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Questions tagged [istari]

The Wizards of Middle-earth are a group of beings outwardly resembling Men but possessing much greater physical and mental power. They are also called the Istari (Quenya for "Wise Ones") by the Elves. The Sindarin word is Ithryn (sing. Ithron). They were sent by the Valar to assist the peoples of Middle-earth to contest Sauron - Wikipedia. Always use in conjunction with the [tolkiens-legendarium] tag

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Were wizards initially intended to be much more common?

There are several things in the text of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring that, to me, indicate that wizards were originally intended to not only number five altogether - Saruman, Gandalf, ...
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Did Saruman break the Istari's charge to 'inspire not fight'?

I've seen plenty of talk about Gandalf, but do any of the things Saruman did during the course of the books break the rules of direct interference? Off the top of my head: He imprisoned Gandalf He ...
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How could the Istari act openly against Dol Guldur (or did they?)

The Istari were forbidden to "match [Sauron's] power with power". Yet the White Council was able to attack Dol Guldur and drive out Sauron. Why was that allowed? Or did the Istari just help out with ...
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How important were the roles of the Blue Wizards? [duplicate]

The Blue Wizards were sent to aid the peoples of Middle-Earth in the fight against the growing threat of Sauron. I read somewhere that stated that the Blue Wizards went into the East to create cults ...
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How old did the Istari look when they arrived? [duplicate]

While bound to their mortal bodies, the Istari, though Maia, are susceptible to the same flaws and weaknesses that they are otherwise not - hunger, fatigue, even the temptation of the Ring. Ageing is ...
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What exactly happened to Gandalf's spirit after he “died” fighting the Balrog? [duplicate]

In the Two Towers movie, when Aragorn and company meet the newly reincarnated Gandalf the White, he has the following conversation with them GANDALF VOICEOVER: From the lowest dungeon to the ...
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The roles of the Istari

The Istari are sent with a mission on Arda, Gandalf is sent to help humans, elves, dwarfs and all other races to vanquish Sauron. What are the roles of Saruman, Radagast and maybe the other two blue ...
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Can the Istari really forget things?

Gandalf the Istar was about 2,000 years old and had the appearance of an old man. That is a lot of time to be walking the earth. A lot for a 'human' brain to take in. The Istari seem to have some ...
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What would happen if an Istar broke the Valar's rule but saved Middle Earth anyway?

If, for example, Gandalf went full Maia, took the Ring and dumped it into Mount Doom before anyone, even Sauron, could stop him—what would happen?
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Why does Gandalf the White not remember his original name?

'Gandalf,' the old man repeated, as if recalling from old memory a long disused word. 'Yes, that was the name. I was Gandalf.' Why wouldn't he remember being Gandalf right away? Why would Eru send ...
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If Radagast gave Gandalf his staff in The Lord of the Rings, what happened to him?

Did he get another staff? If so, did he make his own? Did he have extra staves just lying around in case this exact situation occurred? Did he become staff-less?
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Why do the Wizards have staffs over wands?

It just seems to me that something like a wand would be easier to carry, and thus be more portable. I would think that the staffs they carry all the time must be heavy and hard to travel distances ...
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Why do people talk about Wizards as though they are common in The Lord of the Rings?

People say things like: "Never trust Wizards" They talk about Wizards like they're abundant, when in reality there are only five, two of whom (the blue wizards) aren't even known to be active, and ...
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What happened to Radagast the Brown after the War of the Ring? [duplicate]

Did he continue to stay in Middle Earth or did he eventually depart for Valinor (he is a Maiar after all), or did he receive banishment from the Valar from ever returning to Valinor for not being as ...
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Who are the two Istari mentioned in Shadow of Mordor?

One of the artifacts found in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a Broken Staff, accompanied by this memory: Funny thing, that. They told us their names, plenty of times. But we all forgot. To a ...
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Did Sauron literally anticipate the arrival of the Istari?

In Eregion Sauron posed as an emissary of the Valar, sent by them to Middle-earth ("thus anticipating the Istari") or ordered by them to remain there to give aid to the Elves. (Unfinished Tales of ...
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Why didn't the Istari participate in the Angmar wars?

The Istari were said to come to Middle-earth in the Second Age (the Blue Wizards) and the Third Age (Saruman, Gandalf and Radagast). So I'm wondering why didn't Saruman, Gandalf or Radagast help the ...
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Why were the blue wizards sent much earlier than the other Istari?

