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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Saruman, Ring- Maker

elevorn
Lorien


Jul 23, 8:29pm

Post #1 of 42 (2817 views)
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Saruman, Ring- Maker Can't Post

In The Fellowship of The ring Gandalf recounts his conversation that led up to his imprisonment in Orthanc. In that tale he speaks of Saruman wearing a ring and calling himself Ring-maker. Is there any other information on what this is and how it holds power or increases Saruman? Its kind of glossed over in the book, but with all of Saruman's study surely there was more to it than a trinket. Any thoughts?

Also, yes I've been out a while and this may have already been discussed, if it has I apologize.



"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 24, 1:48am

Post #2 of 42 (2733 views)
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Ring of the White Hand [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems most likely to me that Saruman would craft a Ring for himself that would aid him in manipulating and dominating the will of others.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Jul 24, 1:39pm

Post #3 of 42 (2673 views)
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Firstly, that's an awesome name for Saruman's Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

Secondly, this is a question that has always bothered me! Every time I read LOTR, it always irks me, in the back of my head, that Saruman never displayed what he could do with his Ring - was it what allowed him to create the armies of Uruk-Hai, or to bend them to his will? Was it what gave him the power of his voice - that would be interesting, if that was not in fact something he could do on his own. Tolkien never mentions the Ring again, though, so I wonder how important he intended it to be - you would think Gandalf would have been much more concerned about it, considering the current state of affairs in Middle-earth.

"It is my duty to fight" - Mulan


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 24, 2:01pm

Post #4 of 42 (2668 views)
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Thanx. [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't take the credit though; I got that name from the Horse-lords of Rohan supplement for The One Ring Roleplaying Game.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 24, 2:02pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jul 24, 2:05pm

Post #5 of 42 (2670 views)
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Gandalf thought it important enough to mention, but [In reply to] Can't Post

not worth discussing when he confronted Saruman after Isengard had been captured by the Ents. Breaking his staff seemed to be the only thing that mattered.

It didn't seem to help Saruman in his beggar life after the war. All in all, I think its powers had to be fairly weak, and Gandalf pointed it out at the Council of Elrond more as a sign that Saruman was a Sauron wannabe.

Coincidentally, Gramma and I discussed it some a couple weeks ago, but without reaching definitive conclusions.


elevorn
Lorien


Jul 24, 2:30pm

Post #6 of 42 (2658 views)
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Its a mystery [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm listening through Fellowship on Audible now and that part came up. I don't think I've ever really thought about it before. Of course, even the powers of the great rings seem to be vague. Tolkien doesn't spell out magic in Middle Earth the way Rowling, or even Martin does. There is a sense of mystery to the "power" that dwells in elvish lore and the Istari. The Valar seem to have their powers spelled out relatively clear, but when we get down the line its just, "they had power".

I wonder, is there something more spelled out in The History of Middle Earth, all my copies are in storage and I don't have them digitally yet.



"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 24, 2:40pm

Post #7 of 42 (2659 views)
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Saruman's Ring [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It didn't seem to help Saruman in his beggar life after the war. All in all, I think its powers had to be fairly weak, and Gandalf pointed it out at the Council of Elrond more as a sign that Saruman was a Sauron wannabe.


True, but maybe the wizard's ring lost its power when his own power was broken. It seems obvious that it must have been a creation resulting from Saruman's own study of Ring-craft.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 24, 2:42pm)


Eruonen
Valinor


Aug 3, 3:31am

Post #8 of 42 (2534 views)
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We have to think who he interacted with and bent to his will....a ring of compulsion? [In reply to] Can't Post

From orcs, to men including Theoden and beasts maybe he worked on a ring that gave him the ability to dominate others wills. I think that it was not yet a "great ring" but a work in progress. He had been actively researching ring lore etc.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Aug 3, 1:37pm

Post #9 of 42 (2491 views)
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That's my assumption too [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I think that it was not yet a "great ring" but a work in progress.


Whatever he made, it was a cheap copy of a real ring of power, not equal to the others.


InTheChair
Lorien

Aug 12, 11:12pm

Post #10 of 42 (2202 views)
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Could have been just a sham [In reply to] Can't Post

Something he made to deceive the Orcs into believing that he did have one of the great rings.

