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The Hobbit > What's up with Gandalf? (SPOLIERS!!!)

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Thurman (nycblkboy) | 145 comments I just started The Hobbit yesterday. I'm up to chapter 8. I don't have an opinion yet. but the book is strange. I can't figure out why yet though.

What's up with Gandalf? He seems weak and his spells are unimaginable. With the trolls he did ok. But I would have blown them up. And the goblins ???? He turned out the lights and flashed some swords to stun the goblins. He could have frozen them for 30 mins or a wall. Then they could collect all of their stuff and ponies.

So whats wrong with Gandalf?


Willow (Willowfire) | 5 comments Well maybe because the concept of "mage" in a fictional fantasy sense (or how we think of it anyway) was practically invented bye Tolkien. Wizards were more subtly powerful in the older stories than they are now. They didn't blow things up in spectacular fashions and the didn't freeze people for ten minutes to half an hour. Most magics in the old stories are done in ways the heroes don't usually figure out until the tale is almost done.


Phil | 380 comments I remember an article in Dragon magazine from about 30 years ago that figured, based on what he actually did in the books, in D&D terms Gandalf would be a level 5 druid.


Aaron Yeager | 11 comments I've noticed that magic in Tolkien's world is usually very subtle and psychological. It's less likely to be a fireball and more likely to be a spell that makes you want to agree with someone whenever you hear them speak, that slowly drains your free will over time.


Matthew (masupert) | 192 comments Right, it is part of the reason he carries a sword. Gandalf's power comes from his ability to influence other's than throwing a fireball.

Actually, now that I think about it, that is really what a lot of the magic in Middle earth is (the rings, Sauron, etc). Psychological influence.


Mapleson | 94 comments I would make two points about Gandalf's actions: first, he's still Gandalf the Gray, and not come into his full power; second, this is generally a quest to restore the self-confidence of the dwarves, so Gandalf minimizes his own domination of events to allow the dwarves and Bilbo the space to do things their own way.


Thurman (nycblkboy) | 145 comments Willow wrote: "Well maybe because the concept of "mage" in a fictional fantasy sense (or how we think of it anyway) was practically invented bye Tolkien. Wizards were more subtly powerful in the older stories th..."

I was reminded of:
"Gandalf: I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. Go back to the shadow. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun! You shall not pass!”

I guess i'm used to mage's using their power. And even As Gandalf the Gray he has enough power to do what I suggested. I was just disappointed :(


Thomas Shaffer | 1 comments Unfinished Tales has an essay on the Istari (Wizards).

"...whereas now their emissaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men or Elves by open display of power, but coming in shapes weak and humble were bidden to advise and persuade Men and Elves to good, and to seek to unite in love and understanding all those whom Sauron, should he come again, would endeavor to dominate and corrupt."

From what I skimmed, Gandalf only partly lifted the veil of his power in Lord of the Rings. He possibly has great power, but he purposely chooses not to use it.


Thurman (nycblkboy) | 145 comments Thomas wrote: "Unfinished Tales has an essay on the Istari (Wizards).

"...whereas now their emissaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men or Elves by ope..."


he sucks! :)


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