Our Sponsor Sideshow Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Character of Saruman #2 - Career as a Power
First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All

noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 8, 6:33pm

Post #26 of 63 (1303 views)
Shortcut
Nightmare Fuel [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That six-pack of Nightmare Fuel chilling in the fridge - No I don't think we need to pop those cans.


Nightmare Fuel does sound worringly like the name of a craft beer.

But it's traditionally cheese eaten too late at night that is nightmare fuel.

Is Nightmare Fuel a beer made from cheese?

Or is a beer made from cheese nightmare fuel? Smile

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


Felagund
Rohan


Jun 8, 7:33pm

Post #27 of 63 (1300 views)
Shortcut
fall(s) from grace [In reply to] Can't Post

A downward spiral, in more ways than one!

The spiritual corruption and expenditure, at least in the cases of Morgoth and Sauron, of their own native 'essence' brings these Dark Lords down, even before their final defeats. By the time of the peak of his power over Beleriand, Morgoth himself is a much dissipated entity, having invested much of himself in the very matter of Arda. Similarly, Sauron in the era of the War of the Ring has expended much of himself in the creation act of the One Ring, and subsequently 'lived' through two 'deaths', leaving him far reduced compared to his self of old.

Although we don't read of Saruman expending himself in the same way, by the time he's murdered, he is certainly a much diminished figure, brought low by his decisions, defeats and defenestration. Physically, he is at a low ebb but more importantly, I suspect, in Tolkien's conception, spiritually, he is spent.

A final comment on who is more / less evil. Given that Sauron is described as being on the verge of acknowledging the error of his ways (repentance, perhaps, depending on how you read the source material) on two occasions, perhaps his evil is all the more 'successful'? Melkor never really reverse course; Saruman doubles down and goes for broke; but Sauron appears to waver, and so falls not once but at least twice from the grace of his beginnings.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Felagund
Rohan


Jun 8, 8:31pm

Post #28 of 63 (1303 views)
Shortcut
Saruman's 'wickedest deed' [In reply to] Can't Post

Another take, not mutually exclusive, is Saruman is again (unwittingly or otherwise) being an understudy to Sauron. It was Sauron, after all, who 'bred' the original Uruk-hai and indeed, the Olog-hai.

Going further 'back', ie. delving into 'Text X' of 'Myths Transformed' (Morgoth's Ring, the source for so many debates about the origins and further development of Orcs, you get Saruman rediscovering or learning the means to breed stronger / more cunning 'Orc-men' and 'Men-orcs'. And while Melkor is attributed the 'honour' of being the first to pervert incarnation in this way, it's Sauron who's credited with the perfection of the 'project' - from which Saruman is arguably taking his cue, imitating and building on.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


oliphaunt
Lorien


Jun 8, 9:51pm

Post #29 of 63 (1294 views)
Shortcut
Saruman Digest [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Another take, not mutually exclusive, is Saruman is again (unwittingly or otherwise) being an understudy to Sauron. It was Sauron, after all, who 'bred' the original Uruk-hai and indeed, the Olog-hai.


Which gets back to one of my questions: Does Saruman ever have an original idea? And then, why is he written this way? The least interesting wizard in the world.


Quote
...so that what he made was naught, only a little copy, a child's model...



*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***

(This post was edited by oliphaunt on Jun 8, 9:52pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 9, 2:33am

Post #30 of 63 (1281 views)
Shortcut
Saruman the Xerox Copier [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I don't think he ever had an original idea, and Frodo said as much in The Scouring of the Shire:


Quote
‘This is worse than Mordor!’ said Sam. ‘Much worse in a way. It comes home to you, as they say; because it is home, and you remember it before it was all ruined.’

‘Yes, this is Mordor,’ said Frodo. ‘Just one of its works. Saruman was doing its work all the time, even when he thought he was working for himself. And the same with those that Saruman tricked, like Lotho.’


I think your question has two answers in the Tolkien-verse: 1) evil people think they are clever and independent but they're really just slaves to the Model of Tyranny, and 2) Tolkien seems to attribute "good creation" either to Eru/God or to the people doing his will like the Valar, so evil people by definition aren't doing Eru's will and therefore can't create, only imitate.

