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Gandalf's sexuality? McKellen's comments
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_V_
Lorien


Jan 8 2009, 3:37am

Post #1 of 206 (1538 views)
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Gandalf's sexuality? McKellen's comments Can't Post

in the recent TORN news item, Ian McKellen says that:



"Though, of course, there is confusion because Rowling has announced that Dumbledore's gay, hasn't she? So maybe that's the confusion. Of course, whether Gandalf's gay is another matter. His wife was never mentioned and he's 7000 years old. He must have had some experience of sex."


I think McKellen was probably just joking around (the same way they do about Pipe-weed....guys, Tolkien flat out said its "tobacco". There is no debate)


Nonetheless, I'd like to briefly articulate this: given that Gandalf is not actually a "Man", but essentially an Angel that has descended into human form (a Maia spirit, servant of the Valar ( Archangels) and the Secret Fire of Eru (God). As an immortal Angel, I do not really think he has any sexual preference at all: I don't think he's "gay" or "straight" and I think it would be odd even to mention Gandalf being romantically involved with a woman.

Then again, for the sake of argument, I think about how the Ainur are defined by Tolkien (Valar are the greater Ainur, there are 14 of them, and the Maiar are the lesser Ainur, of whom there are dozens or hundreds, possibly) --> Tolkien says that the Ainur have no physical form inherently but can take up a physical form if they want to, like an Angel appearing to humans in the Bible, etc. But according to Tolkien, the Ainur still have an inherent "gender"; even without physical bodies, they still have a "male temperament" or a "female temperment". He said to think of it like how a person is still "male" even if they take their clothes off, and in the Ainur's case the clothes are their physical appearance.

Now, some Ainur actually exist in apparently romantic relationships with other Ainur; Manwe is the mate of Varda, Aule the mate of Yavanna. Some Ainur choose to live alone, as is the case with Ulmo. Ainur cannot reproduce. As angelic spirits, we might not even be intended to think of them in such terms as a "race" and its possible that while some are "paired" perhaps romantically, "sex" does not exist among them. I don't even think the term "romantic relationships" might even be able to be applied to such "pairings" (though Varda spurned Melkor...)

****Then again, Melian WAS able to reproduce with Thingol to produce Luthien....so.....yeah.....well that was with an actual Elf, not with another "angelic spirit". Only Eru can make more Ainur spirits, I think.

****Now, McKellen is right in his figure that Gandalf is "7,000 years old" but with a bit of a nuance: firstly, the "Years of the Sun" are 7,000 years, but the "Ages of the Stars" went on for several millenia before that, maybe 17,000 to 27,000 years (depending on what numbering system from Tolkien's drafts you use). Still, Galadriel is "over 7,000" because we know she was born AFTER the Elves came to Valinor but BEFORE the Noldor left, immediately before the first rising of the Sun.

The point though, is that there may be a difference between "Gandalf the Wizard" and "Olorin the Maia spirit". The Maia spirit, "Olorin" was created at the dawn of time by Eru (God) before the creation of the world itself, as an angelic spirit (thus as a "child of the mind of God" Radagast can still be his "cousin", in the sense of "kinsman", etc....)

Anyway, "Olorin" became a wizard 2,000 years ago, Third Age ~1,000, becoming "Gandalf"

before this, "Olorin" was just a spirit; he could apear in visions as a human but it's like Clarence from It's a Wonderful Life or something. Actually, Tolkien said he most often went without physical body, diving into the hearts of people to fill them with wisdom and courage, etc.

But as "Gandalf" he was not only "visible", by grant of the Valar, the Wizards were embued with actual, physical bodies of aged Men (as a sign of their Humility)

So I think that in terms of "sexuality", "Olorin the angelic spirit who possesses a male temperament and is often disembodied" and "Gandalf, the angel who has descended into human form and lived as a Man for 2,000 years" may be facing two different sets of circumstances.

I really don't think Olorin the spirit actually had a "sexuality" of any kind; I don't know if we can think of the Ainur in such concepts. They do have apparently "intellectual" "pairings", but Olorin is said to be alone.

