The older I get, the less I like Gandalf.
When I was younger, I took comfort in the image of Gandalf as a kindly old wizard who looked after those who were less powerful than he was, with a chuckle and words of encouragement. That was the Gandalf known in the Shire, though.
That peaceful Gandalf now seems to me like nothing more than a setup for a story that’s hungry for war. As The Lord Of The Rings Progresses, Gandalf increases his drumbeat for war, urging more armies to be built, and berating everyone who dares to stand against his crusade, casting anyone who seeks peace as naive and dangerous, a tool of The Enemy.
Merlin, too, allowed his magical powers to be used by those who sought bloodshed, allowing nasty battles to be fought just so that his favored king could grab a few moments with someone else’s queen.
I long for a wizard who stands aside from such campaigns of mass violence. I want a sorcerer who stands for peace. Finding none, I’ve made this tshirt: Wizards Against War. Wear it to the next con that promotes games of slaughter.