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Minas Tirith Forums » Silmarillion » What was Galadriel's Vial? (Page 1)
Author Topic: What was Galadriel's Vial?
erinhue
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A recently posted question about the Silmarils got me to thinking about an old one that has nagged me forever. Just what was that vial of light that Galadriel gave to Frodo when they met in Lothlorien.

I had always thought it was one of the Silmarils. It's description fits and the light inside would have had very special qualities if it was the Light of the Two Trees.

Some one told me that it could not be one of the Silmarils and was some other jewel. Now that sounds reasonable because Galadriel is Feanor's sister and he could have made a smaller trinket for her when he made the Silmarils.

It is also possible that one thought to have been lost was found in the long years not covered in LOTR and it would have come to Galadriel for more reasons than one.

If it were one of the lost Silmarils then that alone would have insured that Frodo and those who sailed with him would have reached Valinor. Manwee would have spotted or been notified of its coming. The Valar would have made certain that the ship was guided safely to shore because they were beyond anxious to have the Light of the Two Trees restored, which they could do if they had even the tiniest spark to work with.

So I say that vial was one of the Silmarills. How bout it?


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Thranduil
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No, I don't think so. The Silmarils were lost forever, it says, and the trees don't get their life back.
I have just read the Book of Lost Tales 1, and it says something about light in liquid form, coming from the Two Trees when they blossomed. I know it's unlikely, but could the Phial have contained something like that?

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Roll of Honor Gandalf the White
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It says that the vial is from the star of Earendil, and that it where the light comes from, not the two trees.

Does it even say that the light of the trees is in it? Not that I remember...


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Thranduil
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But the star of Earendil is actually one of the Silmarils, and the light of the Silmaril is also partly taken from the Two Trees.
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Roll of Honor Gandalf the White
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*slaps forehead*

Your right of course Thraduil

How stupid of me


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Fëanáro
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The vial that Galadriel gives Frodo, is a vial 'filled with the light of the star of Ëarendil'(which, as has been said, was one of the Silmarils)

This vial had nothing to do with the success of the voyage to the Undying Lands. They were traveling with the elves who are permitted to go into the west (and with Gandalf who is a Maia whats more). Also, the Ring Bearers were permitted to go into the west, which is why Sam was able to follow after Rose died.


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Galion The Tipsy Butler
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From Farewell To Lorien:

quote:
'In this phial,' she said, 'is caught the light of Eärendil's star, set amid the waters of my fountain.'

It was the light from a Silmaril caught up in the water from Galadriel's mirror and placed in a crystal container for Frodo.


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erinhue
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About that comment that the elves were allowed to go over the sea. That ain't quite it. The High Elves, the Noldar answered the original call and went over the Sea to Valinor. They fell victim to the lies of Melkor and were unwitting participants in the destruction of the Two Trees. The Valar asked Feanor for the Silmarils to use the light contined in them to restore the Two Trees. He refused and then left Valinor against the will of the Valar and under a curse laid on them and their decendents by Manwee.

I say they would have needed a peace offering at the very least to return after terrible incidents such as the Kinslaying, if they had a hope of being accepted back.

Legolas, being an elf of Mirkwood, should have had little problem as his people were invited but did not complete the Great Journey and there for never exercised the origninal invitation.

Galadriel, Feanor's sister, might just have saved this light in the crystal( which would be light from the Two Trees) to coax the Valar to allow her people to return.

[ 01-06-2002: Message edited by: erinhue ]


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Eol the Dark Elf
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I thought it was her refusing the ring that granted her passage to the west?
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erinhue
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No refusing the ring was more of a personal ethics test. She already had whatever permission the Noldar had to return to the West, if indeed they had more than a hope of returning at all. The Noldar were baaaaad little elves when they were in Valinor the first time. Not all their fault, but naughty-naughty all the same

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The Dark Lord of Mordor
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Galadriel was Feanor's niece (her father was his half-brother, Finarfin) and in UT, there is a bit that says he created the Silmarils in part because she would not give him a lock of her luminous golden hair.

This is from The Encyclopedia of Arda about Earendil (Elrond's father)

quote:
Eärendil's father was a Man, and his mother an Elf, so he and his wife Elwing and their sons were given the choice of race to which they wished to belong. Elwing chose Elvenkind, and Eärendil did so too for her sake. He now sails the high airs with the Silmaril upon his brow, shining as the morning and evening star.

I believe the curse on the Noldor was spoken by Mandos, but I'm not certain.

Anyway, I agree that it was some light from the Silmaril caught in the phial.

[ 01-06-2002: Message edited by: The Dark Lord of Mordor ]


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Fëanáro
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I could have sworn that when the Valar broke Thangorodrim, they lifted the curse of the noldor to those who survived. I could be wrong, but why else would there be the Grey Havens? I'll get the quote later.
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Thranduil
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Galadriel was said to have been one of the most active in the rebellion of the Noldor from Valinor. I think maybe that's why she wasn't permitted to return into the West.
It may also partly be because of shame. Maybe she didn't want to go back to ask for pardon before the Gods. She was proud and self-willed...

