Olórin had many names, including: Gandalf, Incánus, Mithrandir, Tharkûn and Stormcrow.

He was a maia to both Manwë and Varda and said to be the wisest of the Maiar. He dwelt in Lórien, but often he visited the house of Nienna and of her he learned the ways of pity and patience.

He was also known to walk among the Eldar in form as one of them, unbeknownst to them, and while there he would place fair visions and promptings of wisdom into their hearts.

Later he was sent to Middle-earth from Valinor as one of the Istari, instructed never to use his magic directly against evil, relying instead on his wit and cunning.

Olórin was said to be one of the few people welcome in both Elvish and Dwarven homes, and was the only one of the five Istari to concern himself with the Hobbits, in particular the Baggins family.

He joined the Fellowship in order to protect Frodo and be sure the One Ring was destroyed. He gave his life protecting the Fellowship from a Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dûm, only to be sent back to Middle-earth as Gandalf the White. Once reincarnated, he saw Saruman defeated, Frodo brought back from Mordor and Aragorn crowned king. Then he, along with Frodo, Bilbo and the Elves, sailed from the shores of Middle-earth to Valinor.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by FloonTheMerciless