The Istari

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Arandorion 22/Dec/2006 at 11:34 PM
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Hi there !
I have this question that’s being bugging me about the istari and I wonder if anyone know the answer. (if the question has already being posted ... my appologies)
The Istari are only with 5 right? So Saruman would only be the leader of a council of 5 ? Or are there more wizards beyond the Istari? Or are there other races in that council? Does anyone know anything more about the topic?
Morgil 23/Dec/2006 at 12:05 AM
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Arandorion...Welcome to the Plaza. There were only five Istari. There was another thread recently that discussed whether or not there were other wizards. The general consensus was that while others did practice magic, the Istari were the only beings that bore the title of "wizard". Saruman was the head of the White Council, which included the Istari, Galadriel, Cirdan, Elrond, and other Eldar. 
Arandorion 23/Dec/2006 at 03:20 AM
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Morgil: Aah ok I understand now thanks for the information. I think I know now how the White Council would have functioned. And thx for clarifieng the members of the Council that was also a bit misty.
Do you know more about those others who used magic? And why they didn’t diserve the titel "wizard" ?
Sidhien 23/Dec/2006 at 04:07 AM
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the others that used ’magic’ would mostly be elves, and they didn’t refer to it as magic. In fact, Galadriel in the Fellowship of the Ring told Frodo and Sam she didn’t know exactly what magic was. That might explain why they didn’t take the title ’wizard’.

Alcarináro 23/Dec/2006 at 06:46 AM
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Saruman was the head of the Council. Contrary to popular belief, the White Council can not be described as being composed of ’the Istari and others’. We know for sure that two of the Istari, the Blue Wizards, would not have been part of the Council, for it was formed after they went into the East and had no contact with the other three. It is also unknown whether or not Radagast was part of the Council. So really, there may have been as few as two Istari in the Council.
Only the Istari are given the title ’Wizards’ because in Tolkien’s world, ’Wizard’ doesn’t mean ’someone who uses magic’. It it synonomous with ’Istari’. Wizards are those Maiar sent in the forms of Man by the Valar to help the people of Middle-earth strive against Sauron. ’Sorceror’ is a word he uses for someone who can use magic, as well as occasionally ’magician’.
elvenpath 23/Dec/2006 at 07:31 AM
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To detail a little what Lauregil said, here is what Galadriel tells Sam in LOTR, FOTR, Mirror of Galadriel:


’And you?’ she said, turning to Sam. ’For this is what your folk would call magic. I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem also to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy. But this, if you will, is the magic of Galadriel. Did you not say that you wished to see Elf-magic?’


In Letters, Tolkien brings more light to the definition of magic. Here are few quotes to make you better understand the concept of magic:


I have not used ’magic’ consistently, and indeed the Elven-queen Galadriel is obliged to remonstrate with the Hobbits on their confused use of the word both for the devices and operations of the Enemy, and for those of the Elves. I have not, because there is not a word for the latter (since all human stories have suffered the same confusion). But the Elves are there (in my tales) to demonstrate the difference. Their ’magic’ is Art, delivered from many of its human limitations: more effortless, more quick, more complete (product, and vision in unflawed correspondence). And its object is Art not Power, sub-creation not domination and tyrannous re-forming of Creation(Letter#131)


. Their magia the Elves and Gandalf use (sparingly): a magia, producing real results (like fire in a wet faggot) for specific beneficent purposes. Their goetic effects are entirely artistic and not intended to deceive…[…] Anyway, a difference in the use of ’magic’ in this story is that it is not to be come by by ’lore’ or spells; but is in an inherent power not possessed or attainable by Men as such (Letter#155)


Gandalf’s magic or Elves’ magic is inherited, is part of who they are, is natural and on the contrary Sauron’s magic is  something obtained, not already possessed.

Vugar 23/Dec/2006 at 08:00 AM
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elvenpath, I have a small question.  By ’Sauron’s magic’ do you refer to the sorcery taught to his underlings or the magic of Sauron himself?  If the latter, I would disagree.  Sauron’s magic would be innate to him due to his Maiarian nature.  It was the same for the Istari, albeit they were clothed in the real bodies of men they owed their magic to their innate nature as Maiar (as you referred to Gandalf).
elvenpath 23/Dec/2006 at 08:14 AM
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I refer to , if I may call it so, the ’enhanced’ magic of Sauron. To better explain, to the ’magical’ powers he obtained through different ways - the One Ring...I didn’t refer to his Maia power, the one he had by nature

