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Thread: "Dark Queen" Galadriel

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So how high does Galadriel rank on the evil-o-meter? and in everyone's opinion why?
Is she even evil .. i mean correct me if im wrong but i thought she was a good person in LotR. and there is no dark Galadriel .. coz im seeing it pop up quite often. she is tempted to take the ring and become one but that is the test she passes when she refuses and is eventually admitted into the west again.

so once someone has clarified to me what exactly is evil about her ?? .. i may reply in this thread.

Finrod aka Felagund.
Forget what she was and never mind her involvement in Feanor's little jaunt but think of how the Dark Queen would be had Galadriel taken the Ring. It is a fictional fictional character but how evil could she have been?

All the promises of power the Ring offers, are lies. No one safe Sauron can bend the Ring to its will, and the spirit of anyone who tries would get destroyed and overwhelmed by the malice (and part of the consciousness) of Sauron inside the Ring, and either become a slave of the Ring, or a replica of Sauron. As Galadriel was powerful and wise among the Eldar, I believe she would not become a slave, but a replica.

Even though, I do not believe that "dark queen" Galadriel would be able to defeat Sauron, even with the Ring. Even with the Ring, Sauron and his armies still outnumbered the Free Peoples of the West. Even without the Ring, Sauron was still the most powerful being in Middle-earth and unchallenged until the arrival of Gandalf the White.

But as this thread is supposed to be fictional : she'd become a tyrannic ruler over the Free Peoples of Middle-earth, and either destroy all of Sauron's minions or keep them as slaves, at least until the Second Host of the West would come to have a chat with her.
I'd compare the 'Dark Queen Galadriel" to Lewis's Queen Jadis of The Magicians Nephew, aka the White Witch of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, who was the last Queen of her World and quite evil. Though the 'Dark Queen Galadriel" would probably be about 10 times worse: like if there are flavors of evilness, she would be sulphuric acid compared to sandpaper. Angel Smilie
Yep, Dark Queen Galadriel would be a destroyer of the world (poor Celeborn!). But someone would, of course, come back to stop her. Probably her own relatives from Valinor.
She'd probably stretch all those Hobbits to make them the same height as the Elves. She would also die everyone's hair green. Shown to be so perfect in the LotR, an Elf like Galadriel wouldn't like people of different heights or hair colours, would she? As for the Dwarves, she'd probably roast them like Vee does newbies...
With honey glaze, parsnips and roast potatoes? Mmmmmm...
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"think of how the Dark Queen would be had Galadriel taken the Ring"


Bit of a Brain wandering: The Ring was made by Sauron, he put his power, his will and his "evil" into it. Could she through this ring become "more evil" than he? Would the ring have the power to create more than was put in?
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Would the ring have the power to create more than was put in?

No, that would go against conservation of energy.
Hmmm, but the responsibility for pervasive evil in the very fabric of Arda is Morgoths Ring, not Saurons. So how much of that influenced, even fed, the One Ring? How much work like he did on the Balrogs, and possibly the Dragons if they were Maiar spirits in forms forged in Angband, did Morgoth do on Sauron? Just a sudden sleep deprived thought that prob'ly goes nowhere, but it seemed an intriguing possibility....

And how 'bout this: if the Eldar stay in Middle-earth, bearing in mind they are inextricably tied up with its essence, what of the influence of Morgoths Ring on them? Or even in Valinor? I'd expect the Valar, and probably even the Maiar, to be immune, but the Eldar?
Cloveress - There is essentially no chance that Galadriel's relatives would come back from Valinor. In his essays on Glorfindel in HoME XII, Tolkien writes that there would be no travel from Aman back to Middle-earth after the destruction of Numenor and the removal of Aman from the world.

Virumor - I don't know if conservation of energy is necessary a feature of Tolkien's universe. He warns us in Letter 153 that we can't necessarily use real life biology in application to Middle-earth, and in stead, we would have to enter into his own world and study it's own biology. (Though there might be some basis that conservation of energy is a fact of logic).

Anyway, I don't think Mungo's question can be answered with physics. He more generally asks: can the Ring produce more evil than the evil that was put into it? And there seems to be no reason why not. Imagine that Galadriel, or rather, Gandalf got ahold of the Ring and then controlled of Middle-earth with it. This dominance of the world seems to be far greater evil than just the evil that Sauron put into the Ring. For the Ring could just sit there unused, as it did for an entire age. The evil of the Ring is not just the power of evil within the Ring, but also the production of evil which it effects through its bearer. And it seems very possible that this evil might be greater than that which was put into the ring. (Note: this makes the term "more evil" into something which is determined by the actions of the evil person, not by how bad of intentions or will the person has. It is a scale of effects, not of just badness).

