Gandalf vs. Obi Wan

Do you prefer your wizards old-fashioned, with Elven swords and magic wands, or futuristic with glowing light sabers and Jedi mind tricks? Either way, you’re guaranteed a kindly if somewhat gruff old man in robes, so you can’t go too wrong.

Both characters have shown great power coupled with great restraint in using it, but what we’re talking about here is a classic hero-vs-hero fight. Every good team-up comic has it, that moment when the leads, no realizing who the other is, come to blows. They duke it out for a while before realization dawns and they go after the bad guys together. But in that slugfest, who has the upper hand? Let’s break it down.

You can make the case that Obi Wan actually does more “magic” where we can see it than Gandalf does, despite the latter being the more traditional spell-slinger. From “These are not the droids you’re looking for” to making his light saber fly to him, the Jedi seems to have a lot of tricks up his sleeve. Gandalf’s magic seems to be the more sedate, longer-term, intrinsic-to-the-world sort. The most I can recall him doing directly is lighting up his staff. All Obi Wan has to do is turn on his lightsaber for that!

On the other hand, Gandalf took down a Balrog. And we seem him wading through hordes of orcs, rather than one inebriated drunk at a divy bar and the occasional Sand Person. Granted, the young Obi Wan is pretty darn impressive in any kind of general scrum, whether it be security droids or Darth Mauls, but this is the older, less spry version we’re talking about.

I suspect this fight would hinge on whether a light saber can cut through Glamdring the magic sword. We can be pretty confident that Jedi mind tricks would be ineffective against someone as intelligent as Gandalf. We’d probably see lots of flotsam and jetsam being flung about, and some really nice swordplay, but not a lot of flashy Potter-verse style spells being exchanged.

So how about it, folks, which sort of wizard would you pick to win this fight?

25 Responses to Gandalf vs. Obi Wan

  1. Lol, just saw this the other day; Darth Vader vs. Gandalf. And it was done pretty well.

    http://blastr.com/2012/05/video-darth-vader-vs-gand.php

    As far as Obi Wan goes, I’ll have to give it some thought. My inclination is to give it to Gandalf becuase I think you can do more with magic than you can with the force, but I get the impression from the movies that Obi Wan would be a better flat out warrior. I think Obi could have taken the Balrog, and not gotten dragged down when it fell, leaping out of the way becuase the force warned him it was coming.

    But just fighting each other….and only going off of the movies…..I’d have to give it to Obi-Wan. Gandalf didn’t really use that much magic in the movies.

  2. okay, so obiwan’s lightsaber would chop up gandalf’s sword and staff, then gandalf would use his flash-of-light power to temporarily blind obiwan. then obiwan would force-push gandalf away, whereupon gandalf would use his wand-breaking power to destroy obiwan’s lightsaber, and they would both be left with just their powers. gandalf would call the eagles to attack obiwan, but obiwan would use the jedi mind-trick on them, confusing them, and causing them to crash to the ground. at this point the two are tied.
    i believe that obiwan would get worn out quicker, as gandalf has a ring of power and is practically immortal.
    gandalf wins.

  3. oh, i MIGHT change my mind….

  4. Who to choose, who to choose?

    Eeney, meeny, miney, moe…

  5. I went with Gandalf out of sheer spite, since the Phantom Menace ruined my childhood! I DARE YOU TO DEFY MY LOGIC!!!! BWAH HAH HAH HAH!

  6. DariusDemetrius

    I put my money on Gandalf, while the movies don’t show that much in the way of spell slinging, he is the greater warrior and his magic is stronger, even the less brash Obi wan of a new hope doesn’t show as much forethought as Gandalf. There battle would be akin to a game of chess, but Obi wans flaw is he only thinks two to three moves ahead while Gandalf is already counting the finite possibilities of every move and is five moves ahead.
    Obi wan may understand (to quote uncle ben) “With great power comes great responsibility”, conversly Gandalf is from “Responsibility gives the ability”, and though he keeps his magic hidden, he was on par with Suaron, who makes the Emperor look like a stooge. Thus Gandalf has greater power, wisdom, forethought, and is the stronger fighter.

    Post Scriptum – Pure energy (even contained and focussed) cannot shatter one of the Elven blades of old

  7. I’m leaning towards Gandalf at this point. For one thing, I don’t think the lightsaber would be able to cut the sword, because, well, it’s a magic wizard sword. Given the sword, Gandalf is probably more spry than Obi Wan, has been shown fighting bigger, badder hoards than Obi Wan, and if I recall correctly, Gandalf is also good with fire, which while we never really see him use it in combat, presumably he could if he needed to.

    I’m not completely sure yet, though, so I think I’m gonna hold off on voting until I see some more arguments…

  8. The answer is Gandalf. He’s ishtari – a demigod – in human form. The films and books don’t show him working at full blast, because him doing powerful magics would derail the story. His abilities are much greater than shown in the movies and books – his greatest exploit, killing Balrog happened off-screen. Obi-Wan doesn’t have that problem, since everyone carries blasters and flies starfighters. The stuff we see in movies are pretty close to his full repertoire of “magic”. Now for the final blow. Concider what Gandalf and Obi-Wan really did in the movies and books. Lord of the rings – and to lesser extent Hobbit – were success stories. Gandalf succeeded in doing, what he set out to do. Star Wars on the other hand is basically one long cavalcade of Obi-Wan dropping the ball and making a galaxy sized mess. The first three movies – the prequels – are basically the story of him setting out to raise a savior that will bring Force back into balance, but instead the little kid everyone else warned is too old to become a jedi becomes the greatest weapon the siths had ever had. Then in New hope he sets out to rescue rebellion, but dies instead. Then in Empire strikes back he sets out to have Luke trained into the ways of the jedi, but instead he runs straight into Darth Vader’s lap the first chance he gets. Finally in the Return of the jedi Obi-Wan tries to make Luke kill Darth Vader and fails in that too. The movie finally turns out OK, but that’s despite of Obi-Wan, not because of him. If he had had his way, Luke would have killed Darth Vader on Endor and emperor Palpatine would have gaggled madly on Death star and blown the rebel fleet to smithereens. Gandalf is a success story, Obi-Wan’s exploits are study into nature of failure.