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Tar-Palantir
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I've been re-reading UT, which has a chapter regarding Galadriel and Celeborn. I may mis-state something, but from what I recall, the Noldor were pardoned by the Valar, and could return to the west. Galadriel refused, because she sensed a need still in ME to combat evil (I think this can be inferred to mean Sauron).
Galadriel was indeed longing to return to ME from valinor, but was staunchly opposed to Feanor. One note in UT has Galadriel and Celeborn fighting against Feanor and his sons during the kinslaying at Alaquonde. This, of course, contradicts the tale told in the Silmarillion, but points to a definite strife between Feanor and Galadriel.
I doubt Galadriel would use a phial to re-gain access to Valinor; she would seem above such bribery to me. After Sauron was defeated, she chose to accept the pardon of the Valar, since she saw her use diminish in ME. That's my take...

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Thranduil
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Yep, I agree!

But the reason she remained in ME might be because of many reasons: She might (as TP said) have felt the need to fight evil, but also because she wasn't yet tired of Middle-Earth, and finally also because of her pride. She was unwilling to go back and apologize before the Gods (which I assume she had to, even though she was pardoned.)
Are there anyone who can confirm or reject this with a quote or something?


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Ereinion
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In UT there are two versions of story why Galadriel remained in ME.

In first it is said that ban was lifted for Noldor save for chief actors in Rebellion (Galadriel was one of these, the only one at the end of first age). She was allowed to return after Sauron's fall, because of her actions against him and because she refused the Ring when it was offered to her.

In second she refused the pardon of Valar because she became proud. She departed then after all that she desired in her youth came to her: the dominion of ME and the Ring, and because her wisdom was full grown she rejected it. So passing the last test she departed from ME.

In second version the last test was more personal test, but in first it was not so.


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Roll of Honor Ecthelion of the Fountain
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yup, she couldnt have returned earlier, i beleve in ut it says the valar would have let her, but she was too proud, in me there was chance to be queen, to be important and she thought that she had learned much from the valar when she was in the udying lands and wanted to not only see through the complete destruction of god like evil (god like because melkor and sauron were to extants gods and in the 4th evil was inmortal form) but she wanted to be a queen, in the undying lands she would have had to power, in me she was a yielder of one of the three, a queen of the most powerful remaining elvish kindgon,,,,can you blame her?
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Snöwdog
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quote:
So I say that vial was one of the Silmarills. How bout it?
It in itself is not one of the Silmarils. But it was indirectly light from a Silmaril. Our Tipsy Butler sums it up best:
quote:
It was the light from a Silmaril caught up in the water from Galadriel's mirror and placed in a crystal container for Frodo.

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Galin
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Galadriel's history is confusing in some places, but wading through some of the murky waters is interesting.


quote:
I've been re-reading UT, which has a chapter regarding Galadriel and Celeborn. I may mis-state something, but from what I recall, the Noldor were pardoned by the Valar, and could return to the west. Galadriel refused, because she sensed a need still in ME to combat evil (I think this can be inferred to mean Sauron).
This seems to be gleaned from the text 'Concerning Galadriel And Celeborn' [I guess that much due to the mention of her staying in Middle-earth because she sensed a need to remain while Sauron was unconquered].

If so, in this text, thought to be written in the 1950s, Galadriel remains in Middle-earth after the Fall of Morgoth due to her love of Celeborn, and 'probably' due to a little pride too, according to the text. And at this point, there is no certain indication that Tolkien had imagined a ban on Galadriel's return.

Okay after Eregion falls and the Rings have been made, it is noted that Galadriel remains because of a sense of duty, given that Sauron was not vanquished [if defeated for a time] -- but here I'll note that according to this version, it was Galadriel who was co-founder and co-ruler of Eregion when Annatar came to town [for myself, I believe Tolkien revised this later, making Celebrimbor a Feanorean and the lord of Eregion from the start].

Thus she with Celeborn essentially let Sauron in, despite her misgivings [although it's not explained why she did so, if indeed she doubted this Annatar guy] while Gil-galad was wiser. She let Sauron mess with Eregion and so on, before being ousted from power by the Jewel-smiths -- so perhaps this is now why she felt it her duty to remain.


quote:
Galadriel was indeed longing to return to ME from valinor, but was staunchly opposed to Feanor.
Pedantic note: Galadriel was born in the West, but yes she longed to go to Middle-earth. Tolkien will focus on Galadriel's opposition to Feanor in the late text The Shibboleth of Feanor, dated 1968 or later.

quote:
I doubt Galadriel would use a phial to re-gain access to Valinor; she would seem above such bribery to me. After Sauron was defeated, she chose to accept the pardon of the Valar, since she saw her use diminish in ME. That's my take...
But there are later accounts than Concerning Galadriel And Celeborn, including the important one that Tolkien himself published in the 1960s in The Road Goes Ever On, and here is where the special ban on certain leaders of the Rebellion was introduced [on paper and for certain anyway] and tied into Galadriel's words published in The Lord of the Rings.

