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Did the other Istari really fail?


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#1 CorrTerek

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 03:46 AM

As I'm sure many of you know, there are five wizards/Istari on Middle-Earth:

Gandalf
Saruman
Radagast
...and the two Blue wizards whose names I forget

I've often heard the claim that Gandalf was really the only one who succeeded in his mission. Saruman obviously failed, but what about the other three wizards? Radagast fell in love (so to speak) with nature, and the other two wizards went off somewhere (east, I think) searching for some lost elves or somesuch.

My question is, did they really fail? I mean, who's to say they didn't play a role we know nothing about?
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#2 EKen132

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 03:54 AM

This could've been the case I suppose. But in the literal sense, if they were said to have not succeeded, then they must have failed.
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#3 av_nefardec

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 06:32 AM

In UT: The Istari, Tolkien writes that the Istari "were bidden to advise and persuade Men and Elves to good, and to seek to unite in love and understanding all those whom Sauron, should he come again, would endeavor to dominate and corrupt."


So with that, I'll let you decide for yourself :)


BTW - the other two Istari were Alatar and Pallando (the two blue wizards) and Tolkien writes of them "they passed into the East with Curunír (Saruman), 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 ensared by Sauron and became his servans, is not now known. "

And then in a separate note he writes: "I think they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South, far out of Númenórean 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."
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#4 Caedus

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Posted 02 February 2004 - 10:57 AM

Also, there maybe were more than five wizards, because there can be read in Unfinished Tales that those were the five chief wizards. I'm at school, so I can't quote sorry.
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#5 av_nefardec

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 01:59 AM

Also, there maybe were more than five wizards


Yep:

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 Dúnedain and of the Eldar that abode there), the chiefs were five.


So that means there were probably others around more distant parts of Middle-earth, and that in the main northwestern section of Middle-earth the five we know about were the chief Istari and that there may have been more.
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#6 CorrTerek

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Posted 03 February 2004 - 02:27 AM

Ah, good. You see, I'd been toying with the idea of writing a fan story in which one of the other wizards plays a role. It was gonna include a hobbit, a young man, a dwarf, and two Elves. And I'd thought of having Radagast advise them. Of course, if the books said Radagast failed in his purpose, he obviously couldn't advise the characters in fighting the Enemy. :)
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#7 Frumpus

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 03:10 AM

Woah - brain-pop: "were ensared by Sauron and became his servants"

Umm.... I wonder if the Mouth of Sauron could possibly be one of the Blue Wizards? I rather doubt it, because not enough time would have passed since their coming to ME.
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#8 Black Op

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 03:12 AM

Nope, MoS is confirmed to be a Black Numenorean.
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#9 Enarwaen

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 07:39 AM

Ah, good. You see, I'd been toying with the idea of writing a fan story in which one of the other wizards plays a role. It was gonna include a hobbit, a young man, a dwarf, and two Elves. And I'd thought of having Radagast advise them. Of course, if the books said Radagast failed in his purpose, he obviously couldn't advise the characters in fighting the Enemy.  :)

well Radagast did not really fail in a sense he became evil - but he failed his original mission in aiding the peoples of middle-earth against Sauron. he was just so enamored in his studies of the flora and fauna of middle-earth that he barely took part in the greater events of the late third age (this could be worthy of a discussion - because without Radagast there would have been no eagle to fetch Gandalf from Orthanc and no eagles to rescue Frodo & Sam from the slopes of Orodruin)

anyway - i think you COULD use the character of Radagast in your fan-fiction, albeit don't let him "pull a Gandalf" :D

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#10 ElfTheHunter

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 02:44 PM

Another thing is: To the east, could it not be there was an event as big or perhaps almost as big that the two blue wizards saw as important and thus their none-return is not a failure, but only work in another spot.

The only wizard I can honestly say failed (IMO) is Saruman. Radagast did his part, though small and should probably have done more he did contribute a little to the success.

The two Blue Wizards could still be alive and well in the East, maybe working against Sauron by persuing men not to join him... Maybe (of course this is all maybe) if they were not there, Sauron might have gotten more forces under his power and taken Minas Tirith and even Gandalf would fail (not in his mission but in his goal).

Of course, they might have been captured or died and there's millions of possibilities. One question: Had Saruman already changed sides when he made the journey with the two? Because it's very suspecious that the two never returned when the one who would later betray ME did. Maybe his alliance with Sauron runs all the way back to then, and it was no accident that they did not return?

After all, he tried to imprison/turn Gandalf!
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#11 Black Op

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 07:50 PM

Had Saruman already changed sides when he made the journey with the two? Because it's very suspecious that the two never returned when the one who would later betray ME did. Maybe his alliance with Sauron runs all the way back to then, and it was no accident that they did not return?


