How powerful was Galadriel?

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How powerful was Galadriel?

Postby Birch_Tree » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:24 pm

Just how powerful was Galadriel, was she, in same ways more powerful then Gandalf?

"Three times Lorien 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"

"They took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed."


Gandalf the white, with the aid of Narya was unable to prevent the assault against Minas Tirith from breaching the gates and only his immediate presence was able to lift the spirit and hope of the cities defenders.

We never got to see how long Gandalf could have halted the forces of Sauron from entering, due to the witch king abandoning the assault to confront the riders. For how long Gandalf could have held the shattered gates is unknown, but his presence did prevent the witch king from entering the city. Also his presence was not enough to prevent the armies of men, dwarves and elves from being overwhelmed during the battle of five armies. The battle was won by the arrival of the eagles and of Beorn. To be fair, that did involve Gandalf the grey which had to subdue much of his power.

The presence of Galadriel seemed to be felt throughout the entire golden woods and seemed to have a much great presence. Wither Galadriel shared and spread her power more widely, and Gandalf kept his true power within could make any comparison difficult.

Gandalf was known to be the wisest of the Maiar, but wisdom is not always linked to power and there was certainly more warlike and powerful Maiar in the world. So the fact of being a maiar would not necessary placed ones power above that of a elf.

Galadriel also strove against Sauron in thought, and was able to perceive many of his designs while keeping hers closed. Gandalf, was afraid to reveal himself to Sauron, and his struggle against the will of Sauron while at the seat of seeing lift Gandalf weary and lost in thought. To be fair, we do not know what state Galadriel was in after vieing with Sauron. Sauron was likely to have been exhausting much of his power when assaulting the mind of Frodo compared with his tests of will against Galadrial.

Another revealing situation surrounds the use of the Palantir, "Maybe I have been saved by his hobbit from a grave blunder. I had considered whether or not to probe this stone myself to find it uses. Had I done so , I should have been revealed to him myself. I am not ready for such a trail, if indeed I shall ever be so"

This comment from Gandalf seems to open up more questions then it answers.

How does the stoving of minds between Sauron and Galadrial (probably via her Mirror???) compare with a struggle through a Palantir.

Was Sauron aware of Gandalf during the encounter at the seat of seeing. This encounter might have just been a struggle for the mind of Frodo and not directly against each other. Gandalf claimed that if Sauron saw his via the Palantir it would be Disatrous for him (Sauron). We know that Sauron would have been aware of Gandalf due to the events surrounding Dol Guldur, so I can only assume that Sauron would beleive that Gandalf had taken the ring for himself if he was revealed at that stage by the Palantir.
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Postby ngaur » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:24 am

How does the stoving of minds between Sauron and Galadrial (probably via her Mirror???) compare with a struggle through a Palantir.


All I can remember at the moment is that Galadriel says something to the effect that Sauron cannot see her when she uses the mirror. He tries to but that way is closed or words similar to that.

I imagine that would be something different from looking with a Palantir where Sauron having his own Palantir is sure to spot you. Galadriel is spared the direct confrontation that Gandalf would not have been.

I don't know how to measure power but when you thnik about Galadriels mirror it has to be one of the most influential tools in Middle Earth. Unless she lied to Frodo she can look into the future. No Palantir can do that.

The woman could make herself a fortune by selling mirrors to peeping Toms.
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Postby Birch_Tree » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:29 pm

I wonder how the way is closed to her mind...

Can Galadriel read Saurons mind because she has one of the elven rings and he does not. If Sauron regains the one their minds would be revealed again.

Gandalf also has a elven ring and I can not remember any examples of him knowing the mind of Sauron. Maybe, its a combination of the Ring and the Mirrior which allows Galadriel to read Saurons mind while preventing him from reading hers.
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Postby ngaur » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:00 pm

Can Galadriel read Saurons mind because she has one of the elven rings and he does not.


I don't think any beeing under God can or may read the mind of another. Differences between the Ring, the Mirror, and the Palantiri must have more to do with the items themselves.

None of them allow you to read minds but the Palantir and the Mirror allow you to see distant places, and it seems the mirror also allow visions of different time.

Exactly how any of that works is beyond me and I doubt you'll find it explained anywhere.
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Postby MithLuin » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:50 am

ngaur, I'm not sure that visions of the future are excluded from a palantir. Certainly, the past is open to them. Gandalf speculates that you could watch Feanor at work, and we are told that the Stone of Minas Tirith will always show Denethor's hands burning by default long after his death. Also, the Stone in the Tower Hills shows drowned lands. And of course they can see the present. But maybe (sometimes) a glimpse of the future, too? I don't see any evidence for it, but it would be hard to rule it out. It's also been a long time since I read the essay on the palantiri in Unfinished Tales, though, so I may be forgetting something.

It is hard to judge what Denethor or Saruman saw in the Stones, but for both of them, they were utterly convinced of Sauron's victory. Since he loses....well, clearly they aren't fortune telling globes! Denethor's final despair seems to coincide with the Black Ships, but what of the approach of the Riders of Rohan? Did he miss that? Or, did he see Frodo captured in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, and know that Gandalf's hope was vain?

I guess I am saying that they are mysterious enough that it would be difficult to say with certainty what their limitations were.

As for mind reading....the essay on Osanwe-kenta details the limitations there. It is correct that no being can really read another's mind, but if you aren't actively shielding (so to speak) you may be unintentionally broadcasting your thoughts. That is why some characters seem to be able to read minds! There's more to it than that, so I hope I haven't misrepresented anything.


Galadriel has spent the time since the last fall of Sauron building her strength. She hasn't been shy about using the power of her Ring to strengthen her land and increase her own native strength. Gandalf has only been 'full strength' since his return from fighting the balrog (ie, 2 months). That, and he sees his role as that of a counsellor, not a ruler. He does not wish to 'take charge.'

So, thousands and years vs two months.

Any wonder Galadriel is more prepared for a direct confrontation with Sauron?
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Postby *Alassë* » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:06 am

MithLuin wrote:Galadriel has spent the time since the last fall of Sauron building her strength. She hasn't been shy about using the power of her Ring to strengthen her land and increase her own native strength. Gandalf has only been 'full strength' since his return from fighting the balrog (ie, 2 months). That, and he sees his role as that of a counsellor, not a ruler. He does not wish to 'take charge.'


I think that their willingness to use their own powers is so different we can’t really make a comparison. We know Galadriel was very powerful, but we don’t know just how powerful Gandalf was. Was he, as Gandalf the White, using his whole power? I always thought taking on a body like that limited the Istari’s power…

[quote=”Birch_Tree”]Can Galadriel read Saurons mind because she has one of the elven rings and he does not.[/quote]

My guess is that it was related to Galadriel having on of the Three. In that case, Gandalf also could know Sauron’s mind, if he chose to. Maybe he thought the risk was too great.
What about Elrond? Nothing is said about him but that doesn’t mean he never tried.
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Postby ngaur » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:17 pm

It is hard to judge what Denethor or Saruman saw in the Stones, but for both of them, they were utterly convinced of Sauron's victory. Since he loses....well, clearly they aren't fortune telling globes! Denethor's final despair seems to coincide with the Black Ships, but what of the approach of the Riders of Rohan? Did he miss that? Or, did he see Frodo captured in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, and know that Gandalf's hope was vain?


I have usually thought that he saw the black ships and thought that even with the Rohirrim aiding them they could not win. At least the ships are the only thing he mentions to Gandalf. It is unclear if he knew about the Rohirrim who would have been hidden in the forests of Ghan around that time. Even more uncertain is if he saw anything of Aragorns dealings with the undead and if so what he made of that.

I don't have the relevant quotes at the moment but I think it is suggested that unless you are very strong of willl or strong of mind the Palantiri cannot show you everything you want to see. Even that a stronger mind such as Saurons could control what you can see and what you can't. It's difficult to guess what that would have meant in practical terms.

You make some interesting points about the Palatiri beeing able to show things past. Like a stored memory. Perhaps this could mean that they like Galadriels mirror also include the possibilty of futures. If the Palantiri were originally in contact with Aman where the Ainur who knew the music of Eru live, then why not? There could be some residues of that. That is not to mean that a Palantir could predict the future. Galadriels mirror couldn't do that either, but there might defenitely be something suggestive about them. Though again exactly what that is or how it works, or even what practical use it has is a difficult question.

