What I am wondering is why Tolkien decided to have the Istari fail so badly. Out of five sent to Middle Earth, two dissapeared almost immediately (Alatar and Pallando). Radagast became to secluded with beasts and plants, and Saruman eventually became corrupted fought against the forces of good. Only Gandalf succeded in his cause, although he had a hard time doing so. If we look for a mathamatical relationship we see that this is a 20% rate. In other words, a very, very poor rate. The istari themselves didn't make good use of their time. For a good 2000+ years they meandered around Middle Earth while Sauron was still weak. They had no real knowledge on the One Ring. Imagine if Gandalf would realized (or suspected) that Bilbo's magic ring was actually Saurons Ring when he first saw it. Because Gandalf did not realize this, they were forced to finally fight Sauron when he had almost regained all his power. But my ultimate question is why you think Tolkien made the Istari so poor in their task?