Saruman had found the golden cask and chain that Isildur had used to carry the Ring in, though I don't suppose that would have given him any kind of template as to what it looked liked.


uncle Iorlas
Rivendell


Sep 10, 8:43pm

Post #11 of 42 (1514 views)
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remember though [In reply to] Can't Post

As Aragorn warns our young hobbits, he was once as great as his reputation made him. I think the author would probably like for Saruman's essay in Ring-craft to have been a considerable one, after his long years of studying it.

Of course whatever it is, it wouldn't work after the destruction of the One in any event, but it does seem odd that Gandalf left him with it. But Tolkien lets things slide sometimes. Anduril itself is kind of a damp squib once revealed; so much buildup for no real payoff.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 11, 2:12pm

Post #12 of 42 (1471 views)
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I agree on Anduril [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, it was a good blade, and it was cool in Moria where it split an orc's helm with a sort of white fire. But overall, it was just another sword. It didn't strike fear in the enemy or do anything particularly magical or special. Sting was more handy, in the way it glowed when orcs were near and easily cut through Shelob's webs when Sam's Barrow-blade couldn't.


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 11, 2:29pm

Post #13 of 42 (1468 views)
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In [In reply to] Can't Post

general, Tolkien's writing doesn't rely very much on the power of kick-ass magical Nouns of Gerunding. Even the Ring itself we never see doing much beyond occasional invisibility and sense-amplification, and its moral corrosion; it's a maguffin as much as anything.

For that matter, Narsil/Anduril isn't ever described as a +125 Blade-of-Orc-Slaying; its importance is largely symbolic, as an ancient blade borne by Elendil and his heirs. We can assume that it's a very good sword, since Telchar made it and obviously it was worth keeping around for 7000 years; but other than being really sharp it doesn't seem to have any special properties, even the proximity-warning app the Gondolin blades had installed.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 11, 2:42pm

Post #14 of 42 (1463 views)
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Actually, Elrond does seem to give it a +100 in combat skills [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
for the Spear of Gil-galad and the Sword of Elendil, Aeglos and Narsil, none could withstand.

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 243). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.


Something about it was more than just sharp and shiny.

Then there's the mystical visions that come to Faramir and Boromir about seeking the Sword That Was Broken (not: seek the Heir of Isildur), which again implies having it return to Gondor in battle is going to help motivate the troops and wipe out the enemy.


uncle Iorlas
Rivendell


Sep 11, 4:15pm

Post #15 of 42 (1457 views)
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I kind of agree with both sides of the digression I irresponsibly started [In reply to] Can't Post

Anduril is clearly presented as an enchanted blade, if only because it flashes and flames at times. And it's perfectly fine if the parameters of whatever its potency may be aren't laid out to the third decimal place, since this isn't a game. But I think like many things, the author thought of it in order and ran with it—that is, it was originally conceived as a strange and compelling gesture for his mysterious dark figure to whip out a broken sword instead of an intact one, and he retconned it from there. Logistically it makes no sense—it is pretty much the one and only improvement PJ made over the text to have the fragments on display at Rivendell instead of lugged around the countryside for sixty years by a danger-prone adventurer. It makes more sense. I can only assume there is a case for it right next to the case where I can only assume Elrond keeps Aiglos now, in between pulling it out for actual use in actual battle with actual evil which I can only assume that God help us all he does, because it's reportedly useful for that.

But one thing that has been slow to sink in with me is that the heroes and the talismans are much more than figureheads in this world: in Sauron's mind, at the very least, and I'm pretty sure also in the author's mind, they make or break the strength of nations. Rather like Sauron himself is hobbled without his Ring, the remnant of Numenor is mostly neutralized by not having a proper king properly in place. Numenoreans can kick Sauron's butt on the battlefield when nobody else can, we see this over and over, but it's like they don't really come online unless their own internal settings are correct, particularly in that they are led by the kingiest available king. And these are the two essential plotlines of the book—hallows vs horcruxes, if you will permit me, and you shouldn't—it is a tale of Ring vs King. The good guys have been playing for fifty years to keep the Ring away from Sauron, while he's been playing a relentless campaign for millennia to keep the heir away from the throne.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 11, 4:54pm

Post #16 of 42 (1452 views)
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Yes, and supporting your points about the symbolic importance of things is this passage [In reply to] Can't Post

where Aragorn explains to his friends how his encounter with Sauron went when he took command of the Orthanc palantir.


