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Old 12-15-2018, 03:43 PM   #1
R.R.J Tolkien
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The Power of Galadriel in the Third age- That of a Maiar?

The question is not of her power in the first age vs the created power of a maiar, but of her power vs general maiar in the third age. I have argued that the Maiar are overrated in their power and I also argue the strength of the Noldor [individually not collective] increased from the first age to the third age. I think it vital to read before considering this question.

see post 1-4
http://www.thetolkienforum.com/index...a-maiar.23835/


Galadriel

“Lady Galadrial....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.”
-The Silmarillion

“Galadriel..is the last remaining of the great among the high elves, and “awoke” in Eldomar beyound the sea.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 144

“Galadriel, noblest of the Noldor still in middle-Earth.”
-Karen Wynn Fonstad the Atlas of Middel-Earth Revised Edition Houghton Mifflin Company Boston NY 199
1

Born in Valinor the only daughter of Finarfin high king of the Noldor in Valinor and niece of Feanor, also a high king of the noldor. In Valinar the Noldor elves “thirst for more knowledge , and in many things surpassed their teachers” [valar]. Lady Galadrial was taught by Yavanna [valar] and Aule. Later she lived with and became close friends with Melian the maia learning from her.

Galadriel remained long with Melian, for their was much love between them.”
-The war of the Jewels

“Galadriel....remained long in Doriath....there learned great lore and wisdom concerning Middle earth.”
-The Later Sillmarillion the war of the Jewels


Also Melian also learned from Galadriel, such as what had happened in aman. In the third age she was the holder of the elf ring of adamant [Nenya] the last of the rings to be made [besides the one ring] and the most powerful. The rings main power was protection, preservation and concealment, however it also enhanced the natural powers of the holders [130 letters of Tolkien].

“for the power of the elven rings was very great.”
-of the rings of power and the third age

"Throughout the second and third ages Lorien remained safe from Sauron, For Galadriel's power was such that she knew his mind but hers was closed to him, and she could protect Lorien from assault by any power less than Sauron himself"
- Robert Foster the complete guide to middle earth

Protected within Lothlorien in part by the power of her ring, she could also use her mirror “the mirror of Galadrial” to see “things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be” to further her knowledge of middle earth and counter moves by sauron. She was also a member of the council of the wise having another source of great knowledge of middle earth.

In the letters of Tolkien he says of the "free people" of middle earth Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel are the most powerful and in 246 he suggested Galadriel would have been able to face Sauron alone if she had his ring. In “flotsam and jetsam” Aragorn named Galadrial as one of the three that could stand up to the maiar Sauruman.

She helped force Sauron out of dol Guldor, sent Gwaihir to rescue Gandalf, of the flight of noldor galadriel helped lead the house of fingolfin to middle earth over the dangerous mountain pass, tore down the walls of Dol Guldur, and helped defend lorien from assaults.

"Lórien itself was assaulted three times, but the armies ofDol Guldur were driven back due to the courage of the Elves and the power of Galadriel's Ring. It is said that the power of her Ring could not be overcome unless Sauron himself would come to do battle. After the fall of Sauron she, with Thranduil of Mirkwoodand their elven allies, crossed the Anduin into Dol Guldur, where they tore down its walls and laid bare its pits. She is, however, no mere fey being, but a lady of great power. She bears one of the Great Rings - Nenya - the Ring of Adamant, and with the One Ring in her grasp as well, she would be a mighty match for the Dark Lord Sauron. Galadriel possessed a tremendous amount of magical powers, and was said to be the greatest of the Ñoldor after Fëanor..
-Galadrieal one wiki to rule them all



Glorfindel the mighty first age eldor warrior, became “almost equal” to the maiar, yet was not as powerful as Galadriel the most powerful third age Noldor.

"or long years he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar. To these he had now become almost an equal, for though he was an incarnate (to whom a bodily form not made or chosen by himself was necessary) his spiritual power had been greatly enhanced by his self-sacrifice.
-History of Middel Earth The Last Writings, Glorfindel


Galadriel also posses intercessory powers she also seems to have divine powers, reading the hearts/minds of the fellowship..

“I dont like leaving it and that's a fact as he [Sam] stroked the ropes end and shook it gently “it goes hard parting with anything I brought out of elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself too, maybe, Galadriel” he murmured, nodding his head mournfully, he looked up and gave one last pull to the ropes as if in farewell. To the complete surprise of both the hobbits it came lose.” I think the rope came off itself- when I called”

To call upon galadriel even unawares, is for her to answer.”
-Ralph C Wood The Gospel According to Tolkien Westminster John Knox Press Louisville Kentucky 2003


Later prior to the battle of the Pelennor fields when the dundain were sent as reinforcement “yes you have it” said Gimli “the lady of the wood she reads many hearts and desires.” Much of Galadrial comes from the teachings of Mary the mother of Jesus and like Mary is to Catholics, Tolkien said in letters 353 Galadriel was 'unstained': she had committed no evil deeds.

