At the start of The Fellowship of the Ring Gandalf catches Sam eavesdropping on the conversation between him and Frodo about the true nature of the ring. Then Sam panics and pleas to Frodo:

‘Mr. Frodo, sir!’ cried Sam quaking. ‘Don’t let him hurt me, sir! Don’t let him turn me into anything unnatural! My old dad would take on so. I meant no harm, on my honour, sir!’

Can Gandalf really do such a thing or is Sam just plain enough to believe that wizards are almighty?

  • The question of Gandalf's powers has been extensively explored in the duplicate.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 17:33
  • And yes, Sam is portrayed as being very gullible, at least at the start of the journey
    – Valorum
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 17:41
  • Also, anything Gandalf would turn him into (assuming he could), like for instance a frog, would be perfectly natural :-)
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 1:45
  • @Richard I usually delete duplicates but I'm going to leave this one as is (although I agree that it is more or less a duplicate). The main reason is that the referenced question is more generic, while this one is about exactly one specific situation in the book. Perhaps this is also worth a meta discussion - is better to have one generic questions rather than many specific questions. Or maybe this is the correct approach - just close as duplicates and leave them be.
    – vap78
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


We don't really know. Much about the Istari is left unsaid in The Lord of the Rings, and the nature of their powers and abilities is unclear at best.

We do know that Samwise is indeed very simple, or "plain", as you put it. It is not likely, at least in my opinion, that Gandalf could turn Sam into something unnatural. It is absolutely impossible to imagine that he would turn Sam into something unnatural.

As far as actual displays of Gandalf's powers are concerned, we don't see much of this. He glows, at times, scaring off Nazgul. He fights and kills a Balrog, which no one else in the party could have done. He breaks Saruman's staff. He resists the fear of the Witch King, unlike everyone else. He has good relations with the Ents and the Eagles, which is unusual. He takes the untamable Shadowfax. He lifts Theoden out of the shadows of Grima's spell. He has great foresight and wisdom. He "adds some touches of his own" (images of horses and riders) when Elrond creates the flood that washes away the Nazgul.

That's about it, really. Whatever other powers he may have, we don't hear about them.

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