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Is anyone puzzled by Radagast the Brown's inactivity in the War? The explanation given, that he became overly enamoured of the fauna of Middle-earth, doesn't really compute, as he was probably commissioned by Yavanna to do just that (a discrepancy noted by Christopher Tolkien in Unfinished Tales (I think; don't have my books at hand.) As presented, Radagast, an unfallen Maia, while remaining faithful to his specific mission, did nothing in the War beyond running an errand for Saruman! Can this be right? He must have cared about the outcome of the War--a Sauron victory would mean scorched earth, poisoned waters, noxious airs, unbridled Orkishness! Boo! Hiss! Every incarnate Maia that I can think of was pretty forceful: Melian, the Grey and White Wizards (the Blue ones, too, probably), the Balrogs, and Sauron, plus possibly the Eagles, Dragons, and Ents. Why is Radagast different? Remember that he has the imprimateur of Beorn ("Not a bad sort, as Wizards go," or words to that effect.) And mainly, if he really was as ineffective as he is shown, then it would be the only instance of Saruman ever getting anything right! "Radagast the Brown! Radagast the bird-tamer! Radagast the Fool! Yet he had just the wit to play the part I set for him!" Does anyone else find this all a little strange? Does anyone else think there may be more than meets the eye when it comes to the activities of the Brown Wizard? (BTW: Has anyone ever read the original Hobbit, the one where the story of Bilbo, Gollum, and the Ring is rather different? If so, can you remember if the reference to Radagast is in it? Tanx.)
There's an "original Hobbit"? As opposed to J.R.R.T.'s The Hobbit?
I think the first edition of The Hobbit is meant, as Tolkien did revise the book.

JRRT also started a 'new version' too, but abandoned it. There's a new book on Mr. Baggins which is revealing what Tolkien wrote with respect to this version.
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Is anyone puzzled by Radagast the Brown's inactivity in the War?
My theory is that Radagast was the spymaster, and coordinated his kelvar friends, the animals and birds, to transmit messages to and from the the good guys, with himself as the central hub. I don't really think Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf could really communicate with each other through Elven magic, but used the service of Radagast's network. Of course someone will find chapter and verse to prove me wrong, but until then, that's my story and I'm sticking with it. Wiggle Smilie
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My theory is that Radagast was the spymaster, and coordinated his kelvar friends, the animals and birds, to transmit messages to and from the the good guys, with himself as the central hub. I don't really think Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf could really communicate with each other through Elven magic, but used the service of Radagast's network. Of course someone will find chapter and verse to prove me wrong, but until then, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Yes, Radagast could be having a spy network of animals, I never realised it. But he has so much inactivity in The War of the Ring (WotR) it might be bacause of his spying or just sticking around with animals. Big Smile Smilie

Namarie!
Grond, that does make sense. I certainly hope he did something! I've been interested in him as sort of a Middle Earth St Francis. He must have been smart and not a fool as Saruman thought or he would have been unlikely as an Istari. Another thought, though, is that he was a bit like Bombadil and just not too interested in the goings-on.
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(BTW: Has anyone ever read the original Hobbit, the one where the story of Bilbo, Gollum, and the Ring is rather different? If so, can you remember if the reference to Radagast is in it? Tanx.)


Yes Radagast is in the first edition according to The Annotated Hobbit (Douglas A. Anderson), which is great if first editions are hard to get hold of (and informative in general).
The only thing Radagast did, was alerting all his beasts and the Great Eagles to look out for evil-doers. This is eventually how Gwaihir saw Gandalf on top of Orthanc, as described by G. during the Council of Elrond.

Apart from this, Tolkien wrote in letters that only Gandalf succeeded in his mission as an Istari; Radagast forgot about his and hence failed.
Hammond and Scull describe that late in life Tolkien looked again at the postcard of the Madlener painting Der Berggeist, and it inspired him to consider and compare his three Wizards (I edited this a bit).

