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In the special edition of ROTK...the witch king breaks Gandalf's staff...then when Gandalf is leaving Middle Earth..he has it again.

When did he get it back?

I'm sure I know the answer...just can't think of it right now...
This is one of the worst things about that last move, Extended Edition, and it is my pet peeve of all time. Gandalf's staff broken by a mortal! It never happened in the book at all, so of course there was no problem with Gandalf then having his staff in hand at the Grey Havens. But in the movie, I asked (in the review I did) how he got it back--gorilla glue? Staffs-R-Us? The wizards' store at Amazon? It's just another example of PJ departing too far from the book. The original confrontation of Gandalf v. Angmar at the gate would have been compelling enough.
the wraiths arent mortals
But the Nazgul are men, nevertheless. They are the wraiths of men, not elves, not Maiar, etc. So the idea that he can break Gandalf's staff is ludicrous. Tolkien didn't want that kind of a confrontation anyway, or he would have finished the actual meeting at the Gate differently.
I admit that the Witchking (not Angmar - that is the name of his realm but I know what you mean) could not have broken Gandalf's staff but its not a luicrous concept.
If we take them in the original states the idear that a Man (which the Witchking is becuase Elves and Dwarves cannot turn into wraiths) could break some powerful item of an Ainur is absurd. BUT take these into consideration:

Gandalf was confined to phisical form in the world Without and could not extend his powers to there full potential.

The Witchking was a great man in his time. If Glorfindel could defeat a Balrog which are Maiar then its not hard to believe that a great man could, at least, stand a chance of doing the same.

The Witchking had huge amounts of power given to his original supply by Sauron (who was undoubtedly more powerful than Gandalf in his original state before or after he made the Ring) making him far more dangerous. For example when Gandalf held off the Wraiths at weathertop the Witchking was clearly a defeatable foe. But by the end of the War of the Ring he had grown even greater. He also seems to grow greater as his master grows in power also.

As I say its doubtful the WK could defeat Gandalf but its not a ludicrous concept.
I do not believe any one including the Witch King could defeat Gandalf, especially after his resurrection. Gandalf was powerfilled only second to Saruman and then ahead of him after Saruman's defeat and the subsequent breaking of his staff by Gandalf at Isengarde.
It says clearly that this angelic being came with his full powers shrouded, he was not to use them except in extreme emergency situations, but he could use them. So I don't believe that the Witchking could do that whatsoever.
Sauron was more powerful than either Gandalf. Also your forgetting that after the Balrogs defeat the Witchking was the powerfullest being in Arda, save the Istari. He may have been able to put up more of a stand than people give him credit for. He probabaly couldn't have defeated Gandalf admittedly but its not impossible.
So I don't believe that the Witchking could do that whatsoever.

Of course the fiend couldn't do that to Gandalf the White. The idea alone is laughable.

He wouldn't even be able to break Gandalf the Grey's staff; note that Gandalf the Grey fought off 5 Nazg’l alone on Weathertop and defeated a Balrog.

The Nazg’l's only power is fear; (s)he who does not fear them, cannot be defeated by them - granted, though, if this person possesses the necessary combat prowess. Did Gandalf fear the Nazg’l? I think not.

Extrapolating from this, Aragorn would also have been able to defeat the Witch-King of Angmar with And’ril.

On a less serious note, the Witch-King was beaten by a GIRL, for Pete's sake... so he's clearly a weenie who would stand no chance whatsoever against the Wizard of wizards. So why the argument? Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
On a less serious note, the Witch-King was beaten by a GIRL, for Pete's sake... so he's clearly a weenie who would stand no chance whatsoever against the Wizard of wizards. So why the argument? Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie

Because, it is more civilized than going to a football game and acting like a hooligan; though there are some (your's truly not in their number) who might consider that to be more fun. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie was a strange thing to put in the movie, I made Gandalf look really weak.

But here's another the original version of the movie, does Gandalf just all of a sudden not have his staff? I really don't remember...