Then related to that is the loss of free will. Tolkien the monarchist is OK with enlightened despots but opposed to tyranny, and somehow he sees free will flourishing under the former but perishing under the latter, and you can't have creativity without free will. I think the extension from there is that the loss of free will under evil tyranny is at both the top and the bottom: while Melkor had free will, Sauron, Saruman, and Lotho did not and just became slaves to Dark Lord Way of Life.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jun 9, 7:59am

Post #31 of 63 (1273 views)
Shortcut
A little aside about the white council [In reply to] Can't Post

The White Council always seemed a vague concept and only met rarely. Once in a few hundred years or so, I wonder how much power a leader really had. If say Gandalf was the leader, could Saruman always refuse his commands or only obey in seeming and without full power,


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jun 9, 8:04am

Post #32 of 63 (1272 views)
Shortcut
strange thing though [In reply to] Can't Post

Is that if Orcs are descended from Elves and therefore immortal, it must have been difficult to blend them with mortal man. And would a man/orc be immortal or not, a possible weakness with the Saruman orcs. And one thing I have wondered is could these man/orc ride wrags? I'm not sure that they could which would have been a weakness compared to orcs.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 9, 9:53am

Post #33 of 63 (1269 views)
Shortcut
Wormtongue (and Ursula Le Guin on the dark-selves of LOTR characters) [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been thinking....Is Wormtongue Saruman's agent or puppet or ally or magical mouthpiece, do you think?

And would people like to discuss these observations by Ursula Le Guin?


Quote
[Tolkien's] villains are orcs and Black Riders (goblins and zombies; mythic figures) and Sauron, the Dark Lord, who is never seen and has no suggestion of humanity about him. These are not evil men but embodiments of evil in men, universal symbols of the hateful. The men who do wrong are not complete figures but complements: Saruman is Gandalf's dark-self, Boromir Aragorn's; Wormtongue is, almost literally the weakness of King Theoden. There remains the wonderfully repulsive and degraded Gollum. But nobody who reads the trilogy hates, or is asked to hate, Gollum. Gollum is Frodo's shadow; and it is the shadow, not the hero, who achieves the quest. Though Tolkien seems to project evil into "the others", they are not truly others but ourselves; he is utterly clear about this.


This review, entitled "The Dark Tower by C S Lewis" was originally published in The New Republic, 1977, and is anthologised in "Dancing at the Edge of the World" (Grove Press 1989)


I'm thinking the immediate relevance is the idea of "Wormtongue is, almost literally the weakness of King Theoden." (though my thoughts on that largely come down to "bravo, exactly, no notes"). The idea "Saruman is Gandalf's dark-self" might also be something to think about, in any of our weeks of discussion. Or the idea that "Tolkien seems to project evil into "the others", they are not truly others but ourselves; he is utterly clear about this."







~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 9, 9:54am)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 9, 10:24am

Post #34 of 63 (1268 views)
Shortcut
Ugluk [In reply to] Can't Post

Bit of a tangent, I remembered that I saw an excellent analysis f Uglukk by the blogger 'Never Felt Better', whose Chapter-by-Chapter analysis of LOTR is so often well worth reading.

As an Ugluk fan, Felagund, you might enjoy this, from The Uruk-hai, which NFB says is his favourite chapter:

Quote

It’s important to give these Orcs some character because “The Uruk-Hai” revolves around an internal power struggle sub-plot between Ugluk and Grishnakh, Mordor and Isengard. It’s an excellent little sub-plot, done extremely well over the course of only a dozen or so pages, and remains one of my favourite sequences in the entire epic.


Ugluk is the show-off and takes on the persona of a junior officer on his first command, barking orders, making stupid speeches, puffing out the chest as far as possible and generally acting far bigger than he is, clearly compensating for a lack of actual experience. Grishnakh on the other hand is the grizzled, bitter veteran, the kind of guy, a long serving Sergeant maybe, who has seen and done it all in his time. He has far more experience then Ugluk and knows it, dismissive of his erstwhile “ally” and with that comes the knowledge of when it is good to stand and fight, and good to run away. He’s a sneering, sarcastic villain, the rebellious enlisted, who has been around long enough to have an in with certain powerful figures, and is not afraid to throw that bit of influence around. And there are the more mindless northern orcs too, lacking a clear leader but just as likely to kick things all off.