'On a rock beneath a pine-tree is seated a small but broad old man with a wide brimmed round hat and a long cloak talking to a white fawn that is nuzzling his upturned hands. He has a humorous but at the same time compassionate expression – his mouth is visible and smiling, because he has a white beard but no hair on his upper lip. The scene is a wooded glade (pine, fir, and birch) beside a rivulet with a glimpse of mountain peaks in the distance. This (sic) an owl and four other smaller birds looking from branches of the trees. Gandalf or Radagast? Gandalf. He was the friend and confidant of all living creatures of good will (...) He differed from Radagast and Saruman in that he never turned aside from his appointed mission (‘I was the Enemy of Sauron’) and was unsparing of himself. Radagast was fond of beasts and birds and found them easier to deal with; he did not become proud and domineering, but neglectful and easygoing, and he had very little to do with Elves or Men although obviously resistance to Sauron had to be sought chiefly in their cooperation. But since he remained of good will (though he had not much courage), his work in fact helped Gandalf at crucial moments. (...)' JRRT

Interestingly, in a variant version of a part of this, Tolkien wrote that: ‘it is clear that Gandalf (with greater insight and compassion) had in fact more knowledge of birds and beasts than Radagast, and was regarded by them with more respect and affection’

At one point I typed Ragasat for some reason. If that means anything please tell me! Wink Smilie
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Interestingly, in a variant version of a part of this, Tolkien wrote that: ‘it is clear that Gandalf (with greater insight and compassion) had in fact more knowledge of birds and beasts than Radagast, and was regarded by them with more respect and affection’

Indeed, since it is written in the Silmarillion that the Olorín, the wisest of Maiar, learnt from many Valar (travelling most to the House of Nienna), why wouldn’t Yavanna have been amongst that list of highly enlightened tutors?
What splendid posts! Galin: who or what are Hammond and Scull? Sounds interesting. I've read the Humphrey Carpenter bio, and a fascinating lit crit book called I think The Road to Middle-earth (which gives Edmund Wilson a richly deserved what-for.)
I guess what prompted my musings on Radagast is the impression I get that he looms larger than his minimal appearances in the books would warrant. More than once have friends expressed disappointment that he was left out of the movie, and Tolkien himself spends a lot of time trying to explain him away. Also, and here the evidence cuts both ways, it is possible that Radagast is still among us! And, quite frankly, I think his message (What's good for birds is good for people) is a little more fruitful than Gandalf's (Put your trust in strong leaders of great nobility). Or perhaps not.
Anyhoo, Radagast as spymaster makes a good deal of sense: had he chosen he could have been remarkably well-informed, and he could have passed along his findings when and where appropriate, but except for the message to Gandalf from Saruman described in The Council of Elrond, Tolkien never shows him doing any such thing. To salvage Radagast's reputation one has to take seriously a remark made, I think, by Christopher Tolkien to the effect that as he wrote JRRT thought himself not inventing but rather discovering (what "really happened.") What if Radagast covered his tracks really well?
Let's just look briefly at The Hobbit. Next post I'll take on the meeting with Gandalf on the borders of the Shire. In The Hobbit, Radagast is described as living not far from the Eagles, Beorn, and Dol Goldur. He could be spying on the Necromancer and in frequent contact with the Eagles and Beorn, who might be Radagast's pupil, as is suggested by another poster elsewhere. Gandalf leaves the Company just where R could have picked up keeping tabs on them. The entire enterprise would have collapsed without the rather forceful intervention of birds: the old thrush cracking snails, the bird that tells Bard about Smaug's weak spot, and the Eagles (and Beorn) turning the tide in the Battle of the Five Armies. All this avine help could have been at R's instigation. Or the master of shapes could have been any or most these birds himself! (Plus, he has one of the three or four coolest names in Middle-earth!)
Aiwendil here's a partial list of the works to date by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull (as joint authors or editors):

J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist & Illustrator (1995)
Roverandom Ed. by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (1998)
Farmer Giles of Ham 50th anniversary edition. Ed. H&S (1999)
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien new, expanded index by H&S (HCollins, 1999 HMifflin 2000)
The Lord of the Rings 50th anniversary edition. Ed. with a note by H&S (2004)
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion (2005)
The Lord of the Rings 1954-2004: Scholarship in Honor of R. E. Blackwelder. Ed. by H&S (2006)
The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide. Two volumes, Chronology and Reader's Guide (2006)

Mr. Hammond has also published J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography (with Douglas A. Anderson). H&S have resumed work on an annotated collection catalogue of the artist Pauline Baynes, and are gathering material to resume publication of The Tolkien Collector (according to their website).

