JRRT's decsion with the Istari

Discussion in 'Books' started by Radagast, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    Wich happens to be the ultimate topic here, not whether or not the mortals should have done more. The Istari are in question.
     
  2. Nathan

    Nathan Wielder of the Flame

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    In Unfinished Tales it said that after Gandalf arrived in Middle-Earth, he started traveling everywhere. He did so to meet the peoples of Middle-Earth, to find out their customs and languages and history, and to search their hearts. He discovered which people were good and which were evil and which were more corruptible. For all the knowledge that this might have given him, it might have taken a long time to gather all this info. It appears that Gandalf's main role was to help men resist Sauron, while Saruman took the daunting task upon himself to search for the One Ring and who might have had it. While this wasn't itself an evil search, what he found eventually corrupted him, as we know. He traveled as well, but ended up at Orthanc.

    Why Tolkien sent two Blue Wizards into the East never to be heard from again is not known, but in Unfinished Tales there's a passage that implies Radagast shouldn't have even gone to Middle-Earth. Only his patron Valar urged it, so Saruman reluctantly agreed to bring him. He might have done some good by allying many animals against Sauron, but he only secluded himself. I think to assume that Saruman and Gandalf did nothing before the War of the Ring would be wrong, since they have such high reputations and are regarded among the Wise. The War probably wasn't foreseen by them, and their main purpose was to aid mortals in their conflicts against Sauron. They might have procrastinated a little bit, but I don't think they did nothing.
     
  3. asap

    asap New Member

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    I agree, Nathan. The Wizards efforts in studying the different races should not be underestimated. It must take a lot of work to earn the trust of both Elf-lords and the kings of Dwarves and Men.

    I was just about to take up that procrastinating part myself.

    Third Age:
    2460 Sauron returns to Dol Guldur
    2850 Gandalf enters Dol Guldur and discovers that its master is indeed Sauron.
    2851 The White Council meets. Gandalf urges on attack on Dol Guldur.

    (LOTR Appendices)

    It took Gandalf 390 years to decide to go and check who's ruling Dol Guldur :D?

    .
     
  4. Nathan

    Nathan Wielder of the Flame

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    The funny thing about that is the White Council knew about an evil power in Dol Goldur back in TA 1100. From the beginning of the Third Age to 2063, fighting was pretty much everywhere. In 2060 the Wise finally discovered the Sauron was in Dol Goldur instead of one of the Nazgul, as previously thought. The year you mentioned that Gandalf goes to Dol Goldur was his second visit there. His first visit was in 2063, but Sauron was apparently weak because he fled to Mordor. The Nazgul went back to Minas Morgul and the Watchful Peace began. You'd think this would have been a strategic time for the Istari and Eldar to do something. Have an attack on Mordor or something before his strength grew too much. But the White Council wasn't formed until four hundred years later when Sauron returned to Dol Goldur with greater power. But possibly there might not have been much evidence for a while that he had returned, even though orcs and things started attacking again.
     
  5. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    I will revise my statement then. The Istari did not do nothing, they did little. I agree on the terms that they procrastinated, and perhaps even forgot there purpose at times. And in the end that little problem cost many casualties among the races of Middle Earth. Further evidence to show that they made bad use of there time:

    This is around 2000 years after Gandalfs arrival in Middle Earth. Is there any justification for not knowing anything about what was crucial to Sauron? This one little ring could either utterly destroy him, or make him extremely more powerful.

    Took him long enough to start looking, wouldn't you think?
     
  6. Lady_of_Shalott

    Lady_of_Shalott Weaving the Magic Web

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    Do you think we could chalk all this procrastination up to Saruman? When exactly did he start studying the Ring-lore? It's just weird that Gandalf would wait so long to do certain things, like check up on Dul Guldor. It doesn't fit his character in LOTR very well. There has to be a logical reason and I'm inclined to think that Saruman had a lot to do with it.
     
  7. Nathan

    Nathan Wielder of the Flame

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    Perhaps another question could also be posed concerning the Istari: What were their ultimate goals and purposes while in Middle-Earth? Or perhaps, how did they view Sauron? I know they were sent to aid in the fight against him, but did they really think they could destroy him? Since the Ring abandoned Isildur in a river, it was easy for them to believe it may have gotten washed down to sea. Saruman had been searching in records for possible whereabouts, and only when he realized where it was last seen and that Sauron might look there did he go to the Gladden Fields. I don't think it occured to the Wise earlier that the One Ring could be found, so the Istari might have viewed Sauron as an annoying evil that won't go away.
     
  8. The Archangel

    The Archangel Member

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    The two wizards who went east wouldve gone to discover who much sauron had corrupted the eastern kingdoms of men i rekon, but in turn became corrupted themselves. i read somewhere, unfisished tales i think, that there were sorcerous cults or something that they founded. but thats beside the point.
    the istari were forbidden from trying to match the enemy in power buy the valar. and gandalf did get the dwarves back into erebor, and men back into dale, though this was oly sixty years before the war of the ring.
     
  9. Lady_of_Shalott

    Lady_of_Shalott Weaving the Magic Web

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    That's very interesting. I don't remember reading that anywhere. They were corrupted.... well that certainly explains a lot.
     
