Concerning Wizards




Detail from 'The Blue Wizards Journeying East' by Ted Nasmith

I suspect that by now the perceptive people of the Laurelin Archives who've read Quendendil's profile and journal entries have probably deduced what he is (although I'm surprised that I haven't yet had the Eye of Sauron engulfing my mailbox in flames!) I admit that initially I thought that creating such a character might be pushing the boundaries of RP, but then I reckoned that there are enough people breaking the lore on Laurelin (the server, that is, not this esteemed Archive) that no one would actually care. Besides which, Quendendil's mind is broken and his powers stripped by the Dark Lord, and therefore he cannot be considered an OP Vanithauro.

I suppose that firstly I should address the fact that there are some Tolkienists who do not consider any work published after J.R.R. Tolkien's lifetime as canon i.e. anything besides The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and The Road Goes Ever On. However, I am not among their number, and thank heavens for his son, Christopher, who had the wherewithal to produce many posthumous publications regarding the Legendarium from the confusion of notes that his father left behind when he passed away in September of 1973. Most notably, with regard to this essay:

  • The Silmarillion (1977)
  • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth (1980)
  • The History of Middle-earth vol.12: The Peoples of Middle-earth (1996)

Heren Istarion

Now before discussing the Ithryn Luin, there is much regarding the Heren Istarion that perhaps some Tolkien fans haven't read; those who have, I humbly beg your indulgence:

"Of this Order the number is unknown; but of those that came to the North of Middle-earth, where there was most hope (because of the remnant of the Dunedain and of the Eldar that abode there), the chiefs were five."
- Unfinished Tales, "
The Istari"

"When maybe a thousand years [of the Third Age] had passed, and the first shadow had fallen on Greenwood the Great, the Istari or Wizards appeared in Middle-earth. It was afterwards said that they came out of the Far West and were messengers sent to contest the power of Sauron, and to unite all those who had the will to resist him; but they were forbidden to match his power with power, or to seek to dominate Elves or Men by force and fear."
- The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, "The Tale of Years: The Third Age"

"None knew at that time whence they were, save Círdan of the Havens, and only to Elrond and to Galadriel did he reveal that they came over the Sea. But afterwards it was said among the Elves that they were messengers sent by the Lords of the West to contest the power of Sauron, if he should arise again, and to move Elves and Men and all living things of good will to valiant deeds. In the likeness of Men they appeared, old but vigorous, and they changed little with the years, and aged but slowly, though great cares lay on them; great wisdom they had, and many powers of mind and hand. Long they journeyed far and wide among Elves and Men, and held converse also with beasts and with birds...."
- The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"

"They first appeared in Middle-earth about the year 1000 of the Third Age, but for long they went about in simple guise, as it were of Men already old in years but hale in body, travellers and wanderers, gaining knowledge of Middle-earth and all that dwelt therein, but revealing to none their powers and purposes. In that time Men saw them seldom and heeded them little. But as the shadow of Sauron began to grow and take shape again, they became more active and sought ever to contest the growth of the Shadow, and to move Elves and Men to beware of their peril....
    Emissaries they were from Lords of the West, the Valar, who still took counsel for the governance of Middle-earth, and when the shadow of Sauron began first to stir again took this means of resisting him. For with the consent of Eru they sent members of their own high order, but clad in bodies of as of Men, real and not feigned, but subject to the fears and pains and weariness of earth, able to hunger and thirst and be slain; though because of their noble spirits they did not die, and aged only by the cares and labours of many long years. And this the Valar did, desiring to amend the errors of old, especially that they had attempted to guard and seclude the Eldar by their own might and glory fully revealed; whereas now their emissaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men and Elves by open display of power, but coming in shapes weak and humble were bidden to advise and persuade Men and Elves to good, and to seek to unite in love and understanding all those whom Sauron, should he come again, would endeavour to dominate and corrupt."

[...]

"For it is said indeed that being embodied the Istari had needs to learn much anew by slow experience, and though they knew whence they came the memory of the Blessed Realm was to them a vision from afar off, for which (so long as they remained true to their mission) they yearned exceedingly. Thus by enduring of free will the pangs of exile and the deceits of Sauron they might redress the evils of that time."
- Unfinished Tales, "The Istari"

".. the peoples of Middle-earth gave to them many names, for their true names they did not reveal."
- The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"

Ithryn Luin

"Others there were also: two clad in sea-blue."

- Unfinished Tales, "The Istari"

I've been a fan of the Istari ever since I first read The Lord of the Rings as a teen, and the fate of the enigmatic Ithryn Luin has always fascinated me, and so I thought it would be fun to explore their unwritten history.

"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...  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. But none of these chances were impossible to be; for, strange indeed though this may seem, the Istari, being clad in bodies of Middle-earth, might even as Men and Elves fall away from their purposes. and do evil, forgetting the good in the search for power to effect it."
- Unfinished Tales, "The Istari"

However, Tolkien's conception of the two Blue Wizards changed dramatically between his earlier and later writings. Initially he wrote:

"I really do not know anything clearly about the other two [wizards] – since they do not concern the history of the N[orth].W[est]. I think they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South, far out of Númenórean 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' traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron."
- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)

And although he originally envisioned them as having entered Middle-earth together with the other Istari, he later decided that they arrived much earlier, at roughly the same time as Glorfindel in about S.A. 1600, the Year of Dread:

"The wizards did not come at the same time... The 'other two' came much earlier, at the same time probably as Glorfindel, when matters became very dangerous in the Second Age... Morinehtar and Rómestámo. Darkness-slayer and East-helper."
- The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Last Writings"

Indeed, Tolkien no longer believed that they strayed from their mission; instead he makes it very clear that they played a decisive role in the downfall of Sauron at the end of both the Second and the Third Ages:

"Their task was to circumvent Sauron: to bring help to the few tribes of Men that 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 East ... who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise have... outnumbered the West."
- The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Last Writings"

And it was with all this in mind that I created the character Quendendil, "an Eruhin and waif with no memory of his past nor whence he hails." I sincerely hope that the folk here on L.A. enjoy reading his story as much as I do writing it.

Wilt thou learn the lore || that was long secret
of the Five that came || from a far country?
One only returned. || Others never again...

- Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth


TL;DR: I assume that anyone who's read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and (hopefully) The Silmarillion, probably isn't averse to reading a long(-ish) page of text.