Well, with Torture DiNozzo Week over, we can move on to different topics. Don’t worry about Star Trek Into Darkness, Tony. I have not forgotten it. Today I just felt like going back to The Hobbit.
One of the scenes I enjoy most in The Hobbit is the meeting of the White Council in Rivendell. In the movie, the Council consists of Elrond, Saruman (blech), Gandalf, and that dazzling Elf woman, Galadriel. Saruman, of course, spends his time trying to dissuade his peers from prying Smaug out of the Lonely Mountain. He dismisses the Necromancer as a foolish human sorcerer and tries to stamp out the fear his ‘friends’ express at the sight of the Witchking of Angmar’s blade.
The one problem I have with the meeting as it is presented is the divide in the Council. Galadriel and Gandalf both advocate taking Smaug down. Saruman pooh-poohs their worries and Elrond follows his lead, minus the pooh-poohing.
I do not believe Elrond would have counseled against getting rid of Smaug. While Saruman’s true colors are not known at the time of The Hobbit, I do not see Elrond blindly assenting to Saruman’s attempts to lay the matter aside.
That said, I do enjoy the back and forth between Galadriel and Gandalf. It is especially funny when she realizes Thorin’s company is leaving and tells Gandalf, “You knew!” The look Gandalf gives her is the look a boy gives his mother when his hand has been found in the cookie jar.
Did you notice that when Gandalf and Elrond go to meet Galadriel, both men make bows of respect to her? Why do you think they do this, Tony?
Because she is a very beautiful Elf woman? Well, duh. There is that. After her granddaughter, Arwen Evenstar, Galadriel is the most beautiful Elf-woman in Middle-earth.
Of course you didn’t know Galadriel was Arwen’s grandmother! You would have to read the book to find that out, and you don’t read! But since I have started, I will be gracious and fill you in. Years before the events of The Hobbit and the War of the Ring, Elrond married Galadriel’s daughter, Celebrian. They had three children: twins Elladan and Elrohir and Arwen Evenstar, or Arwen Undomiel in the Elven tongue. We never see Celebrian in the movies or the books because she has left Middle-earth by the time of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Why? Well, you see, Celebrian used to make regular visits to her mother’s home in Lothlorien. Returning to Rivendell from one such stay, she and her escort were attacked by orcs in the Redhorn Pass of the Misty Mountains (where the Fellowship later got stuck and had to detour into Moria). Her escort was killed and she was captured and taken into the orc tunnels. There she was tortured by the orcs.
Was she killed? No. All I know for sure is that she was wounded with a poison dart. But knowing orcs as we do, that may not have been her only injury.
Anyway, Celebrian was rescued. Her dart wound, however, made her forsake Middle-earth for the Grey Havens a year later. Elrond’s sons had a special hatred for orcs after this incident, so they often rode with the Rangers to take out goblin packs that hunted in the north. This must be why they joined their father in hunting down and killing the orc pack which was chasing Thorin’s company.
DiNozzo! There were three Elves in the hunting party who were not wearing helmets! One was Elrond. Two guesses as to who the other two were.
Elladan and Elrohir, yes. Gee whiz, one would think you had no more skill with a search engine than you do riding horses!
Hey, hey, no head slapping! I’ve got Gibbs on speed dial, remember?
Good. Where was I going with this? Oh, yes. So Elrond respects Galadriel not only because she is beautiful but because she is his mother-in-law. There is, however, slightly more to this as well.
Galadriel is one of the oldest Elves in Middle-earth. She has been around since the First Age of the world. And she was there when the Three Rings were forged and handed out to the wisest of the Elven-kind. This is the other reason that Gandalf and Elrond show Galadriel such great respect. She is the oldest and wisest Elf alive and has wielded one of the Three for most of her life. Even for Elves, that is no small accomplishment.
Don’t you remember? There were “Three rings for the Elven kings under the sky.”
