Top Quotes by Gandalf from Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is quite possibly the most loved fantasy series of all time. Tolkien’s saga about hobbits trying to save their world – and in the process, learning more about themselves – continues to resonate with audiences and readers everywhere. While Bilbo and Frodo may be the best known characters throughout the trilogy, it’s Gandalf that is often the most quoted Lord of the Rings character.
Here, then, are some of the most memorable Gandalf quotes:
“A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”
In a near-perfect introduction to the often-dry humor of Gandalf the Gray, Gandalf arrives on scene for Bilbo’s birthday and is greeted exuberantly by a young Frodo.
Frodo: “It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.” Gandalf: “Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.”
Gandalf explains the saving grace of Bilbo’s pity when it comes to dealing with creatures like Gollum. Like the wise wizard he is, Gandalf sees the grace in Bilbo’s decision to spare Gollum, and suggests that perhaps there may be many more who are saved by the unknowning hobbit.
Gandalf: “I have not passed through fire and death to bandy words with a witless worm.”
Gandalf, fed up with Wormtongue’s idiocy, belittles Wormtongue and pushes him aside as he focuses on the mission at hand. He proves, with those simple words, that it is more important to deal with issues worthy of your focus than to waste time with someone trying to drain your energy.
Frodo: “I wish none of this had happened. Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Frodo learns about the deadly dark power of the Ring as he begins to undertake his mission, and he longs for a simpler time. Gandalf, as his friend, outlines the philosophy that many of us learn as we grow: to take advantage of the days we have, so as to live the best life possible.
“Gandalf: I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. Go back to the shadow. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun! You shall not pass!”
This is perhaps the most powerful of all the Gandalf quotes throughout the trilogy. He has taken a stand here; ultimately, he takes the fall in his efforts to protect the rest of the Fellowship.
Gandalf the Gray – and later Gandalf the White – intrigues viewers with his logic, his strength but most of all his compassion for his hobbit and human friends throughout the Lord of the Rings trilogy. That’s why he remains one of cinema’s – and certainly, one of literature’s – most compelling characters.
Tell us, what is your favorite Gandalf quote?