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My Favorite Passage From The Fellowship of the Ring

If Gandalf isn’t the wisest character in the history of novels, then I don’t know who is. Okay, Atticus Finch might give him a run for his money.

I just love Gandalf. His wisdom, patience, his incredible display of force when needed, and his discernment of when to use said force.

He’s one of my favorite characters, and I think that’s because a lot of what he says ties in to my faith and personal beliefs.

This passage from The Fellowship of the Ring is a good example. He’s responding to Frodo, who questions why Gandalf didn’t kill Gollum when he had the opportunity.

“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end…”

So much truth and applicable wisdom from a fictional wizard, yes?

If you’re familiar with the Bible, those first couple of sentences might remind you a little of portions of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew.

You’re a good man, Gandalf. A good man.

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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. That was my favorite passage in The Fellowship of the Ring as well. Gandalf is “very wise” but he doesn’t pretend to understand everything and everyone. Gandalf is such a great wizard because he knows his limitations. He knows that he is not impermeable to the power and influence of the ring. Although he is a wise and generous person he does not try to take the ring for himself. This is true wisdom.

    Like

    July 10, 2014
    • Exactly. I think his wisdom shines through even more when you see him asking questions and realizing his own limitations. He’s a great leader.

      Like

      July 10, 2014
  2. rupakbanerjee #

    I agree with the post and the above comment.

    I also see a lot of these in the character of Dumbledore. Both are mentoring/ looking after the protagonist. There is a lot of wisdom in what they say.

    Like

    July 10, 2014
    • Me too! Dumbledore is definitely up there in the wise character stakes.

      Like

      July 10, 2014
  3. Sigh…I don’t understand why people don’t like LOTR. With stuff like this? Amazing. I love his character and Samwise (talk about what it means to be a friend!). A re-read is on my list of things to do this summer for sure! I don’t think I can ever get enough of Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. Ever. (I facilitate and lead a monthly series called the Inklings Series – although it just focuses on Lewis and Tolkien – loved to have fellow fans join! http://booksandbeverages.org/about/inklings-series/)

    Like

    July 10, 2014
  4. Gandalf is definitely one of my favorite characters, and I’ve heard him called a typification of Christ too. Especially with his rising-from-the-dead act, he certainly gives off that aura of the supernatural contained in an earthly body. What a great post!

    Like

    July 10, 2014
  5. I remember the first time I read this. It was one of those life-changing moments, when I realised books could teach me how to be a better person. I often recall Gandalf’s wisdom, along with his sense of forgiveness and the non-judgemental attitude and I think we would all be better if we had the same principles.

    Like

    July 10, 2014
  6. One of my all-time favorite characters is the bishop in Hugo’s “Les Miserables”. He is an ideal that every Christian take as a role model.

    Like

    July 10, 2014
  7. I love Gandalf!! A commenter above stated that Gandalf is a Christ-like figure. I can see that reference, but I’ve also heard commentaries that compare him to the Holy Spirit, especially since “I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor.” The Holy Spirit is often depicted as tongues of flame (fire). I think both analogies work. I love finding and comparing the subtext Christian messages throughout his work. They are aplenty!

    Like

    July 10, 2014
  8. I agree, awesome passage! Gandalf is one of my favourite characters in LOTR (and Tolkien’s work in general), and his wisdom and sense are always thought-provoking. I love this passage, giving Frodo an opportunity to learn, not just giving a quick answer. And the way he delivers the thought, the words he chooses: spectacular! 🙂 -Matt

    Like

    July 10, 2014
  9. Reblogged this on AnitaJayDawes and commented:
    talking about my favourite character from my all time favourite story…

    Like

    July 11, 2014
  10. I cant believe Tolkien never won the Nobel prize for the trilogy though 😦

    Like

    July 12, 2014
  11. cathysbookshelf #

    I recently just started the series and so far that is definitely my favourite passage in the book.

    Like

    July 12, 2014
  12. I allways thoght it was a tricky passage. It shows how wise is Gandalf but later, when you close the book, it has a different meaning.

    Like

    July 12, 2014
  13. the wise guy

    Like

    July 15, 2014
  14. Reblogged this on whitneymmoreau and commented:
    The Lord of the Rings makes me so incredibly happy.

    Like

    July 15, 2014
  15. Reblogged this on Whispers… and commented:
    Something worth giving a thought to… 😊

    Like

    July 16, 2014
  16. brettcljonez #

    Reblogged this on thedetectivesford and commented:
    wisdom…

    Like

    February 10, 2015

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