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Something just entered my mind : when Gandalf returned to the land of the living after his death on the Zirak Zigil, he became Gandalf the White and hence, his power was increased so that later on he was able to break Saruman's sword and even force Saruman to stay on the balcony :

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'Come back, Saruman!' said Gandalf in a commanding voice. To the amazement of the others, Saruman turned again. and as if dragged against his will, he came slowly back to the iron rail, leaning on it, breathing hard. His face was lined and shrunken. His hand clutched his heavy black staff like a claw.
'I did not give you leave to go,' said Gandalf sternly


So now Gandalf is clearly the Chief of his Order. But i was wondering : if Gandalf's spirit went to the halls of Mandos after his death, then how could his power be enhanced? I don't know if any Vala or other Ainu can channel some of their power into another Ainu, so that the power of that Ainu is permanently increased. Although Morgoth dispersed his power into Arda, i don't really know if he dispersed his power directly into his minions. He only inspired them, but to me this seems to be only mind-control --- the same technique Sauron also seems to use (a technique which is cleary only temporary) :

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As when death smites the swollen brooding thing that inhabits their crawling hill and holds them all in sway, ants will wander witless and purposeless and then feebly die, so the creatures of Sauron, orc or troll or beast spell-enslaved, ran hither and thither mindless; and some slew themselves, or cast themselves in pits, or fled wailing back to hide in holes and dark lightless places far from hope.


But i was thinking of another possibilty : perhaps Gandalf's spirit didn't pass to the Halls of Mandos, but to Eru's Halls instead, and perhaps Gandalf was sent back by Eru himself ? To me it seems more logical that Eru -the upper chief- is able to enhance any Ainu's "power" and "abilities".

Another possibility is that the Maian spirit Olorín indeed passed to the Halls of Mandos, hence returned to Aman, but instead of an "enhanced"/"tuned" Olorín the Valar sent another Maia spirit back to Middle-Earth? That could explain :

a) why Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White

b) why the White Rider doesn't seem to remember his name :

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'Gandalf,' the old man repeated, as if recalling from old memory a long disused word. 'Yes, that was the name. I was Gandalf.'


I mean, why would anyone forget one's old name? Being confused after just being resurrected is not really the case, as the White Rider already spent some time back on earth before he showed himself to Aragorn, Gimli and Legolamb; among other things, he talked to Treebeard when the latter went to his house with Pippin and Meriadoc.

Anyhow, i for me believe that after his death, Olorín was called/dragged back and made a more powerful Ainu by Eru himself, and then sent back.

I don't know if anyone wants to react to this random thoughts, but everyone is surely welcome.

And now i'm off to bed.
Remeber that Gandalf was only called Gandalf for a short period of time. His name was Olorin, and it had been since before the beginning of the creation of Arda. (Or whenever the maiar came into being). Gandalf was a nickname, like Storm Crow. And I belive it says that he felt like he had been dead for many many years (the movie is messing with my memory here). And Gandalf is only one of his many nicknames. It is a bit like visiting a forum you haven't been to in ages or meeting an old friend from childhood. " Oh yes, that was my nickname back then."

Treebeard didn't call him Gandalf, did he? Only when he met someone who called him that, he remembered.

Luthien was sent back to life as a human. Earendil became an elf. Though he had elven blood, I feel that changing a persons race which involves changes to both body and soul doesn't seem to be much different from sending back Gandalf in a new form.

Though he might have gotten a ' wizard power upgrade', I think it could be more of a promotion. I think that knowing he had the trust of his superiors, and knowing that Saurman has lost his, made him more secure and he could show more power. This was his new role, he was the leader of the order now. He could now fire Saruman and Saruman knew it. Wink Smilie

Ahhh ramblings in the night. Fun! Smile Smilie
hey amarie good job! You basically covered exactly what i was gonna say about gandalf and all that other stuff.
The Istari were Maiar clothed in the flesh of old men, so that they would better understand the needs and limitations of Men. They were also banned from using their powers. That made the Istari weaker than the Maiar spirits they had been made from.

