Article Title

Galadriel and Wyrd: Interlace, Exempla and the Passing of Northern Courage in the History of the Eldar


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Two important characters in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium are pivotable to a Germanic narrative of the Eldar: Fëanor and Galadriel. Fëanor pivots the narrative of the Eldar to one resembling the Germanic heroic epic by invoking a wyrd, through his free choice, against himself and the Noldor who followed him, which leads to their doom. Galadriel, on the other hand, as the last of the Noldorin rebels and a penitent, pivots the fatalistic and heroic Elvish narrative to eucatastrophe through own her free will and choice.

This article examines First Age themes of free will, banishment and exile, doom and providence through textual cue such as the spatial imagery, tonality, and character action. In doing so, themes and motifs become clearer and interweave together to form a rich tapestry of the Eldar’s Germanic narrative. This tapestry of Germanic heroism, or Northern courage as Tolkien called it, comes to an end with Galadriel’s eucatastrophe as she resist the temptation of the One Ring. The eucatastrophe allows the penitent Galadriel to not only redeem herself but also the remnant Noldor in Middle-earth. Galadriel, through her own redemption and consequently the redemption of the remnant Noldor, ends the Germanic narrative in the Lord of the Rings.