As for "Gandalf, the Maia descended into human form, experiencing life's sensations through a human body"......he *may* have had a "sexuality" given that he was subject to human sensations, but I kind of doubt it. I don't even think of him as having relationships with women; I think of him as almost like a holy priest of some religion, removed from Earthly things. Then again he's in part based on the pagan Odin, who was married. But no, he's really a catholic "angel" descended to human form.

Did Gandalf "love"? Of course he loved; he loves all things in Middle-earth and wants to help all that is Good. But I think, basically, that it was a...well, "Grandfatherly" kind of love.

***Further, moreso than any other wizard Gandalf was a "wanderer" so I doubt he could maintain stable relationships for long with anyone.

****moreover, he may have seen any such attachment as being too "bound" to one thing and distracting from his mission (like Radagast the Fool! and his birds).....then again, Gandalf still managed to be quite "attached" to the Baggins family, and he did wander alot but it didn't stop him from visiting often and maintaining a friendship for decades....so maybe his wandering wouldn't get in the way nor would he consider it major impediment to romantic relationship.

****but this is all conjecture. Seriously, I personally always thought it was wrong to even think of Gandalf having relationships with women. I think it would be equally wrong to think of him having relationships with men as to having them with women; he's a grandfatherly figure and I don't know if, even in a human body, he thought in such terms. I mean I think of him as this holy warrior, celibate priest kind of figure (Tolkien probably would have meant "priest" in the catholic sense, I use it hear in generic reference to many world religions).

but it's a conundrum. on the one hand you think of him as above such "earthly things" and at the same time, he sits around smoking tobacco with hobbits in the Shire, or telling Bilbo to make sure that he gets his preferred meal of chicken and pickles (or was it tomatoes? no....pretty sure it was pickles)

So he's not just an "angel that happens to be appearing to someone but has no tangible form" (a la Nicholas Cage in "City of Angels") he has a physical body and physical quirks.

Nonetheless, I always just saw him as an asexual, grandfatherly character. I'd think it equaly wrong to say "maybe Gandalf was a homosexual" as much as "haha, maybe Gandalf had torrid love affairds with *women* all across Middle-earth".....I really don't think it's in his character to be either. He's an angel.

Dumbledore, on the other hand, is as much a mortal man as Harry Potter; like Harry he started out as a boy in our world then finds our more about the magical Hogwarts world that overlaps with it. But there is no reason not for him to be gay, structurally within the plot.

For that matter, given that he never married, I wouldn't really react to them saying that virtually any other character in the story is gay; Legolas never married: could he be a homosexual? Possibly, in the sense that I see no direct evidence against it. Or even Beorn or Thorin or someone else who never married.

But Gandalf and the wizards are basically "Angels" and in that sense, I think that it might be wrong to even think of them as "straight" if you follow my meaning.

This is confusing and I have not reached a definitive answer; at the least, I don't think Tolkien deliberated on this.

Thus, I really don't know,.

However, I will say that even before McKellen was cast in the live-action films, when just meeting other book fans in the mid-1990's, I'd actually react very strongly to those that said "haha, Gandalf was probably a lady's man in his youth", as becaues he was really an "Angelic spirit" I didn't think he would behave in such terms.

"Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name, but what's puzzling you, is the nature of my game"


Formerly known on TORN as "Draug the Unspeakably Violent"



_V_
Lorien


Jan 8 2009, 3:48am

Post #2 of 206 (616 views)
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remeniscent of the "Doctor Who" controversy [In reply to] Can't Post

I've realized this is a bit remeniscent of the controversy when Doctor Who Series 27 was coming back with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, and in advance he openly said "yes, the Doctor might get into romantic relationships this time" i.e. potentially with his new companion, one "Rose Tyler"

now I don't understand this fully because I'm not from Britain, but this caused quite the uproar with fans who grew up watching the original series "behind the couch", who said that the Doctor should not have a sexuality of any kind: he's "The Doctor", he's this grandfatherly figure (of course, many of the original Doctors were played by older men)

but it was originally very much a show for small children and they just got really upset at the idea of the Doctor falling in love with say, Rose....some remain aghast at the David Tennant years with Rose Tyler, etc.

