The blue wizards

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The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:29 am

I would like to know three things:
1. Did the blue wizards fail
2. What manuscripts talk about them.
3. What were (most likely) their powers/attributes.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:35 pm

I just saw where this was, shouldn't this forum be on Tolkien's books section? I'm not sure if this is my fault or not. Just so you know this article is referring to the blue wizards of middle earth.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby White Shadow » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:09 pm

Billobob wrote:I just saw where this was, shouldn't this forum be on Tolkien's books section? I'm not sure if this is my fault or not. Just so you know this article is referring to the blue wizards of middle earth.


It's no problem, Billobob, I shall move this thread to the appropriate forum. Perhaps next time just make sure that you're in the right forum by looking above the posting box, where it states "Board index < Literature < The Books (Other Authors)" for example. :)

Also, whilst I know the search program is not brilliant, it might be worth your while having a quick search through the Books (Tolkien) forum, as I'm sure you'll find some answers to your questions already posted.

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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:15 pm

Thank you. I'll try to be more smart with my posting and more diligent with my searching, thank you.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby ngaur » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:54 pm

1. Did the blue wizards fail


That is one of Tolkiens guesses about their influence. Though like you, he did not know.

2. What manuscripts talk about them.


I don't remeber exactly, but the book Unfinished Tales has some limited notes about them.

3. What were (most likely) their powers/attributes


Same as Gandalfs, Sarumans and Radagast. We don't know what their special interests or preferrences were though. Some of the notes suggesting connections between Istari and Valar, Curunir/Aule, Olorin/Manwe etc. has them connected with two other Valar. Without looking it up I'm not sure which ones. May have been Orome or Mandos. You could make guesses at their 'attributes' from that.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:00 pm

Thank you for the info. I actually think I remember from maybe unfinished tales that they're associated with Oromë. Oromë was a tracker right? If this is true then they might have had tracking powers, maybe increased archery skill, or stealth.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby ngaur » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:06 am

Don't know. What are tracking powers?
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:16 am

Well maybe not powers but they would be skilled at tracking, maybe able to detect spirits (IE Balrogs).
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby ngaur » Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:20 pm

That wouldn't have done them much good in Middle-earth at that time, where there was only one Balrog and that Gandalf discovered without them. I don't think they had any powers that Gandalf didn't and vice versa, but my guess would be more along the line that the one connceted with Orome would be a far traveller possibly interested in hunting, though that doesn't sound very wizard-like.

Editet: To add that dealing with spirit would have been more appropriate for an Istati connected with Mandos, though not then with Balrogs or othe Umaiar, but with the spirits of fallen elves who had not heeded the calls to come to Mandos. Anyway, all we know is that they both headed East in company with Saruman. Saruman came back but they remained and are lost.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Old_Begonia » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:59 pm

ngaur wrote:Anyway, all we know is that they both headed East in company with Saruman. Saruman came back but they remained and are lost.


Perhaps I watch too many crime dramas, but this suggests that Saruman might have had something to do with their disappearance.

OR...

Perhaps they still wander? Might a case be made that they appear later, much later in history? Could one of them be Merlin, perhaps? I suppose this train of thought has been done to death somewhere, I'm just spit-balling here.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:09 am

"That wouldn't have done them much good in Middle-earth at that time, where there was only one Balrog " I said Balrogs as an example what I meant is that they would be able to detect "magical" creatures/beings. Also these abilities would help them in tracking down Sauron which was their main quest even though they failed to find Sauron.


As for Saruman being behind the Blue wizards "disappearance" I find that unlikely since at the time he was in the east Saruman had no motive to get rid of two fellow Isatari, because originally Saruman stayed true to his quest it was his jealousy of Gandalf that ruined him and that didn't develop until he came to the west. Also I beleive that they fell after Sauron died and were eventually killed in some way. I mainly beleive this because this theory fits both manuscripts that mention the blue wizards.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby solicitr » Mon Mar 30, 2015 11:07 am

Tolkien wrote almost nothing about them, and what little he did write is somewhat contradictory. In 1956 he wrote

There is hardly any reference in The Lord of the Rings to things that do not actually exist* on its own plane (of secondary or sub-creational reality)

* The cats of Queen Berúthiel and the names and adventures of the other 2 wizards (5 minus Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast) are all that I recollect.


