Wizards (Middle-earth)

From Academic Kids

In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Wizards of Middle-earth are a small group of beings outwardly resembling Men but possessing much greater physical and mental power. They are also called the Istari ("Wise Ones") by the Elves. The Sindarin word is Ithryn (sing. Ithron).

They were of the Maiar, spirits of the same order of the Valar, but lesser in power (Sauron himself was one of the most powerful of the Maiar), sent by the Valar to help and assist the peoples against Sauron. Their Quenya names were Curumo, meaning skilled one; Olórin, meaning rememberer, dreamer, or thinker; Aiwendil, meaning bird-friend; Pallando and Alatar.

They came to Middle-earth roughly around the year 1000 of the Third Age. It seems that each was assigned with a colour for his clothes, white being indicative of the chief. Two of them were blue. It is now known if the colour had a special meaning concerning their rank, abilities or nature.

The wizards already appeared old when they entered Middle-earth. They were deliberately "clothed" in the bodies of old Men, as the Valar wished them to help the inhabitants of Middle-earth by persuasion and encouragement, not by force or fear however they aged very slowly and were in fact immortal. Thus, they were, physically speaking, "real" Men, and felt all the urges, pleasures and fears of flesh and blood. While in this form, although immortals by age, they could be killed by violence—thus, Gandalf truly dies in the fight with the Balrog, but is "reborn" as his mission is not yet complete.

Very few of Middle-earth's inhabitants knew who the Wizards really were; the Wizards did not share this information. Most thought they were Elves or wise Men (Gandalf represents this intepretation, meaning Wand-elf, because the Men who gave him the nickanme, believed he was an Elf). They attracted few questions due to their gentle nature and dislike of direct interference with other people's affairs. In spite of their specific and unambiguous goal, the Wizards are nevertheless capable of human feelings; thus Gandalf feels great affection for the Hobbits. On the flip side, they could feel negative human emotions like greed, jealousy, and lust for power. It is hinted in the essay in Unfinished Tales that the Blue Wizards (see below) may have fallen prey to these temptations.

Two of these, the Blue Wizards, went into the East and do not come into the stories of Middle-earth. Their Quenya names were Morinehtar, Darkness-slayer and Romestamo, East-helper, respectively. The other three were called Saruman, also known as Curunr; Gandalf, or Mithrandir; and Radagast.

Saruman originally had the greatest power of the five Istari and was the head of the White Council. In the year 2759 of the Third Age, he was invited by the rulers of Gondor and Rohan to settle in Isengard. Saruman was learned in the lore of the Rings of Power, gradually becoming corrupted by the desire for the Rings and by Sauron's direct influence on him through the palantír of Orthanc. Eventually he became ensnared in Sauron's power, and assisted him in the War of the Ring until he was defeated by the Ents and Gandalf, who broke his staff and cast him out of the White Council. Saruman's death came at the hands of his servant Wormtongue in the Shire, after the destruction of the One Ring.

During the War of the Ring, it was Gandalf who led the Free Peoples to victory over Sauron. He also defeated Saruman. After the destruction of Sauron, Gandalf left Middle-earth and went over the Sea, along with the Ring-bearers and many of the Elves.

In the course of The Lord of the Rings, it is never made clear what exactly Gandalf and Saruman are (though Treebeard informs Merry and Pippin that they landed in the Grey Havens from across the Great Sea 2,000 years ago, little else is revealed in the narrative). In a cetain point, Pippin seems to wonder what his friend Gandalf really was, and notices that it was the first time in his life he did so. The essay given in Unfinished Tales was originally begun in order to be included in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, but was not completed in time.

See also


Ainur of Middle-earth
Ainulindal (Music of the Ainur)
Lords of the ValarManw | Aul | Orom | Irmo (Lrien) | Nmo (Mandos) | Tulkas | Ulmo
Queens of the ValarVarda | Yavanna | Vna | Est | Vair | Nessa | Nienna
The Enemy:  Morgoth (a.k.a. Melkor)
MaiarEnw | Ilmar | Oss | Uinen | Salmar | Sauron | Melian | Arien | Tilion | Gothmog
Curumo (Saruman) | Olrin (Gandalf) | Aiwendil (Radagast) | Alatar and Pallando | Durin's Bane

da:Istari fr:Istari ja:イスタリ sv:Istari

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