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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Did Gandalf the White wear a hat in the books?

Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Mar 21 2014, 5:28pm

Post #1 of 17 (355 views)
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Did Gandalf the White wear a hat in the books? Can't Post

I was wondering about this since there is a painting by John Howe of Gandalf and Pippin riding to Minas Tirith, in which Gandalf is pictured with a hat-for what it's worth the hat was also present in the Ralph Bakshi cartoon. Could anybody please provide any quotes that prove one way or the other?
Thanks in advance for any answers Smile

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."-Gandalf


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


Mar 21 2014, 5:36pm

Post #2 of 17 (244 views)
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It comes to mind [In reply to] Can't Post

The Hobbit:


Quote
He had a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, a silver scarf over which a white beard hung down below his waist, and immense black boots.


I'm sure there are other quotes that don't come to mind.

From World's End then he turned away,
and yearned again to find afar .
his home through shadows journeying,
and burning as an island star . . .

-Bilbo Baggins

(This post was edited by Bracegirdle on Mar 21 2014, 5:37pm)


Darkstone
Immortal


Mar 21 2014, 5:50pm

Post #3 of 17 (256 views)
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Yes and no. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes....

Suddenly Gimli looked up, and there just on the edge of the fire-light stood an old bent man, leaning on a staff, and wrapped in a great cloak; his wide-brimmed hat was pulled down over his eyes.
-The Riders of Rohan

"I mark them," said Aragorn. "But I marked also that this old man had a hat not a hood."
-ibid

They could not see his face: he was hooded, and above the hood he wore a wide-brimmed hat, so that all his features were over-shadowed, except for the end of his nose and his grey beard.
-The White Rider

"Saruman!" cried Gimli, springing towards him with axe in hand."speak! Tell us where you have hidden our friends! What have you done with them? Speak, or I will make a dint in your hat that even a wizard will find it hard to deal with!"
-ibid

"You certainly did not see me," answered Gandalf,"therefore I must guess that you saw Saruman. Evidently we look so much alike that your desire to make an incurable dent in my hat must be excused."
-ibid

....and no.

"I thank you, Théoden King," said Gandalf. Then suddenly he threw back his grey cloak, and cast aside his hat, and leaped to horseback. He wore no helm nor mail. His snowy hair flew free in the wind, his white robes shone dazzling in the sun.
-The King of the Golden Hall

After this Gandalf apparently remains bareheaded.

******************************************
Brothers, sisters,
I was Elf once.
We danced together
Under the Two Trees.
We sang as the soft gold of Laurelin
And the bright silver of Telperion,
Brought forth the dawn of the world.
Then I was taken.

Brothers, sisters,
In my torment I kept faith,
And I waited.
But you never came.
And when I returned you drew sword,
And when I called your names you drew bow.
Was my Eldar beauty all,
And my soul nothing?

So be it.
I will return your hatred,
And I am hungry.




Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


Mar 21 2014, 5:51pm

Post #4 of 17 (231 views)
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Also in "The Unexpected Party" [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
He wore a tall pointed blue hat . . .


Don't believe there's any reference to a hat during the ride with Pippin.

Cheers Smile

From World's End then he turned away,
and yearned again to find afar .
his home through shadows journeying,
and burning as an island star . . .

-Bilbo Baggins

(This post was edited by Bracegirdle on Mar 21 2014, 5:56pm)


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 21 2014, 6:37pm

Post #5 of 17 (229 views)
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Read the fine print! [In reply to] Can't Post

The question was about Gandalf the White! Darkstone wins this round.








Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Mar 21 2014, 7:50pm

Post #6 of 17 (201 views)
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Thank you for this Darkstone :)// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."-Gandalf


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


Mar 21 2014, 8:34pm

Post #7 of 17 (206 views)
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Oooops ... [In reply to] Can't Post

The question was about Gandalf the White! Darkstone wins this round.
------------------------------------------------------


Lor bless me. Yea and verily, I stand chastised... Mad


Ethel Duath
Valinor


Mar 22 2014, 3:17am

Post #8 of 17 (183 views)
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This reminds me--we need another round [In reply to] Can't Post

of the old "Scenes from the Hat."

Any takers? Smile


Plurmo
Rohan

Mar 22 2014, 3:40am

Post #9 of 17 (212 views)
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Regarding the Old Man in edge of the firelight. [In reply to] Can't Post

(borrowing on the good work of Darkstone about the hath a hat hath no hat thing.)

I don't think there is an definitive answer to the question of who was the Old Man the Three Hunters saw. It seems to be a riddle. A well crafted riddle spanning many chapters. There are hints in Frodo's visions in the Mirror of Galadriel, there are hints about the behaviour of Hasufel and Arod when they flee after the old man leaves the three hunters.

I think that what Gandalf means when he says "you certainly did not see me" is that for the Three Hunters it could only be Saruman because in their minds Gandalf was long gone, and it seems to be a way for Tolkien to insert his insider's joke about the reader's inability at that point (Riders of Rohan chapter) to accept that this being Middle-earth, Gandalf might be there somehow.

But most important are the words of Gandalf the White about himself: "I can see many things far off, but many things that are close at hand I cannot see." This I take literally. If the wide-brimmed hat wearing person was indeed Gandalf, maybe he just never saw or heard Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas there. Perhaps he saw the firelight and it caught his attention while absorbed in his trance thinking about Frodo and the candlelights of the Dead Marshes, or about Orodruin or about the Eye.
So, how can we trust someone who says "you certainly did not see me" and "many things that are close at hand I cannot see?"

