Gandalf is a very old, very wise and very powerful wizard and one of the Ainur who entered the world of Arda at the dawn of creation. He is a main character as well as one of the main heroes in J.R.R Tolkien's Middle-Earth saga and Peter Jackson's live-action adaptation of the books respectively.
Being thousands of years old, he is known far and wide by all: men, elves, dwarves, hobbits, and evil such as Sauron and orcs. Has many friends and known as Gandalf the Grey, Gandalf the White, Mithrandir, the White Rider, the Grey Pilgrim, etc. 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 participating several battles during the War of the Ring. As a member of the High Order of wizards, he travels all around Middle-Earth visiting friends and embarking on journeys. In the Hobbit and the first film, the Fellowship of the Ring, he was Gandalf the Grey, cloaked in all gray and wields a wooden staff. He offers to guide Frodo to Mordor to destroy the Ring and several comrades of all races join them.
While traveling through the mines of Moria, he duels with a monstrous demon of fire: the Balrog. He sacrifices himself and falls to his supposed death. He returns in the last two films reincarnated: Gandalf the White, having survived the fall. This time, his hair, beard, cloak and staff are all white, which some mistake him for Saruman. In all the films, he is portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen.
Power and Stats
Tier: At least 4-A | At least 4-A, likely 3-B | At least 4-A, likely 3-B | High 3-A
Name: Gandalf the Grey, Gandalf the White, Olórin, Tharkun, Mithrandir, Greyhame, The Grey Pilgrim, Stormcrow, The White Rider, Lathspell, Incanus and likely many others
Origins: Lord of the Rings
Age: Created along with the other Ainur before the shaping of Arda, basically at the beginning of the universe, his human form is still over thousands of years old
Classification: Divine Spirit in a mortal body, wizard | Divine Spirit in a mortal body, wizard, leader of the White Council | Restricted Maiar (Ainur) | Unrestricted Maiar (Ainur)
Powers and Abilities: Superhuman Physical Characteristics, Skilled swordsman, Light Creation (Can create light, either to see in dark places or to blind enemies), Telekinesis, Forcefield Creation (Created a forcefield strong enough to block the Durin's Bane's attacks), Immortality (Type 1), Telepathy, Mind Reading/Entrance into dreams (He can read minds and enter dreams), Communication with animals, Weather and Lightning Manipulation, Fire, Smoke and Heat Manipulation (Gandalf can create colored flame, create pillars of smoke, and cause fires to grow hotter and explode), Energy Manipulation and projection via Words of Command | All previous powers increased to a higher level (Stronger than Saruman), Invulnerability (He cannot be harmed by mortal weapons), Immortality (Types 1 and 2), possibly Power Nullification (After Saruman's staff was destroyed by him, he was stripped of most of his magic, despite the loss of Gandalf's staff having little effect on him) | All previous powers increased to a much higher level, Transmutation, Precognition, Resistance to Death Manipulation (In Lord of the Rings the land of the dead is a real tangible place, Mandos, and can be affected and exited. Ainur don't go there upon death, rather becoming spirits until the regenerate. The only way to keep them there is if they are physically brought there and held by physical might), Intangibility and Non-Corporeality (At the very least in spirit form), Immortality (Types 1, 3 and 4), Elemental Manipulation | Same as before but now enhanced to an unfathomable degree, Intangibility and Non-Corporeality, Reality Warping, Conceptual Manipulation
Attack Potency: At least Multi-Solar System level (Eventually managed to defeat Durin's Bane, despite dying in the process. Drove off Necromancer Sauron from Dol Guldur before the events of The Hobbit) | At least Multi-Solar System level, likely Multi-Galaxy level (Considerably stronger than before. Easily defeated Saruman. As the new White, he should be stronger than Galadriel. Stalemated Sauron telepathically during The Two Towers) | At least Multi-Solar System level, likely Multi-Galaxy level (Even stronger than before. As an Istari, he should be quite powerful, even among the Maiar) | High Universe level (The Maiar were like lesser Valar, having control over minor aspects of the universe, compared to their major ones)
Speed: Unknown. Massively FTL+ combat speed and reactions (Fought against Durin's Bane, presumably dodging his attacks) | Unknown. Massively FTL+ combat speed and reactions (Easily defeated Saruman. At least as fast as before) | Unknown. Massively FTL+ combat speed and reactions | Immeasurable (Existed in the Timeless Halls)
Lifting Strength: Likely Class T (Was able to grapple, and physically contend with Durin's Bane) | Possibly Class T, likely Class E (Should be physically superior to Ossë) | Likely Class E, possibly higher (Far stronger than before) | Immeasurable
Striking Strength: At least Multi-Solar System Class | At least Multi-Solar System Class, likely Multi-Galaxy Class | At least Multi-Solar System Class, likely Multi-Galaxy Class | High Universal
