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Who do you think was stronger?

Lantarion

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Welcome to the forum, Beleg Cúthalion! :)
It is mentioned in the Silmarillion, and definately in Unfinished Tales, that Gandalf was sent as the wisest, and Saruman was sent as the most powerful. But when Ilúvatar (or somebody) reincarnated Olorin/Gandalf into the White Rider, he became the most powerful of the Istari.
 

Legolam

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I think somewhere in LOTR Galadriel says that she wanted Gandalf to be leader of the Council, but the vote went against her, or something like that.

Anyone have any ideas why Saruman was chosen instead, seeing as even then a powerful elf queen could see that Gandalf was better? :confused:
 

Walter

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Funny how this is almost the same topic as the other thread here. And of course my answer is the same:
I should like to think that all Ainur were more or less equal - save Melkor maybe - at the beginning. But they attended and hence developed their "areas of interest" differently - according to their tasks, duties or likings, etc. So the question "who was more powerful IMO is a sort of a mind-trap. What power are we referring to anyway? Physical or muscular power? Mental power? Power of speech and convincing others? Power of unscrupulousness? All of them?

What my point is? Well, IMO there is no measurement for power hence the question "who was more powerful" cannot be answered for real...
 
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Walter

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ooops - sorry for the messed up link - I just corrected it...
 

Grond

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originally posted by Walter
I should like to think that all Ainur were more or less equal - save Melkor maybe - at the beginning. But they attended and hence developed their "areas of interest" differently - according to their tasks, duties or likings, etc. So the question "who was more powerful IMO is a sort of a mind-trap. What power are we referring to anyway? Physical or muscular power? Mental power? Power of speech and convincing others? Power of unscrupulousness? All of them?

What my point is? Well, IMO there is no measurement for power hence the question "who was more powerful" cannot be answered for real...
I disagree with you on this one Walter. In the Valaquenta it very clearly states 1) "The Great among these spirits the Elves name the Vala... The names of the Lords in due order is Manwe, Ulmo, Aule..." 2) "With the Valar came other spirits whose being also began before the World, of the same order as the Valar but of less degree..." These quotes seem to indicate that the upon thier creation, Iluvatar had already decieded a hierchy both within the Valar and established the the Maiar were the "people" or the "vassals" of the Valar.
 

Walter

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Grond,

I am not sure we do disagree. Were not the Maiar Ainur as well as the Valar? Before Ilúvatar had made Eä there is no distinguishing among the Ainur in the Ainulindalë. And that is what I referring to with my statement. The very moment the world was created and some of the Ainur are being dedicated to it, Valar and Maiar are being distinguished. And that is what You are referring to.
Grond, You and I being both human beings are "more or less equal". Now if You would let's say become president of the US and ol me just being a little computer consultant would I not be still "of the same order but of lesser degree"?
 

Gothmog

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Grond I don't think that Iluvatar decided on a Hierachy of the Valar and the Maiar. The hierachy was of the Ainur before there was even the music. When the Ainur who decided to go down into arda the Hierachy simply went with them.

Other than that, I agree.
 

Bombadillodillo

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Tolkien gives the answer to this and Gandalf. Gandalf the Grey says himself that Saruman the White was the most powerful of their order. But Gandalf the Grey died and became or remanifested himself as the White after he (?) died and Saruman had changed to many colors. Gandalf took on Saruman's form. When I began writing this I thought Gandalf was clearly more powerful, but I see that comparison may be futile. They were both at different times White. Therefore I would say that their powers were similar at their height. I would tend to think that Gandalf was the greater simply because he did not fall, or should I rather say because he arose the wiser and mightier from his fall, whereas Saruman never arose from his descent into the abyss even though Gandalf had given him the chance.
 

Walter

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Gothmog: I never got it that there was a hierarchy among the Ainur - except for Melkor who is once called the "mightiest of the Ainur" - but after re-reading those passages it could be taken that way as well...

Bombadillo: Did Gandalf say that Saruman was the "most powerful" or did he say that Saruman was the "greatest" of the order? And which power are You referring to, btw.?
 