I am in the same camp as you  

Arandorion 23/Dec/2006 at 10:14 AM
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Thank you all of you for helping me!
I think I understand now who was in the council and what other people use magic ^^
Mithrandír 23/Dec/2006 at 12:35 PM
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The Istari are only with 5 right?
So Saruman would only be the leader of a council of 5 ?
Or are there more wizards beyond the Istari?
Or are there other races in that council?
you are talking about two different things here. The Istari, and their council. In the Council they had an Elf, Galadriel, that i am sure you have heard of.
Does anyone know anything more about the topic?
yes:The Istari were a group of Wizards( if you want to put it that way) who were sent by the Gods, or alternitavley, the Valar, to aid Middle Earth in its war against Sauron.Their were five people in this gruop, and they came to Middle Earth in this Order:
2.Rhadaghast Brown.
Saruman was the head of the Coucil, but because he dwelt in Isengard, were the Palantir was kept, he got seduced by Sauron to Evil.
Rhadaghast abandoned his work to the animals and cretures of the forest.
Alatar and Pallando went into the Lands of the East, and none know if they succeded in there task or not.
Gandalf was the Last to come, and the only onw who stayed true to his task.

i hope this helps you.

Alcarináro 23/Dec/2006 at 12:54 PM
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Radagast has no ’h’. I don’t know why, but a good deal of people insert one ’h’ or more into his name. There are none.
Arandorion 24/Dec/2006 at 03:08 AM
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Ah Thank You Nan-Tathren i coudn’t have wished for a more complete explanation.
Hail to the elves of lothorien!
Qtpie 30/Dec/2006 at 09:13 PM
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Nan-Tathren, there were actually more than 5, in the Istari Order. Check out this quote from the Unfinished Tales.

’Of this Order the number is unknown; but of those that came to the North of Middle-earth, where there was most hope (because of the remnant of the Dunedain and of the Eldar that abode there), the chiefs were five.’ The Unfinished Tales: The Istari

Saruman, Gandalf, the Ithryn Luin, and Radagast were just the chief and major ones of the Istari. The quote hints that there were other members of the Istari elsewhere.
Mithrandír 31/Dec/2006 at 01:39 PM
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no, i really doubt this, Taragolloion there would have been some bigger mention in the Lord Of The Rings or the Similirion, dont you think?
but if you read this quote that you gave it can be looked upon in a different way.
No problems, Aradorion and thankyou for your kind words.
Alcarináro 31/Dec/2006 at 01:51 PM
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Where is this ’elsewhere’, Taragolloion? As I remember it, that is the only quote that implies such a thing, and everyone else, including in ’The Istari’ of Unfinished Tales, the number is five. In The Lord of the Rings, the number is five. In Letters, the number is five.
Mithrandír 31/Dec/2006 at 02:02 PM
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exactly my point.
Aslar Haechil 31/Dec/2006 at 04:50 PM
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The quote Tara has provided seems pretty straight forward. The 5 Istari we know of are the major players, but there were others as well. Perhaps ’elsewhere’ could have been in the South of Middle-Earth. The truth is that Tolkien never said where, but that they were indeed there. I would think that many of them would not have even made their identities known.
Alcarináro 31/Dec/2006 at 06:03 PM
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If I quote from a rejected concept, it may be pretty straightforward, but it doesn’t make it any less incorrect. Taragolloion has done nothing but say ’Tolkien said this, therefore this is right’. By that logic, it is actually more wrong, because Tolkien said far more often and more heavily that there were five. Not more than five, not five major, but five.
Reikon Suchi-ru 31/Dec/2006 at 06:11 PM
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Perhaps the quote Taragolloin provided has been misinterpreted; perhaps the quote was meant to describe the nature of the White Council, and the term ’Order’ was simply misused? Since the White Council itself is known to contain more than 5 members, is this not a possibility? I also do not think that, just because Tolkien says something most of the time means that his saying otherwise should go unnoted.
Aran Lepenque Sedai 31/Dec/2006 at 08:57 PM
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And in the council, Elrond and Cirdain were in it too.

"Five staffs were given"  quoted from Saruman.  so I doubt that there were more than 5 istar in Middle Earth.  Reikon, the 5 istar did not neccesarily get the top jobs in the council.  For one thing, Gandalf was the least in the Council.  Perhaps, some Istari did leave Valinor, but not to Middle Earth.  perhaps the lands east of Middle Earth and South of Middle Earth.  For the land south of Middle Earth was known as the land of the dark

