Was Gandalf a Valar?

Discussion in 'The Hall of Fire' started by 1stvermont, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. 1stvermont

    1stvermont Member

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    I believe a mistake was made by Christopher Tolkien. I always thought Gandalf a maiar from reading the sillmarillion as Olorin was a Maiar. However, of course , our sillmarillion was not published by J.R.R Tolkien but Christopher and I believe Tolkien left us with the idea of two separate olorins in Valinor. And after reading unfinished Tales [Post LOTR writing/essays on the istari] I think J.R.R left the question open but also indicated Gandalf was valar I think his power justified that position as well.


    They [Valar] sent members of their own high order [the istari], but clad in bodies as of men.”
    -Unfinished Tales the Istari



    This above passage of could perhaps be understood as a maiar as the same order as valar but it seems to go against the text. That in fact is how Christopher understood it to mean valar. Christopher noticed this “mistake” of Gandalf being a valar. Yet it came from later Tolkien writings [post lotr] and Christopher's counter and proof it was a “mistake” was his version of the published sillmarillion. Than we have this text making a better case


    “Who was "Gandalf"? it is said in the latter days it was believed by many of the “faithful” that Gandalf was the last appearance of Manwe himself...I do not know the truth of the matter, and if i did it would be a mistake to be more explicit than gandalf was”
    -Unfinished tales the Istari


    So Tolkien did not outright say Gandalf was Manwe [a valar] nor deny it. The argument that Gandalf was a maiar comes from his identification as Olorin. However even here does not prove him a maiar.


    That Gandalf said that his name “in the west” had been Olorin was, according to this belief, the adoption of an Incognito, a mere by name. I do not [of course] know the truth of the matter.” -Unfinished tales



    Thus I think Tolkien left it open to what order Gandalf was but I think indicated he was a valar.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
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  2. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Late in life, Tolkien imagined that the rebodied Glorfindel became a friend of Olorin in Valinor.

    "At some time, probably early in his sojourn in Valinor, he became a follower, and a friend, of Olorin (Gandalf), who as is said in the Silmarillion had an especial love and concern for the Children of Eru. That Olorin, as was possible for one of the Maiar, had already visited Middle-earth . . ." JRRT, Last Writings, Glorfindel II, The Peoples of Middle-Earth

    This appears to be a First Age Olorin (who is Gandalf) who is a Maia, with a similar reference to him being "the friend of all the Children of Iluvatar" from Valaquenta. And in Glorfindel I,
    for example, the word Maiar is footnoted by Tolkien: "That angelic order to which Gandalf originally belonged: lesser in power and authority than the Valar, but of the same nature . . ."

    In the same text (I) Gandalf is referred to as Gandalf-Olorin.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
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  3. Elaini

    Elaini Lost in Eä

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    Gandalf was originally based on Odin, an old wanderer which is in fact not a small god in Norse mythology.

    But the names of the seven Valar and seven Valier are clearly listed. When Manwë sent Gandalf to Middle-Earth, Gandalf thought himself as weak, even scared about the task though according to Manwë it was the exact reason why he was sent. Because he wasn't arrogant and proud about his abilities.

    Also, could "their own high order" mean Ainur instead of the Valar?
     
  4. 1stvermont

    1stvermont Member

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    I will have to order and read the peoples of ME as i have not yet done so. Looking at your first text it seems [Gandalf] is added in or was this part of the original text written by J.R.R Tolkien? what is the date on this source? Plus i am saying their very well might have been two Olorins, or that Gandalf just took the name of olorin for temporary purposes. Plus the text says "was possibly" a maiar. I think Tolkien left that option as he did a valar.


    Gandalf did not enter ME until the third age.

    “They [Istari] belonged solely to the third age and than departed, and none save maybe Elrond, Cirdan, and Galadriel discovered of what kind they were or whence they came.”
    -UT the Istari




    Where are they listed? where does it say no other valar? why cant Gandalf be a named valar who took on Olorin for incognito purposes as states by Tolkien?


