I am extremely pleased to submit a guest post by my Council of Eriador kinmate, Joel. Hang on to somethin', he has uncovered some good stuff!
Hello folks, it is Joel. I have been playing LotRO for 5 years since the first public beta (commonly known as Founder’s Beta, which started on March 31, 2007). I am still a young hobbit in terms of arriving into the Tolkien scene, having done so in November 2002. One fateful night, a friend of mine had recently acquired the just-released Extended Edition of Fellowship of the Ring and had invited a bunch of us attending the University of Oregon at the time over to see it. I was instantly hooked at that point, and in the course of 9 months, until the end of that following summer, I had devoured the books, gone out and purchased my own set, and started nomming on The Silmarillion.
Since then, my love of Tolkien has grown by leaps and bounds. In April 2004, I joined a fanatics site called the Lord of the Rings Plaza, and was captivated by the ability to roleplay on their forums. Less than 3 years later, I heard this game was coming out within a few weeks, so of course I opted to try it out, not able to get enough of the world of Tolkien, even though I had just about every book concerning Middle Earth written by the Professor and his son.
So, when I stumbled across this blog a couple of months ago, after joining McFarlane’s kin, I fell in love with it. I love the lore, and seeing the lore come to life. I even secretly hoped to one day contribute. Well, I am honored to be given that chance with this guest post. I too, am a completionist, but more often than not, I get that satisfaction and chill when something obscure from the books is brought to life in the game in front of my eyes.
Long introduction aside, let’s get to the heart of this.
The other day, I was wrapping up questing in the new Great River region that came with the recent Update 6, and the last area left for me to do was The Brown Lands. There was a quest that takes you into this camp to burn down some banners flying around their camp. Sounds like a typical quest. I like to read quest text. It makes some folks that I group up with irritated. Even if I have done the quest before, I still love to read the quest. I’m glad I took the time, because for this particular quest, something caught my eye, and cue the “O.M.G. No Way!” reaction.
"The Khundolar have the gall to fly the banners of the Dark Lord at Lashkarg. I have heard that they serve Mordor in direct disregard for the mandates of their master, a man who calls himself Yirokhsar the Blue, a sorcerer of no small power, they say."
Wait. What?! A sorcerer of no small power? The Blue? If I am not mistaken, this could possibly be referencing one of the Blue Wizards that came over from Valinor with Saruman, Gandalf, and Radagast. Together, with a second Blue Wizard (there were a total of 5 that came from Valinor), they journeyed to lands far in the East, but never returned to the west-lands, and not much was known about them.
So, I instantly grabbed my copy of The Unfinished Tales, all while excitedly speculating with our McFarlane, and found the following from Part Four, Chapter II: The Istari (also referred to as “the essay on the Istari”).
"Of the Blue little was known in the West, and they had no names save Ithryn Luin "the Blue Wizards;" for they passed into the east with Curunír, but they never returned, and whether they remained in the East, pursuing their the purposes for which they were sent; or perished; or as some hold were ensnared by Sauron and became his servants, is not now known(3). But none of these chances were impossible to be; for, strange indeed though this may seem, the Istari, being clad in bodies of Middle-Earth, might even as Men and Elves fall away from their purposes, and do evil, forgetting the good in the search for power to effect it." There is a footnote in this passage (in the book it is the third such footnote, so I have left it as 3 in the quote above):
"In a letter written in 1958 my father said that he knew nothing about 'the other two,' since they were not concerned in the history of the North-west of Middle-earth. ’I think,' he wrote, 'they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South, far out of Númenórean range: 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.'" (This is found in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, where he responds to a question about the color of the two wizards mentioned in LotR, but never named, among a multitude of other questions).
Hmmm, sounds a lot like the quest text description above, doesn’t it? “I have heard that they serve Mordor in direct disregard for the mandates of their master, a man who calls himself Yirokhsar the Blue, a sorcerer of no small power, they say."
Keep in mind, that the Istari, or “Wizards,” were sent to Middle-Earth by the Lords of the West in Valinor only to move Men and Elves to action against the rising of Sauron. There is so much we could delve into about that alone, but I’ll save that for another blog post that McFarlane can dive into if she wishes.
But while roaming around in the Brown Lands, you do come across Blue Caste Sorcerers. This may allude to one of the Blue Wizards, much like White Hand Orcs/Uruks are under the sway of Saruman the White. Only time will tell if we are able to confront one of these Blue Wizards in the future of LotRO, as this does open up many possibilities for future storylines, especially with not much information on them in the lore.
Sources: Unfinished Tales, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien