May 8 2012, 12:53am
We may simply not know what effect he had. The Tale of Years makes mention, by and large, of only the most significant events in the history of The Third Age, and even then it leaves out most of the details. We know little, frankly, even of Gandalf's adventures before The Hobbit, aside from the two Dol Guldur missions, save that he was said to have been adventuring here, there and everywhere since time out of mind.
I don't know that I would call Radagast ineffective
I also object to the notion that Radagast was "denied" a return to Valinor. Even Melkor and Sauron were not initially denied return out of hand. Saruman had something of a last chance, but he scornfully refused it. It is HIGHLY unlikely that Radagast, who did no intentional harms and remained a loyal if not particularly active ally to those resisting Sauron, would have been treated as some manner of fugitve. It is more likely, I think, that being so enamoured of the Beasts and Birds of Middle-Earth, and perhaps not yet weary of the changing world (having taken on far fewer of its burdens than Gandalf, his kinsSpirit) that he did not wish to depart.
I also bear in mind Gandalf's rather complimentary words regarding him. "Radagast sought me in good faith. . . it would have been futile in any case to attempt to persuade the honest Radagast to treachery."
Saruman was scornful of Radagast, but despite commentaries on who returned, who stayed true etc. etc. (and there is some internal debate and conflict there) Gandalf certainly never seems to suggest that Radagast is inappropriate or remiss in his ways.
"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"
"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."
(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on May 8 2012, 12:56am)