In The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, which character says, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us?"

And the answer: Gandalf.

In the book, Frodo says, "I wish it need not have happened in my time." To which Gandalf replies, "So do I...and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Photo credit: Den of Geek

Gandalf, or "Elf of the Wand" as it translates from old Mannish, is a powerful and wise character in the Lord of the Rings series. Hailing from a race called Maiar, Gandalf is endowed with abilities such as manipulating fire, creating smoke, casting light, telekinesis, and telepathy. However, the limits of Gandalf’s magic were never defined by Tolkien, and it is probable that he has more power than he ever demonstrated in Middle Earth.

In The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series, Gandalf is sent to Middle Earth along with four other Maiar to help search for evil. He and the four others each took on a human form to do so, with Gandalf taking on that of an old man to show his humility and wisdom. Indeed, even beyond Middle Earth, Gandalf is considered the wisest of the Maiar. While his spirit is immortal, his body is not, which explains his eventual reincarnation as Gandalf the White. In fact, no one knows how long his spirit has been around, but it's possible that he was born at the beginning of time (which would explain why he's so wise!).

Gandalf also serves as the foil to forces of evil. According to Lord of the Rings lore, when Gandalf was assigned to Middle Earth, he initially resisted the post out of fear of the evil god Sauron. However, that only strengthened the cause for his assignment, as like Sauron is the embodiment of evil, Gandalf is the embodiment of good.

Learn more about this mythical wizard below.

Question of the Day Mobile App


Learn something new everyday. Get the Question of the Day delivered to your inbox each day!

You've successfully subscribed to Question of the Day
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Question of the Day
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.