The struggle between these three factions is our sub-plot, brought on by secrecy in the ranks, the kind of “need to know” stuff that always produces resentment within any army. In that, the Uruks/orcs don’t act unlike any normal military unit, or the forces of two allies that are required by circumstance to work together. They’re the bad guys, but seeing three groups of soldiers like this, flung together on a common objective, the results are hardly surprising. These guys are a bit more vicious, but it is realistic behaviour. The rest of the bad guys, on either side, act like little more than football hooligans, with slightly more fatal results. It’s also interesting seeing the contrast between them all: the northern orcs seem more animalistic, the Mordor veterans are a bit more divided and prone to backstabbing, while the Isengard Uruk-Hai are united but rather limited in intelligence. It’s good to see a complex enemy, even if Tolkien is at pains to showcase them as crude and simple-minded in their choice of language, in their basic insults to each other and in their willingness to turn to fighting each other at the drop of a hat. The orc culture is one of bravado and violent demonstrations of power: when Ugluk is challenged, he is obliged to kill a few of the rebels to cement his place at the top, and it seems to be a standard thing, creating more animalistic impressions with the sense of an “alpha-male” having to keep everyone else in line. The orc, or uruk, always seems to be looking for some form of advantage, as an individual and for their specific tribe, and will happily kill other orcs to get that advantage.


The Uruk-hai chapter of LOTR, reviewed by 'Never Felt Better'


~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


oliphaunt
Lorien


Jun 9, 1:33pm

Post #35 of 63 (1260 views)
Shortcut
Ponzi? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like Saruman is the lower tier of a Ponzi scheme. Evil doesn't generate anything, just transfers assets up the pyramid.


*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jun 9, 1:57pm

Post #36 of 63 (1258 views)
Shortcut
Are Orcs Hybrids? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Is that if Orcs are descended from Elves and therefore immortal, it must have been difficult to blend them with mortal man. And would a man/orc be immortal or not, a possible weakness with the Saruman orcs. And one thing I have wondered is could these man/orc ride wrags? I'm not sure that they could which would have been a weakness compared to orcs.


Perhaps Orcs were descended from Elves, but were also (for the most part) hybrids and therefore not immortal (the Choice of Eärendil only being given to those of that bloodline). Morgoth might have bred degraded Elves with other anthropoid creatures and (later) Men long before Sauron's refinement of the Uruk-hai.

“Hell hath no fury like that of the uninvolved.” - Tony Isabella


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 9, 2:37pm

Post #37 of 63 (1255 views)
Shortcut
Agreed on the White Council [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't stand up to our affectionate scrutiny, does it? Once I start asking questions about it, they just beg more questions about why it didn't work better. For example, the Wizards' sole purpose was to unite good people to fight against Sauron, so why didn't they create the White Council as soon as they got off the boat? Why was it up to Galadriel to create it, and then why didn't she run it herself? I'll stop now or I'd just keep going.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 9, 2:41pm

Post #38 of 63 (1260 views)
Shortcut
A tangent? In the Reading Room? What happened to the pursuit of Order?!?! [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien deserves a lot of credit as a writer for humanizing the orcs even though on first read, I was angry that he did so. I wanted them to remain cannon fodder, the easy targets of hatred, deserving of slaughter in guilt-free battles with virtuous people. But I'm glad he fleshed them out as people because it makes all of Middle-earth feel richer and more real as a result.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 9, 3:02pm

Post #39 of 63 (1253 views)
Shortcut
Like and yet unlike [In reply to] Can't Post

I can definitely see some of the shadow selves that Le Guin cites such as Saruman/Gandalf and Frodo/Gollum, and I think the notion does a lot to explain how the plot unfolds. I often think that the Frodo/Gollum story could have been written other ways, especially when I think of Hollywood and comic book villains who appear, sneer, fight with the hero, escape improbable death, and reappear to repeat the cycle. Or Frodo and Sam could have killed Gollum when they first met; exit stage right, Gollum.

