Galadriel was born before the start of the First Age, being one of the few who saw the Two Trees. Called Nerwen by her mother Eärwen and Artanis by her father Finarfin, she was extremely beautiful and very tall. In the Silmarillion (p. 61) it says,
“Galadriel, most beautiful of all the house of Finwë; her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin.”
But Laurelin was not protected from the destruction of Ungoliath, and Fëanor was not protected from pride and selfishness. Morgoth had been at work, and because of his lies he caused Fëanor to want to follow him to Middle Earth. To the Noldor Fëanor gave a powerful speech, convincing many to go with him. Though Galadriel did not trust Fëanor, she to wanted to leave for Middle Earth. In the Silmarillion (p. 90) we are told,
“But Galadriel, the only woman of the Noldor to stand that day tall and valiant among the contending princes, was eager to be gone. No oaths she swore, but the words of Fëanor concerning Middle Earth had kindled her heart.”
So, against the wishes of the Valar they decided to leave Valinor, forbidden from returning. But as Galadriel and her kin waited for Fëanor to send the ships back for them they realized they had been betrayed. Braving the harsh north Galadriel helped lead the remainder of her people across to Middle-earth. When they arrived there was a great fight between the two groups, and many were slain.
Galadriel from there went to live in Doriath, learning lore and wisdom from Melian, wife of Thingol. There she met Celeborn, the great nephew of Thingol, and married him. They moved several times before settling in Lothlórien, where they eventually became rulers. Over the years they had one daughter, Celebrian, who later married Elrond, the Lord of Rivendell.
In SA 1693 the elven smith Celebrimbor gave to her Nenya, the ring of water, which was one of the three. Throughout the Second and Third Ages she used her powers against evil, for she could see the mind of Sauron without revealing her own. At the end of the War of the Ring the Valar granted her permission to return to Valinor because of her constant hard work. There she was reunited with her daughter Celebrian, and later joined by Celeborn.
And so it was that Galadriel, the only leader of the revolt of the Noldor to survive the Wars of Beleriand, returned to Valinor.
– The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (FotR, TTT, & RotK)
– The Silmarillion
– Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle Earth*
* Please remember that the stories in this book are not meant for publication and many times do not agree with previously published ones.