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Topic: What did Galadriel mean when she says I will diminish?

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Rohan peasant - Rank 2
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Posts: 40
Date: Jan 21, 2010
What did Galadriel mean when she says I will diminish?

After Frodo offers Galadriel the ring and she goes through her trial why did she say she would diminish? Did she loose her powers?

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Date: Jan 21, 2010

I don't know if she lost her powers altogether. She still held a great deal of influence as it was Galadriel who seemed to have particioned and gained permission for Gimli to sail to the West with Legolas. But she would no longer be as powerful on Eressea as she had been in Lothlorien. In Lorien she had been the Lady of Light. The bearer of Nenya. But on Eressea she would only be one Noldo Elf among many and Nenya would now just be a pretty ring and nothing more.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Jan 21, 2010
My question here is: why does Galadriel say she will diminish and go into the West... all I can think of (so far) is that she really means 'hopefully go into the West, if the ban is lifted'.

I once imagined she might have received an inner message (or sorts), an inner realization perhaps, that her rejecting the One had lifted the ban... problem though, Galadriel sings her songs after saying this... and Tolkien even comments: 'Her Lament -- spoken before she knew of the pardon (and indeed honour) that the Valar gave her -- harks back to the days of her youth in Valinor and to the darkness of the years in Exile while the Blessed Realm was closed to all the Noldor in Middle-earth.' The Shibboleth of Feanor

Hmm. Oh well. Welcome Vestalmiss!

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Hobbit from Hobbiton - Rank 4
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Date: Jan 21, 2010

Creepy crawly creepy creepy crawly

Hi

Yip Anorlas sums thing up nicely.
In Miidlearth, Galadrial was mighty. She yearned to be a ruler and have a kingdom of her own.

Be careful what you wish for.....

Galadrial got her wish and more besides, yet when she had achieved her dreams, she was sad. All she wanted was to go home.

I'm sure there's a lesson there.....wasted on me.



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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Jan 21, 2010
All,
I think Anorlas, Galin, and Filli have made valid points.
And in these points one of the keys is that they have knowledge of Tolkien's mythos in "The Silmarillion." From here they have a deeper history of Galadriel than "The Lord of the Rings" ever offers.
In responding I thought that it might be valuable to offer a little more of that particular passage from "The Lord of the Rings" for consideration.


"You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,' said Frodo. 'I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me.'
Galadriel laughed with a sudden clear laugh. 'Wise the Lady Galadriel may be,' she said, 'yet here she has met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of his Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?
And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!'

She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
'I pass the test,' she said.'I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.' (The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VI - "The Mirror of Galadriel", pg 365 - 366)

I think that this is the key to understanding her motives in refusing the Ring;
' ...The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways...' (ibid) is as Galin posted, "...harks back to the days of her youth in Valinor and to the darkness of the years in Exile while the Blessed Realm was closed to all the Noldor in Middle-earth."
Did it meant that she was laying down her ambitions  in the guardianship of Middle-earth?  And is it that the Ring was a final test and she was granted pardon by the Valar or Eru?  Will she will return from her exile and return to the blessed realm?
She answers; 'I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.'
After refusing the Ring with humility (humility - as not as thinking less of yourself but of yourself less.) Galadriel seems to understand that  the fate of Ring bearer and has need for urgency.
"They stood for a long while in silence. At length the Lady spoke again. 'Let us return!'' she said. 'In the morning you must depart for now we have chosen, and the tides of fate are flowing.' (ibid)
I would guess the crux in the matter is the key 'for now we have chosen...' It is the what she has chosen that leads her to 'diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel."

Ves's question;"After Frodo offers Galadriel the ring and she goes through her trial why did she say she would diminish? Did she loose her powers?" is a very good one...leading us down into Galadriel's history and her character...could be another whole book!



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Rohan peasant - Rank 2
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Date: Jan 23, 2010
Hey Anorlas, Galen, Filli and Bear,

You have given me much to ponder. After reading the responses you posted, I have been thinking. I am of the opinion that Galadriel was sad that her life's work was coming to an end. It must have been hard to loose the power of Nenya and the powers Melian had taught her to tap inorder to protect help her people and to fight evil.

