Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Smackdown: Gandalf versus Dumbledore

Ah the beauty of the holiday season! We kick off our last week in a countdown towards Christmas with last minute shopping, sending holiday cards and sadly, a head cold for the midget. Today's smackdown is a look at the great wizards of two fabulous series. Both wizards inspire, guide and are tremendously powerful in their own right. I can hardly choose between them and cannot compare them as which is more powerful or which is more inspirational. Therefore, I ask only that you choose which one is your favorite. I know which one is mine.

Gandalf the Grey (later the White)

Gandalf is a fictional character with major roles in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Gandalf appears as a wizard, member and later the head (after Saruman's betrayal and fall) of the order known as the Istari, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West. In The Lord of the Rings, he is initially known as Gandalf the Grey, but after assuming leadership of the Istari, he becomes known as Gandalf the White.

Albus Dumbledore
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is a fictional character within the Harry Potter novels written by J. K. Rowling. For the majority of the series, he is the headmaster of the Wizarding School Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As part of his back-story, it is revealed that he is the founder and leader of the "Order of the Phoenix", an organization dedicated to fighting the main antagonist of the series, Lord Voldemort.

Great Deeds
Among Gandalf's great deeds is guiding the Fellowship, saving Faramir, defeating the Balrog and hiding his possession of the third Elven ring of power for centuries. As a guide to young Frodo and the other Hobbits, he inspired greatness. He chose to leave Middle Earth with the other ring bearers including Frodo, Bilbo, Elrond and Galadriel.

Dumbledore, like Gandalf, inspired greatness in his students and acted as secret keeper for the Order of the Phoenix. His deeds are many, including defeating one of the most powerful wizards. Dumbledore was far more passive, choosing peaceful methods and reason above outright shows of power. He served as a foil for Voldemort for decades, fending the dark wizard off until Harry was old enough to face him directly. Dumbledore's death was by his own choice, a necessary sacrifice.

Neither wizard sought greatness, yet they both served to inspire the heroes of their novels and left a legacy of wisdom, spirit and determination.

Which of these two is your favorite? Which of their actions had the greatest impact? What do you remember most about them? I have no prize to offer this week and only invite you to play for fun.

Fairy Tale Smackdown
Cinderella stole this prize easily with the majority of readers supporting the rags to riches tale and the triumph of a kind heart. In particular, most favor the modern retelling of the tale in the Drew Barrymore film: Ever After. Congratulations to PamK who won the drawing for the $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. Please send me an email so I can get this certificate on its way to you, Pam!


  1. Aw man! Next week you'll be pitting Harry Potter against Tim Hunter *grin* (that'll blow a hole in the space-time continuum).

    Because Gandalf is older, has been fighting longer and lives in a harsher world, I have to give the bout to him. However, it must be said that Dumbledore is a bad, bad man. (80s slang bad—and that's good)

  2. No contest in my book - the greatest is Gandalf. He has been one of my favorite characters since the 70's when I first read the books.

  3. Gandalf is number one, hands down. Why? Because he's done it first and he did it best. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Dumbledore and what he did rocked the house and his sacrifice made the difference in things- but in the end, sometimes you have to come back from the valley of death changed to do what's necessary for those who need you the most.

  4. i'd have to go with dumbledore. i know him more and i actually mourned his death in HP. also, not really into LotR

  5. While I love Dumbledore to death, Gandalf is just plain awesomeness! I was absolutely heartbroken when I thought he died. He got a piece of my heart way before Dumbledore came around in Harry Potter so I'll remain faithful to my first white-bearded wizard. :D

  6. gandalf 4 me easy. I love lotr and Harry potter is just alright for me so