Galadriel stands next to the body of her brother, Finrod, in Episode 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The...

An Unexpected Journey

Galadriel’s best line in Rings of Power Episode 3 rewrites LOTR history

Who started the Great War? The answer is more complicated than you might think.

Prime Video

Galadriel has gone on quite the journey in the first three episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

The character, as played by Morfydd Clark, is an accomplished warrior who refuses to take even a moment’s break from her ongoing pursuit of Sauron. In Rings of Power Episode 3, her mission sends her to the island kingdom of Númenor, where she discovers several key pieces of information about Sauron’s mysterious plans for Middle-earth.

Before she secures the information she’s looking for, though, Galadriel is forced to announce her Elven heritage in front of a court of mortals. Later, she makes a comment about her family’s history to Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) which slightly oversimplifies one of the most complex conflicts in the history of Middle-earth.

The Great War and The Rings of Power

Galadriel’s brother, Finrod (Will Fletcher), fights against an army of Orcs in the opening prologue of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.Prime Video

Near the end of The Rings of Power’s third episode, Halbrand tells Galadriel that his family, who teamed up with the Dark Lord known as Morgoth, lost the Great War in the First Age. In response, Galadriel states, “And it was mine who started it.”

Her comment comes after her initial arrival in Númenor, which saw her defiantly announce herself to the kingdom’s citizens and rulers as “Galadriel of the Noldor,” “daughter of the Golden House of Finarfin,” and the “commander of the Northern Armies of High-king Gil-galad.” Combined, these remarks give Galadriel the chance to comment on her family’s history in a way that she really hasn’t been able to since the opening prologue of The Rings of Power’s premiere.

But did Galadriel’s family really start the war with Morgoth that defined the First Age of Middle-earth? The answer is, unsurprisingly, complicated.

Morgoth’s shadow looms large over the Two Trees of Valinor in the opening prologue of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.Prime Video

“Daughter of the House of Finarfin”

When discussing the history of Middle-earth, it should be stated that Morgoth had it out for the Elves from the moment they entered the world for the first time. After discovering the Elves, Morgoth (then known as Melkor) relentlessly intimidated, captured, and killed many of them. He later began to target one clan of Elves in particular: the Noldor. He sought to corrupt the Noldor by using their curiosity and arrogance against them.

It was during this time that Melkor began his feud with Fëanor, who was the son of the High King of the Noldor, the maker of three gems known as the Silmarils, and the half-brother of Galadriel’s father Finarfin. Not only did Melkor make his desire to possess the Silmarils known, but his interest in exploring and ruling over Middle-earth also spread throughout the Noldor. Later, Melkor made his greatest attack against the Elves up to that point when he destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor, killed Fëanor’s father, and stole the Silmarils for himself.

In response, Fëanor cursed Melkor with his new name, Morgoth, and convinced the Noldor to leave Valinor in order to wage a great war against Morgoth. Fëanor then led many of the Noldor out of Valinor. Once they arrived in Middle-earth, the war between the Elven clan and Morgoth officially began. It would last throughout the entirety of the First Age, which culminated in a cataclysmic conflict known as the War of Wrath.

The Noldor sail from Valinor to Middle-earth in Episode 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.Prime Video

The Inverse Analysis — Taking all of this into account, one could argue that Galadriel’s family did, in a way, start their war with Morgoth by leaving Valinor behind and pursuing the Dark Lord to Middle-earth. However, the Noldor likely wouldn’t have done that if Morgoth hadn’t killed one of their own and stolen the Silmarils, their most prized creations.

In other words, while Galadriel’s family members made a number of misguided decisions throughout the First Age, nearly all of which led to countless deaths, the blame for the conflict between the Elves and Morgoth still rests firmly at the feet of Middle-earth’s first Dark Lord.

New episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiere Fridays on Prime Video.