As for mind reading....the essay on Osanwe-kenta details the limitations there. It is correct that no being can really read another's mind, but if you aren't actively shielding (so to speak) you may be unintentionally broadcasting your thoughts. That is why some characters seem to be able to read minds! There's more to it than that, so I hope I haven't misrepresented anything.


I'm afraid I have not read the Osanwe-kenta. I don't know what is meant or intended with the phrase 'actively shielding'. Reading minds is also an ambiguous term. Does it imply knowing what the other thinks or is it a form of deduction based on different kinds of sensations, a guesswork? I think when Tolkien said no one can read the mind of another, he meant that no one can know with absolute certainty what someone else is thinking. Unless maybe the other doesn't care wether you know or not.
Last edited by ngaur on Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MithLuin » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:21 pm

Elrond makes a comment about lands being dark to him beyond a certain point. So, I would not presume that he can read Sauron's mind, even with his Ring.
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Postby heliona » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:46 pm

I don't believe you can accurately compare Galadriel's Mirror and the palantíri with regards how much control someone has over it. It must be remembered that the Mirror belongs to Galadriel, so she will have more power over it compared to anyone who happens to attempt to use a palantír. (Aragorn could defeat Sauron as the palantír he was using was his heirloom.)

Also with regards Denethor looking into the palantír and what he saw, I suspect that whatever he saw, his reaction would have been the same. His state of mind was such that he had already been defeated and wasn't going to see the optimistic side of things.

Comparing Galadriel and Elrond, even with both of them wearing Rings, is also meaningless as they are not equals. Galadriel is a Noldor Elf who has seen the light of the Trees and thus carries the power of Aman with her. Elrond is much younger (relatively) and a peredhel, although he chose the Elves, and was born in Middle-earth and had never left it.
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Postby Hamfast Gamgee » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:33 pm

Remember that while Lorien with Galadriel as ruler did withstand Sauron's forces three times, they did not have to cope with the full might of Sauron. Most of Sauron's attention and power at the time was upon Minas Tirith and Gondor. Had Minas Tirith fallen and Sauron put his full strength upon Galadriel without Galadriel having the Ring, she would have fallen without doubt. Another point is that the Dwarves of Erebor and the men of Dale withstood Sauron for a while at this time. Would one say that they were more powerful than Gandalf?
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Postby heliona » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:03 pm

Hamfast Gamgee wrote:Another point is that the Dwarves of Erebor and the men of Dale withstood Sauron for a while at this time.


What exactly are you referring to here, Hamfast?
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Postby Birch_Tree » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:38 pm

With regards to what Denethor saw, I was under the impression that Sauron had control over what denethors palatiri show. So he saw the sailing of the Black Fleet, Saurons forces fortified on the north road to block the ride of the Rohirrim. So he was shown only the growing strength of Mordor rather then any sign of the resistant.

Remember that while Lorien with Galadriel as ruler did withstand Sauron's forces three times, they did not have to cope with the full might of Sauron.


I do not beleive we were ever told the size of the forces which assailed against the other regions, but I would be surprised if they were not substantial.


Another point is that the Dwarves of Erebor and the men of Dale withstood Sauron for a while at this time. Would one say that they were more powerful than Gandalf?


"A host of allies of Sauron that had long threatened the borders of King Brand crossed the river Carnen, and Brand was driven back to Dale. There he had the aid of the Dwarves of Erebor; and there was a great battle at the mountain's feet. .... Both Dwarves and Men, took refuse in Erebor and there withstood a siege."

They got besieged by a force of Easterlings and only fraught there way to freedom after Sauron was defeated elsewhere. There is a large difference between hiding behind excellent stone masonry and being labeled more powerful then Gandalf. The wording of the text is the reason for Galadriel power "the power that dwelt there was too great for any to overcome, unless Sauron had come there himself." But I would add, that I believe the skill of Stone Masonry of the Dwarves were superior to Gandalfs, Galadriel and probably even Saurons. So in there own way they were powerful but not in such a way which could be compared against Galadriel or Gandalf..
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Postby *Alassë* » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:29 pm

heliona wrote:Comparing Galadriel and Elrond, even with both of them wearing Rings, is also meaningless as they are not equals. Galadriel is a Noldor Elf who has seen the light of the Trees and thus carries the power of Aman with her. Elrond is much younger (relatively) and a peredhel, although he chose the Elves, and was born in Middle-earth and had never left it.


