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  1. #1
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    Who is gandalf really ?

    gandalf

    is he really an elf ? a servant of yvanna ? his real name is olorin ?

    what he do before he was sent to ME ? and did he revert to his original form (elf form) ? is gandalf a he or a she ?

    Reading again FOTR and i find although gandalf got an old man's body, his strength is above ordinary man. recall that gandalf lead the moria party without sleep for days and then he fight the balrog for days with no sleep.. (iirc the balrog is well rested and fed so the match is a bit unfair)..

    so gandalf's old man form is just a deception ? even in human form he is stronger than every man in ME ?

    what happen to other istari like ragadhast and saruman ? did they forgot their original body ? i thought maiar elf body is better than human old man body.. did raghadast live forever in his human body ? or he is recalled to valinor at some time in the future ?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Maiar are NOT elves... They were lesser Ainur (think angels in our theology).

    The Ainur were the first created beings made by Iluvatar. We would think of them as angels. The Maiar were lesser ones.. the servants of the greater ones. Gandalf (Olorin) was a Maiar, as were the other Istari or wizards.

    Saruman was of course destroyed at the end of The Return of the King and his spirit evaporated. We are not told what happened to Radagast, but I would presume since he became so "bonded" with the creatures of Middle Earth he simply stayed, and perhaps faded away over time.
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  3. #3

    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    The best material on this question is in "Unfinished Tales" but even there it's not 100% clear. Olorin was a Maiar of the following of Nienna and was sent with the other four wizards to help the fight against Sauron, not through direct intervention but more as counselors and guides.

    Nienna was one of the Queens of the Valar, the lady of "grief and compassion". Her role was one of bringing peace of mind and bodily rest to the grief-stricken, qualities very evident in Gandalf the Grey.

    Before he came to Middle-earth he would have been residing in Valinor with the rest of the Valar/Maiar. Could he have reverted to his Maiar form ? I'm sure he could anytime but, similar to Sauron having to slowly create a new form, he likely would not be able to zap back into good old Gandalf. That "container" would have been destroyed when his spirit left it. After returning to Valinor at the end of the books ? He might have assumed his true Maiar form but he had Bilbo and Frodo with him so he might have waited a bit or at least ushered them into it with care.

    He or she ? All of the Valar and Maiar seem to have a gender to them even if it's not for biological and reproductive reasons so I would say yes, he is a "male" spirit.

    Gandalf is stronger in that he has this inner strength of his Maiar form that you can't see. He can't normally lift 10 Tons, make flying leaps or otherwise act like some sort of superman. When it came to the Balrog fight Gandalf had to reveal and use his full might. I don't think this violated the "no-direct interference" policy as this was an issue of Maiar vs. renegade Maiar left over from the 1st Age and was a wild card that couldn't be left in play. Don't forget Gandalf was also very concerned about Smaug as that could also have been another weapon of Sauron.

    "BOOK SPOILERS !!!!!!" If you haven't finished the book stop reading now.... you have been warned !!! ........

    Sauruman's human form was slain by Wormtongue and the book talks about his spirit rising up, looking to go West, and being dissipated into the East similar to how Sauron sort of blew away into nothingness. I interpreted that as the Valar sending a gust of wind, you're not coming this way, sort of rejection. We don't know what eventually happens to Radagast or the other two wizards. They might have stayed in which case I would assume they could keep their human form as long as they wished. They might have been included in the fading away of the Elves and Dwarves in the Age of Men. They might have returned eventually perhaps as the fading really took charge. In one of his letters Tolkien suggests that the wizards could return to Valinor at any time without need of transport (elf-ships).
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  4. Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DPRIJADI1 View Post
    gandalf

    is he really an elf ? a servant of yvanna ? his real name is olorin ?
    He was a servent of Manwe, named Olorin. The easiest way for most people to understand what Gandalf is, is to think of him as an angelic spirit, like in the Bible.

    what he do before he was sent to ME ? and did he revert to his original form (elf form) ? is gandalf a he or a she ?
    He mostly walked around without a physical shape, giving visions to Elves when they needed it (hence his name, Olorin, which translates to "Dreams").

    so gandalf's old man form is just a deception ? even in human form he is stronger than every man in ME ?
    No, not a deception. I'm not sure why the Wizards were forced to appear like old men, but it was probably to represent their purposes in being ADVISORS not FIGHTERS, unless they absolutely have to.

    what happen to other istari like ragadhast and saruman ? did they forgot their original body ? i thought maiar elf body is better than human old man body.. did raghadast live forever in his human body ? or he is recalled to valinor at some time in the future ?
    Saruman "died" and can no longer take physical form. Nothing is said about the ultimate fate of Radagast, although he never became evil.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DPRIJADI1 View Post
    gandalf

    is he really an elf ?
    Well, I think everyone else has already done an excellent job at explaining that Gandalf is really a Maia* of Manwë and the appearance of old men is a ruse taken up by the Istari (the 5 wizard emissaries sent to Middle-earth).


    * Note: Gandalf is a Maia, not "a Maiar". Maia is singular; Maiar is plural.