Quote
‘It was a bitter struggle, and the weariness is slow to pass. I spoke no word to him, and in the end I wrenched the Stone to my own will. That alone he will find hard to endure. And he beheld me. Yes, Master Gimli, he saw me, but in other guise than you see me here. If that will aid him, then I have done ill. But I do not think so. To know that I lived and walked the earth was a blow to his heart, I deem; for he knew it not till now. The eyes in Orthanc did not see through the armour of Théoden; but Sauron has not forgotten Isildur and the sword of Elendil. Now in the very hour of his great designs the heir of Isildur and the Sword are revealed; for I showed the blade re-forged to him. He is not so mighty yet that he is above fear; nay, doubt ever gnaws him.’

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 780). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.

I am left wondering how Sauron beheld Aragorn "in other guise than you see me here." Maybe it's similar to Glorfindel appearing as a bright, fiery being to the Nazgul, which Frodo also beheld as he had one foot in the shadow realm by that point.


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 11, 5:30pm

Post #17 of 42 (1446 views)
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agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Anduril proved its true value not on any battlefield, but in the scene you cite and again when he recruits the Dead (who were vital to victory, just not as Green Scrubbing Bubbles at the Pelennor). Also, it's possible that Anduril was somehow a factor in Eomer's rapid conversion from foe to loyal ally; would Aragorn's boast, alone, have done it?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 11, 7:06pm

Post #18 of 42 (1439 views)
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Good point [In reply to] Can't Post

It certainly had a "wow" impact on Eomer when they first met in Rohan. For that matter, it impressed Strider's friends. It seems Anduril wasn't so much a magic machine gun against Orcs as a blazing testament to Aragorn's lineage:

Quote
Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. ‘Elendil!’ he cried. ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil’s son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!’

Gimli and Legolas looked at their companion in amazement, for they had not seen him in this mood before. He seemed to have grown in stature while Éomer had shrunk; and in his living face they caught a brief vision of the power and majesty of the kings of stone. For a moment it seemed to the eyes of Legolas that a white flame flickered on the brows of Aragorn like a shining crown.

Éomer stepped back and a look of awe was in his face. He cast down his proud eyes. ‘These are indeed strange days,’ he muttered. ‘Dreams and legends spring to life out of the grass.

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (pp. 433-434). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.



noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 12, 6:41pm

Post #19 of 42 (1312 views)
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But is that the man, or the machine? [In reply to] Can't Post

Boromir, at least, is unimpressed:


Quote

"Mayhap the Sword-that-was-Broken may still stem the tide–if the hand that wields it has inherited not an heirloom only, but the sinews of the Kings of Men.’"

Council of Elrond

I suspect he's right - if Mr Butterbur had turned out to be the rightful owner of the Sword-that-was-Broken, then things might have not worked out so well. On the other hand, I suspect Middle-earth has a lot of 'cometh the moment, cometh the man' to it, so THIS heir of Elendil is bound to be impressive - but because of himself, rather than because he's got a stats boost from some magical item.

I agree with the discussion above - there's no particular prompt in the text to regard Anduril as the Vorpol Sword of Snicker-snack (+100 damage), nor even as the Awesome Blade of Bromance (+100 charisma). No r even as theAwesome Vorpol Swordblade of Bromantic Snicker-snack (+ far more than is good for you in many respects). That's not to deny that it seems to be a fine weapon, and the appearance of the blade and its impressive bearer isn't heartening to the Rohirrim.

But that's a strange thing about LOTR - for a story that has important magical artifacts, it reads (to me) as if Tolkien isn't usually particularly interested in how they work. Perhaps that's why (as Uncle Iorlas said) 'Tolkien lets things slide sometimes. ' It's hard to catch him forgetting magical items when that causes a plot hole, but they don't often do all that much. Or not often - they come into the story on occasion, but don't become props on which the characters rely repeatedly. Sam's rope, Frodo's glass, the palantir, Sam's pot of elven fertility powder - they all have their moment in the story, but just a short moment before the tale moves on. Some things never get their moment (most of Galadriel's gifts, for example). I think I prefer it that way. Maybe Sting, with its signature glow-when-orcs-are-about is an exception because it dates from the more light-hearted The Hobbit days. But even Sting fades out of view once we're past Cirith Ungol.

