Fans of The Lord of the Rings will be eager to see some of their favorite characters in the new Prime Video series, The Rings of Power, which is set to begin streaming in September 2022. Of course, since the series takes place thousands of years before the Fellowship set out from Rivendell, very few characters will have been born yet. Even out of the immortal characters, only a select few will appear since the likes of Gandalf and Saruman were not in Middle-earth during the Second Age.
Of course, fans who have not read the books might not have realized that Gandalf, a member of the Maiar race, only came to Middle-earth at the start of the Third Age in disguise as an old wizard to help with the growing conflict with Sauron. Movie adaptations often leave out such details, especially if they do not directly relate to the plot. However, there are many moments in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original books that the movies didn’t have time for but ultimately affected the perception of characters like Gandalf. All of Gandalf’s best book quotes couldn’t have made it into the movies, but there were some that, had they been included, could have painted a much more complete picture of everyone’s favorite shape-shifting wizard.
8 A Sneaky Self-Compliment
I Was Talking Aloud To Myself. A Habit Of The Old: The Choose The Wisest Person Present To Speak To
Gandalf’s character was first introduced in the Hobbit book as a quirky old wizard who enjoyed pulling the strings of those he met to cause mischief but ultimately to benefit Middle-earth. While his silly comments were considerably fewer in the LotR books due to the more serious tone, they were still more prevalent than in Peter Jackson’s movies.
Gandalf frequently praised his own intellect and cunning while remaining likable and funny. This happened so often, especially in the first couple of books, that they couldn’t possibly all have been included in the films. However, without many of them, Gandalf was missing the humor that summed up his character in LotR.
7 Why They Couldn’t Take The Eagles
“[Sauron] Is In Great Fear, Not Knowing What Mighty One May Suddenly Appear, Wielding The Ring, And Assailing Him With War, Seeking To Cast Him Down And Take His Place.”
A common criticism that audiences have for The Lord of the Rings is that a lot of toils could have been avoided if the Eagles that helped Gandalf so often before had simply carried Frodo and the Ring to Mordor. This has spurred many debates between fans, who either do or do not see this as a plot hole.
However, if some of Gandalf’s words had been included in the films, audiences might have better understood why the Eagles were not an option. Gandalf explained to the Fellowship that Sauron expected them to use the Ring to fight him. Their most significant advantage was that the Dark Lord didn’t know their plan to destroy it. Using the Eagles to fly right at him would have given everything away.
6 Gandalf Knew He Wasn’t All-Powerful
“For Even The Very Wise Cannot See All Ends.”
Another argument that audiences make against the LotR series is that such a powerful leader as Gandalf, especially after he returned as Gandalf the White, should have been able to do more than cross his fingers that a hobbit could destroy the Ring.
However, Gandalf had to frequently remind the characters in the books that he was not capable of taking the Ring himself, facing off with Sauron, or seeing into the future. His quotes made it clear that his job was to steer the people of Middle-earth towards a better path and to aid them with his wisdom and guidance.
5 Gandalf And Saruman Were Complicated
“I Looked Then And Saw That His Robes, Which Had Seemed White, Were Not So, But Were Woven Of All Colours, And If He Moved They Shimmered And Changed Hue So That The Eye Was Bewildered.”
There is a lot of confusion surrounding Gandalf and Sauron, especially regarding their assigned colors, white and grey. While the books are still covert in explaining how their rank works, there are several more hints about Saruman’s fall from grace and Gandalf’s resurrection as Gandalf the White.
When Saruman reveals his intentions to Gandalf, he declares himself “Saruman of Many Colors.” It was then that Gandalf observed that his robes were no longer pure. They were muddled with a kind of iridescent color that had only seemed white. While this is mainly symbolic, it shows that there is no longer a White Wizard. Therefore, when Gandalf was resurrected, he took up that mantle.
4 Gandalf’s Faith Wasn’t Perfect
“‘Are The Men Of Rohan Still To Be Trusted, Do You Think?’ I Said To Gwaihir, For The Treason Of Saruman Had Shaken My Faith.”
In the movies, Gandalf was the greatest advocate of men. Elrond had given up on them, having seen Isildur choose to keep the Ring years before and watching the corruption spread throughout the realms of men for centuries after. However, Gandalf was secure that men, especially Aragorn, would prove themselves worthy.
However, Gandalf’s character in the books was not always so sure. After Saruman turned in one of the greatest scenes in LotR, Gandalf was sure that men would shortly follow. Gandalf voiced this to the Lord of the Eagles, who assured him that Rohan could yet be saved. The doubt helped add dimension to his character and made it even more satisfying when the men of Middle-earth pulled through.
3 Gandalf’s Comedic Return
“Evidently we Look So Much Alike That Your Desire To Make An Incurable Dent In My Hat Must Be Excused.”
In the Two Towers movie, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli mistook the returned Gandalf the White as Saruman and tried to attack him. Of course, this didn’t go well, as Gandalf easily deflected their sword, arrow, and ax. Once the trio realized who he was, it became a powerful movie scene that still gives audiences chills.
The scene in the book went essentially the same way, but with a few minor differences. Of course, Gandalf gave a more in-depth explanation of what had happened with the Balrog, but he also had some comedic banter with Gimli that reminded readers that while he had changed, he was still the same Gandalf in many ways.
2 Gandalf Didn’t Fight For Himself
“It Is Not Our Part To Master All The Tides Of The World, But To Do What Is In Us For The Succour Of Those Years Wherein We Are Set … So That Those Who Live After May Have A Clean Earth To Till.”
Gandalf was sent to Middle-earth at the start of the Third Age in the form of an old wizard to help bring down Sauron. The realm was not his home, and he had been reluctant to go there because he feared Sauron. However, with some time, he finally agreed to his quest.
Despite his fears, Gandalf was the most instrumental in the defeat of Sauron out of the three Maiar that had been sent. This was because, unlike Saruman, Gandalf had no plans for personal glory. He was fighting for a world he had no intention of remaining a part of. Gandalf’s quote shows that he cared only for those who would benefit from his work long after he was gone and not himself.
1 Gandalf Truly Loved Hobbits
“My Time Is Over: It Is No Longer My Task To Set Things To Rights, Nor To Help Folk To Do So. And As For You, My Dear Friends, You Will Need No Help.
While the movies show that Gandalf was highly fond of Bilbo and Frodo, it didn’t properly represent just how much he was fascinated by the hobbit race in general. He spent a great deal of the Third Age studying them, which was why he was confident that Bilbo could help the dwarves in The Hobbit and that Frodo could deliver the Ring in LotR.
For this reason, it was bittersweet for Gandalf in the books when he had to say goodbye to the hobbits that had saved the Fellowship in LotR and step back from offering them help. He knew they had learned all they needed to know, but his love for them made it a touching moment.
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