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Radagast the Brown
Radagast portrayed by Sylvester McCoy

Radagast the Brown

Biographical information

Other names
Aiwendil, Bird Friend, Bird-tamer, The Brown, Tender of Beasts
Titles
The Brown Wizard
Date of birth
Before the creation of Arda
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Unknown
Realms ruled
Spouse
None
Weapon

Physical description

Race
Culture
Istari (Wizards)
Gender
Male
Height
Hair color
Brown and Grey
Eye color
Probably brown considering his title
Actor
Sylvester McCoy
Voice
Character

Radagast also known as Radagast the Brown was an Istari Wizard of Middle-earth.

History

Radagast was originally a Maia spirit of Yavanna and was called Aiwendil, meaning 'bird-friend'. He was chosen as one of the Istari who came to Middle-earth in the year TA 1000. He was little concerned with the affairs of Men and Elves but was far more knowledgeable in plants, birds and beasts. During the Council of Elrond, Gandalf refers to Radagast as "master of shapes and changes of hue", but the meaning of this is open to question. He at one time dwelt at Rhosgobel, on the western eaves of southern Mirkwood, possibly near the Gladden Fields on the Great River.

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. The Vala Yavanna forced Saruman to accept Radagast as a companion, which may have been one of the reasons Saruman was contemptuous of him.{Citation needed}

Radagast and Gandalf 2

Radagast with his good friend Gandalf

Radagast was unwittingly used by Saruman to lure Gandalf to Orthanc, where Gandalf was captured. However, Radagast also unwittingly helped rescue the grey wizard by alerting the eagles of Gandalf's journey there. This was his only real known contribution to the War of the Ring.

When messengers from Elrond tried to approach Radagast for his aid in the fight against Sauron, they found his dwellings at Rhosgobel empty. His fate after the War of the Ring is not known.

In The Hobbit, Gandalf says that Radagast is his cousin, though in an annotation of The Annotated Hobbit, it is said that this may be in fact just meaning friendship, and not actual close kinship.{Citation needed}

Hobbit-1-jpg

Radagast as seen in the new trailer

Behind the Scenes

It is not known when or if Radagast left Middle-earth. Tolkien writes that he forsook his mission as one of the Wizards by becoming too obsessed with animals and plants, so presumably he failed, and might not be allowed to return with honour. Tolkien also wrote that he did not believe that Radagast's failure was as great as Saruman's and that he may eventually have been allowed (or chose) to return to the Undying Lands. On the other hand, however, the primary mission of Radagast appointed by Yavanna may have actually been to watch over many of the flora and fauna of Middle-earth and to ensure their survival in the likely case if Sauron conquered Middle-earth, and in this, he succeeded.

According to the essay "The Istari" from the Unfinished Tales, the name Radagast means "tender of beasts" in Adûnaic, the language of Númenor.

However, in a later note Tolkien said that the name is in the language of the Men of the Vales of Anduin, and that its meaning is not interpretable. The name Radagast may actually be Anglo-Saxon, and could have several interpretation, but, according to The Languages of Middle-earth, this name is derived from an Slavic pagan god. The name Radegast was a name for one of West Slavic lesser gods. He is a god of the Sun, war, fertility and harvest. He is also called Radigost, Radhost, Radhošť, Redigast.[1]

Radagast-witn1

Radagast in the video game War in the North.

Portrayal in Adaptations

The character Radagast and virtually all references to him (with the exception of the presence of benign Eagles directed by an unseen force) were not used in the film versions of The 'Lord of the Rings directed by Peter Jackson. The character is also absent from the 1978 animated movie of the same name.

Radagast does appear in Peter Jackson's first Hobbit film, portrayed by actor Sylvester McCoy of Doctor Who fame. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Radagast can communicate with animals and shows a great knowledge of herbs and medicines, including being able to restore a recently deceased hedgehog to life.  He is also shown to posses formidable combat abilities, such as being able to ward off an attack by the Witch-king of Angmar (or his summoned shade) while investigating Dol Guldur. His preferred form of transportation is a sled made of sticks and pulled by "Rhosgobel rabbits". The sled is fast enough to outrun a pack of Gundabad Wargs, which were ridden by Orcs under command of Azog in the film.

