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Thread: Gandalf's rebirth - revisited

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Before my old account evaporated, i created a thread about the surroundings of Gandalf's return to Middle-earth after he had died on top of Zirak-zigil.

In that thread, i believe it was postulated that after his death, Gandalf's spirit passed to the Halls of Mandos, from whence he was sent back by the Valar.

Today though, i found the following in letter #156 from Tolkien's Letters :
Quote:

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 'gods' whose business is only with this embodied world and its time; for he passed 'out of thought and time'. Naked is alas! unclear. It was meant just literally, 'unclothed like a child' (not discarnate), and so ready to receive the white robes of the highest. Galadriel's power is not divine, and his healing in Lórien is meant to be no more than physical healing and refreshment.

So it seems that the Valar had nothing to do whatsoever with Gandalf's return/rebirth.

Indeed, Gandalf passed out of 'thought and time', which would mean that he passed beyond the confines of Arda. It seems that Eru Ilúvatar himself passed Gandalf's spirit to his Halls, upgraded his power and sent him back to Middle-earth to finish his task as Gandalf the White :

Quote:
Gandalf really 'died', and was changed: for that seems to me the only real cheating, to represent anything that can be called 'death' as making no difference. 'I am G. the White, who has returned from death'. Probably he should rather have said to Wormtongue: 'I have not passed through death (not 'fire and flood') to bandy crooked words with a serving-man'.

(from the same letter)

This is an important point, for it seems that for the second time in the history of Arda, Ilúvatar interfered directly in the course of events - the first time, he took Valinor from the circles of the world and he sank Númenor; the second time, he sent Gandalf the White to Middle-earth.
Thank you so much i have been looking for some information on Gandalf's rebirth for a while and that has answered some questions that i have been researching thanks!!
Really, when you think about it Mir, it's the same kind of situation. The Valar could not do anything more to disuade Ar-Pharazon, so they called on Eru and he intervened. The Valar had commissioned Gandalf, and all the Istari, to oppose Sauron. Here was the only one to half-way succeed passing "beyond time." Who but Iluvatar could intervene to set things on the right path again? This seems to follow Tolkien's thoughts on eucatastrophe.
Normally in MIddle-earth, when one's physical body is destroyed, the soul within passes to the Halls of Mandos. If the 'passed beyond time and thought' quote wasn't there, one would expect the same to have happened to Gandalf.

But still, the Valar did have something to do with Gandalf's rebirth. One must not forget that when Manwë and Varda sit together on their throne (Hlidskjalf?) in the Halls of Oiolossë, Manwë sees all and Varda hears all. When the two greatest of the Valar saw what befell the messenger/governor who was personally sent by them to Middle-earth, Manwë must've consulted Ilúvatar and asked him to interfere.

Furthermore, after Gandalf's rebirth on Zirak-zigil, one of Manwë's Eagles carried him away to Galadriel.
Quote:
eucatastrophe?


Please explain.
'Eucatastrophe' is mentioned by JRRT in a letter to his son Christopher (letter #89 from Letters) :

Quote:
For it I coined the word 'eucatastrophe': the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argued it is the highest function of fairy-stories to produce). And I was there led to the view that it produces its peculiar effect because it is a sudden glimpse of Truth, your whole nature chained in material cause and effect, the chain of death, feels a sudden relief as if a major limb out of joint had suddenly snapped back. It perceives – if the story has literary 'truth' on the second plane (for which see the essay) – that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature is made. And I concluded by saying that the Resurrection was the greatest 'eucatastrophe' possible in the greatest Fairy Story – and produces that essential emotion: Christian joy which produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love.
After all, what would they have done without Gandalf?
They would have asked Radagast for help, who would've sent his armada of sparrows to topple his Eyeness.