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In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power S01E01 "A Shadow of the Past", Elrond and Gil-galad had a conversation about Gil-galad not allowing Galadriel to continue her hunt for Sauron anymore:

Elrond: She has passed beyond my sight.
Galadriel was so certain her search should continue.
Gil-galad: We foresaw that if it had, she might have inadvertently kept alive the very evil she sought to defeat.
For the same wind that seeks to blow out a fire may also cause its spread.
Elrond: Then the shadow she sought... You believe it does exist?
Gil-galad: Set your mind at peace about it. What you did was right. For Galadriel and for Middle-earth.

What did Gil-galad mean by "[Galadriel] might have inadvertently kept alive the very evil she sought to defeat", were she allowed to continue her hunt for Sauron? How would Sauron "be kept alive" and his evil be "spread" by Galadriel's hunt for him?

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  • I assume he meant that the current 1000 year status quo of Sauron staying hidden was better than the inevitable war that would result if Galadriel actually found him
    – ibid
    Sep 6, 2022 at 8:14
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    Since this is all made up by the show, maybe Gil-Galad is actually working with Sauron, believing him reformed, so a Hater Galadriel might disrupt his reformation.
    – Shamshiel
    Sep 6, 2022 at 11:42
  • @Shamshiel - There's also a theory that they are using gil-galad to play the role that annatar does in the book, so as to keep the reveal a surprise.
    – ibid
    Sep 6, 2022 at 19:55
  • @Shamshiel Wasn't there a brief period immediately after the War of Wrath when Sauron was genuinely repentant? Oct 8, 2022 at 21:19
  • Not confident enough to make an actual answer about this, but didn't this prove to be prophetic? Maybe Sauron's rise would have happened anyways, but how the story played out, she's almost entirely responsible for pushing him into the thick of the plot.
    – Brendan
    Nov 14, 2022 at 16:42

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Without looking into anything magical, Gil-Galad starts to worry that Galadriel's obsession with finding Sauron might lead to a situation where she will start seeing evil everywhere.

Everyone believes that Sauron is gone, and there are proofs that the evil has been destroyed, yet one of the "Evil hunters" still believes that there is still something hidden. The next obvious conclusion for a such hunter (Galadriel) would be deciding that her leaders are wrong, or even on the side of evil and start her own rebellion, and since Galadriel (at least in Silmarillion) was one of the leaders of Noldor's rebellion, it could lead to serious political repercussions.

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    "You bring me the man, I'll find you the crime." Lavrentiy Beria, chief of the Soviet secret police. Look for evil and you'll find it, people would make things up against their neighbors just to save their skin. At some point she'd probably start torturing people for information, all in the name of justice and then her transformation to new Sauron would have been complete. Everybody is guilty of something, nobody is perfect.
    – jo1storm
    Sep 6, 2022 at 7:30
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    Gil-Galad would also have the very illustrative example of Feanor to look back on to tell him what happens when a powerful Noldor figure is swept away by an obsession.
    – tbrookside
    Sep 15, 2022 at 13:09

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