But that also raised the question of "well what's the Doctor's sexuality?" i.e. he goes to different planets with aliens in all shapes and forms, etc. well I think the show handled that kind of deftly by simply avoiding it but having the Doctor generally address whether he even has sex or not, with woman (much less men or aliens) and he uses the simple metaphor that "just because no one sees me ever "dance", they assume I don't "dance" even when they're not around". Clearly, the Doctor has been in romantic relationships with just women on-screen so far, i.e. Rose.....and Romana? (sigh...Romana....she's gone)

but anyway, I disagreed with those who said the Doctor had no sexuality, because he's obviously from a planet of alien Time Lords who have two biological genders and have sex to reproduce at the very least. I mean he's from a "society" and whose to say there aren't gay Time Lords?

But Gandalf isn't the Doctor; he's an angel that has descended into human form, and I don't think they're the same thing.

"Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name, but what's puzzling you, is the nature of my game"


Formerly known on TORN as "Draug the Unspeakably Violent"



Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 8 2009, 4:07am

Post #3 of 206 (622 views)
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I find it amusing [In reply to] Can't Post

how some people can't grasp the idea of a sexless life.

"He must have had some experience of sex."

There are plenty of people who do not and have never had sex - willingly or no - but such an approach to life seems to be beyond the ken of some. (I remember my sixth form history teacher on Queen Elizabeth I, dismissing her virginity as a political creation because no adult could possibly live their life without sex. Her image as a Virgin Queen may well have been a fabrication, but his argument for it was specious.)

I just don't think sex or sexuality has anything to do with Gandalf as he was written. Tolkien wasn't the greatest writer when it came to relationships, but they were there - and Gandalf seems to be beyond that entirely. As you say, Melian herself married, but this appears to be an exception rather than a given among the Maiar.


Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Jan 8 2009, 4:12am

Post #4 of 206 (631 views)
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Gandalf? [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought it was supposed to be Sam & Frodo?

Wasn't that a big debate?

....Revisionist history.

Aside from somebody's personal agenda, let's face the fact:

Tolkien was a Catholic, it was the 1940's when he wrote & NONE of his noble characters were Gay or having sex outside of marriage for that matter. NO WAY. Not even debatable.

I agree with the 'grandfatherly' view of Gandalf......
Tolkien states that as long as the Istari remained true to their mission, the vision of Valinor remained clear to them, they longed for it, etc.


Now, Saruman, that's a different story......

As a 'fallen' Istari, wizard, emissary in a 'human' body, I was actually discussing this a while back.......

It is debated within TLOR whether Saruman has bred orcs & men......

"That would be a black evil" says Treebeard.

If Saruman did - and it appears he did indeed - remember how many 'half-orcs' the Hobbits see in Bree, Isengard or Legolas & Gimli 'deal with' at Helm's Deep, what men did he use? What men did Saruman have before the Dunlendings?

Perhaps Saruman himself was THE MAN.


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 8 2009, 7:58am

Post #5 of 206 (619 views)
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Thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, I'm wondering where to begin. Let me start by saying that I agree with your assessment of Gandalf's character being a kind of grandfather-figure within the mythology. And as you said, he was an angelic being, a Maia, before he came to Middle-earth, and was then clothed in flesh, according to his "male temperament".

Alright. Now here's my answer laid out in three parts.

Firstly, wizards and celibacy in general. In the chapter on The Istari in Unfinished Tales, Tolkien says that the wizards were "subject to the fears and pains and weariness of earth, able to hunger and thirst and be slain; though because of their noble spirits they did not die, and aged only by the cares and labours of many long years". Now you could take this literally and say that Tolkien did not mention that they were subject to the "desires and/or lusts" of mortal men, and that would solve the issue in a snap. However, in reading that sentence broadly, you realize that the above words speak to their limitations as men in the flesh. Additionally, the text also says that "they were forbidden to match his [Sauron's] power with power, or to seek to dominate Elves and Men by force or fear". Which is to say that the only restrictions placed on them were to not reveal themselves in power. So taking the two sentences together, you realize that Tolkien only really talks about the wizards insofar as their purpose on Middle-earth was concerned. There were no other bonds laid upon them, and they were given free will to work as they deemed fit toward that higher cause for which they were sent. They weren't even bound to oppose Sauron, and they were given free will in that matter as well. But of course, they were well aware of the consequences of choosing one path over the other. And so the wizards were surely not bound to celibacy; and just as Saruman lusted for power, and Radagast fell in love with birds and beasts, there could well be the possibility that wizards could lust after the pleasures of the flesh.

