Was there a Girdle of Galadriel?

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Ardamir 07/Nov/2006 at 02:49 PM
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Was there a Girdle around Lórien, similar to the one around Doriath?

The Mountains of the Pelóri and the Shadowy Seas also form a sort of fence around Aman, and they are mentioned as preserving Aman incorrupt from the taint of Melkor:

MR, ‘Myths Transformed’, VII, ‘Notes on motives in the Silmarillion’, iii:

The last major effort, of this demiurgic kind [important change (untrammelled action, on a physical plane, that is not destructive in purpose)], made by the Valar was the lifting up of the range of the Pelori to a great height. It is possible to view this as, if not an actually bad action, at least as a mistaken one. Ulmo disapproved of it. It had one good, and legitimate, object: the preservation incorrupt of at least a part of Arda. But it seemed to have a selfish or neglectful (or despairing) motive also; for the effort to preserve the Elves incorrupt there had proved a failure if they were to be left free: many had refused to come to the Blessed Realm, many had revolted and left it. Whereas, with regard to Men, Manwë and all the Valar knew quite well that they could not come to Aman at all; and the longevity (co-extensive with the life of Arda) of Valar and Eldar was expressly not permitted to Men. Thus the ’Hiding of Valinor’ came near to countering Morgoth’s possessiveness by a rival possessiveness, setting up a private domain of light and bliss against one of darkness and domination: a palace and a pleasaunce (well-fenced) against a fortress and a dungeon.


The Shadowy Seas actually work in a similar way as the Girdle of Melian:

MR, ‘The Annals of Aman’:

And in that time also, which songs call Nurtalë Valinóreva, the Hiding of Valinor, the Enchanted Isles were set, and all the seas about them were filled with shadows and bewilderment; and these isles were strung as a net in the Shadowy Seas from north unto south, before Tol Eressëa, the Lonely Isle, is reached by one sailing west. Hardly might any vessel pass between them: for in the dangerous sounds the waves sighed for ever upon dark rocks shrouded in mist. And in the twilight a great weariness came upon mariners and a loathing of the Sea; but all that ever set foot upon the islands were there entrapped, and slept until the Change of the World. Thus it was that, as Mandos foretold to them in Araman, the Blessed Realm was shut against the Noldor, and of the many messengers that in after-days they sent into the West none came ever to Valinor – save one only: the mightiest mariner of song.

The Noldor were shut out because of them – it seems that the Girdle of Melian did not shut out the Noldor, but the Noldor were in any case also prevented from entering Doriath – same theme. The ’hidden Valinor’ theme can of course be seen in Doriath as the Hidden Kingdom and Lórien as the Hidden Land. Beren entering Doriath is also reminiscent of Eärendil reaching Aman – and Aragorn (and maybe also Frodo) entering Lórien.


Now in the Lothlórien chapters in LR, the word ‘stain’ is mentioned a few times, for example:

In winter here [in Lórien] no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of Lórien there was no stain.

This I believe means that Lórien was also being preserved incorrupt. Thus I think that the preservation effect of Lórien would have to include a Girdle that prevented it from being stained from outside – else the preservation would have failed.
elendil elessar 07/Nov/2006 at 06:07 PM
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Well there was definetly not a Girdle as with Melian, even thought Galadriel had spent a lot of time with Her and was in possesion of one of the Three I do not think she had the power to create such a protection. To the point I affirm it because we know that the Girdle kept everyone at bay, that Melian and Thingol did not want to enter, except for Beren. As we see when the Fellowship comes to Lorien, followed by a troup of Orcs they can enter the wood, and I would even venture that the Naith isn’t protected in that way either.
The protection comes primarely from the Galadhrim keeping watch, from a military point of view; and the power of Nenya in terms of the Time flowing buy and the deceit of Sauron not entering the land.
Endril 07/Nov/2006 at 09:32 PM
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Ardamir: Galadriel didn’t created a girdle like the one of Melian. Melian was far more powerful than Galadriel as she was a maia. Galadriel was just of the first bourn. The ring protected Lorien but didn’t created a barrier. Orcs could still get in, thing that didn’t happened with Melian’s girdle. 
Dany 07/Nov/2006 at 11:29 PM
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Galadriel definitely wasn’t powerful enough to create something like a Girdle which, as elendil pointed out, kept out everything that Melian and Thingol did not want in. While Galadriel was powerful, she was only an elf, and thus did not have enough power to do that. She did, however, have one of the rings of power, which allowed her to keep Lorien safer and more protected than if she did not have it at all.
Ardamir 08/Nov/2006 at 12:28 AM
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There are several references to the fact that Lórien was being defended by some ‘magical’ force. Firstly, we have:

LOTR, Appendix B:

Three times Lórien had been assailed from Dol Guldur, but besides the valour of the elven people of that land, the power that dwelt there was too great for any to overcome, unless Sauron had come there himself. Though grievous harm was done to the fair woods on the borders, the assaults were driven back ...