“Galadriel was 'unstained': she had committed no evil deeds. She was an enemy of Fëanor. She did not reach Middle-earth with the other Noldor, but independently. Her reasons for desiring to go to Middle-earth were legitimate, and she would have been permitted to depart, but for the misfortune that before she set out the revolt of Fëanor broke out, and she became involved in the desperate measures of Manwe, and the ban on all emigration.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 353
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.R.J Tolkien View Post
The question is not of her power in the first age vs the created power of a maiar, but of her power vs general maiar in the third age. I have argued that the Maiar are overrated in their power and I also argue the strength of the Noldor [individually not collective] increased from the first age to the third age. I think it vital to read before considering this question.

see post 1-4
http://www.thetolkienforum.com/index...a-maiar.23835/


Galadriel

“Lady Galadrial....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.”
-The Silmarillion

“Galadriel..is the last remaining of the great among the high elves, and “awoke” in Eldomar beyound the sea.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 144

“Galadriel, noblest of the Noldor still in middle-Earth.”
-Karen Wynn Fonstad the Atlas of Middel-Earth Revised Edition Houghton Mifflin Company Boston NY 199
1

Born in Valinor the only daughter of Finarfin high king of the Noldor in Valinor and niece of Feanor, also a high king of the noldor. In Valinar the Noldor elves “thirst for more knowledge , and in many things surpassed their teachers” [valar]. Lady Galadrial was taught by Yavanna [valar] and Aule. Later she lived with and became close friends with Melian the maia learning from her.

Galadriel remained long with Melian, for their was much love between them.”
-The war of the Jewels

“Galadriel....remained long in Doriath....there learned great lore and wisdom concerning Middle earth.”
-The Later Sillmarillion the war of the Jewels


Also Melian also learned from Galadriel, such as what had happened in aman. In the third age she was the holder of the elf ring of adamant [Nenya] the last of the rings to be made [besides the one ring] and the most powerful. The rings main power was protection, preservation and concealment, however it also enhanced the natural powers of the holders [130 letters of Tolkien].

“for the power of the elven rings was very great.”
-of the rings of power and the third age

"Throughout the second and third ages Lorien remained safe from Sauron, For Galadriel's power was such that she knew his mind but hers was closed to him, and she could protect Lorien from assault by any power less than Sauron himself"
- Robert Foster the complete guide to middle earth

Protected within Lothlorien in part by the power of her ring, she could also use her mirror “the mirror of Galadrial” to see “things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be” to further her knowledge of middle earth and counter moves by sauron. She was also a member of the council of the wise having another source of great knowledge of middle earth.

In the letters of Tolkien he says of the "free people" of middle earth Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel are the most powerful and in 246 he suggested Galadriel would have been able to face Sauron alone if she had his ring. In “flotsam and jetsam” Aragorn named Galadrial as one of the three that could stand up to the maiar Sauruman.

She helped force Sauron out of dol Guldor, sent Gwaihir to rescue Gandalf, of the flight of noldor galadriel helped lead the house of fingolfin to middle earth over the dangerous mountain pass, tore down the walls of Dol Guldur, and helped defend lorien from assaults.

"Lórien itself was assaulted three times, but the armies ofDol Guldur were driven back due to the courage of the Elves and the power of Galadriel's Ring. It is said that the power of her Ring could not be overcome unless Sauron himself would come to do battle. After the fall of Sauron she, with Thranduil of Mirkwoodand their elven allies, crossed the Anduin into Dol Guldur, where they tore down its walls and laid bare its pits. She is, however, no mere fey being, but a lady of great power. She bears one of the Great Rings - Nenya - the Ring of Adamant, and with the One Ring in her grasp as well, she would be a mighty match for the Dark Lord Sauron. Galadriel possessed a tremendous amount of magical powers, and was said to be the greatest of the Ñoldor after Fëanor..
-Galadrieal one wiki to rule them all



Glorfindel the mighty first age eldor warrior, became “almost equal” to the maiar, yet was not as powerful as Galadriel the most powerful third age Noldor.

