Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gandalf's Origins

It was mentioned in class that Gandalf is Olorin and the wisest of the Maiar. How does this work with him also being an Istari? Who is he a descendent of? Was he basically always "alive"? Can anyone explain how Gandalf became who he is?


Luthien said...

I was just talking to someone about this (someone who had read the whole Silmarillion), and they said that there's some debate (because Tolkien doesn't make it exactly clear) over whether the Istari are also Maiar, or what. I guess I don't have an answer, only that I would like to know, too! :)

Aredhel said...

I also wonder how Saruman got to be head of the White Council if Gandalf was such an important Maiar. I know Galadriel fought for Gandalf to lead the Council. Was Gandalf's true identity unknown even to his fellow Council members? And maybe Galadriel had forsight and knew who she was actually dealing with in Gandalf/Olorin. Sorry, I just added a bunch more questions, but I'm curious about this too!

Elendil said...

Actually, iirc, the Istari were Maiar. And think of Istari as like lesser angels. So the Istari were chosen from the Maiar. So Maiar =/= Istari but Istari = Maiar. And according to the Encyclopedia of Arda, he is "In origin a Maia of Manwe and Varda".