Ian McKellen warns students who don’t study: 'You shall not pass!'

Image: Ian McKellen
TODAY -- Pictured: Sir Ian McKellen appears on NBC News' "Today" show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire)Peter Kramer / NBC file

“Lord of the Rings” trilogy star Ian McKellen had a familiar message Friday for British students who don’t study properly: “You shall not pass!”

About 8 miles south of the English city of Bristol, the two-time Academy Award nominee implored dozens of Chew Valley School students, who gathered by the library window, to prepare for battle. The monsters in question, however, took the form of academic tests.

“[For] your preparation for your examinations, if you don’t do your revision properly, do you know what will happen?” he asked students as he peered through the window blinds. “You shall not pass!”

The students cheered, and likely ventured into the darkest depths of academic Mordor, where victory surely awaited them.

For those who missed McKellan’s Oscar-nominated turn as Gandalf the Grey in “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” there’s a climactic scene in which Gandalf stands atop a crumbling bridge and confronts a monster while shouting that four-word phrase, which later became an Internet meme.

The school’s YouTube video of McKellen's majesty had collected about 750,000 precious views as of Monday morning.

McKellan and Internet memes are practically one and the same these days. At a charity gala last November, he showed off his underwear that featured an image of Gandalf and that magical phrase.

Things go especially viral when McKellan’s antics involve his good buddy Patrick Stewart, who co-starred with him in the recent Broadway staging of “No Man’s Land” and “Waiting for Godot.” Whether they were posing with a knockoff Elmo in the middle of Times Square, picking their Super Bowl favorites or auditioning for Seth Meyers’ job on “Late Night,” it’s as if they were born to please the World Wide Web.

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.