I was inspired to ask this question by Why was Gandalf the Gray so underestimated? [closed]

Basically, are they aware that they are basically godlike beings of immense power and wisdom on a mission of utmost importance, given to them by their god[s]. And if so, why not act like it?

I understand that Gandalf would never seek any role beyond giving advice, but why are the Elves not falling over themselves to help him? They treat him as an equal, and possibly not even that at times, when should they not be worshiping him (to some extent)?

Similarly, all Elves are immortal. They are all like lesser angels, and unlike the Istari are not even garbed in mortal men, so are not really as corruptible as Saruman turned out to be. So why do they not act like it? From things I have read, it sounds like they sort of even lack some of the free will of mortal men (a similarity to Christian angels). So how are they so uncaring of the outside world? Why are they not every much as obsessed with Gandalf's mission as he himself is?

  • 1
    The Valar and the Maiar are not gods, and while they were revered by the elves they where never worshipped.
    – user46509
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 7:06
  • scifi.stackexchange.com/q/96254/46509 for a similar question
    – user46509
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 7:10

1 Answer 1


Only a few of them were, from the Istari chapter of Unfinished Tales:

...they belonged solely to the Third Age and then departed, and none save maybe Elrond, Círdan, and Galadriel discovered of what kind they were or whence they came.

And the Elves are not as comparable to Ainur as you suggest, they are "Children of Ilúvatar", just like humans. The similarities essentially end with immortality and being allowed to go to Aman.

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