The White Council: The Introverted Intuitives of Middle-Earth

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Disclaimer: NJs are not psychic; they do not have magical abilities that allow them to perfectly predict the future. What they do have is a far-reaching gaze that can come up with the most likely outcome based on the information at hand.

This weekend, feeling a strong need to revisit Middle-earth, I sat down and watched The Lord of the Rings. For the first time, I was struck by how many Ni-users are in this fantasy series! Introverted Intuition, or Ni, looks far into the future to think about the consequences of current actions and to form a long-term plan of action. It is, as Arwen would call it, “the gift of foresight,” and is utilized by Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, and Elrond. The White Council members shown in the films are all dominant intuitives, which makes sense considering the guardians of Middle-earth should have a far-reaching gaze.

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Gandalf has always been my favorite; the wise but playful wizard who is good natured but also tends to lose his temper at others’ incompetence. He is, perhaps, the best example of Ni thinking both in the long and short term; he often sets things in motion because he knows something will come of it, but he isn’t quite certain of the details until he gets there: he knows Gollum has a part yet to play, for good or evil; he knows to send Sam with Frodo; he foresees the downfall of Helm’s Deep and predicts his return with Éomer and his armies; he knows every move Sauron is making, and what his tactics will be; he foresees and prepares for his own death in the Mines of Moria; he chooses Bilbo as the burglar; he knows that he is heading into a trap, etc. He is constantly derailed, distracted, and forced to deal with problems that detour him from his primary objective, but he short-term schemes to tackle each unexpected development, within a larger parameter and higher life calling– the long-term protection and defense of Middle-earth.

In the books Gandalf is more of an INTJ in his strategic approach and forthright comments, but in the films he uses a lot of Fe; he is forever choosing diplomacy ahead of battle tactics, and crossing social and racial barriers in order to unite people in a common goal. His humanitarian-based approach is sharply contrasted with Saruman’s emphasis on reason, logic, and action – traits he shares with Elrond, the other INTJ. The dynamic is shown at its best during the White Council scenes in The Hobbit, where Gandalf uses diplomacy to push his point, while Elrond and Saruman are more interested in the facts of the situation.

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Saruman is an example of an INTJ gone bad in his futuristic goal of gathering power at the cost of his moral decency. He abandons the task the Creator set him to, to pursue his own agenda. From the start, he showed less interest in humanity than in maintaining the rules of the Order, and in making rational decisions — which is why he was chosen as the Head of the White Council. This, in of itself, is not bad, because it illustrates how capable an INTJ can be when he holds to his convictions. Unfortunately, Saruman let his motives slide over the years. Even so, his selective perspective shows the problems in Ni-Te: he is unwavering when he makes up his mind and refuses to consider alternate perspectives and possibilities (Ni), and allows rationality to discredit anything he cannot explain or that seems to be an emotionally-based decision (Te).

His construction of an army for Sauron shows the immediate benefits of Ni: when presented with a desired outcome, or vision of what he wants out of the future, Saruman can come up with a way to make that vision a reality – in his case, destroying half of Fangorn to feed the fires of industry and mass-breeding orcs and goblins to produce his Uruk-hai. Ni tends to develop a long-term vision or life goal (for Saruman — power; for Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond — protecting Middle-earth), but is capable of short-term problem-solving to help bring that goal into reality. His weakness comes when Treebeard and the Ents wreak havoc on Isengard, rendering his master plan unworkable and leaving him with limited options (another downfall of Ni – it can be caught off guard when unforeseen problems arise and struggles to recuperate, since its narrow focus has been thwarted).

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This brings us to Elrond. People often dislike him and find him too “stern,” or blame him for trying to “ruin” his daughter’s relationship with Aragorn, but I fully understand his frustration and his perspective. Elrond thinks not in the moment, but in the long-term; until Aragorn accepts his responsibilities and becomes king (only after extensive prodding from Elrond, I might add), Elrond doesn’t foresee anything in his daughter’s future to vindicate her sacrifice in remaining in Middle-earth. If she stays, she will eventually lose everyone she loves and cease to exist. So, as any decent Ni-Te father would do, he tries to appeal to her on a logical foundation of this is what will happen if you stay in Middle-earth. What looks cold to an outsider – showing her a dark vision of the future – is an act of kindness on his part, because Elrond loves her enough not to want her to suffer through that pain. Genuine love is the desire to protect others from optional pain.

