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Blue Wizards

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Alatar and Pallando
Tolkien character
AliasesMorinehtar and Rómestámo,
Ithryn Luin
Book(s)Unfinished Tales (1980)
The Peoples of Middle-earth (1996)

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The Blue Wizards are fictional characters in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium.

They are two of the five Wizards (or Istari) sent by the Valar to Middle-earth to aid in the struggle against Sauron. They are called the Blue Wizards on account of their sea-blue robes (each of the other Istari had robes of a different color), and their individual names are given in the Unfinished Tales as Alatar and Pallando. They were both sent to the distant east of Middle-earth, and therefore played no role in the events of the west of Middle-earth, as described in The Lord of the Rings. Consequently, little is known about them.


It is not clear from which of Tolkien's invented languages the names Alatar and Pallando are derived.[1] A possible translation from Quenya for Alatar is after-comer and could be a reference to his being selected as the second Wizard, after Curunír (Saruman).[2] Alatar could also mean "Noble, great one".[3] Pallando can be translated from Quenya as far one from palan, meaning far or distant.[4]

An alternative set of names in Quenya for both wizards is given in the 1996 The Peoples of Middle-earth as Morinehtar ("Darkness-slayer") and Rómestámo ("East-helper"). Like most names in Tolkien's works, these names are significant. Here, Rómestámo coming from the Quenya word rómen, meaning uprising, sunrise, east, incorporates not only his relation to the East of Middle-earth, but also his mission there to encourage uprising and rebellion against Sauron. Tolkien does not make it clear which alternative name belongs to which wizard, however.

In The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, the Blue Wizards are instead named as "Naurandir" and "Sûlrandir". Games Workshop, which created the game, does not have rights to any books other than The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but was allowed to invent their own material to cover such areas.[citation needed]


The only reference to the Blue Wizards in The Lord of the Rings is Saruman's accusation that Gandalf wants to take the staves of all five wizards for himself. However, other Tolkien writings have more to say. In Unfinished Tales the tale of the five's choosing is told:

"Manwë summoned the Valar for a council [- maybe he had asked Eru for counsel -] at which it was resolved to send out three emissaries to Middle-earth and he asked who would go. They would have to lose might and clothe themselves in flesh to win the trust of Elves and Men but this would also imperil them, diminish their wisdom and knowledge and bring upon them fear, the care and weariness of the flesh. Only two came forward; Curumo [Saruman] and Alatar. Curumo was chosen by Aulë among "his" Maiar, and Alatar was sent by Oromë. Manwë asked where Olórin [Gandalf] was, and Olórin, just returning from a journey and coming to the meeting, asked what he wanted from him. Manwë said that he wished him to go as the third to Middle-earth. Olórin answered that he thought himself too weak for such a task, and added that he feared Sauron. Then Manwë said that that was all the more reason why he should go, and he commanded him to go as the third. There Varda broke in and said "Not as the third," and Curumo remembered that."

The tale ends with the statement that Curunír was obliged to take Aiwendil [Radagast] with him to please Yavanna, Aulë's wife, and that Alatar took Pallando as a friend.

So Alatar was the second wizard to be chosen, at the suggestion of the Vala Oromë who had the most knowledge of the eastern lands. Pallando was then chosen by Alatar to accompany him as a friend. In an earlier draft Tolkien had associated Pallando with the Valar Mandos and Nienna, but he then changed this to also associate Pallando with Oromë. In a letter written at the same time Tolkien also wrote about their role:

"I think that they went as emissaries to distant regions, east and south, .... Missionaries to enemy occupied lands as it were. What success they had I do not know; but I fear that they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I suspect they were founders or beginners of secret cults and "magic" traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron."

However, some of these changed in a text written in the last year or two of Tolkien's life (published in The Peoples of Middle-earth of 1996). They are said to have arrived not in the Third Age, but in the Second, around the year 1600, the time of the forging of the One Ring. Their mission was to travel to the east and weaken the forces of Sauron. And it is here said that the Wizards far from failed; rather, they had a pivotal role in the victories of the West at the end of both the Second and the Third Ages. At the same time, Tolkien considered the possibility that Glorfindel arrived back in Middle-earth along with the Blue Wizards. On this later, more positive interpretation, the Blue Wizards may have been as successful as Gandalf, just located in a different theatre beyond the borders of the map in The Lord of the Rings.[5]

In the 2012 film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Gandalf refers to "the two Blue Wizards", but then remarks that he has forgotten their names. According to Peter Jackson in the director's commentary to the extended edition the film makers lacked the rights to Unfinished Tales, The Silmarillion and the History of Middle-earth series and thus they could not legally name them.

In the 2014 game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, three artefacts describe the encounter of two wizards whose names couldn't be remembered travelling side by side into Mordor. These may have been the Blue Wizards. Furthermore, a figurine depicting them has been carved out of azurite, a blue stone. More lore tells the player that the Black Hand could have been a king that brought Sauron the heads of 2 Istari. Whether or not this is true is unknown.


  1. "FAQ/What are the names of the BlueWizards". TolkienWiki. 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
  2. [1] Archived August 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. [2] Archived June 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. [3] Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. "The Istari". Annalsofarda.dk. 2004-09-07. Archived from the original on 2015-06-14. Retrieved 2015-07-02. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

External links[edit]

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