Similarly, Tolkien seems to leave open the possibility that someone more powerful than Sauron might still be controlled by the Ring. In this case, we would have an evil being who was more powerful than Sauron. And in this case, it seems that the person might fairly be called "more evil" than Sauron. (Though of course, we might sympathize with this person if they did not know what they were getting into. If evilness is a scale of badness, and not effects, just a person probably is not as evil as Sauron in that their original intent for using the ring might not have been so bad).
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And how 'bout this: if the Eldar stay in Middle-earth, bearing in mind they are inextricably tied up with its essence, what of the influence of Morgoths Ring on them? Or even in Valinor? I'd expect the Valar, and probably even the Maiar, to be immune, but the Eldar?


It does mention in HOME - Morgoth's Ring that the Eldar were effected by the ring. When they awoke, the elves were suposed to be immortal (barring injury etc). Those in Valinor, which was unaffected by Morgoth's Ring, still are. Those in Middle Earth, however, feel themselves tiring over a long period of time, and eventually fading. This is because their fiery fea is slowly consuming their physical hroar. This is not how things were intended to be, but an effect of Morgoth's Ring corrupting all matter. One of the properties of the Three Elven Rings was to "slow" the effectes of time, hence Lorien and Rivendell became havens for elves.

Regarding the question of whether anyone could become more powerful than Sauron by wearing the ring, I guess it is a possibility. The ring, although turning the person's spirit to Sauron's will would enhance their own power. In someone powerful like Gandalf, I think there would be an almighty struggle, and although the ring would eventually corrupt him, the sum of what he gained would not be as great as someone who surrendered his will to the Ring (Saruman, maybe). For the ring to make someone more powerful than Sauron (Sauron in possession of the ring, that is), that person would need to be more powerful than Sauron in the first place, and surrender their will willingly. The only ones I can think of would be Eonwe, or maybe the balrog Gothmog (had it not been killed).

If Morgoth was around to take possession of the Ring, I think he would be able to bend it to his will and enhance his own powers using it.
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If Morgoth was around to take possession of the Ring, I think he would be able to bend it to his will and enhance his own powers using it.

Though he might not be able to wear the Ring, due to his own gigantic fingers. Bummer!

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Virumor - I don't know if conservation of energy is necessary a feature of Tolkien's universe. He warns us in Letter 153 that we can't necessarily use real life biology in application to Middle-earth, and in stead, we would have to enter into his own world and study it's own biology. (Though there might be some basis that conservation of energy is a fact of logic).

Middle-earth was, according to Tolkien, our world in an earlier, forgotten time, not some fairyland, a parallel world or a different planet. That makes me believe our own laws of science apply on it.

If Sauron put an amount A of his essence into the Ring, there cannot dissipate more than that amount A out of the Ring.
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If Sauron put an amount A of his essence into the Ring, there cannot dissipate more than that amount A out of the Ring.


Yes, but it could infect and pervade much more. It would find all those little puddles of 'near evil' in all the hearts and minds of all creatures and rot them down to huge lakes of seething evil.

Evil = mc
I see the point - the human race has long beleived that evil is incarnate - part of the human spirit - so you could say [evil power of ring] x [natural evilness of human] = ultimate evil-o-meter rank?
Valedhelgwath - This might be just be pointing out something you already know, but Morgoth's Ring is not an actually an object. (You seem to be speaking about it as if it were). As Tolkien writes, "The whole of 'Middle-earth' was Morgoth's Ring;" but he seems only to be making an analogy to Sauron's Ring for the sake of clarification.

Virumor - In Letter 153 to a possible concern about how Elves and Men can interbreed and yet have such profoundly different lifespans (which might be a biological impossibility). At first, he says he might respond to such a concern by trying say that science doesn't know enough to rule out such a possibility, but then adds: "I should actually answer: I do not care. This is a biological dictum in my imaginary world. It is only (as yet) an imcompletely imagined world, a rudimentary 'secondary'; but if it pleased the Creator to give it (in a corrected form) Reality on any plane, then you would just have to enter it and begin studying its different biology, that is all."

This gives a very clear basis for saying that we can't just assume that the scientific laws of our world apply to Tolkien's world--even though he does say that his stories just take place in the prehistorical Old World of our Earth. (This latter does not entail that Middle-earths scientific laws are the same as ours, and Tolkien makes this clear in the above letter).

And actually, the Ring itself is somewhat of a counterexample to your claim that If Sauron put an amount A of his essence into the Ring, there cannot dissipate more than that amount A out of the Ring. For the Ring actually makes Sauron more powerful than he previously was, as Tolkien writes in Letter 131: "While he wore [the one], his power on earth was actually enhanced." Thus, it seems that the following is true (the numbers are random): Sauron is of inherent power 100; Sauron puts 75 units of his inherent power into the Ring; Sauron, while wearing the Ring, is of inherent power 125.