In other words, he hadn't yet discovered (i.e. made up) anything about them. Actually he had already written, in a passage intended for the LR appendices but left out (published in Unfinished Tales under 'The Istari') the comment that
Others there were also [besides Saruman]: two clad in sea-blue, and one in earthen-brown; and last came one .... grey-clad.

[...]

Of the Blue little was known in the West, and they had no names save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards'; for they passed into the East with Curunir, but they never returned, and whether they remained in the East, pursuing there the purposes for which they were sent; or perished; or as some hold were ensnared by Sauron and became his servants, is not now known.
.

This last rather vague notion was repeated and slightly expanded in a 1958 letter:
I think they went as emissaries to distant regions of Middle-earth, East and South, far out of Numenorean range: missionaries to enemy-occupied lands, as it were. 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 or beginners of secret cults and "magic" raditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron.


However it may have been about this time, at least aspects of the writing seem consistent with the 1958-59 period, that he wrote some very rough notes on the Istari, also published in Unfinished Tales, where he described the choosing of the angeloi by the Valar. CT describes rather than quotes these notes, but here at least the Ithryn Luin finally get names: Alatar a servant of Orome, and Pallando whom Alatar took along as a friend. Another note associates Pallando to Mandos and Nienna, changed to Orome as well.

However very late in life, 1972 or 73, Tolkien made some very rough jottings on the Wizards, some of which were published in UT but others of which CT couldn't decipher at the time. Eventually he did and they were published in HME XII, giving an entirely different version:
The 'other two' came much earlier, at the same time probably as Glorfindel, when matters became very dangerous in the Second Age. Glorfindel was sent to aid Elrond and was (though not yet said) pre-eminent in the war in Eriador. But the other two Istari were sent for a different purpose. Morinechtar and Romestamo, Darkness-slayer and East-helper. Their task was to circumvent Sauron: to bring help to the few tribes of Men hat had rebelled from Melkor-worship, to stir up rebellion ... and after his first fall to search out his hiding (in which they failed) and to cause [?dissension and disarray] among the dark East... They must have had very great influence on the history of the Second Age and Third Age in weakening and disarraying the forces of the East... who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise would have .... outnumbered the West.


The last statement echoes but is not entirely consonant with another note of similar date, written on the back of one of the late Glorfindel notes: "Now these Maiar were sent by the Valar at a crucial moment... to enhance the resistance of the Elves of the West... and of the uncorrupted Men of the West, greatly outnumbered by those of the East and South."
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:06 pm

These two seemingly contradictory fates are the reason why I believe that the blue wizards stayed true but fell into darkness after Sauron was destroyed.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby markkur » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:30 pm

solicitr wrote:
"Of the Blue little was known in the West, and they had no names save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards'; for they passed into the East with Curunir, but they never returned, and whether they remained in the East, pursuing there the purposes for which they were sent; or perished; or as some hold were ensnared by Sauron and became his servants, is not now known."


Of course it will never be known but my guess is they may have been something more than "Depth" for a period of time but I've read several times that JRRT thought it very important for a storyteller to have <my words> side glimpses that lead nowhere to broaden and deepen the story; little mysteries that add to the tale. He was also wise enough to leave these sorts of questions that could be made use in a follow-up but I doubt he ever planned that.

And as far a "conflicts" he loved that stuff, for to him they followed the natural unfolding of lore, where there are different versions of the same tale.

I remember reading somewhere that he game a name to one of the two wizards, I think it was in the Istari appendix but I'm not sure.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:40 pm

markkur said:
I remember reading somewhere that he game a name to one of the two wizards




He gave names to both of the Wizards twice in fact. One time in unfinished tales, another in some of his notes put in the people's of middle earth.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Galin » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:20 am

And as far a "conflicts" he loved that stuff, for to him they followed the natural unfolding of lore, where there are different versions of the same tale.


That's true to some extent, and not that you said otherwise, but I would distinguish between purposed confliction (if that's not a word it should be), and the natural changing of one's mind as one creates a rather detailed world -- these are not truly conflictionary (again, should be a word), although admittedly there is a grey area here...