But instead of that, Frodo and Gollum discover each other and travel from Emyn Muil to Shelob's Lair. I think the Ring bound them together more than a spiritual complementarity did (thinking of Ged in A Wizard of Earthsea, who was pursued relentlessly by his shadow self), but I also think Frodo's mercy for Gollum sprang from a recognition that Gollum was his shadow self.

With Gandalf and Saruman, I can think of two points that are relevant. One is Gandalf's bold statement:


Quote
‘Yes, I am white now,’ said Gandalf. ‘Indeed I am Saruman, one might almost say, Saruman as he should have been.


The other is Saruman's Gandalf-envy revealed among the retired bankers aka The Dunlendings:


Quote
Gandalf: 'But will you scorn our help? For we offer it to you.’

‘To me?’ said Saruman. ‘Nay, pray do not smile at me! I prefer your frowns. And as for the Lady here, I do not trust her: she always hated me, and schemed for your part.


Can Saruman ever stop comparing himself to Gandalf? Apparently not, even in ruin. Intentionally or not, he was the dark mirror reflection of Gandalf's personality traits.

But try as I might, I don't see Wormtongue as primarily Theoden's weakness. Instead I see him as the overly loyal minion to the villain. Maybe I see Denethor as a sort of shadow self of Theoden: there are plenty of contrasts between the two.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 9, 3:19pm

Post #40 of 63 (1265 views)
Shortcut
Did Saruman not realise, or was it "You know I'm no good" [In reply to] Can't Post

I love that idea of evil as a Ponzi scheme. Heart Gotta think about that!



The other exasperating but entirely believable thing is that Saruman is the expert in Counter-evilness. Why does he not know how it always ends up?

Or does he know?


Maybe he knows, but thinks it can be different this time, now it is him?

Or is there some dark, self-loathing feeling that it's just inevitable that he falls to temptation, and perhaps now it's happened its the fault of those who should have known better when they put in in charge of the Mission to Middle-earth? A sort of Amy Winehouseian feeling of "I told you I was trouble, you know I'm no good": a combinaton of self-loathing and "serves you right"?


This is a serious Tolkien question btw -- especialy since the Fall of Saruman turns the wheels of Tolkien's plot so much, and everything is supposed to be ultimately in accordance with music of Eru (though some performers are allowed to improvise, and from the very start some gigs or jam sessions break up in a confusion of artistic differences ).

But while I am posing this as a serious thought, I don't see why we should not also ask Saruman to put on the bat-wing eye makeup and Norf Lundun accent to give us a song.

Perhaps the Ents beseiging Orthanc can stand in for the Motown horn section and play foregrounded drums, so essential for the mood of the piece:


Reading Room, I give you... Saruman as Amy Winehouse:

"I met you downstairs in Imladris,
You smoked your pipe and you took the Shocked
You said "what became of the One Ring,"
And sniffed me out, that I wanted the thing
'Cause I am that fella that guy
Who is so stella with the trickery and lies
But 'tween Gandalf and Barad-dur
I can't tell which I hate the more.



"I cheated myself
As I knew I would
My crosses all go double
You know I'm no good.




"Upstairs on Orthanc's balcony
Was this how I knew it was gonna be?
The wreck of all that I held dear
Oh Shocked there goes my palantir
Rushed for and grabbed by some halfling critter
I should surrender but I'm far too bitter
I've lost my chance to win the war
Or raise super-orcs on my kitchen floor




"I cheated myself
As I knew I would
My crosses all go double
You know I'm no good."


[Ent vocalisations as per horn instrumental break]
Barrum hoom hoom
Barrum hoom hoom etc.


[the song, should you not happen to know it, is You Know I'm No Good by Amy Winehouse, 2006. Official video here which is also quite a masterpiece, in my opinion. But note it's all very bleak.]

Now as I say on one level I'm taking the Shocked

...though I am not, as it happens smoking a pipe.

But on the other hand...the song seems an almost short-story- like character study. I think it's someone both loving and hating the caught-in-the-middle situation they seem both to engineer and want to escape from, and not sure which of the three parties in it they love or hate the most.