Having established this, I'll move on to Gandalf (as an Istar). Sir Ian McKellen's comments aside, I personally believe that the notion of desiring sex, whether with man or woman, was not part of Gandalf's personality. Gandalf, of all the wizards, stayed true to his purpose. Now that does not necessarily mean that he did not experience the occasional carnal pleasure, nor does it mean that having sex would be a distraction from him continuing to work towards his true purpose. But I think that since Gandalf loved all good things and all good people, being sooner moved to pity than to anger, he was a "people person": one who easily befriended people who worked towards the general good. But there's one more reason I believe Gandalf (as an Istar) did not indulge in sex, and maybe what's influencing me is my firm disbelief in casual sex. I'm thinking along the lines of a "long-term relationship". Assuming that Gandalf thought like me, would he really and truly believe that making a long-term commitment with someone on Middle-earth would work out? If he did have someone in mind, whether a man or a woman, the eventuality would be disastrous, a consequence much worse that the fate of Aragorn and Arwen. Arwen, in choosing to give herself to Aragorn, became a mortal. Even though her parting with Aragorn was painful, at least she could die after that and not live forever in loneliness. But would the same hold true for an Istar? Could an Istar choose mortality? I'd think not. They were "able to hunger and thirst and be slain; though because of their noble spirits they did not die, and aged only by the cares and labours of many long years" [The Istari: Unfinished tales]. So I'd think Gandalf would never begin a relationship that would end in this way. His fate would be like that of Elrond, who had to live forever with the knowledge that somewhere on Middle-earth the body of his daughter lay dead. Similarly, Gandalf would go into the West, leaving his love upon Middle-earth (whether a man or a woman is irrelevant), and would have to spend the rest of his days (meaning, forever) wondering what fate had he/she come to.

So having established that Gandalf the Istar would not have had sex, I'll move on last to Gandalf the Maia i.e., Olorin. And as far as my knowledge of Tolkien (and my knowledge of deduction) goes, I'd say that Olorin was a Maia, a noble spirit, and I refuse to believe that such beings would go about having promiscuous sex. In fact, I don't really think that Maiar and Valar had sex even with their "spouses" to begin with. Sex is a method of reproductoin. That it is also pleasureable (and hence abused) is secondary. Therefore I'd say that Maiar and Valar, having no use for reproduction (since as far as we know, there weren't ever baby Maiar and Valar running about Valinor) would not have an understanding and a desire for sex, in a way that Elves, Men and Dwarves did.

And so my conclusion (with the sum of all my personal opinions Blush) is that Gandalf was asexual.


Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.

(This post was edited by Earl on Jan 8 2009, 7:59am)


sador
Half-elven

Jan 8 2009, 10:16am

Post #6 of 206 (543 views)
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I tend to agree [In reply to] Can't Post

But then, we seem to share the same prejudices about carnal pleasures, so that's not so surprising...

"I am going home now to put my notes in order" - Frodo


a.s.
Valinor


Jan 8 2009, 11:18am

Post #7 of 206 (567 views)
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he could have had relations with Elves, solving the "daughter" problem [In reply to] Can't Post

I truly think McKellen's statement was just a throwaway sort of joking aside, given Dumbledore's outing and the frequent mixups between Dumbledore and Gandalf.

But anyway, to answer speculatively, I can't think of any reason to rule in or out any aspect of incarnated flesh, in Tolkien's wizards, once they are incarnate. I don't think there's any indication within the story itself, or backstories, that answers definitively either way.

Melian had a baby, after all. That speaks to the possibility of Maian lust and obviously working reproductive organs, when Maia are incarnate.

I just wanted to point out a small argument with your theory #2:



Quote
So I'd think Gandalf would never begin a relationship that would end in this way. His fate would be like that of Elrond, who had to live forever with the knowledge that somewhere on Middle-earth the body of his daughter lay dead. Similarly, Gandalf would go into the West, leaving his love upon Middle-earth (whether a man or a woman is irrelevant), and would have to spend the rest of his days (meaning, forever) wondering what fate had he/she come to.




