🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

The origins of Sauron's name(s)...

Úlairi

Crying in the Wilderness
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
1,965
Reaction score
6
Location
Down the rabbit hole...
This is from a post of mine on another Lord of the Rings Forum which I became a member of when I thought I couldn't get back on TTF. The original thread and post is here.

Here is everything that I could find on the Ithryn Luin.

The first reference is in The Lord of the Rings where Saruman loses his temper with Gandalf:

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - The Voice of Saruman

He laughed wildly. 'Later!' he cried, and his voice rose to a scream. 'Later!' Yes, when you also have the Keys of Barad-dĂșr itself, I suppose; and the crowns of seven kings, and the rods of the Five Wizards...
Unfinished Tales - The Istari

Of this Order the number is unknown; but of those that came to Middle-Earth, where there was most hope (because of the remnant of the DĂșnedain and of the Eldar that abode there), the chiefs were five. The first to come was one of noble mien and bearing, with raven hair and a fair voice, and he was clad in white; great skill he had in works of hand, and he was regarded by well-nigh all, even by the Eldar, as the head of the Order. Others there were also: two clad in sea-blue...
An interesting point to note here is that there appears to have been more than five as the " number is unknown ". What I find even more interesting in this quote is that Middle-Earth was " where there was the most hope ". It appears that the rest of the Earth had fallen into darkness as we see with the Haradrim.

Unfinished Tales - The Istari

Of the Blue little was known in the West, and they had no names save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards'; for they passed into the East with CurunĂ­r, 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.
Unfinished Tales - The Istari

...two other 'Blue Wizards', unnamed, who passed with Saruman into the East, but unlike him never returned into the Westlands...
It is also possible that they may have been killed by Saruman. ;)

Unfinished Tales - The Istari

But only two came forward: Curumo, who was chosen by Aulë, and Alatar, who was sent by Oromë... and Alatar took Pallando as a friend.
Unfinished Tales - The Istari

...meaning of course that they had no names in the West of Middle-Earth...
This is interesting in relation to the discussion above; which implies that these names were names they obtained in the East.

Christopher Tolkien also makes a sidenote here as to the meaning of Pallando:

Unfinished Tales - The Istari

Pallando , despite the spelling, perhaps contains palan 'afar'...
Unfinished Tales - The Istari

Olórin to Manwë and Varda, Curumo to Aulë, Aiwendil to Yavanna, Alatar to Oromë, and Pallando also to Oromë (but this replaces Pallando to Mandos and Nienna).
Another interesting note of Christopher's is this:

Unfinished Tales - The Istari

It might be (although this is the merest guess) that Oromë of all the Valar had the greatest knowledge of the further parts of Middle-Earth, and that the Blue Wizards were destined to journey in those regions and remain there.
So far we know:

  1. They were known only in the West of Middle-Earth as the Ithryn Luin .
  2. Their names in Valinor were Alatar and Pallando.
  3. They journeyed into the far East with Saruman the White.
  4. They were either ensnared by Sauron, perished or remained pursuing the purposes for which they were sent.
  5. They never returned to the Westlands.
  6. They wore sea-blue.

There is also another (unimportant) reference in The Silmarillion

The Silmarillion - Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

...and others of the Istari who went into the east of Middle-earth, and do not come into these tales.
Here is a very interesting quote from The Letters of JRR Tolkien :

The Letters of JRR Tolkien - #211: To Rhona Beare

I really do not know anything clearly about the other two - since they do not concern the history of the N.W. I think they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South, far out of NĂșmenĂłrean range: missionaries to 'enemy-occupied' lands, as it were. What success they had I do not know; but I fear that they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I suspect they were founders or beginners of secret cults and 'magic' traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron.
This quote perhaps gives us the greatest insight as to the Middle-earth names of the Ithryn Luin . The parts in italics are commentaries by Christopher Tolkien.

The History of Middle-earth XII: The Peoples of Middle-earth - Last Writings: The Five Wizards

...the Five Wizards and their functions and operations', arose from my father's consideration of the matter of Glorfindel, as is seen from the opening words: 'Was in fact Glorfindel one of them?' He observed that he was 'evidently never supposed to be when The Lord of the Rings (underline mine) written', adding that there is no possibility that some of them were Eldar 'of the highest order of power', rather than Maiar...

No names are recorded for the two wizards.They were never seen or known in the lands west of Mordor. The wizards did not come at the same time. Possibly Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast did, but more likely Saruman the chief (and already over mindful of this) came first and alone. Probably Gandalf and Radagast came together, though this has not yet been said. ... (what is most probable) ... Glorfindel also met Gandalf at the Havens. The other two are only known to (have) exist(ed) [ sic ] by Saruman, Gandalf, and Radagast, and Saruman in his wrath mentioning five was letting out a private piece of information.