My personal theory is that when Gandalf the Grey died, Olorin was sent back to complete the task. Gandalf had proved by then that he could be trusted, and that he had never used his powers for his own gain. He understood the limitations of being flesh and blood. I think Gandalf the White is Olorin the Maiar in his full glory... no restriction imposed. To this end, I don't believe Gandalf the White was even flesh and blood, just a facade Olorin wore. He even says at one stage, "no weapon can harm me now". No longer being flesh and blood would explain that comment.
A small query. There was mention of Olorin at the beginnin of the Silmarillion. What happened to him later? Wasn't he sent as to ME as Gandalf the Grey in the first place? The movies have messed up my memory!!!
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hey amarie good job! You basically covered exactly what i was gonna say about gandalf and all that other stuff.
Great minds think alike, you know. Wink Smilie

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To this end, I don't believe Gandalf the White was even flesh and blood, just a facade Olorin wore. He even says at one stage, "no weapon can harm me now". No longer being flesh and blood would explain that comment.

Yes it would. I had forgotten that quote.
From The Letters of JRR Tolkien Hope it helps.

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The 'wizards', as such, had failed; or if you like: the crisis had become too grave and needed an enhancement of power. So Gandalf sacrificed himself, was accepted, and enhanced, and returned. 'Yes, that was the name. I was Gandalf.' Of course he remains similar in personality and idiosyncrasy, but both his wisdom and power are much greater. When he speaks he commands attention; the old Gandalf could not have dealt so with Theoden, nor with Saruman. He is still under the obligation of concealing his power and of teaching rather than forcing or dominating wills, but where the physical powers of the Enemy are too great for the good will of the opposers to be effective he can act in emergency as an 'angel' - no more violently than the release of St Peter from prison. He seldom does so, operating rather through others, but in one or two cases in the War (in Vol III) he does reveal a sudden power: He twice rescues Faramir. He alone is left to forbid the entrance of the Lord of Nazgul to Minas Tirith, when the city has been overthrown and its Gates destroyed - and yet so powerful is the whole train of human resistance, that he himself has kindled and organized, that in fact no battle between the two occurs: it passes to other mortal hands...

,..'Naked I was sent back - for a brief time, until my task is done'. Sent back by whom, and whence? Not by the 'gods' whose business is only with this embodied world and its time; for he passed 'out of thought and time'.


So if he wasn't sent back by the Valar he must have been sent back by Eru, The Creator. I agree with Virumor's suggestion that he didn't go to the Halls of Mandos. He didn't need to, he was being taken and returned by The One.

Val posted...
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I think Gandalf the White is Olorin the Maiar in his full glory... no restriction imposed. To this end, I don't believe Gandalf the White was even flesh and blood, just a facade Olorin wore.


There is another piece in the same letter...

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Gandalf may be enhanced in power (that is, under the forms of this fable, in sanctity), but if still embodied he must still suffer care and anxiety, and the needs of flesh. He has no more (if no less) certitudes, or freedoms, than say a living theologian.


He was flesh and blood. I don't think he would be fully reconciled with his Maia part until he reached Aman but he was able to draw on it when needed.
Wow, Vee, that tells us pretty clearly that he was indeed in human form, flesh and blood. However, being that he could call upon his Maiar powers, etc., at need, would his "mortal" body be truly mortal and have the vulnerability of being physically harmed? I would think his powers could prevent any such harm. Also, I wonder if his adoption of the needs of being human, such as needing sustanance, etc., were a mimicking of mortal needs rather than actual requirements of living for Olorin personally. I say so because all throughout religious and mythological literature, references to "angels" or "lesser gods" taking human form usually include the principle that said deity has merely assumed that form, as a facade, in order to blend in easier at need and put the lesser creatures at ease, so to speak. Basically, they take human form so they do not scare the you-know-what out of us, like the angels who came to the shepherds in the story of the birth of Jesus did. I am sure Eru would see to this as well, being a benevolent God. I mean, would an entire population of humans trust something that was very alien to them as a leader and advisor? I think it unlikely. It is much more prudent of Eru to send Olorin in a shell that humans would recognize and respect. I may be way off the mark here, though.
Well this is absolutely mind boggling!!! Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Very interesting. I also think that Gandalf was enhanced by one of the higher gods, and that was because Saruman was corupted, and now he was chosen as the leader of the White Council to fix things up and put Saruman in his place.
Laurelindhe - I understand what you are saying but reading some of Tolkiens explanations leads me to think that Gandalf was flesh and blood and subject to the same perils as mortal men. His powers are available in emergencies when that extra flash is needed. Of course, within that human form is the spirit of Olorin. There are other quotes which indicate this...