If he'd had relations with Elven women, his daughters would have been immortal.

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you'll rest in the arms of the Savior, if sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're coming back in a garden: bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Iris DeMent



Call Her Emily


Jazmine
Tol Eressea


Jan 8 2009, 12:27pm

Post #8 of 206 (542 views)
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Interesting post [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't say I've ever thought of Gandalf in a "sexual" sense. The "grandfatherly" way in which alot of people tend to think of him applies to me to.

But it is odd that some people can't accept the notion of someone living their whole lives without having sex. I actually believe it's more common than we think. But I do see why it's a hard concept to get your head round, in much of today's society.


*Jazminatar the Brown*


Jettorex
Lorien


Jan 8 2009, 2:58pm

Post #9 of 206 (636 views)
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I beleive concerning the Istari... [In reply to] Can't Post

that it was a strict "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy Tongue

Love, Truth, Honor, Adventure


Child of Manwe
Rivendell


Jan 8 2009, 3:18pm

Post #10 of 206 (527 views)
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I agree with you V... [In reply to] Can't Post

I never even question Gandalf's sexual orientation before. He was just 'Gandalf' and he did 'Gandalf-y' things which I never took to include romantic relationships.

I wonder if Ian just said that kinda because he is gay?

"Fear, Fire, Foes...Awake! Awake!
Fire, Foes! Awake! Awake!"

ringwraiths27

"Do you think we look mean enough, Sauron?"


weathertop
Lorien


Jan 8 2009, 6:50pm

Post #11 of 206 (616 views)
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o i know its possible [In reply to] Can't Post

just ask my wife!

j/k. i coulnd't resist!

with the comment about elrond and thus arwen: one thing i've wondered. does the elven half of the blood over-rule that of men's? as elrond is only half-elven (a fact i have to keep reminding myself) what does this mean for him, and thru him arwen? or should this be in a whole new thread!?


_V_
Lorien


Jan 8 2009, 7:48pm

Post #12 of 206 (504 views)
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Half-Elves are not a distinct race [In reply to] Can't Post

Half-Elves are not a distinct race, because Elves and Men have separate afterlives. It's not just a matter of ethnicity but the Valar themselves directly intervene apparently...keep in mind that you can count on one hand the number of unions between Elves and Men. So basically at a certain point, a Half-Elf has to choose whether to be "counted among Elves or Men".

Once they make this choice, they are apparently fully "an Elf" or "a Men" (although there is still some genealogical stuff). I.e. Elrond is considered "an Elf" though he was *originally* "Half-Elven"

same goes for Arwen (and Elladan and Elrohir) once they choose to be mortal.

Well....in the "what race are they?" sense (which has spiritual underpinnings) they have to chose, but Aragorn is still "of the children of Luthien" etc.

***Btw, I think it funny that at one point in the books, Pippin says he thinks Gandalf and Aragorn must be related because they're so wise....but if you think about it, Aragorn is a distant descendant of Luthien and thus, also of Melian the Maia. All Maia are in a sense "children of the mind of God", so this statement has a certain degree of truth to it.

"Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name, but what's puzzling you, is the nature of my game"


Formerly known on TORN as "Draug the Unspeakably Violent"



simplyaven
Grey Havens


Jan 8 2009, 8:47pm

Post #13 of 206 (511 views)
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He got tired of such questions, IMHO. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been reading McKellen's blog for a long time and I remember so many sexually oriented questions towards him that I'm positive he stopped answering and started joking/teasing a long time ago. Especially after a comment he made on his own sexuality, there were many, and some of them not friendly, comments. So, I think he just answered in a vague way, referring to another author, another book, another character thus re-directing the flow.

As about Gandalf, to me he's always represented the "lower" angels. They are asexual by nature. It simply is not their main interest. They have missions, they have other things to care for. At the same time they can have babies if they want. Still, it's a rare exception. However, I don't recall these angels having babies as a result of pure sex. I doubt they actually feel the same way humans do about sex. And I'm very comfortable with Gandalf - the angel image. I'm pretty sure he could have had children but I'm also sure he didn't think about it. I'll join other posters in wondering why it is so unbelievable to modern people that life without sex is not only possible but it happens.