Durability: At least Multi-Solar System level | At least Multi-Solar System level, likely Multi-Galaxy level, as well as supposedly being immune to damage from all mortal weapons | At least Multi-Solar System level, likely Multi-Galaxy level (Almost impossible to kill, as he is non-corporeal) | High Universe level
Range: Extended melee range. Hundreds of meters with spells (Was able to engulf an entire hilltop in fire virtually instantly) | Extended melee range. Country level/Continental telepathic resistance (Could resist attacks from Sauron) | Extended melee range. Likely Planetary with magic (Should be comparable, if not stronger than, Ossë) | High Universal
Intelligence: Supergenius (He has thousands of years of knowledge and experience about many things, including the peoples and events of Middle-Earth, very skilled combatant, can command the armies of Gondor and plan battles days in advance. Possesses foresight, carries centuries of knowledge, and as a Maiar, his mental capabilities vastly surpass that of mortal beings)
- Narya: Narya, also known as the ring of fire, is an elvish ring made by Celebrimbor. It can “inspire hearts”, as well as the being able to hide him from forms of remote observation (however it won't work against a powerful enough telepath). It can also hold back the decays of time, and likely the sickness, rot, etc. caused by Sauron.
- Wizard staff: Gandalf uses a wooden staff. The use of this is unknown. It appears to work like a lantern, channeling his light creation, as well as possibly his other powers. However, it is unknown if it is useful at all, or if it would be useful for an unrestricted Maia. It also appears to be able to channel his force fields, snapping of enough strain is put on it, though again, this is unconfirmed.
- Glamdring: Glamdring is a very strong, durable, and sharp, Elven sword. It is capable of harming invulnerable beings like Balrogs, and gives off a light whenever orcs/goblins are near.
Weaknesses: Most of his powers are sealed. He can still be killed | He can still be killed (Although it is significantly more difficult. He stated that Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli weren't capable of even scratching him) | None notable | None notable
Notable Attacks/Techniques: Basic magic: Being powerful sorcerers, the Istari have access to many spells and the Words of Command, powerful spells that are much more dangerous than normal magic. Gandalf himself can remember all the spells in multiple languages, and the Istari can banish massive storms. They are some of the strongest magicians in Lord of the Rings, being well aware of most forms of magic and fully capable of understanding the magic of the Dwarves. As the White he should also be able to use magic like that Saruman used to dominate the minds of Rohirrim soldiers and Théoden. Other Istari are implied to be able to banish massive storms.
- Words of Command: The Words of Command are powerful spells, much more dangerous than normal ones. The first recorded use of a Word of Command was when Gandalf used it to close a door, with the Balrog using his magical knowledge to try and open it, leading to its destruction. Words of Command may have a relation to the Anulindale, where the entire world was formed by words strung together in song, with the Words of Command possibly being extensions or continuations of the music. If so, this may be the only way to change the original music except for by the actions of man, making it one of the most potent forms of magic in Lord of the Rings. The spells Gandalf referred to may be Words of Command, with men not needing any do to being able to work outside the music without needing Words of Command, which might work as a sort of cheat code.
- Istari forcefields: The Istari can create powerful force fields to block attacks from enemies. As with most magic in Lord of the Rings, the exact nature of it is unknown. However, it does seem to put tremendous strain both on the Istari's staff and the attackers' weapon. This is shown when Gandalf used a shield to block an attack from Durin's Bane. This destroyed Gandalf's staff and the sword held by Durin's Bane. This seems to imply that the staff is the item "Channeling" the spell, so to speak.
- Spellcraft: Spellcraft is not an official term, yet rather the best term to capture the art of creating spells via potions and metals. Examples of spellcraft include the Plantiri, magical stones crafted in Valinor; Durin's door, an ithildin door crafted by Celebrimbor; the Rings of Power, magic rings that grant invisibility to those who use them, which where crafted by the Elves of Eregion and the Silmirals, magic jewels crafted by Feanor. Spellcraft can be used to manipulate objects and give them special properties, making them far more potent in combat. Most Elven swords appear to have magical qualities. As shown above, spellcraft usually revolves around using and/or creating magical substances runes and other, more obscure forms of magic. Being a powerful magician, Gandalf should be more than capable of using such powers'
Elemental magic: Istari magic mostly focuses on control over the elements. They can create light, fire and smoke; manipulate water; banish weather storms or control fireworks. Each of the Istari have control over a certain element. Gandalf seems to be connected to fire, Saruman to the Earth, and Radagast to life. Each of them have great power over their own element, with Gandalf even being able to go toe-to-toe with a Balrog.
