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was Gandalf a Valar?

Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jan 28, 1:42am

Post #1 of 14 (2605 views)
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was Gandalf a Valar? Can't Post

I believe a mistake was made by Christopher Tolkien. I always thought Gandalf a maiar from reading the sillmarillion as Olórin was a Maiar. However, of course , our sillmarillion was not published by J.R.R Tolkien but Christopher and I believe Tolkien left us with the idea of two separate olorins in Valinor. And after reading unfinished Tales [Post LOTR writing/essays on the istari] I think J.R.R left the question open but also indicated Gandalf was valar I think his power justified that position as well.

“They [Valar] sent members of their own high order [the istari], but clad in bodies as of men.”
-Unfinished Tales the Istari

This above passage of could perhaps be understood as a maiar as the same order as valar but it seems to go against the text. That in fact is how Christopher understood it to mean valar. Christopher noticed this “mistake” of Gandalf being a valar. Yet it came from later Tolkien writings [post lotr] and Christopher's counter and proof it was a “mistake” was his version of the published sillmarillion. Than we have this text making a better case

“it is said in the latter days it was believed by many of the “faithful” that Gandalf was the last appearance of Manwë himself”
-Unfinished tales the Istari

The argument of course that Gandalf was a maiar comes from his identification as Olórin. However even here does not prove him a maiar.

“That Gandalf said that his name “in the west” had been Olórin was, according to this belief, the adoption of an Incognito, a mere by name. I do not [of course] know the truth of the matter.”
-Unfinished tales


Thus I think Tolkien left it open to what order Gandalf was but I think indicated he was a valar.

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jan 28, 2:54am

Post #2 of 14 (2578 views)
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addition [In reply to] Can't Post

To fill the qoute in some


“Who was "Gandalf"? it is said in the latter days it was believed by many of the “faithful” that Gandalf was the last appearance of Manwe himself...I do not know the truth of the matter, and if i did it would be a mistake to be more explicit than gandalf was”
-Unfinished tales the Istari

So Tolkien did not outright say Gandalf was Manwe [a valar] nor deny it.

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 28, 2:59pm

Post #3 of 14 (2531 views)
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I think the fact that his origin is so ambivalent and contradictory means [In reply to] Can't Post

we can believe what we want. I personally think he was a Maia. I don't see the logic in sending an inhibited Vala to contest with Sauron. And it would mean that 3 Valar remain unaccounted for (Radagast and the Blues), and Saruman-Vala was dispersed. That makes a dent in the ranks of the Valar. (I also don't see any logic in sending one Vala and several Maiar.)


Elthir
Grey Havens


Jan 28, 6:04pm

Post #4 of 14 (2517 views)
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Glorfindel I and II [In reply to] Can't Post

In Glorfindel I, for example, the word Maiar is footnoted by Tolkien: "That angelic order to which Gandalf originally belonged: lesser in power and authority than the Valar, but of the same nature . . ."

In the same text Gandalf is referred to as Gandalf-Olorin.


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jan 28, 11:21pm

Post #5 of 14 (2495 views)
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Very good [In reply to] Can't Post

nice, what source is that from? what time period?

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jan 28, 11:24pm

Post #6 of 14 (2489 views)
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Why not? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
we can believe what we want. I personally think he was a Maia. I don't see the logic in sending an inhibited Vala to contest with Sauron. And it would mean that 3 Valar remain unaccounted for (Radagast and the Blues), and Saruman-Vala was dispersed. That makes a dent in the ranks of the Valar. (I also don't see any logic in sending one Vala and several Maiar.)


Why so? why not send a powerful valar? Also I would suggest saruman was vala, but not likley radagast.

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jan 28, 11:49pm

Post #7 of 14 (2488 views)
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Large text? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In Glorfindel I, for example, the word Maiar is footnoted by Tolkien: "That angelic order to which Gandalf originally belonged: lesser in power and authority than the Valar, but of the same nature . . ."

In the same text Gandalf is referred to as Gandalf-Olorin.


Could you provide a larger section of text for me? I have not yet read Peoples of ME so I will order it soon.


Is it this text?

"At some time, probably early in his sojourn in Valinor, he became a follower, and a friend, of Olorin (Gandalf), who as is said in the Silmarillion had an especial love and concern for the Children of Eru. That Olorin, as was possible for one of the Maiar, had already visited Middle-earth . . ." JRRT, Last Writings, Glorfindel II, The Peoples of Middle-Earth


Notice I said their might have been two olorins or gandalf might have taken the name, further it says "was possible for one of the Maiar" he also possibly was a valar, I think Tolkien left it open.

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


(This post was edited by Tolkien R.J.J on Jan 28, 11:51pm)


kzer_za
Rivendell

Jan 29, 12:01am

Post #8 of 14 (2488 views)
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There are only fifteen Valar... [In reply to] Can't Post

Specifically named in Valaquenta (and counting Melkor); it's an important part of the legendarium. If Tolkien were thinking about revising this like he considered with other aspects of his mythology like the sun and moon or the orcs, we would know about it.

Also elves don't reuse names - the fact that there were two Glorfindels was enough for Tolkien to retcon it into his reincarnation. It's very likely that the incarnate Ainur wouldn't either.