    I think, however, that your confusion over whether or not Gandalf was an elf is an issue tied to the meaning of his name. Gandalf's true name was Olórin, though he was called many things throughout Middle-earth. His list of names includes:




    As a Maia in Aman

    Olórin - (from the Quenya word olori, meaning "dreams")
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia of Arda
    'Dreams' is really an inadequate translation of olori, but there is nothing in English that comes close to this concept. To the Elves, memory and imagination presented a mental image that had the clarity of reality - it is to these clear perceptions that the word olori actually refers.





    To the Men of the North


    Gandalf - ("Wand-elf" - from Old Norse gandr, a magical staff, and álfr, an elf)







    In Southern Middle-earth (Gondor/Near Harad)

    Incánus - (most probably "mind-ruler" from Quenya in(id), mind, and cáno, governor [ruler])
    Quote Originally Posted by Encyclopedia of Arda
    The meaning of Incánus is a question that Tolkien addressed differently at different times. Its ultimate origin seems to have been the Latin word incánus, meaning 'grey', or 'grey-haired'. Latin being rather inappropriate to Middle-earth, Tolkien reinterpreted it variously as a Westron word meaning 'Greymantle', or as an Elvish name, suggesting both 'north spy' and 'mind ruler' as possible meanings. This last, from in(id) 'mind' and kan- 'ruler, seems to have been his preference, though it is difficult to state this with certainty.


    To the Elves (Sindar)

    Mithrandir - ("Grey Pilgrim" or "Grey Wanderer" from Sindarin mith, grey, and randir, pilgrim or wanderer)




    To the Dwarves

    Tharkûn - (said to mean "Staff-man" in Khuzdul; could also perhaps be interpreted as "bowed over" [a punning reference to old age], from Sindarin thar, over, and cûn, bowed or bent)




    In Rohan

    Gandalf Greyhame - (From the Rohirrim meaning "Greymantle" or "Greycloak")


    By Théoden:

    Gandalf Stormcrow - (A reference to Gandalf being a harbinger of ill tidings and times of trouble)


    By Wormtongue:

    Láthspell
    - ("ill news" from Old English láð, "causing hate, evil, injury" and spell, "story, message")




    Other Titles

    The Grey - (Title referring to Gandalf's original robe color)

    The White - (Title referring to the color of Gandalf's robes in his resurrected state)

    The White Rider - (Title referring to Gandalf riding on Shadowfaw, used in opposition to the Nine 'Black Riders')

    Elf of the Wand - (A title taken from the meaning of the name 'Gandalf')




    Most of this information can be attested to by Faramir:
    Quote Originally Posted by The Two Towers, Ch. 5: The Window on the West
    'Mithrandir we called him in elf-fashion,' said Faramir, 'and he was content. Many are my names in many countries , he said. Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the Dwarves; Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Incánus, in the North Gandalf; to the East I go not. '
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  6. #6
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten
    did gandalf, saruman and ragadhast forgot their own past when they arrived in middle earth ?
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  7. #7
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DPRIJADI1 View Post
    did gandalf, saruman and ragadhast forgot their own past when they arrived in middle earth ?
    No, how else would he have known that his name was Olórin? The phrase "the West that is forgotten" is probably nothing more than a poetic gloss on Aman having been removed from the Circles of the World. Obviously, only the Calaquendi (High/Light elves) and Maiar would have ever been to Aman, thus for all intents and purposes it was forgotten.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DPRIJADI1 View Post
    did gandalf, saruman and ragadhast forgot their own past when they arrived in middle earth ?
    They didn't forget their past, but it wasn't like something that happened the day before. Reddhawk, ever able, answered your question, but here's some more:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Unfinished Tales: The Istari
    For it is said indeed that being embodied the Istari had need to learn much anew by slow experience, and though they knew whence they came the memory of the Blessed Realm was to them a vision from afar off, for which (so long as they remained true to their mission) they yearned exceedingly.
    Edit: After rereading DPRIJADI1's original post - He was not really attached to any of the Valar, but...:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Silmarillion - Valaquenta: Of the Maiar
    Wisest among the Maiar was Olórin. He too dwelt in Lórien (note: in Aman, not Middle-earth), but his ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience.
    Last edited by Souhei23; Jun 08 2009 at 08:15 AM.
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  9. #9

    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Actually, I'm going to answer the "who is Gandalf" and "who is Tom Bombodil" questions at the same time.

    Gandalf is Tom. Tom is Gandalf. Have you ever seen the two of them in the same place at the same time (think Superman/Clark Kent or Batman/Bruce Wayne)? No, you haven't, and neither has anyone else. That's because they are the same person pretending to be two different people. I rest my case.

  10. #10
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post
    Actually, I'm going to answer the "who is Gandalf" and "who is Tom Bombodil" questions at the same time.

