Lord Of The Rings: 15 Things That Make No Sense About Galadriel

There are a lot of things that don't make sense about the most powerful woman in Middle-earth.

The works of J.R.R. Tolkien have a lack of prominent female characters, which has more to do with the histories and myths that inspired the stories than anything else.

This led to some of the biggest changes to the screen adaptations of The Lord of the Ringswith characters like Arwen receiving more prominent roles and characters like Tauriel being created for The Hobbit movies to add more women to an otherwise male-dominated cast.

Galadriel is one of the few prominent female characters in The Lord of the Rings and she is one of the most important powerful beings in Middle-earth.

Galadriel may be the oldest elf remaining in Middle-earth as of The Lord of the Rings. She was instrumental in protecting the Three Rings of the Elves from Sauron and she openly opposed him for many years, while also ruling over Lothlórien.

The life of Galadriel holds several contradictions and mysteries, many of which are linked to the fact that Tolkien kept changing his mind and rewriting the history of Middle-earth, which led to various continuity errors.

We are here today to find out which questions about Galadriel still linger on after all of these years.

From the mysterious use of her ring to bring down a fortress to the contradictory reasons why she chose to remain in Middle-earth, here are the 15 Things That Make No Sense About The Lord of the Rings' Galadriel!

15 Breaking Dol Guldur

The power of the rings in The Lord of the Rings was often depicted in a subtle manner in the books. This was changed for the movies in order to better convey the abilities that the rings possess, such as the One Ring's invisibility effect making the wielder see a ghostly world whenever they put it on.

The powers of the Three Elven Rings were usually depicted in a subtle manner, with Narya inspiring hope and Nenya & Vilya being used to hide the realms of Rivendell and Lothlórien.

It seems that Galadriel's ring was packing some serious heat, as she would go on to destroy the fortress of Dol Guldur.

The text is frustratingly vague on how she accomplishes this, as it only says that she threw down the walls and laid its pits bare.

How exactly did Galadriel destroy Dol Guldur? If Nenya possessed such power then why didn't Galadriel use it more often?

14 Galadriel's Riddle Advice

When Galadriel first meets Frodo and his companions, she says: "I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another, can I avail; but only in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be."

Galadriel offers the Fellowship shelter during their journey and gives them gifts that will aid them in their journey.

She claims to offer no advice on the path that they will take, as it is up to them to decide how they will continue their journey.

It seems Galadriel changed her mind about this tactic, as she would later give Gandalf a message to pass on to Aragorn that would convince him to take the Paths of the Dead.

Elrond would also give his sons a similar message. What caused Galadriel to change her mind and start offering guidance to the members of the Fellowship?

13 The Boromir Warning

The Lord of the Rings movies changed a lot of things in order to properly adapt the story for the big screen.

The addition of some incredible actors allowed for minor characters from the books to be given a new dimension when appearing in the films, with Boromir being one of the best examples.

Sean Bean gave an amazing performance that helped to make Boromir more sympathetic than he appeared in the books.

It seems that Galadriel had a far greater insight into Boromir's character in the movies, as she warns Frodo about his impending treason. Frodo ignores this warning and continues to travel with him, which almost results in Boromir taking the One Ring for himself.

If Galadriel knew that Boromir was going to betray the Fellowship, then why didn't she prevent him from traveling with the group? 

Galadriel had the ability to throw him in a jail cell or force him to leave Lothlórien, yet she was cool with the Fellowship traveling with someone who she knew wasn't trustworthy?

12 No Hair For Fëanor

Feanor Fingolfin Lord of the Rings

When Galadriel is giving gifts to the members of the Fellowship, she shows up without anything to give to Gimli, because she doesn't know what a dwarf would desire.

Gimli asks for a strand of her hair, as he finds it so beautiful. Galadriel gave him three stands, which may seem like a strange thing until you find out that Gimli was not the first person to make this request of her.

Feanor (the creator of the Silmarils) had asked Galadriel for a strand of hair on three occasions and she refused each time, causing animosity between the two. Galadriel had the ability to see the growing darkness within Feanor, which is why she refused him.

