A Council of the Wise occurred in the mid-Second Age to discuss the growing power of Sauron in Mordor; this was later known as the First White Council and was led by Gil-galad. Several members of this council would also become prominent members of the Council in the Third Age.
The White Council's original head was the Wizard Saruman the White , (although Lady Galadriel wished for Gandalf the Grey to be made the leader of the group). Other members of the Council included the Bearers of the Three Rings (Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond), Círdan (who had borne Narya before handing it on to Gandalf), Glorfindel, and Radagast the Brown. It is assumed that others of the Wise were also members of the White Council.
The White Council was formed in TA 2463, shortly after the end of the Watchful Peace.[note 1] Without the power of the One Ring, Sauron was significantly weaker than the collective power of the White Council and therefore had to plan carefully to avoid being attacked by them.
In TA 2851 the White Council met to decide on whether to act on Gandalf's discovery that the Necromancer was actually Sauron and was at Dol Guldur. But Saruman dissuaded the others from taking action, claiming that the Dark Lord was defeated and could not regain his full strength. During this meeting Gandalf suspected Saruman of desiring to have the One Ring, and there was much tension between the two. However, in TA 2939, Saruman discovered that Sauron's servants were searching the Anduin near the Gladden Fields, and that Sauron therefore had learned where Isildur had died and where the One Ring might be. Saruman did not inform the Council of this, but when they met again in TA 2941 Saruman finally agreed to an attack on Dol Guldur because he wanted to prevent Sauron from finding the Ring. Sauron was driven out of Dol Guldur, only to re-appear in Mordor in TA 2951, where he declared himself openly and began gathering power. The Council last met in TA 2953; at this meeting Saruman falsely claimed that the One Ring was swept out into the sea. Afterward Saruman withdrew to Isengard, and fortified it.
Portrayal in adaptations
Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films
In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the council is not called the White Council by name but described as the "great council of the white wizards, masters of lore, and great magic.' While there is no corresponding passage in the book, the White Council convenes in Rivendell during the Dwarves' stay. Gandalf presents his evidence to the council, warning them of the growing evil within Mirkwood, He reasons that Sauron and Smaug cannot be allowed to join forces, which is why the Quest of Erebor is so important. Elrond is sceptical, while Saruman is dismissive of Gandalf's claims. Galadriel however supports Gandalf, as she too can sense the evil presence, as Lothlórien is in close proximity to Mirkwood. Gandalf reveals the Morgul-blade to the council, which is enough to convince Galadriel and Elrond that Sauron may have returned. The council is interrupted when they learn that the Dwarves have left Rivendell. Galadriel assures Gandalf that she will aid him if need be, before she departs.
The council does not appear in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, though they are still active. Galadriel instructs Gandalf (and presumably Radagast) to investigate the tombs of the Nazgûl. Upon finding the tombs have been opened, Gandalf goes on a solo mission to Dol Guldur, where he finds that the Necromancer is indeed Sauron.
The members of the White Council are seen gathering at Dol Guldur in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The attack on Dol Guldur in the film has some notable differences. In the book Gandalf left the company of the Dwarves to meet with the other council members, all of whom were ready to drive out Sauron at this point. In the film, Gandalf has been incapacitated after encountering Sauron alone in Dol Guldur, necessitating his rescue by the rest of the council. Gandalf does not participate in this fight as a result; instead Galadriel, Elrond and Saruman are the main participants in the battle. The book indicates that Saruman lead the attack, but in the film it is Galadriel who leads the Council. Galadriel arrives first and rescues Gandalf, shortly before Elrond and Saruman arrive later to fight the Nazgûl, while Radagast-- not here named as a member of the council-- takes Gandalf to safety. Sauron himself manifests before them and notably attempts to sway Galadriel to his side. She resists him, and ultimately Galadriel is the one to drive Sauron from Dol Guldur, rather than Saruman. In the book, Gandalf mentioned that it was by the devices of Saruman that Sauron was driven away. However, as Saruman probably did plan the attack, the film may not be inaccurate after all.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Albanian||Këshilli i Bardhë|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Белы Савет|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Бял съвет|
|Cebuano||Puti nga Konseho|
|Fijian||Matabose ni Vulavula|
|Filipino||Konseho ng puting|
|Haitian Creole||Blan Konsèy|
|Hmong||Sawv daws dawb|
|Irish Gaelic||Comhairle Bán|
|Kazakh||Ақ Кеңес (Cyrillic) Aq Keñes (Latin)|
|Kurdish||Konseya Spî (Kurmanji)|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||Ак кеңеши|
|Macedonian Cyrillic||Одбор Белата|
|Malagasy||Ny Filankevitry ny Fotsy|
|Manx||Coonseil Bane ?|
|Mongolian Cyrillic||Цагаан зөвлөл|
|Norwegian||Det hvite rådet|
|Scottish Gaelic||Geal Chomhairle|
|Serbian||Бели савет (Cyrillic) Beli savet (Latin)|
|Sinhalese||සුදු මන්ත්රණ සභාවයි|
|Tajik Cyrillic||Шӯрои Сафед|
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Біла Рада|
|Uzbek||Оқ Кенгаши (Cyrillic) Oq Kengashi (Latin)|
|Vietnamese||Hội đồng Trắng|