Celeborn

Barbara Stoner
2 min readMar 10, 2024

Celeborn the Wise, husband of Galadriel, is given short shrift both in Tolkien’s original text and in Peter Jackson’s movie. Even worse, Marton Csokas’ Celeborn, of the movie, intones his line/s like a stone statue and appears about as interesting as a bowl of vanilla pudding. Moviedom’s version of “wise,” I suppose.

All of this has given rise to an industry of jokes concerning Celeborn, as some sort of ineffectual character eternally moving slowly in white robes. At the same time, both fans and students of Tolkien have been trying to piece together a story that explains why Galadriel, “proud, strong, and selfwilled” (Unfinished Tales), chooses him as a husband.

I was a bit unhappy with the jokes and general hilarity that ensued whenever someone proposed giving Celeborn a bit of action in the SilmFilm project and gave the matter some thought of my own.

To my way of thinking, Celeborn, the Wise, had to have come by that name naturally — that is, he had long before become known and trusted as one to give good, steadfast advice. Galadriel, proud, strong and selfwilled, might have needed such a friend in the early days of Middle Earth. Luckily, some of the folks who contribute to SilmFilm are coming around to my ideas as well.

I see Celeborn as Galadriel’s rock. As a steady presence in her life, someone she can turn to when she is troubled. She is, I think, much stronger than he in terms of what we like to call elven magic. She does wear one of the Elven rings of power, after all. And perhaps she is a fiercer warrior than he as well. But there are many places in her past, in the First Age, when they were both much younger and very much alive, where she may have been involved in questionable undertakings, made hard decisions, perhaps found herself losing her footing for a time.

Meeting Celeborn in Doriath (as many scholars of the matter seem to assume), he notices something is amiss with her. At least, this is what has been decided by the creators of SilmFilm. There is, at this point, a great discordance between two of the elven tribes, the Sindar and the Noldor. Celeborn is Sindar, Galadriel, Noldor. Nevertheless, he is able to come to her aid, to comfort her. She is drawn to his quiet strength, and when they are married, the marriage symbolizes a truce between two great peoples of Middle Earth which will serve everyone well in the struggles to come.

Galadriel’s story has been lately taken up by Amazon’s The Rings of Power, in which she makes reference to Celeborn as having long ago gone off to war. She has not, she says, seen him since. So there is hope among viewers that not only will the series resume, but that we will hear more of Celeborn in the future. I picture him with a winning smile and kind eyes. In the meantime, come to your own conclusions. Mine are that Galadriel did not choose a weak man or a foolish one. She chose Celeborn the Wise, and has depended on his quiet strength ever since.

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