They are said to have arrived not in the Third Age, but in the Second, around the year 1600, the time of the forging of the One Ring. Their mission was to weaken the forces of Sauron and it is said that the Wizards had a pivotal role in the victories of the West at the end of both the Second and the Third Ages.
In Letter 211, Tolkien says that the two wizards went into the East, and "feared" that they failed their mission, perhaps having started magical cults; however he stated that as a hypothesis, not a fact. Later in his life he elaborated more on their characters.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, The Istari
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, Last Writings
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958)