Gandalf's rebirth

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virumor
Posts: 3567

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#1 » Sat Jan 01, 2005 5:58 pm

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 :

'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) :

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 :

'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.
Give up the Halfring, she-elf...

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Amarië
Posts: 2785

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#2 » Sat Jan 01, 2005 7:45 pm

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. ;)

Ahhh ramblings in the night. Fun! :)
"Don't complain under the stars
about the lack of bright spots in you life."
Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian writer

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Túrin Turambar
Posts: 614

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#3 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 2:21 am

hey amarie good job! You basically covered exactly what i was gonna say about gandalf and all that other stuff.

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valedhelgwath
Posts: 4233

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#4 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 4:16 am

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.

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floyd_n_milan
Posts: 551

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#5 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 7:47 am

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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Amarië
Posts: 2785

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#6 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 8:17 am

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. ;)

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.
"Don't complain under the stars

about the lack of bright spots in you life."

Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian writer

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Vee
Posts: 2711

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#7 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 8:52 am

From The Letters of JRR Tolkien Hope it helps.

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...
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...

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.

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laurelindhe ilmarin
Posts: 1314

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#8 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:37 am

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.

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Etharion
Posts: 1717

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#9 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:58 am

Well this is absolutely mind boggling!!! :elfbiggrin:
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.

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Vee
Posts: 2711

Gandalf's rebirth

Post#10 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 12:30 pm

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...

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....


... 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...


...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....

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