Gandalf's arrangement with Theoden for a horse

Steve Melisi

New Member
I've been thinking about the discussion of Gandalf's choice of Shadowfax for his horse, and how it's a bit ingracious of him to take the best of the best. We never hear the full dialogue with Theoden over the giving of a horse -- Gandalf choosing that moment to shorten his tale (hmph!) But since he tells Gwaihir he NEEDS a horse, he surely told Theoden the same thing. And the fact that he later says of Shadowfax, "I sent him back to his master" makes me think that surely the arrangement must have been for the LOAN of a horse, rather than an outright gift. Right? Admittedly, even borrowing such a horse as Shadowfax would be a blow, but it seems to me he meant for the horse to come back all along -- which makes him not such a bad fellow after all. What do you think?


Well-Known Member
Hi Steve,

I think that both Gandalf and Theoden would agree with you.

After Wormtongue has fled the Golden Hall, Theoden says to Gandalf. "I would give you a gift ere we go, at your own choosing. You have only to name aught that is mine. I reserve now only my sword!"

Gandalf replies, "As for your gift, lord, I will choose one that will fit my need: swift and sure. Give me Shadowfax! He was only lent before, if loan we may call it. But now I shall ride him into great hazard, setting silver against black: I would not risk anything that is not my own. And already there is a bond of love between us."

Theoden responds, "You choose well, and I give him now gladly. Yet it is a great gift. There is none like to Shadowfax."