"or long years he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar. To these he had now become almost an equal, for though he was an incarnate (to whom a bodily form not made or chosen by himself was necessary) his spiritual power had been greatly enhanced by his self-sacrifice.
-History of Middel Earth The Last Writings, Glorfindel


Galadriel also posses intercessory powers she also seems to have divine powers, reading the hearts/minds of the fellowship..

“I dont like leaving it and that's a fact as he [Sam] stroked the ropes end and shook it gently “it goes hard parting with anything I brought out of elf-country. Made by Galadriel herself too, maybe, Galadriel” he murmured, nodding his head mournfully, he looked up and gave one last pull to the ropes as if in farewell. To the complete surprise of both the hobbits it came lose.” I think the rope came off itself- when I called”

To call upon galadriel even unawares, is for her to answer.”
-Ralph C Wood The Gospel According to Tolkien Westminster John Knox Press Louisville Kentucky 2003


Later prior to the battle of the Pelennor fields when the dundain were sent as reinforcement “yes you have it” said Gimli “the lady of the wood she reads many hearts and desires.” Much of Galadrial comes from the teachings of Mary the mother of Jesus and like Mary is to Catholics, Tolkien said in letters 353 Galadriel was 'unstained': she had committed no evil deeds.

“Galadriel was 'unstained': she had committed no evil deeds. She was an enemy of Fëanor. She did not reach Middle-earth with the other Noldor, but independently. Her reasons for desiring to go to Middle-earth were legitimate, and she would have been permitted to depart, but for the misfortune that before she set out the revolt of Fëanor broke out, and she became involved in the desperate measures of Manwe, and the ban on all emigration.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 353
Wielder of a voice "deeper than a woman's wOnt' and to Feanor "unfriends forever", then forever spurning of Celebrimbor, with the duality in the Elessar history associated, then wielder of Nenya, abandoner of Celeborn, and keeper of a magical Mirror, grower of Mallorn, a seed that would grow, ordinarily, only as far East of Valinor as Numenor.

What do we make of all that, as an allied data to the opening post?

We get the sense she could have wielded the One and subordinated Sauron. Thus, I have to say her accumulation of power set her to Maia status.

A caveat I add is there's a lot of vanity implied, or conceit, if you take the view that "a grudge is a disease of vanity". She was Banned for a very long time. I wonder about Mandos's antipathy and what he was wary of.

At my most 'event horizon' of days, I see her on the Westward Road, unveiling herself, as a stench of evil and Frodo, Sam and Bilbo down deep knew, and went West to assist, before she grew swollen with conceit, like Ungoliant to sully and corrupt Valinoreans.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ivriniel View Post
Wielder of a voice "deeper than a woman's wOnt' and to Feanor "unfriends forever", then forever spurning of Celebrimbor, with the duality in the Elessar history associated, then wielder of Nenya, abandoner of Celeborn, and keeper of a magical Mirror, grower of Mallorn, a seed that would grow, ordinarily, only as far East of Valinor as Numenor.

What do we make of all that, as an allied data to the opening post?

We get the sense she could have wielded the One and subordinated Sauron. Thus, I have to say her accumulation of power set her to Maia status.

A caveat I add is there's a lot of vanity implied, or conceit, if you take the view that "a grudge is a disease of vanity". She was Banned for a very long time. I wonder about Mandos's antipathy and what he was wary of.

At my most 'event horizon' of days, I see her on the Westward Road, unveiling herself, as a stench of evil and Frodo, Sam and Bilbo down deep knew, and went West to assist, before she grew swollen with conceit, like Ungoliant to sully and corrupt Valinoreans.


“Galadriel was 'unstained': she had committed no evil deeds. She was an enemy of Fëanor. She did not reach Middle-earth with the other Noldor, but independently. Her reasons for desiring to go to Middle-earth were legitimate, and she would have been permitted to depart, but for the misfortune that before she set out the revolt of Fëanor broke out, and she became involved in the desperate measures of Manwe, and the ban on all emigration.”
-J.R.R Tolkien letters 353
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Old 02-17-2019, 10:03 AM   #4
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If I remember correctly Tolkien stated that the power of some of the older Eldar (and especially if they had been re-housed, for example Glorfindel) was comparable to that of some of the Maiar. Galadriel was (in the Third Age) clearly on of the oldest remaining Elves in Middle-Earth and Tolkien even went so far in his later writings to state that she was the second most powerful of the Noldor (after Feanor): "Galadriel was the greatest of the Noldor, except Fëanor maybe, though she was wiser than he, and her wisdom increased with the long years" (from Unfinished Tales). Considering all that it seem plausible that Galadriel was at least as powerful as some of the weaker Maiar (for example Radagast, or one of the other hundred unnamed helper-spirits). From a story-perspective she has to be that powerful to be a credible opponent to Sauron (Tolkien mentioned that only Saurons personal, active presence could have worn down the defenses of Lorien). But it is also quite clear that she was still less powerful than Sauron and that she would not have been able to master the One Ring. Tolkien stated in a Letter (No. 246) that:

"Of the others [non-mortals in the story] only Gandalf might be expected to master him [the One Ring] – being an emissary of the Powers and a creature of the same order, an immortal spirit taking a visible physical form... [...] Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated [by Galadriel]".

