Gandalf not male?

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stevem1 27/Nov/2006 at 02:49 AM
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I asked this question many moons ago, referring to whether he actually has a gender or not. I think the conclusion was that he was made in the form of a man and actually was a man in all respects. I was unhappy with this conclusion at the time but as I had no evidence to the contrary I accepted it. Now I think there is evidence to the contrary.

Here is a link to the old (second) thread

My new evidence is this:
Can anybody think of any situation in which Gandalf, or any of the Istari were atracted physicall( or erotically if you prefer) to any female human. I cannot think of a single instance. Surely this is very strong evidence that the Istari, although given the form of males, were not actually male.
Sil 27/Nov/2006 at 02:55 AM
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But why would the Maia be attracted to humans at all? There has only been one instance in which a Maia fell in love with any of the Children of Eru, and that was an Elf. Surely that is enough evidence that Maia do have genders and can fall in love. Moreover, many of the Valar are married to each other. Just because none of the Istari apparently had any inclination to human women  does not mean they are not masculine - perhaps they were drawn to female Maia which we never got to hear about, or perhaps they simply never had the inclination.
Arweniel* 27/Nov/2006 at 03:00 AM
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I think Gandalf was too stressed and busy with the fate of ME to be bothered with romance of any kind!
stevem1 27/Nov/2006 at 03:02 AM
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Sorry I should have clarified. WHen I say ’human’ Purrsephone I mean any hunanoid - ie anything looking human. That would include any of the Maia or elves, men etc. So what I am asking is, are there any examples of Istari being attracted to the female of any species of humanoid beings.
Alcarináro 27/Nov/2006 at 03:55 AM
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So are you saying that they were actually all female, or that they were genderless? Either one is disproven easily.
stevem1 27/Nov/2006 at 04:16 AM
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Genderless, Elenhir
Alcarináro 27/Nov/2006 at 04:30 AM
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But when they clad themselves the Valar arrayed them in the form some as of male and some as of female; for that difference of temper they had even from their beginning, and it is but bodied forth in the choice of each, not made by the choice; even as with us male and female may be shown by the raiment, but is not made thereby.
   -HoME X: Morgoth’s Ring, The Ainulindale, §25

That is, Ainur are male and female inherently, and their physical forms show the nature of their selves. Thus, they are not genderless. Honestly, I am surprised that no one brought up this quote in earlier threads.
Harlondir Helcaraxë 27/Nov/2006 at 04:46 AM
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stevem1 : You are not perceived as genderless just because you aren’t attracted to an individual of any particular gender of any particular race. There are many humans in real life who are never attracted physically or in any other way to a member of any gender. That does not imply they are genderless.
Mithrandír 27/Nov/2006 at 04:54 AM
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ummm, very intresting.

i hardly think that he would have been in the female race. It just simply does not fit. firstly, i do not think that a woman would have had her voice so deep. also, i think that Tolkien would have made it more clear to us that he was a woman in the Lord Of The Rings, as i would not think that he would  want his readers thinking falsely about this question. He was a main character in the books, and keeping this kind of secret to himself would have been quite strange indeed.

stevem1 27/Nov/2006 at 05:25 AM
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Harlondir: What you are saying is very interesting. I have never heard of such a phenomenon. Can you give me any example or references?

Even if this is the case, surely that would be specific to individuals and probably for psychological reasons rather than inherent to their species?

From what Elenhir is saying, it seems that the Istari should be attracted to females and at least one of them must have wanted to form such a relationship or possibly Marry. And yet, there are no examples. The other possibility is that they took a vow of celebacy. Is this possible?
Alcarináro 27/Nov/2006 at 05:33 AM
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I hardly see how that is a conseqeunce of what I have shown. You are assuming several things. First, you are assuming that Ainur are drawn to form sexual relationships. Given that we have one, and only one, example of this happening, you have no reason for this assumption. Second, you are assuming that Ainur would be attracted to whomsoever they came into contact with, so that it would be impossible for them to spend long durations of time living amongst the Children of Iluvatar without forming a relationship. Why is this assumed? Third, you are assuming that any Istari are not already espoused in the fourty-some thousand years before they came to Middle-earth.
Here’s the thing: All of your questions are irrelevant.
stevem1 27/Nov/2006 at 05:38 AM
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Ok Elenhir: all good points. I stand corrected. I have no real evidence for what I was thinking but at least somebody has shown me the evidence. Thanks for that.
Túrin 27/Nov/2006 at 06:10 AM
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Never heard of the term "bachelor"?

Even if this is the case, surely that would be specific to individuals and probably for psychological reasons rather than inherent to their species?

No, it’s not inherent to the species as far as I’m aware, but it need not apply to merely one of the race.  In this case we have 5 specimens from an innumerably large population.  Furthermore, these 5 examples took the physical forms of really old men.  If any happened to be attracted to any gal, the chances are that it would not be mutual - who marries old men that have been old since the day of the girl’s grandfather?  Additionally, the Istari knew their task and knew that having a girl somewhere probably was not condusive to that task.

From what Elenhir is saying, it seems that the Istari should be attracted to females and at least one of them must have wanted to form such a relationship or possibly marry.

