a thousand years had passed in the Third Age of the Sun, an Elven-ship
came out of the Western Sea and sailed to the Grey Havens. Upon that ship
were five aged Men with long white beards and great cloaks. They were cloaks
of various colours, and each Man wore a tall pointed hat, high black traveller`s
boots, and carried a long staff. These were the Istari, whom Men called
Wizards; their hats and staffs were their signs of office. They were an
order and a brotherhood sent to Middle-earth from the Undying Lands, for
it was perceived that a great evil was growing in Mortal Lands.
Though the Istari came secretly and in humble form, in the beginning, before their arrival in Middle-earth, they were mighty spirits. They were Maiar, spirits older than the World itself, and of that first race that came from the mind of Ilúvatar in the Timeless Halls. Yet in the diminished World of Middle-earth in the Third Age they were forbidden to come forth in power as Maiar. They were limited to form of Men and the powers found within the mortal World.
Although five Istari are said to have come to Middle-earth, two play no part in the histories of the Westlands that have come to Men, for the others were said to have gone to the far east of Middle-earth. These two were the Ithryn Luin, "The Blue Wizards", and though it is known that they were called Alatar and Pallando in the Undying Lands and were chosen by the Vala Oromë the Horseman, nothing else is known of their lives and deeds.
Most famous and praised of the Istari is Galdalf the Grey, who by the Elves was called Mithrandir, by the Dwarves, Tharkûn, and Incánus by the Haradrim. As a Maia, in the Undying Lands he was named Olórin and was accounted wisest of his people. At that time he resided in the gardens of Lórien, the Master of Visions and Dreams, and also went often to the house of Nienna the Weeper. Tutored by the Vala Lórien in the gardens, Olórien`s wisdom for many Ages grew greater still. Also, counselled by Nienna in her house, which looks out on the Walls of the Night, to his wisdom was added pity and endurance beyond hope.
Of all the Istari Gandalf is counted the greatest, for by his wisdom the free peoples of Middle-earth were guided to victory over the Dark Lord Sauron, who wished to enslave them. In this Gandalf was aided by Narya, the Elven-ring of Fire, that Círdan, lord of the Grey Havens, gave him, for Narya had power to make Men brave and resolute. By Gandalf`s instigation, Smaug the Dragon was slain and the battles of Five Armies, the Hornburg and Pelennor Fields were won. By Gandalf`s hand alone the Balrog of Moria was destroyed. Yet his greatest deed of all was his discovery of the One Ring and his guiding of the Ringbearer to the place of its destruction. By this action the Ring was unmade, and Sauron and all his servants and all his kingdoms were brought to utter ruin. Gandalf`s task upon Middle-earth was completed by this one act and so the Third Age ended with Gandalf departure to the Undying Lands.
Another of the Istari is Radagast the Brown, who lived in Rhosgobel in the Vales of Anduin. He played a part in the White Council, which was formed to stand against Sauron, but it seemed his greatest concern was with the Kelvar and Olvar of Middle-earth and little is told of him in the chronicles of that time. He was wiser than any Man in all things concerning herbs and beasts, for his Elvish name was Aiwendil and he was a spirit faithful to Yavanna, the Queen of Earth. It is said he spoke the many tongues of birds. Even the Beornings and Woodmen of Mirkwood and the mighty Ent guardians of the Forest of Fangorn spoke with reverence of the wisdom of Radagast the Brown, for in forestlore he had no equal.
Last named of the Istari is Saruman the White, whom Elves called Curunír, "Man of skill". When the Istari were formed, Saruman was counted the greatest of the Order. For many centuries Saruman wandered the lands of Middle-earth and eagerly sought to destroy Sauron the Dark Lord, but after a time he grew proud and desired power for himself. In the year 2759, Saruman came to Isengard, and Beren, the Ruling Steward of Gondor, granted him the key to the tower of Orthanc, for it was thought the Istari would aid the Men of Gondor and the Rohirrim in war against the Orcs, Easterlings and Dunlendings. However Saruman made a mighty place of evil power there and summoned Orc legions and Uruk-hai, Half-orcs and Dunlendings to him. In Isengard he flew the standard of his tyranny, the black banner marked with a ghostly white hand. In his pride he grew foolish, until he was ensnared by Sauron, who commanded sorcery far greater than his own. So the greatest of the Istari who had come to destroy the Dark Lord became one of his agents. Yet Saruman`s power was annihilated by the wrath of the Ents, the valuor of the Rohirrim and the Huorns, and the wisdom of Gandalf. Isengard was destroyed by the Ents, his army was exterminated by the Rohirrim and the Huorns, and his staff was broken and his sorcerous power was taken by Gandalf. So low did Saruman fall that in his defeat he looked for petty vengeance in the tiny realm of the Shire, where Hobbits, the least of his enemies, resided. Here in a pathetic bid for domination Saruman was bested by the Hobbits and slain by his own servant, Gríma Wormtongue. When Saruman died, his body shrivelled to a form without flesh. It swiftly became skin, skull and bones wrapped in a ragged cloak, and from it rose a grey mist in a column. For a moment, it is said, this grey form of Saurman`s Maia spirit stood over his mortal remains, but a wind came and it vanished.