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There is no 'embodiment' of the Creator anywhere in this story or mythology. Gandalf is a 'created' person; though possibly a spirit that existed before in the physical world....


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... They (the wizards) were also, for the same reason, thus involved in the peril of the incarnate: the possibility of 'fall' , of sin, if you will...


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...Thus Gandalf faced and suffered death; and came back or was sent back, as he says, with enhanced power. But though one may be in this reminded of the Gospels, it is not really the same thing at all. Incarnation of God is an infinitely greater thing than anything I would dare to write. Here I am only concerned with Death as part of the nature, physical and spiritual, of Man, and with Hope without guarantees....
Well without going into too much because I’m short on time at the moment, I'll just say that I had always personally thought Gandalf was sent back to M.E. directly by Eru, that always seemed pretty clear to me.
Elf Smilie
No doubt, the 5 Istari originally sent by the Valar were all Maian spirits who took a human form and hence suffered the burden of the flesh - pain, doubt, emotions, etc. but i feel that with Gandalf the White it is different, as Gandalf the White says :

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'Get up, my good Gimli! No blame to you, and no harm done to me. Indeed my friends, none of you have any weapon that could hurt me. Be merry! We meet again. At the turn of the tide. The great storm is coming, but the tide has turned.'

So even Andúril couldn't hurt Gandalf? Astonishing, as Ringil, Fingolfin's sword, was able to hurt Morgoth. And Aeglos and Narsil were able to hurt Sauron as well, i reckon.

So it seems to me that Gandalf the White's body is only a façade and not really a body like Gandalf the Grey once had - it seems to be a body made out of titanium or something; Gandalf the White is just a Maian spirit without the limitations given by human flesh that the other Maiar in Middle-Earth had.

Anyway, the fact that Gandalf was sent back by Eru, is an interesting premise. I always thought that Eru never directly interfered in the affairs of Arda, safe only once at the end of the Second Age, but apparently Eru interfered directly at least one other time as well.

Gandalf's role was so vital in the Big Plan that Eru couldn't allow Gandalf to disappear from the scenes. Eru gave Gandalf the Grey a pat on the back for his good work and sacrifice, by enhancing him and giving him even more work by sending him back. Still, it is equally possible that Gandalf was enhanced and sent back by Manwë. After all, the King of Arda should be capable of such tricks.

Of course it would've been more spectacular if Eru sent Tulkas and Oromë to Middle-Earth to help fighting the hordes of Mordor and Sauron himself, but that plot should be saved for any future movie adaptations, i think.
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Of course it would've been more spectacular if Eru sent Tulkas and Oromë to Middle-Earth to help fighting the hordes of Mordor and Sauron himself, but that plot should be saved for any future movie adaptations, i think.
And of course the whole point was to get Man to do it all on his own with only small shoves by Gandalf the White. Had the Valar intervened it would have been too heavy handed showing that, as Elrond believed, Men were to weak to handle the job of being Masters of Middle-earth.
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as Elrond believed, Men were to weak to handle the job of being Masters of Middle-earth.

Correction : only movie-Elrond believed that.

Not book Elrond.

Besides, Gandalf and other istari were Valar intervention so that Mankind would at least have a chance of doing the job right. Gandalf was the mastermind, the driving force behind the victory of the Free Peoples over Sauron.

LOTR is nothing more than a grand game of chess between Gandalf and Sauron, where Gandalf plays the white pieces and Sauron the black pieces.

Of course, one could extrapolate that struggle in a game of chess between Manwë and Morgoth.
Now I disagree with some of Virumor's theories so the world is back to normal!


The quotes I posted on the previous page from JRRT's letters clearly state that the gods (Valar) did not send Gandalf back. If not the Valar then who did send him back? The only other candidate is Eru.

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,..'Naked I was sent back - for a brief time, until my task is done'. Sent back by whom, and whence? Not by the 'gods' whose business is only with this embodied world and its time; for he passed 'out of thought and time'.


