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Character of Saruman #4 Scouring of the Shire- Saruman's schemes in The Shire, his confrontation with Frodo and his death.
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elentari3018
Rohan


Jun 20 2023, 3:46am

Post #1 of 47 (2633 views)
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Character of Saruman #4 Scouring of the Shire- Saruman's schemes in The Shire, his confrontation with Frodo and his death. Can't Post

Sorry i've been sparse in here- i promise i will also add two cents to the other Saruman threads. :)

Scouring of the Shire is one of my favorite chapters and writing about Saruman or providing discussion points is my pleasure to do so and hope that i will do ok. :)

I feel like this chapter did an excellent job in telling us that the Shire is not how the hobbits left it and there was someone bigger in charge of how the Shire has changed. I will keep this not hobbit-centric but show us the signs that there is someone bigger than Lotho Pimple behind all of the havoc that is wrecked on the Shire.

1) The name Sharkey, first mentioned by the man at the gate. Do we have a translation of that?I think it meant “old man” sharku–Can we shed some light on the linguistic aspect of this term that Tolkien chose?

Mentions of Sharkey throughout the chapter:

[quote}“Who is this Sharkey?” said Merry, “I heard one of the ruffians speak of him”

“The biggest ruffian o’ the lot, seemingly,” answered Cotton. “It was about last harvest, end o’ September maybe, that we first heard of him. We’ve never seen him, but he’s up at Bag End; and he’s the real Chief now, I guess.”


[b}2) When do you think Sharkey started to invade the Shire and take advantage of the pipeweed? When did Saraman start his interest in the Shire? Did he follow Gandalf and make his own scheme there?

3) How do you think he got into Lotho’s head to dominate him?

4) How much has Frodo grown to resist vengeance without striking Saruman back?

There is always a theme of redemption of oneself. How did Saruman not redeem himself? For him to fall so far as a wizard is not at all what the Valar intended when they sent this Maia over to Middle-earth. Describe his descent and the many foreshadowing facts that led to this moment. I feel like hobbits are not naturally vengeance seeking folk and that is when Saruman’s voice failed a the end when Frodo did not strike him back when he tried to kill Frodo. I was so caught off guard by that but that really shows how low Saruman has fallen. This is a huge discussion point with the chapter and i hope we can have more viewpoints about how Saruman fell so low and what caused him to become so petty and vicious.


Quote
No doubt, no doubt! But you did not and so I am able to welcome you home,” There standing at the door was Saruan himself looking well-fed and well-pleased; his eyes gleamed with malice and amusement.

So you have heard the name, have you? All my people used to call me that in Isengard, I believe. A sign of affection possibly. But evidently you did not expect to see me here.

“One ill turn deserves another”


5) Why is Saruman so vengeful of the hobbits? Were they the last resort that he could’ve affected? His real interest was the Ring at first- why the hobbits? Was it purely commercial interest at first with the pipeweed and then it turned out to be conquest of their land?

I can quote the whole second to last page of “Scouring” with the Frodo and Saruman exchange but i’ll highlight the critical points for discussion.


Quote
“Kill him, if you think there are enough of you, my brave hobbits! But do not think that when I lost all my goods I lost all my power! Whoever strikes me shall be accursed. And fi my blood stains the Shire, it shall wither and never again be healed.”


Saruman’s voice is indeed still very powerful at this juncture. He is a wizard and I felt like i would not be brave to strike him as well. Imagine, the hobbits having the make a choice in that.

Fortunately Frodo does not want to kill him.

Quote
Do not believe him! He has lost all power, save his voice that can still daunt you and deceive you, if you let it. But I will not have him slain. It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing. Go , Saruman, by the speediest way!”


And even when Saruman aims to kill Frodo, Frodo does not have him slain.


Quote
No, Sam! Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.”



Quote
You have grown, Halfilng, Yes you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in depth to your mercy. I hate it and you! Well I go and I will trouble you no more. But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell.