Was Saurman more powerful than the Wraiths?
In the theatrical version, Gandalf is without his staff for the last part of the battle of the Pelennor, and more obviously when they go to attack the Morannon. In such a place you'd expect him to have it. Then inexplicably he has it again at the end. Very bad continuity.
Well maybe they didn't expect to have so many details-watching fans!!
At the Moranon, I think the movie's Gandalf was only wielding Glamdring. Remember he wasn't supposed to use his supernatural powers in any of the fights and didn't, except against the Nazgul where he shot light beams at them. Probably the Witchking only broke his staff; but didn't remove its power; and after the War was over the craftsmen of Gondor carved a new piece of wood to hold the original magic crystal. Well, this might have been PJ's thinking, even if it was lame.

And don't forget: Gandalf was also staff-less when Gwaihir rescued him from the Tower of Orthanc; and again when he rescued him from Durin's Tower after the battle with the Balrog. So from whence came all those replacements? Huh, tell me that; or tell me once again I've got in my facts all wrong. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
No, you are right, Grondy. The movie has Gandalf leave without his staff from Orthanc. In the book, we are shown that scene indirectly, so we assume Gandalf brought all his belongings on the flight. In the movie, Gandalf drops his staff when the Balrog's whip catches him--and that's the last we see of the old staff. In the book, his staff burst asunder from the impact of striking the bridge with it. So when he comes back from death with a new staff, that makes sense because he himself broke the old one. But this thing about the new staff does not make sense.
I assume my last post was deleted becuase I gave too many compelling points to consider regarding Gandalf vs the WK?
We only delete posts which clearly are against the rules, and we usually leave a warning of some kind either on PM, in the edited post and/or in a post below. If one of us did delete your post, then it was because you deserved it.

I assume your post is either one of those above or you never actually posted it. You wouldn't be the first to loose a post, but you would be the first to blame the Council for it.
Well I suppose I cannot say conclusively but I did check to see if my post had registered on this thread and it had right under Thorins last post. It contained only information relating to this topic and was perfectly family-friendly. I checked my PMs and there is none there.

I suppose we will never know. I would have thought there would be some kind of log entries on all deleted messages in which the CM could check afterwards though...
Now that is strange... Maybe the server had a hick-up? I believe we did loose a handfull of posts some time ago, if I remember correctly. Tarrant (the previous owner) didn't include a deleted messages log when he programmed this forum.

I guess you'll just have to post it one more time. It's not fun to have to rewrite a post, but I doubt it will vanish twice.
So from whence came all those replacements? Huh, tell me that; or tell me once again I've got in my facts all wrong.

Well, 'whence' = from where, hence 'from whence' is a tautology... your English teacher must be rolling in his grave! Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie

Now that is strange... Maybe the server had a hick-up? I believe we did loose a handfull of posts some time ago, if I remember correctly.

We did even lose a couple of entire accounts! Sweet, sweet memories... Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
Must have been a delayed error in the system or something.

Anyway All my post was stating was that assumting that Gandalf's staff breaking is ludicrous on the sole facts that he is a Maiar whilst the WK is a man is very slack.

Gandalf was bound from using his full power,

Glorfindel slayed a Balarog just with his helm and no magical abilities,

Gandalf died fighting the balrog,

The WK was excessively more powerful at the siege of Pellenor than at Weathertop becuase as Sauron's dominion grew more great so did the WK's power,

The WK has large amounts of power given to him by Sauron.

All these facts should lead you to deduce that it was still unlikely that the WK could defeat Gandalf but not impossible and certainly not 'laughable'. The WK was after all the most powerful being in Arda after Sauron and the Istari.
One needs to separate 'facts' from 'conjecture'. Pray tell, what do High Elves & Balrogs have to do with Nazg’l, who are mere wraiths of men?

What you are saying is "The Witch-King can possibly beat Gandalf, because Gandalf was defeated by a Balrog and Glorfindel killed a Balrog", as if there's a transitive property here : Glorfindel defeats a Balrog (also note that Ecthelion killed Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, with his helmet), Gandalf beats a Balrog (like all Balrogs are equal), hence Glorfindel = Gandalf?

Nothing can be extrapolated from the actions of High Elves & Balrogs on the Witch-King of Angmar, since they are *not* even of the same race. Nothing is known of the relation between the Witch-King and Balrogs or High Elves, except that for instance Glorfindel and others did not fear Nazg’l.