Other quotes I posted from Tolkien's letters indicate strongly that Gandalf was flesh and blood and his enhanced powers were available as emergency measures only. He was still limited to emergency use only and not to interfere directly unless no other way was possible. His main weapon was still to teach and lead and stir the hearts of Men.

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He is still under the obligation of concealing his power...
Why are you trying to confuse me?

I started this topic with the suggestion that Gandalf was enhanced and sent back by Eru himself so how are we disagreeing ??? I even said in a post i accepted that theory as a premise. I only referred to Manwë to suggest that Manwë was probably also capable of doing what Eru did.

About his body, i only mentioned in my previous post that it was very odd that no weapon could harm him, not even Andúril, so his body must've been very special.

I'm sorry but i have no idea what you are referring to.
Vee, I also interpret those quotes of yours as indicating that Olorin/Gandalf the White was subject to most of the same fates as men...but it does seem a little uncertain as to whether or not he could be killed again from Tolkien's letters. It says that he is subject to fall, as in sin, but no mention of actual death. Am I just being ignorant? Also, I believe that Eru did "send" him back expressly for the purpose of aiding men in conquering Sauron, after all, the time of the elves was ending, the time of men beginning...so in a sense, was not Eru relying solely on Gandalf to usher in this change? I am not sure that an omnipotent god would fail to see the danger of granting him a totally mortal and corruptable embodiment when all of Eru's plans for Middle-Earth hinged so greatly on his success.
I'm gonna back peddle to the part where everyone thinks Gandalf is "invincible"

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Indeed my friends, none of you have any weapon that could hurt me.


Gandalf could have possibly been bragging... If he is acceptable to human emotions being encased in a mortal body, although i'll say it's definitly unlike his character to boast. Maybe if Gandalf allowed Aragorn to whack his head off, Mouth of Sauron style, he could die. However him being Gandalf the White and all, his skills are just too great for any mortal to harm him.

So i'm kinda siding with Vee on this one... Gandalf 's full potential is limited because of his mortal appearance, but he can still be a bad ass; during rare occasions.
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Gandalf the White is just a Maian spirit without the limitations given by human flesh that the other Maiar in Middle-Earth had.


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Still, it is equally possible that Gandalf was enhanced and sent back by Manwë. After all, the King of Arda should be capable of such tricks.



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I'm sorry but i have no idea what you are referring to.


Just those two comments.

Laurelindhe - I think, from reading what Tolkien said, that in the beginning the Istari were being tested and only Gandalf passed because he sacrificed himself for the others and their Quest. Therefore he proved himself above the temptations of human flesh etc even though he was still vulnerable to the usual human failings. When he was sent back he was 'enhanced' and although still of the flesh and vulnerable he 'knew' he could do what was needed. He knew he had the skills and power to defeat evil and with that he knew that no one would get the better of him. His role was such that he would not be killed by any mortal. When he said that none of the three had any weapons that could hurt him he had just demonstrated his power - Gimli's axe leapt from his hand, Aragorn's sword blazed with fire and Legolas's arrow burst into flame. He didn't claim to be immortal.

Why would Eru send him back still mortal, why were the Istari mortal? Tolkien says it is

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bound up with the 'mythology' of the 'angelic' powers of the world of this fable. At this point in the fabulous history the purpose was precisely to limit and hinder their exhibition of 'power' on the physical plane...


I think giving Gandalf unlimited power and permission to use it whenever, to be immortal etc would have lessened the victory of Men over Sauron. Like the Dead Army in the film, Gandalf could probably have destroyed all the armies of Sauronbut it would have been his victory, not one of Men. And the story would have ended sooner...
Those aren't my quotes you had, Vee!

But yes, you bring up an excellent point: Gandalf could have weilded his full power and done all of the dirty work in the War of the Ring, but didn't. That is also another credit to his restraint and wisdom and another good reason that Eru allowed him to come back and finish his unfinished business. And yes, that would have cheapened the story quite a bit and dulled the glory of men's victory, but it sure would have been fun to read how much bottom our Gandalf kicked if it had been written that way...Maybe there would have been a huge showdown with him and Sauron going at it!

