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Thread: Galadriel and Gandalf

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Of the relationship between Gandalf and Galadriel, If Gandalf was Olorin then he spent countless years walking among the Elves as one of them. He was even in Lothlórien as an Elf, I can't help but wonder if there is a timeline as to when Galadriel came over the mountains to Lothlórien and was Olorin (Gandalf) there at that time. One of the many reasons their relationship is so interesting to me is (imo) they were the only two whom The Iluvatar directly intervened through during the War of the Ring and in the end were his favorite of all the Wise Ones

Galadriel went to Lorien some time around the middle of the third age. You're confusing me with their relationship with Iluvatar and the war of the rings. Iluvatar doesn't intervene during the war of the rings. Also there isn't any account that they were Iluvatar's favorite.

When Gandalf says"Bilbo was meant to find the ring and not by it's maker" and when Gandalf the Gray (Maiar) returns as Gandalf the white (Valar) i took it to be The Iluvatar that had promoted and returned him to turn the tide. As for Galadriel her knowledge of Frodo and Sam's movements beyond that of Gandalf or anyone else in middle earth even in Mordor where no one could see makes my think. As for being the favorites of the Iluvatar i think the vital role played by both in finally removing Morgoth's influence from the land would endear them to him in a special way. But this is all opinion and an idea in progress your info helped.

Gandalf the white is still a maiar. Neither Gandalf nor Galadriel defeated Morgoth. The only time Illuvatar intervene directly in arda is when coming to the aid of the Valar, stopping the Numernorians.

Now I could be completely wrong about this, but I thought I'd read somewhere the Valar had to first confront Manwe, who would then communicate with Illuvatar to get "permission" to send someone back??

Otherwise I'd have to agree with Glorfindel. Gandalf was given a "promotion," but still remained a maia. Also Galadriel was not necessarily able to see anywhere in ME, especially Mordor, which was known for being covered by a black cloud and always shrouded in darkness. However Ain did say Morgoth's influence and not necessarily Morgoth, so I assumed he referred to characters like Sauron and the WK etc. However Illuvatar did not pick favorites. He loved all his children, even the bad ones. The Vala were the ones with bias. And honestly, of the 5 "wisest" maia you refer to, it's hard to choose a "favorite" in the sense you mean when really Gandalf was the only one who did what he was supposed to. And Galadriel wouldn't really have been any more loved than Elrond, Thranduil, Feanor, Melian etc as they'd all equally be gladly and openly welcome back to Arda.

Also Ain what did you mean by Gandalf being in Lothlorien as an elf??

Yes that was what i meant Sauron is the continuation of Melkor his lieutenant. In the Valaquenta Olorin lived in Lorien and walked among the Eleves unseen or as one of them. I have seen somewhere who Olorin served originally and what his job was i can't find it now but it was menial. I think both of them being of humble beginnings at least compared to the other major Valar and Galadriel being one of the in cursed ones and not allowed to return home, Yet in the end they performed the Iluvatar's will better than most and were the last to leave is my point. not so much favorites but over achievers.     


Hi Ainulindale, I think the Lorien, that Mithrandir, Olorin, walked was actually the Gardens of Lorien in Valinor, not Loth Lorien in middle Earth. Lorien in Valinor were gardens where spirits, Maia and Elves walked and revitalised and Olorin spent time with returned Elves upon their release from the Halls of Mandos.

Loth Lorien in Middle Earth was perhaps named after this magnificent garden, perhaps by Galadriel upon its foundation.

Olorin of course was a Maia and did not have the physical body of the Gandalf we know until Iluvatar sent he and the other Istari to Middle Earth to help and aid his children against Sauron. He was mostly invisible to even the Elves until he inhabited his physical body.

Olorin dwelt in Lorien (in Aman), and his name is connected to 'dream words', for example ola- (impersonal) 'to dream', or olos 'dream, vision, fair construction of the mind', noting that he instilled 'fair visions' in the hearts of some Elves.

Nandorin Elves had lived in 'Lothlorien' or Dreamflower as it later came to be called, well before Galadriel arrived, and the Sindarin Kings Amdir and Amroth had ruled before her.

She was responsible for later Q. Lorien however, equating this with the name Loriand, but this was Sindarized by loth 'flower' as well.

