Forum: Prospective Challenges

Discussing: Galadriel's Mirror

Galadriel's Mirror

Predestination paradoxes. Perplexities. Oedipus. Galadriel and her Mirror. What's not to like? >:-E

Dorothy Sayers explains, in 'Oedipus Simplex', that there are many ancient tales of people who try to 'cheat the oracle' by taking steps to keep a prophecy from coming true, and yet thereby cause the very thing they wish to prevent: examples include Joseph's brothers in Genesis and the parents of Oedipus in Greek myth.

Following in the tradition, Galadriel, when she allows Frodo and Sam to look into the Mirror, warns them: "Remember that the Mirror shows many things, and not all have yet come to pass. *Some never come to be, unless those that behold the visions turn aside from their path to prevent them.* The Mirror is dangerousas a guide of deeds" (FoTR, "The Mirror of Galadriel", emphasis added).

How about some Middle-earth stories of characters attempting to "cheat the oracle"? Feel free to discuss instances where a character, by "turning aside," might cause the very fate the Mirror foretold.

A special thanks to HASA reader Larry for sending in this delicious challenge idea.

What say you? Do I have five volunteers?

Marta

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Hi Marta

looking for some clarification - do you mean just instances of foretelling directly related to Galadriel's mirror (your description half implies you are looking for stories only about Mirror-related prophecies)? Or are you happy to accept stories about any prophecy made within Middle-earth?

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Hi Liz,

This I can answer as I had a similar question. Larry (the breeder of this nuzgûl) has specified that it's a challenge related to Galadriel's mirror. He wants to know what experiences she or others had had with the Mirror such that she would give the hobbits the warning that she did.

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Hi Dwim

thanks - I can see that's an interesting concept, but it probably rules me out of this particular challenge (hooray! as I have enough other challenges to deal with) as that wasn't where my thoughts were going.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Where, pray tell, were your thoughts going? A lot of prophecies could be tied into this nuzgul. It's not restricted to canonical examples of use of the mirror (i.e., Frodo and Sam) but anyone who used the mirror. What I mean is, you can make up an instance of someone using the mirror. I.e., a king of men is allowed to look into Galadriel and sees what appears to be a long-haired knight and a midget killing him. He accepts Sauron's offer of a ring of power along with the promise that no man will kill him, and becomes the Witch-king of Angmar; the rest, of course, is history.

The point is, WiKi's looking in the mirror isn't in canon; but you could use such an encounter to look at how he tried to thwart fate. The same could work for several other characters.

Cheers,
Marta

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Hm. Is there any possibility that Amroth looked in the Mirror? Or Mithrellas? Or Nimrodel? Just a thought.

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Here's an idea. Arwen looked in the mirror and saw herself dying in Lothlorien. The world is getting more dangerous east of the Misty Mountains. She returns home. Meets Aragorn. Lots of stuff happens. She dies in Lothlorien.

Forsooth, what is this fanged creature now dangling from my ankle?

For any one who wound be interested in defanging, I might point out this also qualifies for the "Strange Fates" nuzgul, as it would almost certainly involve the Halfelven deciding her destiny.

Marta

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Hi Marta

Where, pray tell, were your thoughts going?

Still not anywhere near this challenge if it's restricted to involvement with the mirror, I think!

FIrstly, the scenario you describe for WiKi distorts canon so much, I think I would be in danger of writing something as uncanonical as PJ's Gondor (and we're already both well aware of what we both think of that )

For one thing, I think WiKi would be very unlikely to look in the mirror before he accepted the ring for the simple reason that Galadriel was possibly not settled in Lorien yet (IIRC in some versions of the tale at least does she not go there only after Eregion is laid waste and Sauron seizes the rings rather than before?) so the mirror wouldn't have existed.

That also led me to wondering how long the mirror has been in existence and how it works: did it pre-date Galadriel, for instance, or is it her creation (I always vaguely had an idea it was an extension of the powers of Nenya)? Any enlightenment would be of interest anyway!

For a second thing, I was considering mining the Silm for a First Age story (yes, I know, way out of my usual area of obsession). The character could certainly have known Galadriel, IIRC, but would she have had the mirror (or its equivalent) while in Doriath?

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

For one thing, I think WiKi would be very unlikely to look in the mirror before he accepted the ring for the simple reason that Galadriel was possibly not settled in Lorien yet (IIRC in some versions of the tale at least does she not go there only after Eregion is laid waste and Sauron seizes the rings rather than before?) so the mirror wouldn't have existed.

