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Istari

Other Names:
wizards
Quenya singular: istar, plural: istari
Sindarin singular: ithron, plural: ithryn

Location(s): Middle-earth

Race/Species: Ainur

Type/Kind: Maia

Dates: III 1000 - 3021

Description:
'Wizards ... appeared first after the Great Ships came over the Sea....'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 4, Treebeard

When maybe a thousand years [of the Third Age] had passed, and the first shadow had fallen on Greenwood the Great, the Istari or Wizards appeared in Middle-earth. It was afterwards said that they came out of the Far West and were messengers sent to contest the power of Sauron, and to unite all those who had the will to resist him; but they were forbidden to match his power with power, or to seek to dominate Elves or Men by force and fear.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

None knew at that time whence they were, save Círdan of the Havens, and only to Elrond and to Galadriel did he reveal that they came over the Sea. But afterwards it was said among the Elves that they were messengers sent by the Lords of the West to contest the power of Sauron, if he should arise again, and to move Elves and Men and all living things of good will to valiant deeds. In the likeness of Men they appeared, old but vigorous, and they changed little with the years, and aged but slowly, though great cares lay on them; great wisdom they had, and many powers of mind and hand. Long they journeyed far and wide among Elves and Men, and held converse also with beasts and with birds....

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

'Hoom, hm, I have not troubled about the Great Wars,' said Treebeard; 'they mostly concern Elves and Men. That is the business of Wizards: Wizards are always troubled about the future.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 4, Treebeard

Wisest of the Maiar was Olórin [Mithrandir].

The Silmarillion, Valaquenta: Of the Maiar

... the peoples of Middle-earth gave to them many names, for their true names they did not reveal. Chief among them were those whom the Elves called Mithrandir and Curunír, but Men in the North named Gandalf and Saruman. Of these Curunír was the eldest and came first, and after him came Mithrandir and Radagast, and others of the Istari who went into the east of Middle-earth, and do not come into these tales. Radagast was the friend of all beasts and birds; but Curunír went most among Men, and he was subtle in speech and skilled in all the devices of smith-craft. Mithrandir was closest in counsel with Elrond and the Elves. He wandered far in the North and West and made never in any land any lasting abode; but Curunír journeyed into the East, and when he returned he dwelt at Orthanc in the Ring of Isengard, which the Númenóreans made in the days of their power.

Ever most vigilant was Mithrandir, and he it was that most doubted the darkness in Mirkwood, for though many deemed that it was wrought by the Ringwraiths, he feared that it was indeed the first shadow of Sauron returning; and he went to Dol Guldur, and the Sorcerer fled from him, and there was a watchful peace for a long while.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 21Oct05

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