Haggard’s Ayesha and Tolkien’s Galadreil
In H. Rider Haggard’s She, we first meet with a cruel and ruthless queen bent on ruling the world through fear and dominance. When we are introduced to She-who-must-be-obeyed, this queen is the ruler of the lost Kingdom of Kôr hidden within the interior of Africa whose subjects do not know much about her. In the character of Galadreil, we are given similar character, who is queen over Caras Galadhon, located within the woods of Lothlórien, a kingdom that has been closed to outsiders. Galadreil is said to be a sorceress, and is at first feared by the Fellowship of the Ring prior to her helping them on their quest. The essence of Ayesha is felt in Galadreil, but where Haggard’s character was cruel and greedy and died because of these faults, Tolkien’s character is able to rise above her greed.
Haggard’s She, or Ayesha, is described as having with long flowing locks of hair and is so beautiful that any man who looks at her is enchanted. Ayesha even says to Holly that her beauty surpasses that of Helen of Troy. More than this, her subjects regard her as a sorceress due to her vast amount of knowledge of Chemistry that she uses to help support this myth. As a way to keep outsiders from entering her kingdom, she has her subjects on the outskirts of her empire eat those who trespass. Within Kôr, Ayesha keeps servants that are deaf, mute, and dumb.
Galadreil is very similar in description to Ayesha – a woman whose beauty is unsurpassed by any other race throughout Middle-Earth. Ayesha’s magical powers come from authentic science. However, Galadreil is an actual sorceress whose magical abilities are increased by a Ring of Power that were handed out by Sauron in attempt to rule Middle-Earth. But it did not have the desired effect upon the elves. Galadreil is able to use her ring to protect not only Caras Galadhon, but the entire Lothlórien woods as well from the forces of darkness.
Both Ayesha and Galadreil posses a reflecting pool that allows them to see events. The one Ayesha has allows her to see the happenings within her kingdom as well as things that have passed through memories of other people. Ayesha shows this to Holly, allowing him to view things from his past. Galadriel’s reflecting pool allows her to see any event that has passed, is occurring, and things that might be. Galadriel brings Frodo to her reflecting pool, showing him the past and future and ending with the Eye of Sauron searching for Frodo.
In She, Ayesha notices that Holly is wearing a ring that belongs to Leo. Recognizing the scarab that used to belong to her lover she goes into a fit of rage to see Holly wearing it, but soon calms down when Holly explains that he picked it up. Galadreil is offered the One Ring by Frodo and almost accepts. She says that “instead of a dark king, you would have a dark queen.” This is the ring calling out to her because it wants to be found.
But this is only a test, one that Galadreil knew was coming and was unsure if she would pass by not taking the ring, or fail by accepting it from Frodo and dooming all of Middle-Earth. Galadreil refuses the ring and thus passes. Ayesha had a similar test, in trying to convince Leo and Holly to accept the pillar of fire giving them near immortality. To show the two men what would happen, Ayesha steps into the flames, saying that it would increase her wisdom and beauty even more. But because she has already experienced it once and gained the benefits from it, the flames reverse what Ayesha has been given. She then begins to age and die because of her greed she fails her test.
“Galadriel.” Wikipedia. N.p., 02 Dec 2013. Web. 8 Dec 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galadriel>.
Haggard, H. Rider . She. Penguin Group, 2001. print.
“She: A History of Adventure.” Wikipedia. N.p., 28 Novemeber 2013. Web. 8 Dec 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She:_A_History_of_Adventure>.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. New York: Ballantine Books, 1965. Print.