Gandalf: INFJ

Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Gandalf INFJ | Lord of the Rings #MBTI #INFJ

Ni: Gandalf usually foresees events long before they happen, and is rarely surprised by anything. He is usually working behind the scenes to some greater purpose that others are oblivious to. He chooses people specifically for their unique abilities in order to complete various tasks that he doesn’t have time for himself (Frodo for his strong will to bear the ring, Bilbo as a burglar to keep the dwarves in check). He strategizes long-term, paying attention to both the big picture and the details in order to prevent disaster and works toward it unceasingly, step by step, regardless of barriers to his path. Gandalf does nothing without a purpose and is good at figuring out symbols and riddles.

Gandalf INFJ | Lord of the Rings #MBTI #INFJ

Fe: Frankly, Gandalf often finds Te users unreasonable. He’s frequently annoyed with Thorin’s inability to take others into account, and chooses Bilbo specifically because he knows he’ll be able to keep Thorin’s greed in check. Gandalf seeks large-scale harmony among people and races and likes external approval for his choices (sharing a smoke with Bilbo eh?). Gandalf is generally kind and polite, and values those same traits in others (Thus, the constant “Fool of a Took!” to Pippin, who isn’t traditionally mannered). Gandalf gets annoyed at contention among his friends and doesn’t put up with irresponsibility.

Gandalf INFJ | Lord of the Rings #MBTI #INFJ

Ti: Gandalf doesn’t like to be in charge of everything, but prefers to delegate most tasks to others. He doesn’t always trust his judgement, but will often leave things to others rather than trying to put his foot in everyone’s game. He does most of his thinking in silence, which makes him both very mysterious to his friends, and quite apt at working behind the lines without screwing up. He prefers analysis to action when he has the option.

Gandalf INFJ | Lord of the Rings #MBTI #INFJ

Se: Gandalf loves nature and enjoys spending time with the elves. He doesn’t care much for thrills or battle, but doesn’t have a problem jumping into a fray when he is needed. He pays attention to the environment and uses it to help him get out of tricky situations (tip #1 when captured, find a moth and tell it your secrets).


 

I see Gandalf typed (stereotypically) as an INTJ all the time. However, I’d advise everyone to consider the following questions before jumping to that conclusion. And remember, this is about thought process more than apparent behaviour.

Does Gandalf choose the most efficient person to complete each job he delegates (Te)? Or does he choose them based who he feels will be most loyal to the job (Fe)?
Does he manipulate primarily emotions or thought processes (Te vs Fe)?
Does Gandalf organise people to action (Te)? Or does he simply throw them together without specific instructions and hope they manage to work out what he wants them to do (Ti)?
Does Gandalf communicate directly about tasks (Te)? Or does he disappear on his own without ever communicating what others should do in his absence (Ti)?
Does he work toward organising his environment (Te)? Or putting it in harmony (Fe)?
Does Gandalf see the greater good as more important than the individual (Fe)? Or does he see individual sacrifice as requisite for necessary tasks to be completed (Fi)?
Does Gandalf merely get annoyed with incompetence (TeFi)? Or is he quick to anger (as he says most wizards are (FeTi)?
Does Gandalf work better if he talks out loud and writes things down when problem solving (Te)? Or does he prefer to work in absolute silence (Ti)?

Yes, I do suppose Gandalf the Grey is vaguely different from Gandalf the White, but the personality itself never stood out as uniquely different –merely the methods. To be honest, Gandalf strikes me as an extremely mature INFJ who has learned how to be objective, but then again, we could very well go both ways with many of those questions.

 

18 thoughts on “Gandalf: INFJ

  1. Sorry, I am confused by all this dicussion. How can you not see Gandalf is a stereotypical old INTJ ? Wizards are the ultimate scientists. It seems to me you want to have him in your INFJ because he is such a cool character. It strikes me you know little about INTJs, my friends.

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  2. You have some fair points. As for your question about TeFi vs FeTi, these are some of the questions that I asked as I was writing up this post (just for reference, I’m basing this off the books rather than the movies).

    Does Gandalf choose the most efficient person to complete each job he delegates (Te)? Or does he choose them based who he feels will be most loyal to the job (Fe)?
    Does he manipulate primarily emotions or thought processes (Te vs Fe)?
    Does Gandalf organise people to action (Te)? Or does he simply throw them together without specific instructions and hope they manage to work out what he wants them to do (Ti)?
    Does Gandalf communicate directly about tasks (Te)? Or does he disappear on his own without ever communicating what others should do in his absence (Ti)?
    Does he work toward organising his environment (Te)? Or putting it in harmony (Fe)?
    Does Gandalf see the greater good as more important than the individual (Fe)? Or does he see individual sacrifice as requisite for necessary tasks to be completed (Fi)?
    Does Gandalf merely get annoyed with incompetence (TeFi)? Or is he quick to anger (as he says most wizards are (FeTi)?
    Does Gandalf work better if he talks out loud and writes things down when problem solving (Te)? Or does he prefer to work in absolute silence (Ti)?

    Yes, I do suppose Gandalf the Grey is vaguely different from Gandalf the White, but the personality itself never stood out as uniquely different –merely the methods. To be honest, Gandalf strikes me as an extremely mature INFJ who has learned how to be objective, but then again, we could very well go both ways with many of those questions.

    Thoughts? If you think I’ve pegged Gandalf’s motives and thought process completely wrong, please do tell me because I’m always looking to improve the site.

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    • Ah. Yes. I have loads of thoughts. Thank you for that extremely useful and painful reboot. I’m done processing now. The answer is: 42
      Now I’m going to do what all cats do. Walk away until you contact me. But not on the phone. I hate the phone! If you sound like Tom Hiddleston then I will die out of pure reflex. Are you happy now!?