Cf. this passage in The Grey Annals and the published Silmarillion:

... Melian put forth her power and fenced all that dominion [Neldoreth and Region] round about with an unseen wall of shadow and bewilderment: the Girdle of Melian, that none thereafter could pass against her will or the will of King Thingol (unless one should come with a power greater than that of Melian the Maia).


Noone (or at least no enemy) in Middle-earth had greater power than Galadriel except Sauron, so in my opinion the two quotes are quite similar. Also note that harm was done only to the woods on the borders of Lothlórien; the host of Dol Guldur could not enter it because of the power that dwelt there.

If there was a Girdle, I do not think that it covered all of Lórien; rather, it covered only the Naith of Lórien, which seems to be the region under (the strongest) enchantment. It was the region that the Galadhrim were most concerned about:

LOTR, ‘Lothlórien’:

We [the Galadhrim] allow no strangers to spy out the secrets of the Naith. Few indeed are permitted even to set foot there.


Frodo’s sense of great ancientness when he entered the Naith indicates that this was the region under preservation and enchantment. The Fellowship felt nothing when they entered the part of Lórien on the western side of the Silverlode.

As soon as he [Frodo] set foot upon the far bank of Silverlode a strange feeling had come upon him, and it deepened as he walked on into the Naith: it seemed to him that he had stepped over a bridge of time into a corner of the Elder Days, and was -now walking in a world that was no more. In Rivendell there was memory of ancient things; in Lórien the ancient things still lived on in the waking world. Evil had been seen and heard there, sorrow had been known; the Elves feared and distrusted the world outside: wolves were howling on the wood’s borders: but on the land of Lórien no shadow lay.


If we examine the movements of the Orcs and Gollum, it becomes clear that they did not enter the Naith. Also, Treebeard says in the chapter ‘Many Partings’:

… they [the Orcs] came over the River and down from the North and all round the wood of Laurelindórenan, which they could not get into, thanks to the Great ones who are here. ’ He bowed to the Lord and Lady of Lórien.


elendil elessar posted:

The protection comes primarely from the Galadhrim keeping watch, from a military point of view ...

Even though it was protected by Melian’s Girdle, Doriath did also have march-wardens - here the same theme can be seen.

And I think that it is fairly naive to say "Galadriel was only an Elf, so she was not powerful enough to create a Girdle." I think that she was very powerful, on par with a (lesser) Maia, at least with the help of Narya.

Furthermore, I do not think that the theme of repetition in Tolkien’s works should be underestimated.
Ardamir 08/Nov/2006 at 05:42 AM
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One of Tolkien’s most important inspirations for Galadriel and Lothlórien (and probably also Melian and Doriath) was Ayesha, ‘She’, and her kingdom in H. Rider Haggard’s books. In Henry Resnick’s interview with Tolkien in 1966, Tolkien said:

I suppose as a boy She interested me as much as anything- like the Greek shard of Amyntas, which was the kind of machine by which everything got moving.


Reader’s Companion:

Several commentators, most notably John D. Rateliff in ’She and Tolkien’, Mythlore 8, no. 2, whole no. 28 (Summer 1981), have pointed out possible influences on Galadriel by aspects of Ayesha in works by H. Rider Haggard: She (1887), Ayesha: The Return of She (1905), She and Allan (1921), and Wisdom’s Daughter (1923).



She [Ayesha] rules a small, isolated, ancient kingdom, the borders of which no one is allowed to pass. Strangers are admitted only if she has sent word beforehand to admit them, and even then they must make part of the journey blindfolded.



... both [Galadriel and Ayesha] live amidst a culture of preservation; Ayesha, however, preserves only herself, for selfish reasons.... She treats all other human beings as a lesser species. . . .



