Despite not being around for a very long time, Led Zeppelin was an incredibly popular rock band that was way ahead of its time and was able to produce some of the greatest rock hits of the 70s. Stairway to Heaven is, of course, one of the best songs that the band has ever released. But the thing about Stairway to Heaven is that it does have a lot of Tolkien or Lord of the Rings references, particularly Galadriel. So, is Stairway to Heaven about Galadriel?
It hasn’t been confirmed whether or not Stairway to Heaven is about The Lord of The Rings’ Galadriel but what we do know is that the band members of Led Zeppelin have continued to deny any connections between their music with JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and his other books.
The theory about Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven being about Galadriel or The Lord of the Rings, in general, has been around for a lot of years already and is one of the biggest internet theories when it comes to the fantasy genre. In that regard, we are here to look at the truth behind this theory and whether or not Stairway to Heaven really is about Galadriel.
Why Do Fans Think Stairway To Heaven Is About Galadriel?
It isn’t quite often that songs are all about fantasy fiction, especially because most songs are written about society and what’s trendy in culture. Nevertheless, the thing about Led Zeppelin was that this was a band that was seemingly ahead of its time when it broke out of the scenes in the 70s and was able to enjoy a massive rise in popularity when rock music was at the peak of its rise.
Even though Led Zeppelin was incredibly influential during its twelve-year run as one of the most popular bands of the 70s, it disbanded in 1980. Nevertheless, some of the songs of the band are still being played today because of how popular they are. In that regard, Led Zeppelin’s music stood the test of time long after the group disbanded. And one of the most popular songs that Led Zeppelin has ever produced is Stairway to Heaven.
Released in 1971, Stairway to Heaven became an instant hit among different fans of music, regardless of whether or not they may be fans of rock. Even now, this music is incredibly popular. But the thing about Stairway to Heaven is that, for a few years already, fans have been linking it with one of the most popular works of fiction ever written—The Lord of the Rings.
Published back in 1954 and written by JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings is still one of the biggest fantasy novels of all time as it was able to mix a lot of different elements of literature, religion, fantasy, and imaginativeness all into one package that is widely regarded as one of the most influential works of fiction of all time. And because of its influence, fans believe that it might have had a huge influence on the way that Led Zeppelin wrote its songs, especially considering that LOTR was still incredibly popular as a novel during the 60s and 70s.
One of the theories regarding Stairway to Heaven is that this song is about Aragorn and Arwen, who are two of the main characters in Tolkien’s LOTR novel. Of course, this doesn’t come as a surprise because it is widely believed that all of the members of Led Zeppelin were fans of Tolkien’s literary masterpieces. Nevertheless, it was only recently that fans began to link Stairway to Heaven to LOTR once more.
In a Reddit post, it was argued that the lyrics “There’s a lady whose sure all that glitters is gold” is referencing the poem that was written about Aragorn in LOTR. Meanwhile, there are also references to the western area that Frodo had to go to after he had completed his task. Of course, “buying the stairway” could pertain to the fact that Arwen chose to forsake her life as an immortal elf so that she could be with Aragorn, who is a mortal man.
Nevertheless, there is another theory that actually talks about how Stairway to Heaven isn’t a song that was inspired by Aragorn and Arwen in the books. Instead, this theory states that the song could be about Galadriel. And the reasons are quite compelling once you get to absorb what the lyrics mean in relation to Galadriel, who is one of the most important figures in the history of Middle Earth.
In the lyrics, Stairway to Heaven says:
“There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.”
While we all know that Arwen herself is quite beautiful, what we do know is that Galadriel has always been the elf that was described as the most beautiful ever seen in the history of Middle Earth because of her hair. It was always her hair that allowed her to stand out in terms of her beauty, as even Fëanor, the greatest elf that ever lived, was obsessed with Galadriel’s hair.
Galadriel’s hair was described to have captured the light of the Two Trees in Valinor due to how it shines like white light. In that regard, the lyrics “There walks a lady we all know who shines white light” could be describing Galadriel.
Meanwhile, ever since Galadriel got her hands on the Ring of Power called Nenya, she was able to enjoy a successful rule over Lothlórien, which became the greatest elven realm in Middle Earth. That’s because her ring allowed her land to grow bountifully. The effects of Nenya were quite evident as Lothlórien started losing its abundance and its people after Galadriel left Middle Earth to return to the Undying Lands.
In that regard, there are plenty of reasons to believe that Stairway to Heaven could be referencing Galadriel and some other characters found in the LOTR novel. And the arguments are quite compelling, especially if you absorb the lyrics and really try to link them with the things that you already know about The Lord of the Rings.
Is Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven About Galadriel?
While there are compelling pieces of evidence that could prove that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven could be about Galadriel, the final say is still left to the members of the band. So, did Led Zeppelin ever confirm the links between The Lord of the Rings and Stairway to Heaven?
It is worth noting that a Mailing List FAQ page (which no longer exists) set up by Led Zeppelin covers every question regarding Stairway to Heaven and JRR Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings. The website mentioned that there is no link between the book and the song. As such, the band has long been denying any links between its music to the book written by Tolkien.
Then, in 2003, the website TheOneRing.com once published an essay that equivocally made it clear that the band has denied any connection with Stairway to Heaven with The Lord of the Rings. There are also other articles and pages that deny the connection between the two, as it is quite clear that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven is neither about The Lord of the Rings nor Galadriel.
The only interesting aspect of this discussion is the fact that fans have always found a way to bring this topic up despite the fact that Led Zeppelin has already denied any connections. Any connections that fans were able to see could simply be coincidental in nature. Of course, only the band members would know the truth behind everything, as it is possible that they have denied the connections so that they won’t have to pay royalties to the Tolkien estate.