Reikon Suchi-ru 31/Dec/2006 at 09:14 PM
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Fifteen: Yes, I know this, I never implied otherwise. I was simply stating that maybe the quote provided by Taragolloion was meant to imply that the White Council had more than 5 members, not the Istari Order itself. I’m aware that there were others in the Council, as the Eldar were there at its formation.
Qtpie 31/Dec/2006 at 11:06 PM
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Ah, thanks for correcting me Elenhir, Reikon and everyone else! I won’t make the same mistake twice now!
Wilibald Bumble 01/Jan/2007 at 09:11 AM
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There were only 5 Istari or "Wizards" that set out from Valinor as emassaries of the Valar to defeat Sauron at the start of the Third Age. Olorin or Gandalf had the most pure heart so the far-seeing Cirdan the Shipwright trusted him with the third of the Elven Rings. Saruman the White was leader of the Council. Radagast strayed from his mission and fell in deep love with nature. The Blue Wizards went East and never returned and some say they fell into evil and Sauron corrupted them but others say that because they were pupilled by Orome(who had the furthest knowledge of Middle Earth and its far reaches) so we could deduct that so did the Blue Wizards so they travelled there. The White Council was formed and many Elves were in it too. For example, it is mentioned that Elrond was in the White Council and so was Cirdan, I guess.
Túrin 01/Jan/2007 at 10:34 AM
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I realize that as presented this this thread it’s uncertain, but the context of the quote the Taragollion posted makes it clear that it’s talking about the Heren Istarion as opposed to the White Council.


Don’t feel too bad, there was a big thread in Ad Lore a long time ago debating the very subject.

Reikon Suchi-ru 01/Jan/2007 at 10:50 AM
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Turin: Alrighty then, was just trying to make sense of it myself. With this revelation, I come to the question: was this just a slip of Tolkien’s pen? Another occurence of this was when Tolkien had Aragorn state (regarding Sauron) "Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken..." (The Two Towers, The Departure of Boromir) only to have the Mouth openly use his name: "I am the Mouth of Sauron" (Return of the King, The Black Gate Opens). So could this be the same thing going on with this problematic quote?
Túrin 01/Jan/2007 at 11:05 AM
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I never caught that before!

But I don’t think it’s the same sort of situation with the Istari, I think it’s merely an evolving process.  In The Hobbit there is reference to a great council of White Wizards, implying many Istari.  I can’t check right now, but Tolkien, during the writing of LotR, decided that Istari were angellic when before they were not.  It may well be that during that transition he also scaled back the number of Istari and thereafter was consistant with the 5-Istari story.

Anscemion 01/Jan/2007 at 01:24 PM
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Yes indeed there are five Istari (i would know, lol) There is Saruman the White, designed by the Vala to be Sauron’s enemy (came a little short there didn’t he?), there was Radaghast the brown, designed by the Vala to settle and study the trees or something, then was the last, and greatest, Gandalf the Grey, to become Gandalf the White. His priority was to help the men of Middle Earth. But that is only three Wizards. There are also two more, two Blue Wizzards named: Alatar and Pallando, also called Morinehtar and Romestamo. There mission was to go into the east, where Sauron’s rule had dominated, and free the peoples there. There is much debate about wether they completed there mission or not. One thing is for sure though, they were never seen again. Read more about them here http:// (you have to copy and paste into your address bar)

What gave the other two Wizards away was Saruman foolishly shouting, "Five rods of the Wizards!"

Magradhaid 01/Jan/2007 at 02:40 PM
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I don’t know if this is too off-topic, but regarding the names of the five Istari: Saruman is Anglo-Saxon for "cunning man", which is Curunír in Sindarin and Curumo in Quenya, i.e. his name Curunír ’Lân "Saruman the White". Gandalf is Old Norse for "Wand-elf" because he leaned on a staff and was taken by Northern Men to be an Elf. His Khuzdûl name (Tharkûn) is similar, meaning "Staff-man". He had been called Olórin in Aman, which contained the root olo-s which referred to ’clear vision’ or ’imagination’, and indeed that meaning went well with his wielding Narya to kindle courage and hope. He was also called Mithrandír (the Grey Pilgrim in Sindarin) by Elves, and Incánus in the South (which was originally said to mean North-spy from inkâ-nûš in the language of the Southrons adapted into Quenya phonology, but was later interpreted to mean "mind-ruler" from Quenya, with "the South" being Gondor).

Radagast was originally (1954) said to mean "tender of beasts" in the language of Númenor of old (back when [externally] they spoke Taliska rather than Adûnaic), but was later interpreted to be a name of the language of the Men of the Vale of Anduin, with an unknown meaning. His Quenya name Aiwendil means "bird-friend". The Ithryn Luin are given names as Pallando and Alatar; both names are Quenya, and the first is probably from either *pal(an)-rando "far wanderer" or *pal(an)-lando "far and wide", cf. Lambengolmor #122. Alatar might include alat- "large in size, great". Their other names, Morinehtar and Rómestámo, are Quenya for "Darkness-slayer" and "East-helper".

Regarding "a slip of Tolkien’s pen", I think everything is/was canon — when it was written. His ideas were known to change frequently and drastically! As for the use of the name "Sauron", I can see why he wouldn’t want people to keep calling him "the Abhorred One"! Though it was probably more that the name was Elvish rather than the meaning, for why he wouldn’t want it used.