So if there was some sort of girdle around Ayesha’s kingdom, then the case is clear – has anyone read these books?
Ardamir 08/Nov/2006 at 06:54 AM
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Also in MR, ‘Myths Transformed’, the Dome of Varda is mentioned.

Text III:

What happened in Valinor after the Death of the Trees? Aman was ’unveiled’ - it had been covered with a dome (made by Varda) of mist or cloud down through which no sight would pierce nor light. This dome was lit by stars — in imitation of the great Firmament of Eä.


Text IV:

Later, when the Valar took refuge from Melkor, and the imminent ruin of Arda, and built and fortified Valinor in Aman, it was Varda who made the great dome above Valinor, to keep out any spirits or spies of Melkor. It was made as a simulacrum of the true firmament (Tar-menel), and the patterns were therein repeated, but with apparent stars (or ’sparks’ : tinwi) of greater relative size to the total visible area. So that the lesser firmament of Valinor (Nur-menel) was very brilliant.


In Text III the Dome was made to keep out the polluted light of the Sun, in Text IV to keep out the spirits or spies of Melkor. Note also that it was made ’of mist or cloud’ - Doriath and Lórien were also associated with mists. In any case, I think we can here see, at least partly, the same concept as in the Girdle of Melian – a protecting ‘girdle’. It may be that Tolkien ‘went back’ and reused the Girdle concept in Valinor also in this way – this would fit well with the conception that Melian emulated aspects of Valinor in Doriath.

So if Tolkien did reuse the Girdle concept, I do not find it impossible at all that he would imagine a Girdle of Galadriel around Lórien as well, since Galadriel also emulated Doriath/Valinor in Lórien.


It may be that we can also see something of the Girdle concept regarding the Shire, which became a new ‘Lórien’ in the Fourth Age. The High Hay protected Buckland from the Old Forest, and after the War of the Ring, Aragorn ordered that Men were not to enter the Shire – of course there was not actually a Girdle that kept Men out, but this order had a similar function as a Girdle; to keep less desirable visitors (Men or ‘mortals’, that is) out. This no doubt has to do with the fact that the Shire became sort of ‘Elvish’ and took over Lórien’s ‘role’ after the War. However, there were also Bounders, the Shire’s version of march-wardens, before and probably also after the War.
Elros Tar-Minya 08/Nov/2006 at 07:01 AM
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Does not the ’power that dwelt there which was too great for any to overcome’ not merely refer to the power of Galadriel herself who was one of the granddaughters of Fingolfin, son of Finwe, and who had dwelt in Valinor whilst the two trees were still in bloom?
Ardamir 08/Nov/2006 at 07:28 AM
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Elros Tar-Minya:

Yes, it does, but would it not be fairly logical if her power was in the form of a girdle that prevented enemies from entering?
Elros Tar-Minya 08/Nov/2006 at 08:10 AM
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It is an interesting point to think about I agree. However I think that Papa Tolkien would have been more explicit if it had been an actual physical force stopping enemies entering as in the Girdle of Melian. I would still maintain that it is her power as being one of the firstborn and maybe also that because of who she is in herself lends strength and more abilities to the lesser elves which she rules over.
Ardamir 08/Nov/2006 at 08:41 AM
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I believe that the reason that Tolkien was not very explicit in LR about the power in Lórien is because the Elves were made to seem more magical and otherworldly to the reader as well as the mortal characters in that work than in the Silmarillion, where their powers are more explicit.
Elros Tar-Minya 08/Nov/2006 at 08:54 AM
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I think that the only power at work within the Naith was the feeling of one stepping back into an older age and this was created by the use of Nenya. Which as Elrond hinted had no power for war or dominion but rather to understanding, making, and healing, and to preserve all things unstained. Thus I don’t beleive that the ring had the power to create a ’Girdle’ and even as powerful as Galadriel is, she isn’t of the Maiar and therefore wouldn’t have the power required to keep creatures out of the Naith other than by the power of slender elven bows, and the abilities of those elves who weild them enhanced by the governance of Celeborn and Galadriel.
Ardamir 08/Nov/2006 at 12:44 PM
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See my first post – I believe that for Lórien to be preserved unstained, there also had to be a Girdle. I do not think that a Girdle would count as a means of war or domination; rather, it is linked to the preservation theme.


