With [The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies](movie:512312) released in cinemas, the Middle-Earth saga seems to have come to an end. However, despite us having six wonderful films filled with the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien (and also Peter Jackson), there are still plenty of things from Tolkien's world that the films haven't come close to addressing... such as Gandalf being over 11,000 years old!
Gandalf is not just a wizard
In Lord of the Rings, we're introduced to the impressive Gandalf the Grey, who has the appearance of a man of about 60 years of age. However, Gandalf is far, far older than this, and in fact, has gone by many different names over the approximately 11,000 years he has been around. Originally Gandalf went by the name Olórin, but later becomes Gandalf the Grey, and then Gandalf the White.
Gandalf is one of the Maiar, spirits which descended to the world in which Hobbits, Men, Dwarves and Elves live (known as Arda) to help shape the world. In fact, all five wizards of Middle-Earth were Maiar, including Radagast the Brown, and Saruman.
Gandalf and a fierce nemesis were actually of the same kind
In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Gandalf the Grey battles with Durin's Bane, a Balrog from ancient times. Gandalf pursued the Balrog for eight days before fighting for two days and nights, after which the Balrog was cast down. Gandalf also died, but was later transformed into Gandalf the White.
What you may not have know was that Balrogs and Gandalf were both Maiar. However, the Belrogs were corrupted by the first Dark Lord, Melkor (who was the master of Sauron) and were used for dark doings.
I don't know about you, but as someone who has never read The Silmarillion I had no idea about the Maiar, and definitely no idea about Gandalf's origins! I guess it just goes to show how extensive and intertwined the Middle-Earth universe really is!
Did you know that Gandalf was a Maia?
Source: Lord of the Rings wikia