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43 votes

Were wizards initially intended to be much more common?

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 ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
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30 votes

Were wizards initially intended to be much more common?

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 ...
Klaus Æ. Mogensen's user avatar
28 votes
Accepted

Did Saruman break the Istari's charge to 'inspire not fight'?

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 ...
Edlothiad's user avatar
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22 votes

Were wizards initially intended to be much more common?

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 ...
Xerxes's user avatar
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17 votes

Were wizards initially intended to be much more common?

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 ...
Echelon216A's user avatar
16 votes

Can the Istari really forget things?

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 ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
13 votes
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The roles of the Istari

ALL the Istari were there to resist Sauron; Gandalf was the only one who remained true to his mission. In a pieced-together essay in Unfinished Tales called "The Istari", Tolkien said: ...
Werrf's user avatar
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10 votes
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Are the Istari still Maiar?

Yes, undoubtedly. You're misinterpreting the word "were." When Christopher Tolkien wrote "they [the Istari] were all Maiar" the use of past tense refers to the time during which the story occurs; it ...
Michael Carman's user avatar
9 votes

The roles of the Istari

They all had the same mission According to The Silmarillion, helping the resistance to Sauron was the mission of all the Istari. Even as the first shadows were felt in Mirkwood there appeared in ...
Blackwood's user avatar
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9 votes
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What's the difference between a Maia and a member of the Istari?

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 ...
Daniel Roseman's user avatar
8 votes
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What exactly happened to Gandalf's spirit after he "died" fighting the Balrog?

Wizards are Different The Wizards aren't entirely like other Maiar. While you're generally correct that the Valar and Maiar aren't tied to a specific physical body, and therefore suffer the ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
8 votes

Who are the two Istari mentioned in Shadow of Mordor?

These are the remaining two Istari of the five said to exist in The Lord of the Rings and correspond to the Blue Wizards in Tolkien's other writings. However, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is a game ...
ibid's user avatar
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7 votes

Did Saruman break the Istari's charge to 'inspire not fight'?

For myself, I would consider amassed an army of orcs... to be going beyond what the Istari were meant for. If we use Gandalf and Radagast as good examples (though Radagast barely does anything in ...
C. R. Yasuo's user avatar
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7 votes

How could the Istari act openly against Dol Guldur (or did they?)

In Unfinished Tales we are told And this the Valar did, desiring to amend the errors of old, especially that they had attempted to guard and seclude the Eldar by their own might and glory fully ...
Doctor Two's user avatar
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7 votes
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How could the Istari act openly against Dol Guldur (or did they?)

Unfortunately, we're given too few details of the actual attack and to what extent were the Istari involved. Hence we have no idea whether the Istari were directly involved in the battle, or if they ...
Voronwé's user avatar
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6 votes

Can the Istari really forget things?

Perhaps There is little evidence in Tolkien's writing, but I'm going to take a slightly different tack than Jason does in his excellent answer. I suggest that the minds (not just the bodies) of the ...
Blackwood's user avatar
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5 votes
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How important were the roles of the Blue Wizards?

Very important They played a crucial role in weakening the forces of the Easterlings which were likely to join the forces of Sauron. "The 'other two' came much earlier, at the same time probably ...
Voronwé's user avatar
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4 votes

The roles of the Istari

The other answers address Tolkien's thoughts shortly after finishing The Lord of the Rings, when he decided to highlight Gandalf's success by making him the only of the Istari to succeed on his ...
ibid's user avatar
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4 votes

Why does Gandalf the White not remember his original name?

He says: Darkness took me and I strayed out of thought and time. [...] There I lay staring upward, while the stars wheeled over, and each day was as long as a life-age of the earth. If you were to ...
conterio's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes

How old did the Istari look when they arrived?

It varied Gandalf, as has been previously noted, still appeared elderly even early in the Third Age. Saruman, however, seems to have appeared somewhat younger, with his hair still black (emphasis mine)...
Jason Baker's user avatar
2 votes

What exactly happened to Gandalf's spirit after he "died" fighting the Balrog?

I think there's two possibilities: Eru himself took Gandalf at the moment of his death, enlightened him further, and sent him back. Sauron and Saruman did go to the Void, and we didn't see Gandalf's ...
Shamshiel's user avatar
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2 votes

Why were the blue wizards sent much earlier than the other Istari?

In the early Second Age, Sauron did not yet have an influence in the East, and the people previously under Morgoth's control were starting to rebel. (Morgoth hadn't been there since the early first ...
ibid's user avatar
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2 votes

Is there any canonical reference to the fate of the Blue Wizards: Alatar and Pallando?

To add to Gabe's answer, there is another work (also written in the final year of Tolkien's life) which mentions the success of the Blue Wizards. To be more specific, Tolkien says that the ...
ibid's user avatar
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1 vote

Why were there two blue wizards?

Alatar was the original one to be sent, and Pallando came with him as his friend. This close connection is probably the only reason we can find for their choosing the same color. Tolkien himself in ...
Mary's user avatar
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1 vote

Are the Istari still Maiar?

Yes, undoubtedly Tolkien implies they still were Maiar, even if there's no direct quote to prove they were. Consider: We know Gandalf was physically capable of feats no human could accomplish. From ...
Lesser son's user avatar
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1 vote

Are the Istari still Maiar?

You must have gone to the Elves for advice, for the answer is both "no" and "yes". No, they are not Maiar because they lack essential traits of the Maiar. In the Silmarillion, it ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
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1 vote

Can the Istari really forget things?

One downside of extremely long-lived (or immortal) characters that doesn't come up much is the problem of memory. While such a character may never forget, it might take a while to call up a particular ...
Joe L.'s user avatar
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1 vote

Were there any other 'wizards' in Middle-earth apart from the Istari?

There are no recorded non-Istari wizards in Middle-Earth, but it really depends on what you mean by "wizard". Before the occupant of Dol Guldor was identified as Sauron, he was called "The ...
Ian Young's user avatar
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