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Things of Middle-earth

White Council, The

Type: Miscellaneous

Other Names: Council of the Wise

Description:'The White Council is formed to unite and direct the resistance to the growing forces of evil, which the Wise perceive are all being governed and guided in a plan of hatred for the Eldar and the remnants of Numenor. The Council believe that Sauron has returned. Curunir, or Saruman the White, is chosen to be head of the White Council ...'

Peoples of Middle-earth, Part 1, Ch VIII, The Tale of Years of the Third Age, Note 28

But at length the Shadow returned and its power increased; and in that time was first made the Council of the Wise that is called the White Council, and therein were Elrond and Galadriel and Círdan, and other lords of the Eldar, and with them were Mithrandir and Curunír. And Curunír (that was Saruman the White) was chosen to be their chief, for he had most studied the devices of Sauron of old. Galadriel indeed had wished that Mithrandir should be the Lead of the Council, and Saruman begrudged them that, for his pride and desire of mastery was grown great; but Mithrandir refused the office, since he would have no ties and no allegiance, save to those who sent him, and he would abide in no place nor be subject to any summons. But Saruman now began to study the lore of the Rings of Power, their making and their history.

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

The Council met 4 times that we know of:

TA 2463 when it was formed

TA 2851 Gandalf summons the coucil, having discovered that the Necromancer in Dol Guldur is not one of the Ringwraiths as suspected, but Sauron himself. He urges the council to act.

Saruman had already begun to lust for power, and forestalls action, he 'feigns that his studies have led him to believe that the Ring has been rolled down Anduin and into the deeps of the Sea.' He now keeps watch on the area where it was lost: The Gladden Fields and the Anduin.

Nothing is done, and Elrond expresses misgivings to Gandalf. 'Thus the Wise were troubled, but none as yet perceived that Curunír had turned to dark thoughts and was already a traitor in heart…'

TA 2941 Gandalf again urges the council to attack Sauron at Dol Guldur. This time Saruman agrees, fearing that Sauron will find the ring if he is left unmolested to search the river. The White Council drives Sauron out of Dol Guldur and he retreats to Mordor.

TA 2953 The Last meeting: 'The White Council meets and debates concerning the Rings, fearing especially that Sauron may find the One. Saruman tells the council 'Fear not! His hope will cheat him. Have I not earnestly studied this matter' Into Anduin the Great it fell; and long ago, while Sauron slept, it was rolled down the River to the Sea. There let it lie until the End'. He then withdraws to Isengard and fortifies it, and consorts no more with members of the Council.'

All dates from RotK, Appendix B, The Tale of Years

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
FotR, Book II, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond
Peoples of Middle-earth, Part 1, Ch VIII, The Tale of Years of the Third Age,
RotK, Appendix A, III, Durin's Folk
RotK, Appendix B, The Tale of Years

Contributors: Lyllyn 7.09.03

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