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The Wizards, initially known as the Istari or Heren Istarion (Order of Wizards), were five Maiar spirits sent to Middle-earth while embodied as old Men to aid the Free Peoples against the threat of Sauron.
In the Undying Lands around TA 1000, Manwë (leader of the Ainur, and King of the Valar and Arda) learned that the dark lord Morgoth's most loyal lieutenant, Sauron, was returning to power. He then summoned a council which concluded that the Valar were to send three messengers to Middle-earth to protect the free peoples and reassure them that the Valar had not forgotten them. Only two Maiar came: Curumo (later named Saruman) sent by Aulë, and Morinehtar (Alatar), sent by Oromë. Manwë summoned Olórin (later named Gandalf), asking if he would go as the third messenger. Olórin claimed he was too weak and that he feared Sauron. However, Manwë said that was all the more reason to go, and he commanded him go, whereupon Varda said, "Not as the third." Yavanna asked Curumo to take Aiwendil also (later named Radagast), and Morinehtar took Rómestámo (Pallando) as a friend. They were forbidden to dominate the free peoples of Middle-earth or to match Sauron's power with power and if they deviated from their appointed task their powers and memory of Valinor would begin to wane.
The Wizards were known by various names and were arrayed in different colors. Of those who came to Middle-earth, sent by the Valar, five are known, the Heren Istarion (Order of Wizards). After arriving in Middle-earth, the two Blue Wizards apparently went east before the War of the Ring; whether they played a part in the events of that war is unknown. (Note: According to Tolkien's letters they may have formed cults for magic worship and practice among the Easterlings.) Radagast the Brown concerned himself mainly with plants and animals, living in Mirkwood for many years. Saruman the White, and Gandalf the Grey spent their time with the Free Peoples: the Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Saruman was wise and respected, later becoming the head of the White Council in TA 2463. However, he became prideful and jealous of the power and purity of Gandalf's spirit and reputation. Saruman slowly came to betray the original purpose of the Wizards and sought power for himself.
At the end of the Third Age, the Wizards passed from sight because with the fall of Sauron their work was done. Gandalf passed over the Sea with the Last Riding of the Keepers of the Rings. Radagast remained in Middle-earth, tending to the wilderness. During the War of the ring, Saruman was overthrown, banished from Istari Order by Gandalf, killed by a servant after a failed attempt to rule the Shire, and even his Maiar spirit was barred from ever returning to Aman due to his betrayal of Manwë and the original purpose of the Wizards. The fate of the Blue Wizards is unknown.
The Wizards resembled elderly men, although they aged very slowly. Despite their aged appearance, they possessed physically strong bodies and highly intelligent minds. Each of the Istari carried a staff and were associated with a color, and possessed a rank within their Order.
- Saruman the White, also known as Curumo, Curunír, Sharku, and "Sharkey." A Maia of Aulë. Original leader of the Istari order and the White Council. After his corruption by Sauron, he renamed himself Saruman the Many-Colored. Cast out from both the White Council and the Istari by a resurrected Gandalf. Ultimately killed by Gríma Wormtongue following the Battle of Bywater.
- Gandalf the Grey, also known as Olórin, Mithrandir, Tharkûn, and Incánus. A Maia of Manwë and Varda. After he was killed by a Balrog, he was reborn as Gandalf the White, the new leader of the White Council and the Istari. Wielder of the sword Glamdring and Narya, the Ring of Fire. Successful in his mission to defeat Sauron, he returned to Valinor at the end of the Third Age.
- Radagast the Brown, also known as Aiwendil. A Maia of Yavanna. A lover of nature who mostly avoided participating the War of the Ring.
- Alatar and Pallando, the Blue Wizards, also known as the Ithryn Luin. Both Maia of Oromë. Travelled into the distant east of Middle-earth. Little is known about them and their fates are unknown.
- The Hobbit - First appearance
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Silmarillion
- Unfinished Tales
- The History of Middle-earth
- The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
- The Hobbit film trilogy
- The Lord of the Rings Online
- LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game
- LEGO The Hobbit: The Video Game
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Магьосници (Wizards)
|Serbian||Чаробњаци (Cyrillic) Čarobnjaci (Latin)|
|Tongan||Kau fie mana|
|Uzbek||Сеҳргарлар (Cyrillic) Sehrgarlar (Latin)|