    Yes Gandalf thought Sauron powerful, because he was. Not all Valar were "fighting" valar. But even so, compare Sauron to the most powerful valar, Morgoth next post.

    Sauron vs Morgoth

    I will argue that Sauron was the most powerful force for darkness in all of Middle-earth. And that his power was greater than Melkor's for much of history and he accomplished more than did morgoth. At creation of course melkor was the most powerful being created by Eru as the most powerful of the valar. However as I argue elsewhere the valar are not as powerful as often believed. Further the differences from valar to maiar I believe are not as great as often thought

    And the Valar drew unto them many companions, some less, some well nigh as great as themselves, and they laboured together in the ordering of the Earth and the curbing of its tumults.”
    -The Sillmarillion Ainulindale


    So maiar and valar are of the same race as elves are with men and elves like Thingol, married maiar like melian. The chief among the maiar in valinor was a Maiar Eonwe, the banner bearer and herald of Manwe, “whose might in arms is surpassed by none in arda.” Neither is the valar's “power” a power of strength- but a power in creation to accomplish Eru's design for them. In Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth Tolkien says of the valar “They had sufficient power for their functions.” Much of their power has to do with the potential for creation. Morgoth fled often from Tulkas even though he was the most powerful of the valar. As a poster stated

    Tolkien did not really think in terms of video game–style levels of power. Power to him was an intangible thing that can take many forms, and is not the same as raw strength or destructive ability. Tulkas, one of the Valar, is the strongest and the best at fighting; but he's certainly not the most powerful among them, and he readily accepts Manwë's leadership...Likewise, Morgoth at his height was the most powerful nondivine entity in Arda; but even he was defeated in a fight by Ungoliant, who could only do one thing (engulf and consume things in darkness), but could do it really, really well.To Tolkien, the power to resist, the power to stay true to your goals, the power to inspire other people to follow you, were all equally or more important than the power to win battles or use “magic” to change the world..”

    Melkor poured much of his strength into the creation of arda [before his fall] reducing his power. Also he used much of his strength corrupting the matter itself of arda and pouring his malice into orcs and other creatures. Melkor was envious of Feanor because of his great crafting abilities. Ungoliant the giant spider was able to match Morgoth in battle and he had to be saved by his servants the balrogs [his power was not yet reduced by giving it to other creatures yet, see Annuls of Ammon Morgoths Ring] .

    Ungoliante....drank and swelled to a shape so vast and hideous that even Melkor was adread...morgoth could not master her and she emeshed strangling webs, and his dreadful cry echoed throughout the world.”
    - Morgoths Ring aam


    He later lost the silmarill to Beren and Luthian. He was besieged by the Noldor for 400 years. When the high elf king Fingolfin challenged melkor to a 1v1 fight. Morgoth feared Fingolfin and did not want the fight but had to accept given the horn blasts of Fingolfin being so loud that all his servants would know of his fear. In the 1v1 dual the elvin king wounded melkor eight times including one on his foot that bled and caused morgoth to forever limp. Morgoth gave a cry of anguish and his nearby chieftains “fell on there faces in dismay.”It was not until “the king grew weary” [having traveled a long distance to challenge melkor] that Morgoth was than able to kill him. Following the fight Thorondor king of the eagles, marred Morgoths face and stole the body of the king from him. Morgoth limped on one foot and never fully recovered from his wounds.

    [Morgoth was]“Severely wounded by fingolfin and Thoronder in 455 and lost a silmarill to Beren and Luthian in 467”
    -Robert Foster Tolkien's World from A to Z: The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth


    Further it is prophesied in the second prophecy of mandos, Morgoth is to be killed by a man, Turin.



    Sauron

    "Sauron, greatest and most terrible of the servants of Morgoth, who in the Sindarin tongue was named Gorthaur".
    -The Silmarillion, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.



