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Old 01-30-2019, 08:21 PM   #1
R.R.J Tolkien
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What do we Know About Radagast?

My interest in the Istari continues.

“a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue... and he has much lore of herbs and beats” a “friend of all beats and birds”
-Gandalf

“indeed, of all the istari, one only remained faithful.... for Radgast, the fourth, become envenomed of the many beast and birds that dwelt in Middle-earth, and forsook elves, men and spent his days among the wild creatures.”
-Unfinished tales The Istari



Radagast lived in western mirkwood and did not travel much. A “worthy wizard” and as Beorn described him “not bad” for a wizard is presented as an wizard who fell in love with nature so much that he turned from his mission. He is perhaps Tolkiens view of a normal powered istari to counter the better known Olorin “Wisest of the maiar” [Gandalf] and Saurman the leader of the order. He is presented as having much less wisdom and power than Gandalf and Saruman.


“Radagast is presented as a person of much less power and wisdom”
-Unfinished Tales


Saruman in particular seems to disregard radagast as a much lower being and uses his intellectual advantage into tricking him into helping Saruman capture Gandalf.

Radagast the simple, Radagast the fool, yet he had just the wit to play the part that I set him”
-Sarumon




But what else do we really know about him?
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Last edited by R.R.J Tolkien; 01-30-2019 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 02-03-2019, 09:23 AM   #2
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He was not among the council of the wise instead Elrond and Galadriel and the better known Istari were. It seems when news went out from Rivendell to have Radagast join the council he could not be found. Neither did he return to the west after the war of the ring, it appears he had died.

Wilt thou learn the lore || that was long secret
of the Five that came || from a far country?
One only returned. || Others never again
J.R.R Tolkien
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:55 PM   #3
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As I understood it, his original aim was to rally and influence the animals of middle earth and that was his inclination towards the beasts and nature. His downfall as I understand was he became too focused on the animals and on nature and lost sight as to why he was actually there.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:02 AM   #4
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What do we know about Radagast?

We know that he was one of the Istari, a Maia that was incarnated in a human body. That means that he was, for all intents and purposes, essentially human, although somewhat "supercharged": stronger, more endurance, powered by a superior spirit, blessed with otherworldly knowledge and magical power. But his human body restricted his spirit and his power in several respects: he had to rest, he needed nourishment, he could be harmed and even killed, and so on.

We also know that the Istari aged. In fact they aged rather rapidly, considering their origin and their mission (defeating Sauron, an immortal (!) warlord). When Saruman arrived in Lindon in 1000 T.A. he is described as a middle-aged man with black hair. But only 2000 years later, at the time of the War of the Ring, he appears as a very old man, his hair now completely white. 2000 years is a rather short time from a valinorean or elven perspective and I wonder what would have happened if Sauron had been a lot (a lot, lot, lot) more patient and if for example the War of the Ring had occurred in the year 8000 of the Third Age and not in 3018. If 2000 years were enough to completely age Saruman, then the Istari probably would have been dead or "faded" by then!

Back to Radagast. Tolkien fails to mention him at the end, that leaves two possibilities:
- he was either killed during the war in Mirkwood
- or he stayed in Middle-Earth after the defeat of Sauron.

If he stayed in Middle-Earth, what happened to him? He cant remain in his human body forever. It may take thousands of years, but he will eventually "die", i.e. his body will cease to function and his sprit will depart from it.
As we have seen when Gandalf and Saruman were killed, the incarnated Istari were not able to re-incarnate themselves. This seems to be somewhat of a rule in Ea. Once a naturally discarnate being (like an Ainu) becomes fully incarnated, the being becomes completely tied to that body and a destruction of that body is irreversible. Melkor, once he became incarnate after the theft of the Silmaril, knew that - thats why he was so afraid of combat. Only Sauron was able to circumvent that rule, when he was able to re-incarnate himself after his death during the Battle of Mount Doom - but that was only possible because the One Ring anchored him in the material world. And even then it took him over a thousand years.

So what would happen to Radagast after the eventual death of his body? He cant re-incarnate himself. Would the Valar intervene and bring him back to Valinor to rehouse him or return him to his natural state? I sure hope so, at least that is my head-canon. The alternative just seems too cruel.

Last edited by denethorthefirst; 02-17-2019 at 05:19 PM.
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