Advisor Breakdown: Gandalf
Hoo, boy. We may have bitten off more than we can chew with this one. Gandalf is a character written about (and created) by J.R.R. Tolkien many times and in many forms. We also know that there are many, many people who are, shall we say, a little…obsessed with the collective works of Tolkien. With that in mind what we’re about to say may be considered blasphemy to them: because there are so many iterations of Gandalf, we’re going to focus solely upon his mentorship of the fellowship of the ring in the 2001-2003 movie trilogy. We hope we’re not breaking your heart by doing so. If so, well…
(There apparently is a “deal with it” gif for basically every wizard related franchise)
So, who is Gandalf? He’s an ancient wizard, who has an equal parts commitment towards fighting evil and making hobbits do things on his behalf. He also gets the party started.
In his free time, when he’s not throwing down with hobbits, he’s making sure one of the evilest entities to ever live doesn’t get his hands on a ring that will grant him immeasurable power and destroy Middle-earth. To accomplish this, he works with a plucky band of heroes to form a fellowship to destroy the ring. Want to know how he ranks as an Advisor? Read on, friends.
Gandalf Gets It Done
When Gandalf realized that the ring in Frodo’s possession was the ring, he sprang into action and started Frodo on his quest. That was the right call because evil ghosts on horses were hot on Frodo’s trail looking to murder the hobbit. (Who hasn’t been in that position before?!)
When Gandalf encountered a Balrog in the mines of Moria, he confronted it to save the rest of the fellowship, and fought it to the death, ensuring that everyone escaped (minus him, sadly.)
When Gandalf realized that Frodo was still alive after destroying the ring, he rallied a few massive eagles to fly into a volcano spewing lava to rescue Frodo and Sam, saving them.
We realize that these feats of Gandalf make him sound like a Middle-earth Chuck Norris, and he basically is. Gandalf delivers every time his, or his friends, backs are up against the wall.
In practical, real-world (non-Middle-earth) terms, Gandalf builds up an immeasurable amount of trust with the people he’s Advising and jumps into action each time action is required. He doesn’t hesitate and is willing to take on true danger to protect others. Heck yes, Gandalf!
Gandalf Gives Great Advice
If you were in the shoes (or hairy feet, since we’re talking hobbits) of any of the characters facing world-ending violence and stress, you’d probably lose your cool a few times. If that happened, Gandalf would be there to give you some sage, comforting advice.
(To be fair, he would know, since he did technically die fighting the Balrog)
(…That’s called foreshadowing, friends)
Being a source of wisdom, encouragement, and comfort is the sign of a great Advisor. It’s an even better sign when the people you’re providing that to are receptive and seeking it.
Gandalf Lets You Figure it Out
Look, when you’re thousands upon thousands of years old, you’ve seen some things and you know what’s up. So, it’s probably incredibly hard to defer to younger, less experienced people to let them lead. Somehow Gandalf does it…
He let Frodo lead him to his (Gandalf’s) death, because he was the ring bearer, and the position needed to be respected. He let Aragorn take his time in claiming the throne as the true heir of Gondor because he knew you can’t force someone into a leadership position. He even left Merry and Pippin alone with that talking tree, because he knew that somehow, they’d be able to get all talking trees to join the good fight. (It’s much more majestic than it sounds, trust us.)
The point is, there’s no learning when someone wiser just does it for you—Gandalf gives everyone room to grow in the situation and doesn’t force his wizard experience down anyone’s throats—he lets you figure it out because that’s how you grow.
Gandalf Is Pretty Rad
As much as we’d like to deduct some points for always wearing weird robes and his fondness for hobbits, we can’t. Gandalf is legit, both as a wizard and as an Advisor. In fact, of all the wizards we’ve reviewed for this series (two and counting…what can we say, we like wizards) he’s the most Gandalf-y of the two.
For that, we award him 4 flying eagles. Good job, Gandalf!