I'm going to ponder whether Saruman is a little like that. Perhaps I should also leave you wanting noir?Smile

Oh but maybe I should say --- The song is a bleak study in romantic (or at least sexual) power-plays, but we don't need to posit those exact emotions when there are so many other strong ones that could also tangle someone up in that love--hate--self-loathing braid. And Amy's song is about the domestic (though the video maybe hints at gangsters and police, with Amy's character as an informer) c.f. whatever emotions are in Saruman's relationships, they feed into the international politics of Middle-earth.

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 9, 3:30pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 9, 4:01pm

Post #41 of 63 (1272 views)
Shortcut
Don't Uglúk Back In Anger, I heard you say? [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, but that's the other Brit pop band ....


Anyway, I agree - I like the humanised orcs, whether it's the gruesome twosome who vie for control of M&P here, or the ones who fail to keep hold of Frodo later on.


But once they have character, I can't go back to seeing them as just mindless monsters. And with that goes some fridge horror for me anyway.

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 9, 4:08pm)


Silvered-glass
Rivendell

Jun 9, 10:32pm

Post #42 of 63 (1252 views)
Shortcut
Replies, part 1 [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
1. Galadriel makes it clear that she did not want Saruman the lead the White Council. Why? What did she know, or suspect? Would Galadriel have seen somewhat of Saruman in the Mirror?


An unpopular opinion: I think Galadriel was jockeying to become selected herself as the compromise candidate, but it didn't work out.


Quote
2. Saruman was the most learned in the White Council about Sauron, and was proud of himself. Sounds a bit like another character who was also smart and learned and proud of himself. His name begins with a "D" and he thought he could take on Sauron mentally. Any ideas?


I think Saruman and Denethor are two characters who are commonly underestimated. There are big differences between the two of them though. Most importantly Saruman is a psychopath and Denethor is not. Saruman and Denethor have their share of similarities but are the opposites in other ways.


Quote
3. Saruman has a hand (white on a black field) in Aragorn's decision. Previously Aragorn was torn about what to do. Aragorn makes his decision based on compassion for Merry and Pippin, not because he believes it's the best way forward to destroy the Ring or defeat Sauron. Did Saruman inadvertently do him a favor?


The plot would have been majorly altered if Saruman's Orcs hadn't been there. It is even possible that Boromir would have survived...

Ironically, I don't think Saruman would have actually tortured Merry and Pippin. I don't think Saruman is that type of character. (Remember, I think Gandalf the White is Saruman.) I think Saruman would have acted friendly and relied on his enchanting skill to get Merry and Pippin to tell everything, possibly while pretending to be Gandalf. So Aragorn set out on his arduous quest to spare Merry and Pippin from a nice dinner and pipeweed, which they ended up getting anyway.


Quote
4. Are they "very like", or is Saruman choosing to mimic Gandalf as one of his "many guises"? Why? Is imitation unwitting flattery?


I think there may be something of a "family resemblance" between the Wizards, so that they have a certain kind of look different from most people. This would make it possible for Saruman to be mistaken as Gandalf even without trying.

In the case of Gandalf the White, I think Saruman wanted to abandon his old identity because he had betrayed pretty much everyone and was headed for an inevitable military defeat against the Ents.


Quote
5. Is Saruman's ability to use birds as spies a similar skill, but corrupted? Are the Crebain themselves evil, or were they neutral and being used by Saruman? What about Saruman's other "friends"? Clearly Eomer is using the word "friends" ironically. Are the "friends" all evil or are they being controlled by Saruman (or a combination?)


There is evidence that the Crebain used by Saruman are undead in how they no longer eat berries from trees like they used to. I think Saruman's research into the arts of the Enemy had included things like necromancy.

I think Saruman is the type to use deception a lot and adapts his tactics to his audience. He is able to deal with individuals as different as Wormtongue and Pippin. The "Saruman" acting as a decoy in Isengard was a poor substitute with a very different underlying personality.


Quote
6. Galadriel didn't think Saruman the wisest of the wizards, but he's getting plenty of confirmation from the Uruk-hai. Did Saruman crave praise that much?


I think Saruman had to do his best to impress the Orcs into obeying, and Uglúk as one of the most talented military leaders in the entire book is keeping up that in order to motivate his troops.