So - weaving back to Saruman's Ring. Maybe it's mentioned no more because Tolkien is finished with it. If you'd like me to make up something, I'd suggest that, like other Rings it gives 'Power accordng to stature' and Saruman's stature has shrunk to 'only fools hobbits ad ruffians'. But of course that's me making stuff up. It also works to imagine Saruman as the deluded wearer of a mood ring from a cracker, if you like! How quickly woudl you like him to be descending into madness?

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 12, 6:44pm

Post #20 of 42 (1315 views)
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And speaking of plot-holes [In reply to] Can't Post

If Gandlaf is wearing one of the Three when captured by Saruman, why doesn't Saruman take it?

Probably we don't know because it doesn't matter - it seems approprate when Gandalf is revealed to be a Ringbearer in his own way, but if he's using it, you haven't been able to tell.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 12, 10:21pm

Post #21 of 42 (1304 views)
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Don't forget Gandalf's staff [In reply to] Can't Post

He can break Saruman's staff and take away his power, and maybe that's something only Gandalf the White can do. Because I would guess Saruman took Gandalf's staff from him while he was a captive in Orthanc, and Gandalf had no problem replacing it later, somehow.

Though with Narya, Gandalf was able to keep it invisible. Does that mean he could make it unfeelable too? Otherwise, all Saruman would have to do is grope among his fingers until he found it. Though that does seem rather awkward and personally invasive, doesn't it? Maybe the local Isengard lawyers advised him against getting too familiar with captives who might escape and file lawsuits. Or maybe he was under orders from Sauron to leave Gandalf's ring as is so Sauron himself could take it from him. That seems rather likely.


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 13, 10:11am

Post #22 of 42 (1197 views)
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Gandalf's staff's a good example - of several things [In reply to] Can't Post

Firstly, I think Gandalf's staff illustrates the point about Tolkien not being specific. I get the impression from the text that wizards' staffs are important, but I don't think there's an explicit explanation of what they do, or what they are etc. Nor do I feel that the text presents readers with a puzzle, something about which a reader could come to a firm and final conclusion with enough careful study. Instead, we're left with a mystery which we either don't worry about, or solve with our imaginations. Personally, I like it that way - I don't mind that the author hasn't provided a definitive explanation. I also note that, when Tolkien does try to explain 'how exactly it works' - the unfinished essay about the Palantirs in UT, for example - it's not all that satisfying (to me, at least).

So (secondly) I suppose we don't really know whether Gandalf's staff is a Superlative Item of Gerunding, of the kind popular in fantasy-based games. Those usually work such that the superlativeness is a property of the item, and so one's gerunding just isn't the same if the item is lost. (Lose your Great Helm of Protecting and your protection is not so great.) Certainly if we assume that Saruman confiscates Gandalf's staff (I don't recall the text says or implies that, but it sems a reasonable precaution) then - as you say- Gandalf seems able to find or make another. It doesn't seem to be the setback I imagine it might be if someone stole Anduril. But it's all arguable - or at least the only way of solving the mystery is to make something up. And anything we make up reflects our own thoughts, wishes and feelings about the story. But anyway (second and a halfly?) if the staff is a Superlative Item of Gerunding, what gerunding does Gandalf do with it? (Or is that point One again?)

So (thirdly, or something) I thnk the staff is like Anduril - { 'is this item magic?' 'I do not know exactly what you mean by that.'} These items seem important, and it has plot relevance on occasion. You could argue that it is 'magic' in that it 'does something', or that its power is symbolic - it works in part or whole because people in Middle-earth believe it works. And maybe that's part of it - in the milieu of Middle-earth, great heroes have named weapons and wizards have staffs. Eagles might fly you somewhere, but probably they won't. It's about that fantasy world, not about rules, or items with which one can gernund superlatively.

If I'm right about named swords and wizards staffs being to Middle-earth as black leather was to The Matrix, then maybe that explains why so many 'magical items' are not Ckeckhov's Guns of Foreshadowing. In many stories if the author mentions an item, they've probably done so because that item's going to be used later (I've heard this called 'Checkhov's Gun' - "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there."— Anton Chekhov (From S. Shchukin, Memoirs. 1911. see here - https://tvtropes.org/...php/Main/ChekhovSGun for further explanation and many examples)) But maybe Tolkien's story isn't like that?

