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
“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?”