Culinary journey through Middle Earth continues! Join us on December 15 on the Main board

I believe


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


Jan 8 2009, 9:01pm

Post #14 of 206 (538 views)
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I think there are 2 main points here: [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, three... but two are directly in line with the discussion:

First: I agree that people should be able to return to the thought of a sexless life as something normal, and if not normal, common. As Jazmine and you say, not everything should be thought in those terms.

Second, I quote Tolkien Forever:

Quote
Tolkien was a Catholic, it was the 1940's when he wrote & NONE of his noble characters were Gay or having sex outside of marriage for that matter. NO WAY. Not even debatable.


That is also quite final. People might speculate however they want, but Tolkien was Catholic, and as such, there is no way he would have wirtten a homosexual character. It's not a matter of discrimination (neither Tolkien's nor mine) it's simply a fact that comes with the man's beliefs.

Third: well, he is a fictional character. While it seems a bit cheap to play this card in this debate, a written character does not have every dimension of a real person. Written characters do not (generally) go to the bathroom in a book, for example. Does that mean they do or they don't? I have always believed that neither. It's simply a dimension that is unnecesary for the story.

I did not like Rowling saying Dumbledore is gay, simply because it was unnecesary and uncalled for. The series was over, and it was irrelevant to the events of Potter's adventures. I too believe it is weird to say something of the sort about Gandalf.

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 8 2009, 9:25pm

Post #15 of 206 (533 views)
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As for Dumbledore, [In reply to] Can't Post

his sexuality did turn out to be relevant because of his relationship with Grindelwald, their subsequent falling-out and the eventual duel between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. I wish Rowling had included this information in the book rather than leaving it to an interview after the fact, but there you go.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 8 2009, 9:28pm

Post #16 of 206 (496 views)
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Good point. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If he'd had relations with Elven women, his daughters would have been immortal.



That does get around the 'leaving someone behind when the Third Age is finally over, one way or another' problem. If he wasn't asexual.

I just get the feeling that sex was ... well, not 'beneath' him, but his focus was on such a larger picture that a sexual relationship was simply beyond his sight, in a way.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


Jan 8 2009, 9:34pm

Post #17 of 206 (536 views)
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mmm ok... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
his sexuality did turn out to be relevant because of his relationship with Grindelwald, their subsequent falling-out and the eventual duel between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. I wish Rowling had included this information in the book rather than leaving it to an interview after the fact, but there you go.


I agree with you... she should have included it in the book, if she really wanted it to be that way. However, what I have been told (I am still not that far in the books) is that the story worked perfectly even with them as best friends, with no sexual implications, and that's where it becomes a little unnecessary, you know? Just my opinion, though.

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 8 2009, 9:42pm

Post #18 of 206 (573 views)
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Whoops, [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm glad I didn't reveal more! I didn't realise you hadn't read the series. Sorry Compa.

This plotline did work fine with D and G has good friends, but Rowling's revelation gave it more depth and greater poignancy, IMO. (I'll be interested to hear your thoughts once you've read book seven.)

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


(This post was edited by Ataahua on Jan 8 2009, 10:11pm)


squire
Valinor


Jan 8 2009, 11:37pm

Post #19 of 206 (589 views)
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Yet Saruman clearly had sex [In reply to] Can't Post

Just kidding - I know it's not clear that he did.

But it's not clear that he didn't either. He's an arrogant cuss, roguishly good looking with those black streaks in his white hair reminding us that his hair was once black, and as a world-class seducer he's very used to getting what he wants, when he wants it. He seemingly knows quite a lot about sex, in that he managed to "mate" Men and Orcs - the details of which intercourse no one else on Middle-earth wants to think about.

Finally, as a corrupted soul, he is the latest in a long line of Dark Lords who start out as pure immortal spirits and decline into slaves of the flesh. The first of these creatures, and Saruman's honorary mentor "by assignment", is Melkor the Morgoth. Morgoth, we remember, felt a vile stirring of the loins when watching Luthien dance for him in Thangorodrim! What's good enough for Morgoth is good enough for Saruman, I should think.

At the other end of this same scale, we know that Saruman's apprentice, Grima the Wormtongue, lusted after Eowyn - practically the only reference to actual sex in the entire book. Sure, Grima's just a mortal man, but Saruman inhabits the body of a man too. I take Grima's crime to be Saruman's crime, likewise "by assignment".