I think "members of their own high order" is best seen as Tolkien just being imprecise in a text he may not have ever intended for publication. There is a sense in which Valar and Maiar are the same order, as they're both Ainur.

In context, "possible for one of the Maiar" is referring to the fact that it is possibly a Maia could have already visited Middle-earth before he officially became Gandalf, not that it's merely possible Olorin was a Maia.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jan 29, 12:12am)


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jan 29, 12:33am

Post #9 of 14 (2470 views)
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Named Valar? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Specifically named in Valaquenta (and counting Melkor); it's an important part of the legendarium. If Tolkien were thinking about revising this like he considered with other aspects of his mythology like the sun and moon or the orcs, we would know about it.

Also elves don't reuse names - the fact that there were two Glorfindels was enough for Tolkien to retcon it into his reincarnation. It's very likely that the incarnate Ainur wouldn't either.

I think "members of their own high order" is best seen as Tolkien just being imprecise in a text he may not have ever intended for publication. There is a sense in which Valar and Maiar are the same order, as they're both Ainur.

In context, "possible for one of the Maiar" is referring to the fact that it is possibly a Maia could have already visited Middle-earth before he officially became Gandalf, not that it's merely possible Olorin was a Maia.



And who says Gandalf could not have been one of those named valar?


Gandalf is not an elf.



Gandalf did not enter ME until the third age.

“They [Istari] belonged solely to the third age and than departed, and none save maybe Elrond, Cirdan, and Galadriel discovered of what kind they were or whence they came.”
-UT the Istari

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


kzer_za
Rivendell

Jan 29, 12:41am

Post #10 of 14 (2468 views)
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There is no Vala named Olorin [In reply to] Can't Post

While Valar do have additional names in certain cases like Varda/Elbereth, in Valaquenta he refers to Olorin and the Valar both by their Quenya names. And the passage in HoME XII does say that Olorin had possibly visited middle-earth before becoming an Istari, though he leaves it as just a possibility: "nothing is [has yet been] said of this." He may or may not have decided to develop it later if he lived longer. Minor writings like this sometimes contradict each other, as Tolkien used them to experiment with ideas.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jan 29, 12:56am)


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jan 29, 1:38am

Post #11 of 14 (2436 views)
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Middle Earth Conspiracy Theory Gandalf was Manwe [In reply to] Can't Post

Middle Earth Conspiracy Theory Gandalf was Manwe


I still need to read The Peoples of Middle-Earth before i make a conclusion. But i thought of a conspiracy theory. What if Gandalf was indeed Manwe. Manwe asked olorin to go and olorin was scarred and Manwe said it was the more reason he should go. But either Olorin refused or because he was scarred, Manwe stepped in and became Gandalf but because he wished not to reveal who he was [most well known and powerful valar besides morgoth and the purpose was to help the free people not fight for them as they would wish if they knew it was he] he used the incognito name of olorin since he was his desired servant.




“Who was "Gandalf"? it is said in the latter days it was believed by many of the “faithful” that Gandalf was the last appearance of Manwe himself...I do not know the truth of the matter, and if i did it would be a mistake to be more explicit than gandalf was”
-Unfinished tales the Istari


“That Gandalf said that his name “in the west” had been Olorin was, according to this belief, the adoption of an Incognito, a mere by name. I do not [of course] know the truth of the matter.”
-Unfinished tales

“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


(This post was edited by Tolkien R.J.J on Jan 29, 1:40am)


Tolkien R.J.J
Bree


Jan 29, 1:59am

Post #12 of 14 (2431 views)
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Cannon? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In Glorfindel I, for example, the word Maiar is footnoted by Tolkien: "That angelic order to which Gandalf originally belonged: lesser in power and authority than the Valar, but of the same nature . . ."

In the same text Gandalf is referred to as Gandalf-O

I will have to read last writings and I will be ordering it soon to comment further. This is from a footnote and not the main text says something to me. This might not cannon to me imo. lorin.


“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


Elthir
Grey Havens


Jan 29, 4:59am

Post #13 of 14 (2414 views)
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"possible" in this context, and names [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In context, "possible for one of the Maiar" is referring to the fact that it is possibly a Maia could have already visited Middle-earth before he officially became Gandalf, not that it's merely possible Olorin was a Maia.


Huzzah. Fully agree.


In Reply To
Also elves don't reuse names - the fact that there were two Glorfindels was enough for Tolkien to retcon it into his reincarnation.


Can't agree on this side topic though.

Glorfindel was a case that Tolkien decided would not be believable with respect to name duplication (in part, due to the shape of the name itself), but in general, my opinion is that Elves could reuse names.


Like Rúmil for instance.


Dunadan of North Arnor
The Shire

Jan 29, 5:25am

Post #14 of 14 (2414 views)
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There’s a theory [In reply to] Can't Post

that Gandalf may very well have been elevated to the status of a Vala when he returned to the West, victorious against Sauron, just as Glorfindel was elevated to a Maia, and Tuor to an Elda - the latter two supported by Tolkien’s writings, the former a bit of logistical speculation.

 
 

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