    He became the greatest and most trusted of the servants of the Enemy, and the most perilous.”
    -The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age


    Sauron was the greatest of Morgoth's Servants so much so that melkor left Sauron in charge of the war with the noldor when he left and Angband was controlled by Sauron and was the rallying point for the servants of Melkor after his capture.

    Melkor had made also a fortress [after called Angband]...this was in the command of Sauron.”
    -The Later Sillmarillion the war of the Jewels


    In the Grey Annuls we read that Sauron often led the successful assaults of morgoths armies in the first age such as on Inglor, Minias-tirith, Dorthonion etc. He also found Barahir and his outlaws when Morgoth could not “Thither, Barahir and his outlaws withdrew....and Morgoth could not discover it. Therefore he commanded Sauron to find and destroy the rebels speedily.” and Sauron did. Sauron had accumulated vast knowledge from Melkor and other valar. ButSauron had not fallen so low as Morgoth. In myths transformed Tolkien said “He was not obliged to expand so much of himself” compared to Melkor. Sauron only spent his power on the rings while melkor poured his power into corruption middle earth and its creatures. This enabled Sauron to “pick up” where melkor left off and build upon his power and efforts.

    It was this Morgoth element in matter indeed witch was a prerequisite for such “magic” and other evils as Sauron practiced with it and upon it.”
    -Myths Transformed


    Also in myths transformed we read “Sauron was also wiser than melkor.” and “It was Sauron also, who secretly repaired Angband. And there the dark places underground were already manned with hosts of orcs.” and again “It was Sauron who, during the ages of melkor's captivity in Aman, brought into being the black armies that were available to his master when he returned.” Sauron not melkor had the idea of breeding orcs for infantry, melkor did so to make fun of men/elves out of hate. Further “Sauron achieved even greater control over his orcs than Morgoth had done.” It was also Sauron who worked to create trolls from a dumb useless beast.

    In their beginning... the eldar days, these were creatures of dull and lampish nature and had no more language than beasts. But Sauron had made use of them, teaching them, what they could learn, and increasing their wits and wildness.”
    -J.R.R Tolkien Myths Transformed


    Sauron was “more capable of calculation than melkor he was able to achieve things, first conceived by Melkor, which his master did not or could not complete in the furious haste of his malice.”
    -Myths Transformed


    Sauron invented the black speech and had more success than Morgoth in middle earth. Sauron was able to avoid capture by the valar and continued the work of his master into the fourth age. He has his way with the Eldar, sacking Eregion of the Noldor, holding at bay Elrond, and advancing toward the Grey Havens.For long peridos of time

    Sauron was become now a sorcerer of dreadful power, master of shadows and of phantoms, foul in wisdom, cruel in strength, misshaping what he touched, twisting what he ruled, Lord of werewolves, his dominion was torment.”
    -The Sillmarillion


    Sauron became almost supreme in middle-earth.... he ruled a growing empire from the great dark tower of barad-dur in Mordor.... wielding the one ring.””
    -Letters 131


    The strength of his terror and mastery over men had grown exceedingly great.”
    -Akallabeth The Sillmarillion


    Sauron's growth to a new Dark Lord, master and god of Men.”
    -Letters 131



    Later he single handle took out the mightiest nation of men that ever lived, the Númenóreans. He than was abel to turn them against the valar and forced Eru to remake the world. In letters 130 Tolkien said of the attack on valinor “The Numen-oreans directed by Sauron could have wrought ruin in Valinor itself.” Sauron slayed the last high king of the Noldor Gilgalad, as well as Elendil. Nowhere did morgoth have this kind of success. He had to flee valinor after sneaking in while Eru had to change the world to stop Sauron. Further during the second age Sauron owned massive amounts of middle earth.

