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Old 09-24-2002, 08:11 PM   #1
LadyElbereth
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Sting Does Gandalf seem more human in The Hobbit?

I was reading The Hobbit and i kinda came upon the impression that Gandalf seems a bit more human than he does in LOTR. It was like he wasn't really as powerful a wizard in The Hobbit. Is this just me? What's your opinion?
~LadyElbereth

(I didn't know if this is the right place this topic should be, I'm extremely sorry if it isn't) [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 09-24-2002, 08:20 PM   #2
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Silmaril

Gandalf's character seems just off in The Hobbit to me. I admit I just love Tolkien's characterization of him a bit more in The Lord of the Rings!
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Old 09-24-2002, 08:29 PM   #3
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I can definitly see your point, because Gandalf plays more the part of a wise old guide rather than a savoir or captain. In LotR he falls off a bridge and comes back to life, later. that's not exactly characteristic of a human. I think also in the trilogy Tolkien drops several hints about Gandalf's past as Olorin the Maia rather than the simple wizard he was in the Hobbit. I think that some of Gandalf's interactions with the dwarves and Bilbo in the Hobbit are definately more human than the wise, leader in LotR. But one thing I'll give the movie (dunno why I'm bringing it into this) is that they did a good job of making Gandalf someone we can relate to. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you couldn't relate to him in the books, I'm saying that they could've messed things up and made him the stereotypical wizard that is really powerful and heroic and impersonel. That's one thing I love about Gandalf: he's so personnel, both in the Hobbit and LotR, maybe more so in the Hobbit, but I love him in both stories, and now I'm babbling. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 09-25-2002, 01:46 AM   #4
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Sting

Of course, we have to remember that in the Hobbit, Gandalf is always taking off to go take care of "other things" that we know nothing about (and only find out about when we read LoTR.)

It's almost as if this is a little side trip for Gandalf, like a vacation from his "real duties."

But then again, it's on this side trip that Bilbo finds the Ring! Could Someone have put this idea into Gandalf's head, that Bilbo should go on a little jaunt with these Dwarves?

Hmmmmmmmm...
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Old 09-25-2002, 02:28 AM   #5
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In The Hobbit, Gandalf was little more than a children's fairy-tale type of wizard: knowledgable, very wise, with a few magic tricks, but human.

Tolkien didn't decide to make him a powerful Maia figure until he started to write Lord of the Rings.
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Old 09-25-2002, 08:12 AM   #6
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Well Kady Elbereth, I noticed the same thing. Of course, Hobbits almost seem different in The Hobbit as well. But maybe that's just my perception.
When Gandalf was "gone" in the hobbit I think (i'f I am correctg here) that he was with the rest of the White Council, Arguing with Saruman and driving the Necroamncer (a newly revived Sauron) out of his fortress of Dol Gildur int the south of Mirkwood.

Either way, more human or not, Gandalf's a great guy,er..wizard. [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 09-25-2002, 09:12 AM   #7
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Yes, I agree. Gandalf seems different in the Hobbit. I think the entire style and purpose of the story is a little different in the Hobbit as opposed to LOTR. It seems a 'one story' situation, I agree, like a fairy tale(dragons, spiders). But there are hints of a history to be told later, such as the "Men" of Laketown, mysterious elves of Mirkwood, etc.
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Old 09-25-2002, 11:48 AM   #8
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I'm so glad that i'm not the only one who noticed it! Do you think part of the reason why Gandalf seems different in The Hobbit is because Tolkien wrote it first and then decided to change Gandalf's character a bit?
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Old 09-25-2002, 01:24 PM   #9
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He had no reason to show his strength in the Hobbit as much. He's just not really tested because of who he has to deal with. Still, it's pretty obvious how smart and strong he is. Every time something could've happened to end the mission that the dwarves/Bilbo couldn't handle, he handled it without fail.

Tricks the trolls, fights through the goblin cave, gets them out of the jam with the wolves...