Being an INTJ means he tells her the truth without sugar-coating it; INFJs wobble, beat around the bush, and fear losing relationships by warning people against things — they lack directness, and, as a result, often fail to stop people from making bad choices. Elrond goes straight for the heart of the problem, without fear of upsetting her, because he loves her enough not to care if she hates him for being honest. It is no fun to force someone to consider the negative future consequences of a desire they have in the present. Most of the time, the person doesn’t think the NJ’s prediction or caution is valid, so they make that choice regardless – leaving the NJ to watch helplessly as their life goes down the negative path they predicted, ultimately placing them in the emotionally devastating position they warned them about six months ago. In hindsight, they know the NJ was right… but often when hindsight arrives, it’s wrapped up in a layer of pain, so it is not appreciated. That, in a way, is the hardest thing about being a Ni-dominant: knowing what is coming, but being unable to stop it because few people ever listen to you. Perhaps that is why I have always adored Elrond; I know his actions are not out of selfishness or cruelty, but out of love.

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It is Elrond’s “cold,” rationally-driven Te that allows him to do everything in his power to change the future, and to help Aragorn “become the man [he was] born to be.” Elrond takes rational action when confronted with problems: he convenes a Council to determine what to do with the Ring; he sends the elves to Helm’s Deep; he tries to change his daughter’s mind; he re-forges Narsil and sends Aragorn into the paths of the dead. His foresight makes him wise, and his rationality helps him plan and execute moves that save Middle-earth. He is what Saruman could, and ought to, have been. Elrond shows the both the weakness of Ni in his initial convictions, and the strength of it, in that when Arwen presents him with a different perspective, he reconsiders his conclusion and changes it to embrace a more hopeful vision of the future.

Because Ni is a subjective function, or open to personalized impressions and experiences, and based wholly on personal opinion, it can change its opinion. Ni itself is the process of taking in enormous amounts of data, studying it from every possible angle, and reaching one conclusion, plan of action,  or outcome. The NJ instinct, like Elrond, is to stick with an initial conclusion… but the NJ has the power to re-examine initial conclusions and change them. That is what Elrond does. He sees that Arwen will not change her mind or abandon Aragorn, so he decides that if he cannot stop her decision, he will do everything in his power to make her happiness, however short-lived, complete. Elrond uses his futuristic focus to encourage Aragorn to embrace his destiny and become everything he was intended to be. That, in a sense, is what Ni-users should strive to do in their relationships. Foresee, anticipate, and assist in the fulfillment of others’ dreams.

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Finally, we have Galadriel, the most elusive and mysterious of the NJs in Middle-earth, the elfin-queen whose sight reaches further than Elrond’s and who has more grace and dignity than Gandalf. Her Ni is intensely focused and private in a sense that it reflects primarily her own future (as so often, introspective Ni does); Galadriel chooses not to accept the Ring because she envisions what she might become (a dark queen, beautiful and terrible as the dawn, stronger than the foundations of the earth, feared and adored by all who behold her). She foresees Aragorn’s future with Arwen, the fate of the men at Helm’s Deep if they do not intervene, and the approaching dominion of men. She “reads” the fates of each member of the Fellowship, and rewards (or warns) them accordingly, with things they will need on their journey. Like Gandalf, her Ni is paired with Fe, which makes her a diplomatic but keen scrutinizer of men and hobbits’ motivations.

INFJs are known for having “instincts” about people and sensing their true intentions and trustworthiness; they often know what is hidden under the surface, as Galadriel does – she knows Boromir will try to steal the Ring, that Sam is the most faithful of all Frodo’s companions, that Gandalf deliberately distracted them at the Council so the dwarves could slip away, and that his “death” was temporary. She shows the deeply mystical side of the INFJs and their tendency to be harsh critics of those they deem to be untrustworthy. That deep, emotional warmth that certain members of the Fellowship felt upon meeting her was not shared by Boromir! In a sense, she embodies the first impression of an INFJ — a distant, mysterious, externally cold but internally warm presence. She shows compassion to those who need it, and is a loyal friend to those who have earned her trust, but is not at first glance warm.

NJs are often misunderstood, often vilified, and rarely portrayed well… except, it seems, in Middle-earth.