Quote
7. How did the Isengard orcs get north to Parth Galen without being noticed in Rohan? Eomer found them pretty fast when they came back south.


The Orcs would have taken the long way around and skirted Rohan's borders rather than taking the shortest route.


Quote
8. Did tension between the Isengard/Mordor orcs serve to help the hobbits escape? Is Grishnakh's opinion likely widely held in Lugberz? Did Sauron overestimate his control over Saruman?


Uglúk had dealt with the tension already, as much as it could be done. Merry and Pippin's escape was due to Grishnákh's personal ambition and desire for the One Ring.

It seems that there was plenty of political discussion going on in the lower ranks of Mordor (as can also be seen with Shagrat and Gorbag) and that discussion could be surprisingly well-informed. For Grishnákh to have heard what he did, plenty of others would have also.


Quote
8b.In our discussion last week, NoWiz included a excerpt from "John Brown's Body" that pointed out how military planning fails when it does not account for the behaviour of soldiers. Did Saruman failure to understand the motivation and actions of orcs?


I think Saruman understood Orcs entirely well. He promised them man-flesh and managed to build a functioning military organization.


Quote
9. Apparently Treebeard sees in hindsight the same thing as Galadriel. Did Saruman begin to turn when "He gave up wandering about and minding the affairs of Men and Elves" or when "his fame began to grow", or both, or something else? What does "plotting to become a Power" mean? He's already a Maiar, does it mean he wants to be something more?


I think Power = Vala. That's what the word Vala means.

I think Saruman was always a power-hungry psychopath even though he was good at mimicking normality. I think his true nature didn't change even when his alliances did.


Quote
10. Was Saruman's politeness real or feigned when he had a cordial relationship with Treebeard? Is Treebeards use of "neighbour" important? Does Treebeard only care about what happens within a certain geographic distance? Is Treebeard speaking for the author when he says "a mind of metal and wheels; and he does not care for growing things"?


I think Saruman is the type of person to be polite by default because it doesn't cost anything but makes other people more likely to be compliant.

By the way, that "mind of metal and wheels" is intriguing. I'm getting visions of the Wizards as humanoid robots. Possible science fiction elements are an interesting tangent, but Tolkien never did a proper follow-up where he might have perhaps developed this theme further. I think he might have meant to, but found himself overtaken by the progress of the science to the point that his originally planned plot ended up obsoleted before it was written. (I'm thinking about stuff like how the Sun being powered by nuclear fusion means that it won't run out of fuel in mere thousands of years, so that any plots based on the Sun burning out need to be revised or abandoned.)


Quote
11. Why is Saruman's genetic engineering worse that just associating with Orcs? Is is because he is tampering with the created order? Is that the sort of thing that Tolk, er, Treebeard would have found revolting?


It sounds like Treebeard is opposed to race-mixing, which is strange because Ents are made of different species of tree and consider each other as just male or female Ents, which makes Ent reproduction a major mystery.


Quote
12. Is Saruman "inadvertently helping" a theme? Is there a higher power involved in making that happen? Did Saruman underestimate the Ents or overestimate his own powers?


I think Gandalf the White, being Saruman, couldn't resist saying a nice thing about Saruman. I think at that point of the story Saruman is helping fully intentionally, so "inadvertently helping" isn't a theme. It wasn't the plan Saruman had for his future though when he first decided to betray Sauron.


oliphaunt
Lorien


Jun 9, 11:36pm

Post #43 of 63 (1247 views)
Shortcut
Orc diet really offends [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm less sympathetic 'cos of the "manflesh" part.


*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***


sevilodorf
Tol Eressea

Jun 9, 11:59pm

Post #44 of 63 (1243 views)
Shortcut
Reminds me of Lewis's The Last Battle [In reply to] Can't Post

When Aslan tells Emeth ... I take to me the services which thou hast done to him, for I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me; and noservice which is not vile can be done to him.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com
Home of TheOneRing.net Best FanFic stories of 2005 and 2006 "The Last Grey Ship" and "Ashes, East Wind, Hope That Rises" by Erin Rua

(Found in Mathoms, LOTR Tales Untold)




oliphaunt
Lorien


Jun 10, 12:14am

Post #45 of 63 (1240 views)
Shortcut
Saruman the Salesman? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
There is evidence that the Crebain used by Saruman are undead in how they no longer eat berries from trees like they used to.