What c’n be extrapolated is, that since Gandalf the Grey had already subdued five Nazg’l on Weathertop, and had became more powerful after his rebirth as Gandalf the White (or rather, his form was less shrouded than his previous form; he was perhaps able to use his full power), the Witch-King would again be subdued, especially when taking into account that it took merely a stab from a Hobbit and a thrust from a Lady to finish off the fiend.

"All the power from Sauron" that according to you was turned to the Witch-King does not matter at all *if* we follow your "Balrog-Glorfindel-Gandalf" conjecture - since Sauron had been defeated numerous times in the First and Second Age, by L’thien, H’an and Elendil + Gil-galad, his power was negligible.

And again, the only power of the Nazg’l was fear; fear them not, and you kill them by sticking a N’menoran blade in their unseen gut.

Hence, indeed, the idea of the Witch-King even remotely posing more than a slight nuisance to Gandalf the White/the Grey, is derisory at best.

So when he comes back from death with a new staff, that makes sense because he himself broke the old one. But this thing about the new staff does not make sense.

I'm glad I didn't see the Extended Edition!
My point with the Balrog was thus:

Someone said that Gandalf killed a Balrog so that must make him some almighty being or something. What I was stating was that Glorfindel slayed a Balrog and he was not an angelic being, just a firstborn, though mighty amoung them. Now as we know the WK was probabaly one of the 'great Lords of Numenor' which also would make him mighty (perehaps not quite as much as Glorfindel but still). Therefore if the WK could stand a chance of fighting a Balrog then he could also stand a chance of facing Gandalf becuase Gandalf the Grey and the Balrog were pretty equal.


’Yet now under the Lord of Barad-d’r the most fell of all his captains is already master of your outer walls,’ said Gandalf. ’King of Angmar long ago, Sorcerer, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazg’l, a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, shadow of despair.’
’Then, Mithrandir, you had a foe to match you,’ said Denethor.

Clearly Gandalf rates the WK very high in power and obviously Denethor does to. And does this quote seem to indicate that Gandalf thought of the WK as 'laughable'??

And as I have already explained the WK and the other wraiths on weathertop did not exactly need to kill Gandalf - they were after the Ring - not him.
At the battle of Pellenor the Witchking was prepared and had grown great enough to face Gandalf:

"The Nazg’l screeched and swept away, for their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe."

As we see here the WK was NOT YET ready to race his foe. His power was growing all the time. By the time the battle was begun he stood a chance (all be it very small) of fighting Gandalf.

And as for your implications that Sauron was less powerful than Gandalf becuase he had been thwarted by various people over the ages is flawed by this quote:

"To the defeat of Sauron would he not then send some lesser (but mighty) spirit of the angelic people, one co’val and equal, doubtless, with Sauron in their beginnings, but not more? Ol’rin was his name. But of Ol’rin we shall never know more than he revealed in Gandalf." UT

And this quote:

"'Dangerous!' cried Gandalf. 'And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord." LOTR
I would like to add my opinion here, though it my be strange for most of you.

Gandalf did not died fighting the Balrog. He fell in the deeps of Khazad-doom. He was not killed, but sent beyond time and knowledge. Perhaps he was on some council with the Valar, to be prepared for his further actions. He was "sent back", not reanimated or any way revived.

The battle on Gondor's terrace did made Gandalf look weak. This I would probably never forgive Peter Jackson. Istar's stuff broken by undead (unliving)?!

About the Dark Lord and his transferable powers- I do not believe Sauron would share power. He grows in power by consuming others skills (physically or by getting to know others crafts and knowledge, and becoming masterful). By my opinion the crafts of the Which King are formidable for a mortal and he could even kill Gandalf (e.g. by slaying him), but not by any "magic".

