Gandalf tHe Grey
Gandalf the Grey appears as a gruff, weary old man with a long white beard, leaning on a staff. He wears stereotypical wizard clothes – pointed hat and cloak. He is armed with a gnarled wood staff and an Elvish sword in a scabbard on his belt. His garments are rugged and made of coarse material – designed for long journeys over harsh terrain. His grooming is mostly unkempt and road worn, but not filthy. Tousled hair and his distinctively thick, bushy eyebrows are a special characteristic that set him apart from the better- groomed Saruman.
Gandalf is essentially a demi-god. He is lower than the Valar, the “gods” of Middle-earth, who sent him to Middle-earth to help the Free People resist Sauron. He arrived about a thousand years into the Third Age along with four other Istari (Wizards), including Saruman the White (the first of the Order of the Istari), Radagast the Brown, and two others (who are not named in the text). Gandalf spent the following 2,000 years meeting many of the people of Middle-earth, and involving himself in the struggle against evil. He earned the admiration of the Wise, and the suspicion of many more. He will die and be reincarnated as Gandalf the White halfway through The Lord of the Rings.
"(It was) ...a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a Hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, though he made noise enough for one, stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was red as a ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray a small pile of white water-lilies."
- The Fellowship of the Ring
Bombadil is a very powerful being of enigmatic origins. He appears to have relinquished all claims to his remarkable power – and in return is blissfully unaffected by the evil of the world and has a gentle power over it. The One Ring does not affect him and he has no desire for it.
Like King Arthur, Aragorn was born of a rightful king, but was spirited away as an infant to hide from Sauron. He was raised by Elrond, and goes adventuring at age 20. He becomes “the greatest traveller and huntsman of this age of the world.” At 25, he becomes a close friend of Gandalf and at 49 pledges his love to Elrond’s daughter Arwen. He tracks down both Gollum and Frodo – which even Gandalf can’t do. He protects the Ringbearer, renews the blade Narsil into Andúril, fights the central battlesof the War of the Ring, performs healing acts, and is crowned King of the Reunited Kingdom in fulfillment of prophecy.
"...seated a little apart was a tall man with a fair and noble face, dark-haired and grey- eyed, proud and stern of glance. He was cloaked and booted as if for a journey on horseback; and indeed though his garments were rich, and his cloak was lined with fur, they were stained with long travel. He had a collar of silver in which a single white stone was set; his locks were shorn about his shoulders. On a baldric he wore a great horn tipped with silver that now was laid upon his knees."
- The Fellowship of the Ring