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Gandalf: A Type Nine Archetype

By | Eva | No Comments

gandalfGandalf, from Lord of the Rings, is an excellent example of the nine archetype. He is essentially shown to be a diplomat who is a go between all the warring races who hate each other. Gandalf acting as a diplomat is shown clearly in The Hobbit when he tries to convince the dwarves, humans, and elves to fight against their common enemy rather than with each other. Despite his wisdom and diplomacy, he avoids taking charge and ever exerting his will. Galadriel at one point asks him to be the head of the council instead of Saruman but he refuses because he wishes to be independent and do as he pleases, without being in charge of anything. Gandalf also ignores all of the glaring red flags that Saruman has gone to the dark side, and he also procrastinates on researching the ring because Saruman convinces him not to worry about it. He knows better but he makes himself oblivious and naive to the darkness, even to the point that he gets captured by Saruman and has to escape. At that point he knows the ring must be destroyed but he’s still avoiding his own darkness. When he’s leading the fellowship towards Mordor, he tries to take every path except the Mines of Moria because that means facing the darkness he fears so much, and he knows the rumors of the balrog who lives there. Instead, he’s forced into the Mines where he symbolically ends up facing his shadow, the balrog, who drags him down into the mines where they both fight to the death. Gandalf the grey is then reborn as Gandalf the white who is at one with his shadow, willing to take on his own power and exert his will. There are also some other areas of note that exemplify his nineness: he prefers Hobbits for their simple, good nature because they don’t have the darkness of the other races that he is always trying to avoid. Gandalf also sees the good in everyone, even Gollum, whom he tells Frodo still has a role to play:

Gandalf: ‘Pity? It’s a pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play in it, for good or evil, before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.’

*note- this description is still being worked on