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Topic: Does Gandalf have foresight?

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Does Gandalf have foresight?

I notice that throughout a few places in Lord of the Rings Gandalf seems to have a partial fore-knowledge of an event that has not taken place yet or has just taken place far away. For example in The Hobbit Bilbo at the end offers to give him all the troll-gold they had buried at the beginning of the adventure but Gandalf says 'You mat find you have more need of it than you think'. And then after a few more days thery arrive back at Bag-end and Bilbo is having to buy alot of his old possesions back.
How could Gandalf have known this? He had been around 1000 miles away in the Battle of the five armies when Bilbo's must have been presumed dead and his house up for auction.

There are also more instances in LOTR like this but I cannot be bothered to search them out just now.

I know Gandalf is a Maiar and very Wise but I didn't know he had foresight.weirdface



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Foresight is present in many cases

You can take a look HERE

Here however I think it is not only foresight, but also Gandalf's wisdom. He probably expected that such a thing would have happened considering how the Hobbits usually acted.


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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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This does make me wonder how Gandalf could have perceived that Bilbo would have been far more resourceful than he appeared. After all in the beginning when Gandalf met Bilbo at the beginning, Bilbo did nothing to really show Gandalf he was worth anything. How did Gandalf know I wonder?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I think a good hint to that is Gandalf's remark in the Unfinished Tales, Quest of Erebor, while the Fellowship still were living in Minas Tirith.
He was saying he believes that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, just like Frodo was meant to be its bearer, and as he was meant to guide them on their journeys. Clearly Gandalf did not know everything, only Eru is omniscient in Tolkien's creations, but Gandalf probably guessed this had been somehow planned.
And this of course brings up the matter of fate, luck and providence in Middle-earth, discussed in another thread.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Strangely enough this leads me to ponder why Elrond, famous for his foresight, said the following in The Hobbit:

"Ere long now," Gandalf was saying, "The Forest will grow somewhat more wholesome. The North will be freed from that horror for many long years, I hope. Yet I wish he were banished from the world!"
"It would be well indeed," said Elrond; "but I fear that will not come about in this age of the world, or for many after."


Considering the Necromancer was destroyed in the Third Age how could Elrond have got it so wrong?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Elrond was wise, but remember at that time nobody knew Bilbo had found the Ring, and they knew without it there was no way to defeat Sauron.
Foresight doesn't mean knowing everything, just anticipating things, and considering the state of things at that time, Elrond actually made the right prediction. It was a lot of luck that he was defeated in the end.

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Tom Bombadil
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Given Tolkien's Catholic background, and the Maia are to have been considered by some opinions to be minor "gods" or Angels" they must have had emphatic powers. A lot of times people will have "hunches" that come true. This is just my five cents.

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Orc Warrior - Rank 2
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The might is right.  Gandalf had forsight, but it doesn't necesarrily mean he could tell the future.  He could study the situation, map out possible actions and see the consequences and advantages of actions taken.  He was wise, but not really a fortune teller.

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Tom Bombadil
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I wonder though why Tolkien never made things like that clearer. It sure would have been logically to expound on those things. Many times we use diductive reasoning in Law Enforcement. PLaying mostly on feelings and hunches. But a lot of common sense can get you to the same results. Now what about the scene in the Movie where PJ showed Galadriel and Elrond communicating several hundered miles from each other. Any thoughts on that?

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Hmm telepathy....I can't say I have heard of it in the books I have read but no-doubt someone can give a better assessment than me.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Ah yes, please look at the Osanwe-kenta thread started by Tyrhael I believe.
There is a link to a very interesting article in it.

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Tom Bombadil
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The Might  where do I find that Osanwe kenta thread? Which Forum is it in?



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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You may find the article HERE

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Tom Bombadil
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Thank you The Might! That is some article. I will have to study that for a few days to really comprehend this.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I agree with Angmar. Gandalf has been around for a very long time, and is wise by occupation, as it were. Aside from being a wizard, he is a scholar. At the council of Elrond in his famous "use folly as a cloak" statement, his advocacy of destroying the ring includes a very wise summation of Sauron's character, so to speak, which essentially amounts to a "prediction" that comes true -- Sauron could not imagine that anyone in possession of the ring would seek to destroy it. It is only at (his) end that he realizes it, by which time it is too late. Forsight is not necessarily extrasensory.


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Rick Nagy
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That's a very interesting point, btownhobbit. Sort of a knowledge is power thought. Remember in the Matrix movies the oracle told Reeves' character to not worry about the vase and then he broke it looking for it. She said what would really bother him later was the question of whether or not he would have broken the vase if she hadn't mention it. Sales people use the trick all the time to move certain stock. Is a chess player being able to "predict" their opponent's next move forsight? Is there a major difference between forsight and premonition?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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My friends,
"Does Gandalf have foresight?"