out of discussion:
Checking reply... My last replay was posted, but the system did not marked the thread as "refreshed".
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'. And so on. I might say much more, but it would only be in (perhaps tedious) elucidation of the 'mythological' ideas in my mind; it would not, I fear, get rid of the fact that the return of G. is as presented in this book a 'defect', and one I was aware of, and probably did not work hard enough to mend. But G. is not, of course, a human being (Man or Hobbit). There are naturally no precise modern terms to say what he was. I wd. venture to say that he was an incarnate 'angel'’ strictly an ἄγγελος: that is, with the other Istari, wizards, 'those who know', an emissary from the Lords of the West, sent to Middle-earth, as the great crisis of Sauron loomed on the horizon. By 'incarnate' I mean they were embodied in physical bodies capable of pain, and weariness, and of afflicting the spirit with physical fear, and of being 'killed', though supported by the angelic spirit they might endure long, and only show slowly the wearing of care and labour.

from letter 156 to Robert Murray (4 November 1954)

The way I see it, Gandalf died of his wounds suffered in the long fight with the Balrog (even though his angelic spirit let his body endure long enough to defeat the Balrog), passed to Il’vatar and was sent back by the One himself. He could not have passed to the Valar as he passed 'beyond Time and Space'.
To confirm Virumor's above post, here is a quote in the middle of the fourth page of the section of Unfinished Tales entitled 'The Istari':
Yet it is said that in the ending of the task for which he came he suffered greatly, and was slain, and being sent back from death for a brief while was clothed then in white, and became a radiant flame (yet veiled still save in great need). And when all was over and the Shadow of Sauron was removed, he departed for ever over the Sea.
The bold highlight in the above quote is mine, rather than the Professor's.
All this talk about G. being veiled when he came back as the White is fine, but a veiled fire still burns. Though you may not be awed by it if you don't see it, you are still burned if you should happen to fling yourself into it. We don't know what would have happened (in the book) if G. and the WK had actually fought it out. But filmmakers are always getting over sensationalist and over dire. They have to exaggerate the drama no matter how dramatic a story already is. The WK would have been burned if he had had gone all out in battle with G. But G. would have been given a run for his money too.
But G. would have been given a run for his money too.

I disagree. The WK got beaten by a woman and a little Hobbit, after all. He was nothing but a bag of wind (literally, even).
Well I just went through the topic from the beginning and find it highly interesting. But if I remember correctly gandalf himself did not know how he would fare against the WK. I think that in this matter he had a choice; either face the witch king to an unknown end or save the life of faramir.

If I may extrapolate myself we could tend to think that Gandalf might have had the upperhand if we consider that it was because of Sauron's interference (through the palantir of Denethor) that Gandalf had to abandon the Gate. If Faramir was not to be burned by his mad father we could have witnessed the epic battle between the Witch and the Wizard despite the arrival of the Rohirrim.

I would have to reread all the books three more times before I could add anything remotely intelligent.
I am in awe of all of you, with your high words and your attention to detail and accumulated knowledge. It is wonderful to read your posts.
I do agree that Gandalf died, in the same sense, perhaps, as some Elves die; his fea goes into the hall of Mandos for a brief spell (and I guess that place is probably the one "beyond Space or Time"), and then he gets resurructed with a new body.

The scene with the staff-breaking surprised me when I saw it, too. I flipped through the LOTR in search of a passage that describes this happening, and of course I found nothing. Typical, typical of Hollywood... I despise it when people look at that scene laughingly and say Gandalf is just a weakened old man after all, because it is NOT true. And while a quote above from Lord-Of All shows that Gandalf considers himself to be of equal, or perhaps slightly inferior, power than Sauron, there is nothing in Tolkien's writings that suggest an equality between the Witch King and Sauron, even if Sauron had poured some powers into the WK. T

he Witch King may have been Sauron's most valuable servant after Saruman, but he was just a servant nevertheless. Actually, I would not even call him a servant. He's more like a slave, bound to Sauron by the sheer malice of his Rings, and stuck in the Shadowlands. He had little free will of his own, tethered as he was to the will of Sauron. Could Gandalf the White, newly resurructed with the power of "what Saruman should have been," be defeated by something as bully-like as the Witch King? I don't think so.

Furthermore, I think Gandalf took the Witch King seriously because he was wise enough not to be arrogant, and not because he was weak or anything.

