Tolkien question: Why wasn't Galadriel's exile ended at the end of the 1st age?

Rereading The Silmarillion recently, I was reminded of something I’ve always wondered about. Why wasn’t Galadriel allowed to return to Aman (or Tol Eressea) after the War of the Jewels? She wasn’t directly involved in the Kinslaying, if I recall aright, and the rest of the Noldor were free to return to the West. Whose miruvore did she piss in?

She was allowed to come back but she didn’t want to due to pride; she didn’t take part in the Kin-slaying like you said, so why was she punished? Therefore she was banned from returning (again) until she proved herself by refusing the One Ring.

Tolkien was inconsistant about her history. At first he wrote that she wanted to go to Middle Earth out of curiosity and to rule a realm of her own but later he changed that to a desire to help all the poor unfortunate souls of Middle Earth, which to me is much more boring. I prefer rebellious Galadriel. He also changed Celeborn into an elf from Valinor and renamed him Teleporno. Poor Tolkien should have known when to leave well enough alone.

As Arien posted, it was her pride that kept her in exile. Similarly, the Valar gave Sauron the chance to beg for pardon after the War of Wrath, but his pride similarly led him to escape and go into hiding until the Valar returned to Aman.

Hey, she, Elrond, and the Mirkelves and Glorfindle, and a whole lot of other elves hadn’t returned yet.

You have to remember, elves don’t hurry much. I mean, Elwe stood holding hands with Melian without speaking for decades, when they first met. These folks were all on their way to Valinor. “Yeah, we’re coming, be right there.” Cirdan spent seven thousand years running a shuttle service for these people! You think you wait a long time for your family to get ready? Ha! Go ask Olwe!


Elrond, the Sindarin in Beleriand, the sylvan elves of Ossiriand and the sylvan elves of Mirkwood and Lothlorien hadn’t even been yet.

Glorfindel could be said to have been to Valinor twice, actually, even before he (presumably) sailed West after the War of the Ring…

Poor Tolkien should have known when to leave well enough alone.[/qjuote] That’s not fair – Tolkien didn’t publish the Silmarillion, he was still working on revision (after revision after revision) when he died. It was his son, Christopher, who got the thing published.

In writing LotR, Tolkien spent years revising and rewriting the material to be sure that the end result was consistent. He was in the middle of that with the Silmarillion, and who’s to know what revisions he might have made before the final publication.

I’m not sure she was actually banned (again) by anyone other than herself. When she says “I pass the test”, on refusing the Ring, it seems to me that it was a test she had set for herself, and that having passed it, she knew that she was ready to go West.

[Beavis]HEH! Heh-heh-heh! Heh, heh, heh-heh-heh![/Beavis]

In keeping with my need to post in most JRRT threads, I just wanted to add: What Chronos, CK, JayJay, Tris, Arien said. But not Lumpy.

Factoid: Galadriel was the last remaining elf in the West who’d defied the Valar. All the others were dead or returned, (or both, given Glorfindel’s special case). While the Doom of the Noldor hung over the heads of all who allied with them, it seems it weighed even more heavily on those who rebelled in Valinor.

Are you sure of that last fact, I am less than sure about elves like Gildor.

I got the impression he came over in the host that crossed the ice.

I would suspect your factoid is hard to prove as 100% accurate.


Nothing said by Gildor asserts that he was born in Valinor.

However, it would be hard to prove, given the shifty nature of JRRT’s writings.

I do recall a scrap of a phrase somewhere where JRRT said that Galadriel was the last rebellious elf left by the end of the 3rd age, but I can’t find it at the moment.

As we know, Galadriel’s history was up in the air at the time of Tolkien’s death. The scrap you read was likely in one of the histories and either out of date or a case where the history to support the statement was not yet revised.
Gildor was of the House of Finrod but not listed in the Genealogies. Do we know of any of his descendants or his wife?


Well just to confuse the issue, here is this quote from the Silmarillion.

So what did Gildor mean when he said he was of the House of Finrod.
Is this a case were Tolkien “mis-translated” and Gildor was the scion of another lesser house or simply a “noble” of Nargothrond?
I think Finarfin started out in the earlier drafts/translations as Finrod, so perhaps Gildor is a son/grandson of one of Finrod Felagund’s brothers.

Best I can offer for yet another enigmatic Noldorian.


It’s even more confusing than that, Jim. When JRRT wrote that section of LOTR, Finrod was still the youngest son of Finwë. Later Finrod’s name got changed to Finarphin, then Finarfin, while Finrod became Finarfin’s son (tho that got muddled a few times too).