No they are not into punishing whole populations. However they are also not going to save them from their own bad choices. Each population must choose their own course and suffer the resulting consequences. Neither saints nor wizards can save people from themselves.
Sorry Sam. I sorta got it right, kinda, almost. Memory's going. Time to sail from the Grey Havens.
Reminds me of "The Cleansing of the Shire" ending of "The Lord of the Rings". You go on a dangerous quest then go back home only to find your home is still all messed up.
It is not necessary to use brute force when you have an intelligent species quite capable of developing nuclear missiles. The poor saps can do it to themselves. Second possibility is a meteor storm, but I believe it was mentioned that the planet or atmosphere was slightly radioactive.
I think the operative explanation is "Your Mother could have been hurt or killed when they went after me." It is one thing for the king or his highly trained "adult" son to face attempts on their lives, but he doesn't want the woman he loves to have to face such things anymore.
I believe it may be because of violating physical laws. You might ask a brick to float in the air and if it is obstinate it may wish to remain stuck where it is and require extra energy to move. If the brick cooperates it may release its hold on earth or mortar and come free with little cost to no one. However it still requires energy, physical or magical, to lift it against gravity. However boiling a cup or two of water requires a well-defined and limited amount of BTUs and we have seen the Wizards do much greater deeds with less hard breathing.
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Required disclosure: Next door neighbor is one seriously disgruntled Lone Power.
My favorite Futurama quote.
God: When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
The Alaalids separation from the rest of the universe reminded me of Tom Bombadil from Fellowship of the Ring (book not movie). He and his lady might dance and sing in their woods unaffected for ages while darkness falls all around them, but eventually the taint would have infected them too.