In Tolkiens last pieces of writing, he confirms the blue wizards come to Middle Earth much earlier than the other three istari, which surprises me considering Gandalf is said to be the wisest of the ...
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Who are the other two wizards? [duplicate]

I am reading the Lord of the Rings again, and this quote by Saruman 'Later!' he cried, and his voice rose to a scream. 'Later! Yes, when you also have the Keys of Barad-dûr itself, I suppose; and ...
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Why was Sauron's return to Dol Guldur a surprise?

This question addresses why (or whether) Gandalf was surprised at Sauron's return to Mordor at the beginning of Fellowship, but I'm wondering about events before that. When the Necromancer was in Dol ...
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What happened to Radagast The Brown?

Radagast The Brown disappeared from Arda after the first book The Fellowship of the Ring. What happened to him?
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Do Istari have memories of their time as Maiar?

Inspired by Why does Saruman identify himself as a human? As the Istari are Maiar in human form, do they have full knowledge of their past as what are basically gods, or is their quasi-human ...
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Why was Saruman sent to Middle Earth? [duplicate]

Gandalf a Maia (Spirit) was sent to Middle-Earth in human form to help the free peoples fight the evil of Sauron. Is the same reason for the Saruman sent to Middle-Earth ?
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Did Saruman continue to exist as an ethereal Maiar after he was murdered?

Inspired by What was Saruman the White's purpose? The Istari are Maiar in corporeal form - it seems evident that some aspect of the Istari continues after the death of their corporeal (and can ...
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Why could the Istari attack Dol Goldur?

We've covered the "indirect intervention only" instruction to the Istari before, and talked about whether defeating the Balrog qualified. But what about attacking Dol Goldur? The White Council made ...
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Was Gandalf the greatest of the Istari?

I know he is described as the wisest of all Istari/Maiar (the exact word used in that instance escapes me) and I believe, I am however not sure, that he was offered the position of head of the white ...
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Who in Middle-earth knows the Istari's origin?

In the Middle-earth universe, there are a handful of wizards who work in various ways to fight evil. Out of universe, we know these wizards to be Istari, Maia who are in Middle-earth working to defeat ...
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How could the Istari have prominent beards and still be considered elves by Men?

The beards of the Istari Gandalf and Saruman¹ feature prominently in Tolkien's works, while elves are not able to grow beards². Despite this discrepancy which is easy to spot for Men, they believed ...
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What are the Istari's staves made of?

Are the staves that the Istari wield made of anything unique or are they made from normal wood and given magical properties by their user?
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Did Saruman copy from Radagast?

We know that, although publicly he scorned Gandalf, Saruman copied him and also smoked, and imitated Sauron, as often said in The Lord of the Rings. But I just saw a quote about Radagast, saying that ...
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Were there any other 'wizards' in Middle-earth apart from the Istari?

We know Gandalf, Radagast, Saruman, Pallando and Alatar, who were all Istari, Maiar in physical form. The Elves can also do 'magic', as can Sauron, being a Maiar himself. Were there any other people ...
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What did the Istari (other than Gandalf and Saruman) contribute to the struggle against Sauron? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there any canonical reference to the fate of the Blue Wizards, Alatar and Pallando? It is said that the Istari were sent to Middle-Earth to aid in the struggle against ...
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Was Gandalf's fight against Balrog a violation of “Inspire but don't fight instead of Men” rule?

As was discussed previously, it is known that Istari were meant to inspire and guide the mortals of Middle Earth in the fight against Sauron. Does the fight against Balrog in Moria violate that "rule"...
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Why are the Istari only allowed to inspire?

It its known that the Istari were sent to Middle Earth to aid in the battle against Sauron, being only allowed to inspire and no direct actions could be taken. But, why is this? Could this rule be ...
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Is there any canonical reference to the fate of the Blue Wizards: Alatar and Pallando?

All I've ever been able to find is that they arrived in Middle-earth and left to go do something outside of the scope of the story. Has anyone ever found any additional information?
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Is Gandalf the Gray's power actually limited or did he merely promise to not use it?

We know that the Maiar sent to Middle-earth as Istari are not using their full Maiar power. Gandalf the Gray is more than a human power wise, but not nearly equal to his full real power. Is it known (...