Well, I could have just said a (husband & wife) team who have published some 'stuff' on Tolkien, but that seemed too brief.

Wink Smilie
Aiwendil's above ideas concerning Radagast in the background of The Hobbit made my case for Radagast as Spymaster. Of course up to now I always saw the hand of Eru in these handy coincidences, but now I can see the unobtrusive appearing Radagast as that hidden hand.
Yes! Just like Bombadil may very well have been "the hand of Eru" guiding the Hobbits to the Númenorian daggers in the Barrow-downs.
Thanks Galin for the Hammond and Scull lore. My apologies for the intemperate characterization of Gandalf's "message." Olorin of course was so much more: instiller of hope and courage, prompter of fair visions. But nonetheless, nation-states are not the answer.
The meeting of Gandalf and Radagast on the borders of the Shire and Gandalf's recounting of it at the Council of Elrond feature some curious points that bear on the role of Radagast. First of all, was the meeting a mere chance? It would not have been difficult for Radagast bird-master to know where Gandalf was and had been. Second, why does Gandalf mention possible weapons of Saruman's devising to be used against the Nine? This is not a Gandalfian sort of train of thought. (And, btw, what were the weapons of Saruman used against the Necromancer during the time of the Hobbit?) Third, Gandalf does not realise that Isengard is full of wargs and orcs and fumes and reeks until he's on the pinnacle of Orthanc. How did he get from the gate to the tower without noticing them? Fourth, Radagast has just come from Isengard, and would surely have seen the evidence of Saruman's treachery; why does he send Gandalf down there? Fifth, I think Radagast's seemingly fearful, urgent wish to get the heck outta there is of a piece with his Scarlet Pimpernalish (or Clark Kentish) public persona, feigned and not real. Sixth, Gandalf's eventual rescue could have been directly at Radagast's prompting, or indeed effected by the master of shape's himself. Seventh, Gandalf is set down farther away from the Shire than where he started out, and thereby meets and tames Shadowfax, which is good, and is delayed in his return to the action in the Shire and on the road to Rivendell, which is bad, except that it's good in that the Hobbits and Aragorn get to do things on their own and anneal their mettle, which is a recurrent theme throughout the books. More later.
Your questions have always been of interest to me also.

1. "First of all, was the meeting a mere chance?"

As you know, Tolkien seemed to have an aversion to "mere chance" occurring without some other purpose in mind as well--the will of Eru, etc. So no doubt that non-chance is involved in this interception of Gandalf by Radagast. But what we might further understand from it Tolkien has not elaborated.

2. "Second, why does Gandalf mention possible weapons of Saruman's devising to be used against the Nine? This is not a Gandalfian sort of train of thought. (And, btw, what were the weapons of Saruman used against the Necromancer during the time of the Hobbit?)"

Saruman was noted for his "cunning mind" and for his pride, which both later turned to evil. No doubt he could devise something to catch the Nine or the Necromancer, since he was of a higher Order than they. But whether he was supposed to do such a thing is the real question. The tone of Gandalf's question seems to be doubtful of the outcome of such a weapon or trap, because what Saruman was commissioned to do was NOT to confront these enemies directly, especially not for his own ends.

3. "Third, Gandalf does not realise that Isengard is full of wargs and orcs and fumes and reeks until he's on the pinnacle of Orthanc. How did he get from the gate to the tower without noticing them? "

I'm assuming from the context of Gandalf's tale at the Council that whatever Saruman had been doing up to that point was hidden, and the undermining of Isengard was just that--undermining and not obvious at the surface. And since the Ring of Isengard encompassed a certain large area, we might assume that Saruman had kept the orcs busy at areas away from the "public" parts near the gate.

4. "Fourth, Radagast has just come from Isengard, and would surely have seen the evidence of Saruman's treachery; why does he send Gandalf down there?"

