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Old 02-11-2002, 06:20 AM   #1
Yaish
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Sting More Istari limits?

I am almost done with UT and I think I have discovered another limit placed on the Istari while in ME. I think it may also shed some light on the nature of their other limitations too.

In "The Quest of Erebor" Gandalf is relating to Gimli about his role in arranging the quest. He says:
"I do not know the answer, for I am changed since those days, and I am no longer tramelled by the burden of Middle Earth as I was then. In those days I should have answered you with words like those I used to Frodo, only last year in the spring. Only last year! But such measures are meaningless. In that far distant time I said to a small and frightened Hobbit: Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker, and you therefore were meant to bear it. And I might have added: and I was meant to guide you both to those points.
"To do that I used in my waking mind only suc means as were allowed to me, doing what lay to my hand according to such reasons as I had. But what I knew in my heart, or knew before I stepped on these grey shores: that is another matter. Olorin I was in the West that is forgotten, and only to those that dwell there shall I speak more openly."

Of course Maia would have had some forknowledge of the future because of their part in singing the Song. However by this passage I think that when the Maia were sent to ME as Istari, that knowledge was held from then. Gandald may have still had that knowledge as instinct, because indeed he did still seem to be where he needed to be at the right time. However it definately looks as if he was NOT consciously aware of the events and their consequences. Gandalfs introspection seems to indicate that he now sees that his part was in the song, as the will of Illuvatar. I have not heard anywhere else of any mental limits imposed on the Istari, has anyone else?
It also may reveal something about the nature of their other limitations. Since this cannot be a self imposed limit I wonder if the others were as well. I know there have several good arguements for the nature of their limitations being more of an oath, but I think this casts some doubt on that.

Anyone have any opinions?
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Old 02-11-2002, 08:07 AM   #2
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In Letters, a clear distinction is drawn between Valar/Maiar who merely "clothe" themselves in the bodies of the Children of Iluvatar and those who incarnate themselves in such bodies. When the Valar/Maiar clothe themselves in a body, they may "change their clothes", i.e. take a different image (the Sil describes multiple appearances used by Yavanna, or go unclothed. When incarnated, they are linked to their body as are Elves and Men, and if their body is slain, their power is severely affected at least until they can develop a new body. Morgoth was incarnated in his Dark Lord body and Sauron, after the fall of Numenor, also was. The Istari, as a condition of accepting their mission, were incarnated. Being incarnated, as opposed to clothed, also reduces the abilities/power which they can manifest. The Istari were further limited in their ability to use power. Mr. Underhill, in another thread argues that this additional shackling of their power was voluntary and by agreement rather than a "physical" or actual limitation. Little of this is express or clear from LoTR, though it is implied at times.
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Old 02-11-2002, 11:37 AM   #3
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Sting

Quote:
For it is said indeed that being embodied the Istari had needs to learn much anew by slow experience, and though they knew whence they came the memory of the Blessed Realm was to them a vision from afar off, for which (so long as they remained true to their mission) they yearned exceedingly. Thus by enduring of free will the pangs of exile and the deceits of Sauron they might redress the evils of that time.
I maintain that the 'power' limitation was a conscious act of submission. In Letters Tolkien tells us that Gandalf's death in fighting the Balrog was a sacrifice and a humiliation to him, but demonstrated his loyalty to the regulations of the Valar. It was because of this subjection that he was enhanced (and I also contend that this 'enhancement' was merely a provision for a more open use of power) and returned. Had he not complied with the will of the Powers, he would likely have defeated the Balrog, but would have ultimately failed in the same way that Saruman had, because he had not remained loyal. It was his test, much like Frodo's offering the Ring to Galadriel. He passed, and it's possible that he entreated Eru to grant him the power he would need to accomplish his task (in light of the appearance of things mightier than mere Orcs and Trolls).

I think it is likely that when a being is incarnated (rather than clothed), they are essentially 'reborn' (the quote above, as well as yours, Yaish, supports this theory), instead of just assuming a physical form. Morgoth is an exception to this, possibly because he gradually became incarnate through his abuse of power, rather than simply being incarnated as the Istari were.

The memory of their former existence seems to return gradually, but I doubt this would affect their native strength of spirit -- which, again, I say is limited by their own will to obey the Powers. I think it is evident that Saruman eschewed this moral restraint, which is why he appeared more powerful than Gandalf for so long. Cirdan is said to have 'perceived in Olorin the greatest spirit'.

That's it for now. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: obloquy ]
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Old 02-13-2002, 01:04 AM   #4
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Sting

Thank you for clearing something up for me. I have read LotR, the Hobbit, and now reading the Sil. When I read about the Maiar, I was wondering about Olorin being Gandalf. I vaugely remembered something in LotR, but forgot.

This quote just seemed so much like Gandalf:

Quote:
The wisest of the Maiar was Olorin. He too dwelt in Lorien, but his ways took him often to the house of Nienna, and of her he learned pity and patience.
I remembered that Galadriel of Lorien wanted Gandalf to be the head of the White Counsil, also when the Fellowship came to Lorien, Galadriel said that she longed to see Gandalf again. One question left on this subject.

Was Melian Galadriel? It states that she dwelt in Lorien and also in Este. Would Este be Rivendell? - I think that I read that Estel means hope, Rivendell was where Estel Telcontar(Aragorn/Hope Strider) was reared.

Estel I haven't confused anyone [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 02-13-2002, 01:18 AM   #5
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Sting

Galadriel is not Melian. Melian left Middle Earth after Thingol was killed. And she was a Maia so there is definitely a difference between the two.

I dont know about Este. As you said, Estel means hope and was used as part of Aragorns name. It was also used in the name Estelmo, who was the esquire of Elendur ( [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]). Sorry I couldn't help that much.
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Old 02-13-2002, 02:13 AM   #6
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The similarity between Estel (elven for "hope") and the name Este struck me too (guess why?!), but I think they are linguistically unrelated. Este is one of the Valier, the seven Queens of the Valar. She is the "healer of hurts and of weariness" and "rest is her gift", according to the Valaquenta in the Silmarillion. I don't know if "Estel" is Quenya or Sindarin, but the two words, though similar, probably have no direct connection.
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Old 02-13-2002, 03:19 AM   #7
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Sting

Thank you both. BTW, just saw the movie tonight.
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Old 02-13-2002, 04:27 PM   #8
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Thanks a bunch guys! You illuminated a dark space in my brain! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-14-2002, 09:51 PM   #9
Yaish
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Sting

Thinking about the change in Gandalf leads me to another though too.
Does Gandalf the White still have the limits imposed on the Istari? We know he is more powerful but how much? One thing that occured to me is that maybe the Valar allowed him to use sufficient power to keep the Istari power level even, minus Saruman. By this time the Valar should have known that he was no longer operating within their bounds, and so in effect there were only four good wizards. So Gandal the White = Gandalf the Grey + Saruman in power. I kind of think that all five Istari would have had equal power to Sauron, in order balance the score. Of course then they still wouldnt have been able to challenge him directly, as Sauron could have crushed them singly and then easily won.

Another thing this leads me to think. What if Gandalf came back as Olorin? Would he have had power to take the ring? I dont have them in my books, but I have heard referrence to passages that show Olorin as the equal or better of Sauron. If this is true wouldnt Olorin have been able to take the ring and bend it to his will, without fear of corruption? I dont doubt that Manwe could have done it, or Aule, and thats primarily because they have the greater power. Wouldnt the same hold true for another Maiar? After all isnt it Saurons will in the ring what corrupts the will of lesser beings? Could Olorin have 'bent' Sauron to his will if he had the ring?
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