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Origins of the Istari

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StinkhornJake

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We, the readers, are not given many details on the how's and where's of Mithrandir's origins, and those of his order. I've got a theory about the author's intent on the mater. But what are some of your ideas:confused:
 
M

Mormegil

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Read the Unfinished Tales. There is a whole section in there devoted to the Istari.
 

Elanor2

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For those who do not have the UT, here is resume:

The Istari are Maiar (lesser powers) and were sent by the Valar to help ME in the 3rd age.

Originally the Valar selected 3 (order in power originally):

- Saruman, selected by Aule
- Alatar, selected by Orome
- Gandalf, selected by Manwe

Additionally, Alatar's friend Pallando, joined him. They are the Blue wizards, that forgot their mission and are lost.
Also, Yavanna insisted in seding one of her own (Ragadast) with Saruman. Saruman resented and despised Ragadast (who also forgot his mission and only cares for animals and plants, so he is also 'lost').

Gandalf was reluctant to take the task and arrived last. However, Varda predicted that he, who was to be the last to arrive and the third in power, would become the first.
 

baraka

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Here is a passage of the UT:

Of major interest, however, is a brief and very hasty sketch of a narrative, telling of a council of the Valar, summoned it seems by Manwë ("and maybe he called upon Eru for counsel?"), at which it was resolved to send out three emissaries to Middle-earth. "Who would go ? For they must be mighty, peers of Sauron, but must forgo might, and clothe themselves in flesh so as to treat on equality and win the trust of Elves and Men. But this would imperil them, dimming their wisdom and knowledge, and confusing them with fears, cares, and weariness coming from the flesh." But two only came forward: Curumo, who was chosen by Aulë, and Alatar, who was sent by Oromë. Then Manwë asked, where was Olórin ? And Olórin, who was clad in grey, and having just entered from a journey had seated himself at the edge of the council, asked what Manwë would have of him. Manwë replied that he wished Olórin to go as the third messenger to Middle-earth (and it is remarked in parentheses that "Olórin was a lover of the Eldar that remained," apparently to explain Manwë's choice). But Olórin declared that he was too weak for such a task, and that he feared Sauron. Then Manwë said that that was all the more reason why he should go, and that he commanded Olórin (illegible words follow that seems to contain word "third"). But at that Varda looked up and said: "Not as the third;" and Curumo remembered it.
The note ends with the statement that Curumo [Saruman] took Aiwendil [Radagast] because Yavanna begged him, and that Alatar took Pallando as a friend.

Hope this helps.:)
 

Halandor

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all the wizards were maiar, and all came from the West with the mission to conter the moves of Sauron. Their names were Olorin (Gandalf), Curumo (Saruman), Aiwendil (Radagast), Alatar, and Pallando. The last two are the Blue Wizards, who went into the East and are not in LOTR.
 

Úlairi

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Originally posted by Elanor2
For those who do not have the UT, here is resume:

The Istari are Maiar (lesser powers) and were sent by the Valar to help ME in the 3rd age.

Originally the Valar selected 3 (order in power originally):

- Saruman, selected by Aule
- Alatar, selected by Orome
- Gandalf, selected by Manwe

Additionally, Alatar's friend Pallando, joined him. They are the Blue wizards, that forgot their mission and are lost.
Also, Yavanna insisted in seding one of her own (Ragadast) with Saruman. Saruman resented and despised Ragadast (who also forgot his mission and only cares for animals and plants, so he is also 'lost').

