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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Where does Gandalf the White's staff come from?

Grey Havens

Dec 2 2009, 12:46am

Post #1 of 3 (245 views)
Where does Gandalf the White's staff come from? Can't Post

In "Unfinished Tales," Tolkien says that Gandalf the Grey arrived in Middle-earth already in possession of a staff, so we can assume he was given the staff in Valinor. But when he returns as Gandalf the White, he is sent back naked. He is then taken to Lothlorien and clothed in white, but they make no mention of him receiving a staff.



Dec 2 2009, 1:10pm

Post #2 of 3 (250 views)
The obvious supposition is that he was given a new staff in Lothlorien [In reply to] Can't Post

Together with his new clothes.

The tougher question is how he kept Narya - or was he sent back naked save for his Ring? Shocked

My guess is that he was sent back naked, to the body he had before - so he retrieved Narya (which the Nazgul never thought of looking for. Stupid Nazgul) - but his clothes were all burnt away, and his staff was of course broken with the Bridge of Khazad-dum.

We've discussed this a year and a half ago, in reply to a question by weaver; see especially Curious' answer.

And it seems you are relatively new here. Welcome to TORn!

”’Farewell, Lady of Dor-Lomin; we ride now with greater hope than ever we have known before...‘
...and the sun glittered on fifty blades as they leaped forth, and the court rang with the battle-cry of the Edain of the North: ’Lacho calad! Drego morn! Flame Light! Flee Night!‘
Then at last Hurin sprang into his saddle, and his golden banner was unfurled, and the trumpets sang again in the morning; and thus Hurin Thalion rode away to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.“
- The Children of Hurin, ch. 1.

For the hopes and their dashing, for valour and defeat, for the fair morning, the baleful nightfall, and the hope that Day will come again – join us in the Reading Room this week.


Dec 7 2009, 6:15pm

Post #3 of 3 (231 views)
Good question, Duats! [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that Gandalf went back into the remains of his body, which Illuvatar reconstituted for him (but not the burnt rags, these being things not designed to live--any attempt to reconstitute them would have resulted in Gandalf waking up in a pile of fresh, green flax, soon to die all over again for lack of anything about their roots.) The ring might be sooty, but not destroyed.

I disagree about the Nazgul. I don't recall any being there. They might have scouted around the vicinity of the river, but they weren't looking on the mountainside for a wizard wailed about in elegies all up and down Lothlorien. Sauron, after all, controls Amon Lhaw, and could certainly have heard an entire population of elves singing about Gandalf's death, though not the ring-protected whispers of Galadriel's policies. Even if he had passed over the mountain-slope, what would he have seen? A charred corpse, not yet resurrected, but with absolutely no way to associate the same with Gandalf, whom the songs clearly stated fell in Khazad-Dum, deep beneath the earth.

In any case, I figured Galadriel must have (using her own considerable magic) fashioned him a new staff out of a volunteer mallorn sapling. White wood for a new white wizard. It makes sense.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


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