25 Replies to “The White Council: The Introverted Intuitives of Middle-Earth”

  1. Interesting how different the characters are from movies to books. Elrond and Saruman are probably INTJs in both, but Gandalf goes from INTJ to INTP. On Galadriel, I’m not sure. I think that she definitely comes across as an INFJ in the movies, but I wonder whether she’s a bit INTJ in LOTR and the Silmarillion. I’m reading through LOTR again, so maybe I’ll have a better idea afterward.

    1. Yup. I’m re-reading The Hobbit at the moment and Gandalf is still playful, but much less accommodating and tactful. He’s way more commanding and tactical. I haven’t read LotR in a long time, so I can’t shed much light on his behavior there.

      Funnily enough, however the characters change from book to screen, all of them have INFJ “tropes” in the sense that their worldview is humanitarian-based, rather than industry or science-based as most real-life INTJs tend toward.

      1. I think a humanitarian value system is possible in INTJs, though—it’s just that those values tend more to appear more easily in theory than practice. (Actually, I have philosophical quibbles with the word “efficiency” as it is generally used. “Efficient” means something achieves its purpose in the best way possible. But what that purpose is decides whether a given action is efficient or not. Usually when people say “efficient,” they mean “fast” or “without anything but the bare essentials.” Fast food restaurants are very efficient—unless you want a slower, more relaxed experience, in which case they are a massive waste.)

        Some INTJs figure this out sooner than others. Thus problems with young, generally male INTJs upsetting other people and then blaming the people they upset for their reaction. But most INTJs eventually realize that upsetting other people is extremely inefficient! (I’ve been trying to explain this to my younger brother—an Aspie who may be INTJ—but with no positive results to date. I guess it takes time.)

        Anyway, I know INTJs who have a very humanitarian focus in theory. This focus can show up more easily in their writing, though, than when you see them in person. I interviewed a (presumably) INTJ librarian once who came across as very warm in her emails to me but seemed colder in person. She obviously cared about helping me, but she had more trouble than a feeler in expressing it. That’s really where I think the actors in LOTR come off as a little more INTP or INFJ than classic INTJ—they all show Fe. Gandalf could say a lot of his lines about Gollum having a purpose while being typically INTJ. But he infuses a warmth that I don’t think comes across in a typical INTJ conversation.

        What makes me wonder about Galadriel being INTJ is twofold—she spends most of the First Age being tutored by Melian (though I know some very academic INFJs), and she clearly feels some attraction to the idea of being powerful and scary. I don’t think the INFJs I know would ever want to be seen like that…or would they? 😉

        1. I’m fairly confident that my mother is an INTJ, and she does care about people, but because she doesn’t use Fe, she has a hard trouble identifying with people she can’t connect to using her Fi. She is also often frustrated at others making “emotional” decisions over logical ones; for her, planning for the future and avoiding trouble is just as important as maintaining relationships… in some cases, more important.

          One INTJ expressed an opinion about Gandalf thusly: that it is irrational to send a hobbit off to Mordor carrying the One Ring, and think that is a good plan. His point was that Gandalf is too mystical, and too irrational at times, to be an INTJ. When countered with the fact that Gandalf intended for the entire Fellowship to go along, he countered that when Gandalf returned, he saw no need to go after Frodo, but instead dealt with other concerns along the way, leaving the fate of Middle-earth in the hands of said hobbit. Book Gandalf? INTJ. Movie Gandalf? Lots of Fe, I think, and he is more of an analyzer (Ti) than an organizer (Te).

          A disproportionate amount of NFJs, including myself, are drawn to very dark things – and often have a fascination with villains, so I don’t think it’s a universal trait to want to be loved and be nice; I suspect many of us harbor dark fantasies about power and the thrill of having people fear us. If people fear you, they do not conflict with you, and I have to think that the “dark side” of Fe would enjoy that.

          ETA: Found This, a conversation between INTJs on whether or not it is instinctive not to care about people. Humanitarianism is not their natural goal, usually.

          1. My response to the INTJ who thought Gandalf was being “illogical” in giving Frodo the Ring would be “Who else would he have given it to?” Clearly something had to be done with it, and if it corrupted Frodo, he would be less dangerous than if someone stronger took it and was corrupted. Gandalf’s decision to send the Ring with Frodo doesn’t really prove whether he’s INTJ or INTP. Interestingly, in the movie, Elrond–I agree with your INTJ description–is the one who wants to send the Ring with Frodo because that seems like the most logical thing to do. (Also, INTJs’ first function is Ni, which is anything but logical. C.S. Lewis, for instance, is a good example of a famous INTJ with a huge mystical streak.)

