I've visited many sites searching this, but haven't found any clear answers. Can somebody please explain what's the difference between a Maia and an Istari? And also, what's the singular form of Istari? Is it Istar?


1 Answer 1


I think you've made a category error.

The Istari are Maiar, as discussed in Part Four, chapter I, "The Istari" in Unfinished Tales. They are five individual members of that group who were given a specific task and sent to Middle-earth.

And yes, the singular is "Istar".

  • 5
    Can you provide some textual confirmation of this?
    – Valorum
    Nov 15, 2020 at 18:25
  • 1
    The answer would be greatly improved if the limitations faced by the Maiar who have accepted to be Istari were explained a little more.
    – Ginasius
    Nov 15, 2020 at 19:31
  • @Ginasius scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/217996
    – OrangeDog
    Nov 15, 2020 at 20:00

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