Now about Gandalf's Ring. If an explanation for why Saruman doesn't take it is needed, I like your candidate - in some way, insert your own favourite mechanism it's difficult for Saruman to detect it, or suspect it. The three ringbearers have remained unsuspected by Sauron at least (according to what Galadriel tells Frodo). So I suppose they must have effective ways of preventing people realising what they are wearing. I don't remember whether Tolkien says what Saruman knows or suspects about who has them. [Parenthetically I read that passage of Galadriel and Frodo and think 'Oh, come on Sauron - how hard is it really?! Let's see - who has attracted a court of elves to a suspiciously well-preserved land? That gets me 66% in this test, and my third (and out-of-date) guess would be Cirdan. 'Who are your chief opponents, Sauron?' would give me a pretty good score too.But I feel it doesn't matter all that much - the Three are not (Elrond tells us] weapons. They may not figure much in Sauron's calculations - perhas he reasons he'll either collect them as he conquers Middle-earth.]

Or of course your other candidate works - 'leave the prisoner untouched' might also have been Saruman's instructions (or what he'd been bound to do by {magic, I don't know what you mean by that} )- Tolkien does, after all, use that one elsewhere.

And that leads me to finish with a comment about 'plotholes' - some seem so serious that they ruin the story, or whether they're just a matter of 'I would have liked an explanation for that. Which is which? - that's all a matter of opinion too. As my TVTropes reference (above) says wisely 'viewers and fans of Myth Arc-laden and/or carefully written shows and books have become accustomed to obsessing over minuscule details and looking out for Chekhov's Guns everywhere and anywhere... whether they actually exist or not.'

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 13, 1:12pm

Post #23 of 42 (1190 views)
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What did Saruman know, and when did he know it? (about the Three) [In reply to] Can't Post

My own conclusion from his little speech in "Many Partings" is that he guessed that at least Elrond and Galadriel had Rings of Power:

Quote
For a moment his eyes kindled. ‘Go!’ he said. ‘I did not spend long study on these matters for naught. You have doomed yourselves, and you know it. And it will afford me some comfort as I wander to think that you pulled down your own house when you destroyed mine. And now, what ship will bear you back across so wide a sea?’ he mocked.


What I believe he's referring to about his "long study on these matters" is not who held the Rings, but what would happen to the power of the Three if the One were destroyed. (Elrond at his Council admitted there were two schools of thought.) So, with reasoning that even Sauron could follow, there were two enchanted realms, Lorien and Rivendell, that seemed more enchanted than they would be just by having Elves live there, ergo, each must house a Ring fueling that enchantment. Though as Galadriel told Frodo, Sauron suspected she had one of the Three, but he wasn't certain.

Cirdan would be the logical guess as the holder of the third. You make a good point that Tolkien doesn't explain the specifics of magic, so we don't really know, but I wonder when the White Council twice drove Sauron out of Dol Guldur, how much each individual revealed themselves in the process of spewing forth their magic. As if Radadgast were to say, "That's funny, when we all do our magic thing, three of you seem to have magic pulsing from rings on your fingers that the rest of us don't have." That, of course, is just speculation. But Frodo somehow saw Galadriel's Ring when Sam could not, either because Galadriel allowed him to, or because he gained some power of his own. It really is hard to figure out.


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 13, 2:55pm

Post #24 of 42 (1182 views)
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I think [In reply to] Can't Post

Saruman as head of the White Council knew very well who held the Three. It's Sauron who wasn't entirely sure. As Galadriel said, "He guesses, but he does not know, and ever doubt gnaws at him."

I don't believe seizing Narya from Gandalf would have been quite as easy as simply marooning him on the roof. Gandalf the Grey may not have had White levels of power, but he still had enough that he was under orders not to use all of it- except in extremis. He did after all take down a Balrog. As Gandalf commented in response to "finding a fitting punishment for the insolence of Gandalf the Grey," "That may not prove to be one of the lighter matters."

