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105

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 ...


99

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. ...


34

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 ...


33

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 ...


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, ...


25

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 for how ...


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 ...


20

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 ...


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

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 ...


15

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.).


14

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

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

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 ...


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 Irmo, ...


11

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-...


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

In principle, we can assume that any Maiar that can be "killed" is stuck in their particular form; otherwise, what would be the point in destroying their bodies? This makes things somewhat easier, because those Maiar who have been killed is a relatively short list. The Balrogs The big ones, of course. A possible reason for their being stuck in ...


9

Saruman was more powerful, as evidenced by the fact that he was able to imprison Gandalf and was obviously confident of his ability to both imprison him and hold him until he could "convince" Gandalf to change sides. He didn't consider a captive Gandalf a threat at all, and even on breaking free of prison Gandalf fled rather than trying to fight back. Having ...


9

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 given a specific task and sent to Middle-earth. And yes, the singular is "Istar".


8

The Balrogs were fire-themed Maiar servants of Morgoth Bauglir. The Orcs, problematic though their origins are, were likewise servants of Morgoth. For of the Maiar, many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into darkness... And in Utumno he gathered his demons about him, those spirits who first ...


8

Yes. A note in History of Middle-earth 12, The Peoples of Middle-earth, reads: Melian alone of all those spirits assumed a bodily form, not only as a raiment but as a permanent habitation in form and powers like to the bodies of the Elves. A further note in the Orcs material in History of Middle-earth 10, Morgoth's Ring, reads: ...by practising when ...


7

Ainur were the "angelic" beings who existed with Iluvatar before the making of the world. The Valar were those of the Ainur who, being enamoured with the vision of Arda, descended into the World to be its guardians. Thus, many of the Ainur (perhaps hundreds, or thousands) remained with Iluvatar and "come not into this tale" as Tolkien liked to put it. The ...


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