Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Last Temptation of Galadriel

From Alas, Not Me:
We can see here how, at least in Boromir's mind, testing and tempting are two faces of the same coin, differentiated by the good purpose of the one and the ill purpose of the other. Other evidence shows us that Tolkien himself saw testing and tempting as synonymous. Later in this same chapter, when Frodo freely offers Galadriel the Ring, she refuses it and all that accepting it would have entailed. Having done so, she famously comments: 'I pass the test' (FR 2.vii.365-66). In three separate letters, moreover, the only three which mention this moment, Tolkien refers to it each time as the 'temptation' of Galadriel (nos. 210, 246, and 297n.). We may also see in another letter in which Tolkien discussed the 'tests' that 'angelic' beings in the material world were liable to face experiences that he might have equally well have called 'temptations' (Letter no. 156).[1] So the temptation to claim, or take, or use such power as the Ring offered is not itself the whole of temptation. There is more to it than that. (Read more.)

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