...Another note is even rougher and more difficult:

The 'other two' came much earlier, at the same time probably as Glorfindel, when matters became very dangerous in the Second Age. Glorfindel was sent to aid Elrond and was (though not yet said) pre-eminent in the war in Eriador. But the other two Istari were sent for a different purpose. Morinehtar and RĂłmestĂĄmo. Darkness-slayer and East-helper. Their task was to circumvent Sauron: to bring help to the few tribes of Men that had rebelled from Melkor-worship, to stir up rebellion ... and after his fall to search out his hiding (in which they failed) and to cause [?dissension and disarray] among the dark East ... They must have had very great influence on the history of the Second Age and Third Age in weakening and disarraying the forces of East ... who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise have ... outnumbered the West.
What is particularly curious is that Tolkien conceived that Glorfindel upon his return to Middle-earth (to aid Elrond) may have been one of the Ithryn Luin!!! Obviously the concept was discarded but it is one of the many incredible doorways into the mind of one of the greatest imaginations in human history. The Middle-earth names and their translations of the Ithryn Luin are also given here. He also adds considerable detail as to their mission which included searching the hiding place of Sauron after his disembodied spirit fled after the siege at Gorgoroth and notes that they had considerable influence on the history of the Second and Third Ages. The forces of the East would have outnumbered the West if they had not been "disarrayed" by the Ithryn Luin also. So perhaps the the north-west of Middle-earth had more to thank than just the Fellowship, Rohan and Gondor!
 

Galin

Registered User
Joined
Nov 28, 2004
Messages
915
Reaction score
400
Úlairi said:
You're opinion that he was on 'better track' is as unsubstantiated as my opinion that he was.
I'm not sure I need to substantiate a simple preference. I think Tolkien was on the 'better' track because, as I say, I like the 'unknown approach'. This is not the same as trying to bolster an opinion that Tolkien took a given path, or didn't take it.


As you've said, it's possible these names eventually came from the Histories (Annals) of the West, where Quenya was still a language in circulation in the Fourth Age. I particularly like this theory though: it was bestowed upon them by Black NĂșmenoreans who would still likely have a knowledge of Quenya; depsite their perversion to evil. What do you think?
I think the external scenario is the more likely one. I have seen at least one person on the web try to explain why the name Himring seems to have changed to Himling when it (supposedly) became an Isle. The answer is external rather (though I won't go into this now, nor am I implying that anyone here doesn't know this already).

This simply reminds me of that, though it's not exactly the same of course.


I well aware of this Galin.
I didn't mean to inspire a bold font. That highlight was for those who might not know that Mithrandir, for example, is not Quenya (to help demonstrate the difference in the combinations you set out).

...meaning of course that they had no names in the West of Middle-Earth... (UT) This is interesting in relation to the discussion above; which implies that these names were names they obtained in the East.
Well, just for clarity (in case of possible confusion as there are a lot of texts being cited now) 'these names' (the Quenya names under focus) are not actually concerned here in Unfinished Tales. Tolkien writes something similar in one of the late notes in any case, but well, you already know my answer here.
 

Úlairi

Crying in the Wilderness
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
1,965
Reaction score
6
Location
Down the rabbit hole...
I'm not sure I need to substantiate a simple preference. I think Tolkien was on the 'better' track because, as I say, I like the 'unknown approach'. This is not the same as trying to bolster an opinion that Tolkien took a given path, or didn't take it.
Fair enough. I was hoping you'd defend it. ;)

I think the external scenario is the more likely one. I have seen at least one person on the web try to explain why the name Himring seems to have changed to Himling when it (supposedly) became an Isle. The answer is external rather (though I won't go into this now, nor am I implying that anyone here doesn't know this already).

This simply reminds me of that, though it's not exactly the same of course.
Yes, but it is more than likely the names weren't conferred by a Fourth Age Historian but that they came from somewhere and the Black NĂșmenorean Theory is at least a viable hypothesis.

I didn't mean to inspire a bold font. That highlight was for those who might not know that Mithrandir, for example, is not Quenya (to help demonstrate the difference in the combinations you set out).
LOL. I didn't mean to inspire bold font. That was quite humourous. No offence taken; I usually use the bold font for emphasis on how it would be pronounced if dictated. It could easily be taken out of context there (as I would have done the same thing). I didn't actually mean it to be derogatory in anyway Galin. Perhaps I should use it more clearly in future.

Well, just for clarity (in case of possible confusion as there are a lot of texts being cited now) 'these names' (the Quenya names under focus) are not actually concerned here in Unfinished Tales. Tolkien writes something similar in one of the late notes in any case, but well, you already know my answer here.
Well clarity is something I can appreciate, particularly when it comes to linguistic conceptualizations (and the bloody Law). Yes, I know you're answer. You can say toe-ma-toe and I'll say toe-may-toe. ;)

Cheers,

Úlairi.
 

Miguel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
498
Reaction score
325
Location
Under a blankie
I've recently read that the Sindarin "Gorsodh" is or might be a variation of "Gorthaur" iirc. That's my favorite name so far.
 
Last edited:

Thread suggestions

Top