Gandalf (also known as Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White, known to the Elves as Mithrandir) is a major character in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings film series, portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen



Created by Eru, Gandalf was once known as the Istari, Olórin, a messenger of the Valar , serving both Manwë and Varda. He was one of the Maiar chosen to travel to Middle-earth, even though he terrified of Sauron. However, his mentor, Manwe, had convinced him to leave. When he came to Middle-earth, he was given the Narya, the Ring of Fire from Cirdan.

Unlike Radagast and Saruman, Gandalf did not take a fixed residence and instead travelled. Through his travels, Gandalf became a friend of Dwarves such as Thráin II, Elves such as Legolas, and Hobbits such as Gerontius Took. However, some Hobbits often ridiculed Gandalf, often blaming him as the reason most young hobbits went on adventures but never returned. At one point, Thráin gave Gandalf the map and key to him before the war of the Orcs and Dwarves. As Gandalf recalled, he attempted to convince Thrain to retake Erebor. However, because Thrain refused. Gandalf later met Thorin Oakenshield in the Prancing Pony at Bree, convincing him to reclaim Erebor from Smaug but also with the help from a burglar.

The HobbitEdit

An Unexpected Journey Edit

Sixty years before the War of the Ring, Gandalf went to Bilbo's house, offering an adventure, but the hobbit immediately rebuffed the wizard. However, Gandalf placed a mark on the door of Bag End, an ancient Dwarf rune for the company to find. Bilbo, frustrated with the dwarves who have invaded his house and angrily confronts Gandalf about it, but the wizard promises that Bilbo will get used to them, but Bilbo still refuses to get to know them and to go on the quest. Later, as Gandalf predicted, Bilbo does end up going on the journey, and placed a bet on that Bilbo would join them. During the journey to the troll-shaws, he told Bilbo of the other four wizards, Radagast and Saruman in particular.

After a long day of travelling, Thorin settles the company in an abandoned farm, but Gandalf advises against it, leading them to an argument, which causes Gandalf to leave, having "enough of dwarves for one day." The very next morning, Gandalf returns to find the company gone and realizes they were captured by trolls. He sees Bilbo beginning to distract the trolls from eating his companions, and Gandalf, seeing the sun rising cracks the boulders he is standing on, causing the sun light to emerge and turn the trolls to stone.

The company later discovers a cave that Bert, Tom, and William lived in when it was still daylight. After Thorin recovers two blades thought to be lost in Gondolin, Gandalf takes Glamdring. Radafast comes and informs Gandalf of the growing doom in Mirkwood while also giving him the sword that The Witch-King of Angmar attacked Radagast in Dol Guldur. Gandalf leads the company to Rivendell, much to Thorin's and Company's dismay (apart from Bilbo). During the White Council meeting, Gandalf informs Saruman, Galadriel and Elrond of the growing threat of Dol Guldur, but Saruman doesn't believe him. Secretly, Gandalf uses this meeting as a distraction for Thorin and his company to make their escape. After the meeting, Galadriel promises to be there for Gandalf, should he ever need her help.

Gandalf returns to the company's rescue a second and third time from the Goblins and Azog the Defiler and healing a comatose Thorin from his sleeping state after Bilbo saved him.

The Desolation of Smaug Edit

Gandalf takes Thorin and Company to Beorn's house, where the receive provisions. As he is going to lead them into Mirkwood, Thorin is forced to leave Thorin and his company to investigate the tombs in the High Fells, as ordered by Galadriel. He warns Bilbo and the others to not stray from the path or drink the water there. While at the high Fells, he encounters Radagast. Knowing that the Enemy has returned and prepare for war, Gandalf is forced to abandon his friends and go to Dol Guldur, the source of the evil. While visiting the dungeons, Gandalf and Thráin unexpectedly find one another and is determined to take Thráin out of the fortress. However, they are caught by Azog but are able to flee. However, Gandalf engages in a duel with the Necromancer, who killed Thráin, and is revealed to be Sauron.

Weakened by the experience, Gandalf wakes up and sees an army of Orcs marching towards the mountain.

The Battle of the Five Armies Edit

After being tortured by the Orc Dungeons, Gandalf is saved from Dol Guldur by the White Council. After leaving the fortress, Gandalf realizes his friends are in danger. He tells Radagast to summon their allies, every birds and beasts since seeing that army of Orcs.

