mightiest and fairest

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… the Ring of Adamant was in the Land of Lórien where dwelt the Lady Galadriel. A queen she was of the woodland Elves, the wife of Celeborn of Doriath, yet she herself 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…  
                                   ~for finqon

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A queen she was of the woodland Elves, the wife of Celeborn of Doriath, yet she herself 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.

anonymous asked:

oh! if u need clarification then its like, when you've been asking your friends to abandon you in the woods for weeks and its your birthday and they blindfold you and leave you in a lot with some trees and you don't actually know how to get back to your home but you stay there and someone walks from the city block right next to the lot they've abandoned you in and since they're the first person you've seen since your new life in the woods has begun you assume that the two of you are married now

no i think i understood the FEELING even in your first explanation, i think the thing i was wondering was like …. are you the [experience of elf beauty] or is the unsuspecting hiker the [experience of elf beauty]. in this scenario. or is it the moment your eyes meet their sensible REI laces. like i feel like it’s the hiker but i also really truly feel like it could go either way. like galadriel is obviously the mightiest and fairest of the elves left in middle earth BECAUSE she’s been staring at the drapery in those woods for a concentrated 6000 years. so? a mystery.

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tolkien marginalia — arwen, at the dawning of the third age

When she is no longer a child, yet not quite anything more, Mithrandir bends down and cups her face in his thin hands. He peers deeply into her eyes, and then he smiles. ’There is more than just the likeness of Lúthien about you,‘ he tells her gently. ’You would have her wildness, and fire, and bitterness too.’

She keeps that under her tongue for long years, waiting to give it voice. 

Her brothers wander afar with the Dúnedain sons fostered in Imladris; she is permitted only to read the letters that come later, proclaiming the death of yet another son of Númenor. Her naneth teaches her the politesse of a lady and mistress, as well as all the private efforts which feed the illusions ease and hospitality. But when her ada welcomes princes and warriors to his chambers for counsel, she is left alone, on the cold side of the doors.

So she waits, as Lúthien did in Doriath.

Galadriel summons her to Lothlórien when she is come into womanhood–there, she sits at her daernaneth’s  knee and learns statecraft and prophecy in the guise of a secretary. But while she turns the head of princelings and marchwardens, none would heed Undómiel’s voice when the mightiest and fairest of her elders presides. She is humored, not heard–that much, the age has taught her to know.

She can do nothing but have patience, and wait.

(One day, she looks up, and sees a king.)

Galadriel vs. Gil-Galad

This one’s tricky. Because Tolkien continued writing about Galadriel, and was pretty much constantly revising her story and character, we have various sort-of-contradicting descriptions of her power (for what it’s worth, the trend was that he was making her increasingly more powerful.) 

The earliest-published description of her power is in the Lord of the Rings appendices, where she’s generally said to be the “greatest of elven women.” Which doesn’t technically say anything about whether she was more powerful than Gil-galad, but the implication, I think, is that there were definitely male elves stronger than her. Also in the appendices he lists Galadriel, Gil-galad, and Cirdan to be the three greatest elves of the Second Age, but he doesn’t rank them at all.

And in The Silmarillion, Galadriel is described as “the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle Earth.” This description comes after Gil-galad’s death, but it’s never stated whether he had been more powerful than her. It might very well be that the elves that no longer remained in Middle Earth is more a reference to the major powers of the First Age, such as Thingol, Fingolfin, or even Luthien.

One of Tolkien’s latest and last writings about Galadriel, found in “The History of Galadriel and Celeborn”, says that she’s “the greatest of the Noldor, except Feanor maybe, though she was wiser than he.” This description pre-dates Gil-galad’s birth, but there’s - again - no indication that his presence would have changed this statement at all.

Comparing “power” is very difficult, because that word can be interpreted in so many different ways. During the Second Age, I believe that Gil-galad was much more powerful in political and military terms, but I think that Galadriel was more powerful in spiritual and “magical” terms. As for which was more powerful overall, it seems to me that Tolkien’s left that up to the readers to decide - as far as I can tell, there’s no clear, direct statement from Tolkien saying that Gil-galad was more powerful than Galadriel (or, for that matter, that Galadriel was more powerful than Gil-galad.) If I’m wrong, and I missed a quote somewhere, please let me know!

SOURCES: LOTR Appendices, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales (“The History of Galadriel and Celeborn”)