The Greatness of Gandalf.
- Gandalf -vr- the Balrog (The Fellowship of the Ring; The Bridge of Khazad-dûm)
The dark figure streaming with fire raced towards them. The orcs yelled and poured over the stone gangways. Then Boromir raised his horn and blew. Loud the challenge rang and bellowed, like the shout of many throats under the cavernous roof. For a moment the orcs quailed and the fiery shadow halted. Then the echos died as suddenly as a flame blown out by a dark wind, and the enemy advanced again.
'Over the bridge!' cried Gandalf, recalling his strength. 'Fly! This is a foe beyond any of you. I must hold the narrow way. Fly!' Aragorn and Boromir did not heed the command, but still held their ground, side by side, behind Gandalf at the far end of the of the brige. The other halted just within the doorway at the hall's end, and turned, unable to leave their leader to face the enemy alone.
The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in the other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reachd out like two vast wings. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.
'You cannot pass," he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. 'I am a servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame of Arnor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.'
The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly onto the bridge, and suddenly ot drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.
From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.
Glamdring glittered white in answer.
There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge, stepping back a pace, and then again stood still.
'You cannot pass!' he said.
With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed.
'He cannot stand alone!' cried Aragorn suddenly and ran back along the bridge. 'Elendil!' he shouted. 'I am with you, Gandalf!''
'Gondor!' cried Boromir and leaped after him.
At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprung up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog's feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained, poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into the emptiness.
With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard's knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone and slid into the abyss. 'Fly, you fools!' he cried, and was gone.
Gandalf's parlay with Saruman (The Two Towers; The Voice of Saruman)
A shadow passed over Saruman's face; then it went deathly white. Before he could conceal it, they saw through the mask the anguish of a mind in doubt, loathing to stay and dreading the to leave its refuge. For a second he hesitated, and noone breathed. Then he spoke, and his voice was shrill and cold. Pride and hate were conquering him.
'Will I come down?' he mocked. 'Does an unarmed man come to speak with robbers out of doors? I can hear you well enough here. I am no fool, and I do not trust you, Gandalf. They do not stand openly on my stairs, but I know where the wild wood-demons are lurking, at your command.'
'The treacherous are ever distrustful,' answered Gandalf wearily. 'But you need not fear for your skin. I do not wish to kill you, or hurt you, as you would know, if you really understood me. And I have the power to protect you. I am giving you a last chance. You can leave Orthanc, free---if you choose."
'That sounds well,' sneered Saruman. 'Very much in the manner of Gandalf the Grey: so condescending, and so very kind. I do not doubt that you would find the Orthanc commodious, and my departure convienient. But why should I wish to leave? And what do you mean by "free"? There are conditions, I presume?'
'Reasons for leaving you can see from your windows,' answered Gandalf. 'Others will occur to your thought. Your servants are destroyed and scattered; your neighbors you have made your enemies; and you have cheated your new master, or tried to do so. When his eye turns hither, it will be the red eye of wrath. But when I say "free", I mean "free": free from bond, of chain of command: to go where you will, even, even, to Mordor, Saruman, if you desire. But you will first surrender to me the Key of Orthanc, and your staff. They shall be pledges of your conduct, to be returned later, if you merit them.'
Saruman's face grew livid, twisted with rage, and a red light was kindled in his eyes. He laughed widly. 'Later!' he cried, and his voice rose to a scream. 'Later! Yes, when you also have the keys of Barad-dûr itself, I suppose; and the crowns of seven kings, and the rods of the Five Wizards, and have purchased yourself a pair of boots many sizes larger than those that you wear now. A modest plan. Hardly one in which my help is needed! I have other things to do. Do not be a fool. If you wish to treat with me, while you have a chance, go away, and come back when you are sober! And leave behind these cut-throats and small rag-tag that dangle at your tail! Good day!' he turned and left the balcony.
'Come back, Saruman!' said Gandalf in a commanding voice. To the amazement of the others, Saruman turned again, and as if dragged against his will, he came back slowly to the iron rail, leaning on it, breathing hard. His face was lined and shrunken. His hands clutched his heavy black staff like a claw.
'I did not give you leave to go,' said Gandalf sternly. 'I have not finished. You have become a fool, Saruman, and yet pitiable. You might still have turned away from folly and evil, and have been of service. But you chose to stay and gnaw the ends of your old plots. Stay then! But I warn you, you will not easily come out again. Not unless the dark hands of the East stretch out to take you. Saruman!' he cried, and his voice grew in power and authority. 'Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the Council.'
He raised his hand and spoke in a clear cold voice. 'Saruman, your staff is broken.' There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman's hand, and the head of it fell down at Gandalf's feet. With a cry, Saruman fell back and crawled away.
Gandalf faces the Witch King (The Return of the King; The Seige of Gondor)
In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy had ever yet passed, and all fled before his face.
All save one. There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf on Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dínen.
'You cannot enter here,' said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. 'Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!'
The Black Rider flung up his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet there was no head visible was it set. The red fires shown between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.
'Old fool!' he said. 'Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!' And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.
Gandalf did not move. And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City; a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, reckoning nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.
And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides that dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
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