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Thread: Istari/Wizards

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what specificly powers could they do? i dont really want to read the books allover agian uknow... so could they raise mountians or use the force? OH and who are they i know there emmisaries from the gods to defeat sauron, i know they werent allowed to deafet them buy bild morale of the races of good. but i heard they were valor? and didnt gandalf have to die after his task/destruction of the ring WAS done or was that just something the movie writers put in?
Way back when, Rednell led us in a chatroom class on The Istari. I'd recommend you read through that. Another discussion of the Istari can be found under Where does Gandalf come from?.

I believe the Istari had a very limited amount of supernatural power: probably the making of fire and light, a light ray to scare off the Nazgul, and possibly a lightening strike or a fireball or two. They certainly couldn't move mountains or instantaneously transport themselves to a different location.
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I believe the Istari had a very limited amount of supernatural power: probably the making of fire and light, a light ray to scare off the Nazgul, and possibly a lightening strike or a fireball or two. They certainly couldn't move mountains or instantaneously transport themselves to a different location.

Yes, they were conjurers of cheap tricks after all. Animated Wink Smilie
First of all, I'm happy to be here. This is my first day and my first post.
Now, regarding the Istari in general and Gandalf in particular:
The Istari were of the "angelic" race called the Maiar - I guess you could say they were a junior race of the Valar, who were the Powers of the World. The word Istari is derived from the term "Eren Istarion" or the Order of Wizards. Gandalf and Saruman were both members. In the books, there were supposedly five chief members, but only three were active characters: Saruman the White, who was Head of the Order, Gandalf the Grey, and Radagast the Brown, who was only mentioned a few times. The other two were referred to in the Unfinished Tales as "Ithryn Luin" or the Blue Wizards: Alatar and Pallando, who were clad in sea blue and went into the East of Middle Earth, never to be heard from again.
As to their powers, they were able to more than was shown in the movies, although that was a pretty good indication of what they could do. Gandalf broke the bridge in Moria by hitting it with his staff, although in the book he broke his staff in the process. His abilities with fire and fireworks stemmed from his love of fire itself; his lively spirit and ability to encourage people to acts of courage and goodness were enhanced by the Ring that he bore, Narya the Red Ring of Fire. Saruman was more inclined toward smithcraft, technology I guess you would call it, and what it could do. They were limited in what they could actually do themselves against Sauron, both by their mission and by their physical bodies. They were able to assume the human shapes they wore, but in so assuming those shapes they were bound by their limitations as well. They looked old, but never aged. It's never mentioned in the books, but I would assume that once Gandalf returned to the West, he would be able to resume his normal form, but what that is isn't actually said. He's an immortal spirit and can assume any shape he wants.
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The word Istari is derived from the term "Eren Istarion" or the Order of Wizards.


Hello and welcome!

And just to add: Istari 'Ones who know' is Quenya and hails from a root ISI 'know' (at least according to WPP anyway) through Q. ista- 'know', and thus ista-r 'one who knows' (Istari being plural of course though sometimes -r is a nominative plural marker too). And istar, as you say, referred to '... one of the members of an 'order' (as they called it), claiming to possess, and exhibiting, eminent knowledge of the history of the nature of the World.'

Heren Istarion seems to contain the genitive plural -on, denoting 'Order of Wizards'

Alatar and Pallando were possibly names for the other two, yes, and again just to add, there were other possibilities in the unpublished texts too.
Thanks for the correction and the welcome. Smile Smilie
I've always thought of myself as something of a Master when it comes to LOTR and Middle-Earth, but having read some of the answers in previous posts and other forums, I find myself among true Masters of the Great Man's writings. And as to that, I'm going to start another thread in a different post regarding his writings, and I would appreciate any and all input.
Thanks again!
Well Tyrhael or someone might yet wander in and correct my analysis of the Elvish Smile Smilie