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        • It’s been 3 months and I’ve been ill and also somewhat of a coward so I’ve been avoiding your blog.
          All in all I just want to say sorry for the crazy things I wrote in September. I came down with paranoia that night and ended up being hospitalized for 6 weeks. I thought your site was a clever game I could play with and I did. I just feel stupid when I think back on how I was thinking then. I hope you can forgive me and that I didn’t write something too rude or stupid. I don’t remember all that well. The comment about Hiddelston stuck though. So awkward. Gawd, I want to crawl down into a ditch and die when I think about it. But oh well… the cat is out of the hospital – I mean bag – and I feel better now. Sorry once again if I wrote something bad. Take care!

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        • No need to apologise (ironic considering how often I apologise unnecessarily)…

          Honestly, I’m so sarcastic myself that there’s no way I could have taken offence at anything you said. Please do not crawl into any ditches –especially if you’ve been ill. You wrote nothing to offend me and I certainly would be glad of your continued friendship (although I have never met you).

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        • I still wanted to apologise very much because I had no real control of what I was writing back then (scary, seen in hindsight) and I thought I’d done some irreparable damage. I’m glad that’s not the case as I really do want you as my friend. I’ll stay clear of all the ditches, so no worries. I’m back online and back on track. :)

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    • I like how you expanded upon your idea here and showed some of the questions considered when typing Gandalf. I think you should include it in the original post under the break line, after the final sentence.

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  3. Hmm, I’m not sure I follow why he’s an INFJ. He’s certainly not a stereotype INTJ, but still…

    Sure, Gandalf is polite and he’s friendly. It allows him to get close to people and become well liked which also makes it possible for him to manipulate people through their feelings when he sees something he thinks should be prevented or changed.
    He’s moving people around like chess pieces without a care or a thought for how his manipulations affect the feelings, thoughts or lives of the individuals involved.

    He’s very goal oriented. The greater good is always his main priority and he’s willing to sacrifice anyone for it – even if it makes him feel (a little bit) bad – because he thinks it’s the right thing to do.

    Thorin’s close-minded Te annoys Gandalf, yes, because Gandalf can see the big picture and the advantage and value of respecting others in order to preserve peace and harmony in the world.
    After all, he’s a wizard sent to Middle Earth to keep things in order through advice and guidance, but not violence or fear. His task in the world is to be the anti-Sauron. Making people get along is his job and only purpose – a job all the other wizards failed. (Even if the blue wizards more disappeared rather than obviously failed becasue Tolkien didn’t give them any roles to play.)

    Obviously Gandalf can’t do his job as a wizard very well or efficiently if he’s blunt or rude. Gandalf seems to be a genuinely good guy, deep down, so it’s easy to like him, but he’s clearly got no scruples when it comes to using people for whatever he thinks needs to be accomplished. His ability to make people trust him and like him is impressive and he uses it to impose his own moral on people through manipulation, which is very clever, but also somewhat cold.

    That trait in him becomes more noticeable when he returns as a white wizard and appears a lot more aloof, emotionally. The white robe (finally) gives him a powerful new position in the eyes of society which means he no longer has to manipulate people the way he always did as Gandalf the Grey. He can speak his mind and people will automatically listen to the white wizard. As a result Gandalf the White is a lot more direct and blunt and even forceful. He’s still a good guy, but there’s really no doubt any more that the greater good means more to him than the people he has to use to achieve it.

    I wouldn’t say he doesn’t care about people at all though. He’s very fond of Frodo for example, but if someone where to accuse him of using Frodo and being the reason why Frodo got emotionally and physically scared for the rest of his life, then Gandalf probably wouldn’t see a problem with that. The Ring was destroyed. The mission was accomplished. The greater good prevailed. Frodo had to suffer for it and Gandalf would be able to feel sorry for him, yes, but no doubt the good cause won and because of it Gandalf is pleased. Job well done.

    So basically (to me at least) it only makes sense for a clever and highly experienced (he’s thousands of years old after all) Te – with a mission to keep the world in order – to be able to take people’s feelings into consideration, manipulate them and use them to reach his goals of greater good and world peace. (Which he clearly does all the time.)

    Or am I way off track and misunderstanding the Fe vs. Te functions? I’ve never tried to analyse characters in relationship to MBTI before. (I had fun writing this though.)

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    • He cares far too much about coming off as polite to be Te. Plus, Fe, especially with the combination of I and N, would naturally be very introspective and could come off as a Te. Due to the combination of an INFJ they seem to often be mistaken as extroverts due to their strong drive to accommodate people’s feelings, and they are often seen as Te due to the stereotype that Te versus Fe means that Fe doesn’t think. INFJ’s are typically one of the most intellectual of the MBTI, often more so than every Te type except INTJ and INTP. This is based on IQ though, which only tests a certain kind of intelligence. Another study looked at actual academic performance, and INFJ was #1.

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      • Yeah, that last bit about academic performance would probably be due to INFJs caring more about school than INTJs and INTPs…I find that INTxs are extremely likely to hate school (but love learning) and as a result, their academic performance doesn’t end up reflecting their actual intelligence.

        INFJs have always differed in that they approach school as a personal responsibility, rather than as a necessary evil. INFJs take school seriously to a greater extent than INTxs, so their performance tends to be higher academically.

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        • Academic performance has much more to do with enneagram than MBTI I believe; as enneagram focuses on desires and fears whereas MBTI on how one processes and deals with the outside world. A type 3 or 8 INTJ (or other type) would value achievement / power, and so would be much more ambitious and likely to put emphasis on academic performance than a type 5, who would value learning for the sake of learning and therefore not care that much about grades.

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