So as I see it, Saruman suffered the weaknesses of mortal state just like that prig Gandalf, but I imagine he worked with the tools at hand and put his body and its weaknesses to a variety of pleasurable uses besides tobacco.



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Glaurung63
Lorien

Jan 9 2009, 12:44am

Post #20 of 206 (543 views)
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Wow, what a post [In reply to] Can't Post

V, you have delved into this and made fantastic points, as have others replying....made me think back to the beginning of Middle earth and Tolkien's Catholic roots and studies of Nordic myths....when I first read LOTR in junior high I always thought of Gandalf as either an angel or a Jesus figure, as I picked up on the Christian symbolism, even though in LOTR there are no churches. The 'spirit made flesh'....now, an interesting point is Melian the Maia...her reproductive system worked...so that could mean that Gandalf's 'system' worked...but as a spirit made flesh, even though an old man with perhaps limited desire, we don't really know who he would desire sexually. It seems unlikely, as mentioned, that it would be explained or even taken into account, due to Tolkien's faith.

But I find this discussion interesting and valid, although I do think Sir Ian, being Out and About, is probably having some fun with suggesting Gandalf's possible gayness...perhaps he was caught off gaurd by Rowling's outing of Dumbledore, but I think he imagined the role of Gandalf in part from his own lifelong wisdom...he did say that when they shot the FOTR Moria scene where Gandalf gets pulled down by the Blarog and almost whispers "fly, you fools", he was looking at some screen with a tennis ball on a post, but channeling his dispair over a lost lover.....so his internal feelings 'came out' of Gandalf and we are all the better for his acting expertise, because that was one of the best scenes ever put to film.

So I wish Sir Ian could check out these posts, as V you created an historic examination of Gandalf's being...I can't wait to see him recreate Gandalf in The Hobbit.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 9 2009, 1:07am

Post #21 of 206 (561 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

the revelation about the degree of intimacy between Dumbledore and Grindelwald makes Dumbledore's story much more poignant.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


Jan 9 2009, 1:24am

Post #22 of 206 (577 views)
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Don't worry! [In reply to] Can't Post

The plot of those books isn't a big secret you know? Wink Actually, my first contact with a Potter book was reading the last pages of book seven. Tongue

Anyway, once I reach that point, I'll be glad to discuss this further with you. Although it might take a while to actually get there.

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 9 2009, 5:17am

Post #23 of 206 (503 views)
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The Last Temptation of Olórin? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 9 2009, 6:24am

Post #24 of 206 (482 views)
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I'm inclined to agree with you on that count... [In reply to] Can't Post

... you make a valid point. For some reason, I only had Men (instead of Elves as well) in mind when I wrote that. But you are right in pointing that out Smile

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 9 2009, 10:16pm

Post #25 of 206 (515 views)
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Why not? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf is certainly heavily into other physical vices such as smoking and drinking. As my Uncle Howard always warned, one inevitably leads to the other and both lead to naughty ladies and ruin. (Or at least an empty wallet.)

(I'm reminded of the old adage that if you give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems like it.)

At any rate Tolkien noted of Gandalf "[H]is ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience." Nienna is the only unmarried female Vala around. Surely that means something. I mean, why didn't he regularly go visit any of the married lady Valar, or for that matter any of the guys? Why single out the one unmarried girl of the whole bunch? I also merely note that Gandalf went about Middle-earth garbed as Nienna dressed, in a grey hood. That does suggest a wandering knight wearing his beloved's colors.

Finally, as a maia Olórin seems to have had something to do with dreams, and needless to say, dreams tend to be very sexual. To say Gandalf knew nothing of sex would seem to ignore his main activity as a maia.

To suggest Gandalf was entirely celibate seems to be more based in reader projection rather than Tolkien's Legendarium.

(As for it just being too icky to think about, well, yeah. So does thinking about grandma and grandpa having sex. But if they didn't none of us would be here. And besides, he only looks like an old man in Middle-earth. Maybe in Valinor his true form is pretty hunky.)

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



(This post was edited by Darkstone on Jan 9 2009, 10:24pm)

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