Likewise, in Radagast's case, Saruman maintained his public image till he was ready to reveal himself to Gandalf.

5. "Fifth, I think Radagast's seemingly fearful, urgent wish to get the heck outta there is of a piece with his Scarlet Pimpernalish (or Clark Kentish) public persona, feigned and not real."

I think you are reading more into the text than Tolkien has there. Remember, eslewhere Tolkien says Radagast had failed of his purpose because he became too enamored of the flora and fauna. I would then have to put down his wanting to leave as part of his reticence of talking with others outside his pervue. At any rate, we know he travelled far outside his normal domain in order to find Gandalf, so we can always say he was in a hurry to get home.

6. "Sixth, Gandalf's eventual rescue could have been directly at Radagast's prompting, or indeed effected by the master of shape's himself."

Gandalf's rescue could have been at Radagast's prompting in view of the fact that Gandalf had himself asked this wizard to inform all his birds to be on the watch. But there is nothing in the text or what Tolkien has elsewhere said to indicate that it was Radagast in eagle shape.

7. "Seventh, Gandalf is set down farther away from the Shire than where he started out, and thereby meets and tames Shadowfax, which is good, and is delayed in his return to the action in the Shire and on the road to Rivendell, which is bad, except that it's good in that the Hobbits and Aragorn get to do things on their own and anneal their mettle, which is a recurrent theme throughout the books."

As I recall, Gandalf mentioned something to Gwaihir about needing transportation across the great distances. As the eagles were not at his disposal, at least not all the time, Gandalf obviously thought of Rohan's horses, and perhaps he already knew of Shadowfax. (I seem to recall he said he had seen/ridden the horse before?) This seems to explain why Gandalf did not go immediately north with Gwaihir.

But like you, I also would have liked to know more about Radagast. I think this character is intriguing and more might have been made of his part. But this is the way, I'm afraid, with epics. Some of the good people only fill a very small role.

Gandalf
Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Gandalf-Olorin. Yes, Tolkien does not support, directly, a good deal of my thesis, but that is my point: Tolkien, in his investigations into what really happened, missed the key role played by Radagast-Aiwendil [ahem]! This is the only answer to the Problem of the Brown Wizard. To summarise briefly: Radagast is a Maia incarnate, sent to Middle-earth along with the others, to combat Sauron. He is specifically chosen by Yavanna, and specially commissioned by her to focus on the flora and fauna, her particular interests. This he does quite ably, yet is described as a "failure" for having done so. This doesn't make sense, and that is the problem. The solution is that he was acting all along, unbeknownst to Gandalf-Olorin[ahem], to help topple Sauron in his own, rather effective, way. It is stated that R lives near Beorn and has his respect. It is stated that R can talk to the animals. It is stated that R can change shapes (and hue!). It is not much of a stretch to add the thought-phrase "Acting on Radagast's prompting" to every helpful action by animals or Beorn throughout the War of the Ring. (I am not sure that the Eagles are under Radagast's direction or even tutelage. It is hinted that Eagles are themselves Maia, but they are apparently mortal, so maybe they aren't. It is plainly stated that Eagles are of their own mind [Tolkien's solution to the Problem of Why Didn't They Fly Eagles to Mt Doom in the First Place; he is always a little touchy about the Eagles]. Perhaps Radagast cannot be equated with the Eagles. But he could easily have been in constant communication with them, and acted in coordination with them. And he could have been their ringleader; the evidence is inconclusive.) The overthrow of Sauron could not have been accomplished without the assistance of the animals of Middle-earth. The expedition to the Lonely Mountain, especially, would have been a complete failure without their intervention ("At the prompting of Radagast"). Radagast was no fool, and no failure.
As a little P.S.: In terms of plot, Radagast is totally unnecessary to the story as given by JRRT. His appearance in the Hobbit is a gratuitous throwaway. His role in the LOTR could have been filled by any number of other creatures. But there he is.
WWRD bumper-stickers available upon application!
Aiwendil,

Perhaps we need to scour Tolkien's writings again, to see just exactly how he said--not just what he said--about Radagast failing in his mission. It would seem at first glance that, if R was commissioned to deal with the flora and fauna, then that is what he was supposed to do. But Tolkien could have meant he had gone overboard--been so enamoured of the means that he forgot the end. So we do need to re-examine just exactly what Tolkien said before we make any conclusions.

