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Couple of questions regarding Tolkien's description of Gandalf

duats
Grey Havens

Oct 16 2012, 4:20am


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Couple of questions regarding Tolkien's description of Gandalf Can't Post

After having taken some art classes, I've decided to start illustrating some characters/scenes from Tolkien's mythology. I wanted to start with Gandalf, and I wanted to adhere as closely to Tolkien's own description as humanly possible. Here is the most detailed description we have of Gandalf from Tolkien:

"...a figure strongly built and with broad shoulder, though shorter than the average of men and now stooped with age, leaning on a thick rough-cut staff as he trudged along... Gandalf's hat was wide-brimmed [..] with a pointed conical crown, and it was blue; he wore a long grey cloak, but this would not reach much below his knees. It was of an elven silver-grey hue, though tarnished by wear - as is evident from the general use of grey in the book... But his colours were always white, silver-grey, and blue - except for the boots he wore when walking in the wild...Gandalf even bent must have been at least 5 ft. 6... Which would make him a short man even in modern England, especially with the reduction of a bent back."

As I try to visualize this, a couple of things hold me up, and I was wondering if someone could help clarify it for me.

- "He wore a long grey cloak, but this would not reach much below his knees." When Tolkien says "cloak," does he mean a robe/tunic, or does he literally mean a cloak (something like a cape)? If it's the latter, what kind of clothes would Gandalf be wearing under the cloak?

- "Leaning on a thick rough-cut staff." How tall is the staff? Is it taller than Gandalf (as often depicted by John Howe, for example), or does it come to chest height (as often depicted by Alan Lee). I know there are passages in LoTR where Gandalf is said to be "leaning over" his staff, which would imply that it's not as tall as it's depicted in the films or in many pieces of art.

- Almost all of the Gandalf artwork I have seen have Gandalf's robes reaching down to his ankles. However, given that Tolkien makes it a point to describe Gandalf's big black boots, I have to assume that we are supposed to be able to see this. Which means that Gandalf's robe should go down to just below his knees. Is this a reasonable assumption to make based on the text?

Subject User Time
Couple of questions regarding Tolkien's description of Gandalf duats Send a private message to duats Oct 16 2012, 4:20am
    Drawing Gandalf Istari68 Send a private message to Istari68 Oct 16 2012, 7:25pm
    Don't miss this thread... Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Oct 17 2012, 6:46am

 
 
 

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