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Gandalf

gandalfPlayed by **IAN MCKELLEN (Rumored)**

In regards to physical description and attributes, Gandalf is described as the last of the wizards to appear in Middle-earth, one who: “seemed the least, less tall than the others, and in looks more aged, grey-haired and grey-clad, and leaning on a staff”. Yet the Elf Círdan, who met him on arrival, nevertheless considered him “the greatest spirit and the wisest” and gave him the elven Ring of power called Narya, the Ring of Fire, containing a “red” stone for his aid and comfort.

Gandalf the Grey was the last of the Istari to arrive in Middle-earth, landing in Mithlond. He seemed the oldest and least in stature of them, but Círdan the Shipwright felt that he had the highest inner greatness on their first meeting in the Havens, and gave him Narya, the Ring of Fire. Saruman learned of the gift and resented it. Gandalf hid the ring well, and it was not widely known until he left with the other ring-bearers at the end of the Third Age that he, and not Círdan, was the holder of the third of the Elven-rings.

Gandalf’s relationship with Saruman, the head of the Order, was strained. The Wizards were commanded to aid Men, Elves, and Dwarves, but only through counsel; it was forbidden to use force to dominate them — an injunction Saruman disregarded.

In The Hobbit, Gandalf is the mastermind behind leading the dwarves to Bilbo’s house to incentivize him to join the group.  During early stages of their journey to find the treasure, many murmured against Bilbo, thinking he was a hindrance more than a help.  Gandalf always supported Bilbo (even when Bilbo didn’t even support himself) saying the time will be soon when they will all realize his greatness.

In The Hobbit, Gandalf is referred to as Gandalf the Grey, which signifies his “lesser wizard” status compared “the White” wizards.  In due time, Gandalf is indeed upgraded to Gandalf the White, however this transformation takes place in his journey during The Lord of the Rings.

During their journey to find the treasure, Gandalf leaves the company before they enter Mirkwood, saying that he has pressing business to attend to. He turned up again, however, before the walls of Erebor disguised as an old man, revealing himself when it seemed the Men of Esgaroth and the Elves of Mirkwood would fight Thorin and the Dwarves over Smaug’s treasure. The Battle of the Five Armies ensued when hosts of Goblins and Wargs attacked all three parties. After the battle, Gandalf accompanied Bilbo back to the Shire, revealing at Rivendell what his pressing business had been: Gandalf had once again urged the Council to evict Sauron, since quite evidently Sauron did not require the Ring to continue to attract evil to Mirkwood. Then, in an event only briefly described (in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings), the Council “put forth its power” and drove Sauron from Dol Guldur. Sauron, however, had anticipated this and withdrew as a feint, only to reappear in Mordor.

Throughout all of Tolkien’s novels, Gandalf is seen as a great mediator.  In most journeys, he comes and goes as he pleases, and seems to show up at very critical times when evil is about to conquer good.  He has great power and wisdom, but shields it well with his humility.  Gandalf is truly one of the most beloved characters of Tolkien’s collection.