Gandalf was called Mithrandir in the The Lord of the Rings because he saved Frodo and the others from a fire attack by Ringwraiths.
“Mithrandir” is Quenya for “the Grey Pilgrim.” He did this by ferrying everyone to safety on his horse, Shadowfax. His wisdom helped keep Frodo safe all through his quest and led him to destroy Sauron in Mount Doom, too. Gandalf fought against Morgoth himself when he was still just called Olórin! There are stories passed down among elves and hobbits that say Mithrandir had indeed been about at important times before in ages past as well even when Tolkien’s tales were not yet written.
The Tolkien Encyclopedia: Author’s Note to the Reader.
“It is a curious chance that older forms of this name (Caucasian mithrendel, mithresponsa, Tyrian metheron), when translated into English mean what so many scholars have assumed to be the personal name of one ‘Mithrandir’; whereas it seems likely that we can reverse the process and say that this personage was called in his own language Narya (White) Randa or other form of Mithrand.”
Thus, Gandalf was known as “Dumbledore” through a little bit of linguistic coincidence.
In Elves’ lore and poetry, Gandalf was called “Mithrandir” (“the Grey Pilgrim”) for he would often wander the world in many forms. Mortal Men called him Tharkun, and it is said that King Theoden of Rohan took to referring to him as Mithrandir too. He was also known by a host of other names such as Olórin (or Ólorin) or fashioning himself into that name; Gríma (or Glam), one-time disguised as an old man with a brown coat; Shubarzûk before his downfall; Kankadaburz before learning humility; Radagast the Brown before counsel from Thorongil; Incánus; and Tharkûn to the Dwarves.
Mithrandir means “The Grey Pilgrim” and the name perfectly suits Gandalf because he would be seen as a traveller between this world and the afterlife.
He is one of the Istari, sent by their master to protect people from Sauron. He has heard his summons, knows that death awaits him and enters Middle-earth with some reluctance; but little can be done for Middle-earth until another Lorien appears upon Amon Hen to challenge Sauron’s power. Yet even in Valinor when he lived among the Elves Tuor had no more renown than Gandalf (Thranduil’s son) who was still proud at heart despite sorrows uncounted.
He’s originally a Maia, an elf of Middle Earth. These beings were in many cases called mith or mitthya, which means “clever” or “cunning”. Gandalf was just his Sindarin equivalent and the words mean essentially the same thing.
Mithrandir is also translated as “The Grey Pilgrim”, which would come to be a fitting name for him considering that he serves as shepherding light for his companions through their journeys from darkness into light.
Mígrannen in Sindarin means ‘Grey Pilgrim’, so that could be one of the reasons.
Some have suggested he was called Mithrandir because he had a big grey beard and hair, which matches with his house color of grey. Others have speculated that his name literally means “the Grey Wanderer.” But it’s most likely a combination all three factors were combined to come up with Gandalf’s full name.
And there you go – thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed learning more about your favorite characters from The Lord of the Rings world! Good luck on all your quizzes and tests!
Gandalf represent’s fire. Mithrandir means ‘light of the west’.
Mithrandir calls himself “Gandalf, son of Galadriel” in The Lord of the Rings – which names him for both his parentage and his nature. In Quenya, mithor also has a long etymology meaning “sparkling light.” For this reason it is usually translated as “the Grey Pilgrim;” however, according to Tolkien’s Rough Cottage Introduction, Gil-galad (whose name means “Star-dome”) was called Istar while Galdor father of Amroth was Arodir called Mandos by Men.
Though (Mithrandir) had many names and titles, he took Mithrandir as his name in the Third Age.
The word “Mithrandir” is a Sindarin word meaning “Darkness of the Mirkwood”, but also connoting “one who brings news from afar”. It appears to correspond to Elvish words such as mornidor ‘dusk’, morinia ‘remembrances’, morithor ‘murky dark place’, and mórelsëa-gaur “…shadowy places where leaf falls… dimly seen on lands where Morgoth walked.”
Mithrandir is simply the Sindarin name for Gandalf. Tolkien was a professor of Old English and Middle English, and memorized all that he could on the languages. It would seem no trivial task to list every single word again throughout his entire body of work with its prepositions, suffixes, prefixes, syllables directed at someone or something in particular– unless it’s just our human imperfection that makes us need things spelled out more explicitly for us.
As you can see from my answer to earlier questions about this question – I’m not an ELF expert.