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There seems to be at least two different aspects to consider.

Plurmo
Rohan

Dec 24 2013, 5:57am


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There seems to be at least two different aspects to consider. [In reply to] Can't Post

One is the power of the staff. What he does. I have no idea about what they do and how they do it, and I'm unsure if they are really needed to accomplish magical feats at all. Probably they are, but the principle behind it eludes me.

The other is what they represent. I agree with the idea that it is a symbol of office, but I disagree that it is a symbol of their role as emissary of the Valar. I think instead that each Istari spirit puts a particular meaning in his staff, and the meaning would change according to his changing views about himself.

Saruman appears to make an association between a wizard's staff and a king's crown. That, I think, would be his personal understanding of its meaning. His staff being his crown, without it he lost his powers to keep a state, his many colours no longer glimmered and he became a lost wanderer. In his words, he became "adrift."

But in the beginning Saruman was a high loremaster and at that time, perhaps his staff was meant to represent knowledge, a powerful mind. Had it been broken at that time, I suppose the consequences would be far different. Perhaps he would lose the memory of a critical part of his learnings. The loss would be of his unrivalled subtle mind.

Gandalf, on the other hand, considered himself to be a steward. So, accordingly, his staff was a symbol of his service and the breaking of it meant that his guardianship of Middle-earth was ended (in fire, like Denethor's.) Specifically it meant that the leading of the Company of the Ring was passed to Aragorn and that the Balrog had become his sole task.

Radagast is an altogether different case because he was a caretaker of living beings. I don't know what he thought about himself (so to me the secret of his staff remains hidden,) but if I had to guess, I would say that the breaking of his staff would affect not himself directly, but the objects of his care. That alone would put Radagast on a very difficult position, perhaps even leading him to fear situations of combat. Not because he is powerless, but because to a meaningful extent he became what he cared for, literally.

It is telling that in the two known instances where a staff was in fact broken, both his holders eventually died. It seems to be also a seal of fate related to the mental disposition of its holder. Self-sacrifice in the case of Gandalf (which I think was not voluntary, I think his staff broke against his will,) and a soul consuming desire to rule in someone fated to destituteness, in the case of Saruman.

Subject User Time
Is there a Link to "The Power within Wizard's Staffs"? Bombadil Send a private message to Bombadil Dec 22 2013, 3:05am
    Always thought the staff was more a channeling device sevilodorf Send a private message to sevilodorf Dec 22 2013, 5:54pm
        I agree about the channeling device Fredeghar Wayfarer Send a private message to Fredeghar Wayfarer Dec 22 2013, 6:29pm
    no book Gandalf Send a private message to book Gandalf Dec 22 2013, 8:01pm
    Michael Martinez brings up a good point sevilodorf Send a private message to sevilodorf Dec 23 2013, 2:00am
        Thanx sev...Micheal's other quote is very Smart.. Bombadil Send a private message to Bombadil Dec 23 2013, 5:35pm
            Perhaps Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Dec 24 2013, 5:30am
                Or is there breaking, and then there's breaking? CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 24 2013, 9:27pm
                    Rings and staves Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Dec 24 2013, 9:36pm
    ...Gandalf lifted his staff, Meneldor Send a private message to Meneldor Dec 23 2013, 6:31pm
        An alternate idea Belegdir Send a private message to Belegdir Dec 23 2013, 7:40pm
            So you're saying Meneldor Send a private message to Meneldor Dec 24 2013, 5:19am
    There seems to be at least two different aspects to consider. Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Dec 24 2013, 5:57am
        The Reverend had the interesting idea that the staff was the repository for the bits of a Maiar that were inconsistent with human form noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 24 2013, 5:11pm

 
 
 

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