Gandalf the Grey meets England

It has been an exceptionally tiring day for the old wizard. Not only has he recently finished his long journey from one side of Middle Earth to another, but as he went to sleep on the bed of The Prancing Pony, he woke up, suddenly, on a strange bench, in some foreign, loud, foul smelling land. In fairness to this place, it was certainly colourful. Gandalf sat up, searching for his staff. It was right beside the bench, on the grass, which was damp with the early morning dew. He grumbled to himself, and shook of the water. He quickly heated his staff up a bit, so it would not be as cold. He then took a look at his surroundings. A quick glance told him he was in some city or town of men, but where, he could not even guess. The people wore strange garments, and there were noisy things going by, some larger than others. Another glance, and he saw some people step out of these things. Somewhere else, someone got in, and the thing went off. Gandalf reasoned that it must've been the common mode of transportation around this part of the world. They were frightfully quick; they went as a horse of Rohan at a gallop. There were large buildings of magnificent make, stretching into the sky. They seemed to be made mostly of glass. Gandalf was impressed by this as well. They were not of the level of the dwarves, or elves, or even the Númenorean at their peak, and certainly not of Valinor, and many of them were far colder seeming, but they were impressive none the less, considering the main component was glass. He turned his gaze back to the transportation. This seemed mostly metal. They were releasing a fume, which Gandalf guessed was a result of something inside it, for it certainly wasn't the cause of the speed of these strange contraptions. They were apparently also the cause of the noise. Then someone sped past on another strange contraption, one with two wheels only, and was considerably noisier. Then Gandalf, more confused than ever, turned his gaze to a nearby passer-by, humming a strange tune. He was a larger fellow than anyone else nearby, with a beard that stood out. He seemed an ideal person to talk to, and ask where he was. He stopped the man.

'Excuse, my dear fellow,' said Gandalf, slowly getting up. The man looked down to him. 'I don't suppose you could tell me where I am. I seem to have gotten terribly lost last night.'

The large man, though surprised and confused, obliged to tell him was in a place called "London". Gandalf was now even more confused. He asked where that was, and learnt it was in a place called "England". Gandalf, now more confused than someone his of age and knowledge should be, thanked him, and said perhaps he'll just find a library. He turned to leave, but was stopped by the giant fellow.

'Hang on now,' he began. 'I just need to know, are you a wizard, by any chance?'

Surprised, Gandalf considered this before answering. 'Well, yes, I suppose you could call me that.'

'And you don't know where on earth you are?' Gandalf nodded. 'Then I know who could help you,' exclaimed the man excitedly. 'Come with me,' the man told him, going past Gandalf. With nothing to lose, Gandalf followed him. At least he might get some answers.

'Now, what's yer name, by the way?' inquired the man, turning his head to Gandalf. Again, Gandalf considered this.

'I have many names, but you may call me Gandalf. Gandalf the Grey. And you are?' Gandalf asked him, turning his head now.

'Hagrid. Rubeus Hagrid. Where abouts are you from?' They turned down a street, and went down a flight of stairs, to a platform, where there was even more noise. Gandalf chuckled.

'Now, that is a long tale, that I think can wait for another time,' replied Gandalf. 'The better question, I should think, is where are we going?' he asked, now and then wincing, as large machines turn up, and leave after people get on. More strange transportation, Gandalf guessed. He desperately needed a library, where he could read in peace and quiet, and learn more about the strange world he has arrived in.

'Hogwarts,' replied Hagrid, eagerly. Gandalf looked at him in more confusion.

'Hogwarts?' he asked, slowly. Now it was Hagrid's turn to look at him confused.

'Now, don't tell me you never 'eard of Hogwarts. The greatest school of Witchcraft and Wizardry there is.'

Gandalf shook his head. 'No, never. This is all very strange and new to me, my friend. I'm afraid I don't know much of anything around here.'

Hagrid looked both amazed, and surprised. 'Then I suppose you've ne'er heard of Dumbledore either, then.'

'Dumbledore, no, I can't say I have.'

Hagrid stopped as they reached a pillar. He looked at Gandalf intensely. 'Are you sure yer a wizard, Gandalf?' Gandalf looked back at him, intensely, and there was a flame in his eye.

'I said, you could call me that. The term wizard is a loose one, where I come from. Take me to this Dumbledore, and I will explain everything then.' There was an intensity in the way he told Hagrid this, and something in his voice that said he was telling the truth, that made Hagrid believe him. Hagrid conceded, and turned towards the brick pillar.

