The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Both Saruman and Gandalf arrived in Middle-earth in c. III 1000; Gandalf left aboard the White Ship on 29 September III 3021
Saruman occupied Isengard from III 2759
Title of
Saruman, and later Gandalf (also used of the Elf-maid Aredhel and the mountain Celebdil)


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 February 2009
  • This entry is complete

The White

The colour of the chief of the Istari

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Title apparently used to denote the head of the Wizards in Middle-earth, originally borne by Saruman, but taken up instead by Gandalf after his return.

I Saruman The original White Wizard, and the acknowledged head of the Istari from the time they arrived in Middle-earth in around the year III 1000. He was known as 'the White' until the beginning of the War of the Ring more than two thousand years later, but he ultimately abandoned the title in favour of 'Saruman of Many Colours'.
II Gandalf A little under seven months after Saruman's giving up the title 'White', Gandalf the Grey fought the Battle of the Peak against the Balrog known as Durin's Bane. Gandalf defeated his foe, but his spirit passed out of his body. Nonetheless, he was sent back, and he returned to life as Gandalf the White. From this time he became the most powerful of the Istari, and when he next met Saruman, Gandalf broke the staff of his old leader and cast him out of the Order of Wizards.

This title was also given to Aredhel the sister of Turgon, for her habit of dressing in whites and silvers, and also to Celebdil, the snow-capped mountain above Khazad-dûm where Durin's Tower was built.

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