No.  What Elenhir is saying is that the Maiar, and thus the Istari, have gender inherent within them as much as you or I.  They simply cannot be genderless, it is an impossibility.  The Ainur have gender all through the scope of Tolkien’s writings, from the beginning to the end.  You would get farther by claiming that Gandalf was a cross-dressing female.  The Ainur do indeed have gender, but this does not imply that a wizard would be attracted to a female in Middle-earth.  As Harlondir said, there can be people with definate gender who are not attracted to any other (RE: Bachelors, or if ’marriage’ isn’t enough, then others who are celebate by choice).

And another thing to keep in mind, the old principle that: Lack of evidence against is not evidence for.  Just because we don’t see any of the Istari being attracted to a female or getting married does not mean they cannot do so and in no way implies they are genderless.  Example: Give me evidence that Elrond did not run a black market for the sale of pipeweed.  Or that Cirdan didn’t try and build a submarine to retrieve the palantiri lost with Arvedui.

<Timeloop: Shoulda refreshed.  Last two posts were simuled with>

Harlondir Helcaraxë 27/Nov/2006 at 06:00 PM
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Turin :
stevem1 :
You can take a look at Turin’s post. Apart from that, what I’ll say is this : If an individual of a species does not feel attracted to someone, then that could be true for all other individuals. Anyway, five Istari don’t form a "species".
Miriame Sárince 27/Nov/2006 at 08:28 PM
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And not to beat the proverdial dead horse (a terrible saying that, for horse lovers) for all we know Galdalf was attracted to half the women (elves and human) he encountered. But he didn’t act on that attraction. He may have been "married" to a Maia in Valinor about whom we know nothing. But I think that he was sent to help the people of ME in their struggles against Sauron and there is no reason to assume that his feelings towards elves and mortals were ever more than that of a divine friend and caretaker. They weren’t his equals and it’s unlikely that he thought of them in terms that could lead to romance. As was said, there’s only one example of a Maia loving even an elf, let alone a human. And that was in the dawn of the Elves, not in the Third Age.
Arvellas 27/Nov/2006 at 08:31 PM
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I’ll have to agree with Arweniel.  Gandalf most likely had more than enough to worry about at any given time, and so why would he go off pursuing romance when he had more important things to do, namely saving the world?  He seems the type to excercise enough self-control to stay on task, so the fact that we never see him with a girlfriend proves nothing.  He took on a male form, and why would he do that if he were not male?  There are also several other instances in which we see Valar and Maiar appearing with definite genders and feeling attracted toward others of the opposite gender.
Kaos the Gold 28/Nov/2006 at 03:12 AM
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I think that the Istari just had to much work defending middle-earth to do, they would’t have the time to look fo love interests.  They might have spouses back in The Undying Lands for all we know.
Sil 28/Nov/2006 at 03:33 PM
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Túna - Elrond’s black market for pipeweed, eh? Why does that sound oddly possible?
Norothon 28/Nov/2006 at 03:53 PM
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The idea that Gandalf was female is preposterous.  Just because there is no mention of Gandalf being "attracted" to a female does nothing to prove anything about his gender.  If you want proof positive on this matter let us refer to the man who created Gandalf, Professor Tolkien.  In the books that Tolkien wrote pronouns (I, you, we, he, she) are used in reference to characters.  HE is the pronoun used for males.  Gandalf is referred to as: he, him, his.  With that in mind there is no way that someone or something referred to with the pronouns: he, him, his can be mistaken for anything but MALE.
Túrin 28/Nov/2006 at 04:45 PM
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Norothon,

If you read the thread you will see that stevem1 is (was?) suggesting that the Istari were genderless - not female.  That they are in the bodies of males is not being contested, and is impossible to contest, as you have pointed out, and as several sources also make clear.  A genderless Maia could easily take on a gendered body.  The only problem there is that a genderless Maia is an impossibility.

And as an aside - the "he" pronoun can also be used to refer to nondescript gender.  The political correctness that plauges us today was not always so.

Purrsephone --  (and psst, didnchya mean ’Turin’ ;-) )

Norothon 28/Nov/2006 at 04:54 PM
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I suppose the question then is why would Saruman, Radagast, and Gandalf (the only Istari that we have any real description of) have "chosen", if in fact they did "choose", to have their spirit’s reside in male bodies?  Was it up to them or did a Power place them in those forms?  If a Power placed them in those forms, why male?  But I suppose that since they never tried to hit on any chicks they must have been genderless.

Túrin 28/Nov/2006 at 05:29 PM
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Why (in RL) do males tend to wear clothing designed for males, and why do females tend to wear clothing designed for females?  It’s entirely possible for a guy to wear a skirt, etc, and for a girl to wear a guy’s clothing.  We just (typically) don’t.

It’s the same with the Ainur - a physical body, to them, is like clothing for us.  The gender is seperate and distinct from it.  If I were to put on a skirt and all manner of female attire, I would still be a male.

