Recced on LiveJournal By: skysamuelle
Spoilers: Sparse notes of the character’s biography, a few quotes from Unfinished Tales and The Fellowship Of The Ring.
“Galadriel was the greatest of the Noldor, except Fëanor maybe, though she was wiser than he, and her wisdom increased with the long years. Her mother-name was Nerwen ("man-maiden"), and she grew to be tall beyond the measure even of the women of the Noldor; she was strong of body, mind, and will, a match for both the loremasters and the athletes of the Eldar in the days of their youth. Even among the Eldar she was accounted beautiful, and her hair was held a marvel unmatched. It was golden like the hair of her father and of her foremother Indis, but richer and more radiant, for its gold was touched by some memory of the starlike silver of her mother; and the Eldar said that the light of the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, had been snared in her tresses. ” —Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn
Galadriel, Lady Of Lorien – beyond beautiful, even among the elves, bold, powerful in magic, Sight, and character, charismatic, wise. Determined and unyielding to the point that her mother-name (in Tolkien-verse a name the mother bestows after receiving a particular insight into the new-born character) was Nerwen, meaning ‘man-maiden’.
Royal born, and ruling lady of Lothlorien, along with her spouse Celeborn, and yet refusing to ever take any royal titles out of a perception of herself as a guardian of the land, and nothing else.
Ambitious, enough that when she left Valinor with her kindred she did so already planning and hoping to find a land she could rule in her right.
Enough that when The One Ring tempts her, this is what she says, straight away:
“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!”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
A notable trait of her character is that in Galadriel there’s an acute awareness of what means to have power, and what the use of that power can accomplish or destroy. She is said to have the ability to see into minds clearly so that she judges any who encounter her quite fairly – but beyond her ability to see into others, she always struck me as a character who is intensely aware of *her own* strength and nature. She sees and achieves much in her life, even for long-lived elves standards –in the Undying Lands she is student to Valar Yavanna and Manwe, and she is still quite young when she participates as leader in a revolt of the Noldor, - and that’s just the beginning of her path across the ages! Yet she is never arrogant about it, and if anything she endeavors to remind those around her that indeed, even the smallest man can change the course of the world.
I respect that, and her constant choice to use her gifts to protect and guide, to stand beyond corruption, her brain of first order and the fact she remains somewhat enigmatic even to her son-in-law Elrod.
“Very tall [Galadriel and Celeborn] were, and the Lady no less tall than the Lord; and they were grave and beautiful. They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold… but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory.” ― The Lord of the Rings, "The Mirror of Galadriel"
Canon does not give us much of Celeborn/Galadriel as a ship, but the little we have allows to imagine a solid partnership between equals. They certainly spent many, many years together – had a daughter and three grandchildren, a kingdom and a very eventful life. I found fanfiction authors have the most curious and disparate views when they try and rebuild that from the sparse canon elements Tolkien left for them to play, and that gave space to many interesting readings.
Rec #1: The Nolde, or There and Back Again
Word Count/WIP?: 138,688, yes
Why This Must Be Read: "This is the story of Artanis Nerwen, later known as Galadriel. The story of how she left, and how she came back, and all that happened in between.” This is going to stay THE making-of-Galadriel fanfiction for me. It gives a rendering of her character in her pre-middle-earth years that is exactly how I imagined it, and yet pictures so vividly Valinor and the Elven culture and politics on the background of her youth there that I was also costantly surprised as I read. Secondary characters as Luthien, Melian and various members of Galadriel’s family were portrayed with such a complexity that I truly felt they added both to the depth of the tale and to the color of Galadriel’s life… when Luthien died, I was not only sad for Galadriel, I was sad because I knew *I* was going to miss reading about her very particular, absolutely lovely personality. The introducing and the gradual building of Celeborn/Galadriel too, was very well done and allowed to explore the way elves look to marriage and matters of love – not only I was invested in the romantic relationship, but I also enjoyed the bit of mysticism woven through it.
Rec #2Tales Of Doriath
Word Count/WIP?: 18, 552, no
Why This Must Be Read: Refreshing and oh, so funny. Young Celeborn in Doriath proves that elves are not *born* high, mighty and dignified. He and his crew are in fact just young people doing occasionally stupid things (he is an ADORABLE accidental goof)… and then the King’s Noldor relatives come to court, and he meets a sharp, delightful lady who puts his entire life asunder. Three short stories meant to function as a single fic both tell the First Age through Celeborn’s eyes, and paint a tale of young love. Artanis/Galadriel is an awe-inspiring little terror and her sparkly liveliness suits amazingly well to balance out Celeborn’s socially awkward, broody temperament.