I know, but if Galadriel could see into Sauron’s mind because of her ring, then Elrond would also have been able to. If what MithLuin says is true, then it was a matter of strength, and not related to the Three, as I had assumed. Though I guess having Nenya helped.

About Denethor and the Palantir, my impression was the same as Birch_Tree. Denethor saw only what Sauron chose to show him…
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Postby Hamfast Gamgee » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:36 am

But the point is though that Galadriel, or the Dwarves of Erebor never really faced the full might of Sauron. A powerful force, yes, but not his full might. But Galadriel was wise, there is no doubt about that. She had been in Middle-earth longer than virtually anyone, she had even been deep in the counsels of Melian in the First Age, she was on the White Council and in fact had nominated Gandalf to be the head.
But I doubt she could read Sauron's mind. She could understand his mind and his policies, but there is a difference between doing that and literally reading his mind. Remember, though, that Gandalf could understand Sauron as well. It was Gandalf's stragety in the War of the Ring that so totally deceived the Dark Lord, not Galadriel's. Galadriel did tend to stay in Lorien, I don't know if she ever left there in the Third Age before the fall of Sauron, whilst Gandalf went everywhere!
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Postby ngaur » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:54 am

Add to this Tolkiens suggestion somewhere that Sauron figured Saruman out quickly but could not at all understand Gandalf, and it becomes clear that reading minds, whatever one intends with that expression is not connected with power or personal stength.
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Postby Mithfindel » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:53 am

Figuring out what someone is planning can be done with conventional means, such as scouts and spies. Admitted, some individuals such as Galadriel had magical assistance - for example, the Mirror as a device of getting visions.

On Denethor and the palantír: He originally used it, at great strain, to successfully see elsewhere in Middle-earth. Finally, he tried to use it to see into Mordor - at which case, he accidentally (or by the magic of the Dark Lord) "called" into the palantír of Minas Ithil (which is possessed by the Dark Lord and can be assumed to be moved to Barad-Dûr). While he still could control the palantír to some degree, from that point on he has a great problem: The Dark Lord can control what he sees in the stone. So the Seeing Stone is a great intelligence tool - but the problem is that whenever Denethor tries to scry Mordor, he sees only what Sauron wants him to see. In modern times, we'd call it a misinformation campaign. Though in a way, yes, Sauron likely wouldn't have needed it if the Witch King had stayed alive and the Black Ships would have came with their original crews.

On the other wars: It should be rather self-evident on the presence of the Nazgûl (all nine at Minas Tirith) where the focal point was. However, Sauron had seen on the palantír the Heir of Isildur, wielding Narsil. He knew that the One Ring had been found, and likely assumed that Aragorn would be wielding the Bane of Isildur as well. Gondor is the remaining kingdom of the Dúnedain. So Aragorn is there. So the Ring is there. To defeat Minas Tirith is all the Dark Lord needs. Or so he would think.

The defeat of his forces would likely only reinforce his thoughts that he had been right all around - which would only work for the "Lords of the West" as they marched with their petty band to knock the Dark Lord's door at the Black Gate. After all, without the Ring you'd be mad to attack Mordor with such of a small troop, right? But impossible odds had already been defeated once, so better throw everything you can on the West. But then something happens in Mount Doom and Sauron figures that he was tricked, and is in mortal danger - the Ringwraiths are immediately recalled and Sauron's attention is focused on Sammath Naur.

On the comparative capabilities of Galadriel and Gandalf you'd have to think about their personalities. Olórin (Gandalf) is a gentle spirit giving good dreams to people. As a wizard, he was a master of manipulation and with the aid of Narya had as special ability to "kindle the fire" in the hearts of others. However, before being sent back as Gandalf the White, he was already showing signs of being tired, and being weighted down by his mortal body. (For example, forgetting his spells at the door to Moria, complaining that he was already tired before confronting the Balrog.) No idea what effect the ring he had had on himself, but as the Three were made with Elven power, a maia might not have been the most ideal wielder. (This doesn't have canon support, though.)

