. And he is the guy who is later praised for the whole thing.

One can also say that Finrod and Lúthien are very much Beren's sidekicks, not the other way around.

It is not just black-and-white, though. I think there is something to this fact that many of the few strong women in Tolkien's world are more powerful and nobler than their future husbands that can be interpreted in a more progressive gender role way - however, the fact that Thingol, Celeborn, and Aragorn are the rulers and their powerful wives, in a sense, the prices at their sides cannot be denied, either.
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Old 05-27-2016, 02:42 PM   #27
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"... but the last king of Lórien was Amroth, whether he was (as was Tolkien’s intention when he wrote Lord of the Rings) the son of Celeborn and Galadriel (echoed in Treebeard’s greeting, A vanimar, vanimalion nostari!, “O beautiful ones, parents of beautiful children!” i.e., Celebrían and Amroth) or of a Silvan or Sindarin lord Amdír (later in Tolkien’s life)."
Treebeard says (to Celeborn and Galadriel): A vanimar, vanimálion nostari 'O beautiful ones, parents of beautiful children' and in Sauron Defeated 'Fair ones begetters of fair ones'.


But I think this could be a general thing to say to Elves, in other words '*O fair ones (Elves), begetters of fair ones (Elf-children)'. Yes Treebeard is speaking to Celeborn and Galadriel of course, but he could still be speaking generally in my opinion, and Celeborn and Galadriel would still take it as a compliment (being Elves obviously).

The word veru 'married pair' appears to show dual inflexion. Treebeard does not say (in any case) *nostaru 'begetters, parents (two)' but nostari *(nosta- [beget] -r [agentive] -i [plural marker 'begetters']). Why would Treebeard say such a thing (if so)? Maybe his mind is on the fact that there are no Entings now among Ents, and historically even the Elves have had many fair children over time.

Or something.

There's also the question of vanimálion. It could/might be (again in my opinion it seems possible) that this word contains 'many', that is, begetters 'of fair ones (many)'

I note the element li in i falmalinnar 'upon the foaming waves' translated 'i falma-li-nnar the foaming waves-many-upon (pl.)' by Tolkien in RGEO (at least). Also, an Ent once used the word taurelilómea which Appendix F seems to reveal as 'Forest-many-shadowed'.

Or if any of my Elvish is off... never mind

Christopher Tolkien did note that if Amroth were thought of as the son of Galadriel and Celeborn when The Lord of the Rings was written "so important a connection could hardly have escaped mention" (commentary, Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn), but granted he cannot put a definitive stamp on it. My impression, based on the draft text version of Nimrodel's song (though granted a draft) is that Amroth was thought of as a Silvan King before Galadriel and Celeborn.

"An Elven-lord he was of old
before the birth of men"


And see draft variants... which I know are just drafts anyway. Let's just say I'm not sure Treebeard's statement need mean that Amroth was thought of Galadriel's son when... well, you know the rest.
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Old 05-27-2016, 04:17 PM   #28
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A little, yes. I normally enjoy your posts, but going SJW (do not pass "GO") on someone is becoming a bad habit in today's society.
In my defense, I don't follow trends. I have been politically incorrect for decades.

And in this case, with continued variants of "males only fought with swords", or "only males were kings", and then blithely ignoring the fact that both Finrod and Luthien strove with songs of power with great effect against superior enemies, or that Celeborn and Galadriel couldn't possibly be co-rulers (even though there was no kingship involved and they were referred to as Lord and Lady), it certainly seems a case in point.

What next, Feanor was feminine because he was "artsy"? Daeron was questionable because he had good penmanship? Thingol was "hysterical" over a necklace, and only women wear necklaces? Haleth and Eowyn must've been transgender because in Middle-earth only men wielded swords?

Geeze, allow Tolkien a little subtlety, please!
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:06 PM   #29
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Well, but that wasn't them fighting each other. That was Finrod trying to maintain the magical disguise that made Beren and him appear like Orcs.
I don't think it matters that the purpose of Sauron was to remove the disguise and that of Finrod to maintain it. Had Sauron tried to remove the disguises physically and force them off, surely that would have been seen as a fight, albiet hand to hand. Rather in this case it was a fight "which is renowned" where "Felagund fought, and all the magic and might he brought of Elfinesse into his words." So I would say that they did indeed fight, but not physically, rather magically.

Otherwise I do agree with you, that in Tolkien's world, the Men are generally the rulers over their people, but there are examples where women like Haleth the leader of the Haladin, or Ancalimë of the Dúnedain hold sway. But we must keep in mind that with the Elves there is not much seperation between men and women in power or physical ability as portrayed in Laws and Customs Among the Eldar. I think that Galadriel, like Melian, were the powers behind the throne, although in the case of Galadriel and Celeborn they did not have the titles queen or king.
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Old 05-28-2016, 06:35 AM   #30
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I don't think it matters that the purpose of Sauron was to remove the disguise and that of Finrod to maintain it. Had Sauron tried to remove the disguises physically and force them off, surely that would have been seen as a fight, albiet hand to hand. Rather in this case it was a fight "which is renowned" where "Felagund fought, and all the magic and might he brought of Elfinesse into his words." So I would say that they did indeed fight, but not physically, rather magically.
I'm not contesting any of that. And I also did not say that women in Tolkien's work aren't allowed to fight. The problem with this special fight is that we have to apply some interpretation to understand what was 'really going on' because the whole event is told is a highly symbolic and poetic mode. I mean, pretty much everybody realizes that this singing contest would have been over at once if Sauron had actually heard Finrod singing about the stuff he apparently mentioned in his song because that would have revealed that he was an Elf (or Noldo from beyond the sea).

