The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

by

J.R.R. Tolkien

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Fellowship of the Ring can help.

Gandalf the Grey Character Analysis

Despite his humble appearance as an elderly man in a grey cloak and drooping hat, Gandalf is one of the most powerful beings on Middle-earth. A member of the Istari, Gandalf’s knowledge and power is second only to his fellow wizard Saruman the White. Gandalf is less arrogant than Saruman, and takes a keen interest and joy in the goings-on of humble folk such as hobbits. He is a mentor to Bilbo and Frodo, who contrary to their original impressions of Gandalf as a wandering magician, come to realize that the Grey Wizard is a wise sage and mighty warrior. Gandalf’s concerns about the nature of Bilbo’s magic ring reveal its truth as the One Ring belonging to the Dark Lord Sauron. He wisely resists using the Ring’s power himself. Gandalf also discovers Saruman’s treachery in allying with Sauron. After escaping Saruman’s imprisonment, the Grey Wizard leads the Company of the Ring, which is formed to defeat Sauron by destroying the Ring in Mordor. However, the Grey Wizard falls to his presumed death during an epic battle in which he saves the Company from a demonic balrog that attacks them in Moria. Gandalf has long been a great ally to other powerful Middle-earth characters including Elrond, Galadriel, and Aragorn.

Gandalf the Grey Quotes in The Fellowship of the Ring

The The Fellowship of the Ring quotes below are all either spoken by Gandalf the Grey or refer to Gandalf the Grey. 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:
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Fellowship of the Ring published in 1954.
Book 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

“I feel I need a holiday, a very long holiday, as I have told you before. Probably a permanent holiday: I don’t expect I shall return. In fact, I don’t mean to, and I have made all arrangements.

I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed!” he snorted. “Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”

Gandalf looked curiously and closely at him. “No, it doesn’t seem right,” he said thoughtfully. “No, after all I believe your plan is probably the best.”

Related Characters: Gandalf the Grey (speaker), Bilbo Baggins (speaker)
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Book 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

“A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later – later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last – sooner or later the dark power will devour him.”

“How terrifying!” said Frodo. There was another long silence. The sound of Sam Gamgee cutting the lawn came in from the garden.

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

"So now, when its master was awake once more and sending out his dark thought from Mirkwood, it abandoned Gollum. Only to be picked up by the most unlikely person imaginable: Bilbo from the Shire!

Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought."

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 54-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 1, Chapter 8 Quotes

There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid Hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow. Frodo was neither very fat nor very timid; indeed, though he did not know it, Bilbo (and Gandalf) had thought him the best Hobbit in the Shire. He thought he had come to the end of his adventure, and a terrible end, but the thought hardened him. He found himself stiffening, as if for a final spring; he no longer felt limp like a helpless prey.

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

“It is true that if these Hobbits understood the danger, they would not dare to go. But they would still wish to go, or wish that they dared, and be shamed and unhappy. I think, Elrond, that in this matter it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom. Even if you chose for us an Elf-lord, such as Glorfindel, he could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to the Fire by the power that is in him.”

Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

"It was not the fault of the Dwarves that the friendship waned," said Gimli.

"I have not heard it was the fault of the Elves," said Legolas.

"I have heard both," said Gandalf; "and I will not give judgement now. But I beg you two, Legolas and Gimli, at least to be friends, and to help me. I need you both. The doors are shut and hidden, and the sooner we find them the better. Night is at hand."

Related Characters: Gandalf the Grey (speaker), Legolas Greenleaf (speaker), Gimli (speaker)
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Pippin felt curiously attracted by the well. […] Moved by a sudden impulse he groped for a loose stone, and let it drop. He felt his heart beat many times before there was any sound. Then far below, as if the stone had fallen into deep water in some cavernous place, there came a plunk, very distant, but magnified and repeated in the hollow shaft.

“What's that?” cried Gandalf. He was relieved when Pippin confessed what he had done, but he was angry, and Pippin could see his eye glinting. “Fool of a Took!” he growled. “This is a serious journey, not a Hobbit waling-party. Throw yourself in next time, and then you will be no further nuisance. Now be quiet!”

Related Characters: Gandalf the Grey (speaker), Peregrin (Pippin) Took
Page Number: 305
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 2, Chapter 8 Quotes

[Aragorn’s] own plan, while Gandalf remained with them, had been to go with Boromir, and with his sword help to deliver Gondor. For he believed that the message of the dreams was a summons, and that the hour had come at last when the heir of Elendil should come forth and strive with Sauron for the mastery. But in Moria the burden of Gandalf had been laid on him; and he knew that he could not now forsake the Ring, if Frodo refused in the end to go with Boromir. And yet what help could he or any of the Company give to Frodo, save to walk blindly with him into the darkness?

Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Book 2, Chapter 10 Quotes

"We of Minas Tirith have been staunch through long years of trial. We do not desire the power of Wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves, strength in a just cause. And behold! in our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the Enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!"

Related Characters: Boromir (speaker), Frodo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn / Strider, Sauron
Related Symbols: The One Ring
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Fellowship of the Ring LitChart as a printable PDF.
The fellowship of the ring.pdf.medium

Gandalf the Grey Character Timeline in The Fellowship of the Ring

The timeline below shows where the character Gandalf the Grey appears in The Fellowship of the Ring. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
Bilbo Baggins was a seemingly ordinary hobbit who was thrust into adventure when Gandalf the Grey and thirteen dwarves knocked on the door of his hobbit hole. He set... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...of the magic ring and his encounter with Gollum. This does not sit well with Gandalf, who is surprised that the usually honest hobbit tells fibs about the ring. (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...the ring’s existence quiet and lives a long and happy life in his homeland. Only Gandalf and Bilbo’s nephew Frodo know that Bilbo keeps it on him at all times on... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 1
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...gawk at the outlandish guests who visit Bag End—dwarves drive wagons laden with goods, and Gandalf the Grey unloads great bundles from his cart. The wizard is known in these parts... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
After unloading the goods and shooing away curious hobbit children, Gandalf and Bilbo sit together at Bag End, looking out on the well-tended gardens. Bilbo confirms... (full context)
History and Myth Theme Icon
...and entertainment one could think of. A crowd favorite is the magnificent fireworks show that Gandalf designed and created; it culminates with the flight of a spectacular simulated dragon. (full context)
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
Gandalf enters the study, and they discuss Bilbo’s plans to leave the Shire. Gandalf is intrigued... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
Bilbo gets angry at Gandalf’s insistence that he leave the ring for Frodo—a reaction that is very out of character... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Shortly after, Frodo enters Bag End to find Gandalf sitting in the darkness of Bilbo’s study, thinking deeply. Confirming that Bilbo has left as... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...help Frodo deal with the aftermath of Bilbo’s party. Frodo is surprised but delighted when Gandalf appears one day and demands entry to Bag End. The wizard has stopped by to... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 2
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...Frodo deals with the gossip surrounding his associations with the “unnatural” characters of Bilbo and Gandalf, whose reputations are tarnished due to their associations with adventure, magic, and dealings with outsiders.... (full context)
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
Gandalf, who has barely visited the Shire in the seventeen years since Bilbo’s departure and has... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
The next morning Frodo and Gandalf sit by the open window of the study, where they can hear Sam cutting the... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
Gandalf says that he has spent these last seventeen years searching for information about the Ring,... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
The Ring’s true nature is confirmed when Gandalf casts it in the fireplace. The flames reveal script in the Black Speech on the... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...momentarily frozen in terror at this new knowledge of the Ring, Frodo seeks advice from Gandalf about what to do in response to the threat of Sauron and his evil servants... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Gandalf reveals that the only way to destroy the Ring is to cast it into the... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
...two friends take time to sit and reflect on the options before them. At last, Gandalf asks Frodo what he is thinking. The hobbit admits that he is frightened, but he... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Gandalf is quite flabbergasted by Frodo’s candid and thoughtful response—once again, the wizard says, he has... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
Gandalf suddenly stops speaking, listening to the silence that envelopes them. Suddenly springing to the window... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 3
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Over the next three weeks, Gandalf helps Frodo make plans to leave the Shire and set out for the elf-haven Rivendell.... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
As autumn sets in and the party approaches, Frodo grows anxious at Gandalf’s failure to return. He celebrates his birthday with a small dinner with his friends Merry,... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...sudden urge to hide, and so they conceal themselves in long grass, planning to surprise Gandalf if it is the wizard searching for them. Instead, Frodo sees that it is a... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...the elves, and Gildor guesses much about Frodo’s journey, advising that he carry on without Gandalf and avoid the dangerous Black Riders. Gildor also promises to send word of Frodo’s journey... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 9
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...Shire hobbits and are curious about their travels. Frodo is using the name Underhill, as Gandalf suggested, and invents a story that he is collecting information about hobbits beyond the Shire... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 10
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...to trust Strider, they are interrupted by Butterbur, who bears a letter for Frodo from Gandalf. The innkeeper was meant to send it to Frodo three months ago, but had forgotten... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
