82

Does Gandalf have his own home or does he just live where he goes?

Is there a place that he prefers to live and calls home most of all?

7
  • 81
    He appears to be some sort of expert freeloader. He shows up at someone's house and then outstays his welcome. Then he rides off on his white horse to the next fool who will let him in the door. You'll notice sometimes Gandalf has to bash his way through a door to gain entry, and then they can't get rid of him. Aug 20, 2012 at 22:01
  • 23
    He woke up a Balrog in the middle of the night trying to squat... but like most homeless squatters he can get quite violent when called on his trespassing.
    – John O
    Aug 20, 2012 at 22:05
  • 16
    "Whereever I lay my pointy wizard hat is my home" -- Gandalf
    – TLP
    Aug 21, 2012 at 19:37
  • 1
    Given the obvious parallels between Gandalf and Odin (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odin), it would be a surprise to learn that Gandalf/Mithrandir/Olorin had established a residence anywhere.
    – wberry
    Sep 15, 2014 at 18:25
  • 1
    He's basically a tramp.
    – WOPR
    Jun 14, 2015 at 23:40

6 Answers 6

62

The Istari essay in Unfinished Tales answers this:

But the last-comer was named among the Elves Mithrandir, the Grey Pilgrim, for he dwelt in no place, and gathered to himself neither wealth nor followers, but ever went to and fro in the Westlands from Gondor to Angmar, and from Lindon to Lórien, befriending all folk in times of need.

Also the headnote to the Tale of Years for the Third Age in RotK:

Mithrandir was closest in friendship with the Eldar, and wandered mostly in the West, and never made for himself any lasting abode.

In so much as Gandalf could be said to have a home, it is the Gardens of Lórien in Aman, where he lived as Olórin; see the Valaquenta:

Wisest of the Maiar was Olórin. He too dwelt in Lórien, but his ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience.

Even then he did journey about somewhat, as the quote given above shows, and also further from Unfinished Tales:

Then Manwë asked, where was Olórin? And Olórin, who was clad in grey, and having just entered from a journey had seated himself at the edge of the council...

Lórien in Aman, which should not be confused with Lórien in Middle-earth, is presumably where Gandalf eventually returns to at the end of Lord of the Rings.

0
49

It's an interesting question. His home would definitely be considered Aman, where he returns at the end of the Lord of the Rings. However I assume you mean within Middle Earth.

We know Saruman had set himself up in Isengard and Radagast has a home called Rhosgobel, so it's already more common for Wizards to have a home than not. However Gandalf is a special case, and I don't think he had a home beyond residing for a time in places like Rivendell or Lorien.

He's travelling for over a year solid in the course of the Hobbit:

March 15, 2941 - Thorin Oakenshield meets with Gandalf the Grey at the Prancing Pony in Bree, the Quest of Erebor begins

July, 2941 - Bilbo Baggins obtains the One Ring; the White Council drives Sauron out of Dol Guldur

October, 2941 - Esgaroth is attacked by the dragon Smaug, who is consequentially killed by Bard the Bowman; Thorin Oakenshield, Fíli, and Kíli killed at the Battle of Five Armies along with Bolg son of Azog; Dáin II Ironfoot becomes King of The Lonely Mountain; Town of Dale reestablished by Bard

June 22, 2942 - Bilbo Baggins returns to Bag End

He'd been hunting Gollum on and off for 17 years by the start of the Lord of the Rings, and then obviously spends close to 18 months travelling in the course of the Lord of the Rings:

3001 - Bilbo Baggins turns 111, passes the One Ring on to Frodo Baggins, and leaves the Shire. From now on Aragorn and Gandalf intermittently hunt Gollum

April 11, 3018 - Gandalf reaches Hobbiton. He returns to the Shire, telling Frodo Baggins he must take the Ring away

September 21, 3019 - Hobbits arrive in Rivendell.

At no point in any of this do we hear mention of a home, nor is there reference to upkeeping of one in his absence or any concern for what might be happening to it. I'd conclude that Gandalf didn't have a fixed place of residence in Middle Earth.

All dates sourced from the Timeline of Arda.

4
  • 2
    Please attribute your sources, especially if you copy them word for word. Aug 21, 2012 at 1:12
  • 1
    @Pearsonartphoto - while it is a very reasonable request - and with the result making for a better answer - I would like to point out that "fact compendiums" such as phone books - and presumably timelines - are NOT copywritable IIRC. Then again, IANALADPOOI so take this with a giant salt block :) Aug 21, 2012 at 16:38
  • 5
    @DVK: Facts can't normally be copyrighted, but the form of words in which the facts are expressed can be and is copyrighted. If you paraphrase, then you're generally OK, but if you copy word-for-word then you are breaching copyright.
    – Mike Scott
    Feb 6, 2013 at 14:28
  • 1
    @MikeScott Not if it is a fair use.
    – user21032
    Jan 18, 2014 at 15:46
13

One hint that he has no home is that one of his names is "The Grey Pilgrim"

1
  • 6
    +1, and "Rings of Power" confirms: "He wandered far in the North and West and made never in any land any lasting abode".
    – user8719
    Oct 12, 2013 at 12:48
11

These first two quotes were provided in another answer, but I include them here to build on their line of thought, because there are a few other relevant quotations that give us a definitive answer to Gandalf's dwelling and why.