Of course, in full ret-con mode we could posit that the Three were programmed only to serve a rightful posessor, the recipient of a free gift, and the anti-theft system would lock out the ignition if it was stolen or seized by force.
____________________

Staffs: it could be that for whatever reason Istari needed a focus in the form of a stick four to six feet long, but it could be a rake handle if that was what was available. What was important wasn't the stick, but the fact that a wizard was holding it.


noWizardme
Valinor


Sep 13, 6:05pm

Post #25 of 42 (1164 views)
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"my words were empty" [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm - I'm not sure it's so clear Gandalf is able to put up a fight (which is a mystery in itself). The quote you give extends as follows:


Quote
"The third choice is to stay here, until the end.”
‘“ Until what end?”
‘“ Until you reveal to me where the One may be found. I may find means to persuade you. Or until it is found in your despite, and the Ruler has time to turn to lighter matters: to devise, say, a fitting reward for the hindrance and insolence of Gandalf the Grey.”
‘“ That may not prove to be one of the lighter matters,” said I. He laughed at me, for my words were empty, and he knew it.

They took me and they set me alone on the pinnacle of Orthanc..."

Gandalf's account of his visit to Saruman, Council of Elrond (with my italics)


Now I'm not saying that's totally incompatible with your idea, Solicitr, that Gandalf has lots of power that he's not allowed to use. Indeed, I think that's how it's quite likely meant to work. But I note Gandalf really is in dire straits here (I think he played ryhthm guitar after Mark Knopfler's brother left, but more to the point he's in a lot of trouble once Sruman tries to detain him). The Nine are on the loose, seeking for Frodo, and Saruman's treachery in itself is a pretty urgent discovery. Gandalf might well think that it's all going to go horribly wrong if he's not about to chaperone Frodo to safety (though of course later on it turns out that it might have all been for the best). So perhaps Gandalf ought to be desperate enough to use his powers - it's a bit surprising that he's not up for resisting arrrest with at least a few lightning flashes, such as he uses against the Nine at Weathertop. He does all that Weathertop show without, I note, contravening the Wizarding version of the Prime Directive (or whatever the rules are about not using magic).

Now of course we can 'ret-con' (as you nicely put it, Solicitr) that problem too in various ways (I like to use a sharpie myself). One can imagine that one almighty magic battle happens in the paragrah break, or invent some hand-wavy thing about magic to get out of trouble (e.g. just like you can't apparate in Hogworts, maybe only Saruman can use magic in Orthanc. Or some other such rule, according to taste).

Frankly though, I'm beginning to find the whole 'Saruman trapped me on the roof' story fishy. I reckon that, having realised there was no way of budging Frodo until the autumn, Gandalf decided on a holiday, called on Saruman and they just went clubbing. Hence Saruman wearing his party frock and bling. Saruman's fancy ring, btw was handed over to an innkeeper somewhere as there was no other way to pay the bar bill they ran up. Fun, fun, fun all summer long until Saruman let slip that he was after the Ring in September, whereupon Gandalf rushes off to Rohan to get a fast horse back to work, and makes up some cock-and-bull story about where he's been all this time. It fixes eveything see - no Saruman's Ring to deactivate, no troublesome precedent that Eagles can function as a taxi service, no confuson about Gandalf's staff (left either at the Bull Hotel, or the Cock Inn - let's face it by that time in the evening it was all getting a bit hazy...). Good thing that either any old stick will do as a staff [I like that dea], or that Gandalf has got spare staffs stashed away somewhere (in a Staff Room, probably).

In fact, now I've got started, I might just re-write the whole thing....Wink

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Solicitr
Rohan

Sep 13, 9:41pm

Post #26 of 42 (1157 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

you're right about Gandalf rather bluffing there; but the context was how he was going to deal with being punished by Sauron, which was a rather more serious matter than Saruman alone.

Can we come up with anything better than the obvious: Gandalf wasn't yet a Ringbearer when Tolkien wrote that section?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Sep 14, 3:13pm

Post #27 of 42 (1090 views)
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That's probably the best answer [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf later fights the Nazgul and the Balrog, so we know what he's capable of. Let's assume Saruman knew too, and that trying to take Narya from him would lead to an epic battle that he wasn't certain to win. So, better to leave it to Sauron to deal with, no matter how much he wanted it himself. And Saruman knew the real prize was the One, anyway.


InTheChair
Lorien

Oct 7, 6:25pm

Post #28 of 42 (615 views)
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Saruman was a little loose with his trinkets, though it was at least not him that dropped the Palantir [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Though with Narya, Gandalf was able to keep it invisible. Does that mean he could make it unfeelable too? Otherwise, all Saruman would have to do is grope among his fingers until he found it.



If we assume Gandalf had it on his finger, and carried it with him at the time at least, and I don't know where else he would deem it safe to leave it.

