Gandalf is a fictional character and one of the protagonists in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He is a wizard, member of the Istari order, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West. In The Lord of the Rings, he is initially known as Gandalf the Grey, but returns from death as Gandalf the White.
Tolkien discusses Gandalf in his essay on the Istari, which appears in the work Unfinished Tales. He describes Gandalf as the last of the wizards to appear in Middle-earth, one who: "seemed the least, less tall than the others, and in looks more aged, grey-haired and grey-clad, and leaning on a staff". Yet the Elf Círdan who met him on arrival nevertheless considered him "the greatest spirit and the wisest" and gave him the elven Ring of power called Narya, the Ring of Fire, containing a "red" stone for his aid and comfort. Tolkien explicitly links Gandalf to the element Fire.
Sir Ian McKellen portrayed Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings film series (2001–2003) directed by Peter Jackson.
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