From Unfinished Tales:

But the last-comer was named among the Elves Mithrandir, the Grey Pilgrim, for he dwelt in no place, and gathered to himself neither wealth nor followers, but ever went to and fro in the Westlands from Gondor to Angmar, and from Lindon to Lórien, befriending all folk in times of need.

From The Return of the King:

Mithrandir was closest in friendship with the Eldar, and wandered mostly in the West, and never made for himself any lasting abode.

The wording in the second is closely echoed in a passage from The Silmarillion, in the chapter Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.

First, when describing the arrival of the Istari into Middle-earth:

Mithrandir was closest in counsel with Elrond and the Elves. He wandered far in the North and West and made never in any land any lasting abode

And in the next paragraph:

Mithrandir refused the office [of head of the White Council], since would have no ties and no allegiance, save to those who sent him, and he would abide in no place nor be subject to any summons.

Notice the surrounding context of each passage: Gandalf (i.e. Mithrandir) never settled in a permanent home, was closest of the Wizards with the Elves, accumulated no wealth, did not seek out followers, and refused defined leadership roles.

Based on these passages, Gandalf was explicitly transient, and for a reason: he did not settle down anywhere because he did not want anyone thinking he specifically 'owed' them his service simply for living in their land. His service was due only to the Valar, so it is reasonable that he considered only Valinor to be his true homeland.

The closest places Gandalf had to a 'home' was when he resided with the Elves of Elrond or Galadriel, because they most of all understood who he was (a Maia) and why he needed to come and go (he was sent by the Valar to guide and help all of Middle-earth against Sauron's evils).

1

Gandalf has many times expressed an affection for hobbits; the hobbit children are raised on stories of him. It is at least mildly implied that when Gandalf is not off seeking knowledge/questing/kicking ass, which is not exactly often, he prefers to hang his hat so to speak in the shire.

1
  • 3
    Bilbo also said he hadn't seen Gandalf in the Shire since he was a little boy, and he was 50 years old when he said that, so it was implied that Gandalf hadn't been to the Shire in over 40 years. Not exactly a "place of residence"
    – childcat15
    Jun 15, 2015 at 6:53
0

In the original 1967 film adaptation Gandalf lives in "the lonely tower of Gandalf the Grey".

The 1967 Hobbit movie by Rembrandt Films, is technically the first official film adaptation of any of Tolkien's works. It's rather short, but towards the beginning when we are first introduced to Gandalf, the narrator describes him as living in a tower.

Narrator: "Gandalf!" whispered general Oakenshield, "Only the great wizard Gandalf can help us now."

Narrator: Three ragged and weary survivors of Dale, the burned City of Golden Bells, came to the lonely tower of Gandalf the Grey.

Narrator: "So it has come to pass", said the great wizard, "that Dale has been destroyed by Slag, and that he nests on the treasure in the carved halls on the Lonely Mountain, just as it is written in the great book. Then it is clear that the time has come, the time of the hobbit.

The film even shows the tower.

This is how the tower looks from the outside:

enter image description here

And this is how it looks from the inside:

enter image description here


For those unfamiliar, the 1967 Hobbit was pretty much made for solely to exploit a copyright loophole, and until it was uploaded to the internet in 2012, was only ever seen by a few dozen people. I'm pretty sure no one considers this canon.

8
  • 2
    I cant wait to see a Snyder cut of this one! Oct 3, 2021 at 10:16
  • @BjornEriksson - This is William L. Snyder.
    – ibid
    Oct 3, 2021 at 15:47
  • There was a similar recent lawsuit about keeping rights and whether the contract was over the "first" hobbit movie made or the entire trilogy "first" adapting the entire book. Given the "first" language it is surprising some ultra cheap movie wasn't made here too...possibly with kittens. money.cnn.com/2013/12/11/news/companies/… Oct 3, 2021 at 16:38
  • By way of dates, the print I found says 1966.
    – Lesser son
    Feb 12 at 23:35
  • @Lesserson - The letters discussing the production of the film which were uploaded to the blog post later are all dated from 1967, which leads to the conclusion that the 1966 year in the original blog post was a misremembrance.
    – ibid
    Feb 13 at 2:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.