Gandalf was reluctant to take the task and arrived last. However, Varda predicted that he, who was to be the last to arrive and the third in power, would become the first.
Elanor2, Gandalf was of a higher order of Maiar than Alatar. He came second in power, but was the last to arrive in Middle-earth along with Radagast the Brown. As for the Ithryn Luin (The Blue Wizards) forgetting their mission, that is not true. This is what Tolkien wrote on the subject:

Of the Blue little is known in the West, and they had no names save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards'; for they passed into the East with Curunir, but they never returned, and whether they remained in the East, pursuing there the purposes for which they were sent; or perished; or as some hold were ensnared by Sauron and became his servants, is not now known."
As for Gandalf being the second highest in the order of the Istari, it says later in the chapter:

Saruman is said (e.g. by Gandalf himself) to have been the chief of the Istari - that is, higher in Valinorean stature than the others. Gandalf was evidently the next the next in order.
Gandalf was the second highest of the Istari i.e. Gandalf the Grey, but in the end of LoTR he becomes the highest of the order when he breaks the staff of Saruman and truly becomes Gandalf the White. When I say truly I mean that I know that Gandalf the Grey became Gandalf the White when he came back to life after being killed by the Balrog but he didn't truly become the head of the order until he broke the staff of Saruman.
 

Dol Amroth

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I think it's quite a debatable point about the order of rank of the Istari. Obviously, in terms of the White Council, Sauruman was head. But when in tLotR Gandalf calls Sauruman "head of my order", does he mean of the Istari, or just the White Council, of which I don't believe the other three Istari were members. I'm going to be a bit tentative in putting forward a few ideas, because it's a long time since I've read the relevent section of Unfinished Tales. But from what I remeber of the scene in which the Valar select the Istari, I interpreted Yavanna's words as saying not that he WOULD become the first, but that he went AS the first in power, though the last to arrive both to the council and in ME. I also seem to recall - though I should probably go and look this up before opening my muth - that the passage which refers to Gandalf in "The Silmarillion" mentions him as being second among the Maiar only to Melian, though I may be totally off with that.
As far as the Blue Wizards abandoning their mission, although their fate is unknown, it is stated, thought I can't remember where, that Gandalf was the only one of the Istari to hold true to his purpose. When three wizards go off East and only one returns it may just be suspicious, but when the one who returns is Sauruman, I can't help feeling that there was something fishy going on somewhere...
 

Úlairi

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Dol Amroth, you are correct in saying that Gandalf was the only true one to his mission, but Tolkien states in The Peoples of Middle-earth that Morinehtar (Alatar) and Romestamo (Pallando) had a great influence on the peoples of the East in the Second Age. Their mission was to help the peoples of the East and also search for the whereabouts of Sauron after his fall in the S.A. As I have stated above:

"Of the Blue little is known in the West, and they had no names save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards'; for they passed into the East with Curunir, but they never returned, and whether they remained in the East, pursuing there the purposes for which they were sent; or perished; or as some hold were ensnared by Sauron and became his servants, is not now known."
Here is some possibilities as to how they did not complete their mission. They either perished or were even ensnared by Sauron but that is not known. I also read somewhere that it is a possiblity that they started their own magic cults somewhere. Mmmmmm, maybe that's how Hogwart's came to be?
 

Úlairi

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Dol Amroth, you are correct in saying that Gandalf was the only true one to his mission, but Tolkien states in The Peoples of Middle-earth that Morinehtar (Alatar) and Romestamo (Pallando) had a great influence on the peoples of the East in the Second Age. Their mission was to help the peoples of the East and also search for the whereabouts of Sauron after his fall in the S.A. As I have stated above:

"Of the Blue little is known in the West, and they had no names save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards'; for they passed into the East with Curunir, but they never returned, and whether they remained in the East, pursuing there the purposes for which they were sent; or perished; or as some hold were ensnared by Sauron and became his servants, is not now known."
Here is some possibilities as to how they did not complete their mission. They either perished or were even ensnared by Sauron but that is not known. I also read somewhere that it is a possiblity that they started their own magic cults somewhere. Mmmmmm, maybe that's how Hogwart's came to be?
 
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Mormegil

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There is also a possibility that Saruman killed them. They went into the East with him and never returned. And then Saruman doesn't particularly give out his knowledge of them does he. Perhaps he had already chosen his evil path even then, and got rid of the Blue Wizards at the start.
 