So Galadriel is banned from returning to Valinor, being one of the leaders in the Rebellion [other leaders who would have likewise been specially banned had already died], while in general the other Exiles were allowed to return.


quote:
'She was the last survivor of the princes and queens who had led the revolting Noldor to exile in Middle-earth. After the overthrow of Morgoth at the end of the First Age a ban was set upon her return, and she had replied proudly that she had no wish to do so. She passed over the Mountains...'

JRRT, RGEO

Her ban is lifted much much later after she rejects the One.

And there are even later accounts for example, in which Tolkien still tinkers with Galadriel's history, but the one he had already published and linked to The Lord of the Rings is that version found in The Road Goes Ever On.

[ 09-29-2013, 06:13 AM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Tuor
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In Letters Tolkien notes his belief that Galadriel is the Mary character for his secondary world. Since Tolkien believed Mary is perfect, Tolkien needed to adjust Galadriel so that she would fit better with Mary.

[ 10-01-2013, 07:10 AM: Message edited by: Tuor ]

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Galin
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Well I knew that was coming []

In Tolkien's latest letter where he mentions the Virgin and Nerwen, he writes:

quote:
'... your remarks about Galadriel. I think it is true that I owe much of this character to Christian and Catholic teaching and imagination about Mary, but actually Galadriel was a penitent: in her youth a leader in the Rebellion against the Valar (the Angelic guardians).'

JRRT, letter 320, 1971

And yes, in letter 353 [1973] Tolkien later describes an 'unstained' Galadriel, but despite that this is a reasonable enough connection, admittedly, JRRT does not actually mention Mary in this letter.

As an aside, in this 'unstained' version Galadriel actually fights at Swanhaven. Yes in defense of the Teleri, but just to note it: in the earlier version Galadriel did not participate in the fighting, as seemingly she was not present when it occurred in any event -- this version is found in The Silmarillion and agrees with author-published material.


In any case Tolkien wrote plenty of letters and draft texts. And as he had already said that he owed much of the Rebel Galadriel to Catholic teaching and imagination about Mary, in my opinion no great need to change her history -- especially since no one can even tell if Tolkien, in his late years, had even remembered what he had already published here.

And if Galadriel the Rebel had only occurred in a letter, it would hardly matter if Tolkien had remembered or not. But not so -- and the [to me] far better version of a still Mary-connected character was already true within the Subcreated World.

Or to say it another way: the Rebel Galadriel was already on bookshelves for present and future readers.

[ 10-01-2013, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Tuor
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I just think that any discussion on Galdriel should include the Mary aspect. My post did it's job, it got you to comment on it []
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Tuor
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Maybe if I use the arrow icon Snowdog won't feel the need to post something to just get rid of it from the main page []

[ 10-02-2013, 07:52 AM: Message edited by: Tuor ]

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Galin
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Hmm, I've been manipulated?

Oh well, I got to post about Galadriel anyway []


I used the arrow too, but I don't know what it means actually.

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Belthronding
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Cant leave this out of the conversation:

From TTT -

quote:
No, sir, of course not. Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and that was a worse place and a blacker danger than ours. But that's a long tale, of course, and goes on past the happiness and into grief and beyond it - and the Silmaril went on and came to Earendil. And why sir, I never thought of that before! We've got - you've got some light of it in that star glass that the lady gave you!
Even Sam seems to have all his facts straight. Interesting the depth of detail here - Tolkien makes quite a point of connecting the Silmaril to Frodo's quest, as though he was righting the wrongs of the past, or atoning somehow.

Also interesting the effect the light has on Shelob - it being nearly the opposite of the apparent effect said light had on Ungoliant, her forbears. For Frodo gathers his courage, or perhaps gathers strength from the holy jewel, and drives Shelob away for a time:

From TTT -

quote:
No brightness so deadly had ever afflicted them before. From sun and moon and star they had been safe underground, but now a star had descended into the very earth. Still it approached, and the eyes began to quail. One by one they all went dark; they turned away, and a great bulk, beyond the light's reach, heaved its huge shadow in between. They were gone.
Later it is Sam wielding the Phial and drawing on its power (also from TTT):

quote:
As if his indomitable spirit had set its potency in motion, the glass blazed suddenly like a white torch in his hand ...
Sam defeats Shelob, then of course believes Frodo is dead, and leaves him after having a "last" look at his face through the light of Galadriel's phial.

Next he storms Cirith Ungol with it, but then we never hear of its fate?

Anyone happen to know?

[ 02-21-2014, 12:17 PM: Message edited by: Belthronding ]

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