            Maybe I wasn’t clear on what I meant by a humanitarian focus. INFJs behave in a humanitarian way because they feel empathy for others–Fe. If INTJs behave in a humanitarian way, they are motivated by their values–their Fi. You’re right that INTJs don’t naturally feel empathy. I’ve read a few mature INTJs say they have developed it over time by putting out a lot of effort, but even then it’s weak, compared to the empathy in a feeling type. But an INTJ with well developed Fi may act like a humanitarian based on his/her values. For instance, Susan B. Anthony is often considered a humanitarian, and she was probably INTJ. It was ultimately her sense of justice–the result of her Fi–that led her to do what she did. Fi as well as Fe can drive humanitarian action.

            Values like justice and freedom really appeal to INTJs. So an INTJ might want to prevent someone like Sauron from forcing everyone to do things his way. Thus Gandalf’s actions on behalf of humanity–assuming he’s INTJ in the books. Movie Elrond behaves in a humanitarian way as well, sending Elves to help Rohan–once Galadriel convinces him that it is the most logical thing to do. Elrond values freedom–his Fi at work–which leads him to act in a fairly humanitarian way. He lacks Fe, though, and rarely shows anything resembling empathy.

            Speaking of Galadriel–an INFJ being drawn the whole way to the dark side is a really scary thought. It’s interesting to wonder whether INTJ Saruman or INFJ Galadriel would have been more dangerous had both gone bad.

          2. Get the eagles to give them a ride to Mordor, so they can chuck the Ring into the fire and be done with it? 😉

            C.S. Lewis. Ah, yes, there’s a fascinating discussion topic. Most INTJs reject the claim that he is one, because they can’t understand his brand of logic / don’t agree with his conclusions. I haven’t read about him (I routinely read him, but not about him) enough to form an opinion, but if he was indeed an INTJ, he had an insane amount of Fi-patience! Lovely man. And yes, Ni can have a mystical streak – it even occasionally turns up in fictional INTJs. (William Bell from Fringe, for example.)

            Gandalf is not an INTP – no brainstorming sessions, and no explosion of ideas; he’s very Ni-dominant. But, the fact that he thinks outside the box / has to retreat to think through things is a strong Ti indicator. He’s less of a straight-up organizer (Te) and more of an analyzer (Ti), at least in the films. Book Gandalf, as I mentioned earlier, is more stern / less accommodating of nonsense.

            I just read today a remark by an INFJ who said that as he gets older, so too does his grandfather – an INTJ, who is “softening” emotionally while the INFJ is “becoming more analytical.” I guess one could pose the argument that at Gandalf’s significant age, his inferior functions are well developed.

            NFJs are possibly more dangerous than NTJs when they go evil, because they are much, much more effective in manipulating people’s emotions to accomplish their goals, and often set out to HURT people emotionally. (Ironically, I just wrote and queued a post about NFJs gone bad…)

          3. A slightly grumpy Tolkien, on the eagles: “Eagles are NOT Middle Earth taxis!” :p

            I seem to recall reading something about INFJs who enjoy dreaming of wreaking vengeance on their enemies…. I can see an INFP like Tolkien enjoying that sort of dream, but never putting it into action. Also I’m not sure how good an INFP would be at manipulating someone else’s emotions. They often seem overwhelmed by their own.

            I’m a Lewis fan as well (I’ve read his memoir along with one of his biographies, along with some 20 of his books), and I’m pretty convinced that he was INTJ, with, like you said, extremely developed Fi. Most of the INTJs who think he wasn’t INTJ, from what I’ve read online, tend to suspect that INTJ Christians are mistyped INFJs. I can understand people not identifying with his logic, but I wonder whether that is because he accepted different pieces of evidence as valid—something affected by far more than psychological type. Add cultural variations, Lewis’s high church background, his early loss of his mother, his preference for literature over the sciences, and you’ve got lots of differences that don’t directly stem from his cognitive type.