Angel Smilie vs. Bad! Smilie
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Vee wrote:
I think giving Gandalf unlimited power and permission to use it whenever, to be immortal etc would have lessened the victory of Men over Sauron. Like the Dead Army in the film, Gandalf could probably have destroyed all the armies of Sauron but it would have been his victory, not one of Men. And the story would have ended sooner...


History has proven that no other Maiar could destroy another Maiar, even at full power. The war of wrath could not destroy Morgoth even when he had Sauron (his Maiar) & his Balrogs (Maiar) as well, with him. And even so, would you have Gandalf knocking on the gates of Morannon or flying with an eagle to Mount Doom and say: excuse me Sauron, I need to destroy that pesky ring of yours? Use common sense here. Please. An unseen hobbit (halflings are part of the race of men) was able to pull it off, for a reason. Even Gandalf at full strength would not have succeeded, because their powers rule each other out. Sort of. See War of Wrath.
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Use common sense here.


I am.
However, Saruman once had the upper-hand on Gandalf, and then Gandalf obviously has the upper-hand after Isengard is destroyed. Obviously, there is some power-playing between the Maiar (at least the Keepers of the Flame), Rhapsody. There are different levels of their power. Now, the question may be asked as to whether it just gives them the ability to control one another or actually destroy one another. Also, no, we wouldn't have Gandalf knocking on the gates of Mordor because as Vee said...it wouldn't make for a very interesting story.
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Eruwen wrote:

However, Saruman once had the upper-hand on Gandalf, and then Gandalf obviously has the upper-hand after Isengard is destroyed. Obviously, there is some power-playing between the Maiar (at least the Keepers of the Flame), Rhapsody. There are different levels of their power.


Saruman as head of the order and head of the five Istari, sure. But could Saruman destroy Gandalf? He could not. Even Morgoth got chained, but not fully destroyed. Casted into the void, but destroyed? No. That is my point here.
In a roundabout way, Gandalf did destroy Sauron (I know, a technicality). So...do you think Sauron would experience another rebirth like Gandalf if Tolkien kept writing? Did he state this anywhere? I know Sauron experience several rebirths, but was his spirit truly destroyed with the destruction of the ring? It seems difficult to believe...even though his spirit is supposed to be tied up in the ring. Are any spirits truly destroyed though in Tolkien? -- For even man goes on living in the Halls of Manwe, right? (I obviously am asking for some speculation -- as is most things regarding literature.)
Actually it is never clearly mentioned where man goes when he dies, i presume out into the void somewhere, i think you meant the elves pass to the Halls of Mandos.

I'm not too sure if Sauron could ever be ressurected. Isn't Eru the only god with enough power to grant rebirth? I highly doubt he would allow that for Sauron, no matter how much suger he put on top; unless of course he added a cherry with sprinkles... that might be the decider.

I remeber reading Morgoth comes back in the final battle with all his minions, so maybe morgoth some how finds a way in because he's a Vala, and then.... uhh don't ask me how Sauron would be comming back in.... stumped again....
Silly me...you are right. I meant Halls of Mandos, and I couldn't remember if it was the elves or men. So elves...hmmm...I wonder what that means for men...perhaps they are destroyed?
I think there may be some confusion over use of the word 'destroy'. I haven't suggested that Gandalf could destroy Sauron or Saruman but I do take the word to mean destruction of their mortal and earthly bodies rather than total destruction of their spirits. We know that Maiar and Valar are immortal and their spirits will continue to exist after destruction of their bodies - Melkor (who was a Vala) was thrown into the void and Sauron and Saruman's spirits dissipated in Middle-earth but with no power left to them.

So, if the spirits are dissipated and have no power...are they "destroyed"? Or if we consider what you're saying, Vee, both Sauron and Saruman could gather strength once again, right? Which means they wouldn't be "destroyed"...
Defeated and destroyed, two nice words, different meanings. Sauron was brought down at the plains of Dagorlad by Elendil and Gil-Galad, Isildur had the honour of the finishing move. He was merely defeated, not destroyed.