The Feanor scene was written long after The Lord of the Rings, so some fans see its inclusion as a retcon.

Was Galadriel's generosity a symbol of the growing friendship between elves and dwarves, or was the giving of three hairs intended to be a dig at Feanor?

11 The Obnoxious Temptation

There are times in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies where moments from the books which were meant to be subtle are overblown, in order to make them appear more interesting.

There is one moment that had all of the subtlety and nuance ripped out in order to add some special effects, which resulted in it one of the most cringe-worthy scenes in Fellowship of the Ring.

Galadriel's freakout when she is offered the One Ring comes from a single paragraph in the book, where Frodo sees Galadriel for a moment as the Dark Queen she may become.

This was turned into Galadriel giving the whole temptation speech while covered in a green photoshop filter, as the worst special effects in the whole series play over her.

Why did Peter Jackson take Frodo's vision of Galadriel seriously and why did he bring it back for The Battle of Five Armies as some kind of powerup?

10 The Mystery Of Amroth

Celeborn and Galadriel were not the original founders or rulers of Lothlórien. The previous ruler of Lothlórien before Galadriel and her husband was King Amroth.

The story of Amroth is one of the saddest that Tolkien ever wrote. Amroth loved a woman named Nimrodel and the two departed for the Gray Havens but were separated on the way.

Amroth waited for Nimrodel aboard a ship and would drown when trying to swim back to shore after the ship had been blown out to sea during a storm.

According to the Unfinished Tales, Amroth was originally going to be the son of Galadriel, rather than their predecessor.

It seems that Tolkien changed his mind and decided to give Amroth a much sadder fate than he had originally intended. This begs the question of what Tolkien's plans for Amroth were and if he would have been involved in the War of the Ring?

9 G.I. Galadriel

Cate Blanchett as Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings

The story of Éowyn was one of a girl masquerading as a boy in order to be able to go off to war, as society prohibited her from joining the army. She would later abandon her desire for battle and become the wife of Faramir.

It seems that Tolkien had similar ideas in mind for Galadriel, as he described her as being a soldier and the "only female to stand tall in those days."

It is also said that Galadriel took part in the battle of Alqualonde. These earlier accounts of Galadriel's life come from The Silmarillion, though later stories would contradict them.

The idea that Galadriel was the only female among the elves to go to war and join the rebellion of the Noldor is an odd one.

Was it prohibited for women to take up arms? If so, then why was Galadriel allowed to do so? If it wasn't, then why didn't other women join their kinfolk on the battlefield?

8 Elrond Takes All The Credit

Elrond Lord of the RIngs

There are two moments in The Two Towers that were seemingly included to surprise those who had read the books first-- one was the Ents refusing to help in the war and the other was the awesome scene where the elves arrive at Helm's Deep.

There is a scene where Galadriel is magically communicating with Elrond, where she asks him if they will abandon Middle-earth or help to defend it.

This leads to the scene where the elves arrive at Helm's Deep, where they helped to bring victory in one of the decisive battles of the War of the Ring.

The problem with these scenes is that the elves who arrive at Helm's Deep are from Lothlórien and are led by Haldir, who was a marchwarden of Lothlórien.

When Haldir meets Aragorn and King Theodain, he says that they were sent by Elrond.

Why is Elrond claiming the credit for sending five-hundred Lothlórien soldiers to Helm's Deep, when these soldiers are under Galadriel's command?

7 The Mountain Inconsistency

J.R.R. Tolkien did not have time to edit and publish all of the material related to Middle-earth during his lifetime. That task fell to his third son, Christopher Tolkien, who has spent most of his life editing his father's work and releasing it to the public.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings both underwent rewrites to fix errors after publication.

There is one inconsistency involving Galadriel that existed in one of the earlier editions of The Lord of the Rings that had to be fixed.

In the "Mirror of Galadriel" chapter of Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel claims that she passed the mountains of Ered Luin before the fall of Nargothrond and Gondolin, but the Appendices claimed that she was still in Lindon at the start of the Second Age.

6 The Rebellion Inconsistency

J.R.R. Tolkien came up with several different roles for Galadriel during the early days of her life.