            I’ve read that Lewis’s writing style, while imaginative, has been criticized for lacking emotion. More to the point, his memoir Surprised by Joy shows him behaving like an INTJ, not INFJ (ISTJ isn’t really a possibility, given how imaginative he was). I can’t find any signs of empathy in the memoir—for instance, Lewis went out of his way to avoid a perfectly innocent neighbor boy who wanted to be friends. He mistrusted relatives who freely expressed their emotions, preferring companions who cared less for him as a person but shared his intellectual interests. At the same time, he had an active inward emotional life from an early age. But you wouldn’t catch the young Lewis showing his emotions or forming relationships for the sake of helping other people. He wanted to be left alone at all costs—a preference that extended to God as well as other people. Fortunately, he matured.

            Usually tertiary functions don’t develop in people until they are older—30s or later. But there are always exceptions to the rule. (I have a close friend, an INFJ, with Ti strong enough to give INTJs a run for their money in an argument.) Trauma isn’t necessary, either—being a Thinker with Feeling parents, or a Feeler with Thinking parents, will do the trick in some cases. My theory on why Lewis’s Fi became so strong at such a young age is tied to Eileen Aron’s ideas about highly sensitive people (HSPs). Most HSPs are introverts and probably feelers, so a highly sensitive extrovert or thinker won’t fit stereotypes very well. When an INTJ is also an HSP, I think—based on a discussion with a female INTJ who, like me, is an HSP—Te and Fi often develop at the same rate. In my case, this meant that I appeared very logical from my early teen years on and rarely felt empathy, while having a fairly active emotional life and being more sensitive to others’ feelings than the average young INTJ.

            Recently I began comparing the probably HSP INTJ Lewis with another probable INTJ author of his era, Flannery O’Connor. Both were Christians, and both (in maturity) tried to be considerate of others’ feelings. O’Connor was definitely not an HSP, though, and it showed. While she and Lewis both incorporated the supernatural into their stories, and both focused their stories on what they saw as ultimate truths (a major characteristic of INTJ writing), O’Connor’s were grotesquely comic, and they still shock readers. Lewis’s are much more nuanced. (O’Connor said that nuance was beyond her.) “Normal” INTJ versus highly sensitive INTJ—there is a world of difference, even if the cognitive functions are the same.

            I agree about Gandalf’s age, though—he doesn’t come off as an HSP, so, assuming he’s INTJ, an Fi that developed with maturity seems more likely.

          4. Ha, ha, I know. Poor Tollers. Everyone gave him a tough time about the eagles. And his constant rewrites.

            I have not read enough about Hitler to be certain of his type, but many people say he is the epitome of an INFJ gone wrong – a visionary, idealist, and mystic, whose passion and individuality inspired an entire nation to the most heinous crimes in modern history. There are plenty of INFP fictional villains, but few in real life – the INFJ villains, on the other hand, are the frightening ones, because they can emotionally detach and let their Ni-Ti do all the work. Ni is a scheming, far-reaching, manipulative function on its own… and can be just as dangerous in the hands of evil Fe as evil Te.

            Some say Lewis was an INTP, but I think he accomplished far too much, in a relatively short amount of time, for that; he was also a successful professor and intellectual thinker, who tended to focus on a task to its completion. I also think, considering at times I have a hard time navigating through his conclusions, that he was a Te-user. He is also, as you pointed out, very sparing in his books. His ideas are ingenious, but the writing itself is very straightforward and lacks friendly details. No one knows what Peter, Susan, Edmund, or Lucy look like, because he never told us! I suspect I like the world he created, and the imagination involved, more than the actual books themselves. (Though, I do love The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce.)

            Sadly, there are not many INTJ Christians… and most INTJs assume any that are, are mistyped, because God is irrational and emotionally-based (tell that to my Te-pastor sometime, heh). But yeah, I think tertiary functions develop sooner than they tend to think; my Ti kicked in, in my teens and is quite well developed; I have to analyze everything. Is there an opposite of HSP? Because while I utilize my Fe in understanding people, accommodating their needs, and tact, I’m really not as personally insulted by things as most INFJs claim to be. I have emotional reactions to things, sure, but I’m not “hurt” by them.

          5. For some reason, the site isn’t letting me reply to your post, so I’m replying to this one.

            Yeah, I have trouble seeing Lewis as a P of any kind. Plus his interests seem more narrowly confined than Ps’ interests are–from what I’m told, anyway. I’ve actually don’t personally know any INTPs. Plus, I don’t recall him using Ti.

