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In the Lord of The Rings trilogy, does anyone know how old Gandalf is? I remember reading that Gandalf was much older than he looked. Do the books ever say how old he is ?

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Can you be more specific? Gandalf is a maia so he has existed since before the world, he aided in the creation of the world, actually, so are you asking how old is he or how long has he been in middle earth? –  IamVeryCuriousIndeed Jun 9 '14 at 4:27
google.com.au/… –  Mooz Jun 9 '14 at 21:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 32 down vote accepted

Gandalf is Maia (Spirit), created before the Years of the Lamps roughly 9,000+ years before arriving on Middle Earth. In Valinor he was known as Olórin. He was sent to Middle-Earth in human form around the year 1000 in the Third Age. That's more than 2000 years before the setting of The Lord of the Rings, to help the free peoples fight the evil of Sauron.

Gandalf walked Middle Earth for approximately 2,019 years, un-aging and appearing as a grey bearded human of about 60 years old or so. He was around long before Middle earth was created and before the Years of the Lamps. He, Saruman and Sauron are approximately the same age - give or take. It's difficult to pin down his true age because time had little relevance before the Lamps were set in place. 11,000 years old is a minimum figure. He's likely much older.


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I'd love to see how much he has stashed in his 401k. –  helrich Jun 9 '14 at 13:40
Just a tiny nitpick: he is a Maia, this is a singular form. "Maiar" is plural. –  Bobby Jun 9 '14 at 20:15
@Bobby - He is man, he is a man; He is human, he is a human... He is Maia, he is a Maiar; He is Maiar, he is a Maia. Picking nits indeed. :-) –  Morgan Jun 9 '14 at 20:31
@TK-421 -He's referring to Gandalf's meager 2,000 years walking Middle Earth in 'human' form. Treebeard, also known as Fangorn, is much older than those 2,000 years but much younger than Olórin (Gandalf). –  Morgan Jun 9 '14 at 20:54
@TK-421 - Letter 153: "Treebeard is a character in my story, not me; and though he has a great memory and some earthy wisdom, he is not one of the Wise, and there is quite a lot he does not know or understand". –  Darth Melkor Jul 2 '14 at 21:17

Like Morgan said, Gandlaf is a Maiar (spirit). That means he doesn't age like normal humans do. He existed before the creation of the world. He come to middle Earth in T.A. 1000 and left at T.A 3021, so you could say that he was 2000 years on Arda.

He also can't die. This is why when he dies fighting the Balrog he comes back to life (to fulfill his mission -- defeating Sauron). When his mission is complete, he won't die. He will continue to exist as an ethereal Maiar.

Age (as we perceive it) doesn't exist for Gandlaf.

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Didn't Illuvatar intervene directly to return Gandalf to Middle Earth after his mortal form perished with the Balrog? –  TylerH Jun 9 '14 at 14:20
Die as we know it? Probably not, but his body in Middle Earth can be destroyed. As above it took an outside force to send him back to finish the job. –  kleineg Jun 9 '14 at 15:29
@kleineg - actually yes; Letter 156: "Gandalf really 'died', and was changed..." –  Darth Melkor Jul 2 '14 at 21:20

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