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193

Why would Gandalf be afraid of the Balrog? Well, it's a Balrog. It's a fearful thing. :) More seriously, though, the Balrogs were terrifying beings, even for Gandalf and others of his level of power. The Balrogs are Maia as well, just as Gandalf and the rest of the Istari are. See here from the Valaquenta, the second book of the Silmarillion: For of the ...


187

Gandalf is making three very specific references as both warning and challenge to the Balrog. By identifying himself as a servant of the secret fire (or Flame imperishable), Gandalf is identifying himself as a Maia, an embodied angelic servant of the Valar protecting the light of Creation that Eru Iluvatar (or God) has set to burn at the centre of Arda (...


136

Since Tolkien wasn’t really trying to write a story, but rather give England what he saw as a lost history, I’d like to offer up how Gandalf’s wisdom is demonstrative of magic as seen by the ancient view of magic. Tolkien had great difficulty defining magic when asked to define the boundaries of Faerie, but based on his writings about Gandalf and what he ...


134

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 "Matching Sauron's power with power". While Smaug was not Sauron, and so one could argue that technically he did not fall under the ban, the reason for the ban was ...


103

Secret Fire In the Silmarillion, the creation of the world is described. The Gods sing a vision of the World. Then the One God, Illuvatar, makes their song reality: Therefore Ilúvatar gave to their vision Being, and set it amid the Void, and the Secret Fire was sent to burn at the heart of the World; and it was called Eä. Flame of Anor "Anor" is ...


96

With the understanding that Bombadil was clearly depicted as the oldest living being in Middle Earth (He tells the Hobbits this in their encounter with him ... "Tom was here before the river and the trees"(FoTR)) Gandalf was one of the Maiar, which were spirits created before Middle Earth took the shape it was in when the elves first awoke (Olórin he was ...


93

Eru, the Authority, sent back Gandalf with additional power, knowledge and wisdom. He was sent by a mere prudent plan of the angelic Valar or governors; but Authority had taken up this plan and enlarged it, at the moment of its failure. 'Naked I was sent back – for a brief time, until my task is done'. Sent back by whom, and whence? Not by the '...


89

"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 beyond my help, or the help of any of the Company that set out from Rivendell. Very nearly it was revealed to the Enemy, but it escaped. I had some part in that: for I ...


89

Possibly In the foreword to 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 missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-...


86

Simply, to find the way out. The Balrog knew it, and Gandalf didn't. From the same paragraph you quote: In that despair my enemy was my only hope, and I pursued him, clutching at his heel. Thus he brought me back at last to the secret ways of Khazad-dûm: too well he knew them all.


83

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 no more use here. Go!' The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Bridge of Khazad-dûm In the books, Gandalf says that particular line ...


80

If he thought about the Istari, especially Saruman and Gandalf, he imagined them as emissaries from the Valar, seeking to establish their lost power again and 'colonize' Middle-earth, as a mere effort of defeated imperialists (without knowledge or sanction of Eru). His cynicism, which (sincerely) regarded the motives of Manwe as precisely the same ...


79

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 first introduction to Gandalf, and I think the impression Tolkien wants us to get is that he: Is surprising - he doesn't react the way you expect him to. ...


76

Probably because Saruman considered Gandalf's Ring useless to him. Elrond says of the Three Rings generally, [T]hey were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or domination ... but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained. from "The Council of ...


75

Something that Avner's answer doesn't mention: While Balrog and Gandalf are both Maiar, they are different ones: Balrog still has a full power of a Maiar Gandalf is in a mortal form, very deliberately stripped of most of his power, as his role was not to fight Sauron but to advise Men and Elves on the fight. Gandalf < Olorin - independently of how ...


74

Gandalf is not a "wizard" in the classical fantasy sense of the word, one whose power and wisdom is learned in dusty towers poring over old books. He is a divine being, one of the Maiar, whose very essence is wisdom. Indeed, it can be interpreted that the Ainur (the Maiar and the Valar) are all aspects of the universal divinity, each embodying some quality: ...


74

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 (or at least as always seemed obvious to me), "gand" as in gander and "alf" as in Alfred or alpha. However, Tolkien seems to split the two syllables as "gan" ...


73

Could Saruman kill Gandalf, and if he could would he have survived the battle? Gandalf died after a battle with a Balrog, a Maiar in its natural form with no restrictions upon it. The Balrog itself also died in the battle. Saruman was subject to the same restrictions as Gandalf, so there would have been no guarantee for Saruman that he would survive such a ...


72

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 stayed inside the arch (obeying Gandalf) whereas the humans, Aragorn and Boromir decided to stand with Gandalf. 'Over the bridge!' cried Gandalf, recalling his ...


71

Gandalf is a Maia (Spirit), created by Eru among the other Ainur before the Years of the Lamps roughly 9,000+ years before arriving in Middle-earth. In Valinor he was known as Olórin. He was sent to Middle-earth in human form around the year 1000 in the Third Age. That's more than 2000 years before the setting of The Lord of the Rings, to help the free ...


70

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 suddenly faced by something that I have not met before. I could think of nothing to do but to try and put a shutting-spell on the door. I know many; ...


70

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 Balrog without his staff. At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his ...


69

Most of the answers you are looking for can be sourced from The Silmarillion which basically charts the First and Second Ages of Middle Earth and explains the motivation behind a lot of the characters. You are absolutely correct that Gandalf wants the Dwarfs to enter The Lonely Mountain. The reason for this is slightly more complex. Before Sauron came to ...


68

We have to extrapolate here as it isn't explicitly explained. One incident in the Fellowship of the Ring may have prompted Galadriel to ask Gwaihir to look for Gandalf: At once the mirror cleared and he saw a twilit land. Mountains loomed dark in the distance against a pale sky. A long grey road wound back out of sight. Far away a figure came slowly down ...


68

I always thought of it this way: Gandalf knows that in a contest of wills between Saruman and Sauron, Sauron won. He has no reason to believe he's that much stronger than Saruman. That answers the question as asked. However consider the risks. Sauron is no fool. He knows who Gandalf is, and possibly his greatest fear is that Gandalf will claim the ring for ...


67

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 exactly the same; as Tolkien writes in Letter 156: Gandalf really 'died', and was changed: for that seems to me the only real cheating, to represent anything ...


66

On the contrary, both Gandalf's return and his "promotion" came before the notion of his death and resurrection. Tolkien's first draft of Fellowship of the Ring ended at Balin's tomb, at which point he stopped for a long while before continuing. However, a sketch of the plot of the chapter (dated by Christopher Tolkien to late 1939, and written immediately ...


62

We learn about Saruman's knowledge of Gandalf's possession of the ring in Unfinished Tales: And the Grey Messenger [Gandalf] took the Ring, and kept it ever secret; yet the White Messenger [Saruman] (who was skilled to uncover all secrets) after a time became aware of this gift, and begrudged it, and it was the beginning of the hidden ill-will that he ...


60

The relevant quote is: Yes, I am white now,' said Gandalf. 'Indeed I am Saruman, one might almost say, Saruman as he should have been. When the Istari arrived in Middle-Earth, they were as emissaries from Valinor. They no longer wanted to interfere directly in the affairs of Middle-Earth, so the 'wizards' were sent to help the free peoples of middle-...


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