Tolkien Gateway

Phial of Galadriel

The Phial of Galadriel by John Howe
"‘And you, Ring-bearer,’ she said, turning to Frodo. ‘I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this.’ She held up a small crystal phial: it glittered as she moved it, and rays of white light sprang from her hand. ‘In this phial,’ she said, ‘is caught the light of Eärendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.’"
The Fellowship of the Ring, "Farewell to Lórien"

The Phial of Galadriel, or Star-glass, was the gift that Galadriel bestowed to Frodo Baggins.


[edit] History

Galadriel by Tim Kirk

Galadriel gave Frodo this gift upon the Fellowship's departure from Lothlórien.[1] It would stay among his possessions unused until reaching the edge of Mordor.

As Frodo, Sam and Gollum approached the Stairs of Cirith Ungol, Frodo saw a great mass of cavalrymen led by the Lord of the Nazgûl. When the Witch-king stopped, Frodo feared they had been spotted; against his will, Frodo moves his hand towards the ring. Instead, he touched the Phial - which he had forgotten - and the Witch-king continued on his way.[2]

Both Frodo and Samwise Gamgee used the phial to fend off the attacks of Shelob, and escape her lair on the borders of Mordor.[3] Sam later used it to overcome the will of the Two Watchers at the Tower of Cirith Ungol.[4] Sam also attempted to use the light in the Crack of Doom but the light from the glass faded because they were in the heart of Sauron's domain.[5]

When Gollum led Frodo and Sam into Shelob's Lair, Frodo exclaimed in Quenya, "Aiya Eärendil elenion ancalima!",[3] translating as "Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!". This is in reference to the light of the star of Eärendil, the Silmaril he wore upon his brow, the brightest star in the sky.[6] It was the light of this star which is trapped within the Star-glass.[1]

Upon Frodo's departure from Middle-earth, the light from the phial faded as it reached the shores of Eldamar.[7]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

[edit] Films

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

The Phial is absent as Galadriel does not give any gifts to the Fellowship.

1980: The Return of the King (1980 film):

The Phial is found by Sam in Frodo's cloak and is used to pass the Watchers' barrier in Cirith Ungol. Its origins are never touched on in the film. Frodo identifies it as the Phial of Galadriel, but refuses to say anymore about where he acquired it.

2001-03: The Lord of the Rings (film series):

The Phial is given to Frodo by Galadriel in the first film. It reappears in Return of the King, used by Frodo to ward off Shelob although he drops it in his escape. It is retrieved by Sam and wielded in his battle against Shelob.
Gifts of Galadriel
Andúril's sheath · Elfstone · Boromir's belt · Merry and Pippin's belts · Sam's garden box · Hair of Galadriel · Bow of the Galadhrim · Phial of Galadriel


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Farewell to Lórien"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Shelob's Lair"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Grey Havens"