In this biweekly series, we’re exploring the evolution of both major and minor figures in Tolkien’s legendarium, tracing the transformations of these characters through drafts and early manuscripts through to the finished work. This week’s installment is the second of two articles taking an in-depth look at the life and lessons of Galadriel, Lady of Light.
In our last column, we followed Galadriel’s story up to her arrival on the shores of Middle-earth. We saw her walk a long and heavy road from her youth as one of the greatest of the Noldor in the glory days of Valinor to the turning point of her life, as she stands “tall and valiant among the contending princes” (Morgoth’s Ring, hereafter MR, 112-113), to the horror of the Helcaraxë. There, she, along with Fingolfin and his sons, secures the survival of her people, and with great losses and an enduring bitterness against the house of Fëanor, they emerge in Middle-earth. In defiance of despair they “[blow] their trumpets in Middle-earth at the first rising of the Moon” (Sil 82).