Radagast (Middle-earth)

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Radagast the Brown is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. He is one of the Istari or Wizards who were sent by the angelic Valar to aid the Elves and Men of Middle-earth in their struggle against the Dark Lord Sauron. Radagast appears in The Lord of the Rings and Unfinished Tales, and is mentioned in The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.

Contents

Literature

Unfinished Tales explains that Radagast, like the other Wizards, came from Valinor around the year 1000 of the Third Age of Middle-earth and was one of the Maiar. His original name was Aiwendil, meaning bird-friend in Tolkien's invented language of Quenya. The Vala Yavanna forced the wizard Saruman to accept Radagast as a companion, which, Tolkien says, may have been one of the reasons Saruman was contemptuous of him, to the point of scornfully calling him "simple" and "a fool".[1] However, he was an ally and confidant of Gandalf, who describes him in The Hobbit as his "cousin". He was also friends with the skin-changer Beorn, who deemed him to be "not a bad fellow as wizards go" and also said to Gandalf that he "used to see him [Radagast] now and again".[2]

Radagast lived for much of his time in Middle-earth at Rhosgobel in the Vales of Anduin, on the western eaves of Mirkwood, near the Gladden Fields. He had a strong affinity for — and relationship with — wild animals, and it seemed his greatest concern was with the kelvar and olvar (flora and fauna) of Middle-earth. He was wiser than any Man in all things concerning herbs and beasts. It is said he spoke the many tongues of birds, and was a "master of shapes and changes of hue". Radagast is also described by Gandalf as "never a traveller, unless driven by great need", "a worthy Wizard", and "honest".[3]

Radagast appears in The Silmarillion where he played a part in helping Saruman, who was a member of the White Council, which was formed to stand against Sauron (although he was not a member of the Council himself). It is mentioned that there were birds among Saruman's spies, due to Radagast lending to him his aid, though Radagast knew nothing of Saruman's treachery and believed that Saruman wished to use the birds for watching the Enemy (Sauron).

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