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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: The Arena:
Gandalf, The White, vs A weakened version of Sauron (pre-Hobbit)

The Foehammer
The Shire


May 29 2014, 12:35am

Post #1 of 17 (1035 views)
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Gandalf, The White, vs A weakened version of Sauron (pre-Hobbit) Can't Post

Who wins? A weaker version of Sauron against Gandalf at his strongest.

"My teeth are swords, my claws spears..." - Smaug, The Magnificent


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 29 2014, 2:21pm

Post #2 of 17 (557 views)
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Hmmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Since Sauron deliberately avoided encountering Gandalf the Grey prior to the Watchful Peace, Gandalf the White might have been strong enough to defeat him if they could have encountered each other at that time.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


DaughterofLaketown
Gondor


May 30 2014, 2:17am

Post #3 of 17 (542 views)
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Sauron [In reply to] Can't Post

He just seemed stronger even in a weakened state.


Escapist
Gondor


May 30 2014, 3:47am

Post #4 of 17 (565 views)
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In a way this has already been tested [In reply to] Can't Post

and I believe that in the giant chess game some call "The War of the Ring", White had the victory.

I think that people hold Sauron in a bit overly much awe at times. He got chewed by a dog and had his butt handed to him by the Numenoreans. The chief danger with him seems to be his insidious corrupting influence and uncanny ability to sucker people into buying his loads of crud (not the only danger - but the chief danger).


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


May 30 2014, 1:16pm

Post #5 of 17 (556 views)
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CLASH !! [In reply to] Can't Post

Both being Maia, and assuming Gandalf was able to use his full powers (which he was not) it would be a draw, even if it wasn’t a “weaker” version of Sauron.

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rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Jun 4 2014, 3:21pm

Post #6 of 17 (490 views)
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Actually... [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf was able to use his full, he was commanded not too yet he still had the ability to use them. Tolkien mentioned in his letters that in several instances Gandalf did out of desperation. Not to mention, Saruman clearly broke said command in a self-seeking way, then and only then Gandalf the White is sent to remove his power, presumably by Eru himself.

As far as the matchup goes, Olorin (Gandalf) intially refused to go to Middle Earth because he knew he was no match for Sauron's power. There are varying levels of power among the Maiar. At that time Sauron was weakened, and yet Gandalf still thought he was no match. Now Gandalf the White, may have had the power to overcome him on his own in the weakened state, but I doubt it as Gandalf the White said "Black is mightier still..." if this is not a reference to Sauron then I am not sure what it is a reference too.

As far as the Dol Guldor episode goes it was not just Gandalf the Grey who Sauron fled, but Saruman helped, as well as two ring-bearers (Elrond and galadriel). And it was said that Sauron "feigned defeat" so that he could flee in peace to Mordor to further build up his strength. So I think Gandalf the White loses.

Not all those who wander are lost


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


Jun 4 2014, 6:28pm

Post #7 of 17 (487 views)
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Yes, Gandalf was forbidden to use power for power against Sauron.. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Gandalf was able to use his full, he was commanded not too yet he still had the ability to use them. Tolkien mentioned in his letters that in several instances Gandalf did out of desperation.

Was he talking about Gandalf the Grey? Gandalf the White’s power is vague: It’s not known whether he struck a blow at Helm’s Deep; we know he didn’t strike a blow at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields; also he probably didn’t strike a blow from the slag hills. His only clearly overt physical action was the rescue of Faramir (streak of white light etc). So Gandalf the White’s physical abilities are an enigma.

Yet Gandalf the Grey fought the Nine Nazgul, and a balrog to a draw. How much MORE powerful was Gandalf the White?


In Reply To
"Black is mightier still..." if this is not a reference to Sauron then I am not sure what it is a reference too.

Agreed. Certainly he was referring to Sauron or possibly evil in general. We know that Sauron was in origin a higher order of Maiar than Gandalf. But we know nothing of Sauron’s actual “physical” power in the Third Age. But we do know (from the above) that Gandalf the White’s physical power must have been incredible. For these reasons I give Gandalf a chance in said contest.