Jago

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Hi! I agree I believe Gandalf wasn't powerful before he was Grey, but after coming back as The white rider I believe He then was stronger then Saruman of many colours. Thanxs:)
 

Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by Jago
Hi! I agree I believe Gandalf wasn't powerful before he was Grey, but after coming back as The white rider I believe He then was stronger then Saruman of many colours. Thanxs:)

I think in the unfinished tales gandalfwas sent by manwe and varda and he didn't think he could beat Sauron so he tried to decline butn Manwe could see further then anyone else and new that he would be the most powerful Saruman was sent by Aule and he was most like him with great skill of hand. But loved most what he made and was sometimes blinded in greed/pride like aule with the dwarves.
 

Snaga

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I don't have a source for this, but I think that Gandalf didn't want to be head of the White Council, so Saruman was elected unopposed. Can anyone confirm that?

PS The White Council didn't meet for 60 odd years (basically after Sauron was driven out of Dol Guldur at the time of The Hobbit). I know Saruman was going bad at the time. But you'd think the rest of them would have wanted to get together wouldn't you?
 

Bombadillodillo

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Did Gandalf say that Saruman was the "most powerful" or did he say that Saruman was the "greatest" of the order? And which power are You referring to, btw.?

Well it does seem their powers were different. Saruman was clearly more powerful than Gandalf the Grey as their infamous meeting at Orthanc shows, which resulted in Gandalf's imprisonment.

Their powers were different and so comparison is difficult. It is clear that Gandalf's ability to rouse and unite the Ents and the Rohimir against Saruman to his downfall showed that Gandalf chose the wiser and better route. Thus, it seems, that Gandalf's choice both of means and ends proves him the greater of the two, and that suffices for me.
 

Bombadillodillo

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Remember too that Melkor was the greatest among the Ainur, but he too was brought to ruin. Perhaps a better question is whether it matters who is more powerful at their height. Is all that matters how they fared in the end?
 

Walter

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VoK: Yes it is true - Gandalf refused to become head of the Council...

And Curunir (that was Saruman the White) was chosen to be their chief, for he had most studied the devices of Sauron of old. Galadriel indeed had wished that Mithrandir should be the head of the Council, and Saruman begrudged them that, for his pride and desire of mastery was grown great; but Mithrandir refused the office, since he would have no ties and no allegiance, save to those who sent him, and he would abide in no place nor be subject to any summons. But Saruman now began to study tile lore of the Rings of Power, their making and their history.Silmarillion - Of the Rings of Power

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Bombadillo: What I was trying to point out is that "power" per se isn't well enough defined - and IMO not definable - hence the question "Who is more powerful" cannot be answered without making the mistake of comparing apples with pears...
 

Snaga

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Bombadillodillo posts:

It is clear that Gandalf's ability to rouse and unite the Ents and the Rohimir against Saruman to his downfall showed that Gandalf chose the wiser and better route.
I don't disagree although in point of fact it is Merry and Pippin who are the trigger that rouses the Ents. This is an example of the Halflings rising from their fields to shake the counsels of the wise. Noone was more shaken than Saruman I think! Perhaps also it is Gandalf's foresight about the value of hobbits, when noone else pays any attention to them that is his single best move?
 

Lantarion

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Geting back to Walter's post: I think the White Council took a risk by appointing Saruman as the chief, because I think they knew he was more power-hungry and corruptable a Maia than Olórin; but they needed someone who wasn't as cut-off from the rest of the world like Gandalf, and who knew "the devices of Sauron" really well. Gandalf was simply concentrating on calmly doing his appointed task, without making it more complicated like Saruman did. I think the final time they should've noticed Saruman's treachery was when he was reluctant to let the Istari attack Dol Guldur in Mirkwood. Nasty bugger.. :D
 

Snaga

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I don't agree that they thought Saruman was 'power-hungry'. Anything as obviously dodgy as that and they'd have been much more careful. Its clearly a surprise to all including Gandalf that Saruman goes bad.

I also don't agree that Gandalf was 'cut-off from the rest of the world' , 'concentrating on calmly doing his appointed task', and that excluded him from leading the White Council. Far from being cut-off, it was Gandalf who got out and about while Saruman shut himself away at Orthanc. And Gandalf's appointed task was to oppose Sauron.

No, I think that Gandalf was wary about relying on the Wise to defeat Sauron. Although he wanted to work with them, he didn't see in them the power to defeat Sauron.
 

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