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By Irmo-(Valar)
September 13, 2011
Written for the 14th Anniversary of the Valar Guild


A. Biography
     1. Lineage, appearance, character, names
     2. Loss of Bliss
     3. First Age
     4. Second Age
     5. Third Age
B. Afterword
C. On the relation between Galadriel and the Valar.
D. References

A.  Biography

1. Lineage, appearance, character, names

When at the end of the Third Age, on the day of September 29 in the year of 3021, Galadriel finally sets sail to return to Valinor, she is over 8000 years old[1]. For she was born in the Undying Lands long before even the light of sun or moon had risen, in the years of Bliss in Valinor, when the two trees still shone in the Undying Lands of Aman.

Her father was Finarfin, who was the third son of Finwë, first high-king of the Noldor, by his marriage to Indis, close kinswoman to Ingwë, high-king of the Vanyar. Finarfin had an elder brother Fingolfin and their elder half-brother was Fëanor, whose mother was Miriel.

Galadriel's mother was Earwen, daughter to high-king Olwë of the Teleri of Alqualondë. Thus in Galadriel all three royal lines of the high-elves (Noldor, Teleri and Vanyar) came united. Her four elder brothers were Finrod, Orodreth, Angrod and Aegnor.

Galadriel was the most beautiful of all elves who walked in Aman those days. Her hair was a source of joy and marvel for all to behold: a mixture of the gold and silver of the peoples of her grandmother and mother; it was said that she was crowned with the light of the two trees that was intertwined in her tresses.

It has even been told that Fëanor was inspired by Galadriel's hair when he first thought of imprisoning the light of the two trees in de Silmarils. And that he repeatedly begged Galadriel for a tress of her hair, three times, but she refused[2]. They "were unfriends forever".

Galadriel is described as notably tall, 6,4 feet (193cm)[3]. Strong body, mind and will, "a match for both the loremasters and the athletes of the Eldar in the days of their youth". Just like her brother Finrod, who was always nearest to her heart, she combined the pride and self-will of the Noldor with the nobility and generosity of the Vanyar  She had the gift of insight into the minds of others, but with this insight came mercy and understanding.

Galadriel arduously studied the crafts and lore of the Valar, specifically those of Aulë and Yavannah. But she was always eager to learn more, and also she had from her mother's side the deep longing to see the seas and shores of far away lands. Both Galadriel and Finrod seem to have had an unrest to take responsibility befitting their talents, and to seek dominions of their own "without tutelage".

As all high-elves Galadriel had two formal names (essi). Her father-name was Artanis ("noble woman"), and her mother-name Nerwen(-de) ("man-maiden"). But like many other Eldar she became primarily known under her given name (epessë), which was originally Alatariel, the name given to her by Celeborn in Doriath. Alatariel was the Telerin version of Quenya Altariel, to be translated as "maiden radiantly garland-crowned". Later Alatariel was Sindarized into Galadriel[4].

[1] Rounded figures for the years of her life being 1300 years of the Trees, 600 FA, 3400 SA, 3000 TA.

[2] Unfinished Tales, p 296. Note that these passages were written long after the revised edition of The Lord of the Rings. They give even greater meaning to Galadriel's gift to Gimli.

[3] Unfinished Tales, p. 370.

[4] Unfinished Tales, History of Celeborn and Galadriel, Appendix E, The names of Celeborn and Galadriel; also: Silmarillion, Appendix, Elements in Quenya and Sindarin names; The History of Middle Earth Vol V, Etymologies; and especially History of Middle Earth Vol.XXII, The shibboleth of Feänor. Note there is no etymological relation between Galadriel and Galadhrim (meaning "the treefolk"). Galadhrim stems from Sinadrin galadh, meaning tree.

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