The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Came to Middle-earth c. III 1000. Saruman was slain in III 3019 and Gandalf left Middle-earth in III 3021; the fates of the other Wizards are unknown
Wizard means 'wise one'
Other names
The Five, Istari, Ithryn
The word 'Wizard' has a very specific meaning in Tolkien's work; it is intended as a translation of Elvish istar, and applies only to those Maiar who came to Middle-earth in the Third Age. The word's more general use, for any person who works magical acts, does not apply in this context.


About this entry:

  • Updated 27 May 2013
  • This entry is complete

Five Wizards

The order of the Istari

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond

The name given to five powerful beings sent to Middle-earth by the Valar in the early part of the Third Age to help its people against the returning darkness. They landed at the Grey Havens, but three of the five quickly set out into the far eastern lands of Middle-earth. Of those, one returned and later became notorious as the traitor Saruman. The fates of his two companions - the so-called Blue Wizards - remained mysterious. Meanwhile, the two other Wizards of the five remained in the west of Middle-earth. One, Radagast, became fascinated by birds and beasts, and fell away from his mission. The last of the five was known by many names, but most commonly as Gandalf, and he succeeded in organising the resistance against Sauron and played a pivotal role in the defeat of the Dark Lord.

For a list of the Five Wizards, see the entry for Wizards.

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

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