I'm not that familiar with the history of Galadriel outside LotR/Silm, so I can't comment on when she went to Lorien. I do know that when Larry (the reader who suggested this challenge) and I were discussing this potential challenge, we talked for a bit about the mirror's previous history. I asked him what Tolkien wrote about the mirror prior to Galadriel, and he presented two theories. In his own words:

[Theory #1: The mirror was in Lothlorien before Galadriel arrived]

"In HoME #9 (p. 32) there's a reference to "the original sketch of the Mirror of Lothlorien, when it was King Galdaran's Mirror [!], and when it was Frodo who saw the visions of the Shire...." The "when" here refers to the time-sequence of Tolkien's writing, not that of events in Middle-earth; King Galdaran must be either a discarded character or a discarded name for Celeborn."

[Theory #2: Galadriel made it herself]

"Galadriel calls it "the Mirror of Galadriel," not "my mirror," suggesting that this was its proper name, derived from something more than her ownership of it. She also says to Sam, "this, if you will, is the magic of Galadriel." So I'd be inclined to guess that she made it. Early in the section on her in UT it says that she and Feanor were the two greatest of the Eldar of Valinor, so she'd be as qualified to create it as anyone."

Not sure if that helps, particularly.

For a second thing, I was considering mining the Silm for a First Age story (yes, I know, way out of my usual area of obsession). The character could certainly have known Galadriel, IIRC, but would she have had the mirror (or its equivalent) while in Doriath?

If the First Age is out of your realm of expertise, then you know it's beyond mine. But it certainly is interesting. Based on what Larry said, I don't know that the mirror *couldn't* have been in Doriath.

Maybe it would help if someone with HoME 9 would look up the quote I mentiond above and give a bit of background. What's the context for the quote? (IE, is it from a very early draft?)

Cheers, Marta

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Maybe it would help if someone with HoME 9 would look up the quote I mentiond above and give a bit of background. What's the context for the quote? (IE, is it from a very early draft?)

The quote in HoMe 9 actually refers to something in HoMe 7, which a quick skim suggests is about the very early draft of the chapter with the Mirror:

"It is seen that it was while my father was writing the 'Lothlorien' story ab initio that the Lady of Lothlorien emerged (p. 233); and it is ] also seen that the figure of Galadriel (Rhien, Galadrien) as a great power in Middle-earth was deepened and extended as he wrote. In this sketch of his ideas, written down after the story had reached Caras Galadon, as the name Galdaran shows (note 9), the Mirror belongs to the Lord (here called King)."

So that supports the theory that Galadriel could easily have had a form of the mirror in Doriath.

But you do realise Marta, that unless you give this challenge an incredibly long deadline, it will divert me from the next two Faramir/Denethor fics I have lined up (after the wedding fic) and take me even longer to get to Faramir's childhood from Denethor's POV. Is that really what you want?

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

But you do realise Marta, that unless you give this challenge an incredibly long deadline, it will divert me from the next two Faramir/Denethor fics I have lined up (after the wedding fic) and take me even longer to get to Faramir's childhood from Denethor's POV. Is that really what you want?

Absolutely not. And given that you and I are the only ones showing interest in this idea (and I at least need another nuzgul like I need a hard wall behind my head -- i.e., not the best of ideas), I think this idea may be headed for the nuzgul hutch.

So if anyone else is interested in this becoming a challenge, please speak up.

Cheers, Marta

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

Having been prompted to think about this again by Marta's post on HA, I can see a different way to tell the story I want to tell - if I can assume Galadriel had the mirror in Doriath (and perhaps even created it there).

Very scary nuzgul, since it will involve getting my head round first-age Galadriel and Thingol and working out their relationship....

But count me in as one of the five if you managed to find another three vict... volunteers.

(And I'm now wondering why Galadriel continues to mess around with the mirror and offer its visions to people when she knows its a poor aid to decision making. Why does she not seem to have learnt her lesson about the dangers of powerful artefacts yet?)

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

But count me in as one of the five if you managed to find another three vict... volunteers.

Coolness. I'm the second volunteer, the reason Liz only needs three, btw -- I've got an idea involving Arwen seeing her own death in Lothlorien and leaving for Rivendell to avoid it.

(And I'm now wondering why Galadriel continues to mess around with the mirror and offer its visions to people when she knows its a poor aid to decision making. Why does she not seem to have learnt her lesson about the dangers of powerful artefacts yet?)

This is a good question, and actually one Dwim and I discussed when we were first batting the idea around. If it isn't useful as a device for decision-making, then what is it useful for? We came up with it was useful for testing the hobbits' resolve to go forward (especially Sam), and when those things happened, the hobbits would feel that they were fated to happen so not entirely their fault. Small comfort, I know, but there you go.

If anyone else has any better ideas I'd love to hear them.

 

 

Re: Galadriel's Mirror

If anyone else has any better ideas I'd love to hear them.

No, I think you & Dwim hit on it with your idea about Frodo & Sam; it's another way for Galadriel to read and/or test the hearts of others.

 

 

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