Saruman only joined Sauron after he dared to look into the Orthanc plantir (sp?). But he did lust for the One Ring before that time as well.
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#12 Caedus

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:00 PM

Well, the way I see it, is that Sauron trapped his mind. He didn't want to join Sauron, but wanted to replace him, and he just allied so that Sauron wouldn't crush him (yet). But Sauron proved to be a more powerful Maia. But I do not doubt that, if Saruman had the chance, he would overthrow Sauron and take his place, having no loyalty towards him.
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Anco Peeters [ aka Caedus ]

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"Christopher was always much concerned with the consistency of the story and on one occasion ... interrupted: 'Last time, you said Bilbo's front door was blue, and you said Thorin had a golden tassel on his hood, but you've just said that Bilbo's front door was green, and the tassel on Thorin's hood was silver'; at which point Ronald exclaimed 'Damn the boy!' and strode across the room to make a note."

~ Priscilla and John Tolkien, The Tolkien Family Album, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1992, p. 58.

Nice Mythology site: Encyclopedia Mythica

#13 CorrTerek

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 03:29 AM

With all the information I have now (thanks to you wonderful people) I believe Radagast best suits my purpose. Not only was he learned in nature-lore, but he was a master of shapes and changes of hue. Not really a fighting wizard (like Gandalf) but still able to cause some trouble for "the Enemy".
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#14 CodeOptimist

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 03:58 AM

"suits my purpose" :) What's your purpose? :D
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#15 CorrTerek

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Posted 08 February 2004 - 01:31 AM

Well, the plot of my story really circles about a young man and a hobbit lass, two natives of Bree. It would take place a bit before the War of the Ring. Basically, Radagast's role in the whole adventure would be a sort of guide -- his friendship with nature would help the heroes as they progress along, as would his skill with changes of color and shape. He would never take a combat role, at least not unless there was greatest need -- it doesn't seem to be in his nature. His purpose would perhaps be similar to Gandalf's in getting involved with the events in The Hobbit -- removal of a potential ally to Sauron. Perhaps an errant lesser Wizard, or one of the Blue Wizards?
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#16 Gilluin

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Posted 11 April 2004 - 04:34 PM

In The People of Middle Earth it states that the Blue Wizards (Ithryn Luin) did indeed succeed and if they had not, Gondor and Arnor would likely have fallen much earlier (even the second age). He also changes the names and the time when they arrived in Middle Earth. Apparently they arrive, possibly with Glorfindel, in the Middle (1600ish) of the Second age (just before the making of the one ring). He renames them Morinehtar and Romestamo (Darkness slayer and East helper) and that they had great influence in both the second and third ages. Also of note is the comment that Glorfindel played a preeminent role in the wars of Eriador during the fall of Eregion and after. :wacko:
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#17 Mithrandil

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Posted 11 April 2004 - 04:46 PM

Euhm, I think you are massivly wrong :D

For starters, their names were Allatar and Pallando, at least it was their name in Aman.

Secondly, the Istari only went to middle earth in the third age, being send by the valar to make sure that the free peoples would fight against Sauron, and not letting him become ruler over middle earth.

Why should Glorfindel want to go to Middle Earth from Valinor in the Second age?

In Unfinished Tales, it says they had failed, just like Saruman, but surely in a different wy, and since UT is more recent, that should be considered the wright one, and not HoME.

Not trying to crush you, just saying what I think about it :wacko:
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#18 av_nefardec

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Posted 11 April 2004 - 04:47 PM

Yes PoME also there makes the point that there were many more men in the east than in the west... one wonders what those more neutral or detached from Sauron were doing during the War of the Ring!

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 Dúnedain and of the Eldar that abode there), the chiefs were five.


This quote is interesting to me because it seems to imply that there were several "minor" Istari, and that Olórin, Curunír, Radagast, Alatar, and Pallando were only the five chiefs of a great, unknown number!
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#19 Gilluin

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Posted 11 April 2004 - 04:58 PM

Mithrandil, I thinkn you had better read the latter writings, you will find that the information I give is the latest and greatest on the Istari, check for yourself please. Tolkien made many many changes to his original ideas, not dissimilar to the change from Hosts of Balrogs to not more than 7!
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#20 Gilluin

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Posted 11 April 2004 - 05:01 PM

av_nefardec, I have wondered the same thing regarding the possibility of minor Istari being about but in a very very minor role. Is it possible that someone like Beorn could (Iam saying could) be a minor Istari? If he was of the following of Orome would it not be feasible that he would have the gift of shape shifting to bear form?
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