Or that they have turned into carrion-eaters and don't eat fruit any more. True, Sauron is sometimes named 'Necromancer', but I think that refers to the Nazgul who never actually die. The Witch King of Angmar sent the Wights to the Barrow-downs, but they were spirits without bodies. Even Aragorn has dealings with the Army of the Dead, but they are also incorporeal. Gandalf is reincarnated with his same spirit in a new body. Elves have been reincarnated as well. There aren't any re-animated corpses. And Saruman is never shown with any connections to the dead.


Quote
think Saruman is the type of person to be polite by default because it doesn't cost anything but makes other people more likely to be compliant.


This may well be true! If he could keep his arrogance in check...

Instead of scouring the Shire, he and Bill Ferny should have set up a used car, er, used pony, lot in Bree.


*** Middle Earth Inexpert ***

(This post was edited by oliphaunt on Jun 10, 12:15am)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 10, 2:00pm

Post #46 of 63 (1207 views)
Shortcut
And they didn’t seem interested in eating womanflesh [In reply to] Can't Post

Which makes them sexist. (I think)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 10, 4:25pm

Post #47 of 63 (1196 views)
Shortcut
Maybe we need "The Orcs" as a character study? [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps just in one week to do Ugluk/Grishnakh and Gorbag/Shagrat all at once; or some other and perhaps longer scheme that appeals more to participants.

There is, clearly some interest.

But it should join the queue: Treebeard, then Faramir have already been suggested as subjects, and probably ought to go next.


~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 10, 4:40pm

Post #48 of 63 (1197 views)
Shortcut
Or maybe they are *Fine Young Cannibals*? [In reply to] Can't Post

Or maybe they are Fine Young Cannibals and don't eat women because "She Drives Me Crazy" ?

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


Morthoron
Gondor


Jun 10, 7:59pm

Post #49 of 63 (1179 views)
Shortcut
Oh, I am fairly certain they'd eat womanflesh.... [In reply to] Can't Post

But I haven't kept abreast of those specific tenderloins.





Silvered-glass
Rivendell

Jun 10, 10:14pm

Post #50 of 63 (1162 views)
Shortcut
Replies, part 2 [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
13. Can we add human trafficking to Saruman's many offenses?


At that point in the story Saruman hadn't done anything to Éowyn, but we do learn later on that Saruman had slaves to farm fresh food for him in Isengard. However this might not be technically illegal if we consider Isengard an independent polity.


In Reply To
14. Gandalf also knows how to make gunpowder, but appears to only use it to entertain hobbits on summer evenings. Does this mean it is the use, not the tool, that is wrong?


I don't think gunpowder is an intrinsically bad thing in Tolkien's world, though it may be suspicious. I think a very good argument can be made for Númenor having had gunpowder as well as guns, but that technology ended up getting lost at some point.


In Reply To
15. How good/bad were Saruman's military expertise and decisions? If he and Sauron had been "working together" instead of Saruman trying to get the Ring for himself would the outcome have been different? How useful was the Palantir to Saruman?


Saruman's military decisions in the case of Helm's Deep are absolute incompetence. It's almost like Saruman is making the absolute worst decisions he possibly could and losing on purpose. In fact I think Saruman actually was losing on purpose because he had switched sides and his main identity was now Gandalf the White. He was playing a game of chess against himself and he was determined to have Rohan win (because it was the side that wasn't going to lose to the Ents in the short term) and make sure that he himself would play a heroic part in that victory. In that Saruman succeeded admirably.

To elaborate, Saruman arranges it so that no part of his army attacks softer targets such as the outlying farms or Edoras, but instead the Orcs all waste their strength on the walls of Hornburg where the defender has the biggest advantage in all of Rohan. (Saruman as Gandalf the White also makes sure than Hornburg has plenty of defenders to keep it from falling.) Then at the break of dawn Saruman as Gandalf rides in with reinforcements and executes a pincer movement on the weary remainder of his army.


