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Name: Gandalf the Grey, Gandalf the White, Mithrandir, Olorin, Tharkun, Maia
Occupation: Wizard
Relationships: Saruman the White, Radagast the Brown (fellow wizards)
Fandom: Tolkien
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Gandalf is an aged wizard, a major character in The Lord of the Rings and its prequel The Hobbit. He is played by Sir Ian McKellen in Peter Jackson's films of the two books.


Gandalf is drawn from the Norse god Odin. He is ranked the second of the Istari (wizard) order—Maiar, immortal demigods from Valinor, sent by Eru towards the start of the Third Age to assist in the resistance to Sauron. He wears Narya, the elven ring of fire, carries a staff & the ancient elven sword Glamdring, and rides Shadowfax, the fastest horse in Middle-earth.

During the timeframe of The Hobbit, he engineers Bilbo's adoption as the dwarves' burglar, only to desert them to help cast out the Necromancer and return just in time to take part in the Battle of the Five Armies. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf identifies the Ring, sets Frodo & Sam on their quest to destroy it, is betrayed by Saruman, and falls fighting a balrog in Moria. He returns as the supercharged Gandalf the White, rescues Theoden & Faramir, and fights in numerous battles before accompanying the ringbearers to the West.


Gandalf was one of the most popular characters in Tolkien fanfiction written before the Jackson Lord of the Rings films came out. McKellen is a popular casting for him, and he remains a favourite of many fans, though he's relatively underrepresented in post-film fanworks.

Fanfiction & art depicting Gandalf are predominantly gen. In backstories, he is often depicted as an advisor or mentor, particularly to the young Aragorn & Faramir, and as a friend to Elrond & Galadriel. There are also many pre-stories set in the Shire telling of his relationship with Gerontius or Belladonna Took, or how he came to love pipeweed. Relatively little fanfiction addresses his history as the Maia Olorin in Valinor; there is a little about his choice to become a wizard and about Cirdan giving him Narya. Gandalf appears in many ensemble stories set during the events of The Hobbit or LotR, mainly in a subsidiary role. Futurefic set in Valinor often features him comforting or advising Bilbo and/or Frodo. Most works view him from other characters' viewpoints; Gandalf's voice is rarely attempted.

He is rarely paired with other characters (though it has become a little more common since the Jackson films of The Hobbit); the most common pairing is perhaps with Galadriel. The most common slash pairings in the Gandalf slash archive Meddling in the Affairs of Wizards, active 2003–9, are with Frodo, Saruman, Legolas, Aragorn and Pippin. As of September 2015, some of the most common pairings on AO3 are with Galadriel, Dori, Radagast, Saruman, Bilbo and Elrond.

Gandalf is the inspiration for many later wizard characters such as Dumbledore. Gandalf meets other wizards, such as Dumbledore or Merlin, in occasional crossovers.

Example Fanworks



Art Gallery

Archives and Links



  1. ^ The One Ring Challenge (accessed 7 September 2015) (via WBM)