'Alright. If yer telling the truth, then I might as well take you with me. If not, then Dumbledore will find out, one way or another.' And with that, he stepped right into the brick pillar, vanishing! Startled, Gandalf nearly let out a yell, but kept control of himself. Slowly, he went through the pillar, and coming out on another platform, with Hagrid waiting for him, talking to a woman at a stall. Gandalf looked around, seeing people in all manner odd garments, with small animals, in cages, and boxes, which Gandalf suspected carried things for them. They carried all of this odd looking metal carriages, which they pushed. Just as he was looking around in confusion, Hagrid came up to him with a piece of paper. 'Come on, Gandalf, time to board our train.'

So that's what those are called, Gandalf thought. Hmm, interesting. I shall have to do extensive research, once I get the chance. In any case, either I'm far into the future of Arda, or I'm not in Arda any longer. In both cases, I have to find a way back. Then he turned, and went with Hagrid. Cautiously, he stepped on the train. He thought back to Valinor. Aüle would have enjoyed this place. Of course, Aüle would have improved it immensely, and it would be far more beautiful, with a natural touch, courtesy of Yavannah, but for what it's worth, the humans have done alright. Of course, Hagrid didn't seem entirely human, but he was friendly enough. They found their way to their seats, with Gandalf receiving more than a few odd looks. Sighing, they sat down.

After a few minutes of the trip had passed, Gandalf got curious. 'So, Hagrid,' he began, leaning forward on the table. 'What's your story? I noticed we were getting some odd looks; many were directed at me. Those I can understand. But some were directed towards you. Why is that?' Hagrid shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

'Well, you see,' he began awkwardly. 'My mother was a giant, and my father was a human, and giants don't have much of a good reputation.'

'Oh? And why is that, may I ask? My apologies, this world is all very new to me,' explained Gandalf at Hagrid's shocked look.

'Well, they 'ave a habit of destroying things, and people. They aren't the brightest of creatures, with a fondness for killing.' Hagrid explained this while looking embarrassed.

'Ah, I see. And people often hate and, or, fear giants?' asked Gandalf. Hagrid nodded. 'Now, what I am wondering is, what does Dumbledore have to do with this? You seemed very, how should I say, appalled when you learnt I didn't know who he is. Not something you'd expect from someone who is hated and feared by most people. How did he help you?'

Hagrid looked a bit startled at how Gandalf had figured all this out. But he still answered. 'I went to Hogwarts for three years. On my third year I was framed for some rather bad things, and I was expelled, and banished from practising magic. Dumbledore convinced the 'eadmaster to let me be the Gamekeeper. Dumbledore was the only one who believed I was innocent.'

'He sounds to be an amiable fellow. I shall be glad to meet him.' At that, Gandalf sat back in his seat, and the rest of the journey was in silence, as he went over the events in his head, trying to make sense of what has transpired.

When they had reached their stop, and exited the train, they entered a strange looking town, which Hagrid had dubbed 'Hogsmeade'. Gandalf wondered what else started with 'Hog'.

After searching for a while, they eventually found who Hagrid was apparently searching for. A man a little shorter than Gandalf, with long red robes, a strange looking hat, and long white hair and a similar beard. He reminded Gandalf an awful lot of himself.

'Dumbledore!' called Hagrid, getting the man's attention.

'Ah, Hagrid. I see you've finished the errands I've sent you on,' remarked Dumbledore. He wore pieces of metal with glass on them, and in his eyes was a glint of humour, and care, among other things. 'And who might this be?'

At this point Gandalf decided to step forth. 'I'm Gandalf. Gandalf the Grey,' he introduced himself. 'I've gotten terribly lost, and I'm told you could help me.'

'And what could I tell you that a map could not, may I ask?' He asked this not unkindly, but in a way that held authority. Of course, no mortal had authority higher than Gandalf, but he was impressed nonetheless. Gandalf looked grimly at the man.

'Because,' said Gandalf. 'I am of the opinion that I am not from this time. Or this world.'

At this, Dumbledore's eyebrows raised slightly. He raised his head as though was going to nod, but stopped, before slowly bringing it down. 'Follow me, then.' And with that, he turned and left for a nearby restaurant.

Inside the restaurant, they took their seats at corner table, to talk with some privacy. As soon as they ordered their drinks (Gandalf just had water, for he didn't know what anything was), they started talking.