He changed his mind many times and amended his account of her life in later essays, to the point where it is hard to determine what Tolkien considered to be canon or not.

In his earliest writings, Tolkien wrote that Galadriel was one of the chief architects of the rebellion of the Noldor and was exiled as a result. This is why she arrived at Middle-earth and why she was not allowed to leave until much later.

In the later essays that were written by Tolkien, it was said that Galadriel had no part in the wars of her kin and sailed to Middle-earth of her own volition.

5 The Bluths Of Valinor

Galadriel Celeborn Lord of the Rings

The elves of Middle-earth are immortal, though they can be destroyed in various ways. Elves do not procreate at the same speed as the other races, because if they did they would quickly overpopulate Middle-earth.

This is why Galadriel only has two children and a handful of grandchildren before departing from Middle-earth.

The problem of low elf birth-rates may have more to do with a lack of eligible bachelors in Middle-earth. This is suggested by the fact that Galadriel's husband was also her cousin in Unfinished Tales. 

Celeborn is meant to be the grandson of Elmo, who was the brother of Olwe, who happened to be Galadriel's grandfather.

The Silmarillion also confirmed that elves do not marry their close kin, but maybe they were just far enough apart for it not to matter?

4 How I Met Your Elf Mother

by Rowena Morrill

Galadriel is believed to have been over seven-thousand years of age when she departed from Middle-earth. This means that she was likely married to Celeborn for several millennia.

The two of them traveled together across the land, before finally settling in Lothlórien as rulers, even though they did not take up the mantle of royalty.

It's no wonder then that the two of them might have forgotten where they first met.

The earliest accounts of Celeborn and Galadriel meeting happened after she had been exiled, with the two having their first encounter in the city of Doriath.

The later accounts changed the location of their meeting to the city of Alqualonde. They would later travel to Middle-earth together and would have no involvement with Feanor or his rebellion.

3 They Were On A Break

Elrond Celeborn Galadriel Valinor Middle Earth Lord of the Rings

Galadriel chose to leave Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age, along with many others. The power of Nenya had faded away and her long exile had ended. After several millennia in Middle-earth, it was time to go home.

It seems that Celeborn decided to use the decline of elves in Middle-earth as a chance away to get away from the wife for a few years, as he decided to remain in Middle-earth, while Galadriel went West. Celeborn traveled to Imladris and lived with his grandsons for an unspecified period of time, before also sailing West and reuniting with his wife.

It is never explained why Celeborn decided to remain in Middle-earth and let his wife, whom he had been with for centuries, return home alone.

2 Galadriel X Gandalf

The creators of The Hobbit movie trilogy were desperate to include a romance plot in the films. This wasn't helped by the almost total absence of women in the books.

The creators either had to make Brokeback Misty Mountain with Bilbo and Thorin, or they had to shoehorn in some new romance. They chose the latter.

The creation of Tauriel and her romance with Kili seemingly wasn't enough, though, so the producers decided to include some romance subtext between Gandalf and Galadriel.

The creator of The Hobbit seemingly forgot that Galadriel has been married to the same man for years. Then again, maybe they decided that she was sick of her husband and was looking to play the field before the end of the Third Age.

1 The Reasons For Staying In Middle-Earth

Cate Blanchett as Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings Return of the King

We have established that several different explanations exist for Galadriel's journey to Middle-earth, but what was keeping her there?

This is one of the muddiest issues when talking about the works of Tolkien, with Christopher Tolkien himself saying that the inconsistencies surrounding Galadriel were "severe."

The earliest accounts written by Tolkien claimed that Galadriel was one of the chief conspirators in Feanor's rebellion and was not allowed to return to Valinor due to her previous actions.

It seems that Galadriel's refusal to take the One Ring when offered to her was what allowed her to return home.

It was later established in Unfinished Tales that Galadriel was offered a pardon and that she refused out of pride.

Galadriel would later have no part in Feanor's rebellion and would sail to Middle-earth by her own choice. She was still refused the right to return, thanks to the Doom of Mandos.

Galadriel was not allowed to return until after the destruction of the One Ring.


Can you think of any other things about The Lord of the Rings' Galadriel that don't make sense? Sound off in the comments!

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