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He is a major protagonist in The Hobbit and the secondary protagonist in The Lord of the Rings. He also serves as the main protagonist of the animated film series, appearing as a major protagonist in The Hobbit movie made in 1977 and the secondary protagonist in The Lord of the Rings movie made in 1978 (which is also the name of the original novel) and in Return of the King (also the name of Part III of the novel The Lord of the Rings). He is also the main protagonist in Peter Jackson's live-action adaptations of the books respectively, serving as a major protagonist of The Hobbit film trilogy and the secondary protagonist of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
He is a very old, wise and powerful wizard, and one of the five Maiar who entered the world of Arda at the dawn of creation before becoming the Istari. Once a member of the high order of wizards, he travels all around Middle-Earth visiting friends and embarking on journeys. Being thousands of years old, he is known far and wide by all men, elves, dwarves, hobbits, and evil such as Sauron and Orcs. He is the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor, which is said where he is to be from. During the Third Age, he guides Frodo in destroying the One Ring, and participates several battles during the War of the Ring. He offers to guide Frodo to Mordor to destroy the Ring and several comrades of all races join them.
In all the live action films, he is portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen, who also portrayed Cogsworth in the 2017 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, Older Magneto in the X-Men movies, and Iorek Byrnison in the film adaptation of The Golden Compass.
Enhanced Strength: Gandalf has shown to be stronger than the average man, being able to grapple a Balrog.
Enhanced Speed: Gandalf can move faster than most men. He is swift enough to pass through enemy flanks unhindered and to give his enemies difficulty hitting him with projectile weaponry.
Enhanced Durability: Gandalf was capable of taking extended punishment from a Balrog and only fell after multiple days of injuries. As Gandalf the White, he became impervious to non-magical attacks and weaponry.
Enhanced Stamina: Gandalf's stamina enables him to exert himself at peak capacity for very lengthy periods of time without tiring at all.
Enhanced Endurance: When pressed into long battles, Gandalf has shown to be capable of fighting for multiple days straight without tiring.
Vast Intellect: As a Maia, Gandalf has been learning from the greatest of teachers since the dawn of time.
Vast Wisdom: Gandalf is officially one of the wisest Maiar and acts as the mentor of his companies, offering them his wisdom from millenia of experience.
High Charisma: Gandalf is extremely charismatic, and has been able to use his charm to gather armies in order to thwart a seemingly unstoppable threat.
Skilled Armed Fighter: Gandalf has proven to be very proficient at sword and staff combat, being able to strike down an army's worth of foes on his own.
Spells: Being a wizard, Gandalf can cast various spells for a variety of magical effects.
Illumination: A spell which produces a light from Gandalf's staff, allowing him to see in dark places.
Blinding Light: An enhanced version of Illumination that allows Gandalf to strike his foes with a blast of light resembling a magnified sunbeam. Despite dealing little to no damage, it renders his enemies blinded for a period of time.
Commanding Voice: Gandalf can control most people with his voice, as he did with Saruman the White when he found himself being turned as if he was being dragged against his own will.
Magical Kinesis: This spell allows Gandalf to telekinetically push back his foes with his staff, even being powerful enough to disarm his enemies in the process.
Lightning Strike: Gandalf can summon lightning bolts from the sky, such as when he killed several goblins whilst escaping their horde. He can also channel the lightning through objects.
Sword of Power: Gandalf can channel lightning through Glamdring to enhance its striking power, suck as when he used it to slay Durin's Bane.
Counter-Spell: Gandalf can counter any magical spell to negate its effects. However, Gandalf's counter-spell is shown to have limits, and he can't dispel any magic more powerful than his own.
Light of the Valar: Gandalf can cast a lightning bolt projectile at his enemies. The spell can be upgraded to light enemies ablaze (presumably with Narya) when struck, or even further to become a beam of light that passes through enemies while also setting them on fire.
Telepathy: Gandalf can read people's minds in an attempt to access their memories. He can even control people's minds and make them complete tasks against their own will, like he once did with Gimli.
Fire: Enhanced by Narya, Gandalf can produce a magical flame of varying colors. He most notably used this where he lit pine cones ablaze which could be thrown as explosive projectiles. As Gandalf can produce green, red, or blue flames, his fires can range anywhere from 327° Celsius to 1,600° Celsius.
Call Gwaihir: When Gandalf has to in a desperate moment of need, he whispers to a grey moth to to contact Gwaihir, the lord of the eagles. When he does this, Gwaihir summons a band of large eagles to aid Gandalf in his fight.
Call Shadowfax: Due to their special connection, Gandalf can call upon Shadowfax, the lord of all horses, and ride him as his steed.
Shield of the Istari: To defend himself from physical or magical harm, Gandalf can produce a transparent dome around him powerful enough to temporarily hold off Sauron and Durin's Bane's attacks.
Destructive Blast: Gandalf's most powerful spell as he is capable of raising his staff into the air and slamming it down onto the ground to cause a massive shock wave. Gandalf has control of the overall effects of the spell, being able to produce any effect from destroying a stone bridge to knocking back entire legions of orcs, destroying them in the process.
Glamdring: Gandalf wields an elven bastard sword called Glamdring, also known as Foe-Hammer. Glamdring is light enough for Gandalf to wield it with one hand easily.
Wizard Staffs: Gandalf always carries his wizard staff in hand. It acts as a conduit for many of Gandalf's spells and he is capable of wielding it simultaneously with the Glamdring during battle. His staff as Gandalf the Grey is made of brown wood with a jewel fixed on the top that can light up on his command and as Gandalf the White, his staff got an upgrade as it is now in white in color.
Narya, the Ring of Fire: Gandalf wears the Ring of Fire, also known as Narya.
Willpower Enhancement:: Narya has the power to inspire others to resist tyranny, domination and despair.
Magical Cloak: In order to hide Gandalf from others, Narya uses its power to hide him from remote observation from all but the wearer of the One Ring or powers similar to it.
Slowed Aging: Narya grants resistance to the weariness of time itself.
Fiery Properties: Narya grants fire resistance to Gandalf, allowing him to shrug of fiery attacks. It can also enhance his attacks with fire-based magical properties, and allows Gandalf to dispel any magical flame thrown his way.
Fireworks: As they were created and designed by Gandalf himself, he is known to have a variety of fireworks such as Squibs, crackers, backarappers, sparklers, torches, Dwarf candles, Elf fountains, Goblin barkers, flash of birds, green trees that transformed into possibly Mallorn trees, a red and gold dragon. The wizard occasionally uses them in combat to stun his opponents for an extended period of time.
A Wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins… nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.
~ Gandalf the Grey.
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
~ Gandalf to Frodo, about that not always dealing out death to his enemies.
All we have to decide is what to do in the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this World, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, in which case, you also were meant to have it and that is an encouraging thought.
~ Gandalf to Frodo.
End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
~ Gandalf to Pippin, about death.
The Witch-king of Angmar does not break Gandalf's staff in the novel The Lord of the Rings, nor does he do it in the theatrical version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. He only does so in the latter's Special Extended Edition.
Had Gandalf taken the One Ring from Frodo, he would have likely become far more evil than Sauron, which Tolkien stated in one of his letters.