Cheers

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rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Jun 4 2014, 7:50pm

Post #8 of 17 (481 views)
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hmmm.... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Was he talking about Gandalf the Grey? Gandalf the White’s power is vague: It’s not known whether he struck a blow at Helm’s Deep; we know he didn’t strike a blow at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields; also he probably didn’t strike a blow from the slag hills. His only clearly overt physical action was the rescue of Faramir (streak of white light etc). So Gandalf the White’s physical abilities are an enigma.


Yes Gandalf the Grey violated the command of the Valar to not match force for force against the Balorg, whom he defeated, and Gandalf was "rewarded" for that by being sent back by Eru even more powerful.

I only contend because so many people take the command given to the Istari out of context, the command was to not match Sauron's force with their own show of force by trying to build their own empires. Saruman clearly violated the whole command, even the very heart of it. While Gandalf violated part of it out of desperation.

There is no evidence that I have seen that states the Istari actually lost any of their powers (beyond having taken on a physical body and not being purely spiritual anymore). They were merely commanded to not do things, commands which were violated. Saruman only loses his power by the divine decree of Eru via gandalf the white.

As far as the "black is mightier still" comment that was uttered by Gandalf the White and if i am correct and this is a reference to Sauron, then it would be a reference to Sauron at that time. Which means Gandalf did not like his chances.

I believe gandalf the white also mentioned in Fangorn the only thing which would guarantee them victory over Sauron was if they had the Ring (implying that if gandalf used it they could win, but he knew in the long run they would lose to the Ring) this is something Tolkien elaborated on is letters as well, that Gandalf with the Ring could have defeated Sauron but in the end he would have lost to the Ring.

Not all those who wander are lost


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


Jun 4 2014, 9:05pm

Post #9 of 17 (476 views)
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Ranger, I have no contention with your statements. . . [In reply to] Can't Post

 with the possible exception:


In Reply To
Yes Gandalf the Grey violated the command of the Valar to not match force for force against the Balorg, whom he defeated, and Gandalf was "rewarded" for that by being sent back by Eru even more powerful.

Do I smell facetiousness? Gandalf the Grey was sent by the Valar, but not allowed to match Sauron’s power with equal power. In the fight with the balrog this command was not broken.

Cheers

**This space for hire***
Contact Messrs, Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes.
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rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Jun 4 2014, 11:11pm

Post #10 of 17 (470 views)
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great question [In reply to] Can't Post

I was wondering that as I typed. I now need to pull up the book of unfinished tales and check that out ;-) Maybe the command was to not match force for force with "the enemy" which would include the Balrog, i do remember Tolkien mentioning that incident as an one of only a few examples of Gandalf violating said command. More to think about which is always good.

Not all those who wander are lost


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


Jun 4 2014, 11:54pm

Post #11 of 17 (486 views)
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Or, think of it this way... [In reply to] Can't Post

As Gandalf the Grey was attacked atop Amon Sul by the Nine Nazgul would this command be broken because he defended himself?
That's just crazy.

This command to not match force with equal force would leave him defenseless in the face of any enemy which seems ludicrous. Even if Tolkien mentions "the enemy" somewhere in UT I'm sure he must have had second thoughts leaving any such hint out of LOTR or S (I think). I think if Tolkien said "the enemy" he must surely have meant Sauron only.

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Contact Messrs, Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes.
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(This post was edited by Bracegirdle on Jun 4 2014, 11:54pm)


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Jun 6 2014, 3:29pm

Post #12 of 17 (471 views)
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I finally had a chance to look up those texts... [In reply to] Can't Post

