The Hobbit

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The old wizard who recruits Bilbo for a quest, Gandalf is enormously wise, resourceful, and helpful to the dwarves during their journey to the Lonely Mountain, frequently saving their lives. At the same time, he can be neglectful, leaving the group outside Mirkwood forest when they most need him. It’s possible that Gandalf deliberately places Bilbo and the dwarves in danger, in order to encourage them to fight for themselves and develop their skills and independence.

Gandalf Quotes in The Hobbit

The The Hobbit quotes below are all either spoken by Gandalf or refer to Gandalf. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ballantine Books edition of The Hobbit published in 2012.
Chapter 7 Quotes

Mr. Baggins saw then how clever Gandalf had been. The interruptions had really made Beorn more interested in the story, and the story had kept him from sending the dwarves off at once like suspicious beggars. He never invited people into his house, if he could help it. He had very few friends and they lived a good way away; and he never invited more than a couple of these to his house at a time. Now he had got fifteen strangers sitting in his porch!

Related Characters: Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Beorn
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Bilbo watches as the wizard, Gandalf, tricks a powerful man named Beorn into letting a large number of dwarves into his home. Gandalf tells Beorn a colorful tale, which Beorn is too interested in to ignore entirely. As Gandalf tells Beorn this tale, he mentions dwarves, and they enter one or two at a time. Because of his interest in the story, Beorn has no choice but to let the dwarves into his house, despite his dislike of visitors.

Gandalf's tactics are a good example of how the characters in the novel use language as well as physical force to get their way. At various points in the book, characters obtain food and shelter and even save their own lives by telling interesting stories. Furthermore, the scene illustrates the basic "tit for tat" of hosting and hospitality in Middle Earth. On many occasions, one character will seek lodgings from another. In order to "pay" for his lodgings, the character will sometimes tell an entertaining story, just as Gandalf does here. In The Hobbit, the most villainous characters are often the worst hosts (the goblins, Gollum, Smaug, etc.). Therefore, the fact that Beorn is reluctant to take in the dwarves but does so anyway clues us into his being a grumpy but basically trustworthy character.

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Chapter 19 Quotes

"Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be true, after a fashion!" said Bilbo.
"Of course!" said Gandalf. "And why should not they prove true? Surely you don't disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!"
"Thank goodness!" said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

Related Characters: Bilbo Baggins (speaker), Gandalf (speaker)
Page Number: 305
Explanation and Analysis:

Years after Bilbo's adventures in Middle Earth, he's back in his hobbit-hole, and gets a surprise visit from Gandalf the wizard. Gandalf suggests to Bilbo that he was being "helped" through his adventures by powerful, invisible forces. (At various points in the novel, it's suggested that these "forces" are simply fate, the gods of Middle Earth, or even Gandalf himself.) Surprisingly, Bilbo doesn't dispute Gandalf's suggestion at all—he acknowledges that he's simply not that strong and independent, and is "only quite a little fellow in a wide world."

It's especially surprising that Bilbo agrees with Gandalf's statement since he's admitting that he's not really much of a "hero" in the end. Bilbo has proven himself to be a capable, intelligent adventurer. And yet Bilbo ultimately comes to reject the world of traditionaly heroism—the world of treasure, battle, and centuries-long feuding. In spite of his talents, he washes his hands of adventure, and retires. And yet Bilbo's adventures with Gandalf and Thorin haven't been for nothing. On the contrary, his adventures have made him a more confident, capable hobbit, with a wealth of wisdom and experience.

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Gandalf Character Timeline in The Hobbit

