Most folks find Celeborn to be boring background scenery, especially after the movie. Honestly, unless you read the Silmarillion, he’s not a guy you’ll know much about. Most are aware 1) he’s Galadriel’s husband and 2) he gives wise council, but that’s about it. This is sad, because he’s one of my top 4 favorite elves in terms of being interesting.
Elvish Ethnicity: He’s Morquindi Royalty
First, elf racism 101. For non Sil readers, the Teleri are the sea elves whom the Noldor elves killed in order to steal their ships when they went to war with Morgoth. So Teleri and Noldor have a lot of grudges and issues when dealing with each other. We’ll be coming back to this in a bit.
The Sindar are the other half of the Teleri family tree that remained in
Middle Earth and never went to Aman/Valinor (the Teleri live in Aman and
sailed back and forth, while the Sindar never went to Valinor). Basically they’re the same family, they just live on different continents.
don’t get Celeborn’s full linage, but he’s counted as Sindar, which makes him Moriquendi (dark elf). Yeah, Celeborn is a dark elf prince. He’s a nephew of Elu Thingol, the High King of the Sindar people, which is why he’s considered a prince. But it doesn’t stop there, he’s also related to Olwin, the High King of the Teleri in Aman by virtue of this, because Olwin and Elu were siblings.Yes, this is the same Elu Thingol that married the maia Melian. *cough*HiElrond*cough*
His ancestor founded and ruled the kingdom of Doriath, which is in of itself an epic place with an epic story, but suffice it to say this was an elvish kingdom not influenced by the Valar (though Melian used her abilities as a maia to protect it). Because unlike the Aman kingdoms, this one had orcs to contend with. It was also the center of elvish culture in middle earth and boasted several other elvish peoples and dwarves as part of it’s community. Eventually it was destroyed (by dwarves), but that’s another story.
Epic Mixed Race Marriage: Galadriel is Noldor and Celeborn is a Feminist
Galadriel isn’t just a Noldor, she’s Noldorian royalty. You know, that elf race that slaughtered the Teleri people? Yeeeahhh. Galadriel didn’t kill any Teleri in that debacle, but she still sided with Feanor and left Aman to help fight Morgoth. In addition, she’s a relative of Feanor, the kinslayer (and all around jackass of the Noldor). This is all because tomboy Galadriel really wants a kingdom of her own, and she’s not going to get that in Aman.
The Noldor, when they sailed back to middle earth from Aman, were super racist/ethnocentric pricks, and really, really looked down on the unenlightened elvish cultures of middle earth. The Sindar were considered better than the other elvish ethnic groups, but still far below any of those living on Aman. Basically, the Noldor tried to colonize elvish ethnic groups of middle earth.
However they didn’t dare tell the Sindar they had murdered many of their kin in Aman. Which eventually comes back to bite them when the Sindar find out, resulting in reverse colonization of the Noldor.
During all this crap fest, Galadriel meets Celeborn, who is a dark elf prince, and they get married. Which must have caused all the Noldor to have an apoplectic fit, because everyone wanted to marry Galadriel. Even Feanor had something of a crush on her and he was married as well as her relative! I can’t imagine the Sindar being that happy about Celeborn marrying Galadriel either.
Then comes the most interesting part: they founded a new kingdom, just like Galadriel wanted. Now, Celeborn is as much, if not more royalty than Galadriel. He’s also middle earth royalty, unlike Galadriel, so he has every right to declare himself king of Lothlorien. Yet he lets Galadriel be the queen, and is perfectly okay with her ruling. There’s even the possibility that part of Galadriel’s motivation in marrying him was get some legitimacy, which means she’s sort of using him. But he’s okay with that. In fact, he’s okay with being the background and functioning as the support rather than as a leader. Wow, just wow. I love this guy.
He lead the Assault on Dol Guldur
His role was totally left out of the movie and underplayed. The assault on Dol Guldur wasn’t some tiny squad attack of four or five really powerful people, it was a freaking battle. And Celeborn lead it, and Galadriel and Celeborn were the stars. Honestly, PJ’s version was a disappointment considering how epic it would have been.
Loves His Wife
“Kinsman, farewell! May your doom be other than mine, and your treasure remain with you to the end!” - Celeborn to Arwen on her husband
Someone is in love with this wife, because at this point, wearing Nenya had caused Galadriel be world weary and ready to sail back to Valinor/Aman. Celeborn chose to stay in middle earth for awhile before he sailed over, to help with the grandkids (Elrohir and Elladan) and finish what work he felt need to be finished.