Yes, there are a number of things that Radagast "could have done" in connection with the adventures in bothThe Hobbit and LOTR. But whether they "could have been" should be secondary to whether Tolkien intended they actually be the reasons for these events. As much as I would like that R had some part to play behind the scenes, we have to have more to go on than just our feelings in the matter. Again, it may be useful to re-read the words of Tolkien about R in the Unfinished Tales, HOME, and elsewhere, and allowing for his own revisions, see what his intentions were regarding the brown wizard.

Gandalf
From what I've gathered from FOTR, Radagast's role in Gandalf's liberation was purely accidental. From what was written by JRRT, this whole idea of Radagast playing behind the scenes is pure conjecture. It is clear that Gandalf is the master strategist and guide of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth in their victory against Sauron and the role of Radagast herein is minimal at best.

If Radagast really had the pivotal role that was surmized in this thread, then JRRT would have surely have left some writings about this - but he didn't (as far as I know, there are writings only about the Blue Wizards in HOME).

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Perhaps Radagast cannot be equated with the Eagles. But he could easily have been in constant communication with them, and acted in coordination with them. And he could have been their ringleader; the evidence is inconclusive

This is not possible. The Great Eagles answered only to Manwë, whose personal servants they were. They were not allowed (and would not) to take orders from the Istari - helping them or not was their own choice.

JRRT did write in one of his Letters that of the Istari only Gandalf succeeded the mission, and the rest "either failed, or forgot", hence we should accept that. (I cannot quote it right now but I'm sure others will oblige)
In Letter #207 to Rayner Unwen 0f 08 April 1958 he complained about the Dutch translation by Morton Grady Zimmerman wherein "Radagast becomes an Eagle." He spent seven pages of Letter #210 to Forrest J. Ackerman in of June 1958 tearing Zimmerman's Dutch translation apart even more so, but not much there about Radagast other than again to state, "Radagast is not an Eagle-name, but a wizard's name; several eagle-names are supplied in the book. These points are to me important."

The above quotes are from The Letters of JRR Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien.

I didn't have time to read all the references to Wizards (Istari) in the letters to look for the "who failed" reference.
Vir, my friend,

I fear you are omitting what is already known from FOTR.

"'...And what do you want with me? It must be pressing. You were never a traveller, unless driven by great need.' ...
"'We shall need your help, and the help of all things that will give it. Send out messages to all the beasts and birds that are your friends. Tell them to bring news of anything that bears on this matter to Saruman and Gandalf. Let messages be sent to Orthanc.'
"'I will do that," he said, and rode off..." (FOTR, Ballantine, 1982, pp. 336-338).

If we note what is said here, we notice that Gandalf states, "You were never a traveller, unless driven by great need." This would indicate to me two things. First, that Radagast was not meant or not habituated to wandering around and performing exactly the same functions in the War as Gandalf was. Second, that Radagast's home at Rhosgobel near Mirkwood and the surrounding region was where R would likely to be found, since he was not a traveller.

Then we see that Gandalf specifically asked Radagast to have "beasts and birds" bring messages to Orthanc, and R agrees to do it. This indicates to me that just as R inadvertently contributed to Gandalf's capture, he more advertently (since he carried out what Gandalf asked) contributed to his rescue by Gwaihir. This is what the author of The Complete Guide to Middle Earth, Robert Foster, says also, p. 416.

So again, I think that any failure on the part of R to do enough in the War was in getting lost in the means and not looking to the end. He certainly did not have the same task to do as Gandalf, but he had something to do which he did not do. The failure cannot be that he "was a master of shapes and changes of hue," but that he did not use these powers adequately in his mission.

