Savior in Middle-earth
Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings with a few things in mind. One of those things is to show the dynamic between a savior-type figure and those he is saving. In analyzing this epic quite a few similarities become apparent between Gandalf and Jesus Christ, although there are some differences.
Temptation is a central theme when it comes to the Ring’s interaction with everyone in the story. They are confronted with the choice of Good or Evil. To keep their identity or be consumed by the darkness, leaving no one is safe from the pull of the Ring. When Gandalf is tempted by Saruman in Orthanc, Saruman says in a soft and manipulative voice, “A new power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. There is no hope left in Elves or dying Numenor. This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that power. It would be wise, Gandalf” (Tolkien 253). Jesus Christ goes through a similar struggle when he is tempted by Satan. He leads Jesus to a high place and shows him all the kingdoms of the earth saying, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours” (Luke 3.5-7). Gandalf has a Christ-like similarity in this instance and has the opportunity to refuse, just like Jesus. “Only one hand at a time can wield the One, and you know that well, so do not trouble to say We!.... Well, the choices are it seems, to submit to Sauron, or to yourself. I will take neither” (Tolkien 253).
It is not said directly but Gandalf does desire more power and would take the Ring if it were not for the consequences. After Frodo offers Gandalf the Ring he explains his plight; “Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great for my strength” (Tolkien 60). The difference here between him and Jesus is that Jesus knows that to...