Thursday, December 17, 2015

Q&A: What Happens to Galadriel in Lothlorien?

You remember, I'm sure, the Galadriel monologue in which she says (in a very monstrous deep crazy person voice):

"In place of a dark lord you would have a queen!  Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn!  Treacherous as the sea!  Stronger than the foundations of the earth!  All shall love me and despair!"

It was pretty intense. That's what happened in the movie anyway, but actually in the book she was a bit more calm.

But why did this happen at all?

This part has particularly confused my mother for as long as she has known the movies, so I decided I would answer it for her today.

The Tolkien Professor, Corey Olsen describes this as a Ring-induced-monologue.  This means that it is basically a character describing the effect the Ring is having on them.  Galadriel is describing how the Ring is tempting her: it is telling her that she could be a dark queen, terrible, and powerful.

Galadriel does resist though and decides she doesn't want to be a queen "terrible as the dawn" or "treacherous as the sea".

Then she says the most perplexing thing of all.

"I have passed the test!  I will diminish and go in to the west and remain Galadriel."

This goes all the way back to ye olde first age.  Galadriel was one of the Noldor who left Aman in exile.  She is forbidden from going back into Valinor since she refused the second summons at the end of the War of Wrath.

Okay, let me rephrase that.

A group of elves called the Noldor rebelled against the Valar, or the powers, and left Elvendom (where they could have remained in eternal bliss) for Middle-earth (where they could be seek revenge against their enemy, or in Galadriel's case, be powerful).  Galadriel wanted to be the most powerful of the Middle-earth elves rather than the least of the elves in the west,so she refused to return there,

Therefore she became an exile and even when she began to weary of Middle-earth she was unable to return to happiness.

Galadriel refused the One Ring which gained her permission to go back into the west.


  1. Just so! The scene in Lothlorien is symbolic of her giving up her selfish ambition at last, being willing to humble herself and return to her origins- and her true home. :)

    1. Well said! That's exactly right. I think that it sends the message that it is important for us to give up our petty wants--such as wanting to be powerful, like Galadriel--so that we can make it to our true home, which I suppose would be heaven.