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“A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to”

Wizards are some of the most mysterious type of beings that inhabit Middle Earth. Their purpose is to watch over all realms of beings and be a beacon of protection against all potential evil influences. The two wizards most commonly known, Gandalf the Grey(and white), and Saruman of many colors, play the most significant roles in Tolkien’s writings. Radagast the brown is scarcely mentioned, but even his presence is interestingly ominous due to his specific liking toward nature and animals. There are two other wizards as well but do not play a significant role in any of the conventional story lines that are most often discussed. I would like to open up a dialogue about these wizards and whether or not the extent of their powers and choices had a significant effect upon the overall plots of either the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The most well known quote, as mentioned at the start, depicts the role that wizards play well, and almost puts them into a category of more “eventful” characters than “event-making” characters. An argument can be made that once a wizard seeks to create events on Middle-Earth he has deviated from his true purpose.

Saruman proves this in his own ambition to obtain power through abdicating Orthanc to Mordor’s cause. I believe that Gandalf the Grey even meddled too much in the realms of men, elves, and yes, hobbits. He shows this when he convinces Bilbo to partake in a perilous adventure to the Lonely Mountain, without much explanation for his true purpose. He is involved and uninvolved in the events of the Hobbit, only appearing when the company is in need of a true life savor (the eagles). Gandalf the White, however, is a different type of wizard that must assume more of a leadership role due to the absence of Saruman. There are obvious character differences between the two, and it is evidenced in Tolkien’s writing when Gandalf the White openly approaches Denethor and Theoden about specific measures that need to be taken. Gandalf the Grey, however, was more of a mentor figure to that of Frodo, Bilbo, and even Aragorn. When Gandalf the Grey perished and Gandalf the White came to being, he had to throw away his mentor cap and put on his wizarding leadership cap. I believe that this difference played a significant role in the events of the War of the Ring, and look forward to discovering this topic further. Please comment below on any relevant quotes or knowledge about this topic of the extent of effect that wizards play in Tolkien’s writings.

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