But since Sauron's essence was in that ring, as long if the ring was there, so could Sauron return. Saruman is just dead after he got killed in the Shire. Both are Maiar mind you. Eruwen, Gandalf did not destroy Sauron, Frodo did that by throwing the ring into the fires of Mount Doom. Or maybe Gollum did get an assist on that one as well LOL. Either way, imho even that technicality is something I do not believe in. I rather give credit where credit is due. Frodo destroyed the Ring and therefore Sauron. Not Gandalf.

Regarding Saruman, Gandalf defeated him at Orthanc, removing his powers, but he was destroyed in the Shire at the hands of Grima. Saruman was no longer immortal there.
Didn't many more characters than Frodo really play a part in the destruction of the ring though, Rhapsody? If you want to give credit where credit is due that is...
Frodo would not have been a part of the War if not for the guidance of Gandalf, so both are equally responsible, I think...About being destroyed, it happened with all three, Saruman, Sauron and Gandalf-they were "destroyed" or defeated...then they slowly gathered back strength and recreated themselves in the cases of the S-brothers, or in Gandalf's case got sent back.

I think the real question is:What do we consider death to be in general? Is it infinite or definite? It does appear in Tolkien's world that it is infinite for all save men, whose "gift" seems to be a rest of the body and soul. I would like to hope that it will be more like traditional far eastern theory in the idea that the spirits of men get reincarnated...I wonder if JRRT had similar views in any way? It seems very much that his Maia seemed to reincarnate, in a way...
Yes, Laurel...exactly. You are always good at getting down to the heart of my rambling questions. It just seemed to me that ROTK put more of a period on Sauron's defeat, almost as if it were a destruction, than the other stories. I'm just curious if it states anywhere that this will be the final defeat of Sauron or if we could have expected him to resurrect once again.

I too like to think that the spirits of man are recycled rather than just gone.
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Regarding Saruman, Gandalf defeated him at Orthanc, removing his powers, but he was destroyed in the Shire at the hands of Grima. Saruman was no longer immortal there.

Saruman is just the Maia Curumo in a human body. Grima killed Saruman, hence destroyed his body, but didn't destroy the Maian spirit Curumo.

Same with Sauron : even after the Ring got 'destroyed' (which isn't possible due to conservation of mass and energy, the Ring being destroyed just means that a big part of Sauron's power would be dispersed and hence lost for Sauron) Sauron's spirit endured, but that spirit was so weak that he just became a shadow.

About an earlier comment about Maiar destroying Maiar : it's true that no Ainu spirit can destroy another Ainu spirit (conservation of spirit) but they can destroy the bodies in which those Spirits are contained.

In fact, it is impossible to destroy anything. Everything is energy or a transition of energy.

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It just seemed to me that ROTK put more of a period on Sauron's defeat, almost as if it were a destruction, than the other stories

Well that's because Sauron's defeat is actually a period, it is perhaps the only definite defeat in the history of Arda. But that's his own fault, by putting a big deal of his power into the One Ring.

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If it is destroyed, then he will fall; and his fall will be so low that none can foresee his arising ever again. For he will lose the best part of the strength that was native to him in his beginning, and all that was made or begun with that power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever, becoming a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape.
ROTK, chapter The last debate

Laurelindhe posted :

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I think the real question is:What do we consider death to be in general? Is it infinite or definite? It does appear in Tolkien's world that it is infinite for all save men, whose "gift" seems to be a rest of the body and soul. I would like to hope that it will be more like traditional far eastern theory in the idea that the spirits of men get reincarnated...I wonder if JRRT had similar views in any way? It seems very much that his Maia seemed to reincarnate, in a way...

I don't think we can speak of reincarnation in the case of Maiar. Reincarnation involves a birth. Maiar don't get born, they are eternal spirits who shape for themselves a form so that they can interact with Elves and Men, if necessary.

Maybe the title of this topic is inaccurate; it should've been "Gandalf's return", in fact.

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I too like to think that the spirits of man are recycled rather than just gone.

I think that Eru just saves all human spirits in his Halls until the Second Music of the Ainur, after which the world will be remade and dominion over the world will be given to Man : that would be the time for all those human spirits to return to the world, to get "reborn" if you want.

Concerning eastern religion and reincarnation, those themes blatantly appear in the Wheel of Time series, but i can't really see anything that points out that those themes also appear in JRRT's stories. So, if you can find any, you're very welcome to enlighten me because it is an interesting aspect.