 Upon Butterbur’s exit, Strider prompts Frodo to read Gandalf’s letter. It reveals that the wizard urged them to leave the Shire two months earlier... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
...so they settle in another. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin fill Merry in about Strider and Gandalf’s letter while the Ranger and Nob arrange their original rooms to look like the hobbits... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 11
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...of a great battle and a stone marked with hastily made scratches. He believes that Gandalf may have left the stone as a sign to indicate he was at the ruins... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 12
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...the party’s stumbling upon three stone trolls. These are the very same creatures that Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves had outwitted at the beginning of their journey to the Lonely Mountain... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 1
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...his bearings, he sits up sharply in amazement when he realizes that none other than Gandalf the Grey is sitting beside him. The wizard explains that Elrond, Lord of Rivendell, has... (full context)
History and Myth Theme Icon
...Glóin (one of the thirteen dwarves who journeyed to the Lonely Mountain with Bilbo and Gandalf long ago). Glóin has many stories to share with Frodo, who is happy to simply... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
The next day, Gandalf summons Frodo and Bilbo to the Council of Elrond. Many individuals from far-off lands have... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...history of the Ring with the gathered Council. This is not news to Frodo, for Gandalf had already revealed much of it to him in his final visit to the Shire.... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...then tells the Council of his part in the story of the Ring, followed by Gandalf’s account of how it is that the Dark Lord Sauron has come to rise again.... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...the elves in Mirkwood. There are fears he will return to offer information to Sauron. Gandalf speaks once more to finish the final chapter in his tale. The Grey Wizard was... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...they should take it to Tom Bombadil, for it holds no corruptive sway over him. Gandalf and Glorfindel reject the idea, for Tom is too unreliable in matters unrelated to his... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...Gondor to wield its immense power against the gathering might of Sauron, but Elrond and Gandalf advise that the Ring will ultimately corrupt all but the most powerful of beings. If... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Elrond and Gandalf agree that the only hope is to send messengers into Sauron’s stronghold of Mordor to... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
History and Myth Theme Icon
...will accompany Frodo the Ring-bearer, but that they have not been considered for the journey. Gandalf joins their gathering and reveals that he will travel with Frodo and Sam. The hobbits... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
...nine Black Riders in a quest to destroy the Ring in Mordor. Frodo, Sam, and Gandalf are already decided. Elrond then names representatives of the Free peoples of Middle Earth to... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 4
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
Gandalf suggests an alternative path to cross the Misty Mountains by traveling underground through the Mines... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...to let Bill the Pony loose, but the packhorse cannot be taken through the Mines. Gandalf solves a riddle to open the great doors, and just in the nick of time,... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
After catching their breath in the darkness, Gandalf leads the Company into Moria using a dim light atop his staff to guide the... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
After several more hours of travel, they reach a crossroads where Gandalf struggles to choose which of three passages to take. Deciding to halt for the night... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
Gandalf awakens his companions after six hours, having decided on a path using his feelings and... (full context)
History and Myth Theme Icon
...hall slightly through deep window shafts built into the mountain. While exploring the cavernous room, Gandalf leads the Company into a large side chamber where they find a tomb. The members... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
From a written record of events that he finds beside the tomb, Gandalf learns that Balin and his people were trapped in Moria, besieged by orcs and a... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
While trying to spell their exit door closed, Gandalf is blocked by powerful counter spells and ends up using up most of his energies... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
...elemental demon of the deep wreathed in fire and darkness—this is the magical force that Gandalf was matched by earlier in the battle. Recognizing that the others do not stand a... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
The Company is wracked with grief at Gandalf’s presumed death, but Aragorn forces them to move towards Moria’s exit. With hordes of orcs... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 7
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...seem ancient, fair, and wise to all their guests, and they grieve to hear of Gandalf’s fall. Galadriel seems to test the moral resolve of each member of the Company by... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
...develop a strong friendship. Frodo uses these restful days to craft a song that memorializes Gandalf. Also of note is the day that Galadriel shows Frodo and Sam her Mirror. The... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 8
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Courage, Heroism, and Selflessness Theme Icon
Free Will, Fate, and Foresight Theme Icon
History and Myth Theme Icon
...torn between protecting Frodo on a direct quest to Mordor—especially now that they have lost Gandalf—or accompanying Boromir to his homeland of Gondor to aid their people. Frodo is worried when... (full context)