140 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Gandalf just fight Smaug directly?

It was not his job. The Istari (wizards) were sent to Middle Earth to oppose Sauron, but to do so by stirring the free people's of Middle Earth to resistance. They were explicitly forbidden from "...
Werrf's user avatar
  • 15.9k
124 votes

What does Gandalf the White mean by his strange speech about Boromir?

What Gandalf has to say probably has to be understood from Tolkien's religious point of view. The Lord of the Rings is subtly—but significantly—influenced by the author's devout Catholicism, ...
Buzz's user avatar
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91 votes
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Why did Gandalf not return to help Frodo and Sam?

"The Ring has passed beyond his help" Although he did what he could indirectly, there was no way Gandalf could directly help Frodo any longer as he himself states: The Ring now has passed ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
91 votes
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Could Gandalf not have made his own One Ring?

Possibly In the foreword to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien observes: Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the ...
Victim of Circumstance's user avatar
90 votes

Why did Gandalf use a sword against the Balrog?

Because using a sword was effective. (Keep in mind that Balrogs envisioned by Tolkien were not as big as what Peter Jackson depicts in the movies.) 'Do as I say!' said Gandalf fiercely. 'Swords are ...
Voronwé's user avatar
  • 26.4k
87 votes
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What is the purpose of the "Good Morning" dialogue from The Hobbit?

I think you are very close when you say it might be telling us that Gandalf is a pedant. As this is at the start of the book, Tolkien is (as you suggest) introducing the characters to us. This is our ...
Blackwood's user avatar
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87 votes
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What exactly happened during Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog?

Gandalf covers this for the most part in chapter 5 of The Two Towers. He gives quite a clear account of the events that transpired and how they got from deepest pits to the highest peak Long I fell, ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
83 votes
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When does Gandalf learn the nature of Durin’s Bane?

Not until it's already upon them Emphasis mine: 'What happened away up there at the door?' [Gimli] asked. 'Did you meet the beater of the drums?' I do not know,' answered Gandalf. 'But I found myself ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
74 votes

How is the name "Gandalf" pronounced?

Who better to ask than the professor himself, here he is reading the opening to the Fellowship of the Ring. At 00:23 he says "'No' said Gandalf..." Tolkien seems to pronounce it as most would expect (...
Edlothiad's user avatar
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74 votes
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Why didn't Saruman break Gandalf's staff on Orthanc as Gandalf broke Saruman's?

A wizard's staff is symbolic rather than a source of actual power, and so breaking a wizard's staff has no effect on the wizard's power. How do we know this? Because Gandalf was able to defeat the ...
Victim of Circumstance's user avatar
73 votes

Why does Gandalf the White not remember his original name?

The key is that Gandalf the White and Gandalf the Grey aren't quite the same person. The Gandalf that Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli knew died, and the being that came back was similar, but not quite ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
73 votes
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Why didn't the Fellowship help Gandalf when he faced the Balrog?

In the novel, the events played out slightly differently. Gandalf was already at the rear of the pack. The Hobbits, Gimli and Legolas had already made it to the arch when the Balrog appeared. They ...
Valorum's user avatar
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64 votes

What exactly happened during Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog?

The answers by Edlothiad and Mark Olson are good, but omit some details. According to The Return of the King, Appendix B The Tale of the Years, The Third Age, Third age 3019: ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
60 votes
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Was Gandalf "meant" to confront the Balrog?

It was known that there was something dangerous in Moria. Glóin tells the Council of Elrond: Glóin sighed. ‘Moria! Moria! Wonder of the Northern world! Too deep we delved there, and woke the ...
Blackwood's user avatar
  • 21.1k
58 votes

Why didn't Gandalf just fight Smaug directly?

Because Gandalf might not have won This is an out-of-universe explanation based on what we know of the author. The concept of A > B when comparing the fighting power of various superheroes, Jedi, ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 3,633
56 votes
Accepted

Why was Gandalf unsure if Bilbo's ring was the One Ring if he had seen an image of Sauron's Eye when he was about to pick it up?