Gandalf
Is it a coincidence that Rhosgobel was located near the Old Forest Road in Mirkwood where he could gather and share information with the travelers on it, as well as have his animal friends keep watch on Dol Guldur where first a Nazgul and later the Necromancer were rumored to be dwelling?
Grond:
The proximity of Rhosgobel to key incidents in the Hobbit was one of the early spurs to the formulation of my theory. Gandalf leaves Thorin and Company just as they are entering into Radagast's bailiwick. It is quite easy to imagine Radagast discreetly monitoring the Company's progress (with, or more likely without, the knowledge of Gandalf), and stepping in only when the considerable resolution, pluck, and ingenuity of T &co are insufficient, that is when the old thrush reveals the location of the keyhole on Durin's Day (the exact determination of which is beyond the dwarves' powers and knowledge.) A talking bird tells Bard of the Dragon's weakness. It is actually MORE likely that these miraculous animals are Radagast's minions or Radagast himself than that they just happen to be hanging out in the very time and place where they are most needed (if the latter, they are a deus ex machina of rather clumsy proportions.)
The proximity of Beorn to Rhosgobel is very suggestive, too. It is no stretch of the imagination to conceive of Beorn as Radagast's pupil. (And if he is, his remark about Radagast being not a bad sort as wizards go is deliciously understated irony.) It is Beorn who ultimately turns the tide in the Battle of the Five Armies (after the Eagles have failed to be conclusive.)
And yes, it is entirely likely that Radagast had a very good idea of what was going on at Dol Goldur. The potential knowledge of someone who can talk with animals is ENORMOUS! It's like having a near-universal spycam. Radagast could easily have learned that Bilbo could make himself disappear long before he revealed that fact to the dwarves, etc.
Olorin-Gandalf:
I will concede the point that Radagast was not, could not, have been the Eagles' ringleader. I will not concede the point that they could easily have been operating in cooperation. The Eagles generally stepped in when it would be helpful; they would not ignore the advice or information of Radagast out of a foolish pride in their position as Manwe's special forces.
Now, on to bigger things!
Tolkien described himself as a discoverer, not just a creator. Both Christopher Tolkien and Humphrey Carpenter relate that he frequently thought of himself as trying to find out what "really happened." I am saying that Radagast exists independently of Professor Tolkien's imagination; that he acted with great vigor and effectiveness throughout the War of the Ring and the events leading up to it ; that he masked his activities behind a cloak of bumbling nebbishness the better to accomplish great things; that JRRT, in his investigations into Middle-earth, did not discover these deeds. It is therefore no real argument against me to say that Tolkien doesn't agree. He missed it, is what I'm saying. Why I am saying this is because without an active, effective, understanding Radagast, the situation makes no sense, the situation, that is, of Radagast, an unfallen, on mission, incarnate Maia of good will doing nothing. The explanation, that he became too enamored of the fauna of Middle-earth, is plainly silly, and recognized as such by Christopher T. He is so enamored of the animals and birds , so besotted, that when Sauron menaces with a scorched-earth policy he does nothing! This is far worse than assuming that Radagast exists independently of JRRT and played an important and logically deducible role at the end of the Third Age, if you ask me.
In my previous post, I indicated that Radagast is unnecessary to the story as laid out by JRRT, in other words, that the throwaway mention in the Hobbit and the page-and-a-half that he gets in the FOTR could have been handled differently, without Radagast at all. But he's in there, and I submit that he snuck himself in.

BTW, have you read the stuff on Elvish reincarnation in Morgoth's Ring? Fascinating. It would seem that Gilgalad and other great heroes might have returned to Middle-earth (as perhaps Glorfindel did), but they apparently didn't. This raises some interesting questions.
So long for now.
Aiwendil
My dear Aiwendil,

You assume too much if you think Radagast can actually exist independently of Tolkien. As have many authors, JRRT was speaking in figurative language in order to say that he had not fleshed out this character, these events, etc. If we start with the idea that fictional characters can take on a life independently of their creators, we can say just about anything. But this is not what Tolkien thought, and this is not what I think.

I think we just have to dig a bit deeper and we may find other things written about Radagast. All the cause-effect relationships you give are very plausible, and I do not doubt that Tolkien probably had some or all of those in mind. But remember also, our dear Prof was never overly obvious, and--depending of how early the interview--he didn't always reveal all he intended when asked either.

So let's all do some research instead of building cloud-castles! Let us, for love of JRRT and of Radagast, find out more!