In real life, where magic rings do not exist, there are examples of this kind of enhancement of power. (Tolkien writes in Letter 211 that the Ring captures this aspect of reality). An emperor, for example, might give away some of his immediate power to his generals. Originally the emperor might be in charge of all 30 military legions of an empire, and now his generals are in charge of these legions. And in doing this, the emperor realizes that he has even greater power when he has put some of his power beyond his control--for he might find that the size of his empire has greatly increased because of this new efficiency of scale. More simply, a person might become more powerful by training himself to be a great warrior. And clearly none of this violates your analysis of how conservation of energy applies to the Ring. For these enhancements in power aren't really enhancements of "inherent" power. When a warrior trains, he gets out of his training exactly what he puts in. (As the saying goes, probably unconscious that it is simply reciting the law of the conservation of energy).

However, in Tolkien's world, with the One Ring, the enhancement in power just is a violation of your analysis. Sauron does nothing more than put some of his essence in the Ring, and yet the power of his essence is increased while wearing the Ring. He gets more out than he puts in.

And as vee noted, the evil which comes out of the Ring is not the same thing as the essence which Sauron put into the Ring. Suppose a person, John, were to train and raise his kid Tim to be an evil dictator. John really doesn't put much work into it. He teaches him some messed up morals and puts him in situations to harden his sympathies towards others. It is sufficient to make Tim to be a really bad man by the time he leaves the house at age 18--after which John dies In fact, it guarantees that Tim is a bad man and allows him no chance to change. (You might think of Tim as a robot, in that he has been almost programmed by his father. This is okay, because while you might be less likely to hold Tim fully responsible for his evil acts, it does not mean they are less evil). Thus, John put in 18 years of (light) work raising Tim to be evil. Tim, however, lives to age 100 and by the time of his death has murdered millions of innocent people and subjected much of the world to absolute tyranny.

It is apparent that in this example that John secures 82 years of evil with only 18 years of work. In fact, the amount of physical energy which Tim puts into evil is far more than the amount of physical energy which John put into being evil. But at the same time, John caused Tim's energy to be directed towards evil ends.

The One Ring seems to work similarly. Sauron puts a lot of his own essence and evil will into the Ring. And then when someone uses the Ring, that person's will is tainted and given enough time, it becomes evil. If the person is stronger than Sauron, then that person will likely produce more evil acts than Sauron could have.

The question that remains, however, is how to define the phrase "more evil." Is "more evil" being simply evil in a more powerful way? Or does "more evil" imply that the nature of one's will is somehow worse than anothers? If the first possibility is correct, it seems that the above analysis shows clearly that, at least in principle, the Ring can produce more evil than the evil Sauron put in it. If it is the second, it might not be possibility. In this sense, it seems that John is more evil than Tim, and likewise the Ringmaker is more evil than the person who is made evil by the Ring.

(And at least on a quantum scale, the conservation of energy is not perfectly true. Small, but existent amounts of energy can be created or "borrowed" from nowhere for a very short, but still finite time. Of course, energy can only be borrowed in such a small quantity that it can't be observed due to the uncertainty principle. And the energy packet, or virtual particle, is always returned to the nowhere whence it came.)
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The question that remains, however, is how to define the phrase "more evil."


As far as I'm concerned, that's not really a good question. It's one of those questions where there's no objective answer. Everyone can and will have a different point of view about this.

Let me give you an example. This is not meant to be a racist attack btw, just a pointer towards history and how peoples' point of views about evil can change.

India never suffered directly at the hands of Hitler. We did suffer at the hands of some of the British rulers. So should we feel that the rulers were more evil than Hitler and should the Europeans feel that Hitler was worse? One could argue over the numbers. Hitler killed, apparently, millions in holocausts, while the British killed thousands in different incidents. So does that make Hitler more evil? If you say yes, you're basically saying that the lives of millions are more precious than those of the thousands. I'd argue, why? Weren't those thousands humans? Didn't they want to live? Didn't they have families and friends? On a similar note, should I say Hitler was less evil than those who directly affected us? I think not. Both were evil, it doesn't matter who was worse.

The point is, evil is completely subjective and in many cases, cannot be measured.

Hmmm that numbers issue reminds me of Star Trek 3 - The Search For Spock. Maybe Vee and Grep know what I'm talking about.