The three possibilities, that the Old Man was Gandalf, was Saruman or was an apparition of Saruman permeate several chapters in the book. Every time I read the book I find some new hint hidden somewhere. It is meant to be a riddle in the sense that whatever the answer one proposes, it fits.

Apologies for straying out of topic thought and time.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Mar 22 2014, 8:05pm

Post #10 of 17 (163 views)
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It was Saruman - [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf says so. Saruman came himself to check on his orcs, but he got there too late. Gandalf says S. has no woodcraft, so he couldn't read from the signs what had happened.


Plurmo
Rohan

Mar 22 2014, 11:38pm

Post #11 of 17 (145 views)
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The isolated clues are inconclusive, that's the problem. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Geordie, but this is exactly the clue that asserts that Saruman is a clear possibility, but not that it was Saruman for certain.

There's no doubt that Saruman was around there, but then there is no doubt that Shadowfax was there too. Was it Gandalf who called him? But then Gandalf could be there too. But did Arod and Hasufel get spooked by the Old Man and later perceived the presence of Shadowfax? I suppose they wouldn't be spooked by Gandalf, but if they were or not spooked, it's not clear, it's conjecture. As I said there's no reason to trust Gandalf words to Gimli and there are hints that Gandalf walked in a bit of a trance around the place. The only clue that would settle the matter would be a proof that Gandalf wasn't there, but Tolkien seems to be playing a game with the characters and the reader. Gandalf doesn't say where he was, but when he is spotted by Treebeard before it found Merry and Pippin, we can suppose he was in the vicinity already, though a bit disconnected.

Even that the Old Man is just an apparition of Saruman is supported by the clues. There is no trace left of him nearby the fire, it could be Gandalf, whom Gwaihir says could even fly himself, it could be the apparition, a thing Saruman is able to conjure, but then the damn grass is "springy" too!Mad

If we could find a clear hint about Gandalf's whereabouts, that would be of great help.

PS: regarding Frodo's vision on the Mirror, it should be noted that in Fangorn Gandalf is using a "rough staff," and also the white through many colours composition (broken light) robes of Saruman.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Mar 23 2014, 8:08pm

Post #12 of 17 (144 views)
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Tolkien says it was Saruman, too - [In reply to] Can't Post

- in Hammond and Scull's book 'The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion', p.374. Tolkien had written out a plan for the story. here called 'scheme'.

'February 30: Saruman appears on battlefield and is seen by Aragorn and companions at night.'


Plurmo
Rohan

Mar 23 2014, 8:32pm

Post #13 of 17 (136 views)
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That certainly changes things. [In reply to] Can't Post

If Tolkien said it was him, then it was.

Pity, I liked the mystery.

Thanks, Geordie, that seems to be a good reference to read, though here in my country I cannot find those books easily.


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


Mar 25 2014, 3:48am

Post #14 of 17 (112 views)
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Old men don't lie... [In reply to] Can't Post

 I don't think there is an definitive answer to the question of who was the Old Man the Three Hunters saw. It seems to be a riddle.


Quote
-Gimli: "Was it you, Gandalf, or Saruman that we saw last night?"
"You certainly didn't see me," answered Gandalf, "therefore I must guess that you saw Saruman."

TT The White Rider

This seems quite definitive - straight forward - no riddle. Need we infuse into this more than it says?
Why mistrust Gandalf's words? Had he (or Tolkien) any reason to mystify? None, except what we dredge out of our own irrelevance.
I see no need to question Gandalf's words here.

From World's End then he turned away,
and yearned again to find afar .
his home through shadows journeying,
and burning as an island star . . .

-Bilbo Baggins


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 25 2014, 1:59pm

Post #15 of 17 (107 views)
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Gandalf didn't help... [In reply to] Can't Post

In answer to their question, he said that they did not see him so it must have been Saruman, but he then he said that he was Saruman, rather Saruman as he should have been, and no longer Gandalf the Grey, now the White.

Talk about circular logic!!!

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


Mar 25 2014, 4:34pm

Post #16 of 17 (101 views)
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Saruman the White rides again [In reply to] Can't Post

 
They live among us Rem – The Circular Thinkers – Beware!

Quote
”Yes, I am white now.” said Gandalf. “Indeed I am Saruman, one might almost say, Saruman as he should have been.” TT The White Rider

In the beginning Saruman was the highest of the Order of Istari but he fell. It’s clear in the quote above what Gandalf means. Saruman should have been “the White” the “leader”.
But the “circular thinkers” take “I am Saruman” out of context and run with it: “Wow! Here’s a puzzle, a riddle, a mystery, a conundrum” etc. “What’s Tolkien/Gandalf trying to tell us here? Let us milk it for all it’s worth.”
I say,Balderdash!

(This post was edited by Bracegirdle on Mar 25 2014, 4:36pm)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 25 2014, 5:04pm

Post #17 of 17 (116 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a case where the reader has to use his own wits to puzzle it out-- an excercise in inferential reasoning. 'Not-Gandalf' (Why would he lie?) probably means Saruman.

Anyone can feel free to disagree though.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on Mar 25 2014, 5:05pm)

 
 

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