You've linked together too many things that shouldn't really be linked at this point in the movie. First of all, I wouldn't put too much weight on elements Peter Jackson put into his movies that weren'...
Spencer's user avatar
  • 15.8k
50 votes

Was Gandalf "meant" to confront the Balrog?

In the films, but perhaps not the book. It makes it clear that both Saruman and Gandalf know what lies in Moria. Saruman cuts off the other routes around the mountains to try and drive Gandalf before ...
Jeremy French's user avatar
50 votes

What version of the LoTR film shows Gandalf breaking Saruman's staff?

Scene 4: The Voice of Saruman This scene was cut from the original film, and was later added into the extended edition from the film, it was one of 4 scenes that were cut entirely from the second half ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
50 votes
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Does Gandalf smell?

Yes, but not in the way you think In some linguistic notes (circa 1967) about the elvish root √PHAN "cover, screen, veil", Tolkien digresses a little bit to discuss how the Valar and Maiar ...
ibid's user avatar
  • 93.8k
50 votes

What are all the times Gandalf was either late or early?

It's hard to catch Gandalf on this, because he'll just retort the second half of the line, that whenever he came actually was when he meant to come. So you'll have up look for places where Gandalf ...
ibid's user avatar
  • 93.8k
49 votes
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What version of the LoTR film shows Gandalf breaking Saruman's staff?

That scene is from the Extended Editions of The Lord of The Rings series. The success of the theatrical cuts brought about four-disc Extended Editions, with new editing, added special effects and ...
RedCaio's user avatar
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49 votes
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Why do Gondorians frequently refer to Gandalf as Mithrandir?

This is covered in the same source you quote, in the essay titled "The Istari" At the time of this Tale, however, we find Gandalf always called Mithrandir in Gondor (by men of rank or ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
45 votes

Could Gandalf not have made his own One Ring?

I doubt it. Going through all the artifacts throughout the books, the knowledge of forging great magical artifacts seems to mainly originate from the Vala Aulë. Sauron (and Saruman) was originally ...
Amarth's user avatar
  • 5,658
42 votes

Was Gandalf "meant" to confront the Balrog?

There's no hint that the Balrog is any kind of wider threat. It has been resident in Moria for over a thousand years by this point, but no-one outside is even aware of its presence. Gandalf certainly ...
Daniel Roseman's user avatar
42 votes
Accepted

Why does Gandalf act in this way in the Houses of Healing?

Gandalf couldn't heal those people himself Gandalf didn't forget about Aragorn or his healing skills, he's waiting for the battle to end. During that time, he does what he can, but he is no healer. ...
isanae's user avatar
  • 11k
42 votes

Did Gandalf think that Frodo was dead?

No Gandalf knew Frodo was carrying the Ring. Regardless of what the Mouth of Sauron tried to bully them with, Gandalf knew that as long as this was happening, Frodo was in Mordor with the Ring and ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
  • 77.3k
40 votes
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What did Gandalf mean when he told the Balrog to "go back to the Shadow"?

It is significant that the word "Shadow" is capitalized. There are 224 occurrances of the word "shadow" in the Fellowship of the Ring (including preface and prologues), and Tolkien is very specific ...
Victim of Circumstance's user avatar
40 votes

Did Gandalf ever lose a staff before, or is it purely a Jackson invention?

He loses his original staff (by breaking it) in his fight with the Balrog. At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell ...
Voronwé's user avatar
  • 26.4k
40 votes

What is the purpose of the "Good Morning" dialogue from The Hobbit?

In addition to showing Gandalf as a relatively unusual character, I think it also reveals that Bilbo is quite carefree and perhaps does not fully consider the weight of his words. It also begins to ...
Harrison Smith's user avatar
37 votes

Why didn't the Fellowship help Gandalf when he faced the Balrog?

Because Gandalf told them not to. When they first encountered the creature, Gandalf tells them This is a foe beyond any of you. Run! And then, when he is hanging on the bridge Fly, you fools! ...
Machavity's user avatar
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