We don't know if Saruman took Gandalfs staff or not. Possibly a wizards staff is only as powerful as the Wizard makes it, and Saruman beeing more unwise after the model of Sauron, put more of his own power into his staff, so that when Gandalf broke it he may have lost, at least temporarily some of it, which might explain his dismay. While Gandalf staff then in theory could have been little more than a staff. Though all such things are speculation. If Saruman did take or destroy Gandalf staff, Gandalf could as you noted, quickly replace it with another, and it is also true that after Saruman left Orthanc, and the party going home, caught up with him, he also was again leaning on a Staff, though nothing is hinted about it having any kinds of power. Especially I do not think this Staff is mentioned, or plays any role in the Scouring of the Shire, though I may have forgotten something there.

Gandalf again is presumed to have carried his Staff, and perhaps Narya, when he died after defeating the Balrog, though here it could be assumed that he was returned to the same body. I think that may even be stated. So that could mean that the Staff of Gandalf the Grey, and the Staff of Gandalf the White was the identical Staff. Same one he used to light his way through Moria.


There were a couple of other heirlooms that Saruman also left haphazardly behind him when he left Orthanc. Of course it comes from Unifinished Tales and so was never published, and perhaps we may assume that Treebeard would not have allowed it, or that Saruman could not have kept it hidden from him, but he has in his safe at the time the Elendilmir(?) the star of the North, as well as the cask of the One Ring, though neither of these might have held any power or use for Saruman.




(This post was edited by InTheChair on Oct 7, 6:38pm)


InTheChair
Lorien

Oct 7, 6:35pm

Post #29 of 42 (614 views)
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Maybe [In reply to] Can't Post

When Saruman at the time was not known as a Traitor, and still nurtured hopes of keeping his duplicity hidden, which succeeded until Gandalf reached Rivendell, at least Elrond seemed affected by the news, it could have proven unwise for him to take Narya from Gandalf by force, if this meant that the bearers of the other two would then become aware of it. That's a big if.

I don't how much Saruman knew about who held the Three. I believe he knew that Gandalf had gotten one from Cirdan, and begrudged Gandalf the gift. He might at least have guessed that the other two were with other members of the White Counsil. Indeed poor Saruman might have felt left out as the only prominent member of the White Counsil who did not possess a ring of Power. No wonder he tried to make one of his own. Gotta keep up appearances.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 8, 2:18pm

Post #30 of 42 (548 views)
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Gandalf keeping his staff [In reply to] Can't Post

This came out later than this discussion, thanks to one of Gramma's postings. If Frodo's dreams are to be trusted for accuracy, he had this one in Tom Bombadil's house where Gandalf had his staff when rescued:

Quote
It seemed to Frodo that he was lifted up, and passing over he saw that the rock-wall was a circle of hills, and that within it was a plain, and in the midst of the plain stood a pinnacle of stone, like a vast tower but not made by hands. On its top stood the figure of a man. The moon as it rose seemed to hang for a moment above his head and glistened in his white hair as the wind stirred it. Up from the dark plain below came the crying of fell voices, and the howling of many wolves. Suddenly a shadow, like the shape of great wings, passed across the moon. The figure lifted his arms and a light flashed from the staff that he wielded. A mighty eagle swept down and bore him away. The voices wailed and the wolves yammered.

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 127). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.



InTheChair
Lorien

Oct 8, 6:40pm

Post #31 of 42 (531 views)
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He might have kept his staff at Orthanc [In reply to] Can't Post

I have also now remembered this passage when Gandalf fights the Balrog

Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand.

So it seems that Gandalf 'Staff-breaker' Ilúvatarson broke both his own staff and Sarumans staff.

The possibility must then be that Gandalf may have kept the same staff from the moment he met Bilbo unitl he lost it at the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm, but must then have gotten a new one after his body was carried to Lorien. So only Narya might have been left with his body when he walked paths he would not tell us about. (Unless like Sauron in Numenor he has somehow the ability carry it with him in spite of the separation of body and soul.)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Oct 9, 12:05am

Post #32 of 42 (511 views)
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There's another character who also breaks his staff in LOTR. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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squire
Half-elven


Oct 9, 3:13am

Post #33 of 42 (498 views)
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Quite right. [In reply to] Can't Post

With a squeal Gollum let go. Then Sam waded in; not waiting to change the staff from left to right he dealt another savage blow. Quick as a snake Gollum slithered aside. and the stroke aimed at his head fell across his back. The staff cracked and broke.

