From what we’ve seen so far in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Galadriel is an incredibly strong and powerful warrior that is capable of a lot of different things that Men and other Elves are not capable of. She is also powerful enough to stand against some of the strongest beings in the entire storyline, as we’ve also seen her having the power to defeat a weakened Sauron in The Hobbit. So, does that mean that Galadriel is a Maia?
Galadriel is not one of the Maiar. The Maiar are divine spirits that are given physical forms whenever they go to Middle-Earth, as was the case for Sauron and the Wizards. However, Galadriel was born an Elf and has always been an Elf. She is only stronger than most characters because of her bloodline.
It is easy to think that Galadriel is one of the Maiar due to her strength and power. But the fact is that she is actually just an Elf that was born one of the strongest Elves of all time. On the other hand, the Maiar are entirely different beings that are second only to the Valar in terms of their power. In that regard, let’s look at why Galadriel isn’t a Maia and why she is so strong.
Is Galadriel A Maia?
From what we’ve seen so far in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Galadriel is one of the strongest warriors and is quite powerful to the point that she is able to do a lot of incredible things. She swam for a very long time in the middle of the open sea just to get back to Middle-Earth. Meanwhile, in Númenor, Galadriel defeated several strong swordsmen all at the same time. And then, in the battle against the Orcs of Adar, her effort was minimal at best, and she was able to make the horse run faster so that she could keep up with the master of the Uruks.
Of course, we’ve also seen Galadriel performing amazing feats during the events of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel showcased what she could have been had she possessed the One Ring, as it was clear that she was incredibly dark and powerful if she were to fall to its temptation. Then, during the events of The Hobbit, she was able to banish a weakened Sauron back to Mordor when he took the form of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur.
In short, Galadriel is not only a strong warrior but is also a powerful Elf that’s capable of magic that’s on par with some of the strongest entities we’ve seen in any of the LOTR movies. When it comes to some of the most powerful, the ones who have showcased their incredible prowess are the Maiar, as we’ve never seen the Valar in action in any of the movies or shows. So, does that mean that Galadriel is a Maia as well?
Take note that, unlike the Children of Ilúvatar, who are physical beings that have flesh and blood, the Maiar are part of a race of beings called the Ainur, which are divine beings that are simply spirits and do not take physical form unless they have to do so. The Ainur is a blanket term that includes both the Valar and the Maiar. Among the Ainur, the Valar are the strongest, but the Maiar are not far behind them as they are simply second to them in terms of their power.
Some of the examples of Maiar include the Five Wizards and Sauron himself. The Wizards were able to take form on Middle-Earth when they were ordered by the Valar to aid the Children of Ilúvatar against Sauron. Meanwhile, Sauron himself is said to be the strongest of the Maiar, just as his master, Morgoth, was the strongest among the Valar. Even the Balrogs are actually Maiar that were corrupted by Morgoth and were turned into creatures that are basically made out of flames.
Again, the Maiar are spirits in their most basic forms. They do not possess physical forms unless there is a need for them to assume such forms, as in the case of the Wizards. And even when their physical forms are destroyed, their original spiritual forms still exist as the Ainur are not capable of death.
With all that said, Galadriel is not a Maia because she was born an Elf and was always an Elf. She was always a physical being that did not originate from a divine spirit when she was born. On top of that, the Maiar are not born. They were created by Eru Ilúvatar through his thoughts, as he needed them to give life to the universe through the Music of the Ainur.
So, as established, Galadriel cannot be a Maia because she was never created by Eru Ilúvatar as an Ainur. Instead, she was born as an Elf, which is one of the Children of Ilúvatar. But because Elves are immortal and are allowed to stay in Valinor, Galadriel is one of the beings that are quite close to the Maia in terms of their strength and power.
Where Does Galadriel’s Powers Come From?
We mentioned that Galadriel is not a Maia but is actually an Elf, a powerful one at that. So, if she isn’t one of the Maiar, why is it that she is so powerful that she could actually stand up to the Maia and even do things that other Elves are not capable of?
Galadriel’s power comes from a combination of bloodline and her giftedness as one of the Elves that were blessed by Ilúvatar to have amazing gifts. In that regard, those qualities made her one of the strongest beings in the history of Middle-Earth.
In terms of her bloodline, Galadriel was born the daughter of Finarfin, who was the High King of the Ñoldor. Meanwhile, Galadriel’s grandmother was the sister of the High King of the Vanyar Elves. On top of that, Galadriel’s other grandfather was the king of the Teleri Elves and the brother of the Sindar Elves. That means that her bloodline contains the genes of some of the strongest Elves in history.
Genetics played a huge role in her abilities, as Galadriel’s own mother often called her “Man-Maiden” due to the fact that she could overpower most other Elves in Valinor while she was growing up. She was also one of the tallest and most athletic Elves born in Valinor during her time there.
In JRR Tolkien’s writings, Galadriel was also given by Eru Ilúvatar hair that was as bright as the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. She was also the only Elf that could see into the hearts of other people and read their thoughts based on their feelings, as that was what she did when she met Frodo and Boromir when they were guests of Lothlórien during the events of The Fellowship of the Ring.
There is also the fact that Galadriel was born in Valinor. This allowed her to learn a lot of things from some of the greatest Elves that lived and stayed in Valinor, even during Morgoth’s reign of terror in Middle-Earth. And staying in Valinor also allowed her to mingle with the Valar and the Maiar, who are the strongest entities in the history of JRR Tolkien’s writings.