Exactly. Well put Cloveress; I do miss you, hope you are doing well.
It is clear to me that Gandalf was in Middle-Earth to do the bidding of The ONe, of course , but never to strong arm any situation. He more or less walked along side if you will and only when a situation was past the ability or hope of the players in the drama did he take over and use his powers. That Witch King was a mere former man who allowed greed and avarice to corrupt him and then became the slave of Sauron. I believe Sauron would give him enough power to terrify the men and hobbits necessary, but never enough power to do anything against Sauron himself. He was there fore even on that score well below Gandalf. And knowing who Gandalf was and where he was sent from it is a no brainer that his staff would not have been broken by that loser.
I would imagine this thing with the new staff is simply a product of the way PJ edited the films. In the theatrical version the scene with the WK wasn't there, so it was natural that Gandalf still had his staff. When PJ put that scene back in, he probably didn't consider the implications, or if he did, decided to leave the rest of the movie alone and especially the Grey Havens, seeing as they had already reshot that scene twice due to Sean Astin and a bad cameraman.

As a side note, there are a few scenes besides the Grey Havens in which Gandalf has his staff after the WK broke it.
By boiling down the toenail clippings from the m’mak, the Gondorians found they could make a very good substitute for modern epoxy, with which they repaired Gandalf's staff, almost as good as gnu: like one might achieve with Gnu-Glue’. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

The m’mak is synonymous with oliphaunt; the gnu with wildebeest. Teacher Smilie
It bothered me more that Gandalf the White was saved from a backstab by Pippin & simply stood and watched as a burning Denethor ran to his doom. Clearly PJ added this for dramatic effect, but it should be stated that Gandalf the White was not nearly as inept in the books as in the films.
Agreed. In particular the scene in the extended edition where he asks Saruman "Where is Sauron attacking?" or something to that effect. Hmmmm. Let's see. Whats the nation that he hates most, has been attacking for about eighty years, and is located within sight of his kingdom? Hmmmm.
The Haradrim? Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie

Alright, I know that was a sarcastic, rhetorical question, but I couldn't pass it up. Orc Grinning Smilie
"Are you suggesting that a wizard staff migrates?"

"Well, it could've been carried by an Eagle"

Or perhaps he got it from the Gap of Rohan?

Seriously though, I didn't get how that was possible. Gandalf the White had the power to break Saruman's staff, but his was broken by the Witch King. Eh?
Gandalf the White had the power to break Saruman's staff, but his was broken by the Witch King. Eh?
'Twas a mere figment of PJ's imagination and his screenwriter/directorial/editorial license, which can be compared with poetical license, where the poet is forgiven for choosing the form of a word that fits his poem's meter, but isn't grammatically correct.
Guys, you are not giving the Witch king enough credit.
He is not a meer man, he is the King of the Nazgul, the lord of the nine.
He can not be killed by a man, and his power does increase while Saurons does too.
If you have payed close attention, a darkness spreads from Mordor to Gondor, and when it reaches there, the war starts. (as Gandalf said).
That darkness is yes for the orc's too, day haters, but it is a representation of Saurons power. The witch king says "You fool this is my hour". when he confronts Gandalf.
The witch king can fight both with magic, and ordinary weapons, just like Gandalf. But if infact he does have the power to destroy Gandalf's staff, then you must knock out magic from Gandalfs fighting techniques against him. Now if they fought in another condition, where the presence of Sauron was not empowering the Witch king, I dont know how that fight would turn out, probably Gandalf would win.
The witch king can not be killed by a man, and don't forget Gandalf might be a wizard, but he is a man not a woman. If gandalf could rip the witch king from his weapons, or send him back to the abyss, which Im sure he can, it would be an easy win for him. But he is not allowed to use his full power.
Anyways what i'm trying to say is to give the Witch King some more credit.

But no one ever said the Witch-king couldn't be killed by a Man.

