The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

by

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Mirror of Galadriel Symbol Icon

The Mirror of Galadriel is a silver basin of water in Lothlórien that can show past, present, or future visions, symbolizing the ambiguous power that knowledge can offer. The Mirror can reveal information about a viewer’s specific desire for knowledge, or can be left to its own devices to show what it chooses. The mirror therefore holds some kind of agency as well as powerful magic. It is likely that Galadriel uses the mirror to scry news about the current events of Middle-earth, and to try to ascertain possible futures. However, viewers can never know whether to act on the knowledge that the Mirror reveals, as it may be a current truth or a possible future that will only play out through certain characters’ decisions. Those who can foresee the future can be driven to madness by the possibilities they view without knowing how to manage that information. When Frodo and Sam look in the Mirror, Galadriel’s repeated warnings that the hobbits must avoid touching the water signals the potential physical as well as psychological risks in using the Mirror.

The Mirror of Galadriel Quotes in The Fellowship of the Ring

The The Fellowship of the Ring quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Mirror of Galadriel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Fellowship of the Ring published in 1954.
Book 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

“Many things I can command the Mirror to reveal,” she answered, “and to some I can show what they desire to see. But the Mirror will also show things unbidden, and those are often stranger and more profitable than things which we wish to behold. What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work, I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be. But which is it that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell. Do you wish to look?”

Related Characters: Galadriel (speaker), Frodo Baggins, Samwise (Sam) Gamgee
Related Symbols: The Mirror of Galadriel
Page Number: 352
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
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The Mirror of Galadriel Symbol Timeline in The Fellowship of the Ring

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Mirror of Galadriel appears in The Fellowship of the Ring. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 7
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
...warning them not to touch the water. The two hobbits choose to look into the Mirror of Galadriel , and both see frightening scenes—Sam’s beloved home, family, and friends are in danger, while... (full context)