Why Writers are like Gandalf


I had this epiphany this morning on my way to an eye doctor’s appointment. I was driving along thinking about the writing I wanted to get done today, which somehow transitioned to debating how I would fare during an adventure, which somehow transitioned thinking about Gandalf and how he got Bilbo to join Thorin and Co. My mind is a strange place and apparently in a constant state of flux.

Of course thinking about Gandalf got me thinking about writing again and I realized there were a few similarities between writers and this great wizard.

  1. When we discover a new character what’s the first thing we do? Knock on his freshly painted door and tell them “I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure!” To which they probably reply “No thank you!” But we just look at them fondly, chuckle a bit, and reply

“Well that’s decided. It’ll be very good for you, and most amusing for me. I shall inform the others.” – An Unexpected Journey

2. Once we convince characters that our story idea is really a good one, they continually surprise us even though we knew they were perfectly suited for the job.

“Hobbits really are amazing creatures. You can learn all there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years, they can still surprise you.” –The Fellowship of the Ring

3. When a reader doubts a character or begins to question you for some decisions made you reply with something along these lines:

“Let’s have no more argument. I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself. You may (possibly) all live to thank me yet.” –The Hobbit

4. We battle Balrogs and Fell Beasts, ride Eagles, and tame the wild Mearas in our imaginations.

5. When we might be a little bit late to work or school or to the dinner table?

6. When we get to the end of a story whose journey and characters have taken a big portion of our time and love…

Your story may never be published or read by anyone other than yourself. You might think it’s terrible and everyone will hate it. People might think that writing is easy or a waste of time. But really what matters in the end?

36 thoughts on “Why Writers are like Gandalf

  1. Wow. I’ve never thought about that before… And it’s all so true. Surprises from our characters, going on an adventure… Wonderful, wonderful post, Claire! And great choices for quotes by one of our favorite mentors from fantasy literature. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LIKE IT! It is very true.

    Though I will admit, that you mention how your mind is a strange place but I will admit that mine would come up with something similar, but totally different. I’d be comparing writers to Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or that T-Rex from Jurassic Park.

    Your mind is in good company. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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