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Merlin was almost absolutely without peer within his setting, yet the others come from settings more steeped in magic. Why is Gandalf not on the list, or Pug?
Going for Dr. Strange on this one.
yes...gandalf IS missimg
How about the wizard of Oz?
Tommy......the Pinball Wizard......heh heh...
Oh, allright, if you want a proper wizard how about Sparrowhawk from Earthsea?
Lina Inverse who has killed one Supreme Dark Lords (Shabonido), a being that was the merging of a Supreme Dark Lord, 'god', and Ancient Dragon (the Volphed-Darkstar-Valv being), crippled another Dark Lord (Fire Dragon King), and has a spell (Giga Slave) that taps into the supreme being of her universe which supposedly it powerful enough to destroy the world if it ever goes out of control.
Side note the Wizard of OZ early on has no magical powers. Later on in the book series he does get some but he is still small scale compared to what else is in Oz.
Gandalf wasn't mortal. He's in a completely different category altogether.
Any L.E. Modesett Jr character,
The protag from Hardy's Master of five Magicks,
Morgaine, Egwyne, and Rand from Wheel of Time
Of course we've all left out the ultimate - Presto from Dungeons & Dragons animated series.
Well neither is Merlin. Early Arthur stories say that he is actually a half-demon.
BTW, I don't see the word "mortal" anywhere in the poll question...
oh, oh ,oh, I know!
Wikipedia quote ...
To be exact, Raistlin harbored a secret hate for his twin's physical power, and for the attention and comradeship it seemed to earn him, which Raistlin's own appearance and secretive nature denied him.
These factors ultimately culminated in Raistlin's turn to evil...
So Raistlin couldn't win since Suffering leads to Hate, Hate leads to Anger, Anger leads to Fear ... wait a sec, I think I've got this backwards ...
BTW, wasn't there some ancient wizard in the Belgriad series somewhere?
(Father of the only character whose name I can remember, Polgara)
Belgarath the sorcerer. He was sooo bad ass. Too bad those books made me sleepy. His "brother" Beldin was a cooler character in my opinion.
I'm not familiar with the Dragonlance stuff, so I voted Elminster. In celtic mythology Merlin was a druid, not a wizard. It was future generations that turned the myth into a wizard as culture at the time frowned on druidry thanks to some crafty misinformation that got alot of people killed.
I dunno, seeing how the legend of Arthur was more french and english than it was celtic, I personally am more inclined to go with those versions of the tale. In which case... MERLIN RULES ALL!!!
Who the heck is Xagyg?
That's true...about Arthur. Melrin is another matter all together, and he was simply co-opted into the Arthurian myth cycle.
From Wikipedia (cause I don't bring my Celtic folklore books to work ;)):
-"Merlin is best known as the mighty wizard featured in Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures. Geoffrey combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt (Merlinus Caledonensis), a northern madman with no connection to King Arthur, with tales of Aurelius Ambrosius to form the figure he called Merlin Ambrosius"
This Myrddin he speaks of was only considered a madman due to his pagan druidry. Which goes to show how easy it is to call someone that doesn't believe in your gods or bow to your kings a "madman".
How 'bout Dr. Morgenes from Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, Thorn trilogy? Not quite a wizard, but still a learned and experienced man, along with being a mild practicioner of The Art.
Go to a library, get Dragons of Autumn Twilight. Start reading.
While it might not be The Best Thing Ever (TM), I suggest you try.
..and then go and read the Deathgate Cycle.
WHICH JUST REMINDED ME:
The best wizard would, of course, be Fizban (or, possibly, Zifnab)
An irritating NPC (at least, one hopes he was never an actual PC) in Gary Gygax's World of Greyhawk setting. Xagyg was the very eccentric, stupendously powerful archmage who built Castle Greyhawk. He has since divinely ascended and become some sort of mad demigod of magic.
Xagyg is of course an anagram of Gygax.
I'm not a Gygax-hater, I actually have a lot of affection for many of his works, although I recognise their flaws. The World of Greyhawk setting suffered from rather too many legendary archmages. There were a ridiculous number of high-level magic users in the City of Greyhawk itself. (Having said this, I think Forgotten Realms had a fairly high density of uber-wizards as well).
In my own more 'rationalised' Greyhawk setting there ain't no such animal as Xagyg and the typical cornershop owner in the City of Greyhawk is not a 14th level wizard.