Radagast is first alluded to in the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) when Bilbo Baggins enquires to Gandalf about whether there are any other wizards within Middle-Earth. Gandalf responds by stating there are five wizards, of whom Radagast is amongst. Gandalf states that he believes Radagast is a great wizard in his own particular way inwhich he prefers the solitude of standing guard over the Greenwood forest preferring the company of animals over men.

Radagast is then seen investigating the Greenwood noting that much of the vegetation is beginning to decay with much of the animal life lying sick or dying among the forest floor. Radagast finds a hedgehog that he refers to as Sebastian lying sick and dying within the forest. Radagast brings Sebastian back to his woodland house of Rhosgobel and is able to nurse the hedgehog back to health. Radagast comes to the realisation that is a type of powerful witchcraft that has caused the decay of the Greenwood and its transformation into what it would now become to be known as Mirkwood. After Rhosgobel is swarmed by Giant Spiders, Radagast consults his animal friends as to the origin of these spiders which is identified to be the supposed abandoned fortress of Dol Guldur

Radagast makes his way to Dol Guldur aboard a sled pulled by Rhosgobel rabbits. Upon Radagast's investigation into Dol Guldur he is attacked by the spirit of the Witch-king of Angmar inwhich Radagast is able to ward off his attacks and force the Witch-King into retreat and in doing so drops his Morgul-blade that he used to attack Radagast. Radagast is able to retrieve the Morgul-blade and moves to leave the fortress but before he is able to he notices a dark spirit within the fortress, one who he believes to be the Necromancer.

He immediately goes on the search for Gandalf to inform him of the new found threat within Mirkwood and is able to locate him within the Trollshaws alongside Thorin and Company. Radagast begins to inform Gandalf of the threat the Necromancer is posing to Middle-Earth from within Dol Guldur and presents the Morgul-Blade as evidence. Shortly after the company is attacked by a battalion of Warg Riders inwhich Radagast volunteers to create a diversion from the company with his sled of Rhosgobel rabbits. The Warg Riders are distracted from their main target by Radagast and are drawn away from Gandalf and Thorin's Company buying them time into moving into the safety in the Hidden Valley of Imladris. Radagast's rabbit sled's superiority in speed and maneuverability allows him to escape the Warg Riders before they are driven off by elven horseman lead by Elrond.

At the White Council meeting in Rivendell, Gandalf backs Radagast's claim that the Necromancer posed a serious threat to Middle-Earth, yet the head of the White Council, the white wizard Saruman remained skeptical claiming there was no evidence to support such a theory despite Radagast's findings of the Morgul-blade. Furthermore Saruman claimed that excessive consumption of mushrooms had addled the judgement and reliability of Radagast's findings.

Radagast also appears in the trading card game connected to Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and in the video games The Lord of the Rings: War in the North and The Lord of the Rings Online.

Ainur of Arda
Lords of the Valar Manwë | Aulë | Oromë | Irmo (Lórien) | Námo (Mandos) | Tulkas | Ulmo
Queens of the Valar (The Valier): 
Varda | Yavanna | Vána | Estë | Vairë | Nessa | Nienna
Lord of the Valar (The Enemy): 
Morgoth (a.k.a. Melkor)
Maiar
Eönwë | Ilmarë | Ossë | Uinen | Salmar | Melian | Arien | Tilion | Curumo (Saruman) | Olórin (Gandalf) | Aiwendil (Radagast) | Alatar (Morinehtar) | Pallando (Rómestámo)
Maiar (Enemies):  Sauron | Gothmog | Durin's Bane | Ungoliant | Curumo (Saruman)

Etymology

His original name was Aiwendil, meaning bird-friend in Quenya (Tengwar: full spelling lEnR2%j or vowel-abbreviated spelling lnR2%j; IPA: [aɪˈwendil]).

References

  1. Slavic languages

External link

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