The Grey to White

Considered the wisest of the Maiar, Gandalf was formerly a Maia of Manwë known as the Wind-King, Varda the Star-Queen, Irmo the Dream-Master also Nienna the Weeper called Olórin. When the Valar chose to send the order of the Istari (also acknowledged as Wizards) to Middle-earth, to advise and assist all those in Middle-earth who fought the Dark Lord Sauron, Manwë and Varda determined to include Olórin amongst the five who were sent. At first, Olórin was nervous and expressed himself as too inadequate and too frightened of Sauron. Manwë knew and told him that that was one central reason why he should go, to subdue that fear. Thus, he ordered that Olórin should go as the third, but Varda convinced him not to admit Olórin as the third, but as the second. Olórin agreed, and planned for his departure from the Undying Lands with the other four wizards.When he arrived in Middle Earth, he received Narya, the ring of fire, from Círdan the Shipwright. Olórin, renamed Gandalf ( the name “translated” from Western to Norse by Tolkien), spent several centuries walking amongst the elves as a stranger, hearing from them and showing them. He later declared himself as one of the Istari, and ultimately grew known as the wisest of and most powerful of that company. He entered the White Council, which was established to examine a dark power in Dol Guldur, of that Galadriel, needed him to become the leader, yet Saruman began to lead the Council rather of him. Although Saruman was at primary more powerful, was more informed about many elements regarding Sauron and the Rings of Power, and was the leader of the White Council earlier before the War of the Ring, he later became resentful and afraid of Gandalf, which was the basis for his betrayal.