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Jef Murray - Radagast.jpg
Biographical Information
Other namesAiwendil[1]
Radagast the Brown[2]
Radagast the Bird-tamer[note 1][2]
Radagast the Simple[note 1][2]
Radagast the Fool[note 1][2]
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Radagast
"Radagast the Brown! [...] Radagast the Bird-tamer! Radagast the Simple! Radagast the Fool! Yet he had just the wit to play the part that I set him."

Radagast the Brown, also known as Aiwendil, was one of the Wizards sent to Middle-earth to contest the will of Sauron. Originally a Maia of Yavanna, he had a strong affinity for animals. He dwelt, for a time, at Rhosgobel on the western eaves of Mirkwood, near the Gladden Fields on the Great River.[1][2]



Still concerned for the fate of Middle-earth, Manwë summoned a council of the Valar. Here it was decided that they would send emissaries to Middle-earth. Aulë chose Curumo, Oromë chose Alatar, and Manwë chose Olórin. Yavanna subsequently begged Curumo to take Aiwendil with him. In c. T.A. 1000, the Wizards arrived upon the shores of Middle-earth. However, it is said that Saruman arrived first and alone, and that Radagast arrived at the same time as Gandalf.[1]

Yes; not a bad fellow as Wizards go, I believe. I used to see him now and again

Whilst it is likely that he wandered and travelled Middle-earth, he eventually settled down and dwelt, for a time at lest, at Rhosgobel. This meant that he lived on the western borders of Mirkwood, somewhere between the Carrock and the Old Forest Road.[1] It is likely that he became acquainted with the people of that region; indeed it is clear that Beorn knew him and thought good of him.[3] It also clear that he was friends with the Eagles of the Misty Mountains.[2]

Radagast by Angelo Montanini
Radagast's part in the War of the Ring was small, albeit important. In T.A. 3018, on his way to Bree, Gandalf found Radagast sitting on the side of the Greenway. Radagast informed Gandalf that Saruman had sent him. He told Gandalf that the Nazgûl were abroad, disguised as riders in black, and that they were seeking news of the Shire. Radagast said that Saruman was willing to help Gandalf but that he had to seek him out at once. Before Radagast rode away, he agreed to help Gandalf by getting beasts and birds to send news to Orthanc. With that he rode away back towards Mirkwood. Whilst Gandalf was imprisoned by Gandalf, he did not believe that Radagast too had fallen. Indeed, it was thanks to Radagast that Gandalf was able to escape from the pinnacle of Orthanc upon the wings of Gwaihir.[2]

Following the conclusion of the Council of Elrond, many scouts were sent out from Rivendell to many different locations. Some passed over the Misty Mountains and eventually came to Rhosgobel, but they found that Radagast was not there.[4]

Wilt thou learn the lore || that was long secret
of the Five that came || from a far country?
One only returned. || Others never again

J.R.R. Tolkien[1]

Of all the Wizards who were sent to Middle-earth, only Gandalf remained faithful to his purpose. Radagast failed because he became too captivated by the birds and beasts of Middle-earth and took too little interest in the affairs of Elves and Men. Indeed, as far as it is recorded, Radagast did not fall into evil, but it is understood that he did not return to the Uttermost West.[1]


Radagast is, of course, a worthy Wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends.

Little is known about Radagast apart from certain defining characteristics. Saruman was the chief of the Order of Wizards and Gandalf came next in the order; Radagast meanwhile held much less power and wisdom.[1]

As one of the Maiar of Yavanna, Radagast had a great interest in the flora and fauna of Middle-earth and was a friend to beast and birds.[1][2]



In a manuscript written by Tolkien in 1954, the name Radagast is said to mean "tender of beasts" in Adûnaic, the language of Númenor.[1] 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.[5]

As stated by Hammond and Scull, several theories have appeared concerning the inspiration of the name Radagast.[6] One such theory has been proposed by Douglas A. Anderson, who notes the name Redigast in Slavic mythology.[7]


The name Aiwendil (pron. [aɪˈwendil]) is Quenya for "lover of birds".[8] It is perhaps derived from aiwe ("(small) bird") and ndil ("devoted to").[6][9]


It appears that in Valinor Radagast was known as "Aiwendil".[1]

As one of the Wizards sent to Middle-earth, he was known as "Radagast the Brown". Saruman, when talking to Gandalf, mocked Radagast by calling him "Radagast the Bird-tamer", "Radagast the Simple", and "Radagast the Fool".[2]

Other versions of the Legendarium

Early in the process of writing The Lord of the Rings, it is clear that Tolkien envisaged some role for Radagast in the tale.[10] He eventually decided that he would use Radagast as the means of getting Gandalf to Isengard.[11]

Initially Gandalf describes Radagast as his 'cousin',[12] as he did in The Hobbit,[3] but in a subsequent draft he becomes his 'kinsman'.[13] In the final version Gandalf merely says that Radagast is 'one of my order'.[2]

Tolkien initially called him "Radagast the Grey", but in pencil he changed this to "Brown" and subsequently Saruman refers to him as "Radagast the Brown".[11]

When Tolkien finished writing the story up till Moria, he made notes on the future story development; therein he considered handing over Isengard to Radagast.[14]

Portrayal in adaptations

Radagast in adaptations


2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

The character Radagast and virtually all references to him were removed. He was originally to appear in a background scene, but this was removed because it was thought it would only confuse people.[source?]

2012-13: The Hobbit films:

Radagast will be played by Sylvester McCoy.[15] Although the character is only alluded to in The Hobbit, he may have been involved with The White Council's confrontation with the Necromancer around this time period..[source?] Sylvester McCoy has stated that Radagast will have more than just a brief cameo, and Sir Christopher Lee (who plays Saruman) stated that Radagast "has a considerably important part" in the upcoming films..[source?]

Radio series

1981: BBC Radio's The Lord of the Ring:

Donald Gee provided the voice of Radagast. He is, however, not the person who sends the Eagle to save Gandalf from Orthanc.


1987-: Mithril Miniatures:

Radagast has been issued in a couple of different versions: figure LR3 "Radagast the Brown" is seen with a cat and an owl;[16] an older version of the figure portrays Radagast without beard and with a different bird.[17] There is also a "Radagast Mounted" (MS539), where Radagast (again without beard) is portrayed mounted on a horse.[18]

1988: J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth:

Radagast is a non-playable character in this game.

2001-: The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game:

The hero figure Radagast the Brown, is a user of subtle magics,in contrast to the more overt kinds used by Gandalf and Saruman. However, he has some unique powers nonetheless.[19]

2011-2010: The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game:

A Decipher card was made by Weta, with Weta's John Harding posing as Radagast.[source?]

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Radagast can be found encamped in the Lone-lands, north along the Great Road. He is friendly to the local people, the Eglain, and helps the to combat the rise of evil in the swamps of Agamaur.[20]

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

The characters Eradan, Farin and Andriel travel to Mirkwood in search of Radagast and arrive just in time to rescue him from a giant spider. He thanks them for the rescue and provides them with information about the Dragon Urgost.[21]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Saruman gave him this name to mock him.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari"
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari", note 4
  6. 6.0 6.1 Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. 240-1
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien; Douglas A. Anderson, (ed.), (2002) The Annotated Hobbit: Revised and Expanded Edition, p. 167
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Index
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", pp. 348, 378 (entries AIWĒ- and NIL-, NDIL-)
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Third Phase: New Uncertainties and New Projections", p. 379; J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Story Continued: XXIII. In the House of Elrond", p. 397
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond (1)", pp. 130-140
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond (1)", p. 131
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond (2)", p. 149
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The Story Foreseen from Moria", p. 212
  15. Ian McKellen, "2 Elves and another Wizard" dated 10 May 2011, Ian McKellen's website (accessed 23 December 2011)
  16. Mithril Wizards Miniatures at (accessed 8 October 2011)
  17. Lord of the Rings (Mithril) at (accessed 8 October 2011; cf. Radgast (image))
  18. 32mm Fellowship Figures - MS539 Radagast Mounted at (accessed 8 October 2011)
  19. Radagast the Brown at Games-Workshop-com (accessed 8 October 2011)
  20. NPC: Radagast the Brown at (accessed 8 October 2011)
  21. Allies at (accessed 8 October 2011)