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Magic was a term used by the Hobbits to describe processes and abilities of objects which could not be explained out of their limited lore and knowledge.

"For this is what your folk would call magic. I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem also to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy"
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Mirror of Galadriel

The effects which could be described magical, were of different natures.

Divine magic

The Maiar as supernatural beings could alter the world in terms according to their nature. Sauron being a Maia used his powers to manipulate his slaves and objects. Some of them he taught to the Elves who created the Rings of Poiwer, as well as his slaves, the Black Númenoreans and the Kings who became Nazgûl, who used this lore as 'sorcery'.

Similar magic was the one used by the Istari, the Maiar who came to Middle-earth to help the Free peoples against Sauron. The nature of the Istari was not known to all, and they were known as wise old men. They were called Wizards.

Elven magic

"...there is much else that may be told." — Glóin
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