Gandalf: A Calculating Wizard (The Lord of the Rings Personality Series)

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“I fear I am beyond your comprehension.”

Gandalf the White, The Two Towers

Few characters in literature are as enigmatic and intriguing as Gandalf, first the Gray and then the White, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novels. His wisdom and guidance prove invaluable as he leads human, dwarf, elf, and hobbit alike on their journeys through Middle-earth.

A loyal leader, this wizard strives to both protect and push his friends to stand up and fight for what they believe in. He has little patience for those who fail to use logic or common sense (ahem, Pippin) and doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind if he feels it necessary.

“Fool of a Took!”

Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

Gandalf plays a vital role in saving Middle-earth from certain doom by helping his friends defeat Sauron and destroy the One Ring. Despite being a fierce warrior and a high-minded wizard, Gandalf retains a sense of humanness that is refreshingly comforting.

Some may view him as vain and pretentious, and they are not wrong. These individuals, however, would be remiss if they failed to see that he does express compassion and empathy for others. As an Assertive Architect (INTJ-A), Gandalf manifests these traits through a very different filter than his companions with the Feeling trait.

Personality Analysis

A fictional wizard is certainly a bit more challenging to type than a human, or even a hobbit. However, Gandalf’s personality is powerfully portrayed through his interactions with others as well as through the skills and abilities that he possesses. Keep reading below to see why we have identified Gandalf as an Assertive Architect.


His commanding presence and leadership qualities may lend an Extraverted vibe to Gandalf’s personality. That said, the many years he travels alone to research, learning about other regions and races, and his contemplative nature are all key characteristics of an Introverted individual.

While he is often open to attending celebrations, he finds himself on the sidelines observing (or lighting fireworks), letting the others entertain through song and dance. He is a powerful orator when necessary, yet he truly shines when providing his wisdom through individual conversations with his companions during particularly trying times.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring


His Intuitive personality is likely, at least partially, a result of Gandalf being an immortal wizard. This trait, combined with the Thinking trait, results in a keen ability to strategize and piece together seemingly unrelated pieces of information into a cohesive plan.

Gandalf, for example, is able to deduce that the ring Bilbo, and subsequently Frodo, possesses is actually the One Ring. He does this by witnessing Bilbo’s behavior and following up on his hunch with years of in-depth research and inquests.


“Gandalf thought of most things; and though he could not do everything, he could do a great deal for friends in a tight corner.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Skilled at logic and reasoning, Gandalf is an excellent strategist. His intelligence isn’t his only tool, however – his greatest strength is undoubtedly his wisdom. Gandalf has the wisdom to delegate tasks to those who are best fit for them, such as encouraging Aragorn and King Théoden to lead their troops to battle and pushing Frodo to complete his task of destroying the One Ring.

That said, his Thinking trait does manifest in some less-than-compassionate ways as well. He has little patience for anyone who isn’t pulling their weight and is more likely to push them out of the way and do it himself than to tolerate their incompetence. He may be impatient at times, but that doesn’t prevent him from supporting and caring for his friends deeply – in his own way.


Gandalf exists for a specific reason – to ensure that good overcomes evil for the survival of the people (and elves, hobbits, and dwarves) of Middle-earth. His mission is to assist in the defeat of Sauron, and he literally returns from the dead in order to complete this quest.

Not fire, nor water, nor traitorous wizards, nor orc armies can prevent Gandalf from pushing his companions toward victory. He is wise, stubborn, and never gives up hope. When Denethor gives up on protecting Minas Tirith from Sauron’s army, Gandalf does not hesitate to step in and lead the troops to victory. His ability to take control and restore order to see a task through is just one example of the power of his Judging personality trait.


Not one to question his own knowledge or abilities, Gandalf is undoubtedly a confident, Assertive individual. Being an immortal wizard with magical powers certainly plays a role in his self-assurance. This does not mean that Gandalf never expresses fear – just that he doesn’t let his fear prevent him from fighting for what he believes in.

“You cannot pass. I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.”

Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring


“Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

Gandalf, The Return of the King

Here at 16Personalities, we strive to determine personality types as objectively and accurately as possible. That said, our analyses are also based on our personal opinions about fictional characters. It’s likely to differ from other opinions that may be available from other sources.

Gandalf is a complex character who has intrigued and inspired readers for generations. Hopefully, this brief inquiry into his personality type has provided you, the reader, some food for thought (and maybe some inspiration to pick up the books or watch the movies again).

We would love to hear your opinions as well. What thoughts do you have about Gandalf’s personality type? Leave your comments below!

Further Reading

Aragorn: A Kingly Servant (The Lord of the Rings Personality Series)

Éowyn: A Fearless Female Warrior (The Lord of the Rings Personality Series)

Might or Magic? A Study of Gamers’ Personality Types