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73

In a letter written during the writing of The Unfinished Tales, in which Tolkien first named Alatar and Pallando, also called Morinehtar and Rómestámo, he wrote concerning them: I think they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South, far out of Numenorean range: missionaries to enemy-occupied lands, as it were. What success they had I do ...


67

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


39

Tolkien makes a couple of explicit references to some "rules of engagement" (my term, not his): it was a humbling and abnegation of himself in confirmity to 'the Rules' And He is still under the obligation of concealing his power and teaching rather than forcing or dominating wills It is unclear whether these restrictions were "hardcoded", or merely ...


39

Apart from what Shevliaskovic said (and what is absolutely true), it's noteworthy to add this: 0. Radagast is quite similar to the two "unknown" Istari (so-called Blue Wizards) because he handled "background matters" (general maintenance, I'd say) instead of direct action. Thus, we don't know much about them at all, and their fate after The War of The Ring ...


39

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

No, but not directly because of the power of the Balrog but rather because of the threat the Balrog posed to the successful destruction of the Ring. In Letter 156, Tolkien wrote about Gandalf: For in his condition it was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defence of his companions, less perhaps than for a mortal Man or Hobbit, since he had a ...


29

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 ...


28

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


19

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 ...


18

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 is presented ...


17

No. This would not have been a violation of that rule, since by definition, the Balrog was a weapon from an earlier time and completely beyond the scope of his initial instruction set of "inspire men to their own greatness." This was clearly a threat Men were not sufficient to handle. Given the state of Middle Earth at this point, there were few forces who ...


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 ...


15

The problem that the immortals had discovered, from their previous interventions, was that they didn't work. They tended to wreak havoc across the land, but only served to change the current power structure, not remove it. By intervening directly, they could not change the nature of people, and there was a danger that they would be relied on to always save ...


14

The wikipedia article provides something of an answer, quoting a letter as a source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizard_(Middle-earth) They were "clothed" in the bodies of old Men, as the Valar wished them to guide the inhabitants of Middle-earth by persuasion and encouragement, not by force or fear. However, they aged very slowly and were in fact ...


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'...


11

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 ...


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