I thought Manwe was the one who sent the istari to ME

ultimately i was trying to find a connection between Gandalf and Galadriel prior to the Lord of the Rings  and it sounds as if there was not one, Thanks for the great information.

Galin? Interesting the Olorin's name has to do with dreams was that tied into his purpose as a Maiar? Do we know which of the Valar he worked under?

He was under Manwe but spend alot of his time with Nienna, whom he learn pitty from.

Speaking of the Maia, I wonder how they appeared, if they were visible to Elves at all, within Valinor. I guess they could appear in any form they liked. But I wonder if they had a default shape which they chose to take. I guess other Maia would always be able to see the others.

I imagine Olorin/Gandalf as a calming aura who came and went as he pleased and perhaps could sense when he was needed for council and only then become physical in a shape pleasing to the Elf to whom he was speaking with.

Great question Brego.

Honestly without even thinking about it, I always imagined the maiar as being slightly larger in form and cloaked in some kind of thick, dark reddish robes. Something about the word "Maiar" reminds me of a dark reddish/orange, no idea why. Their faces never fully revealed, often times walking with some sort of staff or cane or something. But that's probably just me. I like to think they were visible amongst other races. More like ancient guardians roaming the lands and less like invisible angels in the sky.

I think i find the Maiar more interesting than than Valar. Maybe they could appear in form more recognizable to the Elves where as the Valar looked more like a force of nature. For instance i can't picture Tulkas in my mind, how can he be a strong physical form that uses brute strength yet be ethereal and travel great distances in a blink of an eye?

Well we do know Tulkas has golden hair and a golden beard. I always pictured him like a Zeus/Viking type character. Flowing beard, braided on the sides, possibly with a warhammer of some sort....

I always considered the valar taking physical form when directly speaking to the elves.

Speaking of the Maia, I wonder how they appeared, if they were visible to Elves at all, within Valinor. I guess they could appear in any form they liked. But I wonder if they had a default shape which they chose to take.

It was said that the Valar usually took the shape of the bodies of Elves and Men -- of majestic but not gigantic stature (and in some degree radiant), vested in robes expressing their individual natures and functions.

And you are correct Brego, that the Valar and Maiar could assume other shapes (Yavanna as a great tree and so forth, as in Silmarillion), although it's noted in RGEO that the Eldar seldom saw other inhuman forms taken by the Valar.

I initially thought that we could easily say the same of the Maiar, but then I remembered this little interesting note from JRRT in Morgoth's Ring...

'Living things in Aman. As the Valar would robe themselves like the Children, many of the Maiar robed themselves like other lesser living things, as trees, flowers, beasts. (Huan.)'

... which has me wondering a bit. I'll have to think more on this, or maybe there's something else on the matter.

Anyway in notes regarding the word fana(r) Tolkien seems to describe the fanar of the Valar and Maiar, but in RGEO (published by JRRT himself), unless I missed something, he speaks there of only the Valar, technically.

In posthumously published notes there is an interesting distinction:

'But the Elves of Valinor asserted that unclad the Valar were perceived by some among them as lights (of different hues) which their eyes could not tolerate; whereas the Maiar were usually invisible when unclad, but their presence was revealed by their fragrance.'

*(...) The Maiar corrupted by him [Melkor] stank'

JRRT, Words, Phrases and Passages

This bit also does not appear in RGEO, in any case.

Interesting Galin. I expect that perhaps with age, Elves would perceive or feel the precence of the unclad Maia.

I like the idea of Maia taking on the form of lesser creatures. Huan, Eagle, perhaps Ent? Interesting. I can't imagine what kind of animal Olorin would be... Lion, bear, Gorilla I feel he may have been a bird of some kind.

I feel he may have been a bird of some kind.


Surely something more stout. Like Ered Luin

I can see Gandalf being something like a butterfly. It would definitely have to be a winged creature though, for surely his love of travel began in Arda. Maybe one of the reasons he was chosen...

This could also tie into the movie a bit, since it's the little moth/butterfly creature he communicates with to call the eagles. I know, I know it's a PJ thing and not Tolkien but...meh....would still help explain it. :P

Or a Brolga! Brolgas are very large birds, about the size of an Emu. They are elegant and purple grey in colour. A type of large crane, they dance with their partners, native to Australia. Simply beautiful and are mentioned in ancient Aboriginal tales and stories tens of thousands of years old.

Do a picture search. Beautiful.