… she isn’t of the Maiar and therefore wouldn’t have the power required to keep creatures out of the Naith other than by the power of slender elven bows …

Actually Galadriel explicitly states that Lothlórien is defended also by means other than elven-bows:

LR, ‘The Mirror of Galadriel’:

But do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlórien maintained and defended against its Enemy. I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves. And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed! She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand. Frodo gazed at the ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.
`Yes,’ she said, divining his thought, `it is not permitted to speak of it, and Elrond could not do so. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye. Verily it is in the land of Lórien upon the finger of Galadriel that one of the Three remains. This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper.



The introduction of Narya in the passage indicates that it was the source of this defence.

In the draft in The Treason of Isengard, ’Galadriel’, the beginning of the passage reads:

But think not that by singing under the trees [? and alone], nor even by slender arrows from [? many] bows, do we defend Lothlórien from our encircling foes.


Thus the words ‘maintained and defended against its Enemy’ in the published passage most likely refer to physical foes.
Ardamir 09/Nov/2006 at 12:14 AM
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There is also this long passage from UT, ‘Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan’, (iii) - ‘Cirion and Eorl’ which is very interesting:

For when at last the host [of the Éothéod] drew near to Dol Guldur, Eorl turned away westward for fear of the dark shadow and cloud that flowed out from it, and then he rode on within sight of Anduin. Many of the riders turned their eyes thither, half in fear and half in hope to glimpse from afar the shimmer of the Dwimordene, the perilous land that in legends of their people was said to shine like gold in the springtime. But now it seemed shrouded in a gleaming mist and to their dismay the mist passed over the river and flowed over the land before them.
Eorl did not halt. "Ride on!" he commanded. "There is no other way to take. After so long a road shall we be held back from battle by a river-mist?"
As they drew nearer they saw that the white mist was driving back the glooms of Dol Guldur, and soon they passed into it, riding slowly at first and warily; but under its canopy all things were lit with a clear and shadowless light, while to left and right they were guarded as it were by white walls of secrecy.
"The Lady of the Golden Wood is on our side, it seems ,” said Borondir.
"Maybe," said Eorl. "But at least I will trust the wisdom of Felaróf. He scents no evil. His heart is high, and his weariness is healed: he strains to be given his head. So be it! For never have I had more need of secrecy and speed."
Then Felaróf sprang forward, and all the host behind followed like a great wind, but in a strange silence, as if their hooves did not beat upon the ground. So they rode on, as fresh and eager as on the morning of their setting-out, during that day and the next; but at dawn of the third day they rose from their rest, and suddenly the mist was gone, and they saw that they were far out in the open lands.



Is there a girdle of Lórien at work here? Did Galadriel actually move or extend it (or the enchantment of Lothlórien) so that it lay on Anduin and even Dol Guldur? Cf. this passage about the Girdle of Melian:

UT, ‘Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin’:

Then after a little the river gathered together again, and delving a new bed flowed away towards the forest, and far off vanished into a deep mist that his eye could not pierce; for there lay though he [Tuor] knew it not, the north march of Doriath within the shadow of the Girdle of Melian.


Eorl needed secrecy and speed; Galadriel gave him both. Because of the ‘white walls of secrecy’ (which sounds a bit like a girdle), and the fact that the hooves did not make any sound, they could pass by Dol Guldur unnoticed, and because they were refreshed (the healing property of Lórien is seen here), the horses and the riders could ride faster, so that they could reach the Field of Celebrant on time. The mist not only drives back the glooms of Dol Guldur, but also guards the Riders.
Elros Tar-Minya 09/Nov/2006 at 05:12 PM
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Well Ardamir you have given me a lot to think about and a lot of passages to reread once again. I am even beginning to sway to your side of the argument. Also after reading the passages who have quoted I have reread the Of the Ruin of Doriath chapter of the Sil again which I beleive puts the final nail in my coffin.

Foe Melian was of the divine race of the Valar, and she was a Maiar of great power and wisdom; but for the love of Elwe Singollo she took upon herself the form of the Elder Children of Iluvatar, and in that union became bound by the chain and trammels of the flesh of Ardar. In that form she bore to him Luthien Tinuviel; and in that form she gained a power over the substance of Arda, and by the Girdal of Melian was Doriath defended through long ages from the evils without

This to me suggests that it was only through her tking the form of the Eldar that she could create the Girdle which would then go onto suggest that as a great Princess of the houses of Kings of the Eldar, Galadriel might have the same ability.

All I can say is ******.