The timeline below shows where the character Gandalf appears in The Hobbit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Journey
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
One morning, Bilbo is sitting outside his home smoking, when Gandalf passes by. Gandalf, an old man who wears a grey cloak and carries a staff,... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
Gandalf tells Bilbo that he will give him what he has asked for; when Bilbo says... (full context)
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, who’s very fat, and Thorin Oakenshield, who is haughty. Gandalf arrives along with the last four dwarves. All thirteen dwarves, except for Thorin, who’s too... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...was a sign on his door claiming that he is a burglar looking for employment; Gandalf reveals that it was he who wrote this sign, but that the dwarves should accept... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Gandalf produces a map, which he tells Thorin belonged to Thror, Thorin’s grandfather. The map shows... (full context)
Chapter 2: Roast Mutton
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...sight depresses him, since he can’t easily forget that the dwarves were in his home. Gandalf greets him, and points to a note the dwarves have left him. The note says... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...be going and that he can borrow a hat and coat. The group, which includes Gandalf riding on a white horse, leaves the hobbit-lands in which Bilbo lives, and soon ventures... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...group is traveling through the wilderness, it begins to rain, and the group notices that Gandalf is missing. The dwarves are unable to make fire, and a horse runs away, leaving... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
...sun rises, turning the trolls to stone instantly. The stranger, who turns out to be Gandalf, frees the dwarves from their sacks, and Bilbo comes out of his hiding place. Gandalf... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Thorin asks Gandalf how he became separated from the rest of the group. Gandalf says that he had... (full context)
Chapter 3: A Short Rest
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...is difficult, but when the group arrives, they’re greeted by the sound of elves singing. Gandalf eagerly greets the elves, with whom he’s friendly. (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...largely uneventful weeks—Bilbo would have stayed much longer. Elrond, the elf-lord, examines the map that Gandalf gave to Thorin, and on it finds moon letters, which can only be read by... (full context)
Chapter 4: Over Hill and Under Hill
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Gandalf knows that the Misty Mountains have become full of danger in recent times, and that... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...the side of the cave, from which goblins emerge. Bilbo gives a cry, waking up Gandalf and allowing him to vanish in a flash of light that kills several goblins. The... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...the dwarves to quickly follow it away from the goblins. As the dwarves run away, Gandalf lights his wand, revealing himself to be the bearer of the sword, which is called... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The dwarves run, but the goblins are faster, and Gandalf tells Thorin to turn and fight. Using Glamdring and Orcrist, Gandalf and Thorin kill many... (full context)
Chapter 6: Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...sound like goblins’. He is happy to find that they belong to the dwarves and Gandalf, but rather than greet them right away, he decides to have some fun, and puts... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Gandalf is arguing with the dwarves; the dwarves are annoyed that Bilbo couldn’t stay with them,... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...a relative who used to imitate wolf howls to scare him. Bilbo, the dwarves, and Gandalf climb into trees to avoid the wolves. Bilbo is unable to climb up, but Dori... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The wolves are actually Wargs—wolves that can talk—and Gandalf overhears their conversation as they talk among themselves. They were supposed to meet the goblins... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...As they circle lower, they see a great crowd of wolves and goblins jeering at Gandalf and the dwarves in the trees. Gandalf, who’s now afraid that the fire he started... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
The eagles are no friends of dwarves, but let them go because Gandalf is friendly with the Lord of the Eagles, having healed a wound the eagle had... (full context)
Chapter 7: Queer Lodgings
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
The eagles take Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves to a far-away place with woods and a river. Bilbo is... (full context)
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
Gandalf now announces that he has other business to attend to, and must leave the dwarves... (full context)
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
The group comes to the Carrock, and Gandalf leads Bilbo to the home of a man so huge that Bilbo can walk between... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
Gandalf tells Beorn that he has been traveling with a friend or two; Beorn asks where... (full context)
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
The next morning, Bilbo finds Gandalf, who explains that he found bear tracks outside, leading toward the woods from which the... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...thinks that he sees the figure of a huge bear that might be Beorn, but Gandalf tells him not to pay attention to it. (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...their ponies go as the ponies will not be able to travel through the forest. Gandalf announces that he is leaving them to attend to other business. Bilbo is especially sad... (full context)
Chapter 8: Flies and Spiders
Heroism Theme Icon
...questions. It is at this time that they begin to take Bilbo more seriously, as Gandalf hinted would happen. Suddenly, the dwarves notice that Thorin is missing. (full context)
Chapter 9: Barrels Out of Bond
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...that he were back in his hobbit-hole, or that he could send a message to Gandalf, but eventually he realizes that he will have to save the dwarves himself. (full context)
Chapter 10: A Warm Welcome
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...dwarves’ destination—the river—since the roads of Mirkwood have become too dangerous, or fallen into disrepair. Gandalf, having learned this information, makes haste to rejoin the dwarves, though Bilbo doesn’t know this... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Clouds Burst
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...the one who gave it away. Thorin seizes Bilbo, insults him, and wishes aloud that Gandalf were with him; at this moment, Gandalf reveals himself to be the old, cloaked man,... (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
...to break out between the elves and men and the dwarves, the skies darken, and Gandalf comes, bringing news that a new goblin leader, Bolg, and his army of goblins and... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Return Journey
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...victory, it’s very disappointing. He meets a man who takes him to the Dale, where Gandalf, his arm in a sling, is standing beside Thorin, who has been fatally wounded. (full context)
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...back with him, since it’s difficult to carry. He departs for his home, accompanied by Gandalf and carrying two chests of treasure with him. Before he leaves, he says goodbye to... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
Over the course of the next year, Gandalf and Bilbo travel back to hobbit-town. While they have many adventures on the way back,... (full context)
Chapter 19: The Last Stage
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
On May 1st, Bilbo and Gandalf pass through Rivendell, where the elves sing songs of Smaug’s defeat and the dwarves’ victory.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
As Gandalf and Bilbo get closer to hobbit-town, Bilbo remembers his adventures, which seem to have occurred... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...He enjoys his life in his hobbit-hole even more than he did before he met Gandalf. He rarely uses his sword or ring, and donates his mail coat to a museum. (full context)
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...Back Again, a Hobbit’s Holiday,” when he hears a ring and finds that Balin and Gandalf are visiting. Bilbo learns that Bard has rebuilt the town of Dale, now a thriving... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
...the prophecies that the rivers would one day run with gold have come true, and Gandalf replies that they have. He adds that Bilbo didn’t succeed in his quest by himself,... (full context)