Gandalf attempts to warn Thranduil and Bard of the Armies, and the fall of Middle-earth, but either men refuse to listen. While in Dale, Gandalf is reunited with Bilbo, who snuck out of the Mountain. After giving away the Arkenstone, Gandalf responds with the hobbit to leave the next morning before the battle, afraid Thorin will hurt Bilbo if he ever learned what the Hobbit had done. Gandalf orders Alfrid Lickspittle to keep an eye on Bilbo and to notify him if the Hobbit tries to leave. However, during the night, Bilbo escapes from Alfrid's watch. Gandalf goes to the mountain in time to save Bilbo from Thorin.

During the Battle of Five Armies, Gandalf's old friend Legolas tells the Wizard that Azog has another army attacking from the North. With this information, Bilbo decides he will go after Thranduiil refuses to help them further. In the battle's aftermath,Gandalf returns with Bilbo to the shire after Thorin's death. Before leaving, Gandalf warns Bilbo to be careful with that Ring, as magic rings are not to be taken lightly. Otherwise, both friends give off a fond farewell. Though Bilbo tells him that he lost the ring during the battle, Gandalf keeps that he knows Bilbo has the Ring to himself.

The Lord of the RingsEdit

The Fellowship of the RingEdit

Gandalf returned to The Shire regularly and met Frodo. Sixty years after the Battle of Five Armies, Gandalf realized Bilbo had the One Ring and made him give up the ring to Frodo.

After learning the enemy was after the One Ring, he learned the One Ring and Bilbo's ring was the same and commissioned Frodo on the road, with Samwise Gamgee following behind.

Gandalf goes to Saruman, hoping he could help and tells Aragorn to wait at Bree for Frodo in case something happened. However, his old friend turns out to be in league with Sauron. After entering a bloody duel, Gandalf is imprisoned on top of Orthanc. However, Gandalf is rescued by Gwaihir and taken to Rivendell, where he learns Frodo has been stabbed by a Nazgûl blade. He goes to Frodo's side and when the young Hobbit awakens, Gandalf tells his friend that he was delayed, which was why he couldn't make it there. During the council of Elrond, Gandalf swears to help Frodo in his quest to destroy the Ring.

Leading the company to Moria, Pippin Took accidentally causes a dwarf to fall in through the well, alerting the Orcs of the Fellowship's presence. After a small duel, Gandalf tells for the others to run to the Bridge nearby, but they are suddenly confronted by a Balrog, Durin's Bane. Fighting the deadly creature, Gandalf fell in Moria while protecting the company from the Balrog, which ultimately led to a two-day battle between the two and the hobbits grieving for the loss of their friend.

During the duel and defeating his enemy, Gandalf died on the mountain, but was quickly revived.

The Two TowersEdit

After his fall and defeating the Balrog, Gandalf returned as the white wizard, or rather Saruman as he should have been, taking Saruman's place as the head of the Wizards. He comes across Treebeard, who recently found Pippin and his cousin, Merry Brandybuck. Gandalf orders for Treebeard to keep the cousins safe. Later, Gandalf reunites with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, and tells them what happened to him after. Now, he is there in the time of need.

Gandalf also introduces his friends to the Maeras horse, Shadowfax and uses him as a mount. One night, he warns Aragorn that Sauron fears him and learns that Sam went with Frodo on his quest after all.

While they are in Meduseld, Gandalf cures Théoden of his madness and escape from Saruman's madness. Knowing Éomer is roaming around and Saruman's forces, Gandalf goes to retrieve the Rohirrim. For five days, he searches for Éomer and brings the young prince back during his uncle's time of need.

They are finally victorious at Helm's Deep and head to Isengard.

The Return of the KingEdit

Gandalf became alarmed when Pippin stole the Palantír and saw a vision of a tree in a courtyard of stone. Gandalf takes Pippin with him to Gondor, attempting to warn Denethor of the oncoming battle. However, the steward refuses to listen. Gandalf has Pippin light up the beacons without Lord Denethor's permission. Because of his declining health, Gandalf takes command of Minas Tirith's armies until Pippin warns him that Faramir and Denethor are going to be burnt alive. They rescue the son, but the father is suddenly killed in the pyre.

After the battle of the Black Gate, Gandalf easily fought in battle and later rescued Frodo and Sam. He later left for the Grey Havens.

Magical AbilitiesEdit

  • Istari Magic: Gandalf is very powerful in light magic.
    • Pyrokinesis: Gandalf has ability to control fire, and has been shown to use it to light up his pipe.


Trivia Edit

  • Gandalf is the one who manipulated events for Bilbo and Thorin to meet which inadvertently caused Bilbo to find the One Ring and cause the War of the Ring.
  • Gandalf could not remember the names of the Blue Wizards. This was because Peter Jackson didn't have rights to their name while making An Unexpected Journey.