NB- The series in itself is likely to continue past this, but I am reccing specifically The Coming Of The Sun- The Beginning Of The End Of The World-A Fool’s Errand current trilogy.
Rec #3: Seeds Of Old Trees
Word Count/WIP?: 35,977, no
Why This Must Be Read: Celeborn goes to Valinor after Galadriel did… his wife refuses to even acknowledge him, convinced that he did not love her if he waited so long time before returning. Galadriel ‘s proud and strong-willed, Celeborn is literally worn down by his years spent in Middle Earth – and together they make for two married people who desperately need to clear the air between them of untold things and reconnect. I felt for both of them equally but I enjoyed their struggle, and the way the author tackled on the fading of elves.
Rec #4: Oak And Willow
Word Count/WIP?: : 50,732, NO
Why This Must Be Read: The story of Celeborn and Galadriel from the Sindar POV. Realistic-feeling account of what might-have-been their meeting and courtship, and those first contrasts due to their different ethnic heritages. Well-rounded characters, and well-thought-out plot, can you ask more?
Rec #5: When Bright Things Fade
Author: Adonnen Estenniel
Word Count/WIP?: 2,489, no
Why This Must Be Read: ‘After departing from the Golden Wood, Galadriel and Celeborn rest for a time in Imladris, where Celeborn reveals the doom that has laid heavy on his heart for some time, much to Galadriel's discontent.’ Short, intimate oneshot of Galadriel and Celeborn discussing her approaching departure for Valinor… and his remaining on mortal shores. All bright things have to fade … except love. Really pretty prose, and the tenderness between two spouses.
Rec #6: En Route
Word Count/WIP?: 3041, NO
Why This Must Be Read: Elrod and Galadriel discuss healing and defeat on their journey to Valinor. A bitter-sweet, short gap-filler that feels much in-character and tries to give an honest look to their motivations and feelings by the end of the war.
Rec #7: Across Deep Waters
Pairing: Celeborn/Galadriel (implied)
Word Count/WIP?: 1011, no
Why This Must Be Read: A rare shot of Galadriel as a mother. We know Arwen’s mother, Celebrian, went across sea to be healed from a ‘poisoned wound’ after being captured and tortured by orcs. This is Galadriel mourning the separation, remembering her daughter with all the poetry perhaps only a parent has for her child. Heart-breaking, beautiful prose.
Rec #8: Things That Yet May Be
Pairing: Celeborn/Galadriel (implied), Arwen/Aragorn
Word Count/WIP?: 2062, no
Why This Must Be Read: "the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. Some never come to be, unless those that beheld the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them. The Mirror is dangerous as a guide of deeds." It sounds like Galadriel has had bad experiences with using the Mirror "as a guide of deeds." But when?
Arwen has a dream with omens of her death, and Galadriel and Celeborn are worried to the point that looking into the mirror for guidance sounds like a necessity. You, reader, surely see it coming – the road one takes to avoid destiny often sets the protagonist on road to meet it. Galadriel is pretty much in the same mindset from the get go, yet, what else can she do? The real reason you should read this oneshot is that somehow the conclusion of the story is maybe even more impactful and shocking *because* you know it’s coming. Somehow, it’s the proverbial suckerpunch.
Rec #9: In Cavern’s Shade
Word Count/WIP?: 512,814, NO
Why This Must Be Read: There’s not enough uplifting, cheery hetfic in the LOTR fandom. This is not exactly cheery per se, not all the time at least, but the pace feels fast and vivacious, and there’s more mystery and romance and humour, and very little solemnity and doom. It reads like a telefilm version of LOTR where young Galadriel and Celeborn meet for the first time, and yes, fall into courtship. The only flaw is that exactly this atmosphere made the elves feel a bit less like elves to me, but it was still very enjoyable reading, long and plotty, enriched by relatable side-characters.
Rec #10: Prelude To A Cup Of Tea
Word Count/WIP?: 403, no
Why This Must Be Read: This one *is* cheery. Even more, it’s hilarious and spunky. Celeborn approaches Galadriel to ask her out… in a modern AU. Somehow you can totally imagine the characters you read of in the clothes of those you are just getting to glimpse, and your only regret is that you can’t have more.