Thread: Other Ringbearers
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Galadriel seemed to know it was not her fate to leave Middle Earth until she had helped defeat Sauron. Maybe, again in part, this was because it was her smiths that helped him forge the Rings of Power. Whatever, she seemed to know that she could not return until he was gone. I think once he was defeated, and the power of her own ring to maintain her realm from the ravages of time was gone, it was a clear sign that the time to leave was nigh. Just long enough to order the building of a ship, get one's effects in order, say goodbye to a few friends (including hubby), and then off on the retirement cruise of a lifetime. I don't think she needed contact with the Valar over this. I think she kind of knew when the time was right.
As for Gimli, I always thought Tolkien had gone soft regards letting Gimli into the Undying Lands. It was almost as though he was too sentimental to break up the group and old friendships. Now days I don't think that is the case, however, or that Galadriel had the power to invite him in either. Rather, I think it was perhaps done for Aule's benefit. He created Dwarves and they were then given life by Eru. I think it is fitting that one of them managed to return to the Undying Lands to be at his side (all be it for the short time before Gimli died because he was pretty old by then).
Or can I...?
You know if you don't be careful all the other nazgul are going to start noticing that little flames of sweetness and kindness eminate from you now and then and they just might have a little discussion and decide to throw YOU on the barbie. So perhaps you need to be just a touch nastier. What say you?
I think Galadriel knew she had a task to do in Middle Earth. She came under the Doom of the Noldor, and although she isn't portrayed in the same light as the Sons of Feanor, she was keen to return to Middle Earth in order to build her own realm. Many of the Noldor returned to the Undying Lands, when she appeared to still be banned. She was the only Noldor "Lord" to have left Valinor, however, who was still alive by the Third Age. As a leader, she maybe had greater responsibilty on her shoulders, and therefore she had to do more before she could return. Being a ringbearer, obviously added to that responsibility.
I do not think Galadriel was still 'banned' at the end of the First Age. There are various versions on why Galadriel left Valinor, and also various versions why she did not return to Valinor.
In the Silmarillion, Galadriel left Valinor because she was eager to found a kingdom on her own in Middle-earth, but the reason for why she did not return, is not explicitly stated.
In Unfinished Tales, one finds various reasons for why she lingered in Middle-earth :
a) she was too proud to return
b) she was still banned by the Valar
c) Celeborn did not wish to leave Middle-earth, and out of love for him she stayed too - in fact, the couple had already entered Eriador before Morgoth's defeat, according to UT.
So it is open for interpretation... I personally take as reason a combination of a) and c). I think only after she rejected the One Ring, she 'repented', so to speak, left her pride behind her and decided to return to her true home... "I will diminish, and go into the West.".
It is true that in the chapter Lóthlorien in FOTR one gets the impression that she indeed was denied to return to the Undying Lands, particulary by the sorrowful song she sings at the end of this chapter, but imo this sorrow is mainly caused because she knew that the days of the Elves in Middle-earth were numbered, no matter what would happen - if the quest of the Ring would succeed and Sauron overthrown, then the Power of the Three would end, and if the quest of the Ring would fail, their realms conquered and enslaved by Sauron.