  10. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Well, its not directly written that they were corrupted (I believe.) It was only a suggestion Tolkien came up with during one of his letters. I'll maybe search a couple other forums for a quote of this, but basically that is what I recall.
     
  11. Elvenblademaster

    Elvenblademaster New Member

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    Tolkien says in one of the letters that the two blue Wizards, Palondo and Alatar, probebly fell into the same bad stuff that saruman did only they were in the far east part of middle earth. I think that after JRRT made up the five wizards he ralized that the blue ones were useless and just dismissed them as losers. However saruman makes a remark at in the chapter The voice of Saruman, when gandalf is talking to him in orthanc, he says something along the lines that gandalf will not be satisfied until he had the staffs of all five wizards. So they must of still been around at the time of the undoing of the ring. What part they played I don't know.
     
  12. asap

    asap New Member

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    Hmm. Maybe their purpose was nothing more than to be present, observe and be ready to offer their advice and knowledge during the final confrontation between Men and Sauron (just like Gandalf did). Maybe they weren't supposed to directly intervene in the normal flow of events (e.g. Sauron getting stronger etc). Seems a tad cruel though doesn't it? When I looked through the Tale of Years, one of the things that caught my eye was that the Nazgul (mainly the Witch-king), Sauron's direct minions, were allowed to bring such destruction to mankind and weaken their opposition to Sauron, while the Wizards did nothing about it.


    T.A.
    1300 - the chief of Nazgul comes north to Angmar
    1409- The Which-king of Angmar invades Arnor. King Arveleg I slain. The Tower of Amon Sul destroyed.
    1974 - the end of North-kingdom. The Witch-king overruns Arthedain and takes Fornost.


    No mention of the Wise during this period.
     
  13. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    good quote

    My opinion is that they were sent as guides rather than hit men.
     
  14. Cromat

    Cromat Ash nazg durbatuluk

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    The Istari were Maiar incarnated BY GOD HIMSELF not the Valar, in real
    bodies, not the veils that the Valar or Sauron used. They were send to ME to
    aid the peoples of ME against Sauron by means of COUNSEL and not force.
    They were forbidden to counter Sauron by their own power, because if they
    had used their powers, people would worship them and they would become
    gods to them. But the temptation to use power that they knew they had for
    their own benefit was too great, and therefor only Gandalf succeeded.

    It is quite possible that the Maiar that which were incarnated in the Istari
    were as strong or stronger than Sauron, so why they didn't just defeat him
    with their own power? That's like asking why Manwe himself didn't just come
    and kill Sauron on the spot.

    In the Third Age the trend was to REDUCE to minimum the "angelic" influence
    in ME and to begin with the Dominion of Men. This was the intention of God
    and the Valar knew it. That's why Gandalf hesitated to fight the Witch-king.
    He just knew that he wasn't supposed to. The same with the Balrog. Gandalf
    showed his real power only when the other option was complete disaster.
     
  15. asap

    asap New Member

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    Excellent arguments, Cromat, especially the one about preparing ME for the Dominion of Men.

    However, in my opinion, this still leaves one wonder if the Wizards should have offered a bit more of that counsel to Men, since they (Wizards) seemed to have stayed relatively passive during some periods (an observation based on the fact that they are not mentioned in the Tale of Years) when the situation was very complicated for Men.

    Oh, and welcome to the forums, Cromat!
     
  16. Cromat

    Cromat Ash nazg durbatuluk

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    Even to the wizards themselves their mission was not completely clear.
    As Gandalf said: "I was the enemy of Sauron". That's pretty vague. If
    you were put on a ship and sent on a ship to a place you don't know with
    the only instruction to be "the enemy" of someone, what would you do
    when you've arrived?

    I guess that in that time they spent their time studying the lands and
    their people. If they would have come and attacked Dol Goldur straight
    away, it would have done more harm than good, because, not knowing about
    the Ring, Sauron would again be banished, but not destroyed, and Sauron
    would have knowledge on the Istari and their mission.

    In fact, nothing could really be done against Sauron until the Ring was found.
    He would just return after some time. Actually, this was one of his intentions
    in making the Ring (other than enslaving the elves). He was sure than no one
    could succeed in destroying the Ring because it could only destroyed deep in
    his own land, and that even if someone would actually get there he would not
    have the strength of will to actually throw it into the fire (which proved correct) as even he himself didn't have the power to do so. In the time of the
    War of the Ring, the Ring already saved him twice (the downfall of Numenor
    and the War of the Last Alliance).


    and thanks ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2004
  17. asap

    asap New Member

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    Ahhhh... good points! The Wizards' mission does seem a bit different when you try imagine yourself in the similar situation. That, and there was also that ''need to keep a low profile''-thing.

    Still, I find the fact that they spent several thousands of years on ME without seemingly doing all that much a bit hard to swallow, but I think the best explanation for that would be that many of the things the Istari did and achieved remained unknown and were therefore never recorded in the Tale of Years.
     
  18. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    While I will agree with most of your thoughts, this statement I have to point out is not entirely correct. Radagast, as far as is written, did not use any of his powers, unless one goes on the thought of his interactions with birds and beasts. The other two wizards would be only speculation, as JRRT never directly wrote if that was the outcome, rather hinted at it (as far as I can remember from his letters).

    I had not thought of this before, but it is a very logical explanation.