When last we left our telling of Galadriel in the First Age, she had just moved to Doriath with Thingol and Melian. There, she met Celeborn and buckled down to attain her next goal “to rule there a realm at her own will.”
This is pretty important (though, not the Celeborn stuff). Melian completely outclassed Thingol – she was one of the Maiar, above all the Elves (Gandalf and Saruman were also Maiar). It was she who ruled and protected Doriath, and it was from her whom Galadriel learned the ins and outs of realm ruling.
But being under Melian’s tutelage didn’t mean that Galadriel was going to lay all her cards on the table. While the two of them would chat about “Valinor and the bliss of old,” Galadriel would never talk about anything after the death of the Two Trees. Finally, Melian had to ask: “There is some woe that lies upon you and your kin. That I can see in you, but all else is hidden from me; for by no vision or thought can I perceive anything that passed or passes in the West: a shadow lies over all the land of Aman, and reaches far out over the sea. Why will you not tell me more?”
This echoes Galadriel’s questioning of the Fellowship about Gandalf. She even said that there was a grey mist (a shadow) over him. She had tried to read the Fellowship’s minds to discover Gandalf’s whereabouts, but couldn’t, just as Melian had apparently tried and likewise failed.
Galadriel gave a wishy washy answer, saying that the “woe” was in the past and she’d rather focus upon the now, “untroubled by memory.”
Melian, however, wasn’t buying it. When Galadriel and the Noldor first arrived, they claimed to be messengers of the Valar. But Melian noticed that they never spoke about the Valar and didn’t really seem to have any messages from them, which made them kind of crap messengers (and horrible liars).
‘For what cause, Galadriel, were the high people of the Noldor driven forth as exiles from Aman? Or what evil lies on the sons of Fëanor that they are so haughty and so fell? Do I not strike near the truth?’
‘Near,’ said Galadriel; ‘save that we were not driven forth, but came of our own will, and against that of the Valar. And through great peril and in despite of the Valar for this purpose we came: to take vengeance upon Morgoth, and regain what he stole.’
Galadriel continued, telling Melian about the Silmarils and a bunch of other stuff, “but still she said no word of the Oath, nor of the Kinslaying, nor of the burning of the ships at Losgar.”
Melian could tell that there were still some pretty important parts that Galadriel purposely left out, and accused her of casting a “darkness” over their past, “but I see evil there, which Thingol should learn for his guidance.”
Galadriel sort of agreed that Thingol should probably know about it, but held that he wouldn’t learn it from her. This was just plain mean. Or dumb. Here, she could have told all she knew and given Thingol the truth. And because of her silence, the “truth” came to the people of Doriath in the shape of rumors poisoned further by Morgoth, who soon took advantage of the naive Elves (the Sindar). And to Thingol, the truth came from Angrod, Galadriel’s brother, who decided to spill the proverbial beans. Thingol was furious and expelled him, though he allowed Galadriel to stay (whatever). Nevertheless, she moved to Nargothrond for a bit until the heat died down.
It seems like Galadriel had a habit of moving on when things got a bit awkward. First was from Valinor, and now from Doriath. This will definitely become a trend.
The next we hear anything about Galadriel directly is at the end of the Quenta-Silmarillion, the end of the First Age, when the Noldar (and other lines) were again admitted into Valinor with a pardon. She, among others, was unwilling to “forsake the Hither Lands where they had long suffered and long dwelt.” Galadriel was the only Noldo who had been with Fëanor’s group who chose to remain in Middle-earth.
There’s a whole slew of things that happened in between Galadriel moving to Nargothrond and the end of the First Age. For the next four hundred years, cities like Gondolin and Nargothrond were built, the Children of Húrin stuff happened, wars and battles such as the Dagor Bragollach and the Nirnaeth Arnoediad were fought, Doriath was sacked by Dwarves, Nargathrong was destroyed by a dragon, Beren and Lúthien did their thing, there was another Kinslaying, Gondolin fell, and still another Kinslaying, Beleriand fell to Morgoth, and then finally the entire world (which was flat, by the way) was made round and Beleriand wad destroyed, leaving the map of Middle-earth as we know it.
According to the Silmarillion, Galadriel apparently did nothing through all of this. She, of course, survived somehow, but just how is never mentioned. All that’s said is that when she was allowed back into Valinor, she decided to stay in Middle-earth, presumably for the same reason she left Valinor in the first place: “to rule there a realm at her own will.”
Still, we now know quite a bit more about Galadriel’s history than is said in Lord of the Rings: “He [Celeborn] has dwelt in the West since the days of dawn, and I have dwelt with him for years uncounted; for ere the fall of Nargothrond or Gondolin I passed over the mountains, and together through the ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.”
It’s fascinating that now, looking at what she said to the Fellowship, we can better place when she moved. Nargothrond fell in 495 of the First Age (Gondolin fell in 510). So sometime, perhaps during the Children of Húrin stuff, she packed up Celeborn and headed eastbound from Nargothrond.
In Appendix B, we’re told that Galadriel and Celeborn lived in Lindon south of the Lune (Harlindon on the map) at the start of the Second Age. Later, they moved to Eregion (Hollin – on the west side of the Misty Mountains), where the Rings of Power were made.
A Few Notes
- I really thought that I could do all of the Silmarillian‘s Galadriel stuff in one post. Nope!
- Next we’ll take a look at an outline of Galadriel’s life that Tolkien wrote around the same time as he delved back into the Silmarillion writings. I have two posts scheduled for this, but I’m betting it’ll take three. Is that okay? Too much Galadriel?
- Also, because of Thanksgiving, I’m taking a little break. The next post will show up on Monday morning. Enjoy the break!
About the Photo
Galadriel and Celeborn seem to move around a lot. They must have been driving one of these the whole time. It’s really the only thing that can explain it.
- Miles today: 10
- Miles thus far: 1044 (130 miles since leaving Lothlórien)
- 259 miles to the Falls of Rauros
- 729 miles to Mt. Doom
Book II, Chapter 8, Farewell to Lórien. Drifting down the Anduin, February 19, 3019 TA. (map)