6) I’m glad that Saruman has seen that Frodo has grown. But does Saruman realize the extent that he has fallen? How powerful was this exchange between Frodo and Saruman ?
Then we have the bit about Lotho being killed by Wormtongue in his sleep.

7) Why do you think Saruman had to tell this? Do you think he does not fear death by hobbits even though Frodo told them not to? Saruman gave the doom to himself since Wormtongue ultimately kills him. Please discuss this turn of events.


Quote
To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looming to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.
Frodo looked down at the body with pity and horror, for as he looked it seemed that long years of death were suddenly revealed in it, and it shrank, and the shriveled face became rags of skin upon a hideous skull.”


8) Where did Saruman’s spirit go? Did the West also reject his spirit? Is there no space for him in the Hall of Mandos ? What happens to a fallen wizard
Also, Frodo sees that the face became rags of skin upon a hideous skull– that is a fast dissolution. Do all wizards have this kind of fate when dead or only fallen wizards?

9) What if Saruman did not reveal how Lotho died? Would he have died at this instant by the hands of Wormtongue or would have wandered elsewhere and caused havoc?

10) What do you think Gandalf would have thought about what happened in the Shire? Did he know that Saruman would do this?

Sorry if this was all over the place, but I do welcome more thoughts and may post more later in reply to myself.

Thank you.

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


(This post was edited by elentari3018 on Jun 20 2023, 3:52am)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 20 2023, 8:27am

Post #2 of 47 (2545 views)
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The end of the Dark Lord path? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for starting us off elentari3018! Of course you are 'doing ok'!!!Smile

I too like the Scouring if the Shire chapter too, partly I think because when I first read the book I didn't really understand why it was there. Since then I have developed some ideas.

But coming at it as part of a study of Saruman's character arc, I suddenly feel I've really under-estimated the extent to which this part of the story might need to be there to show something about Saruman.

In a discussion of this chapter a few years back, I used a quote from Letters about Tom Bombadill. I used it to suggest it had something to do with the Scouring, and I'm going to offer it again now as something that might be to do with Saruman:

Quote
Tom Bombadill is not an important person - to the narrative.


...I would not, however, have left him in if he did not have some kind of function. I might put it this way. The story is cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object except power, and so on; but both sides want a measure of control, but if you have, as it were taken a ‘vow of poverty’ renounced control, and take your delight in things themselves without reference to yourself, watching, observing, and to some extent knowing, then the question of the rights and wrongs of power and control might become utterly meaningless to you, and the means of power quite valueless. It is a natural pacifist view, which always arises in the mind when there is a war. But the view of Rivendell seems to be that it is an excellent thing to have represented, but there are in fact things with which it cannot cope; and upon which its existence nonetheless depends. Ultimately only the victory of the West will allow Bombadil to continue, or even to survive. Nothing would be left to him in the world of Sauron.

Tolkien Letters #144

My previous use of this was to suggest That the idyll of The Shire might also be "an excellent thing to have represented, but there are in fact things with which it cannot cope; and upon which its existence nonetheless depends". That is, viewing Scouring as being (partly) about the limits of pacifism.


What I want to pick out this time around is what I'm seeing as a description of what each and every Dark Lord might be like, and that maybe this chapter is partly about Tolkien showing that very clearly:

Tolkien said:
"...beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object except power, and so on..."

Giving us, I think a list of Dark Lord characteristics:
  1. ruthless ugliness
  2. tyranny
  3. compulsion that has long lost any object except power
I am wondering whether we need to see Saruman's efforts to make the Shire more squalid as these goals showing up all the more clearly because they are so much not in the service of anything else.

Time was, I think, that Saruman was using the Shire as a colony - for ruthless resource extraction (particularly of his favourite luxury crop pipe weed) and to benefit interests outside the Shire. That was causing social, economic and environmental problems, but those were a secondary result of feeding the Isengard war machine (and Saruman's nicotine cravings). A motive that is familiar enough in the real world.

