At about 0:31 onwards in this video, Aragorn turned around and the camera then focused on Gandalf who proceeded to wave his hand:

What is Gandalf doing here? Is it anything particularly special, magical or otherwise noteworthy?

  • Kinda looks like he's gesturing "the stage is yours" to Aragorn.
    – Misha R
    May 20 '19 at 22:03

In an earlier scene in the Extended Edition, Gandalf, Aragorn et al had a showdown with the Mouth of Sauron, the lieutenant of Barad-dur and Sauron's "spokesman". Each side came to demand the surrender of the other, and the Mouth remarks to Gandalf

I have a token that I was bidden to show thee

This token (which Gandalf is holding) is Frodo's mithril coat, which was taken from him during his captivity in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. An Uruk is seen fleeing from the Tower with coat in hand in another extra scene earlier in the film. In the books, the Mouth also brought forth Frodo's elven cloak from Lothlorien, and an ancient Dunedain blade, one of which was given to each of the Hobbits by Tom Bombadil in the Fellowship of the Ring.

These tokens were brought to Gandalf to show him that Frodo's quest had failed, to take away what little hope was left as they stood before the Black Gate.

So in conclusion, Gandalf is working no magic here, but he is holding Frodo's mithril coat and remembering his friend as Aragorn turns to face Sauron's forces.

  • I'm not referring to what he is holding though. In fact, I didn't even know there's something on his arm until you mention it (thought it's just part of his outfit). Even on re-examination, it appears to me to be simply draped over his arm as he did something with his hand. Why did he wave? Nov 28 '15 at 16:31
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    He's not waving. The motion of his hand as he lifts up the mithril coat and tightens his grip on it makes it look like a wave. Nov 28 '15 at 16:41
  • If you are satisfied with my answer, it would be great if you'd mark it as accepted :) Feb 26 '17 at 7:57
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    I think he was showing the Mithril coat to Aragorn, to remind him of Frodo's courage. Mar 12 '17 at 20:57
  • I was wondering the same thing. It looks a bit like Jedi mind trick to me :)
    – rluks
    Apr 19 '18 at 17:37

I have not read the books, therefore I don't know if an answer is provided in them. I too have searched for the answer to this question with no answer I find acceptable. I will share with you my personal opinion, backed by what knowledge I have:

In this scene that I find equally interesting, Aragorn grips his sword and is preparing for battle. The next scene immediately focuses on the Eye of Sauron, and as it does we can hear Sauron call out to Aragorn. Earlier instances of Sauron's voice, and engagements with The One Ring, had a seducing effect. I believe this was Sauron's attempt to sway Aragorn.

Aragorn, hearing Sauron's call, slowly moves forward and lowers his sword. As he does so, both Gandalf and Legolas notice and their facial expressions change to what appears to be concern. Don't forget, Aragorn's ancestors fell to the will of The One Ring, and always at the most pivotal moments just like this one at the Black Gate.

Aragorn turns, he looks back at Gandalf, Legolas, and their company. His sword is down, his expression now changed. Even Aragorn's eyes appear to show doubt for a brief moment. The very next scene we see Gandalf wave his hand. I have no evidence, but I believe this was Gandalf attempting to see if Aragorn had been corrupted by Sauron. Almost as if saying, "are you still here, are you still with us, are you still Aragorn?" I truly believe in this moment Gandalf, Legolas, and their company feared, if only briefly, that Aragorn's will had fallen to the seduction of Sauron.

Then, I'm sure if the above is true, an incredible relief as Aragorn smiles and says, "For Frodo." Aragorn resisted the will, corruption, and seduction of Sauron. He charges the army of Mordor and his company follows their friend, their king.

  • Nope, this is purely a move-related question, nothing to do with the book at all (Aragorn doesn't charge an army solo, but sets up defensive positions on low mounds behind swampy areas). And, as pointed out in the other answer, Gandalf is showing a minor continuity error arising from deleting the scene with the Mouth of Sauron and Frodo's mithril shirt (shown in the EE), since the shirt is is what Gandalf is holding up and showing Aragorn. In response Aragorn says 'for Frodo'. May 21 '19 at 3:55
  • While I don't disagree that Gandalf was holding Frodo's mithril shirt, that doesn't account for everything described in my answer; the calling out to Aragorn from Sauron, the lowering of Aragorn's sword, and the changed expressions and looks of concern from Gandalf and Legolas. There were clearly fear and doubt as to the state of Aragorn's will during these scenes. To the original question, there was not anything magical, perhaps not even special, but certainly noteworthy.
    – Dominic D
    May 21 '19 at 15:53

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