Now, Artanis (Galadriel) was somewhat preserved by the power of the ring she had, and may even have been one of the original intended wielders of the Three Rings. Also, more importantly, she is a queen. The granddaughter of Finwë, the High King of Noldor. And importantly, she had no need to hide her true power as a Calaquendë whereas the wizards were not supposed to directly confront the Enemy (Gandalf the White may have had slightly updated Rules of Engagement, though). It is also worth to remember that Galadriel was also called Nerwen, "man-maiden".

In conclusion, Gandalf was by nature more of an advisor and an agitator. Galadriel was combative. Comparing the power of the two is difficult, since they were so different.
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Postby Elmtree » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:59 pm

Birch_Tree wrote:Can Galadriel read Saurons mind because she has one of the elven rings and he does not. .


I don't think it's a literal mind reading. It's more an understanding, an ability to have enough information to figure out what someone is planning. If you understand someone you can say "I know their mind" but it's not the same as mind reading.

I assume since the mirror and the elven rings were unsullied, Sauron did not have a way in. He does not understand "good" very well. It confuses him, which is why the whole plan of destroying the ring worked.
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Postby Birch_Tree » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:48 pm

Mithfindel wrote:
On the other wars: It should be rather self-evident on the presence of the Nazgûl (all nine at Minas Tirith) where the focal point was.


It also must be noted that the Nazgul would not have been of great benefit against Lorien or the Woodland Realm because the elven defenders would not have been as vulnerable to the Nazguls terror. They were used where they were most effective, against men.


Now, Artanis (Galadriel) was somewhat preserved by the power of the ring she had, and may even have been one of the original intended wielders of the Three Rings. Also, more importantly, she is a queen. The granddaughter of Finwë, the High King of Noldor. And importantly, she had no need to hide her true power as a Calaquendë whereas the wizards were not supposed to directly confront the Enemy (Gandalf the White may have had slightly updated Rules of Engagement, though). It is also worth to remember that Galadriel was also called Nerwen, "man-maiden".


I also feel it should be noted that Galadriel was a child of Finarfin who was much more of a pacifist compared with his warlike brothers and decedents. Although, Finarfins other children were combative in nature.
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Postby *Alassë* » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:36 am

Birch_Tree wrote:
Mithfindel wrote:I also feel it should be noted that Galadriel was a child of Finarfin who was much more of a pacifist compared with his warlike brothers and decedents. Although, Finarfins other children were combative in nature.


I always found that amusing.
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Postby borlas » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:47 pm

the way i understood it was the power of the 3 rings was to prevent the wearyness of time, thus why rivendell was virtualy as it was when it was founded, the same for lorien, and it was this power that meant gandalf suvived the balrog fight.

another thing i seem to remember is that the elves have diminishe greatly since the elder days, when they could fight balrogs and dragons by the legion. let alone fingolfin wounding morgoth.

with these 2 trains of thought it is easy to deduce why galadriel can throw down the walls of dol guldur, she was one of the elves born in the blessed realm, before the sun rose. it was the light of the trees in her hair that inspired feanor to make the silmarils she suvived the grinding ice and dwelt both in nargothrond and menegroth with melian the maiar. she was in eregion durnign the forging of the rings, and tho she may have already diminished partly from her former being she would still have been a powerfull being in her own right.

"i will diminish and go into the west and remain galadriel"
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Postby ngaur » Tue May 01, 2012 2:34 pm

when they could fight balrogs and dragons by the legion


I don't know about that. At least not Dragons. Are there any examples at all of elves slaying dragons? Maybe from some the older work in the Lost Tales?

Galadriel threw down the walls of Dol Guldur and laid bare its pits. It's not easy to guess what this implies. There is an earlier event where Luthien throws down the walls of Tol-Ngaurhoth described in the Lays of Beleriand. There the impression that I had was that the walls were held up by some magic to begin with and Luthien eh.. undid this magic. Maybe a similar thing was operative in Dol Guldur? This would be almost the same thing as with Barad-Dur whose foundations were built with the power of the ring, and when the ring was destroyed the towers fell. And if you like you could describe that as Frodo (or Gollum) threw down the walls of Barad-Dur.