Alatar: "Although five Istari are said to have come to Middle-earth, two play no part in the histories of the Westlands that have come to Men, for the others were said to have gone to the far east of Middle-earth. These two were the Ithryn Luin, "The Blue Wizards", and though it is known that they were called Alatar and Pallando in the Undying Lands and were chosen by the Vala Oromë the Horseman, nothing else is known of their lives and deeds." - From the text above.
Gandalf the Grey: Istari, Wizard of Middle-earth. In the Undying Lands, Gandalf was a Maia spirit, Olórin, who lived in the gardens of Lórien, the Dream Master, and often visited Nienna the Compassionate. About the year 1000 of the Third Age of the Sun, he was chosen as one of the Istari or Wizards that were sent to Middle-earth. Called Gandalf the Grey in Westron, he was Mithrandir, or "grey pilgrim", to the Elves, Tharkûn to the Dwarves, and Incánus to the Haradrim. His outward form was that of a bearded old man dressed in a great cloak with a tall pointed hat and a long staff. Upon his arrival in the Grey Havens, Círdan gave him Narya, the "ring of fire". For over two thousand years, Gandalf worked against the rising evil powers on Middle-earth. In 2941, Gandalf inspired the Quest of the Lonely Mountain that resulted in the slaying of Smaug the Dragon. During this quest, Gandalf acquired the sword Glamdring, and Bilbo Baggins acquired the One Ring. It was Gandalf who recognized the power of the One Ring and learned how it might be destroyed. In 3018, Gandalf came to Frodo Baggins in the Shire and initiated the Quest of the Ring. In Rivendell, he became one of the Fellowship of the Ring, and led them through many perils. Then, upon the bridge of Khazad-dûm, Gandalf fell in mortal conflict with the Balrog of Moria. However, the Wizard`s spirit was resurrected as Gandalf the White, a radiant being that no weapon could harm. During the War of the Ring, Gandalf the White on his horse Shadowfax was everywhere: inspiring King Théoden in Rohan, vanquishing Saruman in Isengard, and holding back the Witch-king at the gates of Minas Tirith. He fought with the captains of the Army of the West before the Black Gates of Mordor, while the Ringbearer destroyed the One Ring. After the war, Gandalf oversaw the reuniting of Gondor and Arnor, then in 3021 embarked on the Last Sailing of the Keepers of the Rings to the Undying Lands.
Pallando: "Although five Istari are said to have come to Middle-earth, two play no part in the histories of the Westlands that have come to Men, for the others were said to have gone to the far east of Middle-earth. These two were the Ithryn Luin, "The Blue Wizards", and though it is known that they were called Alatar and Pallando in the Undying Lands and were chosen by the Vala Oromë the Horseman, nothing else is known of their lives and deeds." - From the text above.
Radagast the Brown: Istari, Wizard of Middle-earth. Radagast the Brown was originally a Maia spirit of Yavanna the Fruitful called Aiwendil, meaning "lover of birds". Chosen as one of the Istari, the Order of Wizards, he came to Middle-earth in the year 1000 of the Third Age of the Sun. He seemed little concerned with the affairs of Elves and Men, but he was extremely knowledgeable about herbs, plants, birds and beasts.
Saruman the White: Istari, Wizard of Isengard. Saruman the White was the head of the Istari, the Order of Wizards, who came to Middle-earth about the year 1000 in the Third Age of the Sun. In the Undying Lands he was Curumo, a Maia spirit of Aulë the Smith. When he first appeared he wore white robes, had raven hair and spoke with a voice both wise and fair. Called Curunír, meaning "man of skill", by the Elves, he wandered Middle-earth seeking to overcome the Dark Lord. But after a time he grew proud and wished to have power for himself. In the year 2759, Saruman entered Isengard, and the tower Orthanc, and summoned Orcs, Half-orcs, Uruk-hai, and Dunlendings under a black banner marked with a white hand. He became ensnared in the Ring Lord`s web and unwittingly became his servant. Yet, in the War of the Rings, Saruman`s power was annihilated by a combination of the Ent`s March on Isengard, and the Rohirrim in the Battle of Hornburg. Finally, his staff was broken and his sorcerous power was taken from him by Gandalf. So low did Saruman fall that in defeat he looked for petty vengeance in the Shire. There, in a pathetic last bid for dominion, Saruman was bested by the Hobbits, then slain by his own lowly servant, Gríma Wormtongue.
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