But it is said that Sauron only realized what species they were after he had won the contest, and even then could not uncover their personal identity. Something doesn't add up here if you interpret the whole thing literally.

And Finrod later (and earlier) also shows he is a true hero in the male sense because he dies heroically in the fight against the werewolf whom he kills with his bare hands and teeth. No woman in Tolkien's would have ever done such a thing.

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Otherwise I do agree with you, that in Tolkien's world, the Men are generally the rulers over their people, but there are examples where women like Haleth the leader of the Haladin, or Ancalimë of the Dúnedain hold sway. But we must keep in mind that with the Elves there is not much seperation between men and women in power or physical ability as portrayed in Laws and Customs Among the Eldar. I think that Galadriel, like Melian, were the powers behind the throne, although in the case of Galadriel and Celeborn they did not have the titles queen or king.
The differences I mention and talk about about gender roles, not physical (or mental) strength. It is quite clear that Galadriel, Lúthien, or Melian are more powerful than their respective husbands.

But this doesn't mean that such women actually could (or should) transform that personal power into political power. Melian is Thingol's wife and adviser, she does not co-rule Doriath at his side and she does not ultimately make any decisions (that is pretty evident when Thingol decides to ignore his wife and demand the Silmaril as bride price, or when it is Thingol - and Thingol alone! - who sits in judgment over Túrin following the death of Saeros).

I see Galadriel and Celeborn as a (lesser) mirror image of Melian and Thingol. The wife is stronger but Celeborn is still the man and thus in charge by default. This does not mean that things might not be different behind closed doors and in private but publicly Celeborn is the one in charge. And Galadriel would most likely cause a scandal or ruin both her own reputation and authority as well as her husband's if she ever publicly questioned his decisions or contradicted him.

Regardless of her own personal power and influence behind the scene Galadriel is still nothing but a supplementary adviser to the real heroes of the story in LotR. She doesn't do anything but give the actual male heroes some counsel. It was a conscious decision on Tolkien's part to have only men in the fellowship.

And it is also clear that Tolkien was uncomfortable with his own version of a more active Galadriel who was a leader among the rebelling Noldor. His final version of her was that of a completely innocent (and holy) woman from the start who only accidentally came under the ban of the Valar. And both Celeborn and Celebrimbor were Falmari elves in that version, suggesting that Tolkien's final version of Celeborn also had him having nearly as much personal power as Celeborn could possibly have without being reinvented as an exiled Noldo himself.

And if take this whole thing back on track - the question of Eldarin kingship - then I see no problem in the fact that Galadriel never was the high-queen of the Noldor both because of her gender as well as, presumably a more important reason, the fact that she was of the youngest branch of Finarfin whereas Gil-galad, son of Orodreth, son of Angrod was of the elder branch. Galadriel was the youngest child of Finarfin, after all.

The lack of a high-kingship of the Noldor after the Second Age is no surprise. Even Lindon lacks a king after Gil-galad's death, and so does Lórien after Amroth's departure.

If Eärendil/Elrond already gave up their claims to the high-kingship back in the First Age then there is little reason to assume the title would revert back to the descendants of Fingolfin in the Third Age. Maedhros and his brothers also apparently could not demand the high-kingship back after the deaths of Fingolfin, Fingon, and Turgon.
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:33 PM   #31
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For me Tolkien's "final" version of Galadriel and Celeborn is what he himself decided to publish about the two. He can tinker all he wants in his private papers, some of which are so adumbrated they needed to be paraphrased by Christopher Tolkien, but was he really going to step on this history, already in print (thus already thought of as internally true to his readership), creating another arguably notable Galadriel-related inconsistency within the internal corpus?

We can't know of course... but we can know are those ideas Tolkien considered for publication and said "yes" to [I think JRRT just forgot what was in print and was influenced by his chat with Lord Halsbury. And for all we know the late story remained in such an unfinished state because Tolkien finally remembered -- the same day he began the new version possibly -- what he had already published about Nerwen. Just one possibility among others of course].

Anyway what is clear is what Tolkien himself actually published about Galadriel (banned for her role in the Rebellion), and Celeborn (a Sinda). Christopher Tolkien even remarks that (he thinks) if his father had remembered that Celebrimbor had been published as a Feanorean that he surely would not have altered him to being a Teler...

... the same should seemingly go for Celeborn and Galadriel, I would think.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:22 AM   #32
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This is how kingship was passed among the Anglo-Saxons.
Um, no. Kingship among the A-S was elective, by the witan in a role similar to the College of Cardinals, the candidate pool being the late King's male relatives. Strong kings sometimes but by no means always could impose a successor-presumptive on the council while still alive. Frequently a brother was selected, as being the eldest/most accomplished of the royal house, but by no means always; and by late A-S times a quasi-primogeniture undercurrent had crept in from the Continent, as we can see in the case of Alfred's disgruntled nephew Aethelwold. Ultimately the tensions arising from this unstable system resulted in the fall of Saxon England and the Norman Conquest.

The crowns of King of the Germans/HRE were of course always elective (this was complicated by the old and ultimately harmful Frankish tradition of divided inheritance, as in the case of Charlemagne's grandsons).


-------------------------------

There is no need to impose agnatic succession on the Noldor if Gil-galad is placed where he belongs in the House of Finarfin: straight Salic primogeniture works perfectly well. Note that there is no evidence of Idril ruling anything or taking the title of Queen.
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