Perhaps this may be of interest ... while working with some adolescents who were institutionalized for mental health problems we found a number of kids who claimed to know what was going on in the future.
And to our surprise when we asked them to prove it a small number of them did.
This freaked out a couple of the non-professional staff, some clinicians, and other patients.
Being part of the clinical staff I had access to results of the battery of psychological tests these young men (that's right ... only males) and we found them to be far above average intelligence and, with only two exceptions, sociopathic manipulators.
So investigating the pattern of their predictions we found three factors that were at the root of their predictions; logic, intuition, and improvisation.

Now these boys were not there because they were "nice but confused young fellows." These boys were there because they were perceived to be a danger to themselves and/or others around them.

For example; one young man would predict the meals that would be served days before the menu was set by the cooks. This amazing feat had the staff mumbling to themselves until the same young lad was found with several copies of the orders forms that were completed to take advantage state supported meal supplements.
Another young man would predict staff absents ... until we were informed that specific staff had been taking special classes which were to be kept confidential ... we never did find out what his information source was but when folks dropped out of the classes and returned to their regular schedule his "predicting power" vanished.
I would say that their foresight was actually improvisation with a slight deviation of ethical conduct.
This happened many times in this population ... I would say this is more Wormtongue, Saruman, and Sauron behavior than Gandalf's foresight.

But what of the others?

I am still in awe at what we found with two other boys. Board games like Clue, Trivial Pursuit, Chess, Checkers, and Go were won with such regularity that we suspected these boys of cheating. Luckily before they were confronted the onsite school brought both of these boys to our attention with amazing scores in mathematics, science, and history. After reviewing their scores on the MMPI-2 (a psychological assessment battery) we saw quite clearly that these boys were gifted thinkers in logic. When given two separate tests to determine the level of their logic they both scored off the charts. (incidentally these young men found good foster homes and have done well in the world ... after years of therapy)
Could these boys be compared with certain elves and Maiar ... I think logic and rational reasoning could certainly be an element of Gandalf's foresight.

Now the last ... intuition. This was a tough one to identify. The young man in question was an excellent athlete. He always seemed to know just where to move on the best shot in basketball. Where his receiver was playing football. He was also good at snap quizzes (not doing so well on scheduled exams) He seemed to know when he received mail or was scheduled for a phone call. He seemed to know when the staff or patients were getting sick. He would even give staff warnings when another patient was about to slip into certain behaviors. His scores on the MMPI-2 were only slightly elevated and his behavior while a patient was very good. It seemed that he was with us because he kept running away from home and in stealing while on the run. After examining his home life (drugs, alcohol, and sexual abuse) he was sent to us. In one of my first interviews with him he told me that "he was going to be OK here." And he was.
I thought that it was his skills at observation and athletic ability were the reasons for his remarkable success. But as I watched his involvement in group therapy, his ability to avoid those "problem kids", and his insights into the feelings and behaviors of others, I came to believe he had intuition. Unfortunately he, like Gandalf, fell in a dark place battling the demons of his parents addiction. But unlike Gandalf he did not return. I think the world is a poorer place without him.

Gandalf's logic and rational reasoning in solving problems, his insight and intuition into other characters thoughts, feelings, and future actions (like choosing Bilbo to go with the Dwarves, or Sam to go with Frodo), and his improvisational manipulations (Theoden against Wormtongue, Faramir against Denethor, and the whole West against Sauron, taking Pippin to Minas Tirith) does convince me without doubt that Gandalf had foresight.

But that still leaves us back to defining our terms.
Is Foresight prediction?
Is Foresight premonition?
Is Foresight improvisation?
Is Foresight logic and rational thought?
Is Foresight intuition?

And if Gandalf had it ... how about Elrond, Galadriel, Theoden, or any of the other characters?



-- Edited by Bear on Tuesday 18th of October 2011 06:31:21 AM

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I've always been intrigued by Gandalf's choice of Bilbo, but in certain ways it makes perfect sense. He say in LOTR that of all the wise, he is the only one interested in Hobbit lore. Therefore, he would know much about Bilbo based on his family background. Bilbo had at least adventurous genes, which, given the right situation, might come into play. Gandalf knew the whole quest would not be a cakewalk, and so chose someone who would possess the characteristics that Bilbo came to show. Again, I get back to my point that forsight need not be extrasensory, but a function of wisdom. Elrond's and Galadriel's forsight, I believe, were extrasensory as men and hobbits would grasp that concept, but not to elves. The hobbits while in Lothlorien have a couple conversations about "elven magic," which is not magic at all to the elves.

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Rick Nagy
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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You know, I really expected he would, but I only think that the combination of his wisdom and having been in Middle Earth a very long time was enough to give him foresight due to logic. It is curious that anyone would be willing to risk such a venture as sending a Hobbit to Mount Doom. That seemed foolhardy, yet neither Gandalf were Elrond were fools. If ever there was a case to be made for foresight it would be on this one crucial topic.

