Gandalf (mythology)

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Gandalf (Gandálfr) is a Dvergr (Norse dwarf) in Norse mythology, appearing in the so-called 'Tally of the Dwarves' within the poem Völuspá from the Poetic Edda,[1] as well as in the Prose Edda. The name derives from the Old Norse words gandr (magic staff) and álfr (elf), thus a protective spirit who wields a magical wand.[2]

The name was also used for a Norse king in the Heimskringla.[3]

In his fictional writings, J. R. R. Tolkien eventually named his wizard Gandalf after the Dvergr,[4] but initially used the name for the head of the dwarf party (ultimately to be called Thorin Oakenshield).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tom Shippey, J. R. R. Tolkien (2001) p. 15
  2. ^ T. A. Shippey, The Road to Middle-Earth (1992) p. 88
  3. ^ Harald Fairhair's saga in Heimskringla
  4. ^ T. A. Shippey, The Road to Middle-Earth (1992) p. 88
  5. ^ J. D. Rateliff, Mr Baggins Pt I (2007) p. 15