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I think giving Gandalf unlimited power and permission to use it whenever, to be immortal etc would have lessened the victory of Men over Sauron. Like the Dead Army in the film, Gandalf could probably have destroyed all the armies of Sauronbut it would have been his victory, not one of Men. And the story would have ended sooner...

Maybe Gandalf does have unlimited power, but he doesn't have the permission. All Istari sent to Middle-Earth were not allowed to face Sauron directly, only to guide the Free Peoples in their strife vs Sauron. Nothing more.

Besides, Sauron could've destroyed the armies of the Free Peoples as well (remember the extravaganza in the opening scene of FOTR movie). He doesn't do that of course, because he's a chicken and a lousy warrior, but anyway.

In the movies, that would've been a huge floating eye squishing every Elfie, every Dwarfie and every Man (and woman, if we include Arwen) in that army. That would've rocked.

About Sauron :

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Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic. In his earlier incarnation he was able to veil his power (as Gandalf did) and could appear as a commanding figure of great strength of body and supremely royal demeanour and countenance.

from Letters of JRRT

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Didn't many more characters than Frodo really play a part in the destruction of the ring though, Rhapsody? If you want to give credit where credit is due that is...


I didn't see any one of the fellowship standing above the fires of Mount Doom. In the end and that is what matters: Frodo did it and paid a very severe price for it. So hell yeah, give credit where credit is due.
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Frodo did it and paid a very severe price for it.

In fact, Gollum did it. Frodo failed just when he was about to succeed, but cannot be blamed for failing.

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Frodo indeed 'failed' as a hero, as conceived by simple minds: he did not endure to the end; he gave in, ratted. I do not say 'simple minds' with contempt: they often see with clarity the simple truth and the absolute ideal to which effort must be directed, even if it is unattainable. Their weakness, however, is twofold. They do not perceive the complexity of any given situation in Time, in which an absolute ideal is enmeshed. They tend to forget that strange element in the World that we call Pity or Mercy, which is also an absolute requirement in moral judgement (since it is present in the Divine nature). In its highest exercise it belongs to God. For finite judges of imperfect knowledge it must lead to the use of two different scales of 'morality'. To ourselves we must present the absolute ideal without compromise, for we do not know our own limits of natural strength (+grace), and if we do not aim at the highest we shall certainly fall short of the utmost that we could achieve. To others, in any case of which we know enough to make a judgement, we must apply a scale tempered by 'mercy': that is, since we can with good will do this without the bias inevitable in judgements of ourselves, we must estimate the limits of another's strength and weigh this against the force of particular circumstances.
I do not think that Frodo's was a moral failure. At the last moment the pressure of the Ring would reach its maximum – impossible, I should have said, for any one to resist, certainly after long possession, months of increasing torment, and when starved and exhausted. Frodo had done what he could and spent himself completely (as an instrument of Providence) and had produced a situation in which the object of his quest could be achieved. His humility (with which he began) and his sufferings were justly rewarded by the highest honour; and his exercise of patience and mercy towards Gollum gained him Mercy: his failure was redressed.

from Letters of JRRT.
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I didn't see any one of the fellowship standing above the fires of Mount Doom. In the end and that is what matters: Frodo did it and paid a very severe price for it. So hell yeah, give credit where credit is due.


How is that what matters? Frodo wouldn't have been there if it weren't for the other members of the fellowship; he wouldn't have been there if it weren't for Gandalf, Sam, Aragorn...any of them. They all paid a severe price, actually, all of Middle Earth paid a severe price; they were all standing in the fires of Mount Doom rather than above them. If the end justifies the means, then the means (the fellowship) is just as important.
Pls, i don't really see the need to start an argument about this. Every character in LOTR played his or her role and each one of them contributed to Sauron's defeat : they all equally deserve credit.

It wasn't just Frodo who did it, they all did it.

I suggest that we now pls return to the actual discussion instead of straying off topic.
OK - I'll link the two topics...