Glorfindel predicted he wouldn't fall by the hand of man. Big difference Smile Smilie
Also, Gandalf, whether Grey or White, in any case, is not a man, only male. He is a Maia, also a big difference Elf Winking Smilie. But then, the teacher does not take the test, only guides Teacher Smilie.
I agree with Postal that we shouldn't underestimate the Witchking. I don't have a copy of the Lord of the Rings (the book) with me but as far as I can recall the Witchking breaks down the door of fattybolgers house with a word and in R ot K he also breaks down the gates of Gondor when up to that point Grond (by itself) had been unsuccessful. He also broke Frodo's sword at the Ford of Rivendell this time with just a word and he also seemed capable of affecting Frodo's physiology because it reads that Frodo felt his tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth and his heart laboring. When the witchking attacked Gondor he had been empowered by Sauron and even Gandalf responded to Denethor's suggestion that he was outmatched by the Witchking by admitting that it might be so. Now I do think Gandalf was showing his humility here because earlier he had said he was more dangerous than anything other than Sauron, and Aragorn (who was no fool) said he was greater than the nine. I think there are parallels between the Gandalf/Balrog fight and the Gandalf/Witchking confrontation which suggest that Gandalf would have won especially as he's Maiar. but we shouldn't underestimate the Witchking's power.

Thought I'd just add some personal opinions and points to a very interesting discussion :P

As far as my interpretation goes I belive that Olorin is the Maia from the west and Gandalv the male embodiment of the Maian spirit. Which according to writings in "Unfinished Tales" states that the five wizards sent to ME in their embodiments, hold a lesser fraction of the original knowledge and wisdom that originates from their Maian spirits.
Manwë summoned the Valar for a council at which it was resolved to send out three emissaries to Middle-Earth and he asked who would go. They would have to lose might and clothe themselves in flesh to win the trust of Elves and Men but this would also imperil them, diminish their wisdom and knowledge and bring upon them fear, the care and weariness of the flesh. Only two came forward; Curumo [Saruman] and Alatar. Curumo was chosen by Aulë among "his" Maiar and Alatar was send(sic) by Oromë. Manwë asked where Olórin [Gandalf] was and Olórin just returned from a journey and coming to the meeting asked what he wanted from him and Manwë told that he wished him to go as the third to Middle-Earth. Olórin answered that he meant himself too weak for such a task and that he feared Sauron. Then Manwë said that that was all the more reason why he should go and he commanded him to go as the third. There Varda broke in and said "Not as the third". and Curunír remembered that. The tale ends with the statement that Curumo was obliged to take Aiwendil [Radagast] with him to please Yavanna, Aulë's wife and that Alatar took Pallando as a friend.
- Unfinished Tales
The very fact that Olorin is reluctant and therefore commanded to go to ME shows his humble nature. The are many passages in the Tolkien literature that show that Gandalv is a powerful being wise enough not to embrace greater power in eternal fear of being corrupted. (Passing down the chance of being leader of the White Council, not taking the ring from Frodo etc). In the Tolkien texts you can see clearly that the Maian spirits are not without fear or other emotions (greed, shame, pride, arrogance and so on). So the fear that Olorin has for Sauron only increases as he enters ME as Gandalv in human form.
To summarize: He is definetly not without fear, so in theory it is very possible for him to not just humbly accept the power of the Witch king, but also fear it. This fear being amplified in his human form.
The interesting part about the scene in the movie is the fact that the sword of the Witch king is inflamed. Seems rather odd as fire is the element used to ward them off earlier in both the book and the movie. Implicating that the power of the Witch king had grown to such a state that his own fear of fire would be overcome and the power of the flame which he now posessed would be a serious match (though not equal) to the flame of Anor of whom Gandalf is the secret wielder. (As the flame of Anor is the most powerful in Tolkiens universe)
And in the movie it looks as if Gandalv is baffled by the new power and it is the insecurance and fear of this suprising event that renders him "powerless" and "paralyzed" (couldnt find better words). And fear being a great source of power for the Nazgul would only amplify the Witch kings power, ego, arrogance and so on. Making him in theory in that key moment practically superior to Gandalf (the embodiment of the Maia) Which by itself would explain why he is "whimpering" on the ground like an old man. Because that is what he is; a great spirit sort of trapped in the body of an old man. Im not saying that Gandalf is a feeble old man like any other. He is indeed powerful and wise and so on. But nevertheless, he is as a man not beyond or above the range of human emotion. 
The Witch king never says that he is going to kill Gandalf he says he wil break him. Implicating he knows that Gandalf is a Maia and that he cannot beat him in spirit form. He can only defeat him in the flesh, and by doing so releasing his spirit. The Maian spirit of Olorin. Or another way to interpret it could be that the Witch king assumes that the power of Gandalf comes from his staff. And by saying he will break him meaning the idea of the wizard or the symbol of his power --> his power --> the staff. This being a rather ludicrous way to look at it as the Witch king instructs the steed to feast on his flesh. And as Gandalfs powers dont orginate from his staff(I think, not all of them at least), though it is the item that in many situations gives him a great advantage(a real offensive or defensive shot) against his enemies. The deeds of Gandalf may not have been so legendary had it not been for his staff; battle of five armies, the balrog, and so on. 
To summarize: If Gandalf was able to fear the Nazgul it would fuel the Witch kings power making him in many practical settings more powerful than the wizard himself. As for the origin of the power of the flame that breaks the staff in the movie... Beats me. A logical  assumption would be that the fire originates from Sauron, the same fire that embodies, holds, surrounds his great eye. The flame being  channeled through the Witch king and into the sword by the power of Sauron. The Witch king is after all the most deadliest servant of the dark lord, who is to say his spirit cant act as a doorway/waypoint between the real world and the shadow world.  
Ref. Sort of like what happens with Pippin and the palantir. Frodo and the mirror. In the movies the eye  is seen by Frodo when he puts on the ring and enters the shadow world in Bree and Amon Hen. Maybe as Saurons power advances he is able to perform greater feats.  
Apologies for any spelling mistakes. 

