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Old 09-01-2008, 12:49 PM   #1
Eönwë
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Top Ten wisest in Middle-Earth

Not including the Ainu (of whom many had been to ME at some point or the other), who do you think were ten wisest beings that ever lived in Middle-Earth?
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:43 PM   #2
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I'd say no list would be complete without Elrond, Cirdan, and Galadriel. Both Cirdan and Galadriel were two of the longest-living beings in all of ME. Elrond was of middling years for an elf, but he seemed to have a natural gift of wisdom.

That's not to say that long life is a guarantor of wisdom, by the way. For example, Treebeard had no sense of urgency, and someone wiser would have seen the existential threat to ME during the War of the Ring. And Tom Bombadil was... well, he's just Tom Bombadil. He thinks on a somewhat different level which is hard to describe.

Gandalf should also be on any such list. He was an Istari/Maiar and was the only one wise enough to hold true to his purpose without corruption or distraction.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:14 AM   #3
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Not including Ainur, eh? I have no books with me, so this is purely from memory (which isn't great as I haven't read the books for a couple of years now).

1. Elrond
2. Galadriel
3. Celeborn
4. Cirdan
5. Finrod
6. Maedhros
7. Feanor
8. Ingwe
9. Finwe
10. Luthien

In no order.
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Old 09-16-2008, 12:50 PM   #4
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Galadriel and Cirdan were both wiser than Elrond.
Cirdan gave the ring to Gandalf, showing a. discretion (chosing him over Saruman, who was the eldest of the Order) and b. modesty (it was *his* ring, but he felt Gandalf could use it better.
Galadriel, through her Mirror, showed insight and wisdom. She backed Gandalf, too.
Elrond, meanwhile, didn't want Merry and Pippin to join the Fellowship.

Melian was extremely wise. Ingwe was circumspect - you can call that wise I suppose. Finrod, yes, definitely. Maedhros, yes, eventually. The Union was pretty wise.
Celeborn was wise in that he listened to Galadriel.
And Tom B and Goldberry should be there too I expect.
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:49 PM   #5
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I think we're forgetting Farmer Maggot!

(For character references see Gandalf and Bombadil).
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:24 PM   #6
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But Melian is not allowed.

Bombadil and Goldberry I suppose could be argued, but (and it had to come sooner rather than later) we should first clarify our terms: what is wisdom?
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:50 PM   #7
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but (and it had to come sooner rather than later) we should first clarify our terms: what is wisdom?
Exactly. I mean Saruman was wise in a sense as well as with his title... but was he?

It's more of a stinger one first thinks it is.
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Old 09-17-2008, 04:33 AM   #8
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Popular definition seems to be: knowledge of what is true or right, and the ability to act accordingly.

It's clear that Elves will amass much more knowledge than any man, hobbit or dwarf; but how much of this knowledge relates to things that are, shall we say, inessential? Things like languages, names, places -- later creations.

Bombadil claims to be the first: maybe his wisdom is purer. Maybe what followed is all superfluous to true wisdom. Or maybe he's like one of those annoying people who claim that all modern music is pointless because true music ended with Beethoven.
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Old 09-17-2008, 08:44 AM   #9
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Well, when I searched on online dictionaries, I got something along the lines of "Good judgment (often from knowledge and experience in life)"

Ringbearers:

Círdan is a bit of a problem. How much of the wisdom is his own and how much is Ulmo's?
But my guess is, that over time, Círdan not only gained wisdom through experience, but through Ulmo he could see what the right thing to do was. Maybe like having a good role model or being shown the right course of action (though I guess it is debatable how wise the Ulmo is, or indeed any of the Valar. But I do seem to recall that Ulmo has the most "foresight" of all the Valar). And I'm sure he trusted Ulmo (after all, he agreed to stay in Middle-Earth for the lifetimes of many men). Then again, like Ulmo, Círdan trusted the Númenóreans, and look where that led to.
But even without Ulmo, living (possibly) as long as the entire history of the elves must have some good effects.
But anyway, I think (or at least hope) that all the other decisions were his, in which case, he is definately in the "Top 3" wisest, and arguably in "Ye Numbere One Spotte"

Galadriel, on the other hand, has been to Valinor, so I'd guess she'd have more wisdom than someone her age in Middle-Earth. But maybe not. She is proud and rash and goes against the Valar and refuses their pardon. But by the end of the Third Age she has calmed down, and at that time she at least seems wise. HEr husband is Celeborn the Wise, but it seems to me that the real wisdom comes from Galadriel.

Elrond is much younger than those two, but he seems to posess a lot of wisdom still. Well, you all probably know his story. As a side note, he is also connected to Círdan.


Also, Gil-Galad bears consideration.
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Old 09-20-2008, 12:32 PM   #10
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Galadriel said: "For the Lord of the Galadhrim is accounted the wisest of the Elves of Middle-earth,"
-The Fellowship of the Ring

If we're speaking in the War of the Ring, I'd put him over Galadriel, Elrond, and Cirdan.
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:30 PM   #11
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Galadriel said: "For the Lord of the Galadhrim is accounted the wisest of the Elves of Middle-earth,"
-The Fellowship of the Ring

If we're speaking in the War of the Ring, I'd put him over Galadriel, Elrond, and Cirdan.
You trust that Galadriel's opinion is not biased? Or that there is no sarcasm in the words?
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Old 09-21-2008, 01:09 PM   #12
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Poor Celeborn. So few Downers believe in him. Perhaps a Celeborn Appreciation Thread is in order.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:28 PM   #13
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I wish Tolkien would have written more about Cirdan; maybe as the central figure in a few stories of the Silmarillion.
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Old 09-22-2008, 10:16 AM   #14
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Poor Celeborn. So few Downers believe in him. Perhaps a Celeborn Appreciation Thread is in order.
And who would join, may I ask?

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I wish Tolkien would have written more about Cirdan; maybe as the central figure in a few stories of the Silmarillion.
I must agree with you here. He did a lot, but is only briefly, if ever, mentioned. But maybe he's meant to be mysterious- like "an old wise man" (except that that position is already taken taken up by Gandalf- even though Círdan has had an incarnate body for longer)
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:24 AM   #15
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Only one way to find out, Eönwë.
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