There is no doubt Galadriel had much power at her command. Especially as the bearer of one of the three. But I think the means by which she threw down the walls of Dol Guldur were to be found in the nature of Dol Guldur itself. I don't believe for a moment that Galadriel would have had the power to walk up to say Minas Tirith, or Orthanc and suddenly make them crumble to the ground. Nasty shock that would have been to everyone though.
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Postby Hamfast Gamgee » Tue May 01, 2012 3:45 pm

I can't think of any examples of Elves actually slaying Dragons. Balrogs, yes, but not Dragons. Finrod and some archers did injure Glauring forcing him to flee in one of the battles of Middle-Earth and Beleg did look at Glauring whilst on his belly, but actually slaying no. At least nothing recorded.
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Postby borlas » Wed May 02, 2012 3:37 am

my point still stands!!! even without any records of an elf slaying a dragon, (apart from earendil, but he had the silmaril, vingilot, the help of thorondor, and he was half elven) the elves are still incredibly powerfull, if one of them can call morgoth from angband, fight with him and wound him, a relation of his could certainly throw down the walls of saurons lesser residence
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Postby Gadget2 » Mon May 07, 2012 9:45 am

ngaur wrote:Galadriel threw down the walls of Dol Guldur and laid bare its pits. It's not easy to guess what this implies. There is an earlier event where Luthien throws down the walls of Tol-Ngaurhoth described in the Lays of Beleriand. There the impression that I had was that the walls were held up by some magic to begin with and Luthien eh.. undid this magic. Maybe a similar thing was operative in Dol Guldur? This would be almost the same thing as with Barad-Dur whose foundations were built with the power of the ring, and when the ring was destroyed the towers fell. And if you like you could describe that as Frodo (or Gollum) threw down the walls of Barad-Dur.

There is no doubt Galadriel had much power at her command. Especially as the bearer of one of the three. But I think the means by which she threw down the walls of Dol Guldur were to be found in the nature of Dol Guldur itself. I don't believe for a moment that Galadriel would have had the power to walk up to say Minas Tirith, or Orthanc and suddenly make them crumble to the ground. Nasty shock that would have been to everyone though.


You have hit on the heart of the matter and made insightful points. It is seems that luthien had to defeat Sauron and force him to yield mastery of the tower to her in order to throw down its walls. It seems clear that Galadriel did something similar in with Dol Guldur. It is important to note that the elves of Lothlorien did not go on the offensive until after the defeat of Sauron, when whatever power that had established Dol Guldur and may have been upholding it was weakened.

Galadriel in Lorien (as well as Elrond in Rivendell) spent many years establishing and using full might of their Rings to establish a protected and preserved realm "were evil things did not come". Gandalf & his order were under a different paradigm. As Gandalf himself said: "The Rule of no realm, great or small, is mine"; they were forbidden from doing similar things, as this would necessarily tie them down to one place and hinder them from their primary task: helping, counselling, and inspiring the peoples of Middle-earth to resist Sauron. I don't know that using the Power of the Rings is as simple as riding into a city and raising a magical dome over it ala Harry Potter, is the way the Rings worked.
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Re: How powerful was Galadriel?

Postby scirocco » Tue May 08, 2012 3:18 am

Birch_Tree wrote:Galadriel also strove against Sauron in thought, and was able to perceive many of his designs while keeping hers closed.


I think that the nature of Galadriel's perception of Sauron's mind is quite different from the use of a palantir. Perception is not the same as seeing; it implies a degree of interpretation of that which is not clearly seen.

To my way of thinking, Galadriel would have sensed Sauron's power much as Frodo felt the presence of the Eye:

Frodo knew just where the present habitation and heart of that will now was: as certainly as a man can tell the direction of the sun with his eyes shut. He was facing it, and its potency beat upon his brow...

but her greater insight and wisdom would have allowed her to read and interpret motives in Sauron's thought.

A palantir vision seems to be a very different and far more immediate thing. Skype for Middle-earth :). Who knows what the outcome would have been if Galadriel had looked in the palantir.
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Postby AlatarielNerwende » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:23 pm

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!'