Now the smashing and spoiling is all that is left (except of course the wish that through it Saruman can be 'revenged' on the hobbits, as a proxy for being revenged on the now inassailable Gandalf).


What a place to end up having started as the respected chief Wizard, and having proceeded via 'Knowledge, Rule, Order' and a new kind of super-orc to this!


I think we see this less clearly with Sauron because he is toppled while still very powerful. But I think it could well be there. We are told that Sauron wants to conquer the world, but never why. It doesn't seem that the forces of Sauron have any political, religious, patriotic or other motivation. When Frodo and Sam are in Mordor we don't hear any ideology from the orcs. Nothing to say that there are regular rallies or sermons to fire them up. It's all sadism, violence and fear. It's kill, smash, burn, pollute and defile as an end in itself.

So maybe Tolkien is using Saruman's vandalism of the Shire to show full-blown, late-stage Darklordism, now stripped of any confusing trappings of faith, policy, defending factional interest, "you'll thank me in the long run", "ends justify the means" stuff?


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

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 20 2023, 8:32am)


Silvered-glass
Lorien

Jun 20 2023, 2:15pm

Post #3 of 47 (2536 views)
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Sharkey and Lotho [In reply to] Can't Post

About "Gandalf the White = Saruman", I am very sorry that I was unable to finish the revised post explaining this in detail because of various distractions and also because a detailed explanation with all the book quotes turned out to be very long.

Gandalf the White = Saruman (the real one)
Sharkey = the missing Radagast
I have given here and elsewhere enough to figure out the theory, so you can do it yourself if you put the attention to it.

------


In Reply To
1) The name Sharkey, first mentioned by the man at the gate. Do we have a translation of that?I think it meant “old man” sharku–Can we shed some light on the linguistic aspect of this term that Tolkien chose?


According to Tolkien Sharkû = "old man" in Orcish.

Sharkû in that tongue means old man.
- Appendix F


In Reply To
2) When do you think Sharkey started to invade the Shire and take advantage of the pipeweed? When did Saraman start his interest in the Shire? Did he follow Gandalf and make his own scheme there?


Saruman first developed an interest in importing pipe-weed years before. Otho may have been Saruman's original trading partner.


In Reply To
3) How do you think he got into Lotho’s head to dominate him?


I'm not so sure Saruman ever mind-controlled Lotho. I think it's possible that Lotho's deficiencies as a ruler are because of his own character flaws. Lobelia was widely unpopular, and what little we know of Otho portrays him in an unlikable light. Having these two as parents could have caused all sorts of emotional issues.

Shire didn't mint its own coinage, so Saruman pouring in vast amounts of money from outside the normal circulation to mass buy agricultural products at a premium to support Isengard's armies made the entire system unbalanced. The Sackville-Bagginses appear to have been shrewd negotiators and so ended up with enough cash to buy the entire Shire.

I think Lotho tried to rule the Shire as best he could, but his "best" was unconcerned with other people's opinions and tyrannical. Of all the characters, Lotho may have been the one to most closely resemble Sauron. Also like Sauron, Lotho is a character on the periphery of the story despite his importance to the plot, or at least the part of the plot that concerns the Shire, and his true character has to be inferred by his effects on the world.

Then later on Sharkey arrived, but he had no interest in Lotho's ambitious reforms. Sharkey just wanted to lash out and destroy.


In Reply To
4) How much has Frodo grown to resist vengeance without striking Saruman back?


Frodo is very smart and has good control of his emotions. He was like that even early on in the story, but his pacifism is new. Nevertheless even the early Frodo might well have realized that triggering a Wizard's death curse would be a bad thing to do. The early Frodo would not necessarily have had the commanding presence to pull that off though.


In Reply To
5) Why is Saruman so vengeful of the hobbits? Were they the last resort that he could’ve affected? His real interest was the Ring at first- why the hobbits? Was it purely commercial interest at first with the pipeweed and then it turned out to be conquest of their land?


