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68

It could be an honest mistake born of ignorance. Since Men don't know much about elves, they may think the beards are a sign of the great age and wisdom of the Istari. Elves are weird and wild, why shouldn't the oldest and wisest of them have beards? (See below: they actually can!) Remember, we're used to having access to all the information--those living ...


67

The key is that Gandalf the White and Gandalf the Grey aren't quite the same person. The Gandalf that Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli knew died, and the being that came back was similar, but not quite exactly the same; as Tolkien writes in Letter 156: Gandalf really 'died', and was changed: for that seems to me the only real cheating, to represent anything that ...


48

It is not known. We do not know what he did during the whole duration War of the Ring or afterwards. Tolkien doesn't have any mention of him. We do know that by mistake he had Gandalf captured by Saruman By the time of the War of the Ring Radagast did not dwell any more in Rhosgobel. In summer T.A. 3018 Saruman told Radagast that he was willing to help ...


48

Radagast was sent to perform a similar role to Gandalf, but became too distracted by the birds and the beasts of Middle Earth. From Unfinished Tales: Radagast, the fourth, became enamoured of the many beasts and birds that dwelt in Middle-earth, and forsook Elves and Men, and spent his days among the wild creatures. The two remaining Istari were Alatar ...


41

Maybe In his 1954 letter on The Istari (Wizards), Tolkien comments on the Heren Istarion (Order of Wizards) being larger than 5 but only 5 came to the North West of Middle-earth. It is worth noting that this is the only time an unknown number for the Order is mentioned. It is unclear how long this idea lasted or when it had formed, only that it existed in ...


32

Book Answer: Tolkien didn't limit the number to five until after writing LotR Tolkien at points believed that they were many wizards, but with five main ones. His views on various details were not finalized while writing LotR and Hobbit. This can be seen from "the essay on the Istari" (written c.1954, Unfinished Tales) Of this Order, the number is ...


29

It is difficult to say. The identification of the wizards with Maiar came after The Hobbit, I believe. In the book, Gandalf is presented in much the same vein as past literary and legendary wizards like Merlin and Prospero and Odin the Wanderer and can hence be seen as a archetypal wizard. There are other practitioners of magic in Tolkien's books, especially ...


28

TL;DR: Because staves can do everything wands can do, plus some other stuff. Wand vs. Staff: Lingusitics First off, it is worth noting that Tolkien was a philologist (a scholar of language), and loved archaic terms. He would have known that the word "wand" was historically associated with sticks much larger than Harry Potter wands - in other words, a ...


28

He outright broke Rule 1 and Rule 2. to reveal themselves in forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men or Elves by open display of power. Unfinished Tales - Part IV: II The Istari With Tolkien himself admitting Saruman's downfall. Saruman the White, fell from his high errand, and becoming proud and impatient and enamoured of power sought to ...


23

TL;DR: Yes, he continued to exist as an ethereal Maiar after he was murdered, but he was without any power and he was doomed to wander but never to return to Middle-Earth Well, he didn't actually die (since he was a Maiar, like you said), but his spirit separated from his body much like Sauron's after the Downfall of Númenor. As an incorporeal spirit, he ...


22

This is largely covered in "The Unfinished Tales" Basically there were (initially) only 5 of the Istari. Wizard is a translation of Quenya istar (Sindarin ithron): one of the members of an ‘order’ (as they called it), claiming to possess, and exhibiting, eminent knowledg1e of the history and nature of the World. The translation (though suitable in its ...


21

There is significant evidence scattered throughout Tolkien's works that magic was originally intended to be widespread in Middle Earth. Here are some examples from The Lord of the Rings that show that ordinary people were expected to have both witnessed and wielded magic. In the introduction, when discussing Hobbits: Hobbits have never, in fact, studied ...


20

The quote you mention is taken from the chapter "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn" appearing in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth. In this chapter, Christopher Tolkien presents (among other writings) an essay with the same title as the chapter. He describes this as "a short and hasty outline, very roughly composed". The text ...


19

Unlikely. The color of Saruman's cloak was chosen to reflect his arrogance. He considers himself superior to other wizards, hence his cloak has "many colors", as opposed to grey or white. It also shows his willingness to destroy a thing (i.e. white light) to understand how it works [*]. Gandalf recounts the following conversation in Lord of the Rings, which ...


17

Also, consider the flexibility of language. While we know of five (capital W) 'Wizards', it's entirely likely that the term itself would be used flexibly/loosely of magic-users in general (the exercise of magical power in Middle-Earth is not limited to the canonical Istari, in fact in 'Concerning Hobbits' Tolkien specifically draws attention to their lack ...


16

He can certainly forget things temporarily There are a couple of examples of Gandalf forgetting things, though he seems able to recall them eventually: 'I once knew every spell in all the tongues of Elves or Men or Orcs that was ever used for such a purpose. I can still remember ten score of them without searching in my mind. Fellowship of the Ring ...


13

Its true there are only five wizards, but that can still mean a lot of interactions. My theory is, the wizards wander everywhere, and meddle in everything... so word gets around. It would be different if they were living like hermits on mountaintops, but given that they snoop around, interact with lots of people, and also have lived a very long time there'...


12

Like Jimmy Shelter said, Cirdan, Elrond and Galadriel knew. Since Sauron himself is a Maia, he would know about the Istari's origin as well. Apart from them, the books do not make clear if anybody else knows. However, a few others, if not knowing who or what Gandalf was exactly at least probably knew that he was not man or elf: Glorfindel. Not only did he ...


11

With regards to any active contribution the Istari made during the war with Sauron; the hapless Radagast is actually credited with unwittingly instigating Gandalfs' escape from his imprisonment at Orthanc. This occurred because Radagast (who was apparently unaware of any treachery) dispatched Gwaihir the giant Eagle to inform Saruman of the enemy's troop ...


11

Well this quote from the chapter "The Black Gate Opens" in LOTR suggests that the Mouth of Sauron fits the criteria of your question (the emphasis is mine): But it is told that he was a renegade , who came from the race of those that are named the Black Numenoreans; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Saurons ...


11

Depending on exactly what you mean by "rules", the answer is probably either "not actually possible" or "bad bad bad very bad things." Can Gandalf shed his physical form? This seems to be the assumption underpinning the question; if Gandalf could just dump his meatsuit and fly over to Mount Doom, the story should be over inside an hour, right? Well, right,...


10

From Two Towers, Aragorn speaks about Saruman: Once he was as great as his fame made him. His knowledge was deep, his thought was subtle, and his hands marvelously skilled; and he had a power over the minds of others. The wise he could persuade, and the smaller folk he could daunt. That power he certainly still keeps. There are not many in Middle-...


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