Did Tolkien ever describe in any detail, other than Gandalf's own words, what happened to him in the brief period when he was "dead"?

For that matter, can we truly say that Gandalf did in fact die? It is my understanding that Gandalf was a Maia. In Tolkien's universe, are Maiar capable of dying? Would he have gone to the Halls of Mandos? Was Eru responsible for bringing him back? These are the sorts of questions I'm trying to answer, as my understanding of the event is vague and mysterious.


1 Answer 1


From the answers linked above, it can be inferred that Gandalf did die from his injuries sustained in the Battle of the Peak with the Balrog. His spirit left his body and "strayed out of thought and time", leaving the confines of the world and returning to Eru. Several days later (I believe it was three according to the "Tale of Years") Gandalf's spirit returned to Middle-earth ("I felt life in me again.") He was then found on the peak by Gwaihir and was taken to Lothlórien where he could be healed and was clothed in white by the Elves.

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