Why choose a male body then?  It’s natural, it’s normal.  Why would they not choose a male body?  Females were accorded enough respect in Middle-earth, I think, to negate that sort of point.  Based on the quote Elenhir presented, gender is "is but bodied forth in the choice of each, not made by the choice", I think it’s safe to say that as a rule an Ainu of X gender would take a body of X gender.  It’s possible to do otherwise, but to claim that it is so would require Tolkien telling us so.

But anyway, this is sort of a moot discussion - we are in agreement, I was just pointing out a drawback of your approach (that’s not to say it was bad, just had it’s drawbacks, as we all have).  We can’t improve if we don’t critique each other.

stevem1 29/Nov/2006 at 03:48 AM
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I am not sure if there is anything left to discuss. Elenhir gave me the evidence needed to refute my idea. So unless anybody has anything left to add that throws the subject back into the arena of valid discussion, I think we should probably call the subject closed.
Kirinki54 29/Nov/2006 at 02:03 PM
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I still think the discussion above open vistas for speculation. Male, female… True humanity is embodied in the union of these opposites. Bipolarity must be overcome to achieve completion. And it seems that all races in Arda are bipolar. We also see that this basic trait is shared with the Ainur. Are the Ainur also characterized by an urge to resolve bipolarity in order to be complete? And if so, for what reason? In Men and other races, there are obviously also the sexual aspect; procreation. That could hardly be a reason for the Ainur fitting into the same pattern. Is bipolarity in the Ainur serving other purposes of creation?

Sil 29/Nov/2006 at 04:04 PM
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Túrin - yes, damn. 
kylita15 30/Nov/2006 at 05:58 AM
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what? maybe gandalf is the middle-earth monalisa.. nyaha, just kidding :p anyway,i actually hardly noticed the "gender" of gandalf. i mean, from all the stuffs from Lotr, its hardly noticeable.. Since we are Lotr addicts, we can actually notice it.

Anyway,any debates/arguements about gandalf’s [true] gender?
Wood Walker 30/Nov/2006 at 07:16 AM
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Out of all the other taskes Gandalf was charged with, getting in a love relationship wasn’t one of them. Also seeing that he is the only one to hold true to the course of the mission we don’t see him forming unmission relationships. Maybe the other Istar did that, since they didn’t hold true. Also maybe Gandlf was already married ( if Istars got married).
Boromir88 30/Nov/2006 at 08:38 AM
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kylita, I think there are some good arguments presented on this very thread.
Endril 01/Dec/2006 at 03:27 AM
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How is that you never heard about maiar females? As an example is Melian and also Arien. So there were maiar females. That doesn’t meen that the things worked the same as with elves or men or other races. They probably hadn’t the attraction that other races felt and also wander if maiar could have children if they were attracted to eachother. 

Wood Walker 01/Dec/2006 at 07:14 AM
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I have always wondered why no female Maiar were sent to Middle Earth along with Gandalf and the other four. Was it because the mind set was the men go off and fight the wars. That I think would explain as to why the female Maiar’s have a backseat roll in the LOTR, which deals with mostly wars.
Arien Ellariel 18/Dec/2006 at 07:48 AM
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Oh, please.... Gandalf was, in fact, male. Don’t make this into something it’s not. Just because it isn’t specified in Tolkien’s works that Gandalf was or wasn’t attracted to women, doesn’t mean that he’s not male. He just  may not have been interested in marrying anyone.
Dor-lómin 20/Dec/2006 at 07:02 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Arweniel* on Monday, November 27, 2006
I think Gandalf was too stressed and busy with the fate of ME to be bothered with romance of any kind!

I think he is to old to be bothered with romance.

<P&RMod: In the future, please be mindful of adding at least 200 characters of your own, else you are "stealing" the words of others to reach the 200 character limit at which you receive points.>

Endril 20/Dec/2006 at 09:09 AM
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Dor-lomin: he just took the form of an old man, that didn’t ment he was an old man just like the ones of men. He was a maia that chose that body as all the other maiar sent to ME did. I don’t remember of any king of romance between maiar, just between elfs an maiar ( Melian-maia, Thingol-eldar).
Araneg 20/Dec/2006 at 09:28 AM
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 There has  been one case in which a Maia fell in love with the children of Eru. That is not evidence for me to say wether they are male or female. I know the valar are married like someone said above. However marriage is possible for fellowship and not sexual reproduction. As well seeing how Christianity greatly influenced the writing I would say it would go along with Christian concepts. In christianity angel is neither male or female but can come in appearance of either and usually took on the visage of what there personality more identifyd with.
Qtpie 20/Dec/2006 at 05:19 PM
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Dor-lomin: Read this quote and it should banish all thoughts of Gandalf as old.

’In the likeness of Men they appeared, old but vigorous, and they changed little with the years, and aged but slowly, though great cares lay on them;...’ The Silmarillion: Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
Maiarian Man 24/Dec/2006 at 07:46 PM
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"Wisest of the Maiar was Olórin. He too dwelt in Lórien, but his ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience . . . But of Olorin the that tale does not speak; for though he loved the Elves, he walked among them unseen, or in form as one of them . . ." (Valaquenta).

Even when he took no form at all, Olorin is given a male gender. Thus, Gandalf, who is Olorin, is male.