I would so wish that noone would undertake making these movies that has not truly studied the books and is intent on keeping the true line of thought and understanding that the author, the creator of the body of work intended. One someone deviates from the true intention of the canon, to me, all is lost. The result might be sensational, amazing, gut wrenching or thought provoking. But it will not be what was created, what was meant to begin with from the mind of the creator. So, really how does that honor the work, the author. It is depressing.

I must admit when I saw that scene, I felt both appalled and embarrassed and not a little chagrined at the blatant misuse of the real story.(

I am into my like 6th time viewing, and i just finished all the extras on my collectors box set.

And this sitting is killing me, cause I am noticing all these things, that I think are lame, just like the staff thing, and other things like Elijah's weak acting.

I think PJ, should put the finger to hollywood, and made these movies like 9 hours long, and made the story identical to the book. I just hate how hollywood twists and turns other peoples master works into something new. When it was that persons master work what we loved in the first place.

But if your a lord of the ring fan, your obligated to love something about it.

I love the books way more. I probably should of just watched the movies once lol

In my view, and I know a lot of you will laugh, the Gandalf V Witch King is one of PJ's only big mistakes.

It would have been so powerful to simply show a test of power between the two, with the horns of Rowan interrupting, as in the book.  I didn't mind the change of set, however the fact that Gandalf seemed diminished annoys me.

 I wanted to see the Witch Kings staff turn to flame, matched by Gandalf's subtle power illuminated in his staff, as done with the Balrog and finally the Witch Kings sword extinguished as the horn blow across Pelanor.  The Witch King then has a choice, to stay and try to "Break" Gandalf or to fly off and join the battle.  This would have been far more powerful as there is no outcome and leaves one to ponder who would have won...

Yeah that sounded way better than what happened.

I think the only reason PJ did it, was to make you feel that Saroun was gona win.

I feel that the spirits who were cursed had way to much power. I mean only aragon could harm them! This made for an easy win. But the suspense leading up to was great minus the staff thing.

I hope PJ does a super awesome job with the Hobbit, cause these movies were like the best movies ever created. I mean i love star wars, but come on, these movies were so much more beautiful, even though Lucas is at the bleeding edge of this technology, and Rick at ILM helped with the process that they used for the prequel trilogy, with the process of making these movies. I don't care, i am grateful for lucas's technology, cause we wouldn't have Transformers, Iron Mans, or LOTR with out it.


Who wants to go on a road trip to steal a copy of the hobbit from Tolkien Ranch, and have mishap adventures along the way? Smile Smilie


If Kristen Bell comes along, I'm in!

I cannot fathom at all them trying to portray such a high personage, who died and was sent back, even more powerful and beyond that pure and good, good being the highest and always  ultimately defeating the dark because it is a diminished and corrupted -and yet that fallen thing was able to break his sceptre- I don't think so.

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