A message from our CEO about the future of Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange. Read now.

Hot answers tagged

101

It is unclear whether anyone even knew Gandalf was a Maia ...save Elrond, Círdan, and Galadriel themselves. Word of God Tolkien says this in the Unfinished Tales: Wizard is a translation of Quenya Istar: one of the members of an "order" (as they call it), claiming to possess, and exhibiting, eminent knowledge of the history and nature the World. The ...


98

Canon One of the opening paragraphs of "The Istari", an essay printed in Unfinished Tales, largely answers this (emphasis mine): [The Wizards] came from over the Sea out of the Uttermost West; though this was for long known only to Círdan, Guardian of the Third Ring, master of the Grey Havens, who saw their landings upon the western shores. Emissaries ...


45

When Saruman is killed, To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into ...


40

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 ...


37

To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing. It is very much ...


32

SHORT ANSWER: I don't know if Bilbo and Frodo ever learned that Gandalf was a Maia. LONG ANSWER: In The Return of the King. Book Six, Chapter 8, "The Scouring of the Shire", Frodo says of Saruman: ...He was great once, of a noble kind we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, ...


30

As I understand it, the Maiar existed before men, and even before there was a land, but when land was created, they were to leave the beings that lived there alone. Sauron refused and he became a god-like creature living in the world of men (and elves and dwarfs, and so on), but the Istari (also Maiar) were sent by Iluvatar to help guide the lesser beings in ...


28

Firstly, not all Maiar are equal in power, much as not all men (or elves or dwarves for that matter) are equal in their attributes. Presumably, the differences can be rather significant. For comparison, note also that Melkor was able to challenge the other Valar, even though he was outnumbered 14 to 1. Of Gandalf, it is said that: Wisest of the Maiar was ...


28

That depends on what you mean by "die." I'll start with the assumption that Elves and Humans are considered to die. I would define that as their soul being severed from their physical body and that they can no longer independently assume a physical form. You will recall that Elves' souls go to the Halls of Mandos and Humans' out of the World to join ...


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 ...


21

The Istari are Maiar Olorin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten. We must assume that they [the Istari] were all Maiar... For with the consent of Eru they [the Valar] sent members of their own high order, but clad in bodies as of Men... These three quotes seem to make it clear that the Istari are Maiar. There is no canon evidence ...


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 is presented ...


19

Yes. Now Sauron knew well, as did all in that land, the fate that was decreed for the hound of Valinor, and it came into his thought that he himself would accomplish it. Therefore he took upon himself the form of a werewolf... and Then Sauron shifted shape, from wolf to serpent, and from monster to his own accustomed form; from "Of Beren and ...


18

The Istari were ordered to remain in, and also stuck in, forms of Men A description of the Istari is given in the Unfinished Tales. They were given their "Men-forms" before departing Valinor, and thereafter remained in these forms. Gandalf and the other Istari Emissaries they were from Lords of the West, the Valar, who still took counsel for the ...


17

Gandalf never actually comments directly on whether he is more powerful than Sauron or not; the closest he ever comes to it is to say (in discussing the potential dangers of Fangorn Forest): Dangerous? And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord ... (The Two ...


15

The 'death' of Saruman is the most descriptive: To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away. and with ...


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

One answer is that Tolkien was a philologist/linguist, not an ecologist, and the importance of habitat preservation—say, of the specific habitats of arboreal birds—may not have landed strongly with him. (In fact, his goofs in another area of science, geology, led to a Russian paleontologist deducing that if the map were true, then some important aspects of ...


13

It's unclear what Ungoliant is actually. We simply know that Ungoliant was an ally of Melkor and nothing more. The Wikia for Ungoliant states this Origins Who, what, or where, Ungoliant came from is not clear, and the Eldar and perhaps not even the Valar are sure either. It is said by some that she came from the Darkness itself that lies about ...


13

In general, only elves were reincarnated in Mandos Reincarnation occurring from the halls of Mandos seems to be a thing only for elves, and the single exceptional case of Beren (exceptions like this actually have to be effected personally by God/Eru). The spirits of elves and Ainur were "immortal" The Ainur are at a fundamental level immortal, in the ...


12

It depends on the Maia in question. There are surprisingly few references to the Maiar in The Silmarillion. While it seems likely that many dwelt in Valmar, we have explicit knowledge that at least two lived in Lórien: Melian was the name of a Maia who served both Vána and Estë; she dwelt long in Lórien, tending the trees that flower in the gardens of ...


11

Radagast's mission was the same as that of the other Istari - to encourage resistance to Sauron, by various means such as coordination of the powers of the Elves against him through the White Council, encouragement of vigilance of Gondor and Rohan, or the removal of dragons that could prove a threat and replacing them with Dwarves to neutralise an enemy ...


10

Not too much is written on this matter, because the Maiar, being divine spirits, are not necessarily bound to a single body, and thus could, theoretically, be clothed in bodies that are powerful physically one day, and others the next. However, the Maiar are usually aligned with some sort of power or aspect, and the forms they choose reflect that. Some aren'...


10

No: the offspring of a Maia is not necessarily another Maia. For example, Luthien was the child of a Maia (Melian), but was not a Maia herself, nor was her child Dior (whose father was Beren), nor were any of their descendants (e.g. Elwing, Elrond, Elros, Isildur, Aragorn, etc.).


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible