The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
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
Race
Division
Order
Meaning
'Wise Ones'
Other Names
Note
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.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 4 April 2009
  • Updates planned: 1

Wizards

The Valar’s messengers to Middle-earth

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

A name for the order of the Maiar more properly called Istari, who came to Middle-earth after the first millennium of the Third Age to aid the Free Peoples against the return and rise of Sauron.

Alatar1
the Blue
One of the two little-known Blue Wizards, who travelled into the far east of Middle-earth with Saruman and Pallando. While Saruman later returned to the Westlands, Alatar and Pallando both remained in the east. Their fates remain a mystery.
Gandalf
the Grey
When he arrived in Middle-earth, Círdan immediately recognised Gandalf's great wisdom, and granted him the Ring Narya to aid him in his work. Throughout the centuries that followed, Gandalf travelled widely through Middle-earth (his Elvish name was Mithrandir, 'Grey Wanderer'). At the close of the Third Age, he took the leading role in the defence against Sauron, and his plans were instrumental in bringing about the defeat of Mordor. He appears to be the only one of the Five Wizards to have returned across the Great Sea into the West2.
Pallando
the Blue
Said to be the last of the Five Wizards selected by the Valar, Pallando had been a friend of Alatar in Valinor, and accompanied him across the Sea to Middle-earth. Once there, the two remained together, and even shared the same colour, becoming known as the Blue Wizards. They journeyed into unknown eastern lands with Saruman, but while Saruman eventually returned, the two friends never came back to the western lands of Middle-earth.
Radagast
the Brown
Radagast was a friend of all living things, especially the birds. Though he was in principle an ally of Gandalf in the fight against Sauron, in practice he preferred to avoid involvement with Elves or Men. He settled on the southern fringes of Mirkwood at a place named Rhosgobel, though he appears to have abandoned this dwelling by the time of the War of the Ring. He took little direct part in that War; most notably he was indirectly responsible for the rescue of Gandalf from the Pinnacle of Orthanc.
Saruman
the White
The first of the Five Wizards to appear in Middle-earth, and acknowledged as the leader of their Order. After his arrival he explored the lands of Middle-earth and voyaged into the distant East with the Blue Wizards, but he finally settled in the Tower of Orthanc (originally an outpost of Gondor, granted to him by Steward Beren). Saruman was fascinated by lore and arcane knowledge, and especially the secrets behind the Rings of Power. His hunger for control over others eventually caused him to betray the White Council, and he was ultimately destroyed by his own servant, Gríma Wormtongue.

Notes

1

The names Alatar and Pallando come from brief notes reproduced in Unfinished Tales, and are uncertain. Other sources give alternative names for the Blue Wizards, such as Rómestámo and Morinehtar. For more on these alternatives, see their entries in the Excyclopedia.

Based on their identity as Blue Wizards, these two mysterious characters are both styled 'the Blue' in the list above. This is for consistency with the three better known Wizards, but it should be noted that Tolkien himself never gave their titles in this form.

2

As we never learn the fate of Radagast, it's impossible to say for sure that he remained in Middle-earth. Conceivably, he may have found his own independent way back to Aman, but there is no direct evidence that he did so.

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

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1998, 2000, 2009. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.