I always interpreted that she was abe to read Saurons mind through Osanwe Kenta (sp?) She was always said to have some special ability to read the hearts of others and the mind reading the made with the fellowship, I think there are no other elfs in the books who do similar things. After all she is said by Tolkien to be the mightiest (and fairest, so fairer than Arwen) of elves in the third age, that would make her even more powerful than Glofindel, who is said to almost equal the maiar.
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Postby Galin » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:32 am

The spelling is correct (without diacritics anway) but all you really need is ósanwe 'interchange of thought', as centa is the 'enquiry' part -- thus the name of the essay Ósanwe-kenta 'Enquiry into the Communication of Thought'.
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Re: How powerful was Galadriel?

Postby NoldoSchysta » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 am

Birch_Tree wrote:Just how powerful was Galadriel, was she, in same ways more powerful then Gandalf?

"Three times Lorien 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"

"They took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed."


Gandalf the white, with the aid of Narya was unable to prevent the assault against Minas Tirith from breaching the gates and only his immediate presence was able to lift the spirit and hope of the cities defenders.

We never got to see how long Gandalf could have halted the forces of Sauron from entering, due to the witch king abandoning the assault to confront the riders. For how long Gandalf could have held the shattered gates is unknown, but his presence did prevent the witch king from entering the city. Also his presence was not enough to prevent the armies of men, dwarves and elves from being overwhelmed during the battle of five armies. The battle was won by the arrival of the eagles and of Beorn. To be fair, that did involve Gandalf the grey which had to subdue much of his power.

The presence of Galadriel seemed to be felt throughout the entire golden woods and seemed to have a much great presence. Wither Galadriel shared and spread her power more widely, and Gandalf kept his true power within could make any comparison difficult.

Gandalf was known to be the wisest of the Maiar, but wisdom is not always linked to power and there was certainly more warlike and powerful Maiar in the world. So the fact of being a maiar would not necessary placed ones power above that of a elf.

Galadriel also strove against Sauron in thought, and was able to perceive many of his designs while keeping hers closed. Gandalf, was afraid to reveal himself to Sauron, and his struggle against the will of Sauron while at the seat of seeing lift Gandalf weary and lost in thought. To be fair, we do not know what state Galadriel was in after vieing with Sauron. Sauron was likely to have been exhausting much of his power when assaulting the mind of Frodo compared with his tests of will against Galadrial.

Another revealing situation surrounds the use of the Palantir, "Maybe I have been saved by his hobbit from a grave blunder. I had considered whether or not to probe this stone myself to find it uses. Had I done so , I should have been revealed to him myself. I am not ready for such a trail, if indeed I shall ever be so"

This comment from Gandalf seems to open up more questions then it answers.

How does the stoving of minds between Sauron and Galadrial (probably via her Mirror???) compare with a struggle through a Palantir.

Was Sauron aware of Gandalf during the encounter at the seat of seeing. This encounter might have just been a struggle for the mind of Frodo and not directly against each other. Gandalf claimed that if Sauron saw his via the Palantir it would be Disatrous for him (Sauron). We know that Sauron would have been aware of Gandalf due to the events surrounding Dol Guldur, so I can only assume that Sauron would beleive that Gandalf had taken the ring for himself if he was revealed at that stage by the Palantir.


Some of the things you listed, imo, are a bit deceiving in favor of Galadriel.

First imo, the Palantiri are not comparable to Galadriel's mirror, which is not only (presumably) a magical object of her own devising, but is unique, unlike the Palantir, which Sauron possesses one of, and would know precisely when another is being used, forcing a battle of wills. We also saw how much of an advantage being the "heir" or having the blood to use an object associated with you is when Aragorn was able to wrest control of the Palantir from Sauron in a battle of wills, due to being the true heir to the Kingdom of Gondor and a Numenorean, thus the true owner of the Palantir. Galadriel being able to hide her use of her own mirror isn't comparable to directly confronting Sauron in a battle of wills with a Palantir without being the heir of Gondor and Arnor.




As for

"Three times Lorien 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"


There is

"'And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord.'"

Is a more direct comparison imo.

You must also consider that Galadriel was very, very close with Melian during the first age, and her enchantments and protections about Lothlorien is very similar to the girdle of Melian.

It is very possible that the only evil force that could dispel it left in the world was Sauron, but that simply places her enchantments at a more advanced level than perhaps the Witch King of Angmar or the Mouth of Sauron, not above Gandalf. These enchantments are tied to the place that she lives and very likely also tied to the ring of power that she wields.