Open season on Elros Tar-Minya starts tomorrow. See if you can put him out of his misery.
Ardamir 12/Nov/2006 at 12:11 PM
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It might be a little “risky“ relying on that passage, since CT made up parts of the ‘Of the Ruin of Doriath’ chapter and thus the passage may contain concepts that were not exactly thought of by Tolkien himself. But if you are unsure how powerful Galadriel really was, there is also this passage in Appendix B:

They [the host of Lórien] took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed.


Cf. this passage in the published Silmarillion, ‘Of Beren and Lúthien’:

Then Lúthien stood upon the bridge [of Tol-in-Gaurhoth], and declared her power: and the spell was loosed that bound stone to stone, and the gates were thrown down, and the walls opened, and the pits laid bare; and many thralls and captives came forth in wonder and dismay, shielding their eyes against the pale moon light, for they had lain long in the darkness of Sauron.


The Lórien - Dol Guldur confrontation is a ‘repetition’ of the Doriath - Tol-in-Gaurhoth one. One difference is that it is Melian who has power over Doriath and her daughter Lúthien lays bare Tol-in-Gaurhoth, while Galadriel both has power over Lórien and lays bare Dol Guldur. Since she lays bare Dol Guldur much in the same way as Lúthien lays bare Tol-in-Gaurhoth, one may speculate that she also has a similar power over Lórien as Melian has over Doriath.
KingODuckingham 12/Nov/2006 at 02:22 PM
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If she had a girdle, it couldn’t have been a very powerful one compared to the Girdle of Melian, since in FOTR a small band of orcs from Moria (not to mention Gollum) pass right on over Nimrodel and into Lorien. True, they are mostly slaughtered by Elven bows, but if there is a girdle, it cannot be very similar to Melian’s. Also cf. the three attacks said to be made on Lorien from Dol Guldur. So it is not a barrier that keeps physical enemies out, at least, since they pass so easily over the borders.
NineFingered 13/Nov/2006 at 01:44 PM
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I would say that Galadriel did not have the power to create a girdel like Melian, who was a Maia after all. I think the security of Rivendell lies in its location and the skill of its warriors. If you observe the geographical setting of Lorien, it is bordered by the Anduin and Nimrodel (I think, I don’t have the map with me now). Or was it the Limlight? And Fangorn lies south of Lorien, where few venture to enter, least of all orcs. The most vulnerable point therefore is the one looking towards the MIsty Mountains, from where orcs would issue from time to time, and the Galadhrim would stop them by their skill with the bow and their wary hiding in the trees.

"On the land of Lorien there was no stain" I think refers to Galadriel’s power of preserving elven culture as it was, without any evil, more than the power to stop orcs from entering.

Ardamir 13/Nov/2006 at 02:03 PM
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kingoduckingham:

It is true that the Orcs crossed Nimrodel, but like I said in my second post, it seems that they (and Gollum) did not cross the Silverlode, nor enter the Naith, which was immediately on the east side of it. If there was a Girdle, I believe that it surrounded only the Naith – it seems that that was also the area under (the strongest) preservation.

Regarding the three attacks made on Lórien – in my second post I also quoted:

Though grievous harm was done to the fair woods on the borders, the assaults were driven back ...

So it does not seem that the attacks made it very far into Lórien.
Túrin 13/Nov/2006 at 03:58 PM
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Lots to read here.  First of all, Aramir, contratulations on a well considered and defended hypothesis.  I sent you some tribute the other day for it.

However, I do disagree with some of your points:

I agree with Elros Tar-Minya on November 8, 2006 at 08:10 Plaza Time when he suggests that:
Tolkien would have been more explicit if it had been an actual physical force stopping enemies entering as in the Girdle of Melian. I would still maintain that it is her power as being one of the firstborn and maybe also that because of who she is in herself lends strength and more abilities to the lesser elves which she rules over.

Your argument rests on the ’portrayal supposition’, for lack of a better term.

I think your interpretation of the following quote is a bit ad hoc.

But do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlórien maintained and defended against its Enemy. I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you, I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves. And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed! She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand. Frodo gazed at the ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.
`Yes,’ she said, divining his thought, `it is not permitted to speak of it, and Elrond could not do so. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye. Verily it is in the land of Lórien upon the finger of Galadriel that one of the Three remains. This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper.
     - FotR, Mirror of Galadriel (taken directly from Ardamir’s post)

You interpret it saying "Actually Galadriel explicitly states that Lothlórien is defended also by means other than elven-bows...The introduction of Narya in the passage indicates that it was the source of this defence".