Sauron was spiritually more powerful than Galadriel. But while a battle between an Elda and an Umaia is in large parts a spiritual battle, the physical realities are a factor too - and the simple fact is that Sauron (in his unique incarnation) was also physically superior, a lot taller and bigger, heavier and stronger than the elf-woman Galadriel. In my opinion Sauron just outclassed Galadriel in every way: spiritually, physically, mentally. I think that in a hypothetical 1 on 1 confrontation Galadriel would not even stand a chance against Sauron, Ring or no Ring.

The One Ring seduced everyone in its reach and filled the minds with delusions of grandeur and power, like a euphoria inducing drug almost. Galadriel was obviously not immune to that effect, so she is not a reliable narrator regarding the One Ring and her ability to master it, another quote from the letter:

"In the 'Mirror of Galadriel', 1381, it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring and supplanting the Dark Lord. If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond. But this is another matter. It was part of the essential deceit of the Ring to fill minds with imaginations of supreme power."

Last edited by denethorthefirst; 02-17-2019 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 03-03-2019, 05:58 PM   #5
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I'm not sure if it's helpful when discussing Tolkien to think of "power" as something quantifiable, a number on a dice-roll table. Power is a very broad word which applies to all sorts of things, including natural phenomena and intangible ideas. A bear is powerful; so is a bulldozer, a Browning M2 , and Bach's B-minor Mass.


Of course here we're talking about what Hobbits clumsily mis-call "magic"; but even there Galadriel's Mirror and Thranduil's automatic gates aren't really the same sort of "magic" power. It's not like saying, "See! Eonwe has a Level 30 Magic Blast, but Galadriel with a +12 Nenya Bonus has the equivalent of a Level 32!"
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Old 03-03-2019, 07:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
I'm not sure if it's helpful when discussing Tolkien to think of "power" as something quantifiable, a number on a dice-roll table. Power is a very broad word which applies to all sorts of things, including natural phenomena and intangible ideas. A bear is powerful; so is a bulldozer, a Browning M2 , and Bach's B-minor Mass.


Of course here we're talking about what Hobbits clumsily mis-call "magic"; but even there Galadriel's Mirror and Thranduil's automatic gates aren't really the same sort of "magic" power. It's not like saying, "See! Eonwe has a Level 30 Magic Blast, but Galadriel with a +12 Nenya Bonus has the equivalent of a Level 32!"

Seconded.

Whenever I glance at this thread I keep thinking about Hurin standing down Morgoth. Clearly there is a huge gap in their existential rank - this is not elf vs Maia, this is Man vs one of the most powerful Ainu, they're not even close. The physical exhibitions of their power, what Sam would call magic that one can see, are also nowhere close. But Hurin stands down Morgoth and his willpower in that moment is at least equal to that of Morgoth's. It doesn't mean Hurin has the power of an Ainu, it means he's one heck of a man and we all admire him for it. Power doesn't come in one dimension, so it's hard to make generalized conparisons. I guess my point is, Galadriel doesn't need to have the power of a Maia to be one heck of an Elf.
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
I'm not sure if it's helpful when discussing Tolkien to think of "power" as something quantifiable, a number on a dice-roll table. Power is a very broad word which applies to all sorts of things, including natural phenomena and intangible ideas. A bear is powerful; so is a bulldozer, a Browning M2 , and Bach's B-minor Mass.