            I haven’t read through any biographies of Hitler (yet), so I couldn’t say for sure, but I’ve read that he might have been an ENFP who, when under stress, took on some unhealthy INFJ traits. (http://oddlydevelopedtypes.com/ENFP#Famous%20ENFPs) His teenage lack of studiousness seems more an ENFP thing than an INFJ thing, based on the ENFPs I know, but I couldn’t say for sure.

            I know probably five or six INTJs, and all but one are Christian, so I find the assumption some INTJs have that Christianity is incompatible with INTJ-ness to be annoying. You would think that INTJs were somehow incapable of faith. What they don’t do, in my opinion, is fake faith. They won’t go to church to please their mother, or believe in a higher power because straight-out atheism seems too pessimistic. They prefer facing their doubts head on. Some of the atheistic INTJs that pop up on type forums show appalling historical and cultural ignorance when discussing this topic–you would think that we lived in the Middle Ages, and only INTJs were bright enough to realize that God didn’t exist. In reality, however, medieval INTJs were theists, just like everyone else. Modern culture doesn’t really encourage orthodox Christianity, so INTJ atheists aren’t being very counter-cultural. They just aren’t as likely as some other types to hold onto belief in God-as-Santa.

            I found a series of interviews with an INTJ Anglican priest here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b_wbxAiS8w&list=PLCosGUpLYrQ14tMhFLRFiPz8jlm5eSIcE

            Your mom is an INTJ, right? That might have influenced your Ti to mature early, as well as helped you not to take things too personally. In my case, my mom is an HSP and (probably) ISFJ. I scared her a lot growing up, and still do–not on purpose–but somehow we get along well, despite our differences. Because I care about her, I try to protect her emotionally, and that has carried over to other people. Also, she’s the one who taught me a lot of social skills–all from a very Fe standpoint. While I guess your mom would have taught you social skills from a more Te perspective.

          6. Once a certain number of posts is reached on a thread, the site discontinues the ability to use it. I can’t seem to change that, so starting new threads is always fine. 🙂

            There’s about a 500 page thread on Hitler on PersonalityCafe.com, where people debate his type. They agree for the most part that he was either a twisted INFJ or a twisted ISFP, since they can see Ni traits in his intense mysticism. I wouldn’t know. The Holocaust is so emotionally awful, I stay away from it.

            I think INTJs and INFJs are frequently mistyped (they assume they’re smarter than they are, have better foresight than they do, so they answer Intuitive-leading questions) so there’s a good chance a lot of the ignorant INTJs you are running amuck of aren’t INTJs at all, but mistyped feelers. But yes, my mom had a great deal of influence on me. And… entertainment, I think. I grew up in the late 80’s and 90’s… when women had spunk on television and didn’t take things personally. 🙂

          7. I also wonder whether most INFJs are HSP, meaning the type descriptions are written for them, not the non-HSP INFJs. (There’s probably no research on that yet, sadly.) All the INFJs I’ve known in real life were probable HSPs–though I think it’s harder to “type” someone as an HSP than it is to guess someone’s type using MBTI. And then, where INTJs are concerned, INTJ women/HSPs don’t fit the type descriptions because most INTJs are non-HSP men.

            I’ve read that INFJs typically think they’re INTJ, while INTJs think they are ISTJ. But an INFJ who thinks he/she is INTJ would certainly be a little more defensive. And an ENTJ who thinks he/she is INTJ would be way more overbearing. (Sorry, ENTJs….) MBTI forums can get a little scary sometimes. Sometimes I think all the mature members of certain types just don’t use the Internet. :p

          8. I HOPE that is true, because honestly, there’s a lot about INFJs I don’t relate to. I’m not overly emotional, I tend to make mostly rational decisions, and I get annoyed if people can’t calm down emotionally and think rationally. How much of that is my Te-mom’s influence, I don’t know. I have wondered if I’m an INTJ, but that profile doesn’t fit me either. I’ve looked into ISFP, but they’re super-sensitive too, and not long-term thinkers. I’ve even looked into ENTJ, but I’m not nearly that assertive (although I think I use pretty decent levels of Se, at least in observational terms). So, either I’ve broken the mold, or there’s just a lot of hyper-sensitive INFJs online.