And once again, this is just used as an example. What happened was history and obviously all those people on this website that have met me would know that this history doesn't affect me. Of course, if this post still violates the website rules, feel free to delete the offensive part. Oh, just take care that the rest of the post will make some sense after some parts have been deleted. Thanks.
i just wanna say, the higher u go, they farther u fall. she was pretty wise ect. so if she became evil, she would be reallly evil.
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The point is, evil is completely subjective and in many cases, cannot be measured.


Floyd-n-milan - I believe that your point here kind of gets to what I was struggling with when I posed, as you described, by not very good question. It seemed that either of the options I gave for defining the phrase "more evil" were inadequate--or at least inadequate by themselves. On a certain level, evil is measurable in a sense. The person who punches someone once and is perfect the rest of his life is less evil than Hitler or the British rulers. Or at least, that seems the normal intuition.

But when we get to a point, there really seems to be no point about arguing who is more evil. A million deaths is not the same as 1,000 deaths, but we find it difficult to say that the person who killed one million innocent people is more evil than the person who killed 1,000 innocent people--assuming all we know about these persons is that they killed such a number of people.

But in my earlier posts, i have indeed been answering the concern at hand as if what was meant by "more evil" was some sort of function dependent on power--or the efficacy of one's will. My question was I guess meant to show the inadequacy of the term "more evil" for this topic--or at least my treatment of the topic.
I'm not sure we can say that because the Ring augmented Saurons inherent power it violated the law of Conservation. The Elven Rings augmented the power of their bearers, too (well, OK, we don't know about Gil-Galad and Cirdan, but the latter seemed to know well its abilities; imagine Gil-Galad before Cirdan took possession of Narya!) The forging of the Rings involved arcane knowledge and craftsmanship that gave them an inherent power independent of either their forger or bearers. And since we know this is true of the Nine, the Seven and the Three, why not the One? Indeed, I've long speculated it was no accident Sauron chose Mordor and Orodruin as his forge (remember, in the Second Age his strength was in the East; Mordor possessed no strategic strength apart from its encircling mountains, and this was offset by its proximity to all Saurons enemies; when the Dunedain returned out of the West they were on his doorstep.) In fact, I have a fanfic on which I've done some preliminary work (the prologue and outline) involving the end of Maedhros and based on this very view of Ordodruin, Mount Doom in truth.
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India never suffered directly at the hands of Hitler. We did suffer at the hands of some of the British rulers. So should we feel that the rulers were more evil than Hitler and should the Europeans feel that Hitler was worse? One could argue over the numbers. Hitler killed, apparently, millions in holocausts, while the British killed thousands in different incidents. So does that make Hitler more evil? If you say yes, you're basically saying that the lives of millions are more precious than those of the thousands. I'd argue, why?


Interesting, Floyd, and you do have a point and it is a good example. However, when you look at the intentions of the British Government and the intentions of Hitler you can see a difference in levels of evil. Notice though, that Hitler is usually referred to as an individual in terms of what he did as Leader of the German Nation yet there is no one person we hold responsible for the British occupation of India. Trading with India dated back to Elizabeth I reign and if I remember correctly it was through that trade that GB increased its presence and influence until Victoria assumed control. I would doubt very much that the ordinary British person knew much at all about India. It was just somewhere a long way away and (as reported at the time) was uncivilised and in need of a uniform structure of government. I certainly cannot understand how the hell we managed to do it. Does that make all British people evil? I think what was done was horrific and many acts committed were evil and yet the same thing has happened over and over again throughout history and continues to happen. So is this evil something that is within all of us? Even in Tolkien's world there were conquererors; those who thought their way the best and sought to impose it on others. Yet those people were not 'evil'. Misguided perhaps. Wrong perhaps. But not wholly evil. I would definitely say that those individuals who commit acts of such magnitude as individuals, whichever 'side' they are on, are evil even (if not especially) when what they do is committed as an Act of whatever God they worship.

Hitler was evil. Period. His intention was to cleanse Germany (and then the world) of any non-pure German influence. So no, India may not have been directly affected by Hitler but it would have been eventually. He intended to murder millions of more innocent men, women and children. And his methods of murder were beyond comprehension to me. Cruelty in the extreme. He wasn't alone. Many of those who carried out his instructions did so willingly and with relish.

I'd like to say that Brtain had good intentions with regard to India but I am in no doubt that power, greed and territory had a lot to do with it. There was also that damned stupid idea about converting the savages around the world and civilising nations. My knowledge of British occupation of India is very sketchy and I am sure someone else can point out where I am wrong but please keep this discussion non-personal.

What good came out of Hitler's rule? None that I can think of. What good came out of India/Britain conflict? You tell me.

Sorry, I am waffling a bit.