  9. What Kalkin said. I was just about to bring up the demigod thing. Also I’d like to point out that Gandalf is immortal – meaning that he has the benefit of experience because he’s centuries old (maybe we should do gandalf vs wolverine?) and also he has shown that for a frail old man he can take quite a bit of punishment (imprisonment by Saruman, crossing swords with the Balrog, surviving grave injury stranded on a mountaintop, and of course, resisting the power of the Ring).

  10. These are much better reasons to vote Gandalf than my petty bickery. :)

    Anyway…

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    1. Vote for the Weekly Art Creations to be made by myself. The current item poll is boots. Here are links to the reference images…

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  11. Oh, please. No matter what else happens, Obi-Wan shall not pass!

  12. Gandalf Sacrificed himself to help Frodo escape from the Balrog… later returning as Gandalf the White

    Obi Wan sacrificed himself to help Luke escape from the Death Star… later returning as Obi Wan the Ghost

    So just going on survival (since they’re equally matched, otherwise), it’s wizard hats off to the firework seller

  13. Like this would ever happen. Gandalf will disappear near the end of the first act to take care of something only he can, and be gone for about half the installment. By the time he comes back, Obi-Wan would have sacrificed himself.
    Okay, in a theoretical fight, Gandalf would likely have the upper hand, but every week, if it’s two good-guys matched up against each other, someone points out that it’s inconceivable the two would actually fight. This week, it appears that person would be me.

    Also, I caught this from George Takei’s facebook feed (pic totally related): http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/163305_464092903620168_205344452828349_100720552_527707339_n.jpg

  14. Ok, yeah, definitely going with Gandalf.

  15. DiCicatriz

    I would have to go with Gandalf because while his orders expressly prohibited him from using the full extent of his abilities as a Maia of Valinor to aid the peoples of Middle-Earth, there were no such stipulations as to his dealings of alien knights from a different galaxy. He has Glamdring, forged in Gondolin during the the height of Noldor society in Middle-Earth; Narya, one of the Three Rings of Power forged by Celebrimbor, and centuries of wisdom and experience, millenia if you count the part of his life in which he existed before the universe was created. Not to mention that when his human form did in fact die it was God (Ilúvatar really, but I mean c’mon the All-Father, the creator of all life, it’s a thinly veiled reference at best) Himself who sent Gandalf back and empowered him again to complete his mission. Gandalf just has too much going for him for the Obi-Wan “I Am Long Past My Glory Days of High-Speed CGI Lava Battles” Kenobi we meet in A New Hope.

  16. i vote obi-won oh and Jeff thank you for putting this mach up on my birthday

  17. Gandalf won. Obiwan lost. Gotta go with a winner. Besides, Star Wars sucked worse and was just as pretentious as Lord of the Rings.

  18. dblade:
    I went with Gandalf out of sheer spite, since the Phantom Menace ruined my childhood! I DARE YOU TO DEFY MY LOGIC!!!! BWAH HAH HAH HAH!

    whoa there tiger. settle down. ;)

  19. William Peterson

    Gandalf the Grey might lose to Yoda… But, c’mon! Obi-Wan lost to “Little Orphan Annie” (formerly known as Darth Vader)! No contest…

  20. spidercow2012

    I don’t know. Probably Gandalf.
    I’m really more interested in Cave Troll vs. Rancor.
    Or Gandalf vs. Magneto, so McKellen gets paid twice.

  21. who’s got the link?! It was excellent! I saw it connected to hm . . .
    Gandalf: You shall not pass! … OWK: – – ok, I would spoil it. But AFTER that, either A. OWK starts to kill him and the Force tells him not to.
    OR B. OWK survives to blunder another day and meets Gandalf the Beige coming the other way eating a funnel cake, saying he’s glad THEY don’t come in every other flav–mm. I must be hungry . . .

  22. spidercow2012:
    Or Gandalf vs. Magneto, so McKellen gets paid twice.

    lol, yes. :)

  23. Sauronminion

    Remember, Glamdring not only blocked, it SHATTERED the Balrog’s fire sword in one hit. A lightsaber is pure energy, but a Balrog sword is pure fire. I’m betting that when Obi-wan attacks, the lightsaber will explode in his face, leaving him unarmed. There’s no fire whip and chasm this time, so Obi-wan is dead.

  24. I like both a lot, however I did have to say Gandalf. I say this for two reasons. One, Gandalf has magic, which is a little more open ended than the force in terms of what it can do, meaning theoretically he can do almost anything. The second reason, is that when Obi-wan fights Vader, he dies, saying, “If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!” At the same time, Gandalf battles the Balrog and they both get plunged into a large canyon, however Gandalf just comes back a while later as Gandalf the white, so he actually DID get struck down and become more powerful, Obi-wan just said he would. Still, really like Obi-wan though.

  25. ProwlerKnight

    Definitly Gandalf, since like everyones stated Magic is limitless in a sense while the force isn’t. Plus Gandalfs shown more capabilities in combat then Obi Wan has, and with the magic sword he has enough to strike down Obi Wan.