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LotR: Who is Galadriel– Fairest & Wisest of Elves

5 Minute Read
Sep 12 2022
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The hauntingly beautiful Lady of the Wood has returned from the Undying Lands to grace the screen again. Here is Galadriel’s lore and lineage.

Now thanks to Amazon’s new series The Rings of Power, we’re getting to know another side of the Elven leader – the warrior side. But even before she bore a Ring of Power, Galadriel was renowned for her wisdom and grace.

The Lady Galadriel’s Lineage

Galadriel was a niece of a great Elven king and craft smith of the First Age. Fëanor created the Silmirils, jewels from the essence of the Two Trees of Valinor. The Two Trees provided light to the world until their last fruit and flower were fashioned into the sun and the moon. These jewels were kind of a big deal. I mean, there was a whole war over them.

She was considered to be beautiful even amongst the Elves. Her golden hair was said to shine and glow with the light of the Two Trees.

Galadriel was very moved by her uncle’s tales of Middle Earth, so she left Valinor before the First Age. She’s married to Celeborn, Prince of Doriath. Their daughter, Celebrían, would eventually marry Lord Elrond. She’s grandmother to their children, including Arwen Undómiel.

Best Middle Earth trivia team ever: Elrond, Celeborn, and Galadriel, courtesy of New Line Cinema

The First Age of Middle Earth

At this time in her life, Galadriel was still new to Middle Earth. She spent some time traveling its lands with her brothers. She eventually became the leader of the Noldor after the destruction of the Two Trees.

While there were sparkly jewelry wars and tree wars going on all around, we don’t know a lot about Galadriel’sdoings in the First Age. She believed at the time that the Eldar weren’t powerful enough to defeat Morgoth. Amazon’s new show rewrites the character as a warrior who, alongside Fingolfin, who is her brother in this story, fought the hoards of Morgoth during the war.

Galadriel in armor receiving her honors for battles fought, courtesy of Amazon Prime.

The Second Age: Lothlórien & the Forging of the Nine Rings

Galadriel and Celeborn came to rule land under Gil-galad, the High King of Elves in the West. The land lie just west of the Misty Mountains, very near the Dwarf city of Khazad-dûm. As such, they openly traded with the Dwarves.

The city was very prosperous and was later ruled by Galadriel’s ally Celebrimbor after she settled in Lothlórien. Celebrimbor is the guy who made the rings. Yeah, the Rings.

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Galadriel and her ring of power, Nenya

Celebrimbor’s Etsy shop can just take all my money now, courtesy of New Line Cinema

When he realized his friend Annatar was actually Sauron in disguise, Celebrimbor and Galadriel decided to protect the rings from the One Ring’s influence. Galadriel became responsible for Nenya, the Ring of Water.

Nenya’s powers included protection, preservation, and concealment from evil. But while Sauron wore the One Ring, she refrained from using Nenya.

After the first defeat of Sauron, the One Ring was lost. Lady Galadriel was then free to use Nenya’s powers to protect her people. And she cast a really beautiful but terrifying visage on anyone foolish enough to try to cross Lothlórien’s borders.

The Lady of the Wood in the Third Age

During the Third Age, Galadriel helped form the White Council in opposition to the growing power of Sauron (he’s baaaack). She actually campaigned to make Gandalf the leader, but the Council wasn’t ready to have that conversation yet.

During this time, she often uses her skills to protect her allies in the battle against Sauron. And that’s just her gig for a long while, ruling over her woodland hideaway and advising Gandalf. She does manage to pull some pretty impressively creepy moves, like hiding the Éothéod in a thick mist so they could ride into battle unharmed. 

The Éothéod would later become the Rohirrim. And they’re a big part of the reason why men fear to behold the Lady of the Wood.

Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Galadriel & the War of the Ring

Without Galadriel’s influence, the War of the Ring would have been an entirely different story. Of course, she shelters the Fellowship after Gandalf’s fall in the ruins of Khazad-dûm. And she allows Samwise and Frodo a peek into her famous magical mirror.

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When Frodo offers her the One Ring, she does the aforementioned shiny rage, but she refuses the ring, passing a test of the spirit. At this moment, she accepts that the Age of Men is nigh, and decides to return to Valinor after the war is ended.

Galadriel then urges Aragorn to take the Paths of the Dead. She also contacts the Rangers in the North, spurning them to join in the fight.

Of course, Sauron wasn’t pleased that the wisdom and cunning of the Elves stood in his way, so he set an assault against Lothlórien. But the power of Nenya and the army of Elves prevented him from breaching the Woodland Realm.

After the final defeat of the Dark Lord Sauron, Galadriel came to witness the wedding of her granddaughter Arwen. Then, she and many of her Elven brethren boarded a ship and set sail for Valinor, the Undying Lands.

Galadriel On Screen

This Elven queen was flawlessly and famously portrayed by Cate Blanchette in Peter Jackson’s live-action Lord of the Rings series. Amazon Prime is currently releasing the new original series The Rings of Power, the tale of Middle Earth through earlier ages.

Actress Morfydd Clark plays a young Galadriel that may be more battle-worn than we assumed, but honestly, Tolkien’s lore doesn’t really account for her comings and goings during this time, apart from saying that the was strong and basically not to be f*cked with. There’s no reason why Galadriel couldn’t be the warrior queen the new series is building her up to be.

Courtesy of Amazon

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