... still we are looking at draft notes here, sometimes separated by months and years. Tolkien, like anyone, could change his mind about something, forget a name or some detail, and for me these things hardly fall within the category of the art of world-building. In other words they are not to be considered as purposed contradictions (or seemingly purposed contradictions) in order to add a sense of primary world reality to the tales.

I remember reading somewhere that he game a name to one of the two wizards, I think it was in the Istari appendix but I'm not sure.


Here's a good example in my opinion: the invented names for these other two wizards are: Morinehtar, Rómestámo, Rómestar, Alatar, Pallando and are all Quenya, so I would suggest only two of these were meant to be published -- in other words, Tolkien was working out the Valinorean names for his two other wizards, as they had no known names in Middle-Earth (names known to the scribes or scholars of the West anyway)...

... but which two? The first three are later than the last two, and Christopher Tolkien hints that Tolkien had perhaps lost [at least for a time] the older notes in which Alatar, Pallando appear. In other words, it's quite possible JRRT lost the first note, forgot what names he had already devised, then much later devised three more, with Rómestámo, Rómestar very likely being variants for the same character of course, awaiting Tolkien to choose one.

Or even invent something else perhaps :)

There is at least one site I wandered across which treats all four names as internal (the form Rómestar is relatively rarely noted on line in my experience). These names are all from draft texts (like so much else from Tolkien that readers accept as "true" admittedly), but I find no real indication to think that JRRT intended these other two wizards to have two Quenya names from an internal perspective.

The same with the fates or history of the other two wizards (I don't call them the "Blue Wizards" due to Tolkien's letter saying that he doubts they had distinctive colours, a letter written after the "Blue Wizards" text was written, and so far I can't find a later reference with blue in it). I think these are examples of Tolkien trying to work out their stories, with some of the notes being quite rough, and the late idea in which the other two came to Middle-earth much earlier in the Second Age, not only arguably contradicts already published description (Appendix B, that the Istari arrived in the Third Age)...

... but appears (in my opinion) to contradict another note on the reverse side of the very same paper (about when they arrived, at least). I find nothing very wrong with that, nor odd that JRRT might have forgotten (even for the moment) about what was noted in Appendix B written so many years earlier, but in my opinion these are not the same animal as, for instance...

... the two versions of the history of the Elessar stone, which while also draft material (see Unfinished Tales) and never published by Tolkien himself, seem clearly (to me) to be imagined as two variants found within the matter of (the copies of) the Red Book, or related writings that survived.

In other words, two versions of a story within the world of Middle-earth (internal), rather than Tolkien writing one, rejecting it (external), and writing another version to be imagined as the true (internal) version.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:51 am

Thanks for the info about the doubt about the color of the "blue" wizards.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Galin » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:06 am

Yes they were clad in "sea blue" and named the Blue Wizards (in Sindarin) in the text that branched from the index Tolkien was making for The Lord of the Rings... however in a later letter Tolkien said that he doubted they had distinctive colours. And later than that, JRRT seems to use "other two" (not blue in any case). I keep putting it out there (in threads), exactly to see if anyone remembers a later "blue" reference... but so far, I can't recall any.

And Hammond and Scull didn't note any in their Reader's Guide to The Lord of the Rings. I think.

Which sort of just restates part of my earlier post above... but that post is too long for me to read :D

And if something new (and later than the letter) with "blue" is eventually published, then the seemingly popular term Blue Wizards will remain popular without me wondering if this notion wasn't "rejected" or forgotten.

And I note there is (currently) a picture of a wizard dressed in blue... atop my name... to the left. Hmm :wink:
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:22 am

Your right the blue wizard image is so ingrained on LOTR fans imagination that the "blue" wizards will always be blue in the eyes of most LOTR fans admittedly including me.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby ngaur » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:37 am

And I note there is (currently) a picture of a wizard dressed in blue... atop my name... to the left. Hmm :wink:


Gandalf swiped one the fellows hats it seems. Although outside the fact that Gandalf wore grey and Saruman used to wear white, there's nothing that I know of to say that the colours were awarded by clothes. Tolkien sometime uses names lite White-elves for the Vanyar and Blue-elves for the Teleri and the other Elven clans all had their colour. I guess it is meant to symbolise mood or inclination and possibly rank. It could be the same way with the Istari, so there's nothing to say that the other two wore the blue. Then again for all I know may it referred to their hair-colour. Dwalin had a blue beard didn't he?



