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The Grey Wanderer

Gandalf by John Howe

Tolkien Reading Day

Mar 25

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Many are my names in many countries. Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the Dwarves, Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Incánus, in the North Gandalf; to the East I go not."

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954

Gandalf, Wizard and leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West, is also known as "The Grey Wanderer. " Tolkien derived the name Gandalf from Norse mythology from a name meaning wand-elf or staff-elf. In Middle-earth the colour of a Wizard's cloak distinguishes him from other Wizards. For most of his manifestation as a wizard, Gandalf's cloak is famously grey. The 25th of March was chosen for this day by the Tolkien Society as the designated date of the destruction of the One Ring and the defeat of Sauron, indicated by notes in one of the Tolkien's appendices to The Lord of the Rings. 📚💍

The Grey Wanderer

Tolkien Reading Day is held on the 25th of March each year, organised by the Tolkien Society since 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages.


The 25th of March is the date of the downfall of the Lord of the Rings (Sauron) and the fall of Barad-dûr.

Tolkien Reading Day began following an enquiry from Sean Kirst, a columnist of the The Post-Standard (a paper local to Syracuse, New York), in January 2002:

My grandparents were fishing folk from Buckie in the north of Scotland, carriers of the old stories and legends, and the trilogy has filled a certain hole in my life. I have many friends here in New York who were equally moved by the book, reignited by the film, and we all wondered: is there any day devoted informally to readings from the trilogy, in the way that “Bloomsday” is devoted to Joyce?

In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf (a wizard) is referred to as Mithrandir by the elves. In the elves' language, Sindar, Mithrandir means Grey Pilgrim or Wanderer.

For more on this year's Tolkien Reading Day theme, click Gandalf!

The Grey Wanderer
The Grey Wanderer

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