With reference to the answer in Was Morgoth still a dominant power in Middle earth during the War of the Ring?

It says that all matter from outside the Blessed Realm, as a part of Arda Marred, is corrupted by Morgoth and, in living beings, have a natural tendency towards evil.

Galadriel is born in Valinor, the Blessed Realm. As a living being born in the Blessed Realm, is she unlike Elves that were born in Arda Marred, or does she also possess a natural tendency towards evil?

Edit: This is not a duplicate of How has Galadriel acquired evil mode?

In fact, I don't see any connection. That question's poster called it "evil-mode" only because it looks evil to him - it's not called evil mode in the books, and it may not even be evil: It could just be how Galadriel looks when she goes turbo with her natural magic. The answer, too, doesn't imply this is how she looks when evil - it heavily emphasises on it being how she looks in turbo mode instead.

According to the first question I linked, it's saying that everything that comes from outside the Blessed Realm, from Arda Marred, is infused with the essence of Morgoth, however slight. As such, that is the case for all Elves born in Middle Earth. However, Galadriel is born in Valinor the Blessed Realm. As such, is she infused with the essence of Morgoth like the others or not?

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    Possible duplicate of How has Galadriel acquired evil mode?
    – Mithical
    Mar 2, 2016 at 9:12
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    You cannot infer anything about matter from inside the Blessed Realm based on the state of matter from outside the Blessed Realm. You can only assume that if matter is not corrupted by Morgoth, then it is not from outside the Blessed Realm. Just being from the Blessed Realm is no protection against a fall into evil; cf. Fëanor.
    – chepner
    Mar 2, 2016 at 16:53
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    I think you misunderstand. I'm just quoting the words from the question I linked, which associates the presence of "the Melkor element" in all matter from outside the Blessed Realm with a resultant natural tendency towards evil for living beings from outside the Blessed Realm. As such, being born in the Blessed Realm, does this "Melkor element" and therefore this natural tendency towards evil caused by its presence exist or not within Galadriel? Mar 2, 2016 at 19:05
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    You are missing a great chunk of Tolkien's philosophy. As a good Catholic he believed in free will. It's not Morgoth's element that makes Galadriel fail but her rebellion against the Valar. Her redemption, likewise, is a combination of her rejection of the Ring, her long-standing struggle against Sauron, and grace from above. Mar 2, 2016 at 20:18
  • Slightly related: What does Galadriel mean by “All shall love me and despair”?
    – Möoz
    Mar 2, 2016 at 22:36

3 Answers 3


Two things to think on. (1) The Elves arose in Arda in the East before many of them went off to Valinor. They were already marked by this marring. Two examples of this are the fading of the Elves and in the death of Míriel.

As ages passed the dominance of their fëar ever increased, 'consuming' their bodies. The end of this process is their 'fading', as Men have called it; for the body becomes at last, as it were, a mere memory held by the fëa; and that end has already been achieved in many regions of Middle-earth, so that the Elves are indeed deathless and may not be destroyed or changed. [Laws and Customs among the Eldar]

This is the process of fading, where the bodies of the Elves actually gives way and can no longer exist with the fëa. The Elves believed this to be a mark of the stain of Melkor. This is alluded to by Finrod to the woman Andreth:

you live in Arda Marred, as do we, and all the matter of Arda was tainted by him, before ye or we came forth and drew our hröar and their sustenance therefrom: all save only maybe Aman before he came there. For know, it is not otherwise with the Quendi themselves: their health and stature is diminished. Already those of us who dwell in Middle-earth, and even we who have returned to it, find that the change of their bodies is swifter than in the beginning. And that, I judge, must forebode that they will prove less strong to last than they were designed to be, though this may not be clearly revealed for many long years. [Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth]

His point, as I made above, is that the bodies of the Elves being of Arda is not as strong as they should be due to the taint of Melkor. They are not as enduring as they should be so that the spirits will eventually consume them, when they should be in harmony with each other "this desire for the hröa shows that their later (and present) condition is not natural to them" [Note 7]. Take a look at note 7 in that piece of text which describes how the Elves saw this consuming and which Finrod was seeing himself.