In Reply To
16. Were the Dunlendings,a bit like the birds, less culpable since they were swayed by Saruman's powers? Would it be easier to control birds or men? Is Erkenbrand's compassion and mercy, not unlike Aragorn's in deciding to track the orcs who captured Merry and Pippin, another enduring theme in LOTR?


I think Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli were also swayed by Saruman's powers (see the chapter The White Rider), so the Dunlendings are in good company.


In Reply To
17. Was Saruman's interest in the Shire due to Gandalf's interest in the Shire? Is he covering all angles, or does he realize that Gandalf knows something that Saruman doesn't?


I think Saruman's interest in the Shire may have been sparked by Gandalf's interest, but by this time in the story Saruman's interest would have been mainly in importing large amounts of food to feed his armies. He was willing and able to pay for that too. And so he destabilized the Shire economy, probably more or less by accident, to the point where his liaison Lotho could just buy most of the Shire with Saruman's coin.


In Reply To
18. Why did Saruman take up smoking a pipe? Was this "a little copy" of Gandalf? Does he ever have an original idea?


In that Saruman was probably indeed inspired by Gandalf.


In Reply To
19. Did he had greater responsibility as he came from a higher place, with more'gifts'?


The conversation this question is referring to is ironic, because the participants have no idea that Gandalf the White is Saruman. Merry imagines that Saruman lacks grit when the opposite is true.


In Reply To
20. How about readers? Without the backstory of the Maiar, one might think of Saruman (and Gandalf) as rather clever Men. We know they are "more", but does, or should, that change the prism for viewing wizards? Gandalf talks about his responsibilities and obligations. Did Saruman ever think of himself in that way?


Saruman's (Gandalf the White's) line "Saruman as he should have been" demonstrates that Saruman had an idea of what he was supposed to do, even if he had fallen away from that path.


In Reply To
21. Would you say that Saruman's treachery is as bad, if less effective, and more recent, than Sauron's?


This is a really difficult question made even more difficult by the dissimilarities in the situation. I would say that Saruman is likely the single biggest traitor in the entire history of the Middle-earth, winning the "treachery" category of the comparison, but just betraying everyone he possibly could does not necessarily allow someone to qualify as "as bad" overall when the competition is Sauron.


In Reply To
22. Was Saruman's wizardry "falling off"? Is the "wizardry" of Orthanc stronger than Saruman's? Were wizards less powerful in ME than they were before incarnation?


I think Saruman's wizardry was as effective as ever and if anything was improved by age and experience. Saruman's deception was heavily dependent on him being able to pick the right words, and that is the sort of area where life experience matters a lot. I think Saruman was also in possession of Narya.


In Reply To
23. Gandalf's power certainly increased, if you compare his difficulty in opening Moria gate to his mastery at Helm's Deep. Was the title "The White" available after Saruman rejected whiteness for "Many Colours"? Or would Gandalf have become "The White" regardless?


As I think Gandalf the White = Saruman, I think Saruman never rejected whiteness, but instead considered the title of the White more integral to his identity than his current name and so kept using that epithet even as "Gandalf".


In Reply To
24. It's common in Tolkien analysis to see the Maiar likened to angels. Is this a good way to describe the wizards or don't they equate to angels? How about demi-gods? Or a mash-up?


I'd say something akin to incarnations of angels, though there is no mention of them ever having been born the normal way. Maybe angels uploaded to a robot's brain? That may be too much science fiction though.


In Reply To
25. Saruman is associated with machinery in a very negative way. In LOTR is technology a kind of magic? Can it be used for good as well as evil? Saruman studied the Rings and the Palantiri. Are Palantiri and Rings of Power a kind of technology?


The question of magic and technology in LotR has enough material a big discussion. I think in LotR advanced magic may be indeed indistinguishable from science, but Tolkien never went into the technical details. Certainly if you consider the makings of the Rings of Power, there appears to have been some sort of developed science to them, allowing Celebrimbor to achieve predictable results. Then on the other side of the science/magic division many people have noted that the ships departing from the Grey Havens along the straight path bear a resemblance to spaceships... It is a very interesting topic.

First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.