What was done was evil yet not all involved were evil. Hitler WAS evil. Yet that didn't make the German race evil. Oh, so many reasons for why people do what they do. Does it excuse them? Not fully. But maybe sometimes it can be understood if not condoned. We talk about Feanor being one of the greatest elves yet look what he did. On some levels it was understandable but was it ever justified?

It is difficult to define levels of evil. Is it something that has an emotional involvement? Do we just look at what happens and make a gut reaction? Morgoth was evil. Sauron was evil. They have only themselves to blame. But do others have redeeming features?

I don't think Galadriel would have been as evil as Melkor or Sauron. She would have been an awesome and terrible Dark Queen but her history is one of good and her legacy would be elves who would not bow to the Dark Queen. (Maybe PJ will consider me for the lead in his new film... Queen of the Rings, the sequel... in which the people rise up against an evil ruler, Dark Queen Galadiel....blah blah.)

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Hmmm that numbers issue reminds me of Star Trek 3 - The Search For Spock. Maybe Vee and Grep know what I'm talking about.


Well, I thought Wrath of Khan actually "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one". or did that come again in SFS as "The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many." In other words, sometimes sacrifices have to be made and sometimes more needs to be sacrificed.

So I suppose one could look at it that that while millions were sacrificed by Hitler for nothing, those sacrificed by India and Britain ultimately made for a stronger Indian nation, with greater trade benefits and worldwide communications.
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My knowledge of British occupation of India is very sketchy and I am sure someone else can point out where I am wrong but please keep this discussion non-personal.

Doesn't that, including the argument about Hitler, go against PT's rules concerning politics? I have a lot to say about what you wrote, but I'm not sure I should, considering the PT rules.

Besides, I cannot see what this has to do with Dark Queen Galadriel.
Indeed, much here is off topic and has very little to do with Galadriel or Tolkien's world.
Yes, Galadriel got a bit lost when the discussion focused on whether the ring would enhance evil but I think we have been trying to define 'evil', 'more evil' and 'most evil' and where DQ Galadriel fits into that hierarchy.
You lost DQ Galadriel? You'd better hurry back to Tolkien's ME and find her, or she'll be even more furious! :O
Of course enhancing evil is possible. Last night on World of Warcraft, I upgraded my new character DQ_Galadriel to a level 35 Dark Elf, although I'm still not happy about her dexterity.

It'll be a piece of cake to finish the Mines of Grshgllo'togk mission with her.
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On a certain level, evil is measurable in a sense. The person who punches someone once and is perfect the rest of his life is less evil than Hitler or the British rulers. Or at least, that seems the normal intuition.


Consider this example.

Some people kill animals for the sake of pleasure. These days, people are forced to kill because of the bird flu. We wouldn't classify the latter as evil. But what about the animals who die? Think from their point of view. Those birds that had the infection did not ask to be killed. Whether infected or not, they wanted to live as well. So from their point of view, anyone who kills them, for whatever reason is evil.

How often do we actually think from the point of view of those who suffer? In your example, what would the person who gets punched think? He'd think the person who punched him was, if not evil, bad. Maybe the person hasn't faced anything worse than being punched in his entire life. In that case, the person that punched him is the most evil person he's faced in his life, probably.

The point is, again, that we do not think from the point of view of those who suffer. History is told by the victors of the wars. History is told by the powerful. What about those who suffer? Think about this. Where in the entire works of Tolkien have we ever heard an Orc's side? (Well, bless Vee, but she isn't Tolkien unfortunately Smile Smilie ). Orcs were Elves to start with. Would the Elves treat them as their brothers long lost after Sauron, who controls these Orcs, is gone? I think not. I am not arguing over whether the Orcs were evil themselves or whether they were forced to do evil. My point is, do we ever listen to both sides of an argument?

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Even in Tolkien's world there were conquerors; those who thought their way the best and sought to impose it on others. Yet those people were not 'evil'. Misguided perhaps. Wrong perhaps. But not wholly evil.


Again, the point I make is, think from the perspective of those who were conquered.

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It is difficult to define levels of evil.


Exactly! Evil is as evil does. Why would people want to define who's more evil or less evil? Evil is evil. Then again, the question, like Virumor just said to me, is "What exactly is an 'evil' person."

I think the answer would depend on everyone's own perspective and interpretation. But that applies to our world. We're talking about Tolkien's world. The world that Tolkien has portrayed. We're reading what Tolkien has written. Which means, we're reading Tolkien's point of view. Anyway...

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Well, I thought Wrath of Khan actually "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one". or did that come again in SFS as "The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many." In other words, sometimes sacrifices have to be made and sometimes more needs to be sacrificed.


Yeah, exactly what I was talking about.

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So I suppose one could look at it that that while millions were sacrificed by Hitler for nothing, those sacrificed by India and Britain ultimately made for a stronger Indian nation, with greater trade benefits and worldwide communications.


