Who doesn’t love Gandalf? The wizard is one of the most clever, epic characters in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. He’s perhaps most famously known for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series, as he guides Frodo Baggins and the rest of the Fellowship of the ring with all manner of genius and badassery.
But what if Gandalf really isn’t a wizard at all? What if, instead, he’s just a fighter with high Intelligence?
This weekend on the /r/DnD subreddit devoted to (what else?) the tabletop game ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’ redditor /u/TheGlen laid out an amazing argument titled ‘Gandalf was really just fighter with INT18.‘
TheGlen cleverly breaks down Gandalf’s character build:
Gandalf lied, he was no wizard. He was clearly a high level fighter that had put points in the Use Magic Device skill allowing him to wield a staff of wizardry. All of his magic spells he cast were low level, easily explained by his ring of spell storing and his staff. For such an epic level wizard he spent more time fighting than he did casting spells.
Indeed, it seems that Gandalf never cast many high-level spells, in DnD parlance, throughout his canonical existence within the lore.
Most interesting is TheGlen’s assessment of Gandalf’s pivotal fight with The Balrog in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring,’ which also proved to be the catalyst that eventually turned him into Gandalf the White:
The Balrog approached and Gandalf attempts to intimidate him, clearly a fighter skill. After uses his staff to cast armor, a first level spell, Gandalf then makes a engineering check, another fighter skill, to see that the bridge will not support the Balrog’s weight. When the Balrog took a step, the bridge collapsed under its weight. Gandalf was smart enough to know the break point, and positioned himself just far enough back not to go down with the Balrog.
So, whether wizard or fighter, it’s clear that Gandalf is always epic.
It’s worth reading the entire post, plus the great discussion had by DnD fans in the comments. Great job, Reddit!