Today is International Women’s Day and I have decided that it would be appropriate to talk about one of the most awesome characters in all of high fantasy, a character that fascinated me as a kid and still continues to do to this day; Galadriel. Since the age of 11 when I first saw Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, I was immediately drawn to Galadriel who was beautifully played by the elegant Cate Blanchett. She was this mysterious, powerful elf who somehow was able to resist against Sauron. I would later start reading more about her and after reading The Silmarillion I realized that she had become one of my favourite’s characters of all time.
Galadriel, and prepare for me to go full on nerd here, is a royal Elf of both Noldor and Teleri descent. She was the grandchild of King Ingwë of the Vanyar and for some time she lived under the light of the Trees of Valinor before becoming one of the leaders of the Noldor during the rebellion and joining them in their flight to Valinor. Though she was an eager participant and leader in the rebellion, even stated by Tolkien as being the “only female to stand tall in those days” during the wars against Morgoth she would stop associating herself with the sons of Fëanor, marry Celeborn and eventually after the fall of Morgoth become the leader of the land of Lothlorien. During the Third Age she would be chosen to wear the Nenya ring and would join the struggle against Sauron. With the death of Gil-Galad she would become as Tolkien described “the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth” and would aid the Fellowship on their quest to Mordor. Before departing to Valinor as a reward for not giving into temptation with the One Ring, she would destroy Dol Goldur. At the end she would take to the Grey Havens and would be the only one of the leaders of the Noldorin exiles to return at a grand age of 7,000. (nerd moment over)
This is of course a very quick summary of Galadriel, but the fairest of all the elven woman, had a great impact on me as a child. I was fascinated, as Frodo and Gimli were, by this wise and powerful woman. She was capable of seeing the future and to resist Sauron but most importantly was able to resist the call from the One Ring. That scene in the book and in the movie remains forever in my heart and I always recall it fondly. At age eleven I had not been exposed to many strong women in literature, sadly, and seeing this majestic queen who was respected by all and was incredibly powerful was very impactful.
I was drawn to her as a character and the more I learned of her the more I thought she was a great character. Representing women in books is essential, as we grow up, if we are able to read characters like this on books it will go a long way towards helping feminism. We need to normalize women in power and as strong, wise leaders. I have been thankfully raised in a house where feminism is taught to us, however to those who have not, characters like Galadriel help a lot.
Next time you watch those great movies or read the astonishing books I invite you to take a second and bask in how glorious Galadriel is.