a-z challenge: w

W, after much pondering, is for wizard. Please note that I used the singular case for the noun, because I only intend to warble about one wizard. And if you’ve known me for longer than five minutes, you’ll know which wizard. Yessir, I’m a self confessed Gandalf groupie. I wish he wasn’t fictional.


“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

e55e2e7562df7f3c9b2d1cb827488376Gandalf (please read that in the voice of Frodo welcoming him back to the Shire) has been a comforting presence for me for a very long time. It’s also what nextofkin and I called our grandfather when we were little. I’m going to thumbsuck and mine my mind for this one and factcheck afterwards.

If names have power (and I firmly believe that they do), then Gandalf has pretty much all bases covered. Olórin is the first of his names and it means dream. In Gondor he is called Mithrandir, the grey wanderer. Incánus has numerous meanings (in the South, North-spy, mind ruler), even Tolkien himself was unclear on the matter. The dwarves called him Tharkûn, which might reference ‘grey’ or ‘staff’.  Despicable Grima Wormtongue called him Láthspell, which means ill news. And then there were his titles; off the top of my head, Gandalf the Grey, Gandalf the White, Gandalf Greyhame and Stormcrow. By the power of Google, we have The White Rider; his horse Shadowfax earned him that name. (I only missed three of those names before googling; my nerdy heart swelled with nerdy pride.)

gandalf_the_grey“I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me!”

His presence in the stories is a good, but not always a reassuring one, neither is it a simple or one dimensional one. He can inspire terror, admit to flaws, get angry and express doubt. His overall presence is positive and comforting though; “Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day,” he declaimed and you know he will and of course he does, and the fact that he gets there at the last minute only serves to increase his awesomeness. Then there’s one of his best known quotes, “Fly, you fools!” while he keeps the balrog occupied. The flipside, obvious, is that his coming so often spells danger, but it’s not like he causes the danger dammit. In a fight, you’d want him on your side.

Fanboi much? I get grouchy about inspirational and motivational stuff, but whatever Gandalf says renders me solemnly attentive.

“Courage will now be your best defence against the storm that is at hand-—that and such hope as I bring.”

gandalf_samurai_sumi_style_with_calligraphy_by_mycks-d7cjkcaI can quote a lot of his dialogue, although books and films are muddled in my mind these days. There are some Gandalf references that my mother and I made often, there’s just a lot of important stuff. We never saw a moth without muttering at it to go and fetch Gwaihir. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us,” is something I said to my mother daily for weeks, and then her sudden turn for the worse raced to a death that none of us had foreseen, and the quote became even more heartbreakingly poignant. Thank you, Prof. Tolkien …
“I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.”

“Alas! there are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured.”

I think Sir Ian McKellen was perfect in the role and the fact that he’s queer (irl, not films) makes me happy too. It’s difficult to accept other representations of him as valid since he played the role – he really owned it as far as I’m concerned and I think Tolkien would’ve approved.

16971beae2e3a94908d95a4a65592fa1Song About Palantiri (Sung by Gandalf)
Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.

The image to your left is the version I grew up with. That and Bilbo’s Last Song were hanging up on most of the walls of my childhood. I stared hard at them and decided that if I lived in Middle Earth, I’d be one of the Rohirrim.


And if my poxy autocorrect tries to change Gandalf to Gaddafi one more time …


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battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

42 thoughts on “a-z challenge: w”

    1. I own second editions of the books (2sets), the trilogy of films plus the director’s cut trilogy. I do not speak any of the elven languages and I haven’t got a cloak or hat. Nerrrrrrrrd and proud lolol.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Love your explanation about Gandalf’s so many names. I never read any of Tolkie’n’s books or saw th emovies, but I like reading your pos tnonetheless. #AtoZChallenge

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We had a gray stray cat at the shop we called Gandalf. Might have been insulting to Gandalf cos this cat was so dumb he’d lay on a hot soldering iron and not move until clumps of fur were singed. Then he’d do it again.
    W is for …wtf, cat?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My Grandfather’s name was Ralph. “Gandalf” is like a Patois or Creole version of “grandad” and “Ralph”. And I’m jealous that you, your next-of-kin and your mom quoted stuff from the book. My cousin and SIL are always quoting funny shit from movies. Sadly, my brain just doesn’t work like that *hangs head, thinks about consuming 1lb of fair-trade dark chocolate*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that’s interesting, because Tolkien got it from old Norse, Gandálfr, and he retained the meaning (elf with a magic stick lol). I don’t remember dialogue from anything else, LoTR ate my brain foir decades ago and apparently there’s no returns policy. Ah well, brains, who needs ’em. Square those shoulders, woman! Chin up and eat that chocolate with confidence!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. How much do you want to be bored lol? Old Norse is amazing … I love the poetry of it – we get the word window from it, and it was originally ‘wind eye’. I love that. Erm …. The cucumber …. please tell me you’re talking about lunch and not sexytimes :0

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Heyyyyy, not the phallus…the food. I ate a vegetable not a penis lol. And I was referring to my comment being interesting…I questioned whether or not the Ralph/Grandad thing was “interesting”. I love languages and ‘wind eye’ is beautiful.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Definitely interesting – lovely too. Lol lowwww blow discussing penis consumption on a dyke blog *whacks you over the head with a … tennis racket* hahahaha zomg you hets are … startling :0

              Liked by 1 person

                    1. You are too clever, even for your own ‘artist-formerly-known-as-Prince’ and for your own DNA. Just so damn clever ;)

                      Liked by 1 person

  4. my favourite Gandalf quote shall always be:
    “Good morning? What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Any company that didn’t recognize the name of “Gandalf” in their auto-correct should be forcibly eradicated from the face of the universe for crimes against humanity. I second the note that Sir McKellan owned that part from the start, though I read more than one article that he was having a really tough time since a great deal of his scenes were isolated (because of the size and green screening), we wanted to be with his fellow actors more. I’m still thrilled he stuck it out, he is a beloved actor and the character is just that more cherished because of him.