Hehehe, again, those who actually died back in those days didn't have the benefit of thinking about the world as we see it today.

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Doesn't that, including the argument about Hitler, go against PT's rules concerning politics? I have a lot to say about what you wrote, but I'm not sure I should, considering the PT rules.


I didn't want it to be a discussion about Hitler or the British. I merely used the example to explain what I had in mind. For the reason that Virumor has given, I am not posting anything else upon that topic. Smile Smilie

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I think we have been trying to define 'evil', 'more evil' and 'most evil' and where DQ Galadriel fits into that hierarchy.


Yeah, that was my intention.
Going back a few posts to the one concerning whether Sauron could get more power out of the ring than what he originally put into it...

Vir's argument about the physical laws of conservation of energy would suggest no more power could come out of the ring than was originally placed in there. I agree with this, but also believe that Sauron in possession of the ring is more powerful than he was prior to creating it. It is possible for both arguments to be true if you look at the creation of the ring slightly differently to just Sauron placing a percentage of his own power in to it. I've always looked at it as a kind of stamina thing.

Sauron, or any other wizard for that matter, can achieve only so much at any given time before they are exhausted. Sauron took a long time creating the ring, and without doubt did bind a lot of his own spirit within it. Suppose, however, he worked himself close to exhaustion every day for several years while making the ring, and rested to full strength each night. In doing so, he could instil within the ring far more power than one day's effort. The sum of all that effort might be many times his own daily strength, and once on his own finger could easily more than compensate for the loss of his personal power that he had bound to it.

When I said that the person who punches someone in the stomach is not as evil as Hitler, I was trying to take into account the viewpoint of the person who received the punch. If that person knows about Hitler, and has lived afairly typical human life, it is almost certain that he will concede that this single puncher is not as bad as Hitler. Is this commonsense view wrong?

You are right that we don't always take into account the side that is suffering, or both sides of the picture. Maybe that is even usually the case. But that does not mean that all claims about relative evils are systematically wrong--though perhaps you can explain how such a jump can be made from your examples to this stronger statement, which you seem to be implying. Nor have you provided any argument that we aren't taking into account both sides in this picture.

Even from the point of the view of the conquered people, not all conquerers are the same. Suppose, for instance, that a gothic tribe is conquered by a Roman emperor and forced to become a part of the empire, but does not make them into slaves. On my outside point of view I will tend to think that the emperor is not so evil as an emperor who conquers a tribe and then enslaves that tribe and puts them through wretched torture. And at the same time, it seems perfectly conceivable that one of the conquered goths might also share the same view, for he might think: "Well, this Roman emperor is not so bad a guy as that other emperor who enslaves everyone he conquers." (And perhaps this goth has experienced slavery, so he has that point of view open to him as well).

Or maybe I might say that the Roman emperor is not as evil because he has some noble purpose for conquering the tribe. This seems like I am just ignoring the viewpoint of the Goths, who might not care about the emperor's purpose. They might think the end does not justify the means, or they might think that the end is simply wrong. However, once again it is imaginable that one of the Goths might think: "Well, at least this Roman emperor who conquers us in the name of his gods is not so bad as that other emperor who conquers us just because he likes power, and not nearly as bad as that third emperor who conquers us just for his own amusement. He shouldn't conquer us, but when he dies, I hope the real gods don't punish him for conquering as terribly as they punish the other emperors for conquering." Here we see that the Goth more or less fits the Roman emperor's actions into the structure of some general ethical principle. The Goth might say it is wrong to conquer in the name of false Roman gods. But he also realizes that conquering in the name of gods (regardless of whether they exist) is better than conquering for power or for amusement. Thus, once again, it is possible for the conquered Goth to believe that the Roman emperor is not as evil as other conquerers. (I'm not arguing that these principles are correct, just that someone might hold them, and that according to such principles, the Roman emperor should not seem as evil as these other emperors).
I admit I didn't read through all the posts, so forgive me if someone has already pointed this out. If you take the outcome-based-test-of-evilness, it seems like the one who had the most potential power for doing good before they went bad is the one who has the most potential power to inflict evil on middle earth. So you have to ask, does Galadriel, the knowledgable-and-powerful-leader-and-she-elf-with-a-ring-of-power, have more potential power for good than Sauron had BEFORE he got ensnared by Morgoth's discordant humming?
That's an interesting perspective, and I'm not sure I can really answer the question. On the one hand, Sauron was a Maia, and a powerful one; on the other hand, a great deal of that Maiar power went into the Ring, and any who could master it (to the extent it COULD be mastered, of course) has their own powers, which would be substantial if they could control the Ring, significantly augmented by that power. I guess I'll treat it arithmetically: if the amount of his own power Sauron placed in the Ring+the additional power inherent to the sorcery that forged it>the amount by which Sauron alone overtopped the strength of Galadriel the answer is yes, Dark Galadriel would be more evil than Sauron in her depridations. However, I don't think this likely simply because I don't think Sauron put any more of his power into the Ring than necessary. He had nothing to gain by doing so as long as it was on his finger, and a great deal to lose if, by some remote chance, his foes ever gained control of it. I don't think Sauron would risk creating an item that could destroy him if it came into the possession of Gil-Galad, Celebrimbor, Ar-Pharazon, Elendil -- or Galadriel.
I believe anyone less than Maiar trying to bind the Ring to his/her will, or trying to harness its powers, would become a slave/puppet to the Ring, which after all still has a will of its own (remember that it was the Ring that 'planned' the death of Isildur at the Gladden Fields by ordering and sending Orc - confer UT). The Ring wants nothing more than someone who tries to use it, as that gives it the opportunity to return to its master.
No matter how powerful Galadriel was, and no matter whatever she had learnt from Melian, she was still nothing compared to one of the Ainur. Sauron would've been very happy if Galadriel had taken the Ring; for the Ring would send her right into his arms. There would only be a Dark Queen Galadriel until Sauron would add her to his undead harem.