Besides the idea of the two arriving at an earlier age and the inclusion of Glorfindel, there's also an earlier thread of thought in the drafts for the Lord of the Rings, where the Witch-king was at one time the Wizard-king and a member of Gandalf order. But this doesn't fit at all with the ring-verse where he is a mortal man, and it is very doubtful that the idea of the Istari and the five wizards had even arisen at that point.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:44 am

Ngaur said:
Gandalf swiped one the fellows hats it seems. Although outside the fact that Gandalf wore grey and Saruman used to wear white, there's nothing that I know of to say that the colours were awarded by clothes. Tolkien sometime uses names lite White-elves for the Vanyar and Blue-elves for the Teleri and the other Elven clans all had their colour. I guess it is meant to symbolise mood or inclination and possibly rank. It could be the same way with the Istari, so there's nothing to say that the other two wore the blue. Then again for all I know may it referred to their hair-colour. Dwalin had a blue beard didn't he?


Don't know about the blue beard but as for the Isatari I beleive the color theme idea conveyed ranks since Saruman was white but then when he was replaced by Gandalf, Gandalf turned from grey to white. So this implies that there's some sort of color based rank system.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:55 pm

Galin wrote:I keep putting it out there (in threads), exactly to see if anyone remembers a later "blue" reference... but so far, I can't recall any.


Maybe you should ask Elthir at TORN. He seems to know a lot of these types of things. :)
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Galin » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:32 pm

ngaur wrote: "Although outside the fact that Gandalf wore grey and Saruman used to wear white, there's nothing that I know of to say that the colours were awarded by clothes."


The essay in question does say they were clad in sea-blue, and Radagast clad in earthen brown. I'm not sure if they were called blue for some reason, and then dressed in blue... but forced to guess I would say they received the Sindarin term (translated as Blue Wizards) based on garb, as little was known of them, since they passed East (into the wild blue) and didn't return.


Voronwe wrote: "Maybe you should ask Elthir at TORN. He seems to know a lot of these types of things."


As said in the film Guardians of the Galaxy... who? :)
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:39 pm

Galin said:
I would say they received the Sindarin term (translated as Blue Wizards) based on garb, as little was known of them, since they passed East (into the wild blue) and didn't return.


Good point. Because why were they called the Ithryn Luin if they didn't have blue robes I guess it's feasible they were called the Ithryn Luin without having blue robes but I find it unlikely.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby ngaur » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:16 am

The essay in question does say they were clad in sea-blue, and Radagast clad in earthen brown.


So it does. Guess they did get the colours base on clothing after all. Lets just not retrofit that onto Tolkiens late comment that he didn't think they had colours.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:53 am

Well I think we should move on from the color of the Blue wizards and move on to (or back to) what attributes they may have had.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Galin » Wed May 06, 2015 3:55 am

ngaur wrote: So it does. Guess they did get the colours base on clothing after all. Lets just not retrofit that onto Tolkiens late comment that he didn't think they had colours.


The source for Tolkien doubting they had colours (and saying he doesn't know the colours) dates from 1958... it's certainly late compared to plenty of things Tolkien wrote. I believe the text with the "blue detail" hails from the early 1950s, generally speaking. And it's in a later "phase" (later 1960s) that Tolkien refers to the other two wizards as the "other two", which at least appears to confim his not knowing the colours.

Plus "other two" wizards takes twice as many letters to type than "blue" wizards... so obviously Tolkien had abandoned the colours or he would have just typed blue.

:wink:

Interestingly, I just did two web searches to help confirm the date of this letter, and both sources quoted only part of this letter -- not including the bit about the lack of colours however -- in tandem with other quotes or information about the blue detail.

The idea is so popular that this part of the letter sometimes gets ignored? Or this part of the letter having sometimes been ignored has helped make the idea so popular?

Or something... else.
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Re: The blue wizards

Postby Billobob » Wed May 06, 2015 8:35 am

It is very possible that while they're (blue wizards) color based title was just a title and they might have not actually had a cloak that was blue.
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