The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Acquired during Galadriel's young adulthood in Valinor, during the Years of the Trees
Race
Division
Family
Pronunciation
alata'riel
Meaning
'Maiden crowned with a garland of radiance' (referring to Galadriel's golden hair)
Other names
Titles

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About this entry:

  • Updated 16 February 2009
  • This entry is complete

Alatáriel

A name of Galadriel

The youngest child of Finarfin and Eärwen was given the name Artanis by her father, and later Nerwen by her mother. In adulthood, though, she acquired a new name - a so-called epessë - Alatáriel, from the Telerin1 for 'maiden crowned with a garland of radiance'. The name was a reference to her shimmering hair, that was said to shine with a radiant golden light.

When Alatáriel travelled to Middle-earth with the Exiles, she took a new name in the Sindarin language of Beleriand. That name was a translation of her Telerin epessë, and so she took what was to become the most famous of all her names: Galadriel.


Notes

1

The reasons for Galadriel originally being named in the Telerin language are complex. In the published Silmarillion, Galadriel's spouse Celeborn was a Sinda of Doriath, whom she met after she had arrived in Middle-earth. However, it seems to have been Tolkien's intention to change this, and make Celeborn originally a Teler of Aman, who gave her this name in his own tongue, and later accompanied her into exile.

This alternative account was never incorporated into the main Silmarillion tradition, but it's still possible to account for Galadriel's originally Telerin name. Her mother Eärwen was one of the Teleri, and because of this, it's said that the Telerin language was used in Finarfin's house. It's not hard, then, to imagine Alatáriel acquiring her name from some member of her father's household, and then carrying it across the Great Sea with her as the origin of Galadriel.

See also...

Altáriel, Galadriel

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