Gandalf the Angel
by Daisy Gold
The Shire is, without doubt, my favourite place in Middle Earth. Its
rich pastoral landscape and friendly, happy people conform to my idea
of the perfect location to live.
So it is hardly surprising that I choose this picture of Gandalf the
White for my avatar.
I feel he has a special association with the hobbits in the Shire.
Gandalf has studied Hobbits for many years and when he suspects the One
Ring maybe in the Shire he has the Rangers keep guard over them.
Therefore I see him as their special Guardian Angel.
This, however, was not my first impression of Gandalf. As I had never
read the books before seeing the film FOTR, I took him to be a wizard,
'a conjurer of cheap tricks', a chap with a pointy hat and this rather
put me off this character. Since then I have had time to see all the
films and read Tolkien's masterpiece. Now I feel I am beginning to
As I study Gandalf more carefully I believe he is more akin to an angel
than a sorcerer. His purpose is to aid the inhabitants of middle earth
in the battle against the evil Sauron. He is there to guide and protect
these people and especially the Fellowship.
Sometimes he does display what could be called 'magical powers' e.g.
when he uses his staff to ward off the nazgul and protect the fleeing
Gondorians or as the wielder of the Secret Flame of Arnor he defeats
the Balrog. These are never done as 'tricks'. In fact this power does
not come from him. The power that he uses comes from Iluvatar. I would
call it one of the 'tools' of the job, that Iluvatar has given to him,
to aid his mission. And Gandalf is one of his special Istari, his
messenger i.e. angel.
So I see Gandalf as a kind of angelic figure. I grew up believing in
angels. I even wrote a paper on angels when I was at college many moons
ago. But my lasting memory is from my childhood. It is of a picture
showing an angel guarding a child who is playing near a river and
beside it the prayer to our Guardian Angel, which we said every day and
night. The angel was tall, blond and very beautiful. In fact not unlike
the Elves in Tolkien - except for the magnificent wings!
Gandalf, however, is more like my idea of an angel now. He is special
in his place in the hierarchy of creation but no more special to
Iluvatar than His creations on Middle earth.
I also see him like the angel Michael as he fights against Sauron's
forces in ROTK. Now I must confess that long ago during those childhood
years, I had a statue of the angel Michael in my bedroom. He was
dressed in armour, somewhat like Brad Pitt in Troy! Enough said! What
impresses me most about Gandalf is that never once does he put on
armour. He goes into battle with his staff and sword. His faith is his
His wisdom tells him that although war has a place in this world, your
best defence is your belief in GOOD and the power and love of Iluvatar.
“I said victory could not be achieved by arms. I still hope for
victory, but not by arms.” — Gandalf
Gandalf too has shortcomings - he was blind to the intentions of
Saruman. He could show impatience, especially with Pippin. A nice
'human' touch by Tolkien, no one is perfect!
Gandalf has been given or acquired many wonderful gifts. Gifts, that he
selflessly uses to help others. Like us, Gandalf has the most precious
gift of all - Free Will. His greatest moment, when he shows such depth
and generosity of spirit, comes when he freely gives up his life to
save his companions in Moria. An act, which Tolkien mirrors in Frodo's
quest and sacrifice.
So for me Gandalf and Hobbits have a special bond. I can't see one with
out the other.
Gandalf is their friend, their Guardian Angel whether they acknowledge
it or not.
Maybe we have a Gandalf somewhere in our lives? Who knows?