I disagree.  Take note of the words that I bolded - "not even by".  This suggests that the ’Elven-bows’ (ie: the military of Lorien) were the primary defenders of Lorien.  Furthermore, the mention of Nenya does not suggest a girdle-esque type of protection; rather, Nenya is the means by which Galadriel is as informed as she is, she can "perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves" - that is how Nenya is portrayed, in the passage, as being used and of aid to Galadriel/Lorien.

Thus the words ‘maintained and defended against its Enemy’ in the published passage most likely refer to physical foes.

And?  I don’t see how the "encircling foes" comment does not refer to physical enemies.  Remember than Tolkien carefully weighed all the words of LotR - "encircling" was not technically correct, and it gives an image of enemies closing in all around, which was not the case at the time.

The mists experienced during the Ride of Eorl are quite different from the mists encountered by Tuor.  The Lorien example is certainly magical, but is clearly a one-time deal, a special action on the behalf of the Rohirrim, to aid their ride.  The mists encountered by Tuor seem to be rather a permanent part of the Girdle of Melian, an aspect which is not present in the quotes of Lorien that you quote, nor do I recall it from the books.

Elros Tar-Minya,

It was not the fact that Melian was in the form of the Eldar that gave her that power over the substance of Arda, it was the fact that she was permanantly incarnated in a real body.  Quotes can be provided if you want, else just going through your quote:

"she took upon herself the form of the Elder Children of Iluvatar, and in that union became bound by the chain and trammels of the flesh of Ardar. In that form she bore to him Luthien Tinuviel; and in that form she gained a power over the substance of Arda, and by the Girdal of Melian "

This says that in the form of the Eldar she gained a greater power of the substance of Arda, not because of the form of the Eldar.  She needed a real, physical form to do those things, but the fact that it was of the Eldar does not matter.  Morgoth did the same thing to gain control over the physical matter of Arda.  I’ve seen no evidence that regular incarnates had any special power over Arda by nature of their being incarnate; for the Ainur, it was due to investing a portion of their inherrent power into the matter of Arda.

Durin of Moria 16/Nov/2006 at 05:52 PM
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That wouldn’t be true. Melian is a maia and knows magic, but Galagriel is a Noldor and is an elf. Maybe with the procession of Nenya she can keep out evil but not people unwanted like what the girdle of Melian did.
Qtpie 16/Nov/2006 at 07:30 PM
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Consider this quote:

Galadriel his sister went not with [Finrod] to Nargothrond, for in Doriath dwelt Celeborn, kinsman of Thingol, and there was great love between them. Therefore she remained in the Hidden Kingdom, and abode with Melian, and of her learned great lore and wisdom concerning Middle-earth. Of the Return of the Noldor

We are told that Galadriel stayed in the kingdom of Elu Thingol because of her love for Celeborn, who was a "kinsman" of Thingol. There Galadriel learned many things concerning Middle-Earth from Melian and gained great wisdom and lore. I agree that Galadriel can’t do what Melian did with the Girdle but I still believe that Galadriel is powerful in her own rights added with the tutelage of Melian.
Battlehamster 17/Nov/2006 at 04:02 PM
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I definately agree that given that Galadriel was a Noldo instead of a Maia, she couldn’t have had any protection of the magnitude of Melian’s Girdle. But it does seem like she had some sort of protection. That the men of Gondor and the Rohirrim were so wary of the wood shows that it had a reputation for "magic." It seems unlikely that it would have this reputation if it was just defended by Elves hanging out in trees and shooting people.

Qtpie 25/Nov/2006 at 08:28 PM
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I agree that Galadriel’s reputation certainly kept people out of Lorien.

’Then there is a Lady in the Golden Wood, as old tales tell!’ he said. ’Few escape her nets, they say. These are strange days! But if you have her favour,, then you are also net-weavers and sorcerers, maybe.’ The Two Towers: The Riders of Rohan

The Men of Rohan were certainly wary of her and know of Lorien and Galdariel. I wonder what it is that contributed to Galadriel’s reputation. Why do they:

’And we of Gondor grow like other Men, like the men of Rohan, for even they, who are the foes of the Dark Lord, shun the Elves and speak of the Golden Wood with dread.’ The Two Towers: The Window on the West
Ardamir 24/Dec/2006 at 07:18 AM
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The beginning of this thread has been archived HERE.