Gandalf
Aiwendil
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As presented, Radagast, an unfallen Maia, while remaining faithful to his specific mission, did nothing in the War beyond running an errand for Saruman! Can this be right? He must have cared about the outcome of the War

Well the understanding i got was that all the Istari were sent over to middle-earth for the sake of stopping Sauron. Unfortunatly they had a will of their own and out of the 5 Istari that were sent only 1 truly stayed faithful, which was Gandalf, Radagast would be 2nd because Sauruman turned straight up vicious and the other 2, whom are nameless, but known as the blues, took off to the East. Radagast was distracted from his test because of his enamor of ME. True he wasn't very helpful and in a way failed his quest, but at least he didn't pull off a Saruman.
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the other 2, whom are nameless, but known as the blues


Not nameless, as their names are given in the Unfinished tales: Alatar and Pallando. This webpage sums up pretty much all that Tolkien told us about the wizards. In early writings he states that they failed their mission, but in late writings he suggests that they were just as successful as Gandalf and played a key role in the defeat of Sauron.
What later writings are you referring to? I do not own the HOME, so I do not have everything Tolkien wrote on this subject. Perhaps you could direct me to the particular place this is written? Or perhaps you would care to provide me/us with some quotes? But remember, we are speaking here about Radagast. So if you have something on him, I would be very grateful.

Gandalf
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Wikipedia currently writes (see link in the thread): It is not clear whether these names were intended to be replacements for Alatar and Pallando or whether they were a second set of names (for instance, their names used in Middle-earth, in the same vein as "Gandalf" is used for Olórin).


My money is on the notion that these later names were possible 'replacements'. In any case Gandalf was not a name used in Middle-earth but a translation, and these 'other' names for the Ithryn Luin are Quenya and thus internal.

Tolkien seems to think the Blue Wizards had no names in the West of Middle-earth but were indeed called 'The Blue Wizards'. However JRRT does seem ready to give them Quenya names, as he did for the more well known wizards too (Curumo, Olórin, Aiwendil). As noted the possibilities are: Morinehtar, Rómestámo, Rómestar, Alatar, Pallando

According to Unfinished Tales Tolkien appears to have ultimately 'noticed' that a note in which the names and functions (regarding the Wizards) seemed lost. It's quite possible that he was referring to the text in which 'Alatar, Pallando' appear (the text published in Unfinished Tales), meaning it's possible he forgot those and went on to invent new names.

Gandalf-olorin I think the person above was speaking about a passage published in The History of Middle-earth where Tolkien appears to think the Blue Wizards had some success: 'They must have had very great influence on the history of the Second Age and Third Age in weakening and disarraying the forces of East ... who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise have ... outnumbered the West.' JRRT (partial quote)

This note was somewhat hard to read in the original. More could be said about this text (note 'Second Age' there) but that's the gist of the idea.
This seems to indicate Tolkien may have changed his mind about the success of Alatar and Pollando in their mission. Might a similar passage be lurking somewhere indicating Tolkien also changed his mind about Radagast?

Gandalf
Olorin et al:
Thank you for the interest in and kind responses to my admittedly wacky theory. Unless I want to start a cult of Radagast, I'd better back off from the idea of his independent existence (not that cults and indeed established religions haven't been founded on less.) There does seem to be a concensus emerging, however, that there was/is more to Radagast than meets the eye, and I vaguely recall reading in HOME (MR?) JRRT saying that Radagast helped Gandalf when he could and that he "is presented" as being less wise and effective as the other wizards. The lack of specificity of the first and the ambiguity of the second could be taken as evidence that the good Professor was reconsidering the situation, too.
Aiwendil
Perhaps some dating might help a bit. The note on the 'success' of the two Blue Wizards may be as late as 1972 and appears in a section of HME called Last Writings.

The text noted by H&S quoted above ('He differed from Radagast and Saruman in that he never turned aside from his appointed mission (and etc) ...') was said to be written 'late in life'. Hmmm.

In The Lord of the Rings the Istari were said to have appeared in Middle-earth when maybe a thousand years of the Third Age had passed. The Istari need not have arrived all together, on the same exact ship of course; but the text on the success of the 'Blues' reads...