- Illumination: Gandalf can create light from his staff to allow him and others to see in dark places.
- Blinding light: Gandalf can create light that can be focused and concentrated on enemies to temporarily blind and disorient them. As Gandalf the White he was able to drive of the Nazgûl with this
- Fire creation: Gandalf apparently has the power to cause any object to burst into flame remotely. The flammability of the target does not seem to matter - he used it on a bunch of trees which were wet and covered with snow. The fires are much more difficult to put out than normal fires, but Gandalf can put them out at will. Still, he seems somewhat constrained by the laws of physics - he cannot work on snow.
- Lightning/Weather manipulation: Gandalf can call down bolts of lightning and thunder upon the area, and create huge storms. The other Istari were also implied to be able to perform similar feats.
- Telepathy: Gandalf seems to be able to keep in telepathic contact with allies, though this seems to require those he speaks with to bear a Ring of Power. He can also gain information from the minds of others (Such as when he looked into Frodo's dreams), detect and resist mental compulsion (Such as that used by Saruman and Sauron), and inspire others to increase their morale (With the latter two being strengthened by Narya). He is also likely capable of offensive telepathy, but the most we have seen of this is when he creates a type of intimidation, causing himself to appear gigantic and threatening to others. It is likely that he would not do more than this due to his nature, even if he is capable of it.
- Istari forcefield: Gandalf can create a powerful forcefield that blocks attacks from those around him. He used this ability to counter an attack from Durin's Bane. This spell seems to be "channeled" via his staff, so that enough strain on the barrier will break the staff
- Animal communication: Gandalf is able to communicate with animals such as the horse Shadowfax, though said animal may need to be semi sentient in order for it to work.
- Telekinesis: Most of the powers of the Istari can be connected to one source: Telekinesis. Throwing fireblasts? Telekinesis on fire. Banishing storms? Telekinesis on weather, etc. Often times, however, they use telekinesis independently of other abilities, such as Gandalf shattering Saruman's staff or pulverizing a door. Even Istari forcefields can be connected to telekinesis.
Powers of the Ainur: The Ainur are first and foremost elemental spirits, and they each have control over a certain aspect of nature. Each of the Ainur can also manipulate matter and energy to serve their needs, and take any form they so choose. Even inanimate ones such as Yavanna appearing as a tree. They helped shape Arda and as such have control over its elements and aspects. The Ainur can also take spiritual forms, where they are intangible and non-corporeal.
- Elemental manipulation: The Ainur are first and foremost elemental spirits, with their powers being deeply connected to the elements. They can create storms and fire, manipulate light, create non-sentient life, etc. The Valar are most powerful with this ability. However, any Ainur, Maia or Vala, can use this ability. Examples of this include the volcanic eruption caused by Sauron, and the storms caused by Ossë and Uinen.
- Empathy: The Ainur are surrounded by an a powerful aura, which can affect those around them, bringing joy and presumably sorrow to those near them: "In Beleriand King Thingol upon his throne was as the lords of the Maiar, whose power is at rest, whose joy is as an air that they breathe in all their days, whose thought flows in a tide untroubled from the heights to the deeps."
- Foresight/Hindsight: The Ainur can see the past and the future (Though the latter is fallible). Though, to perform this, it seems they must enter into their spiritual forms.
- Shapeshifting: Without a doubt, the most famous ability of the Ainur, any one of them can take any form they so choose (Though evil ones often lose this ability for one reason or another). This ability was most famously used by Sauron, when he changed into a werewolf, snake, and vampire. However, there is no reason other Maiar could not do this as well, appearing however they choose to. Ainur can even appear as inanimate objects, such as Yavanna once appearing as a tree.
- Spirit form: The Ainur could cast off their physical form like a snake shedding its skin, and take on intangible and non-corporeal spiritual forms. These forms can travel forward and backward in time, and it was said that "All that was past they could fully perceive." They are, however, limited in that they cannot affect the future or the past, only see it. Of the Ainur's spirit forms and precognitive powers this was said:
|“||They could move backward or forward in thought, and return again so swiftly that to those who were in their presence they did not appear to have moved.||„|
Key: Gandalf the Grey | Gandalf the White | Unrestricted | True form