Last Tuesday, I started the series Ask a Fictional Character, starting with Gandalf. I got three questions for him, so here they are, with his answers. Read to the bottom for next week’s fictional character.
Gandalf, what did it feel like to go from being Grey to being White? (submitted by Miles Rost at Music and Fiction)
Good question, Miles. If you have never died and been resurrected, it will be hard to explain, but let me try. Imagine you are standing on a tall mountain, looking out over an overcast landscape. It is before dawn, in that grey time before the sky in the east turns colors. Everything is clear and visible and there is a distinctness to everything, even though the colors are muted and dull.
It stays like this for some time, a middle land between the day and night with the visibility of the day but the colors of night. Then, suddenly, the lights begins to increase. Colors leak into the east and the whole world seems to hold its breath, waiting for that moment of transformation. Then the sun breaks over the hills and the grey sky above glows and turns into the white clouds of day, getting stronger and whiter with every passing moment.
That is how it seemed in retrospect, at least. At the time, I had just finished fighting a balrog for a week, so I was rather overwrought physically. I was also very, very cold (being naked on top of a snowy mountain) so some of the wonder may have been lost on me.
Gandalf, have you ever read “Catcher in the Rye?” Holden Caulfield doesn’t like phonies either? Kidding…real question. What kind of shoes do you wear to do all that walking?
(submitted by Amy Reese at The Bumble Files)
Amy, if you ever make it to the Grey Havens, ask for Galdor the Leathersmith (not Galdor the messenger of Cirdan). He used to make me boots made from the leather of cattle descended from the Kine of Araw. I do not if it was by magic or superior craft but those boots would last me almost a century. My cousin Radagast would save an extra pair for me at Rhosgobel, since I always needed them more than he and he was more for moccasins anyway.
Bosco Proudfoot once made me a pair of boots as a present but they always pinched after a few miles and I gave them to the great-great-grandfather of Barliman Butterbur, who took quite a liking to them, I hear.
In response to your first question, I have never read the book you mentioned but now that my labors are done, I have more time for leisurely reading. I did know a small hamlet called Caulfield where Wood End is now. I once saw a group of Took maidens dancing with a group of elves in a turnip patch one moonlit night. I have never seen such a thing since.
Gandalf, of all the other races you have encountered dwarves, hobbits, elves etc if you had to choose to be one which would you choose to be? (submitted by Paula Acton at paulaacton.com)
I would have to say, Paula, that of all the races I have met and all the peoples I have dealt with, I prefer myself most of all. Not as a wizard as such, since I do not always get along with my own kind. We are a lonely and crafty bunch at times. However, that was not your question.
I would have to choose a hobbit, I think. That is not surprising, perhaps, to those who know me but I like their carefree ways and as someone who has borne a great number of burdens over the years for a great number of different people, the idea of a big problem being getting the harvest in on time seems very relaxing.
It would be a change, especially, to give up my stature, both physically and as a (sometimes) respected personage. I am sure that if I ever were a hobbit, I would keep up my meddling ways and become one of the biggest busybodies in all four farthings! So perhaps it is best that I am just me, comfortable in my own skin. And so it should be.
Great questions guys and a big thank you to Gandalf for taking time to answer them.
For next week, I will be taking relationship questions, whether romantic, platonic or anything else. Our guest fictional character will be Alex, from A Clockwork Orange. Bring on those questions, folks, and let Alex solve all your relationship difficulties!