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Posts: 265
Date: Jan 23, 2010

I would agree with you, Ves. She probably was saddened to think that Middle-earth was changing in ways that she could not stop. After Nenya failed Lorien itself would start to fade. The mellorn trees would no longer be able to flourish and would die out completely after awhile. But even though she did not know it at the time, the road to the West would no longer be closed to her, so that would be a good thing.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Jan 25, 2010
I have recently taken a closer look at whether or not the mallorns grew under Galadriel's power unaided, or if she used Nenya (aside from preservation I mean) to help them take root in Lorien, as they did not take root in Lindon according to the text.

All the considerations aside, I came to the conclusion myself (as of today! anyway), that it was Galadriel's great self unaided by her ring (which allows for the introduction of the mallorn-trees before the start of the Third Age incidentally), though of course they were preserved in any event, once Nenya could be used -- after Sorehead lost the One.

I think of it as a bit of Eressean beauty, or, with respect to Numenor and Beleriand, an 'Old World' beauty in Middle-earth for a time. But yet: '... and under her power they grew and flourished in the guarded land of Lothlorien beside the River Anduin, until the High Elves at last left Middle-earth;' Noting too (Appendix A) that when Arwen came to Lorien the mallorn-leaves where falling, but spring had not yet come.


Tolkien loved growing things of course, but among his favorite trees must have been the beech I think.


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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Jun 23, 2012

It appears that a test was known only by Galadriel.  The mere presence of the ring (represents unlimited power) that entered Galadriel.  The power was consuming thus taking away much of her power and reducing into a  "shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad. 'I pass the test,' she said.'I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.  

She could no longer remain in Middle Earth but could go on and exist as a simple elf-woman back to Valinor.  This is how I interpreted "diminish".  I believe that she like all elves was immortal.




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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Jun 24, 2012

Tizara3,
First ... Welcome to the Tolkien Forums!
I am only a member here but if I may be of any service please do not hesitate to ask. Sometimes even simple site navigations can be a challenge.
There are plenty of members who will be eager to welcome you and your insights, opinions, and questions around Tolkien and his various works. Our "common bond" is our interest and affection of all things "Tolkien."

On your response to " What did Galadriel mean when she says I will diminish?"  I think your insight  as to what she means is sound. And I can certainly agree with your opinion ... but with your kind indulgence I would like to add a little more ...

Galadriel chose to go with her father and brothers with Feanor into the east in pursuit of Morgoth and the Silmarils.  Crossing the Great Ice she incurred the Valar's ban and was excluded from being able to return into The West .  Following more of her tale through The Silmarillion we can see that she strove to gain power and defeat Morgoth and that, whether she willed so or not, was an element and participant of events based on the lust for the jewels and power.
That she came to reject these thoughts and actions was important but held by the Valar as not sufficient to complete her redemption. Another significant action was required. It would of necessity be at least one test which would demonstrate a rejection of those values and actions which led to her being banned.
You wrote, "It appears that a test was known only by Galadriel."
I agree with the kudo that the Valar knew.
As written in The Lord of The Rings her test was one challenging the values of lust for power, domination, and the supernatural gifts bestowed by The One Ring.  Her rejection of this One Ring and the willingness to accept herself as less than she was held the criteria of her final "test."

"You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,' said Frodo. `I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me.'
Galadriel laughed with a sudden clear laugh. `Wise the Lady Galadriel may be,' she said, `yet here she has met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of his Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?
`And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair! '
She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
'I pass the test,' she said. `I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel."
(The Lord Of The Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VII ~  "The Mirror of Galadriel", pg 366)

And so her diminishment meant rejecting the absolute power of the One Ring understanding that its destruction meant the loss of power from her ring Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and to accept that loss meant the rejection of the values of lust for power, domination, and the supernatural gifts. It meant rejecting these and accepting herself with humility, simplicity, and understanding what her diminishment meant.
Passing the test the door to The West opens, the One Ring continues on its path to destruction, the Elves will pass, and a great kingdom of men become established.


So again let me say "Welcome!"
I hope you find this a place where you feel comfortable and enjoy the fellowship.



Bear an Elf-Friend



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Tom Bombadil
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Date: Jun 24, 2012
I guess that if Galadriel would be diminished in Status since now she is basically on the same level as any of the Kings of the High Elves of Old, and when she goes into the west she would just be another Elf living in Valinor. Although with a following, I suppose

Welcome to the Forums Tizara 3. I am Lady Arwen, one of the lowly moderators. Please PM me with any questions on Navigation, what kingdom to join, when you think there is a problem with your status etc.

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