Any Maia of lesser power than Sauron (99% of all Maiar it seems, safe onw), trying to bind the ring to its will would not become a slave, but would still be influenced and become a replica of Sauron, I believe.
Sauron was not happy when he thought Aragorn had the Ring, so I doubt he would have been happy had Galadriel had the Ring. In his letter, Tolkien actually suggests that with the Ring, Galadriel could have amassed an army large enough to at least keep Sauron's influence at bay for some time.

And i don't think Sauron was worried about the Ring's ability to destroy him. As Tolkien writes in Letter 131, he never really worried about it being taken from him. And I would think that he would have something to gain. The more power he puts in the One, seemingly the more power he gains from making the One (As Sauron's powers were enhanced by forging the One Ring).
There has to be a finite limit though, else anyone who could master the Ring could master Sauron, right? And clearly he wasn't concerned by this in itself, so something else must have restrained him from putting all his strength in the Ring. I don't see it as a curve, but as simply additive; Saurons power was enhanced by x amount while he held the Ring, regardless of how much of his own he put in it.

Just noticed the earlier comment on virtual particles; isn't it also true, however, that when energy is "borrowed" it's borrowed from the EXISTING energy that permeates the universe? We're still not talking about true spontaneous generation, nor a violation of the Law(s) of Conservation, just a freaky example of energy being tranformed into matter.
Am I missing something? Even though lady Galadriel came to Middle-Earth with a lot of others, how could she possibly thought of as evil? I cannot even conjecture this because the fact of the matter is , she DID pass the test and was allowed to return across the sea. So even in my wildest thoughts I cannot dream of her being dark or evil or anything like that.
Well, many of the movie watchers, to whom the movies were their first initiation to Tolkien, came away thinking her ladyship was evil, especially after hearing Boromir and Eomir's superstitious descriptions of her. AndIMHO, many didn't know enough about the story to follow what passing the test meant. Of course I have probably been too judgemental here.
She did of course want to have her own place to rule over, but then so did many others. And it is not as if her people were forbidden to go in the beginning , or where they? I need to read it again. I thought they in fact had some sort of choice. I thought , well whatever infraction she had committed, she atoned for it but would not accept pardon, something like that. I admired her greatly and in the end I am grateful that she did go forth, for she helped the Quest probably more than any knew.
I'd take a Dark Queen over a Dark Lord any day. Evil needs a female touch.

After all, the very first sin came from a woman's hand, did it not? Since they proved to be the doom of mankind so long ago, they should at least have the experience and try it again, I'll say.
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After all, the very first sin came from a woman's hand, did it not?
As I remember that was the first day personal responsability was rejected in favor of passing the buck. God asked what happened and Adam said, 'The woman made me do it.' When God asked her she said, 'The Bad! Smilie snake made me do it.' We don't know what the snake said, for he and God still had their feud going, even way back then.
Since a bit of the history of Nerwen is brought up, I'll add that after the overthrow of Morgoth at the end of the First Age a ban was set upon Galadriel's return, and she had replied proudly that she had no wish to do so.