Here is the text concerning the Istari’s power “whereas now their emissaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men or Elves by open display of power, but coming in shapes weak and humble were bidden to advise and persuade men and Elves to good.”
So it appears they were commanded to not do at least two things, not to reveal themselves in their majesty and or seek to rule anyone through displays of power. We can safely say Saruman broke both of these commands whereas Gandalf only broke the first.
I found the letter where Tolkien references Gandalf’s breaking of the “rules” as he put it. It appears that in the Balrog incident Gandalf did break the rules and then turned himself over for judgment as it were, and he was rewarded for what he did by being sent back with greater powers and Tolkien stated Gandalf the White was now allowed to use those powers to resist Sauron, one would assume he still was not allowed to set up his own kingdom.
I will not quote it all, for it is a lengthy discussion but this section weighs heavily on this discussion, “When he (Gandalf the White) speaks he commands attention; the old Gandalf could not have dealt so with Theoden, nor with Saruman. He is still under the obligation of concealing his power and of teaching rather than forcing or dominating wills, but where the physical powers of the Enemy are too great for the good will of the oppose to be effective he can act in emergency as an ‘angel’- no more violently than the release of St. Peter from prison. He seldom does so, operating rather through others, but in one or two cases in the War (in Vol. III) he does reveal sudden power: he twice rescues Faramir. He alone is left to forbid the entrance of the Lord of the Nazgul to Minas Tirith…”
So we can say Gandalf the White is not to use his powers except in uttermost need, as he did with Theoden, Faramir, and the Witch King. Gandalf the Grey did so with the Balrog. And Gandalf the White was sent to deal harshly with Saruman. Before this lengthy section Tolkien also mentioned that after Gandalf’s death it was apparent that the Wizards had failed, because, “the crisis had become too grave and needed an enhancement of power.” This is why Gandalf is sent back with more power and with less strict rules.

Not all those who wander are lost


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


Jun 6 2014, 9:54pm

Post #13 of 17 (461 views)
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I’m glad you found the text you sought . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Just a couple of comments:


In Reply To
So it appears they were commanded to not do at least two things, not to reveal themselves in their majesty and or seek to rule anyone through displays of power. We can safely say Saruman broke both of these commands whereas Gandalf only broke the first.

We here seem to be talking of Gandalf the Grey. I assume you interpret Gandalf’s fight with the balrog to be a “breaking of the rules” by using power with equal power. The same may be said of the fight with the Nine Nazgul as this was a fight to save his own mortal life. And I assume you interpret these two encounters as a “breaking of the rules”?
Then we must ask – at what point COULD Gandalf the Grey use power for power against evil? Could he have fought TWO Nazgul on equal terms? Could he have fought a SINGLE Orc on equal terms? According to the interpreted (no power with equal power against evil) rule – NO! If he were not permitted to protect himself then he was sent on a suicide mission by the Valar. Ludicrous, no? Yes!
Also, I see no commandment breaking by Gandalf the Grey (or White) by revealing himself in his “majesty”. I interpret this as revealing his true angelic self. Did any of The Fellowship know he was a Maia? No.


In Reply To
”…He seldom does so, [uses full power] operating rather through others, but in one or two cases in the War (in Vol. III) he does reveal sudden power: he twice rescues Faramir. He alone is left to forbid the entrance of the Lord of the Nazgul to Minas Tirith…”

And to Gandalf the White: “A sudden power” is not a “full power” – just a “simple” flash of light rescued Faramir and his men. As for the Lord of the Nazgul I extract from the quote of the same Letter (#156, a draft from Nov. 1954), “…no battle between the two occurs: it passes to other mortal hands.” Yes, he stands resolute against the Lord of the Nazgul at the broken Gate – “You cannot enter here…”; but it was the Horns of Rohan that distressed the Nazgul and caused him to turn away. (Here we can theorize as to why Gandalf didn’t shun the entreatment of Pippin and pursue the Witch King. As Gandalf the “Grey” had already taken on all Nine Nazgul would the single Leader be any contest against Gandalf the White? How many lives could he have saved (Theoden’s for one) if he had done so?)


In Reply To
So we can say Gandalf the White is not to use his powers except in uttermost need, as he did with . . . Theoden.

We can’t fail to notice that in the healing of Theoden Gandalf took him aside, out of earshot of the others, and whispered quietly in his (Theoden’s) ear, thus shunning, as best he could, an outward public display of his “angelic” prowess – still adhering (as best he could) to the command to not reveal his full “majesty” be it physical or (in this case) metaphysical.