Úlairi

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No Mormegil, Saruman didn't kill them because in "The People of Middle-earth" is states that they had a great influence on the East in the Second and Third Ages. Saruman could not have taken out two Maia either, especially Alatar. I have been doing extensive research into the Blue Wizards and have written down every piece of information that is referred to them and now consider myself to be quite an expert on them. The reason Saruman could not take out Alatar was because Alatar was allowed to use his powers quite a bit more than the others. Alatar was known as Morinehtar, which means "darkness-slayer". Pallando was his companion and was known as Romestamo, meaning "East-helper" and I believe their names were suggestive of what they actually did
 
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Mormegil

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OK, I stand corrected.
But it still is a possibility though.
 
M

Mormegil

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Even if it is very unlikely, maybe nearly impossible then it is still a possibility.

Also, your main reason behind stating that Saruman couldn't have taken out 2 other Maiar is flawed.
Gandalf himself states "Saruman the White is the greatest of my Order." Meaning that Saruman was the most powerful wizard, more powerful than Gandalf or Alatar. So he could have killed the Blue Wizards.

Also, if Saruman did kill the Blue Wizards, he didn't have to do it on his initial journey into the East with them. Seeing how "Curunir journeyed often into the East" (Unfinished Tales, The Istari). Perhaps he travelled to them at a later date, asking them to help him claim the One Ring, and after being refused, killed them.

Also there is the argument that as HoME was published after JRRT's death, that we cannot take everything written in them as Gospel truth. JRRT changed his mind on many things, Such as the fact that Strider was originally a travelling Hobbit named Trotter.
If I were to claim things about Aragorn based on the fact that he was a travelling Hobbit, I would quite clearly be wrong. As this was not the intended final version of JRRT.
How do we know that anything JRRT wrote about the Istari that was published posthumously was what he intended to be the final version.

Indeed there are descrepencies. In some places it states that the Blue Wizards are never named. But in otjher places they are named as Alatar and Pollando. Obviously both of these cannot be correct, so JRRT changed his mind at some point. How do we know that he didn't change his mind on other things concerning the Istari??

So back to the original point. I believe that although unlikely, Saruman could have killed the Blue Wizards. It is not what I personally believe, but it is a possibility. And seeing how I have an open mind, I can see it as a remote possibility.
 

Úlairi

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I agree with you Mormegil. However, I cannot see Saruman, despite the fact that he was more powerful than the others, destroying two Maia without perishing himself. As for Morinehtar (Alatar), he was allowed to use his powers a little more openly seeing as his main mission was to drive away dark powers either under or not under the service of Sauron out in the east, where as Saruman was restricted from using his powers as openly as Alatar.
 
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Mormegil

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And we all know that Saruman did exactly as the Valar told him don't we. Perhaps it was the Valar who told him to claim the One Ring for himself and be the next Dark Lord.

Just because the Valar told the Istari not to use their full powers, it doesn't mean that Saruman obeyed them. We know that he left his mission, so he would have no reason to continue to obey the Valar.
 

Úlairi

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Mormegil, you could not or did not see the point. I have mentioned somewhere in this forum that I have gathered every shred of evidence on the Ithryn Luin and the Istari. They could not (and I mean that literally) use their powers because the Valar restricted it, or bound them physically from doing so.
 
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Mormegil

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Ulairi, if this is true then I would like to know where you got evidence of it from, so that I may check it out.
Perhaps a quote or something to back up your argument.
 

Dol Amroth

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Mormegil, he is right on this one. I'm not saying that Sauruman couldn't have killed or otherwise perverted the blue wizards from their mission, but the Valar are said to have imposed limitations on the power of the Istari. In the Unfinished Tales we are told that on coming to ME them "forgot" much of what they had known, and though they learnt some of it again, did not regain their full powers whilst in human form.
 

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