Gandalf: INTJ [The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit]
Dominant Function, Introverted Intuition, Ni: Gandalf is far more of an observer of Middle Earth than a participant. It is a rare case that we see Gandalf letting go and enjoying the moment with other characters. He is often stone-faced as he observes and absorbs everything happening around him. This often leaves him to be more solitary and obsessive in his endeavors, as Ni can never have enough information before making a decision and the function puts him a position where others would have a difficult time connecting and understanding him. Gandalf becomes solitary and leaves his different campaigns to ponder his thoughts because unlike Ne, that is okay with patterns being on their own outside of themselves, Ni needs to synthesize all the different pieces of information and organize them into one cohesive concept.
He won’t act right away, but needs all the pieces. In The Lord of the Rings he suspects that Frodo’s ring is The One Ring without having much evidence to back the idea. Instead of acting on his intuition, he does not state his idea until he has gone and done thorough research. In the film we see him in Gondor, but in the books it was decades before he came back from accumulating all the facts. However, in both the films and books this Ni need for all the information before expressing his stance or thoughts leaves them to the last minute running away with The Ring, as by this time Sauron knows of its location.
Introverted intuition is what helps Gandalf see from all perspectives of the major players of Middle Earth. The talent of Ni is its ability to constantly shift perspectives to see different points of view. In The Hobbit, Gandalf sees the view of Sauron accumulating Smaug for their side, he sees the view of Smaug, and he sees the view of the dwarves, especially Thorin. He sees all of these moving parts and his Ni absorbs all those that apply to his mission of peace in Middle Earth and organizes it. It is what makes Gandalf so efficient, and seeing a much bigger picture than many of the other characters.
Auxiliary Function, Extraverted Thinking, Te: Gandalf’s Te is what gives him that grumpy pants part of his personality. He uses Te defensively to dismiss opposing perspectives that don’t fit with what his Ni is working on. He will point out all of the flaws in your different perspective. We see this in how gruff he gets with the stubbornness of others that he sees as not getting the big picture his Ni perceives. He does this a lot in Return of the King with the Steward of Gondor. It gets more of a humorous side in The Hobbit films. When he is trying to piece things together with his Ni and the dwarves are all babbling and acting rather dull in his opinion he angrily stomps away grumbling about how he is the only one with sense.
In a more positive light, his Te is what connects him with the world. He shares the common laws and order of the realm. His focus is on restoring the proper order and hierarchy of Middle-Earth. He sees the order that needs to be imposed and implements his Ni with Te. However, because Te is not his dominant function he does not use rules, laws, or order that don’t fit in his Ni plans. So he will ignore the outcries of different Elf groups, like Elrond, to help get Thorin back on the mountain. Because despite what Elrond says, Gandalf’s Ni big picture of restoring Thorin on the mountain is crucial in the overall strategy of keeping the bigger concept of order in Middle-Earth intact. He ignores the order of the White Council in order to do this.
His implementation and reasoning is not in the interests of Fe (many mistyping Gandalf as INFJ), but are ‘colder’ in thought process. Gandalf is moving the pieces on the board and is using Thorin and Thorin’s people’s tragedy and cause to the advantage of the bigger war to come. It is not out of an Fe people focus of helping others, but out of a more logical and orderly perspective of Te. Fe also craves more harmonious approval from others, but Te for an INJ, means the INTJ, Gandalf, only cares for input from those he thinks are intelligent and worthy enough to be on his level. It is why he ignores the thoughts of people like Theodon or Thorin a lot. But when he wants input he seeks out people like Galadreil, Elrond, and Saruman. It doesn’t mean he will always agree with them, but these are the people whose ideas and criticisms he will respect and consider. However, when others try to disagree with him like the Steward of Gondor, he does not care for the criticism and is extremely dismissive of him, no matter the possible upset.
In addition, Ni in all INJs is focused on words, but combined with Te it is focused on form, while Fe is focused more on allusions, of the art of it. What this mean is that an INJ is far more knit-picky on the exact meaning and order of wording. A single word or tone can change the full meaning of what is being said. It is a logical focus on language. This is very clear in the beginning the The Hobbit film and book when Bilbo wished him a ‘Good Morning!’:
“What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
This is an example of how an INTJ, like Gandalf, focuses on form when it comes to language. It is how the Ni-Te combine to articulate their intuitive thoughts, and implementing the Te critical eye of logical principles.
Tertiary Function, Introverted Feeling, Fi: This is the function that makes Gandalf connected with the ‘minor’ players of Middle-Earth and the kind wizard that he is. It is what emotionally connects him with the world and helps him see the importance of the smaller things, like the comforts of hearth and home. His Fi connects him with the hobbits, especially. They are the ones that make him stop and appreciate that more experiential parts of life. These are the real important things that his Ni over looks. He is so focused on the bigger picture that Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, etc. help him appreciate the emotional and personal aspects of life. Gandalf may be one of the ‘major’ players of Middle-Earth, but his Fi is what helps him see the importance in the individual and the smallest of creatures. This is best explored in his conversation with Galadriel:
Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.
It is specifically Fi that endows Gandalf with this kind of philosophy. Saruman who we see in perspective in the quote above, as an unhealthy INFJ, is completely disconnected from this perspective and it is why he is such a good example to contrast view points in this quote. This is also noticeable in Gandalf’s appreciation of Radagast while others have written the wizard off. Gandalf sees more in those that others dismiss with his Fi.
Inferior Function, Extraverted Sensing, Se: How Se works as an inferior function is best explained with Gandalf’s love-hate relationship with Merry and Pippin. Merry and Pippin are dominant Sensate users (ESPs). They love the thrill and excitement of the moment. They are doers and act before thinking. They don’t exactly see the big picture in what they are doing. This is the view that Gandalf takes with their Se, a rather negative one. He is quite mean and gruff with Pippin whenever Pippin does something impulsive. Being disconnected with this function, Gandalf despises such behaviors that reflect this function in its negative forms. He views it has hedonistic and brash. We get the Gandalf judgey face, when the two hobbits, after taking down Isengard, are eating Saruman’s food and smoking his weed.
However, when Gandalf embraces the Se within himself he becomes very powerful. This is the function that makes Gandalf a player, rather than an observer in specific moments. It is what makes him the mischievous wizard he is, the meddler in the affairs of dwarves, men, and elves.