In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is the mentor and a wise wizard who provides guidance for Frodo on his journey (as well as Bilbo before him). In many ways, he exemplifies the archetype of the wizard character, and he is great at dispensing wisdom. While Gandalf is also extremely powerful as one of the few Istari in Middle-Earth, his quotes filled with wisdom and insight are some of the most memorable things about him. Many of these quotes are still memorable in pop culture today years after the movies were released.
Here are the 10 wisest quotes that Gandalf ever said from both the books and the movies.
10 “DO NOT BE TOO EAGER TO DEAL OUT DEATH IN JUDGEMENT.”
Gandalf is someone that has a lot more insight into life and death than your average Hobbit or human in the Lord of the Rings. As an Istari, he has an extremely long life similar to the elves. When Frodo expresses disgust over Gollum and wishes for his death, Gandalf offers these words of advice. While in anger wishing that certain people weren’t around anymore might be normal, Gandalf reminds us all that it’s not our place to deal out death and how the way things work together, in the end, can’t always be seen.
9 “IF IN DOUBT...ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR NOSE.”
While Gandalf can be serious at times with his quotes, he can also be rather funny. Gandalf definitely has a lighter side and a good sense of humor that comes out fairly often. This is especially true when he is talking to Hobbits.
When the Fellowship finds themselves lost in Moria, Gandalf finds their way through using a less than scientific method. He then tells this quote to Pippin, and it just goes to show that he’s not always about being serious.
8 “THE WORLD IS NOT IN YOUR BOOKS AND MAPS. IT IS OUT THERE.”
This quote is from the first Hobbit film. In The Hobbit, especially in the books, Gandalf is less serious than he is in LOTR. This is because things get much worse and direr as time goes on, but when he meets Bilbo he’s in rather good, if not very mysterious, spirits.
Bilbo is a rare Hobbit who loves both comfort and adventure, and Gandalf encourages him to experience the world. This is also a good reminder for many of us to go out and do things.
7 “HELP OFT SHALL COME FROM THE HANDS OF THE WEAK WHEN THE WISE FALTER.”
One of the wisest things about Gandalf is that he understands that it’s often normal people who can make the biggest difference in the world. This book quote is all about how sometimes the supposedly wisest and most powerful people in the world often fail when it comes to doing the right thing. Gandalf notes that it’s often the average people or the people who are seen as weak, who step up to the plate to do the right thing, and this is how the world has changed for the better.
6 “DEATH IS JUST ANOTHER PATH. ONE THAT WE ALL MUST TAKE.”
The Lord of the Rings series deals with many heavy themes such as war and death. When Pippin, someone who is quite young and very sheltered, is exposed to the horrors of death and war in Gondor, he’s understandably scared. Gandalf is able to provide him some comfort by talking about how death isn’t scary, but it’s just the next path everyone in the world goes on. He talks about his view of the afterlife which also provides Pippin with comfort during these scary moments.
5 “I WILL NOT SAY: DO NOT WEEP; FOR NOT ALL TEARS ARE AN EVIL.”
One of the themes of the series is the importance of friendship. The bonds between the Fellowship of the Ring are strong bonds forged from loyalty and going through traumatic events together.
When Gandalf and Frodo leave Middle-Earth to go to the Undying Lands, they must say goodbye to Sam, Merry, and Pippin. Gandalf reminds them all that crying and feeling sad isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s alright to feel these things when it comes to saying goodbye.
4 “IT IS THE SMALL THINGS, EVERYDAY DEEDS OF ORDINARY FOLK THAT KEEPS THE DARKNESS AT BAY. SIMPLE ACTS OF LOVE AND KINDNESS.”
This is another quote that comes from The Hobbit movies. This line speaks once again to Gandalf’s understanding of the importance of regular people. The Hobbits in the series are a stand-in for how even the most regular people can make a big difference in the world. This quote is all about how essential it is to do good where you can and treat other people well, and it’s definitely a quote that acts as an inspiration for us all in our daily lives.
3 “A WIZARD IS NEVER LATE, NOR IS HE EARLY. HE ARRIVES PRECISELY WHEN HE MEANS TO.”
This is another one of Gandalf’s most iconic lines. This is another example of Gandalf’s sense of humor as well as his somewhat dramatic nature.
When Frodo accuses him of being late, Gandalf refuses to cop to this. Instead, he says this hilarious quote about the mentality of wizards and their eccentricity.
2 “ALL WE HAVE TO DECIDE IS WHAT TO DO WITH THE TIME THAT IS GIVEN US.”
This line from The Fellowship of the Ring film is one of the most popular and quoted lines from Gandalf. It speaks to how living in difficult times isn’t something anyone asks for but that we must all do our best with the struggles we have to deal with. It’s an inspiring quote that speaks to inner strength and making the best of our lives.
1 “I AM LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO SHARE IN AN ADVENTURE THAT I AM ARRANGING, AND IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO FIND ANYONE.”
While this might not be Gandalf’s most quoted or talked about line, it is rather important because it’s the line that really started everything. This is one of the first lines that Gandalf says to Bilbo in The Hobbit, and it’s where the first generation of Middle-Earth fans were introduced to the iconic character. This line really started off the entire adventure.