Like Theo, that rambunctious Middle-earth scamp, a lot of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power viewers are a little taken aback from one key revelation in episode 7 of the Amazon series: Galadriel has a husband? Like a real, exchanged vows, signed the papers, emergency contact of a spouse?
You can be forgiven for not knowing about his existence, or even knowing that he’d be around (somewhere, like so many people in Rings of Power’s narrative) during the events of the show. Celeborn doesn’t do much in J.R.R. Tolkien’s history. He’s a character who is so boring that Tolkien basically forgot to write him.
Galadriel met him after she left Valinor; they fell in love, got married, and stayed the hell out of drama for the entire First Age. There’s no canonical basis for him going to war — mostly he and Galadriel just traveled around leading different groups of elves and eventually settled in Lothlórien until after the War of the Ring.
That’s it! That’s the whole bit of his lore. And while it’s absolutely possible that The Rings of Power might bring Celeborn on screen to be more of a character, Polygon is simply not content to let him exist as an enigma. He deserves to be known for what he is — Mr. Galadriel — and also some goofy ideas about how he earned the moniker.
Celeborn is just some guy
Later in life Tolkien experimented with a big retcon that would have made Celeborn into a Noldorin elf like Galadriel — another shiny high elf born in heaven. But I like Celeborn’s origins as they made it into The Silmarillion: He’s just some wood elf (OK, he’s related to some important people or whatever) that Galadriel decided was hers now. He never does anything in canon, except the occasional diplomatic mission outside of Lothlórien. In modern times he’s perhaps most memorable as the guy who says, “Tell me, where is Gandalf, for I much desire to speak with him,” in the “They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard” viral video.
I just like the idea that Galadriel looked at some hick wood elf and made him her useless trophy husband. —Susana Polo
Celeborn’s a hardworking elf who changed the game
You know the reason we don’t see Celeborn in The Rings of Power? Because he’s a self-made man, a rich guy who’s off living life after making his money the old-fashioned way: inventing tree houses. The Keebler elves? They owe their whole business to this guy.
So while his wife is off on her passion project (stopping the dark lord and his promised armageddon), he’s off donating to charitable elven causes, waiting for his wife to come home so he can continue to support her in all her endeavors and start their elf family someday like the dutiful, loaded, off-screen husband he is. He’s not as powerful as his wife, but he has other uses. This is Middle-earth’s Army Wives and he is Sterling K. Brown, is what I’m saying. —Zosha Millman
Celeborn is actually the dark lord Sauron himself, why not
Galadriel’s husband grew up a great craftsman and an elf of virtue, with a great love for the perfect things in life. Unfortunately, he was led down a path of darkness and corruption, leading him to betray Valar in service of Morgoth.
That’s right — Galadriel’s husband is Sauron. Pretty twisted, isn’t it??? That’s two mysteries solved in one. I await my check, Amazon. —Pete Volk
Celeborn’s a party animal who loves to call himself “Tom Bombadil”
I’m not saying Celeborn has a problem, I’m just saying he really loves appletinis and when he has a few too many appletinis he really loves to put on a big blue hat and dance around on bartops. I don’t blame him or Galadriel — it was really fun shtick in college. And I don’t blame Galadriel for going off and doing her own thing, either. She has priorities. Celeborn can fuck about with his “Hey dol! Merry dol!” chants. My understanding is that by the Third Age he shacked up with one of his regular drinking buddies, Goldberry, and sure, the heart knows what it wants, but maybe if he had some limits he and Galadriel would still be together. —Matt Patches