In 'The Hobbit', What Is Gandalf's Reputation?


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Will Martin answered
Gandalf is introduced in Chapter 1 of of The Hobbit. Tolkien immediately gives him an air of wonder and mystery. He tells us that there is more to learn about Gandalf than he (the narrator) could possibly tell us, and that "Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went."

We soon find that to Bilbo and his fellow-hobbits, Gandalf is mainly known as sort of wonderful conjuror or stage magician; his main reputation is for his amazing firework displays, and he is also known as a teller of fantasy stories about dragons and so on (at least Bilbo sees them as fantasies, though he is about to discover his mistake...)

There are hints that his real work might be, as it is later described in the Lord of the Rings "much more dangerous and difficult." He was a friend of the wise and mysterious Old Took, and also persuaded some local people to go off "into the Blue" on strange adventures. So even at this early stage, Tolkien lets us know that Gandalf is more than just a conjuror.

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