Yes, Galadriel is a queen, but if Sauron is looking for men and not women he would not suspect where one of the Three has been all this time. Nenya, the ring made of mithril, has been in Galadriel’s keeping since it was made. The other two Elven rings, Vilya and Narya, have each changed hands since they were forged.
Vilya, the mightiest of the Elven Three, first belonged to the Elven king Gil-galad. He died with Isuldur’s father Elendil when Sauron was first defeated. Before he died, though, he gave Vilya to his standard bearer. That ‘young’ Elf was Elrond.
Narya, the ring with a fiery red stone, was given to Círdan, the Elven shipwright of the Grey Havens. He is the only Elf I know of to have a beard and appear old. He is also one of the few Elves who does not make it into the films. And if he does, then he is not named in The Return of the King.
Círdan did not keep Narya. He met a better guardian for that ring: Gandalf. He gave Narya to Gandalf because he felt that Gandalf would need it to “light a fire in the hearts” of the people who would battle Sauron. Knowing Gandalf as we do, the third Elven ring was probably better fitted for his fiery temper than for the (apparently) milder mannered Círdan. It helps that the word Narya means ‘fire.’
If you watch the end of The Return of the King carefully, you will see Gandalf wearing a ring with a red stone on one of his hands. You have to look fast, Tony! The film does not allow a long, hard study of Gandalf the White before he sails from Middle-earth forever.
Where was I? Right, that’s it! This is the difference between Gandalf and Galadriel’s power but also what makes them such a team. Galadriel’s power, combined with Nenya (which means ‘water’), appears to be the means she uses to preserve Lothlorien. What I mean by that is, in the books, Lothlorien seems to have an aura which makes it impervious to the tides of time. Gandalf describes Galadriel’s forest kingdom as a “land of ageless time,” and Samwise mentions after leaving Lorien that while they were there time just seemed to stop.
This makes me think that Galadriel’s power lets her preserve what was, so much so that time hardly seems to pass under the mallorn trees in Lorien. Her power is not necessarily proactive, though she can wield it as a weapon, but is useful as a way of seeing what is best for the future through knowledge of the past.
Gandalf’s power is different. Every time we see our favorite wizard, he is out doing something or pushing for something to be done. Gandalf is not the type to sit around twiddling his thumbs or crying over spilled milk. He has to be active. This is why he is always exhorting important people – whether it is Aragorn, Frodo, Bilbo, or anyone else you can think of – to stand up to evil, a.k.a. Sauron. He has to be active against Sauron for all his time on Middle-earth.
This is why Galadriel wanted Gandalf to be the head of the White Council. As we see in The Hobbit, when Gandalf thinks something has to be done to keep Middle-earth safe he will up and do it, to heck with what anyone else thinks. If he had been worried about Saruman’s opinion of Thorin’s company, he would have asked the head of his order for permission to let the company form in the first place. He did not do that because: a) the mission required some amount of secrecy; b) it would take too much time to go through ‘proper channels,’ and c) he might be told “No.”
These were things that could not be allowed to happen. So, in typical Gandalf fashion, he went ahead and did what needed doing without asking if it was okay. After all, sometimes it really IS better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
Yes, Tony, I did just say that. And it has no relation whatsoever to Torture DiNozzo Week.
Back to The Hobbit. Because they agree on so much, Galadriel and Gandalf are usually in accord over a course of action. This is one of the reasons that Galadriel tells Gandalf to call on her if he needs her help in a later scene from The Hobbit. She has been on Middle-earth much longer than any of the Istari (wizards). So she has a whole lot of knowledge and power behind her, and she promises to use it to aid Gandalf if and when he needs it.
In this way, she is like a mother figure for Gandalf. Remember I said he gave her a ‘little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar’ look? Who would not give their mom that look? And Galadriel probably made one heck of a mom, not to mention a grandmother, during her time in Middle-earth.
Anyway, that is one of the scenes I really liked from An Unexpected Journey. I hope there are more in the coming films. The next two Christmases at the theater are going to be fun!!