Míriel died in Aman after giving birth to Fëanor and the Valar were troubled by this turn of events.

they perceived now more clearly how great was the hurt that Melkor of old had done to the substance of Arda, so that all those who were incarnate and drew the sustenance of their bodies from Arda Marred, must ever be liable to grief, to do or to suffer things unnatural in Arda Unmarred. [Of Finwë and Míriel]

Melkor in seeking to control matter was bound to a physical body himself, stuck in matter. Míriel wanted to escape her body and never return to it.

Yavanna believed

the Children are not as we (who came from beyond Arda wholly and in all our being) but are both spirit and body, and that body is of Arda and by Arda was nourished: so the Shadow worketh not only upon spirits, but has marred the very hron of Arda, and all Middle-earth is perverted by the evil of Melkor, who has wrought in it as mightily as any one among us here.

(2) Then there is Galadriel and her tendency toward evil. It is said that she did not like Fëanor because of the evil she saw in him, but she failed to see it in herself.

she withheld her goodwill from none save only Fëanor. In him she perceived a darkness that she hated and feared,though she did not perceieve that the shadow of the same evil had fallen upon the minds of all the Noldor, and upon her own. [The History of Galadriel and Celeborn]

Yes Galadriel, like her brother Finrod were tainted like all the children of Illuvatar and Morgoth's Ring, that is, Arda.

  • Wow. Just . . . wow. Wonderfully detailed and researched answer. Dec 13, 2016 at 19:53

To the specific question of Galadriel's nature, it is difficult to parse in the context of Tolkien's own evolving conception of the character. In Unfinished Tales, Christopher Tolkien discusses his father's concept of Galadriel, which changed, sometimes drastically, over time and between different manuscripts and sketches.

The larger question, that of an innate tendency toward evil (however slight), inborn as a result of a physical connection with Arda Marred, might be hard to nail down. Tolkien certainly imbues all beings, whether of Arda or not, with the potential to achieve either good or evil. Melkor/Morgoth, Sauron, Ungoliant, the Balrogs, Saruman, etc. "begin" outside of Arda completely, and yet go on to realize the potential for evil. Others, like Gandalf and most of the Valar and Maiar, do not. Even Arda-bound created beings seem to have a potential for total good; at least Aragorn and Elrond are never posited with negative personality traits or actions. So perhaps it is the very existence in Eä (encompassing everything but Eru) that provides the potential but not the destiny toward either good or evil.


Galadriel is not pure evil, as are Morgoth, Ungoliant and Morgoth's servants especially. Now, what you mean is that she is ambitious, maybe self-serving, has a powerlust, etc. Feanor, a prime example of such "evil" traits in the Elven world, is not PURE evil either.

So, about Galadriel, in the Silmarillion, it states that

But Finarfin spoke softly, as was his wont, and sought to calm the Noldor, persuading them to pause and ponder ere deeds were done that could not be undone; and Orodreth, alone of his sons, spoke in like manner. Finrod was with Turgon, his friend; but Galadriel, the only woman of the Noldor to stand that day tall and valiant among the contending princes, was eager to be gone. No oaths she swore, but the words of Fëanor concerning Middle-earth had kindled in her heart, for she yearned to see the wide unguarded lands and to rule there a realm at her own will. Of like mind with Galadriel was Fingon Fingolfin's son, being moved also by Fëanor’s words, though he loved him little; and with Fingon stood as they ever did Angrod and Aegnor, sons of Finarfin. But these held their peace and spoke not against their fathers.

Galadriel was present at the oath, and while she did not swear herself, she was of one mindset with Feanor. Galadriel shows no tendency towards allying with Morgoth or any evil powers of the like, she is simply a complex, ambitious, and very human character whose storyline is very interesting to follow throughout Tolkien's works.

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    I think you misunderstood the question: thegreatjedi isn't asking "is Galadriel evil", but rather "Is Galadriel tainted by original sin's Middle Earth equivalent?"
    – Martha
    Mar 2, 2016 at 22:02
  • Yea, I reread the question... it's a very strange question to ask. Deer Hunter's Comment answers the question well enough.
    – Hereami
    Mar 3, 2016 at 1:58

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