Let us now continue.


Túrin posted:

I agree with Elros Tar-Minya on November 8, 2006 at 08:10 Plaza Time when he suggests that:
Tolkien would have been more explicit if it had been an actual physical force stopping enemies entering as in the Girdle of Melian. I would still maintain that it is her power as being one of the firstborn and maybe also that because of who she is in herself lends strength and more abilities to the lesser elves which she rules over.

But the Girdle of Melian it was not really a ’physical’ force either - there was not some invisible barrier that, once reached, one could not get through. Instead, on the borders of Doriath there was an area, maybe even only a few miles across at most, that created bewilderment for all unwanted visitors. They did not reach some ’glass barrier’ that they could not get through, but they never managed to find a way into Doriath - they just walked in circles, lost amid the pathless trees.


I am going to write an essay on this topic.
Woggy Hardbotom 24/Dec/2006 at 07:35 AM
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It may not be an outright girdle per se - there was no problem physically ENTERING Lorien (as the Fellowship found out, no myriad of pathless trees), but more of an inverse-girdle preventing any unwanted visitors from leaving. "You cannot cross the rivers again, and behind you there are now secret sentinels that you cannot pass. You would be slain before you saw them" (FotR, Lothlorien). I assume that the sentinels wouldn’t just fire away at anyone entering the Forest if it was, for example, a Rohir, and as the only real physical boundary that would be dificult to cross are the rivers, I don’ot see it so much as a girdle but more of a guard of defence.
Oin 24/Dec/2006 at 11:40 AM
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Guys, the presence of the Girdle is quite clear:

"As soon as he had set foot upon the far bank of the Silverlode a strange feeling had come upon him, and it deepened as he walked on into the Naith: it seemed to him that he had stepped over a bridge of time into a corner of the Elder Days, and was now walking in a world that was no more. In Rivendell there was a memory of ancient things; in Lorien the ancient things still lived on in the waking world. Evil had been seen and heard there, sorrow had been known; the Elves feared and distrusted the world outside; wolves were howling on the wood’s borders: but on the land of Lorien no shadow lay." (FotR, Lorien)

Couple this with the fact that the Fellowship lost track of an entire month and the idea that the Elven Rings were used to preserve and slow time down, and what you get is the Girdle of Galadriel - Galadriel using Nenya to preserve Lorien. The effect only reaches as far as the Silverlode, but it is clearly evident. The Girdle is not a physical one to prevent intruders, but an invisible one to prevent change.

Ardamir 24/Dec/2006 at 01:53 PM
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Túrin posted:

Take note of the words that I bolded - "not [sic] even by". This suggests that the ’Elven-bows’ (ie: the military of Lorien) were the primary defenders of Lorien.

I am not sure if one can deduce that the military of Lórien was the primary defence from that passage - the military was more important than mere singing amid the trees; these two are mentioned in ascending order of effectiveness or importance, but since Galadriel then hints about another sort of defence, that may well have been the best or most important one.
Ardamir 25/Dec/2006 at 03:41 PM
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Túrin posted:

Remember than Tolkien carefully weighed all the words of LotR - "encircling" was not technically correct, and it gives an image of enemies closing in all around, which was not the case at the time.

Yes, that was the case. In LR, ’Lothlórien’, Haldir says:

We live now upon an island amid many perils, and our hands are more often upon the bowstring than upon the harp.
`The rivers long defended us, but they are a sure guard no more for the Shadow has crept northward all about us.



And since ’encircling foes’ are mentioned in the draft, I believe that Galadriel with ’maintained and defended against its Enemy’ is referring to physical enemies in the published text as well. In the draft she introduces Nenya right after mentioning ’encircling foes’ - just like in the published text, except that that more general expression is used there instead of ’encircling foes’. I do not think that Tolkien changed his mind about what she is referring to from draft to published text. I do realize that she then explains that she is using Nenya to perceive and keep out the mind of Sauron as well.
Túrin 25/Dec/2006 at 06:47 PM
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Ardamir,

but since Galadriel then hints about another sort of defence, that may well have been the best or most important one

When Galadriel is hinting about Nenya and her use of it is in an entirely different realm than the Girdle of Melian.  Lorien is "maintained and defended" mainly by the "elven-bows", Nenya is used (among other things) for perceiving Sauron’s thoughts, knowing his mind (at least that concerning the Elves), and for preventing Sauron from doing the same of Galadriel.  The focus of the paragraph is switched from the defending Lorien to the mental battle(s) between Sauron and Galadriel; and that is when Nenya is introduced.