    Sauron was greater, effectively, in the Second Age, than Morgoth at the end of the First.”
    -Morgoth's Ring, Myths Transformed



    He became more powerful in the third age with the creation of the one ring.

    while he wore it his power was enhanced”
    J.R.R Tolkien letters 130



    He deceived the 9 who turned into theThe nazgul, it is said in of the rings of power and the third age were “the mightiest of Saurons servants” and of course the strongest of them all the witch king himself and their use of fell beats in the third age. He recived some of the dwarves rings as well. He Corrupted Suaroman, created Grond to break down the walls of minas tirith and reunited the orcs to make war on the free peoples while reestablishing Mordor as the great power in middle earth. Sauron controlled an empire far larger than Morgoth was ever able to control.


    Could be, that is not how UT tales seemed to me and Christopher also took it as a "mistake" for calling gandalf a valar.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2019
  5. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    As far as I know it's part of the original text. There are other instances of parentheses that are very arguably Tolkien. In other words, I can see no reason for CJRT to add the information in them. Also, CJRT uses brackets to note a revision to something.

    Very late. Last Writings is aptly named here. CJRT thinks it probable that this collection of texts dates to the last year of his father's life.

    I realize that, but this Olorin (in a First Age setting) is simply identified as Gandalf and as one of the Maiar.

    I can't agree there. To me, the text says it was possible for one of the Maiar to visit Middle-earth.



    Also, in Glorfindel I (Last Writings again), for example, the word Maiar is footnoted by Tolkien: "That angelic order to which Gandalf originally belonged: lesser in power and authority than the Valar, but of the same nature . . ."

    In the same text (Glorfindel I) Gandalf is referred to as Gandalf-Olorin.
     
  6. 1stvermont

    1stvermont Member

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    Thanks i will have to read it before further comments of course. I do want to mention Gandalf did not enter ME till the third age.


    They [Istari] belonged solely to the third age and than departed, and none save maybe Elrond, Cirdan, and Galadriel discovered of what kind they were or whence they came.”
    -UT the Istari


    Middle Earth Conspiracy Theory Gandalf was Manwe


    I still need to read The Peoples of Middle-Earth before i make a conclusion. But i thought of a conspiracy theory. What if Gandalf was indeed Manwe. Manwe asked olorin to go and olorin was scarred and Manwe said it was the more reason he should go. But either Olorin refused or because he was scarred, Manwe stepped in and became Gandalf but because he wished not to reveal who he was [most well known and powerful valar besides morgoth and the purpose was to help the free people not fight for them as they would wish if they knew it was he] he used the incognito name of olorin since he was his desired servant.




    “Who was "Gandalf"? it is said in the latter days it was believed by many of the “faithful” that Gandalf was the last appearance of Manwe himself...I do not know the truth of the matter, and if i did it would be a mistake to be more explicit than gandalf was”
    -Unfinished tales the Istari



    That Gandalf said that his name “in the west” had been Olorin was, according to this belief, the adoption of an Incognito, a mere by name. I do not [of course] know the truth of the matter.”
    -Unfinished tales
     
  7. Miguel

    Miguel Well-Known Member

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    I definitely love this theory, it's conflicting however, since this is already very settled in my mind:

    But even then, it still might be, who knows.
     
  8. 1stvermont

    1stvermont Member

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    I am actually looking into something but it will take some time that might make a better case for him as a valar. In fact all the istari as valar. But I think it might be wrong about two olorins. But even still that would not disprove him manwe or a valar. I am leaning towards gandalf as manwe more if he is a valar. I am looking into another writing on the matter that might shed some new light.
     
  9. Miguel

    Miguel Well-Known Member

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    What i really like about this is the idea of Manwë wanting to be more involved in the matters of Middle-Earth without no one knowing. One of the reasons for this might be a tremendous feeling of guilt if you know what i mean.
     
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  10. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Agreed, but what Tolkien is noting here, in any case, is that Olorin could visit Middle-earth well before that, as was possible for a Maia (singular form).
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  11. Elaini

    Elaini Lost in Eä

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    Point proven with Melian.