Interesting discussion Ranger. Thank you. If I have misinterpreted or taken you (or Tolkien) out of context – apologies. BG


rangerfromthenorth
Rivendell

Jun 6 2014, 10:25pm

Post #14 of 17 (472 views)
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a very intriguing discussion [In reply to] Can't Post

and there is no need to apologize at all. I have quite enjoyed this discussion.

Your concern about when Gandalf using his power essentially crosses the line and when it does not. This I have no answer for, it appears that Tolkien may have some inconsistencies here. For in that letter he plainly says that Gandalf did as much with the Balrog and gave himself up for judgment. How was this different than the encounter with the Nazgul? Perhaps because the one was as you say with Theoden, private. Whereas the incident with the Balrog was a bold display of power with Gandalf even stating he is s a servant of the secret fire. There were orcs there, the fellowship, and of course the fellowship. That's the only difference I can think of, but Tolkien seems to think it as unique.

As far as the Gandalf the White, in that letter Tolkien outs forth that the rules changed, hence why Gandalf was sent back and strengthened. His display with theoden was somewhat secretive, his encounter with Saruman was not, neither were his encounters with the Nazgul.

An interetsting question you put forward is whether or not gandalf ever put forth his full strength while on Middle Earth. I would think yes, it appears the Balrog incident was as it was Maia vs. Maia. Beyond that? Maybe with Saruman, though that may have been of a divine order carried out by him.

Plenty to ponder in all of this.

Not all those who wander are lost


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


Jun 7 2014, 2:53pm

Post #15 of 17 (768 views)
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Not all those who ponder are lost... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Your concern about when Gandalf using his power essentially crosses the line and when it does not. This I have no answer for, it appears that Tolkien may have some inconsistencies here. For in that letter he plainly says that Gandalf did as much with the Balrog and gave himself up for judgment.

I think we are interpreting some of these passages in that letter (156) differently.


Quote
. . . the purpose was precisely to limit and hinder their exhibition of ‘power’ on the physical plane, . . . train, advise, instruct. . . not just to do the job for them. . . Gandalf alone fully passes the tests, on a moral plane anyway. . . For in his condition it was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defence of his companions. . . since it was a humbling and abnegation of himself in conformity to ‘the Rules’: . . . So Gandalf sacrificed himself, was accepted, and enhanced, and returned. (my bold)

Here, for simplicity sake, I have taken some snippets from said Letter. It appears to me that Gandalf broke no rule in the balrog encounter – “Gandalf alone fully passes the tests. . .”, “in conformity to ‘the Rules’”.
I see the fight with the balrog in simple terms, not a blatant outward display of power for power’s sake – “Fly, you fools! This is a power beyond any of you!” (Paraphrase). He simply realized that he alone could save The Ring (and his fellows). Did he use his full Gandalf the Grey powers? Yes! - he was slain. Did he break any “rule”? Not according to the quotes above.

Was it a “reward” to be sent back as Gandalf the White? I wonder how Olorin/Gandalf felt about this. . .
I reckon we can have different interpretations and still remain amigos…
Cheers, BG

**This space for hire***
Contact Messrs, Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes.
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KingTurgon
Rohan


Nov 4 2014, 12:35am

Post #16 of 17 (395 views)
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Canon says it should be Gandalf the White, and easily [In reply to] Can't Post

In the books, the Necromancer fled from Gandalf the Grey.

However, if we are talking movies, I think Sauron would win after a good fight. Gandalf the White did lose to the Witch-king in the films after all, and Gandalf the Grey was of course defeated by the Necromancer in DOS.


Aranarth
The Shire

Dec 21 2014, 11:05pm

Post #17 of 17 (282 views)
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Gandalf's strength [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf's power isn't in the battles and weapons, but in the the smaller things. We see him ( in his white version) , during the battle of Pellenor fields, not fighting, but inspiring courage in the ranks.

 
 

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