Gandalf the White.

A wizard of the Istari order, Gandalf the Grey—later, after his death during a battle with a Balrog, Gandalf the White—is a dominant figure in the two remarkable screen trilogies, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Admirably portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen, he also provides some memorable lines. Here are a few from the second trilogy.

Frodo Baggins rues his fate: “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf’s memorable response: “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

Gandalf stands on a bridge, in front of the horrible Balrog: “You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!

And, of course, the warning issued to the Fellowship as he challenges the demon: “Fly, you fools!”

When Gandalf arrives for Bilbo’s birthday, Frodo jokingly accuses him of being late. His reply: “A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”

Gandalf translates the inscription on the ring: “In the Common Tongue it says, ‘One Ring to rule them all. One Ring to find them. One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.’”

Gandalf the Grey.

Gandalf—now the White—to Grima Wormtongue, who has poisoned King Theodon’s mind: “Be silent. Keep you forked tongue behind your teeth. I did not pass through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm!”

When Pippin asks Gandalf if there is any hope for Frodo and Sam: “There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope.”

Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry join Bilbo and Gandalf as the latter two prepare to board the ship that will carry them to the Undying Lands. (Frodo, of course, will join them.) Gandalf says: “Farewell, my brave Hobbits. My work is now finished. Here at last, on the shores of the sea, comes the end of our Fellowship. I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.”

And so ends one of the most fantastic tales ever told. Did I weep as the ship sailed off? You better believe it.

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