  2. Thanks for the analysis! LOTR is my favourite series, and I really enjoy seeing the various personality types and how they play out within the story. (Unfortunately, many people type characters incorrectly.) Now I also know why I’ve always had a connection to Galadriel’s character — she’s a fellow INFJ!

    1. It’s my favorite too. I’ve explored it from every possible angle except this one, so it’s fun to compare and contrast the different types. 🙂

  3. A wise MBTI enthusiast once said “Ni is intuition of the future, Ne is intuition of the present”. NPs and NJs are so radically different in their approaches that it’s hard to put them together in the same temperaments.

    My ENTJ aunt and I (INTP) are fairly close but there is a clear lack of synergy between us. Because of this, I’ve recently become more interested in Ni and how it works. I loved how you weaved the topic into something very relatable like The Hobbit; that makes it more colorful and less abstract.

    1. Yeah, I’m very familiar with this as my partner is an ENTP while I’m an INFJ. We’ve been together for a long time, so we have developed some degree of Ni/Ne synergy. At times, we can combine the best aspects of both functions to a degree of awesomeness in intuitive insights and problem-solving.

      However, the differences between the two functions can also lead to serious misunderstandings and arguments. An example:

      Partner: Here are the options – we could do this or this or this….
      Me: Let me think about it….
      (Time goes by)
      Me: OK, here is the perfect plan.
      Partner: Or maybe we should do this instead. Or even this or this or this….
      Me: But I’ve already told you what we should do!
      Partner: Why are you so stubborn?
      (More time goes by)
      Me: OK, I’ve thought about your other suggestions, but they’re no good because….
      Partner: I’m bored with that now. Lets talk about this instead….
      Me: Arghhh!!!!

      1. Hahaha!

        “Professionals” say INFJs are compatible relationship-wise with ENXPs but… I’m not so sure. The indecision and unwillingness to settle on just one idea might test Ni’s patience. (Sometimes, I wonder if we’re actually compatible with any other type.)

        1. Despite the Ni/Ne differences, I still believe INJs and ENPs can be highly compatible as both partners and friends. Of course, sharing common interests and values goes a very long way to overcoming the challenges in any close relationship.

          But yes, the open-ended (you might call it indecisive!) nature of ENXPs can drive any self-respecting INXJ to distraction.

          Regardless of the personality types involved, I find I personally get very frustrated and stressed when there are too many options on the table. My Ni rapidly settles on the “best” option, after which I can become closed off to any further suggestions (particularly if I believe them to be pointless, irrelevant, or simply stupid).

          For this reason, I don’t particularly enjoy brainstorming sessions at work, even though dominant intuitives are supposed to be good at generating new ideas.

          Another of my hot buttons is re-visiting an issue that I thought was settled and decided, though this may be a common problem for all J-types.

          1. I read something yesterday that said the INFJ is the tether that holds the ENFP’s kite tail, and guides both through life – the ENFP learns to connect to reality and the INFJ to soar above the clouds.

            Sadly, I’ve never known an ENP in real life – only SPs and their spontaneity made me go: WUT? 😀

            I’m the same way. Too many choices and I don’t like it. I CAN change my mind, but often I become settled on a particular idea or choice and am not always thrilled to consider a different one (probably because I think I have already thought about this problem or idea from every angle!). Regarding the brainstorming… I think Ne is way better at it. I need time to think and come up with ONE idea. Brainstorming usually involves many.

            Do you ever wonder if you made the wrong decision? I sometimes revisit my OWN issues, which can drive ME nuts! 😉

    2. Abstract examples drive me nuts; I have to figure out how to relate them into an easy-to-understand example so that I (and others) can grasp a difficult concept. That being said, your comments on Ne and Ni being unable to synch up is very true. I envy Ne in a sense that it has so many ideas, whereas I can’t just pluck ideas from my environment like that — I have to get them from within. 🙂

      1. hi!
        I chanced upon this site. Amazing articles written.
        I am an ENFP – it can be really tough working with so many ideas, I find it hard to settle on the best option. Yes we generate many ideas, we always need a J-type to hold us down and help us through the decision making process.

  4. Wonderful! Four fascinating characters from my all-time favourite fantasy series – as a dominant Ni-user myself, I forsee that your analysis will be both insightful and enjoyable!

    Stewart

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