'The 'other two' came much earlier, at the same time probably as Glorfindel, when matters became very dangerous in the Second Age' (and it was said that the reincarnated Glorfindel probably came to Middle-earth in SA 1600). And...

[the Blue Wizards] '... must have had very great influence on the history of the Second Age and Third Age in weakening and disarraying the forces of East ... who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise have ... outnumbered the West.'

Posted again to more easily compare with another passage similarly dated (probably 1972)...

'Saruman is said (e.g. by Gandalf himself) to have been the chief of the Istari -- that is, higher in Valinórean stature than the others. Gandalf was evidently the next in order. Radagast is presented as a person of much less power and wisdom. Of the other two nothing is said in published work save the reference to the five wizards in the altercation between Gandalf and Saruman. Now these Maiar were sent by the Valar at a crucial moment in the history of Middle-earth to enhance the resistance of the Elves of the West, waning in power, and of the uncorrupted Men of the West, greatly outnumbered by those of the East and South.'

This is seemingly Tolkien as author keeping in mind the published work while ruminating about the Istari.
Quote:
'The 'other two' came much earlier, at the same time probably as Glorfindel, when matters became very dangerous in the Second Age' (and it was said that the reincarnated Glorfindel probably came to Middle-earth in SA 1600). And...

[the Blue Wizards] '... must have had very great influence on the history of the Second Age and Third Age in weakening and disarraying the forces of East ... who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise have ... outnumbered the West.'

The following is pure (or not so pure) conjecture. If perhaps as the above quote states, the Blue Wizards came Middle-earth around SA 1600, that was when Sauron forged the One Ring in Orodruin, and Barad-dûr was completed, and Celebrimbor perceived Sauron's designs. Could not it be possible that the Blue Wizards were sent at this time towards trying to topple Sauron, or at least to disrupt his designs. They failed to do the former and no tales have come down to us concerning their efforts in the latter other than in circa SA 1700 Sauron was defeated and driven out of Eriador and in circa SA 1800 he extended his power eastward. This makes more sense to me than they just disappeared into the East in the last two-thirds of the Third Age. Question Smilie
I have always loved Radagast. But the thing is, all five were sent were they not to assist the peoples of Middle-Earth to oppose Sauron and all his evil?
If so, then dear Radagast, along with the two blue somehow failed for it was only Olerin who took the ship back across the sea, the others were left behind.
So, unless something can be found to say differently, no matter what he DID do on behalf of the the cause, it seems along with the others , that it was not enough, there was something more they were to do and they failed.
Quote:
But the thing is, all five were sent were they not to assist the peoples of Middle-Earth to oppose Sauron and all his evil?

The tasks of the Blue Wizards were set in the East. Since LOTR deals with matters of the West, we do not know about their endeavours there and hence cannot judge whether they failed or not - according to what JRRT wrote in HOME it seems they even had a pivotal role in Sauron's defeat.

It is possible that they too went back home after Sauron's defeat, or perhaps their task was not yet finished by then.
Perhaps the Blue Wizards disrupted Sauron in the East in the second age (as I understand the quotes and posts above to suggest). After this, they disguised themselves and settled near the Shire, calling themselves Tom and Goldberry..... (lol. I am not very serious about this wild theory as I know it is flimsy and rather illogical in many ways. It goes in the same category as my "Beorn was Radagast's offspring" theory.....) Feel free to discuss! Or, uh, perhaps I should say: Feel free to poke holes in that theory! Wink Smilie
Perhaps dear Vir it comes to a place of what Jrr wrote for publication and what he wrote later but was not published, or if it was I don't know about it.
from his letters:
I really do not know anything clearly about the other two [ the Blue Wizards ] I think they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South, far out of Númenorian range. What success they had I do not know ; but I fear that they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I suspect they were founders of or beginners of secret cults and "magic" traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron.
But then in 1968 I think he wrote somewhere that they were supposed to cause some sort of trouble in the east and did and had a huge part to play, so they did not really fail.
You have far more knowledge than me, can you help me here please?