20033Re: [mythsoc] Galadriel throws down the walls of Dol Guldur
- Aug 17, 2008John, I'm gald you responded to this, because I had meant to add my two sense and I was going to make the same comparison that you did to Luthien undoing the spells that bound the stones together of Sauron's tower on the former Tol Sirion. However, there is significant editorial change that was made to this passage. As written by Tolkien, in addition to demanding the Sauron yield the mastery of the tower to her as the price for letting him go, Luthien also demanded that he reveal to her "the spell that bindeth stone to stone." Christopher Tolkien eliminated this statement and instead added two paragraphs later the statement "and the spell was loosed that bound stone to stone." Christopher concedes that "this rearrangement was mistaken." (See The Lost Road, 300.)
The other comment that I wanted to make is that I doubt that Nenya would have been much use to Galadriel in this task. Elrond tells us that the Three Rings "were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or domination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained." I don't think that Galadriel would have used Nenya to throw down the walls of Dol Guldur, even if the Three Rings' power had not yet full dissipated. Rather, I think that she used her inate "magical" powers. Tolkien makes some very interesting comments about the use of magic in Letter 155, a draft of a letter to Naomi Mitchison that was not included in the version sent to her (the sent version is letter 154, which itself has some very interesting ideas).
"I suppose that, for the purposes of the tale, some would say that there is a latent distinction such as once was called the distinction between magia and goeteia [this is defined in the O.E.D. as 'witchcraft or magic performed by the invocation and employment of evil spirits; necromancy'] Galadriel speaks of the 'deceits of the Enemy'. Well enough but magia could be, was, held good (per se), and goetia bad. Neither is, in this tale, good or bad (per se), but only by motive or purpose or use. Both sides use both, but with different motives. The supremely bad motive is (for this tale, since it specifically about it) domination of other 'free' wills. The Enemy's operation are by no means all goetic deceits, but 'magic' that produces real effects in the physical world. But his magia he uses to bulldoze both people and things, and his goeteia to terrify and subjugate. Their magia the Elves and Gandalf use (sparingly): a magia, producing real results (like fire in a wet faggot) for specific beneficent purposes. Their goetic effects are entirely artistic and not intended to deceive: they never deceive Elves (but may deceive or bewilder unaware Men) since the difference is to them as clear as the difference to us between fiction, painting, and sculpture, and 'life'."
Tolkien adds later in the passage that the "magic" that is used in his Tale is not of the kind that can be developed through "lore" or spells, but rather is an "inherent power not possessed or attainable by Men as such." As one of the most powerful of all of the Elves, Galadriel would likely have this "inherent power" to a high degree. In my opinion, Galadriel throwing down the walls of Dol Guldur was simply an example of one of the primary Elves using magia for a practical purpose.
The question that I have is: what is the "artistic" goetic effects of the Elves that Tolkien is referring to?
,----- Original Message -----
From: John D Rateliff
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 6:55 PM
Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Galadriel throws down the walls of Dol Guldur
Sorry for the delay in responding; I've been away and just got
back. I think most of the other regular posters are at Mythcon this
I interpret that passage to mean that after the Nazgul were
destroyed, Celeborn's forces destroyed the remaining Mirkwood-host
and that Galadriel herself then left Lorien to visit the spot. I
don't think she rolled up her sleeves and let loose against the walls
with a big hammer; rather, I parallel this passage with Luthien's
casting down the Necromancer's Tower (the former Tol Sirion) in THE
SILMARILLION. That is, I think she undid the spell that bound the
place together, and that it crumbled and collapsed on the spot.
It's not said that the Three Rings immediately wink out, but
implied that they fade quickly. Destroying Dol Guldur would have been
a good use of most of what remained of Nenya's power, leaving the
world behind with a cleaner slate to start the new age ("Greenwood
I hope this helps.
On Aug 11, 2008, at 7:59 PM, al_fariis wrote:
> There is a passage in Appendix B, Return of the King, in the paragraph
> right after the March 3019 chronology that has me puzzled:
> "They (the Elves of Lorien) took Dol Guldur, and Galadriel threw
> down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed."
> What does this mean? Was Tolkien saying that Galadriel herself
> threw down the walls of Dol Guldur, or did she supervise the work? The
> three rings lost their power after the One Ring was destroyed, so
> Nenya could not have been used.
> We'd love to be at MythCon this weekend, but barring a sudden change
> in fortune, we'll have to miss this year.
> Steve Gaddis
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