    I loved that Jackson’s version was pretty close to the books. I hate to admit this, so shhhhh… but … but …. I didn’t miss Tom Bombadil at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my god I just wrote you a long, detailed and need reply – and then clicked ‘cancel’. And my WiFi is down and I’m stuck using my phone and so I shall reply properly when I’m over the shock and on a bigger keyboard.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I just reread my comment and thought “whut”… there’s nothing like a teeny keyboard plus a bipolar brain for generating typos lol.



          I had it all in a nice paragraph before, but I’m too traumatised to attempt it again.

          Key points:
          I missed Tom the first time round, but never since.
          They’d probably have massacred Tom’s image the way they did with Radegast.
          I hate the Hobbit films.
          I really, really hate the Hobbit films.
          I hate Liv Tyler.
          Tilda Swinton as Galadriel, Cate as Arwen would’ve been perfect.
          Failing that, Aragorn should’ve ditched Arwen and married Eowyn.


          Liked by 1 person

          1. I always thought Eowyn was kind of a fangirl. Yeah she was badass and irritatingly held back by the men around her, but the immediate way she fell for Faramir right after the final battle… her character fell in my eyes at that point. But I’m a bit mad with Tolkien in how he wrote her… like he didn’t really understand her either.

            Galadriel is epic as a character and I have to admit, Cate played her well…. but Tilda…. I admit, Tilda rocks. I watch the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe movie just to watch her… and several other obscure indie movies… even her part in Constantine was awesome.

            Yeah, I found the Arwen/Aragorn match a bit pedophile-like.

            I liked Tom in the book…for about the first five minutes of reading, then I was over it. It was so long with him and Goldberry and what seemed like a massively long pointless interaction that seemed to be building up to something… and led to nothing. I’ve had shitty dates end better and with less disappointment.

            As for the casting… I was so cringy and cynical beforehand and I agree Liv Tyler being a marketing gimmick kind of choice… she went so far as to learn elven… really learn it, fluent even… I have to give props for that. I haven’t done that either.

            Aragorn was almost so much worse. You know the guy who played Dorian Grey in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Or the one who played Lestat in that really stupid rendition of the Ann Rice book? He was almost Aragorn… the guy just can’t act.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I reckon Tolkien wrote female characters infrequently /badly, because he was a man of his time, not ours. I imagine he didn’t understand women much at all. He must have been a fan though, thinking about his and his wife’s gravestones. I suppose the Eowyn/Faramir thing was an oh-wtf-do-i-do-with-these-two sort of a shortcut.
              Agreed, Cate was great – I just had to fire Lips, I mean Liv Tyler and bring in The Tilda. Liv causes me to watch some scenes with defocused eyes. I’m convinced that her elven speaking was actually just an Aerosmith track played backwards. She probably only spoke enough to say ‘I’m a method actor’ and ‘get me a helicopter’. And which elven language… Sindarin…Quenya…for the sake of accuracy, I hope it was both (to start with). And I dunno about you, but I’m not going to bother to learn any of them, unless we need to welcome them as our new overlords or summat.
              Looool I go on about the Arwen debacle too much; you’d think she raped my sheep or something.
              I absolutely loved Tom as a kid, learned some of his songs along the way… Tolkien wrote it about his kids’ toy Dutch doll (wtf) and so perhaps it was a detour/side quest for his sprogs. I can’t be arsed with it now though.
              I’m happy with Lestat as Aragorn, you can go ahead with that substitution. I don’t mind Viggo, but he sure isn’t kingly.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. indeed, the man was a sign of his times, but you kind of wonder how the same man who popped out Galadriel and never ever showed her spouse a lick of limelight might be able to toughen up his Eowyn…. *sigh*

                heh, ok I will have to admit something else I may be beaten for… I wasn’t all that fond of Arwen either. She seemed to be little more than a child bearing placeholder, so seeing Liv in it was… perfect? It think it would have been an insult to Cate to make something more of it. But no, I was watching some bonus material, or commentary… summat and Liv ended up conversing in ..(god, just toss the nerd cred around will ya?!) that one that she was know ;P

                Yeah, I could see Tom being the kid appeal more. The over-exaggeration would definitely be a bonus and I think he did write mainly for his kids.

                I thought Viggo did kingly more than Stuart Townsend… I mean, he just knows how to do the one expression… and whine a bit like a spoiled rich boy. :)

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I agree totally about Arwen actually. Eowyn…I think that, like many English men of that generation (I’m mostly using my grandfather as a template here), women could be tough and respected (think of women during ww2), but would still always be on a pedestal and a man was honour bound to protect her. It makes sense to me that the fellowship was all male too – practical considerations to that, as well as that quip, ‘history is about chaps’. We tend to look back in a revisionist way and declare it all sexism (talking about history irl not just Tolkien), when the reality was that yeah of course it was, but there were other factors. The first law giving women the right to vote, also gave men without property the right to vote, for example. I’m not defending sexism, just saying that it makes sense to me according to history.
                  I was born in England and am not fond of it lol.
                  Viggo… I was fine with him initially, because I’d never seen or heard of him before, but these days I think bleh, you and Liv deserve each other. Aragorn was my first love, dammit ;)


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