Lord of the Rings is an outstanding fantasy series that follows the tale of young hobbit Frodo Baggins as he quests to destroy Sauron’s ring of power in order to save Middle-earth from Sauron’s tyranny. While the initial film series had only three films, the prequel The Hobbit franchise came along, reviving interest in the Tolkien masterpieces. Most recently, we have seen the Prime Video original series Rings of Power dominate the Lord of the Rings market, and while it was initially well received, many fans have found it fell short and failed, relying heavily on tropes and melodrama as opposed to real storytelling (via Forbes).
Lord of the Rings is jam-packed with complex characters. From the elves of Lothlórien to the Hobbits of the Shire, there is no shortage of characters. One type of character that seems rather sparse is that of the wizard. There are only a handful of wizards in Middle-earth, all of them powerful within their own right. However, not all wizards are created equal. So, who exactly is the strongest wizard in Lord of the Rings? We will discuss below all the wizards and determine who is the most powerful.
How Many Wizards Are There?
While wizards are not easy to come by in Middle-earth, there are more than you might think. Canonically, there are a total of five wizards that inhabit Middle-earth, three of whom are visibly seen in the Lord of the Rings films and the other two are only spoken about. The Blue wizards, Alatar and Pallando, are merely mentioned and are often looped together when spoken about. Very little is known about the pair, but it is insinuated that they failed in their mission to fight against Sauron in the eastern lands.
The Brown Wizard is Radagast, an odd wizard with a love of creatures, however, his passion for animals seems to distract him from fighting to save the human race from Sauron. Next is everyone’s favorite, Gandalf the Grey, who is a fine wizard up until his fall with the Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dum. Finally, we have Saruman the White, who is an imposing leader and a highly skilled wizard with deep knowledge and wisdom. However, this wisdom did not prevent him from being seduced by Sauron’s power.
What Qualifies Them as Powerful?
The five wizards were sent to Middle-earth to help the Free Peoples fight against Sauron, with each wizard given a designated area of the land to aid. Wizards demonstrate magic powers coming from their staff, but this alone does not qualify them as powerful. The best power of all would be their ability to aid the Free Peoples and therefore carry out their mission given to them by the Valar. On top of that is how the wizard is able to bring together those around them and lead their respective armies to their goals, whether it’s Saruman and his army of Uruk-hai or it’s Gandalf leading the people of Minas Tirith.
Who Is the Most Powerful Wizard in all of Middle-earth?
Without a doubt, the most powerful wizard in Middle-earth is Gandalf the White. While Gandalf was always a reasonably powerful wizard in his own right, facing off against the Balrog in the Mines of Moria, a battle that took ten days and resulted in the mutual demise of Gandalf and the Balrog. While Gandalf’s spirit left temporarily he was resurrected as he was the only one of the five wizards to remain true to his task of protecting the Free Peoples from Sauron. At the same time, the Valar granted Gandalf the new power and title of Gandalf the White, replacing Saruman who fell to the dark of Sauron’s power.
Gandalf the Grey vs. Gandalf the White
While some may say that Gandalf was always the most powerful, this is completely untrue. Considering that he technically lost in his battle with Saruman and was drastically overpowered, Gandalf’s persistence and drive to protect the good in the world gave him the second chance by bestowing him with Saruman’s power, increasing his magic ability tenfold. He was even able to drive Saruman out of King Théoden, bringing him back to his people and overpowering Saruman. Gandalf may have remained the same in terms of his personality, but his magical gifts were changed entirely, giving him a power that he respects and uses for good.