Then Denethor leaped upon the table, and standing there wreathed in fire and smoke he took up the staff of his stewardship that lay at his feet and broke it on his knee. Casting the pieces into the blaze he bowed and laid himself on the table,

And perhaps symbolically:
No,’ said Gandalf. ‘Nor does age lie so heavily on your shoulders as some would have you think. Cast aside your prop!’
From the king’s hand the black staff fell clattering on the stones.



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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Oct 9, 6:30pm

Post #34 of 42 (438 views)
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I forgot about Denethor. [In reply to] Can't Post

For some reason I thought his staff was called a "rod".


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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squire
Half-elven


Oct 9, 6:39pm

Post #35 of 42 (435 views)
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Well, it was. [In reply to] Can't Post

At the foot of the dais, upon the lowest step which was broad and deep, there was a stone chair, black and unadorned, and on it sat an old man gazing at his lap. In his hand was a white rod with a golden knob. He did not look up. - LR V.1

It seems to be the preferred term:
Nonetheless the Stewards never sat on the ancient throne; and they wore no crown, and held no sceptre. They bore a white rod only as the token of their office;... - LR App. A.I.iv.

I would guess that Tolkien felt staff and rod were nearly synonymous for purposes of euphony or variety. Saruman's staff was broken, we agree. But as Merry puts it:
'Remember Saruman was once Gandalf’s superior: head of the Council, whatever that may be exactly. He was Saruman the White. Gandalf is the White now. Saruman came when he was told, and his rod was taken; and then he was just told to go, and he went!' - LR III.11




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Solicitr
Rohan

Oct 9, 10:59pm

Post #36 of 42 (415 views)
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In Reply To
...an old man gazing at his lap. In his hand was a white rod with a golden knob.


And to think they let children read that book!


uncle Iorlas
Rivendell


Oct 10, 3:15pm

Post #37 of 42 (355 views)
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I was thinking of Helm [In reply to] Can't Post

although that was figurative.

As for items of value that Gandalf had before and after the bridge, he still retains Glamdring, of course. I have always thought it was pretty clear they popped him right back into his old body, otherwise might as well place it more advantageously next to a road (or in the Sammath Naur with Frodo in his hand).

We can probably imagine that anything else was burned away. Do we ever see him smoke after he comes back? Just occurred to me.

One sad thought: did the Book of Mazarbul perish among his appertinences somewhere in the deeps?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 10, 3:24pm

Post #38 of 42 (352 views)
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It looks like Gimli kept the book [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote

We will take this book, the Book of Mazarbul, and look at it more closely later. You had better keep it, Gimli, and take it back to Dáin, if you get a chance. It will interest him, though it will grieve him deeply. Come, let us go! The morning is passing.’

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 323). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.



uncle Iorlas
Rivendell


Oct 10, 3:35pm

Post #39 of 42 (348 views)
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oh right [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, you have genuinely made me feel better,


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 10, 3:40pm

Post #40 of 42 (347 views)
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If Gimli lost the book... [In reply to] Can't Post

...it probably would have happened during the pursuit of the Orc-band that captured Merry & Pippin.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Oct 10, 4:08pm

Post #41 of 42 (342 views)
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Has anyone noticed your Theoden/Denethor staff connection before? [In reply to] Can't Post

A number of critics have discussed how Tolkien sets up Theoden and Denethor in parallel, but I can't recall any of them mentioning the different ways they discard their staves.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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squire
Half-elven


Oct 10, 6:23pm

Post #42 of 42 (333 views)
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Not that I know of [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a fairly thin reed as a point of comparison, so to speak.

Theoden's 'staff' is a walking stick for support, akin to Sam's that broke on Gollum's back.

Denethor's 'staff' is, more properly, a mere rod held in hand as a symbol of authority, to be replaced by the Sceptre of Annuminas soon enough. It is not, evidently, long enough to serve as a cane much less a hiking staff.

But... given that Denethor's rod is only called a 'staff' once, and that is when he discards it rather violently, I believe you have in fact found yet another of the author's purposed connections between Theoden and Denethor.

Interestingly, Gandalf's 'staff', broken in the fight with the balrog, served both as a walking stick and a 'wand' or rod of authority.



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