A letter dated 1971 is partly in tandem here, in which Tolkien replies to something Ruth Austin had said (that is, he thinks it is true that he owes much of Galadriel ['this character'] to Christian and Catholic teaching and imagination about Mary). She is described in the same letter: '... but actually Galadriel was a penitent: in her youth a leader in the rebellion against the Valar (the angelic guardians)'
Galadriel is a penitant, and an important one for Frodo's quest. However, she wasn't always penitant. I mean, in the First Age, she was still the hot-hearted princess, wasn't she? I think she's an example of wisdom over time (because she is just not like many of her other relations e.g. FInrod, Finarfin, Turgon).

But back to what was evil about Galadriel. Well, that's quite simple. A part of her wanted the Ring, wanted the power, and the glory. She was greedy for power and domination. That was the evil that lurked in her all along and it was being tested in that "dark queen" scene. And she passed, and lives happily ever after. There.

In 1967 Tolkien referred to Galadriel as a 'chief actor' in the rebellion of the Noldorin Exiles, and she was not allowed to return (with other Exiles) after the overthrow of Morgoth.

In the Annals of Aman (taken up into the constructed Silmarillion) Galadriel swore no oaths but the words of Feanor concerning Middle-earth had kindled in her heart, and she yearned to see these lands and to rule there a realm of her own will.

In the latest of ideas outlined by JRRT Galadriel fought at Alqualonde, though in defense of the Teleri she was still a participant in the event -- in this 'adumbrated tale' Tolkien is musing about giving Galadriel a separate departure from Aman however, arguably forgetting what he had already published concerning her.
Thankyou,
I think when I first started reading about her I read at least two different stories of Galadriel and Lord Celeborn and have not remembered them correctly So I will go back and read them once more. Yet I never got the thought that whatever she yearned for that her heart was the least bit dark. She was to me simply a brillilant being who yearned to use that brilliance for other than she already was and was sort of a pioneer or inventor of a new world in her mind over which she would rule. I think we all imagine rather grandiose things , well for me as a child, but the elves are both childlike in their fascination with things and very adult in their crafting of that which is astoundingly, achingly beautiful.
Really she is a very complex individual, don't you think?
She sure had a high opinion about herself:
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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!

Really, who does she fancy herself to? Lthien Tinviel? Melian? Varda? She comes off like a comic-book villainess.

Even with the One Ring, she would not have been able to overcome Sauron and his armies. If she had taken up the Ring, Sauron would've been immediately victorious as he'd know the location of his lost possession.
One weakness introduced by the One was that some new possessor could 'if sufficiently strong or heroic by nature, challenge Sauron, become master of all that he had learned or done since the making of the One Ring, and so overthrow him and usurp his place.'

In another letter Tolkien talks about contesting Sauron in his actual presence: Gandalf, with the One, 'might' be expected to Master him in this circumstance, but generally it appears that 'Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated' (as in the following)

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'In the Mirror of Galadriel, I 381, it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring and supplanting the Dark Lord. If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond. But this is another matter. It was part of the essential deceit of the Ring to fill minds with imaginations of supreme power. But this the Great had well considered and had rejected, as is seen in Elrond's words at the Council. Galadriel's rejection of the temptation was founded upon previous thought and resolve. In any case Elrond or Galadriel would have proceeded in the policy now adopted by Sauron: they would have built up an empire with great and absolutely subservient generals and armies and engines of war, until they could challenge Sauron and destroy him by force. Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated'.

JRRT, Letters
Even if Dark Queenie would be able to amass all Free Peoples of Middle-earth together, they'd still be majorly outnumbered against Sauron's armies, would they not? I can't see how she'd be able to overcome.

I think of anyone, only Saruman with the One Ring might've been able to topple Sauron, considering the number of super Orcish soldiers spawning from his axlotl tanks.
Galadriel was very powerful however. She was the greatest of the Children of Iluvatar at the time in Middle-earth and in Valinor.
It specifically states that if Galadriel had the Ring she could overthrow Sauron and then would take his place but in a different persona.

The Nazgul would probably come to her side. It takes someone of already high power to be able to weild the Ring and force the Nazgul under there rule. I think, seeing as the Nazgul are slaves to the Ring and Galadriel would be powerful enough to keep them all in sway, that they would join her. And I think the minions of Sauron might be swayed to do so as well. At least some of them. If they could see Galadriel was clearly more powerful than Sauron I think they may convert.
'could' and 'would' ist quite different.

Regardless of Galadriel's standing amongst the Children of Eru, Sauron was of a higher orer; hence neither of his minions would go over to Galadriel. If there was any risk that the Nazgl would go over to whomever was wielding the Ring when they found it, Sauron would never have sent them - and note that Sauron expected the Ring to be carried to Rivendell and that one of the Wise (Elrond, Galadriel, even Gandalf) would wield it.

Thus tis concluded that Sauron would always hold a firm grip on his minions, whomever wielded the Ring.
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