    Gandalf is Tom. Tom is Gandalf. Have you ever seen the two of them in the same place at the same time (think Superman/Clark Kent or Batman/Bruce Wayne)? No, you haven't, and neither has anyone else. That's because they are the same person pretending to be two different people. I rest my case.
    In response:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - "Homeward Bound"
    'But if you would know, I am turning aside soon. I am going to have a long talk with Bombadil; such a talk as I have not had in all my time. He is a moss-gatherer, and I have been a stone doomed to rolling. But my rolling days are ending, and now we shall have much to say to one another.'
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  11. #11

    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Souhei23 View Post
    In response:
    That's what he said, but did anyone actually see them together? Hmmm?

  12. #12
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Lol I just pictured Gandalf doing a a ventriloquist routine in the middle of the Old Forest...
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  13. #13
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Tom Gandagothmog. I mean, duh.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by BIGeyedBUG View Post
    Tom Gandagothmog. I mean, duh.
    So, the plot thickens. Curious and curiouser!
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  15. #15

    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post
    Actually, I'm going to answer the "who is Gandalf" and "who is Tom Bombodil" questions at the same time.

    Gandalf is Tom. Tom is Gandalf. Have you ever seen the two of them in the same place at the same time (think Superman/Clark Kent or Batman/Bruce Wayne)? No, you haven't, and neither has anyone else. That's because they are the same person pretending to be two different people. I rest my case.
    pfffffft. tom isn't Gandalf!! he's the witch king! ever notice in book 1 chapter 11 how the witch king goes in but when YOU go in all you see is sambrog and tom?!?!?
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  16. #16
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by EnmityofTomatoes View Post
    pfffffft. tom isn't Gandalf!! he's the witch king!
    Hey dol! merry dol! It's a Ring of Power!
    Hold it tight! Then take flight! On to Sauron's tower!
    Witch-king, evil wraith, it's my shining hour!

    Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My halfling!
    Far sees the Master's Eye, can you hear His laughing?
    Far beyond the mountains, atop the soaring heights,
    Gazing over everything for a precious sight,
    There the Black Master is, Morgoth's favored servant,
    Darker than the darkest night, and his wrath is fervent.
    Old Lord of Nazgûl Ring of Power bringing
    Comes riding home again. Can you hear him singing?
    Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! and right-o,
    Gorthaur, Gorthaur, blacker than the night-o!
    Poor old Middle-earth, your merry days are past!
    The Witch-king must hurry now. The Night shall come at last.
    The Witch-king rides home again Ring of Power bringing.
    Hey! come derry dol! Can you hear me singing?

    Hop along, my little foes, on up to Barad-dûr!
    Witch-king's coming right behind just to make it sure.
    Down west sinks the Sun: never to be rising.
    When his great Shadow comes, you'll be a-realizing,
    Out from the blackened lands orcs will spill His malice.
    Hear now City White! Down will come the palace!
    Stray never off the road! Witch-king rides behind you.
    Hey now! merry dol! He'll be waiting for you!

    Hey! Come derry dol! Come along, little friends!
    Hobbits! Ponies all! Come meet your bitter ends.
    Now let His rule begin! Let us reign forever!

    Now let His rule begin! Let us reign forever
    And sing of our Black Land, where wraiths on fell-beasts fly,
    Night and the coming gale, dark upon the sky,
    His will reaching wider, our time drawing nigh,
    Come now my hobbit lads, move a little faster:
    Old Lord of Nazgûl and his Dark Lord master!
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  17. #17
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post
    That's what he said, but did anyone actually see them together? Hmmm?
    No, but I think it was Gandalf that said that the One Ring would have no affect on Tom, because he cared little for such things. But he told Frodo that with the One Ring, He, Gandalf, would usurp Sauron, then become evil because of the ring and become worse the Sauron. How on earth could he be immune to the ring and not immune to it at the same time?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reddhawk View Post
    *snip* *tom singing* *snip*
    That was the most epic Tom song ever...

    Last edited by sir-rinthian; Jun 08 2009 at 07:04 PM.
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  18. #18

    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reddhawk View Post
    Hey dol! merry dol! It's a Ring of Power!
    Hold it tight! Then take flight! On to Sauron's tower!
    Witch-king, evil wraith, it's my shining hour!
    ........
    nicely done, I think the professor would be officially shocked and (hopefully) privately amused.
    [FONT=Trebuchet MS]"You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81


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  19. #19
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    Quote Originally Posted by EnmityofTomatoes View Post
    pfffffft. tom isn't Gandalf!! he's the witch king! ever notice in book 1 chapter 11 how the witch king goes in but when YOU go in all you see is sambrog and tom?!?!?
    i think you are wrong. when frodo and his friends are guest in Tom's house, gandalf is imprisoned at orthanc. so they cant be the same person.

    this got me thinking, even if tom cannot be trusted with the ring, he will make a fine addition to the original felowship.. i bet tom + gandalf can beat anything in their path.. tom's power over undead can help aragorn in path of the dead too
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  20. #20
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    Re: Who is gandalf really ?

    yeah, but getting Tom to actually do anything is kind of like trying to get a bunch of severely ADD cats to march in step past a tinsel factory run by small rodents on tuna casserole day in the cafeteria.

 

 

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