There’s an interesting “formal” or type feature at work in the way these noble mentors appear—and from this we can infer their special nature.
The natures of normal characters resides in their primary substances, in their bodies and embodied personalities. Mundane characters are bodies first, and their names merely pick these out. That is, the names are just names—pointers.
A name is a a thing’ spiritual essence. The name arises as a power for the knower that is of the knower. Names are stored and uttered, are internal to the subject by being rules of image-positing. The rule of positing (and the act of positing) have a higher degree of reality. Particular objects change properties and physically decompose. But the concepts that penetrate these things, that present and appropriate their quiddity, being have the eternality belonging to flattened rules. They are both absent from space and time while being determinate of them. Concepts transcend particulars—they are nonlocal, eternal, and ontologically generative in that every particular does have a kind. [TANGENT: These exist in hierarchies of ontological dependence and precedence. In the concept domain, “being” is meaning, and meaning is inherited from genus to species. Thus a highest type is not only the source of its lower concepts’ being, it is also necessary. These necessary and highest types, or categories, are the primary substances of quiddity.]
The being that exists first as a concept or idea is an immortal essence. And so we can imagine physical beings that incarnate or physicalize eternal essences. These beings are stalwart in character because they are immutable in essence.
Obi Wan and Gandalf are avatars of Platonic forms. They are tokens of the Old Wise Man archetype. But this fact is not predicated of them by proclamation. It is conveyed by having their names exist prior to their appearance and then, when they do appear, they use a location of this form:
“Yes, yes, my dear sir — and I do know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don’t remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me!
The Obi Wan version:
Luke Skywalker: I think my uncle knows him. He said he was dead.
Ben Kenobi: [smiling] Oh, he's not dead. Well, not yet.
Luke Skywalker: You know him?
Ben Kenobi: Well, of course I know him. He's me. I haven't gone by the name of Obi-Wan since, oh, before you were born.
The name is independent of, and prior to, the appearance. The token arrives into the already-existing essence.
The fact that Obi Wan and Gandalf are instances of the Wise Old Man is conveyed by the method of their being-named. Brilliant!