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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Is Gandalf (or any of the Maiar, for that matter) aware that he is a Maia?
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Aug 21 2013, 2:41pm

Post #26 of 30 (139 views)
by the way Elizabeth... [In reply to] Can't Post

... I took your 'the subject' to mean the subject of the Istari. If not then never mind [as I now realize you could have easily meant the specific subject you raised rather].

But alas one only gets a given amount of time to edit or delete. Not that I can't think longer before I post however. Sorry Crazy


Aug 22 2013, 10:47pm

Post #27 of 30 (122 views)
Tolkien wrote in one of his letters... [In reply to] Can't Post

That Gandalf was the only faithful Istari. So Raddy may have been faithful to the side mission of protecting Yavanna's creatures, but he failed in the central mission. But even in the side mission I must say he failed, if you truly wanted to protect the wildlife and plants you would need to actively fight against Sauron.

Not all who wander are lost


Aug 22 2013, 10:52pm

Post #28 of 30 (122 views)
Yes of course they do! [In reply to] Can't Post

Sauron was confronted in Middle Earth after the fall of Morgoth by other Maiar. He also led the Numenoreans to attack the undying lands.

Gandalf knew too, says he was sent back to finish his task. This task was given by the Valar. He knew of the Undying Lands and in studying Sauron I am sure he knew that Sauron, and the balrogs, were Maiar.

If Gandalf did not know, why would he seek to return to the Undying Lands? That right was reserved for the Elves and the ring-bearers.

Even Cirdan knew Gandalf came from the Undying Lands.

Being that Gandalf knew his task, which was given before his incarnation, tells us that he remembers much of his former life.

Not all who wander are lost

Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens

Sep 7 2013, 12:31am

Post #29 of 30 (93 views)
Thoughts from a lightweight [In reply to] Can't Post

I have read only LOTR, The Hobbit and The Sil, but my impression as a lightweight Tolkien lover was that Gandalf knew what he was, knew of some of his powers but had forgotten some of the details over the many years he spent in ME but was constrained by his mission as to how and when he was allowed to "step in and help". He shows his hand a bit more than usual with the Balrog and, to me, seems to come back (as Gandalf the White) with additional instructions. It's almost as if he was rehabilitated and also reminded that he was to use his powers sparingly and let the inhabitants of ME work things out for themselves as much as possible. He therefore sets certain things in motion but allows the ME leaders to "make or break" the outcome. He counsels Frodo about mercy (he doesn't tell him not to kill Gollum), he sets Aragorn on his path back to kingship (but leaves the path frought with choices and peril), he even leaves a silly Took alone with a Palantir (knowing that things could go very wrong with that combination). He suggests, he counsels but he doesn't necessarily command. He leaves that to those he will leave behind to rule the world that comes out the other side.

It's only an impression from reading for fun, but my take on the whole Istari thing was that the Valar created ME, messed up parts of it and sent the Istari because they felt the mistakes that had been made were too much for the inhabitants of ME to handle, an unfair disadvantage that was no fault of their own. The Valar therefore sent the Istari to keep and eye on things and steer the inhabitants towards a successful world while still letting them shape their own world through their own choices. (It's part of the whole topic of free will that I seem to remember Reverend speaking of also, back in the day.)

Just my ha'penny's worth of thoughts.

“Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


Sep 24 2013, 4:59pm

Post #30 of 30 (99 views)
That is an interesting question [In reply to] Can't Post

I always thought that he knew who he was, but as the years went on, the memory became more and more distant, more like a beautiful dream that you can kinda remember instead of a crystal clear memory. That is just my opinion though, I have only read the Silmarillian, Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and a Tolkien Miscellany.

My progress so far on my walk to Rivendell
I have traveled 71 miles
I have passed Buckleberry Ferry.
It is 2 miles to the next landmark.
I have 387 miles until I reach Rivendell.

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