Now can you tell me why Radagast The Brown didn't know where the Ent Wives were.

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Wow, id say that question diserves a thread of its own

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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When did the Ent Wives 'go missing'? I can't remember. Was it before the Istari arrived in Middle-earth?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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All,

Ok! Here comes a fast ball ...

Ent-Wives ... They have been slightly explored in a couple of threads ... use the "Search The Forums" tool from the tool bar near the top of the page.below the login box.

If you really want to dig ...go to Letter #144 in "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien"
There is more in other letters about Ents and Ent-Wives.

And if you really have a jones for Ents and Ent-Wives search the Tolkien Gateway and you will find dozens of links (including images) and User articles where a hefty chunk of research has been done.

Last ... perhaps this Ent-Wives stuff should be in another thread ... not in "Does Gandalf have foresight"

Have Fun!

Bear




-- Edited by Bear on Thursday 20th of October 2011 05:56:09 AM

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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You're right Bear! We've deviated from the original topic at hand.

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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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I may be replying to this question a little late... but anyway, here goes:

I have always thought of the Wise to have... well, foresight, yes, but it could be interpreted in a different way as well:

They were afterall called the Wise... what if they had a greater understanding of how the World works, and how the future will be?

In an earlier post here, someone said Elrond was very wrong about his foreseeing of how or when Sauron will perish, and someone commented that he did not know of the ring being in Bilbo's possession at that time. If he did, perhaps he would have foreseen Sauron's end differently?

Don't get me wrong, they definitely posessed something we can call foresight, but my point is; they were the Wise, and that leads me to believe that they understood how the future would turn out in a much greater way than the "common folk."

Edit: Also, another point... in The Lord of the Rings, when Frodo says to Gandalf he wish Bilbo had ended Gollum's life (66 years back was it?), Gandalf says "Do not be too eager to deal out death and judgement; not even the very wise can see all ends." <-- Meaning he might have thought Gollum still had a part to play, which he stated a couple of times throughout the book I believe, and turned out to be true. If Gollum had perished by Bilbo's sword 66 years back, Sauron might never have been defeated.



-- Edited by Felagund on Tuesday 3rd of January 2012 09:59:50 PM

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Good quote felagund, it does seem to possibly illustrate some kind of foresight. Or is it simply intuition from a very wise character?

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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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Bilbo Baggins wrote:

Good quote felagund, it does seem to possibly illustrate some kind of foresight. Or is it simply intuition from a very wise character?


 Good question. I believe it might be a mixture of both. Since Tolkien's legendarium is highly "magical" it's easy to believe foresight, "magically" speaking, is what they posess...

 

However, like I said, it can be understood both ways... Perhaps it's supposed to remain a mystery... as if it's something Tolkien wanted the individual reader to imagine themselves?



-- Edited by Felagund on Wednesday 4th of January 2012 01:25:31 PM

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Felagund,

Interesting insight.

What exactly did Tolkien want his readers to feel, to think, and react to his work?

Perhaps his aims were different for each work?

Where can we look to find out?


Nice job pushing the thread Felagund.



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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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Honestly, I can only imagine Tolkien wanted the individual reader to imagine it themselves. Several aspects of Tolkien's world can be imagined different ways... foresight among the Wise is one of them, it seems.

 

Often, Tolkien ends his stories with "And of their fate no tale tells" (I can't recall any specific names at the moment, but I remember clearly there's a couple if not more in the Sil alone.) So it's clear that Tolkien wants several of his stories/parts of his stories to remain a mystery.

 

I believe the Wise posessed a mixture of both high wisdom and some kind of foresight... but I guess you could say high wisdom causes foresight as well(?) Even the smallest thing can change the course of the future.

 

But anyway...

Tolkien said his mythology is not based on anything specific, not consciously at least, because he was inspired by so many different cultures, mythologies, etc. To me, this is what makes the Arda-legendarium so fantastic. Sure, he was catholic, so obviously there's some aspects of his legendarium that's very "catholic", but you can't really expect anything else I guess. This leads me to believe it might be very difficult to figure out what he really wanted his readers to feel, to think and react to his work...

Though some things are clear.. and this might be a little off-topic; some of his stories are obviously (debatable) based on some historic events/mythologic events. For example, Akaballeth might be based on/inspired by Noah's Ark and/or Atlantis.



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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I agree Felegund, Tolkien wishes things to remain a mystery. This is a source of both great enticement and anguish for me. I always like a complete story but in Tolkien's stories it is not always meant to be. I've just recently come to terms with that (I say that but as a novice writer I'm still infinitely vexed by the open ended-ness of his stories). If I were to answer Bear's prose: "What exactly did Tolkien want his readers to feel, to think, and react to his work?" I would say: I think Tolkien left his mysterious endings for our imaginations to take flight at the myriad of possibilities in a world he constructed for just that very whim.


Still vexed though...

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