Gandalf was also faced with the 9, and a much larger army (Sauron assumed the ring was in Minas Tirith, the force that invaded lorien would have been a splinter force at best, to divide the free peoples and disallow aid from Lorien to be sent to Gondor, which was by far his largest focus.

Minas Tirith is not ruled by Gandalf, it is not his seat of power, it is not tangled in his enchantments. Plus Gandalf, even as Gandalf the white was still not directly challenging Sauron with all of his might, moreso he still had the restrictions of the Istari, he was primarily there to enflame the courage in mens hearts and save them from despair by checking the 9.


Galadriel is indeed very powerful, but as a Maia Gandalf is above her, but her power is not greatly behind, she is powerful even compared to some of the legendary first age elves. It's quite possible her magic is a bit more subtle and versatile than Gandalf's though. After Gandalf i'd place Galadriel and Glorfindel as the second greatest threats to sauron in terms their ability to Challenge him in will and strength.
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Postby wilko185 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:53 am

NoldoSchysta wrote:Galadriel is indeed very powerful, but as a Maia Gandalf is above her, but her power is not greatly behind

(Welcome to TORC btw :) ). Yes, I think this is supported both by the "more dangerous than anything you will ever meet" quote, and also in Letter #246 (Sept 1963), Tolkien writes that neither Aragorn nor any other mortal could not have withheld the One Ring from Sauron in direct confrontation, and that:
Tolkien wrote:Of the others only Gandalf might be expected to master him – being an emissary of the Powers and a creature of the same order, an immortal spirit taking a visible physical form. In the 'Mirror of Galadriel', I 381, it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring and supplanting the Dark Lord. If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond.[*] But this is another matter. It was part of the essential deceit of the Ring to fill minds with imaginations of supreme power. But this the Great had well considered and had rejected, as is seen in Elrond's words at the Council. Galadriel's rejection of the temptation was founded upon previous thought and resolve. In any case Elrond or Galadriel would have proceeded in the policy now adopted by Sauron: they would have built up an empire with great and absolutely subservient generals and armies and engines of war, until they could challenge Sauron and destroy him by force. Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated. One can imagine the scene in which Gandalf, say, was placed in such a position. It would be a delicate balance. On one side the true allegiance of the Ring to Sauron; on the other superior strength because Sauron was not actually in possession, and perhaps also because he was weakened by long corruption and expenditure of will in dominating inferiors. If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring; for him it would have been destroyed, taken from him for ever.
[*] I recall a dispute in this forum on Tolkien's exact meaning of it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring and supplanting the Dark Lord. If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond, which might be read as "Elrond was equally capable of being deceived by the Ring", or perhaps as "Elrond was more powerful than Galadriel". In any case, I think it's quite clear that Gandalf is of a higher order, at least on this test.

In the Third Age, Galadriel's power is more one of preservation more than of conquest. This may be ascribed to either: (a) her association with Melian; (b) holding one of the Three, which were made by Celebrimbor alone, with a different power and purpose than the other rings (UT), they were precisely endowed with the power of preservation, not of birth (#Letter 144); they were operative in preserving the memory of the beauty of old, maintaining enchanted enclaves of peace where Time seems to stand still and decay is restrained, a semblance of the bliss of the True West (#131); (c) and perhaps from the Elessar stone - in one version she was given it with the words "Use it as you may, and for a while you shall make the land of your dwelling the fairest place in Middle-earth" (UT)


Regarding the "reading of minds", Gandalf (in his White phase) has at least some sort of insight into both Saruman:
"I look into his mind and I see his doubt"
and perhaps also Sauron:
"For it seems clear that our Enemy has opened his war at last and made the first move while Frodo was still free. So now for many days he will have his eye turned this way and that, away from his own land. And yet, Pippin, I feel from afar his haste and fear. He has begun sooner than he would. Something has happened to stir him"

The clearest bit of mind-reading is probably from the tale of Maeglin and Aredhel in the Sil:
he bided his time, trusting yet to wheedle the secret from her, or perhaps to read her unguarded mind
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Postby Chanukah » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:17 am

She had prophetic powers, a gift of foresight, just like Elrond, a gift that Gandalf lacked, but I could be wrong about it...
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