Yes, that was the case.

You must not have understood my meaning - what I meant is that "encircling foes" gives more of a picture of a physical army present, surrounding Lorien.  Yes, there is danger all about, but foes are not actually "encircling" Lorien

Oin 26/Dec/2006 at 06:54 AM
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Ardamir: Please try and refrain from double posting - you have replied to Turin twice in a row within a relatively short amount of time. It is considered spamming to post points that could have been consolidated in one post into two or more, so please try and make all your points in one post next time. Thanks!
Ardamir 27/Dec/2006 at 02:06 PM
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Túrin posted:

The mists experienced during the Ride of Eorl are quite different from the mists encountered by Tuor. The Lorien example is certainly magical, but is clearly a one-time deal, a special action on the behalf of the Rohirrim, to aid their ride. The mists encountered by Tuor seem to be rather a permanent part of the Girdle of Melian, an aspect which is not present in the quotes of Lorien that you quote, nor do I recall it from the books.


I agree. I also noticed that there was a mist, or fog, on Anduin when the Fellowship journeyed by boat on it:

LR, ’The Great River’:

When the day came the mood of the world about them had become soft and sad. Slowly the dawn grew to a pale light, diffused and shadowless. There was mist on the River, and white fog swathed the shore; the far bank could not be seen.
`I can’t abide fog,’ said Sam; `but this seems to be a lucky one. Now perhaps we can get away without those cursed goblins seeing us.’
`Perhaps so,’ said Aragorn. `But it will be hard to find the path unless the fog lifts a little later on. And we must find the path, if we are to pass Sarn Gebir and come to the Emyn Muil.’



The mist appeared after the first night. Could it have been the work of Galadriel, just like the mist that helped the Riders? Though it lasted even as far as Sarn Gebir.

However, in any case, the mist encountered by the Riders does have some girdle-like features.
Túrin 27/Dec/2006 at 02:43 PM
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The mist appeared after the first night.

Check your books again, it was the 9th day, not the first night.

And what reason is there to attribute this mist to Galadriel?  This seems like quite an ad hoc argument.  Not to mention there is a perfectly rational explination to the fog:

"The [8th] night passed silently.  No voice or call was heard again across the water.  The travellers huddled in their boats felt the changing of the weather.  The air grew warm and very still under the great moist clouds that had floated up from the South and the distant seas." (FotR, The Great River)

And before that, on the 4th day:

"In the next day or two, as they went on, borne steadily southwards, this feeling of insecurity grew on all the Company.  For a whole day they took to their paddles and hastened forward.  The banks slid by.  Soon the River broadened and grew more shallow; long stony beaches lay upon the east, and there were gravel-shoals in the water, so that careful steering was needed.  The Brown Lands rose into the bleak wolds, over which flowed a chill air from the East." (FotR, The Great River)

Changing weather, such as warm meeting cold , are perfect conditions for fog.  There is nothing to suggest this fog is supernatural in its source.  And if it is, then you are attributing Galadriel quite a large degree of power, to so ably induce thick fog so far away.

And yes, I never denied that the mist encountered by the Rohirrim was not similar to the girdle.  My point was that it was a one-time deal as opposed to the constant Girdle of Melian.  There is a significant difference between setting up a lasting barrier and initiating a temporary mist.

And do I take your lack of response to mean that you abandon the "encircling" and "Nenya" points?

Anscemion 30/Dec/2006 at 05:47 PM
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Well she can be a pretty scary woman (all wemon can, lol) but alonng with her terror is her ring, Nenya. So she scary and powerful, a dangerous combination though a very likely one seeing as its her power that scares people.

Did that answer your question enough or do I have to document how she wanted to be middle earth’s queen?

Oin 30/Dec/2006 at 06:35 PM
Architect of Erebor Points: 11372 Posts: 8807 Joined: 14/Feb/2004

BlueWizard: Welcome to the Plaza!

The discussion at hand is not about the nature of Galadriel herself, but about the Girdle of Galadriel - the invisible wall that separated Lorien from the rest of Middle-Earth. If you’ll read the latest posts by Ardamir and Turin, you’ll see what exactly they are debating right at the moment. If you have anything you’d like to contribute to the discussion, by all means feel free to do so.