When Gandalf was returned he was still 'under orders' to unite the hearts etc of Men against the evil of Sauron. He did this with Theoden, he tried with Denethor, he dealt with Saruman, chivvied the Ents, kept the men in Minas Tirith fired up as much as possible.... he nurtured Aragorn and Faramir, he counselled and planned, he quietly nudged them all. This is what had started at the Council of Elrond - The Fellowship of the Ring which became the Fellowship of Men (and others) but mainly Men as it was for them that the world would be saved. Frodo was part of that Fellowship, both of the Ring and of Men whether he did it for Hobbits or for all. All for one and one for all!

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How is that what matters? Frodo wouldn't have been there if it weren't for the other members of the fellowship; he wouldn't have been there if it weren't for Gandalf, Sam, Aragorn...any of them


At the moment, yes. Bear in mind, this might sound really funny, when I read ROTK, I was more interested in what was going on with Aragorn, Eomer, Faramir then what happened to Frodo & Sam. I recall even muttering: arghhhh I want to know what happens to my men, who cares about those two halflings. I am still more interested then what happened to the men on the battlefields. So that would be something to keep in mind Wink Smilie
Well then the fellowships plan worked for you too Rhapsy. Keep the focus away from the little ones. They could never defeat Saurons army, it was only a matter of keeping Sauron busy.
It sure did Amarie! I am very fond of Gandalf (besides Faramir & Eomer). I just love him and his love for the inhabitants of Arda. Smile Smilie
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At the moment, yes. Bear in mind, this might sound really funny, when I read ROTK, I was more interested in what was going on with Aragorn, Eomer, Faramir then what happened to Frodo & Sam. I recall even muttering: arghhhh I want to know what happens to my men, who cares about those two halflings. I am still more interested then what happened to the men on the battlefields. So that would be something to keep in mind


Ah yes...me too Rhapsody, me too.

Nice linking Vee...I think you know what we were going for.
There are two things that mildly perplex me about Gandalf's return to Middle-Earth:
1. The fact that he, in the end, was called to leave again...I know Eru only sent him temporarily, but why? Shouldn't his "new cycle" of life be allowed to play itself out? Is there any information anywhere on why Tolkien chose to have him leave Middle-Earth, rather than allow him to live out his days in the place that was dear to his heart? Couldn't he have been afforded much luxury and comfort and peace at the side of his friend King Elessar in the refurbished Minas Tirith?
2.Gandalf said he had returned naked from where he went "beyond thought and time", where did he descend? Does it ever say how long exactly he roamed throughout Middle-Earth before he was discovered by Treebeard, the two hobbits, and finally Aragorn, Gimli, and Let-go-lass after he came back?
I am sure that these questions have already been answered somewhere, but I am a member of the Talentless Lazybones Guild, after all...
Hi Laurel...well, I think all ringbearers had to leave Middle Earth. As for why they had to leave Middle Earth, I don't know. Can anyone answer that?

As for where Gandalf decended to, I need to look that one up to answer it specifically and don't have my books. Anyone have their books who could answer that now?
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Couldn't he have been afforded much luxury and comfort and peace at the side of his friend King Elessar in the refurbished Minas Tirith?


Several reasons why this wasn't to be...

1. Gandalf was a Maia spirit. His home was in Valinrr. He had spent more time there than in Middle-earth. I suspect the beauty of Valinor outweighs that of ME.

2. Gandalf, even as flesh and blood, would outlive Aragorn and everyone else.

3. His very good friends, Galadriel, Elrond and Bilbo, were all going.

I don't think the Ring Bearers and Wearers *had* to leave ME. The elves were going because they were elves, Gandalf was going home and for Bilbo and Frodo it gave them the chance for peace which they wouldn't otherwise have if they stayed.
All ringbearers did leave though, didn't they? Hmmm...I'll have to read up on that.

Do you know why Frodo and Bilbo would have peace in the West? What was it about the West that offered them the peace they couldn't find in Middle Earth?
No MacDonalds, no skateboards, no baseball caps, no football.... need I go on?
Good one. Funny...I seem to understand that reasoning perfectly well Smile Smilie.
No MacDonals in this town, I don't believe skateboards is very hot here at this moment, baseballl caps... I think they are not tha popular anymore... no football, but have have soccer though... somewhere Wink Smilie

I know from Frodo that he would find healing of his wounds, so that is always good. Gandalf is just called home (just as the elves) and I really can't blame him.
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