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Lord of the Rings: how old is Gandalf?

Lord of the Rings: Gandalf has spent hundreds of years wandering Middle-earth in his quest to root out evil but how old is the old grey wizard?

Lord of the Rings: how old is Gandalf?

How old is Gandalf? Gandalf is one of the most intriguing Lord of the Rings characters. While he may look and act like a bit of a bumbling old man, he is no conjurer of cheap tricks and is, in reality, a mighty wizard sent by the god of Middle-earth himself to stop Sauron before he can get his spiky claws on the One Ring.

By the time we meet him in the Lord of the Rings movies, Gandalf has spent hundreds of years travelling all over Middle-earth befriending key allies to help him in his quest. So how old is Gandalf? Well, that’s a difficult question to answer.

How old is Gandalf?

As we say, working out Gandalf’s age isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. You see, while Gandalf looked like a 60-year-old man, he was, in fact, a Maiar ( a lesser form of Valar). As such, Gandalf is an immortal being who’s been in existence since before Arda and Middle-earth were even created.

Tolkien frequently changed his mind about how old Middle-earth was, and he never gave a detailed account of what Eru Iluvatar and his Maiar were up to before they created the world or even the very concept of time. Hence, the closest approximation we can give is that Gandalf is tens of thousands of years old at the very least and likely much older.

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If you want to know how long Gandalf spent walking Middle-earth in human fell, that’s a much easier question to answer. Gandalf arrived in Middle-Earth in the Third Age around the year 1,000. He finally leaves after the defeat of Sauron right before the start of the Fourth Age in the year 3,021 making him 2,021 Middle-earth years old when he left our world.

Of course, this is just the book canon. The TV series the Rings of Powerhints that The Stranger is Gandal and that he came to Middle-earth in the Second Age, which would make him thousands of years older than we initially thought.

If you want to know more about the history of Middle-earth, check out our guide to Rings of Power season 2; if that’s not enough, we have an article breaking down our favourite Rings of Power characters.