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Sir Ian McKellen gives Oxford students ‘LOTR’-style lesson in work ethics

 “If you don’t work hard, if you don’t do your revisions, you know what will happen?”


Greg Seals


Posted on Nov 5, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 6:38 am CDT

When he’s not gallivanting around town, posing for selfies, and being generally adorable with bff Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen is busy making inroads in the field of education, but not in the way you’d expect. The Lord of the Rings actor, like a more sophisticated Tony Robbins, traveled to the hallowed halls of England’s Oxford University on Monday night to rouse the school’s sleep-deprived and overworked students with a motivational speech.

But rather than the traditional “study hard and make good grades” schpeel, McKellen made use of a line made famous by his wizard alter-ego Gandalf the Grey. “If you don’t work hard, if you don’t do your revisions, you know what will happen?” the actor asked the crowd, before delivering his trademark line to a roaring applause. 


Sir Ian McKellen this evening 👏

A video posted by Ambrose Fullalove (@ambrosefullalove) on

It’s not the first time the actor has used his LOTR klout to inspire kids to do well in school. In October, instead of shouting at a Balrog in the Mines of Moria, McKellen delivered the motivational line to a group of secondary-school pupils at the UK’s Chew Valley School.

Perhaps no one person has had a greater impact on the students of the United Kingdom than Ian McKellen. Let’s just hope these kids took the message of their national treasure to heart. 

H/T Reddit | Photo via gageskidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Nov 5, 2014, 3:34 pm CST