Could the Lord of the Nazgûl have defeated Gandalf? (2023)

Could the Lord of the Nazgûl have defeated Gandalf? (1)

Q: Could the Lord of the Nazgûl have defeated Gandalf?

Could the Lord of the Nazgûl have defeated Gandalf? (2)

RESPONDER: The question, as I wrote for the title of this article, is simple. The question I received from a reader in August 2017 was more detailed and less direct.

My short answer is "Yes, the Lord of the Nazgûl could have killed or defeated Gandalf." Well, I'm sure he could have killed Gandalf the Grey. As for Gandalf the White I am not sure, but as Gandalf himself had doubts about the result I am willing to say that it would not have been a dunk. Here is the order I received:

In The Return of the King, much is said about the fight that never happened: Gandalf versus the Witch-king. I asked myself: who would really win in a one-on-one fight?

As Aragorn and Gandalf converse, Aragorn explains that "The White Knight" is greater than the nine Black Knights. As Gandalf and Denethor discuss the matter, Denethor suggests that Gandalf met, or perhaps surpassed, his counterpart in the Witch-king, and Gandalf responds that he may have. Was Aragorn right or was he talking too much? Was Gandalf downplaying his own skill or unsure of the pairing?

Gandalf was a Maia while the Nazgûl were men. Gandalf the Gray was able to hold off all nine at Weathertop, but Gandalf the White seems uncertain and reluctant to face the Witch-king.

Final thoughts The Witch-king is quite confident as he faces Gandalf at the ruined gates of Minas Tirith, so it is not obvious to him that he has been defeated. And yet, as Gandalf looks out over the Pelennor Fields, he hints to Pippin that events might have turned out differently (i.e. if he hadn't had to save Faramir from Denethor he could have saved Théoden). He thinks he could at least have helped.

So in summary, I feel like there are quotes that can support both sides, but I'm wondering which one would win if put to the test?

(Video) Was the Witch-King Stronger than Gandalf? | Lord of the Rings Lore | Middle-Earth

So, taking the last point first, I have no way of deciding "what would win if put to the test". Only the author of the story can decide that, and J.R.R. Tolkien deftly avoided the whole issue by having Denethor go mad and try to kill Faramir, forcing Gandalf to withdraw from the battle before the issue could be resolved.

Technically Gandalf was (as far as we know)just a mayan. we already know thatMaiarHe could be killed by beings inferior to the Maiar, as some of the Maiar of Mellkor are said to have been killed by Elves in the First Age. Of course these stories wereLord of the Ringsmythology, not the semi-canonical world of Middle-earth as described inLord of the Rings. Tolkien always intended to preserve a story of Glorfindel's great sacrifice for the escapees from Gondolin, but had he managed to rewrite that story, we don't know if he would have gotten Glorfindel to kill a Balrog. The Balrog slain by Glorfindel in earlier stories was not comparable in stature and history to the Balrog of Moria that Gandalf (the Grey) slew.

Some people insist on fusing these layers of mythology together, but this is misguided. Where J.R.R. Tolkien went back and rewrote the older stories, making significant changes. We simply cannot justify saying that Glorfindel or any Elf slew a Balrog in the First Age. The story of the fall of Gondolin could have been very tragic and the deeds of its heroes still great, but Tolkien had already decided that there would be no more than 7 Balrogs at most (and apparently only 1 surviving after the First Age).

On the other hand, the Lord of the Nazgûl was already dead, or dead enough not to fear being killed by "one man". People will be quick to point out that Gandalf was a Maia, not a man, but he wasa Maia in a man's body(or the body of an elf, since its northern name has been translated asGandalf, meaning "Wand Elf"). Glorfindel's prophecy was somewhat misleading (some readers actually complain it was a complete ruse), because in the end it was Éowyn, a woman, who dispatched the Witch-king (with a little help from a hobbit).

The whole Gandalf vs. Nazgûl is complicated and impossible to calculate. There is no precedent for such a thing in Tolkien's fiction. If you're assuming that an Elf or Human could have killed a Maia (something not witnessed in any of the pre-LoTR stories because the Maiar were a relatively late development), then the Witch King (especially with his Sauron-given powers) doing so would have as much chance of killing Gandalf as any Elf or Human would have of killing a Maia.

On the other hand, if you assume that Ilúvatar had already weighed things in favor of its chosen side, it seems unlikely that Gandalf was anything like a simple "Maia-mata" even for the Lord of the Nazgûl. After all, the villain wasn't just after the most powerful of the Istari (without the restrictions imposed by the Valar), he was after the Champion of Ilúvatar. This is not a challenge I would want to do.

The comparison between Gandalf the Gray at Weathertop and Gandalf the White at the Gates of Minas Tirith omits some uncomfortable details. For one thing, few Nazgûl attacked Gandalf at Weathertop. And it wasn't his mission anyway. When Gandalf the White first faced the eight lesser Nazgûl in the Pelennor Fields, they withdrew from his power, leaving the challenge of the approach to their leader (who was not present at the time, being in command on the ground). Mordorian Army). When the Lord of the Nazgûl arrived at the gates of Minas Tirith, he was at the height of his power, whatever that means.

(Video) GANDALF vs The WITCH-KING! | Book vs Movie Differences | Middle Earth Lore

We know that Gandalf was the white onebut stronglike Gandalf the Grey, but still had some limitations. Furthermore, he would not have unleashed his full power on Middle-earth because it would have destroyed the landscape and put the lives of the humans (and elves, dwarves and hobbits) around him at great risk. I think that, playing with moderation, Gandalf the White would be more error prone than if he unleashed his full fury in battle.

We simply don't have enough information to answer that question, however you paraphrase it. It's just something that J.R.R. Tolkien himself could have decided.

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See too

Where does Gandalf live?

What was the source of Gandalf's fireworks?

How much power did Gandalf have?

(Video) The Lord Of The Rings - Gandalf vs Witch-King of Angmar (1080p HD)

Why does Gandalf say, "Fly away, you fools"?

How long did Gandalf and the Balrog fall?

Did Gandalf really die after killing the Balrog?

How did Gandalf kill the Balrog of Moria?

How does Gandalf get his staff back?

Why does Gandalf leave Bilbo and the dwarves in The Hobbit?

When does Gandalf die?

(Video) Galadriel vs Sauron Blu-Ray - The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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(Video) What if Gandalf Had Not Fallen in Moria? Theory



1. Gandalf vs. Witchking - Who would win?
(Mysteries of Westernesse)
2. Eowyn meets the Witch King of Angmar
3. Tolkien Truth: Gandalf Beats The Witch King
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4. Could Gandalf beat Sauron with One ring?
(Secrets of the Rings)
5. Whom Did SAURON Fear The Most?? | Gandalf or Aragorn? | Middle-Earth Lore
(The Broken Sword)
6. Gandalf vs. the Balrog explained - LOTR Lore
(Lore of the Rings)


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