'So,' started Dumbledore, leaning forward. 'Tell me your tale, my friend.'

Gandalf took out a long pipe, added some pipe weed, lit it – he shocked Dumbledore a tiny bit, as the fire was from his fingers – and began to smoke. He then recounted his tale as best he could, which did not include much. He added his thoughts about the situation, including why he thinks he is in another time and world completely. Dumbledore listened intently to Gandalf's reasoning. Gandalf believed that he was sent here to help in some way, or as a means to get him out of the way back in Middle Earth.

'Now tell me this,' said Dumbledore carefully. 'Why would you have been sent here to help us? Or why would you have been sent here to be out of the way in, uh, Middle Earth, was it?'

Gandalf sighed. Here was the part he most disliked. Explaining who he was. It was ever difficult, to those who do not know of the Maiar, or Ainur in general. And the people in this world certainly did not. And in any case, he had been under orders to not reveal himself as is possible. 'Very well,' he conceded. 'I will tell you. You may not believe, or you may. Whatever your choice, what I say is the absolute truth. This may take some time, but I will say what time allows.' And so Gandalf recounted his tale, from the Ainulindalë, to the War of Wrath, to the downfall of Sauron, and the Allegiance of Elves and Men, to his arrival, with the other four Istari. He explained what he was, and who he was. He was as brief as possible, and did not stop, save for a smoke of his pipe, and receiving his drink. At the end, it was sundown, and both Dumbledore and Hagrid were both dumbfounded, and at a loss for words. This was a somewhat new feeling for Dumbledore, who had not been at a loss for words in a long while. After many minutes, Dumbledore spoke up.

'This is all very incredible,' he began at length. 'Is there any way to prove this?' Gandalf shook his head.

'Not easily,' he stated. 'And certainly not in here.' He sighed and drank some of his water. The look Dumbledore shared with Hagrid was not lost on him, however, but he put it aside.

'Well, I can think of one way.' Dumbledore produced a stick from his robes, and pointed it at Gandalf. Despite its appearance, Gandalf sensed some measure of power in it. 'Legilimens,' he whispered. Gandalf felt something brush against the defences of his mind. As if something was banging at a door, demanding to enter. Gandalf quickly realised that it was Dumbledore, trying to gain access to his mind. He quickly pushed him out, with enough force to make Dumbledore wince.

'I would not do that if I were you, young man.' Something flashed in Gandalf's eyes that made Dumbledore pause. This man's defences were formidable. But he had to know the truth.

'I suppose you wouldn't mind giving me access to your memories? To verify your story.' Dumbledore was wary of this man. Not everyone calls him young, and not everyone has defences as formidable as his. And something tells him that this man could destroy him with a wave of his hand, if he so fancied, even if his story was false.

The light in Gandalf's eyes faded, slowly. He considered for a moment. At last he spoke, slowly. 'I will grant you access to certain memories. But I must warn you: do not, under any circumstance, go beyond the memories I say you can. If you do, the consequences will be terrible.' With that, Gandalf brought forth the necessary memories, and opened his mind, partially, and nodded his assent. Dumbledore once again cast the spell, and entered the mind of Gandalf the Grey.

He started off with the events that brought him here. Everything was exactly as was told. Then he went to the memories that came before these events. What he saw was, in a word, indescribable. There was the fall of Sauron, the Allegiance of Men and Elves, yes, but even greater than that was the War of Wrath. Gods and Elves fighting, continents sinking, mountains crumbling! But even the magnitude of that war paled in comparison to what came next. Or before that, rather. The Ainulindalë. The song that started it all. The beginning of the universe. It was brief, barely a glimpse. But it was more than enough for Dumbledore. He withdrew from Gandalf's mind.

'Very well, Gandalf. I believe you now. I will help you.'

Gandalf set back in his seat. 'I'm very glad.'

'But you present a particular problem. Namely, you seem to be from a separate time and place. It will require much study. It will take a very long time. You will need a place to stay, and money to buy food.' A glint came into Dumbledore's eyes. Gandalf recognised it immediately.

'If you want me to do something for you, say it and be done with it!' commanded Gandalf. He has had a long day, and had no time for these pointless manoeuvring. Dumbledore bowed his slightly.

'Of course. My apologies. I simply mean to say you will need a job, and that I have one available for you that will rather easy for you, I think .'

At this at this, Gandalf raised an eyebrow. 'Oh?' he asked, indicating to Dumbledore to go on.

'I want you to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts.' Now this made Gandalf pause.