Here’s a grey caricature of Gandalf the Grey that I did a couple of weeks ago. Just some sketching in Photoshop. As I said earlier, I don’t do a lot of digital sketching…but every once in a while, when I want to take a short break, digital sketching comes in handy.
Gandalf is a wizard of the Middle Earth. We first see him in The Hobbit (well, the chronology of the movies in which Gandalf’s character is played by Ian Mckellen, is different from the fictional chronology of the Lord of the Rings saga.) In fact, we see him almost right at the beginning of the book – when he meets Bilbo Baggins the short-statured but totally lovable hobbit, who is persuaded by Gandalf to join a group of dwarves who desperately needed his help to open a door guarded by the dragon.
Among all the characters that populate this famous trilogy (which gets rather verbose and on-the-verge-of-tears boring, at times,) I like Gandalf the best. He is multi-skilled and his personality multi-faceted.
In fact, if he was a real person instead, he could have chosen any of the following five highly remunerative and rewarding professions.
1. Gandalf the CEO of a Megabucks Corporation:
The guy is smart and sensible; on the inside he’s quite like the CEOs of today who specialize in getting others to do things that themselves couldn’t accomplish in ten lifetimes. Here’s an example.
He tries to recruit Bilbo for the team; when he doesn’t succeed, he sends the dwarves to Bilbo’s hole, and then attempts to get him onboard. Later, when he’s sure that Bilbo is sub-consciously sold on the idea, Gandalf leaves with the dwarves. When Bilbo joins them later, he thinks of it as his own decision. That’s exactly what CEOs do. They make us believe that we are the ones making our choices, when actually, they’ve already made the choice for us. Trust the judgment of a cynical caricaturist: a highly successful CEO of today lurks behind that grey beard and grayer robe.
2. Gandalf the Politician:
In today’s world, Gandalf would be a politician par-excellence. He understands the need to create a persona…thus the hat (not seen in this caricature, though), the robe, the muffler, and the gnarled stick. He is a slick talker and has the knack to disappear from the scene just when things begin to heat up. Remember the time when the dwarves and Bilbo meet those three trolls who’d have enjoyed a dwarves-roast, had Bilbo the blundering underdog of the story not blathered to save them? Where was Gandalf then? Guess what – He was away…working, sweating, finding information – for them…not for himself. Gandalf doesn’t do anything for himself does he? It’s all for the people he represents. And we are always expected to take his word for it.
If you don’t remember Mitt Romney, here’s the gentleman doing just the thing that Gandalf would’ve advised him against.
3. Gandalf the Consultant:
Gandalf would’ve really made his parents proud, had he chosen to work as a consultant. He comes across as an extremely risk-averse guy. You never see him putting a single penny of his into the adventures. He just rides along. He guides the adventurers with his knowledge and uses his contacts to ferret out useful information, but do you see him creating or manufacturing anything?
For a moment, assume that those adventurers didn’t have Gandalf to consult with; then what? Would they not reach their goal at all? Would they all sit like morons and do nothing. I don’t think so. In the good old times that existed before the now-ubiquitous-consultants arrived on the scene, the world was doing well. In fact, consultants are needed only when people and organizations get into businesses that they know nothing about, so thinks the caricaturist.
4. Gandalf the Shrink:
In this world of ours, Gandalf could’ve been a psychologist with a roaring practice. The LoR trilogy presents ample examples where Gandalf attempts to soothe crushed egos and bleeding hearts. (OK, not just a shrink, an agony aunt too.) He understands how the human mind works. In fact, he also understands how elves, dwarves, trolls, orcs, dragons and all the other creatures of the middle earth think. In fact, if he were real and he lived today, Sigmund Freud might’ve been his disciple – after all Freud could only claim that he knew about the machinations of the human mind, and especially how every mundane human act was powered by sexual desires.
I request those with a keen sense of observation, to compare the expressions of Sigmund Freud below to those of Gandalf’s above. You’ll see what I mean when I say that Gandalf could’ve been the coolest shrink ever.
5. Gandalf the Internet:
And yet, we couldn’t have an LoR without him, because he’s the guy who knows – and in the days of the yore, in the times of the middle earth, a man with knowledge was indeed handy. He was the middle earth counterpart of the Internet. The adventurers of the LoR trilogy had to just spit out a search-string and Gandalfoogle would whirr into action – spitting out results.