highly unpopular opinion time

I really, really, really dislike Galadriel’s portrayal in the films. I always have. Like. I wouldn’t say hate, but I can’t stress enough how much I don’t like it. Her design is spot-on and gorgeous, and I don’t dislike Cate Blanchett’s performance (I mean…she’s Cate effing Blanchett!); and I don’t think this is her doing — she’s just acting as she’s directed to. The performer and the performance itself is wonderful, the portrayal is the director’s and writers’ fault, not the actress’.

Movie Galadriel is so…wtf-inducting. She sounds like she’s broken into Celeborn’s stash of special lembas, is weird and haughty and untouchable, and that’s just…wrong. This is how we’re introduced to Galadriel and Celeborn in the book:

The chamber was filled with a soft light; its walls were green and silver and its roof of gold. Many Elves were seated there. On two chairs beneath the bole of the tree and canopied by a living bough there sat, side by side, Celeborn and Galadriel. They stood up to greet their guests, after the manner of Elves, even those who were accounted mighty kings. Very tall they were, and the Lady no less tall than the Lord; and they were grave and beautiful. They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold, and the hair of the Lord Celeborn was of silver long and bright; but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory.

“Grave and beautiful” doesn’t mean weird and untouchable, nor did they hold themselves above their guests. Elven courtesy? Never heard of it, apparently.


‘Nay, there was no change of counsel,’ said the Lady Galadriel, speaking for the first time. Her voice was clear and musical, but deeper than woman’s wont.

How is the way Cate Blanchett speaks in the movie clear and musical? At least they got the depth right, but good lord.

And the scene with Galadriel’s mirror in the movie is just so…disappointing. It’s the worst characterisation of her in the whole movie. It could have been done so elegantly and emotionally, and instead it’s just bombastic and honestly, a little silly. In the book she counselled Sam and Frodo but made it very clear to them that she didn’t have all the answers. She even laughed at times. The revelation that she was Nenya’s bearer wherein she lifted her hands to the East and essentially gave Sauron the finger was such a vital scene that bolstered her eventual rejection of the temptation of the Ring, which was…I mean, as the Professor wrote:

She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illumined her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf – woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.

(Emphasis mine, obviously.)

It just bugs me that in the films, it seemed like she was possessed by something outside herself, and that’s just…not what it was. It was an internal struggle, and a key point in her character development, if not the key point. This was Galadriel battling herself, all those thousands of years wherein she accumulated her wisdom, her depth, her heartbreak and shame and loss and love, and it was her winning the “long defeat”, in a sense.

Look, I get it. I subscribe to the “branching canon” way of looking at adaptions, and if something’s not to my taste, oh well, you know? But it still annoys me that they had this brilliant, wholly capable actress who could become this grave, beautiful, gentle, wise, subtle woman, with all that wisdom and experience behind her…and they told her to become some kind of weird forest cryptid who’s popped a few too many xannies.

And then people think that’s canon, and use it to whine about Galadriel’s portrayal in TRoP not being accurate? Nitwit, please. TRoP is literally closer to canon than the films with their Galadriel (and their Elrond). There, I said it. TRoP Galadriel nails her sorrow, her Noldorian arrogance, her trauma, her innate wisdom, her fear and her fire, the fire that will eventually forge her into the Galadriel we meet in the books.

I should put this in my Galadriel blog, but like the title says: unpopular opinion, and you’ll get skewered if you suggest that maybe, just maybe, the films aren’t the be-all and end-all of characterisation? Nor are they the ultimate canon — the book is, and always will be.

(Do I still love the films despite this? Bloody hell yes I absolutely do.)

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