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Tolkien at UVM - 2012 summer - week 2 - A Wizard's Staff

The Shire

Jul 14 2012, 2:01am

Views: 400
Tolkien at UVM - 2012 summer - week 2 - A Wizard's Staff Can't Post

One of my students this past year (I teach high school Latin and English) asked me if Sauron's Ring was like a "horcrux" in the Harry Potter series. We discussed the similarities and differences, and the student decided that the Ring was indeed a form of horcrux: a powerful being partitions his power and stores part of that power in an object that no one once the object had some time to work its addictive magic would be willing to destroy; the body of the entity can be killed or destroyed but its spirit lives on because of this magical reliquary. Destroy the object, however, and the entity is permanently destroyed. The motives Tolkien gives for Sauron's creation of the Ring, as far as I can tell, is singular: to dominate the wearers of the other Rings of Power and, through them, to dominate their peoples. If he conceived of this Ring as a way of preserving his power, or spirit, I'm not aware that Tolkien addressed the issue.

What about a Wizard's staff? When Saruman refuses to accept Gandalf's offer of mercy after the Battle of Helm's Deep, Gandalf reveals himself as the White Wizard and casts his former superior out of the Order of the Istari, using his own power to destroy Saruman's staff. As Frodo and his companions will later learn, this fallen Wizard remains dangerous, but his power as a Wizard is gone.

Question: Where does the power of a Wizard reside and come from? Is the staff a mere symbol? ...or, like the Ring, it stores its master's power? Does a Wizard need his staff in order to work his wizardry, or does the power come from within his own spirit?

Subject User Time
Tolkien at UVM - 2012 summer - week 2 - A Wizard's Staff bglenney_uvm Send a private message to bglenney_uvm Jul 14 2012, 2:01am
    Wizards are maiar spirits in human bodies, that's why they have powers Tigero Send a private message to Tigero Jul 14 2012, 3:08pm
        a wizard's power (minus the staff) bglenney_uvm Send a private message to bglenney_uvm Jul 16 2012, 3:10am
    I think it has various uses Radagast-Aiwendil Send a private message to Radagast-Aiwendil Jul 14 2012, 4:48pm
        a wizard's staff bglenney_uvm Send a private message to bglenney_uvm Jul 16 2012, 3:16am
            The breaking of Gandalf's staff... Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Jul 16 2012, 4:47pm
    The staff is an instrument Mim Send a private message to Mim Jul 14 2012, 7:21pm
    The story of a magic-user who can't be killed is an old one. Curious Send a private message to Curious Jul 16 2012, 2:31am
        a wizard's staff - horcruxes - the good guys v. the bad guys bglenney_uvm Send a private message to bglenney_uvm Jul 16 2012, 3:30am


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