Thursday, June 4, 2015

Welly-moot #4.3 report ("Gandalf")

Welly-moot 4.3 meeting was held last Sunday, 31 May at Embassy Theatre.

We started with Jack’s greeting and updates with some projects as usual. There were some exciting updates for the members. We promise that we will post them here on the Welly-moot site as soon as we are able to announce it officially. It won’t be too long so keep your eyes out for it.

Next, we took a moment to remember Andrew Lesnie, who passed away at the end of April. As fans of Sir Peter Jackson’s movies, especially ‘Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’, we all know of Andrew’s contribution and passion for movies. You will be remembered, Andrew.

[Picture] Andrew Lesnie (1956–2015)


The theme of the day was “Gandalf” – What are your favourite passages in Tolkien's writings that describe Gandalf's wisdom, humour, and personality?

The most popular and famous one was this one:
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”
Alex shared her memory with Ian McKellen and her story why she came to New Zealand. She is not the only one to choose this quote, some other Welly-mooters from overseas have been inspired by this phrase also, and that is why they are in Wellington now.

There are some phrases from Gandalf are applied in our world as well. The phrase which Gandalf says to Denethor, Steward Gondor, when Denethor refuses to listen to Gandalf's advice on ruling the city. Denethor says "the rule of Gondor [...] is mine and no other man’s, unless the king should come again". Gandalf responds with:

"Unless the king should come again? Well, my lord Steward, it is your task to keep some kingdom still against that event, which few now look to see. In that task you shall have all the aid that you are pleased to ask for. But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?"
Gandalf is alone amongst the five wizards (or at least amongst the three we know) that he tries to own nothing, and rule nothing, and have no house of his own. Middle-earth is his terrain, and he keeps his eye on the larger picture.

Then there's the phrase from Gandalf to Frodo:

Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."
This applies our world as well. No one has the right to make judgement for any lives to live or die.

Jack pointed a slightly different character of Gandalf in the book The Unfinished Tales. Gandalf appears to have known all along about Saruman's visits the the Shire, and about his secret addiction to the Halfling's weed. At the Great Council meeting held in 2851, Gandalf appears to have smoked for the first time in front of the council, and defended its use a a way to clear his mind. He recommends it to Saruman (actually knowing full well that he already uses it). Jack's quote isn't a quote as such, but a description of Gandalf's last response to Saruman, as the meeting come to an end:

Gandalf did not laugh again; and he did not answer, but looking keenly at Saruman he drew on his pipe and sent out a great ring of smoke with many smaller rings that followed it. Then he put up his hand, as if to grasp them, and they vanished. With that he got up and left Saruman without another word; but Saruman stood for some time silent, and his face was dark with doubt and displeasure.
Subtle as a brick, is our Gandalf.

As we all know that the common idea or image of Gandalf is ‘father’ figure. When Gandalf is saying good-bye to Hobbits, he says:

You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You are grown up now. I have no longer any fear at all for any of you.

Here it goes. Not only people but Hobbits, Dwarves, and even Elves rely on him. Gandalf has such heavy responsibility (or burden) on his shoulder in the Middle Earth.

Gandalf is one of the most important and centre characters in Middle Earth. We think because of these characters we are enchanted by the stories of Tolkien’s.


All in all, a good meeting, and a terrific discussion. We're looking forward to the next one!