From "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire":
Quote:
And with that Ya hoy! the flames were under Gandalfs tree. In a moment it spread to the others. The bark caught fire, the lower branches cracked.
Then Gandalf climbed to the top of his tree. The sudden splendour flashed from his wand like lightning, as he got ready to spring down from on high right among the spears of the goblins. That would have been the end of him, though he would probably have killed many of them as he came hurtling down like a thunderbolt.
From "Over Hill and Under Hill":
Quote:
"Murderers' and elf-friends!" the Great Goblin shouted. "Slash them! Beat them! Bite them! Gnash them! Take them away to dark holes full of snakes, and never let them see the light again!" He was in such a rage that he jumped off his seat and himself rushed at Thorin with his mouth open.
Just at that moment all the lights in the cavern went out, and the great fire went off poof! into a tower of blue glowing smoke, right up to the roof, that scattered piercing white sparks all among the goblins.
The yells and yammering, croaking, jibbering and jabbering; howls, growls and curses; shrieking and skriking, that followed were beyond description. Several hundred wild cats and wolves being roasted slowly alive together would not have compared with it. The sparks were burning holes in the goblins, and the smoke that now fell from the roof made the air too thick for even their eyes to see through. Soon they were falling over one another and rolling in heaps on the floor, biting and kicking and fighting as if they had all gone mad.
Suddenly a sword flashed in its own light. Bilbo saw it go right through the Great Goblin as he stood dumbfounded in the middle of his rage. He fell dead, and the goblin soldiers fled before the sword shrieking into the darkness.
The sword went back into its sheath. "Follow me quick!" said a voice fierce and quiet; and before Bilbo understood what had happened he was trotting along again, as fast as he could trot, at the end of the line, down more dark passages with the yells of the goblin-hall growing fainter behind him. A pale light was leading them on.
"Quicker, quicker!" said the voice. "The torches will soon be relit."
...
Then Gandalf lit up his wand. Of course it was Gandalf; but just then they were too busy to ask how he got there. He took out his sword again, and again it flashed in the dark by itself. It burned with a rage that made it gleam if goblins were about; now it was bright as blue flame for delight in the killing of the great lord of the cave. It made no trouble whatever of cutting through the goblin-chains and setting all the prisoners free as quickly as possible. This sword's name was Glamdring the Foe-hammer, if you remember. The goblins just called it Beater, and hated it worse than Biter if possible. Orcrist, too, had been saved; for Gandalf had brought it along as well, snatching it from one of the terrified guards. Gandalf thought of most things; and though he could not do everything, he could do a great deal for friends in a tight comer.
From "The Clouds Burst":
Quote:
"Halt!" cried Gandalf, who appeared suddenly, and stood alone, with arms uplifted, between the advancing dwarves and the ranks awaiting them. "Halt!" he called in a voice like thunder, and his staff blazed forth with a flash like the lightning.
Even though his Maia origins may not have been decided in The Hobbit, his personality and capabilities were just as they were in Lord of the Rings. A very wise and warm soul, but still with the ability to display strength that was unthinkable when necessary.
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Old 09-25-2002, 08:54 PM   #10
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Sting

I think that he seemed more human in LOTR, before he "died and came back". He was captured for one thing, got tired, had to fight with the balrog. In the hobbit, if there was a probeblem, Gandalf could fix it, even though it was not his main concern, in LOTR it was his main concern. He didn't know what to do with the ring. He had to go and see the head of his order. Because of this, he seems more human.

However, after he comes back, I agree, he seems less human.
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Old 09-26-2002, 07:29 AM   #11
Legolas
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"Gandalf's character seems just off in The Hobbit to me."

Off?

He's the same guy, only less troubled and not in a rush; at the beginning of The Hobbit especially, since the Necromancer was not discovered to be Sauron until later in the story and even at the end, Gandalf was still unsure of this magic ring Bilbo had acquired.

He doesn't seem "less human" when he comes back. I don't think it's because he left and came back either - we would've noticed the same change if he had not fell in Moria. Times were getting harder.

He's more focused and concise. It's not anything that has changed him on the inside - it's that the task at hand is coming closer to an end. He has to be more serious when it's time to be. In the battles of Hornburg and Pelennor Fields and the other events leading to Sauron's destruction, he had to act quickly because they were of grave importance...time was running out. As soon as he returns, he has to act. Ventures directly to Edoras, rides to get Erkenbrand, heads toward Minas Tirith as soon as the episode with Rohan/Saruman is over, etc.

If the imminent end of the world (basically) seemed right around the corner and you were sent to stop it (and had been abandoned by your chief aid - in this case, the other wizards), you wouldn't act the same either.

I guarantee.

[ September 26, 2002: Message edited by: Legalos ]
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Old 09-26-2002, 07:17 PM   #12
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I think that prehaps the reason that Gandalf seems a bit different from the hobbit to the Lord of the Rings is that The Hobbit was written for little kids and is a much less complex story.
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Old 10-02-2002, 01:06 AM   #13
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1420!

Gandalf does seem to drawn on a much more manageable scale in "The Hobbit" though most of this could be explained by the fact that this business of the dwarves' is, as was pointed out, more of a detour for him than the all-consuming quest it was for Thorin & Co. (The same way a father might help his little kid build a longed-for train set; for the father it's an interesting thing but not the crux of his existence - for the kid, though, the train set is almost his current purpose for existing).

The only thing that's really hard to reconcile with the LOTR Gandalf is in that scene with the Wargs in the glade, when Gandalf is preparing to leap down and destroy them, and Tolkien comments that "that would have been the end of him" of course. It's just very hard to imagine that this the same guy who, sixty or seventy years later, will fight with a Balrog and be reborn, could be snuffed so finally by a pack of Wargs and some of his own fire.
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