An incarnate maia one of five Istari, or Wizards, sent by the Valar in the Third Age to advise and encourage the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth. Gandalf arrived at the Grey Havens c TA 1000 and was entrusted with Narya, the Ring of Fire. He was slain by a Balrog in Moria during the War of the Ring but was resurrected with increased power to complete his mission. After the fall of Sauron he sailed West over Sea with the other Ring-bearers.

Gandalf smoked a pipe. He wore a grey cloak, a blue hat, a silver scarf, and black boots, and had bushy brows and a white beard. He was famous for making fireworks, and even used a gunpowder flash to overcome goblins. He could also understand the speech of wolves and wargs. He first appeared in The Hobbit as a wizard who took a special interest in hobbits and notoriously encouraged them to have ‘adventures’. He enlisted the initially reluctant aid of Bilbo Baggins in the quest of Thorin Oakenshield to the Lonely Mountain in TA 2941, despite not having visited the Shire since the Old Took died in TA 2920

Gandalf had faith in Bilbo, a low opinion of warriors, couldn’t find heroes, and considered a burglar better. He felt fear for others, though not for himself, but was very cross with Thorin for doubting his judgement. It was Gandalf who had found Thrain in DolGuldur and was given the key and map of the Lonely Mountain. He warned Thorin that the Necromancer was too great for dwarves to tackle.

Gandalf did not accompany Thorin and Company on all of their quest. He went missing in the Lone Lands and disappeared for a day during their stay with Beorn. Later he left the party on the edge of Mirkwood and was not seen again until Bilbo found him in the elf camp at the siege of the mountain. It later transpired that Gandalf had attended the White Council and with them had driven the Necromancer from Mirkwood.

It was Gandalf who unveiled the Arkenstone to Thorin and prevented a confrontation just in time as Bolg and his goblins arrived. During the Battle of Five Armies it is notable that Gandalf was seen deep in concentrated thought just before the arrival of the eagles. He sustained a minor arm injury during the battle for which he wore a sling.

After the battle Gandalf returned with Bilbo and Beorn round the north end of Mirkwood and after spending Yule with him, continued on to the Shire.

Gandalf’s food preference was for red wine, eggs, cold chicken and pickles. At Beorn’s he ate supper of two loaves, butter, honey and clotted cream. (Not a diet recommended for mere mortals! ED.)

NOTE: Additional information above supplied by Cirdaneth.

The name Gandalf is said to mean 'elf of the wand' in the tongue of Northern men though he had many names, including Incánus, Mithrandir, Olórin, Tharkûn and Stormcrow. He was a wanderer, a pilgrim. He lived in no fixed place and gathered no wealth or belongings, but travelled around befriending those in need and became a trusted aid to Elrond. He was the only Wizard to pay any attention to Hobbits.

Gandalf was the last of the Istari to arrive at the Grey Havens where Cirdan entrusted to him the Red Ring. He played a large part in the War of the Ring, as counsellor, advisor and a member of the Fellowship. When the Fellowship passed through Moria he confronted Durin’s Bane, the Balrog of Moria, and fell with him into an abyss, pursuing him through the mines and out onto the peak of Celebdil. There he slew the Balrog but died of his wounds alone on the mountain. His body was retrieved by the eagle Gwaihir and taken to Lothlorien. There he revived and returned as Gandalf the White, resurrected by the Valar to fulfil his mission.

After the fall of Sauron Gandalf crowned Aragorn King of the Reunited Kingdom before sailing West over Sea with the other ring-bearers.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by Hathaldir