Of course here we're talking about what Hobbits clumsily mis-call "magic"; but even there Galadriel's Mirror and Thranduil's automatic gates aren't really the same sort of "magic" power. It's not like saying, "See! Eonwe has a Level 30 Magic Blast, but Galadriel with a +12 Nenya Bonus has the equivalent of a Level 32!"
This is good perspective and certainly correct. But to be fair, and not to put the brakes on fun too much, even Tolkien did a good bit of direct power ranking. When these questions come up, I usually have in mind the Nazgul fleeing Glorfindel's revealed wrath, or Gandalf on one side of a door with Durin's Bane on the other: metaphysical conflicts in which spiritual wills press on one another. That dynamic has always made intuitive sense to me, like the Devil fleeing from the sign of the cross or something, and Tolkien's vocabulary of power seems to imply he often had something similar in mind. Power is often something recognized and its proof by manifestation as some technique or other seems rarely necessary, except when two powers are fairly evenly matched.
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:57 PM   #8
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This is good perspective and certainly correct. But to be fair, and not to put the brakes on fun too much, even Tolkien did a good bit of direct power ranking. When these questions come up, I usually have in mind the Nazgul fleeing Glorfindel's revealed wrath, or Gandalf on one side of a door with Durin's Bane on the other: metaphysical conflicts in which spiritual wills press on one another. That dynamic has always made intuitive sense to me, like the Devil fleeing from the sign of the cross or something, and Tolkien's vocabulary of power seems to imply he often had something similar in mind. Power is often something recognized and its proof by manifestation as some technique or other seems rarely necessary, except when two powers are fairly evenly matched.

Well, yes; but even in direct combat matchups, there's a certain rock-paper-scissors dynamic, like the classic infantry-cavalry-artillery triangle. Glorfindel was uniquely dangerous to the W-K, because as a Noldorin Exile he "lived at once on both sides" and thus presented a direct threat in the shadow-dimension where the W-K "lived." Note that the WK does not flee from, in fact taunts, Gandalf, even though in raw "power" GtW almost certainly has more wattage.

(But Gandalf's a Maia! you say. Surely he too "lives on both sides." Except he's an Istar, which means as long as he's in that situation he is, effectively, a conditionally-immortal human sorceror.)
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:22 PM   #9
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Well, yes; but even in direct combat matchups, there's a certain rock-paper-scissors dynamic, like the classic infantry-cavalry-artillery triangle. Glorfindel was uniquely dangerous to the W-K, because as a Noldorin Exile he "lived at once on both sides" and thus presented a direct threat in the shadow-dimension where the W-K "lived." Note that the WK does not flee from, in fact taunts, Gandalf, even though in raw "power" GtW almost certainly has more wattage.

(But Gandalf's a Maia! you say. Surely he too "lives on both sides." Except he's an Istar, which means as long as he's in that situation he is, effectively, a conditionally-immortal human sorceror.)
I've always attributed WK's confidence to his own flawed judgment, rather than any real perception of spiritual superiority on his part. He was lucky Gandalf was so committed to his Istarin role, because he had no idea what Gandalf truly was. I disagree that Glorfindel was uniquely dangerous to Nazgul: he was also handful enough for a First Age Balrog. An example of "rock-paper-scissors" might be the humble will of a Frodo or a Samwise withstanding the focused spiritual pressure of Sauron through his Ring, in his domain. But we know that this could never have been a Hobbit victory, only a more or less slow descent into slavery. This is an echo of the overarching metaphysic whereby the holy creative power of the Ainur, and the presence of the Noldor in Middle-earth, have held out for ages against the degeneration wrought into the fabric of existence by Melkor, but it is ultimately his will, primevally prime, that will dominate all others.

Speaking of all this, I can't wait to see the orc-wrecking swordplay of Luthien Tinuviel, Greatest of the Eldar, on TV. I hope it's choreographed like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. (I also hope the role is given to a strong woman of color, obviously.)

Last edited by obloquy; 03-11-2019 at 03:54 PM. Reason: Noldor changed to Eldar
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:00 PM   #10
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When I said Glorfindel was "uniquely dangerous," I didn't mean that his power was dangerous to Nazgul in particular, but rather that Glorfindel in particular was dangerous to Nazgul: High-elven Exiles possessed the ability to get to their "vitals" on the other side of the veil where it was safe from anyone else. (Merry, Pippin and Sam possessed whatever the equivalent of holy water or kryptonite was to Wraiths, but not one the WK would have been aware of. Against any other opponent, they were just swords.)

Aragorn possessed no "magic" power at all- but. He certainly had certain Powers of Heredity, starting on the prosaic side with the automatic deference of most Dunedain who learned who he was, but also extending to the Power of Legitimate Hereditary Ownership to wrest the Palantir from Sauron himself; and of course the Power of Inherited Sworn Obligation to command the Dead of Dunharrow.

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‘Dangerous!’ cried Gandalf. ‘And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Gloin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:04 PM   #11
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(I also hope the role is given to a strong woman of color, obviously.)

Not a strong lesbian trans-woman of color? Sexist homophobe pig!
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