An unpopular suggestion: Treebeard.

Treebeard gave Gandalf a long look, almost a cunning look, Merry thought. "Ah!" he said. "I thought you would come to that. Weary of Orthanc? Very weary at last; but not so weary of his tower as he was weary of my voice. Hoom! I gave him some long tales, or at least what might be thought long in your speech."

"Then why did he stay to listen? Did you go into Orthanc?" asked Gandalf.

"
Hoom, no, not into Orthanc!" said Treebeard. "But he came to his window and listened, because he could not get news in any other way, and though he hated the news, he was greedy to have it; and I saw that he heard it all. But I added a great many things to the news that it was good for him to think of. He grew very weary. He always was hasty. That was his ruin."

- Many Partings

In the Shire Sharkey had a special interest in felling trees. The rest of the villainy may be simply because Treebeard mentioned that he liked hobbits or because something in the news that Treebeard had narrated.

(By the way, this all reminds me a lot of what happened to Húrin... Treebeard has a cruel streak.)


In Reply To
6) I’m glad that Saruman has seen that Frodo has grown. But does Saruman realize the extent that he has fallen? How powerful was this exchange between Frodo and Saruman ?


I think Sharkey's view of himself as a fallen being is limited to material aspects and fall from power. He wasn't going to repent, and Frodo had no power to change that.


In Reply To
Then we have the bit about Lotho being killed by Wormtongue in his sleep.

7) Why do you think Saruman had to tell this? Do you think he does not fear death by hobbits even though Frodo told them not to? Saruman gave the doom to himself since Wormtongue ultimately kills him. Please discuss this turn of events.


I think Sharkey didn't particularly want to live any more. He was intentionally baiting the hobbits so that they would kill him and trigger his death curse. (Could a curse like that have been responsible for the Brown Lands?)


In Reply To
8) Where did Saruman’s spirit go? Did the West also reject his spirit? Is there no space for him in the Hall of Mandos ? What happens to a fallen wizard
Also, Frodo sees that the face became rags of skin upon a hideous skull– that is a fast dissolution. Do all wizards have this kind of fate when dead or only fallen wizards?


I think it's possible that Sharkey was already dead. Wizards are in The Unfinished Tales stated to age very slowly, so they would still need to have been alive and so would have been capable of dying... and becoming undead. I think Sharkey was likely Radagast the Brown turned into a malevolent undead being who did errands for Saruman and also served as Saruman's substitute when the real Saruman needed to be elsewhere. Sharkey in the Shire


In Reply To
9) What if Saruman did not reveal how Lotho died? Would he have died at this instant by the hands of Wormtongue or would have wandered elsewhere and caused havoc?


I think Wormtongue would probably have reached his breaking point at a later point, but quite possibly not all that much later.


In Reply To
10) What do you think Gandalf would have thought about what happened in the Shire? Did he know that Saruman would do this?


Gandalf the White is an optimist, so I think Sharkey surpassed Gandalf the White's expectations for mischief, and he didn't guess at Lotho's independent role. I think Gandalf the White is also a psychopath, so he wouldn't have been particularly bothered by the destruction, though he would have feigned compassion for the sake of appearances.


elentari3018
Rohan


Jun 21 2023, 12:51am

Post #4 of 47 (2497 views)
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Thanks for your points! [In reply to] Can't Post

I always thought that "sharku" was a clever name and i like being reminded where we found it- (Appendix F)

For the question on Lotho, i didn't mean literally mind control but when did Sharkey first try to take over the Shire in the fashion of controlling the mayor. I remember Tom Cotton or Ham Gamgee saying that things got bad when the Travellers left. Did word get to Saruman to start mischief by sending spies to the Shire when everyone is busy looking for the Ring?


Quote
I think Lotho tried to rule the Shire as best he could, but his "best" was unconcerned with other people's opinions and tyrannical. Of all the characters, Lotho may have been the one to most closely resemble Sauron. Also like Sauron, Lotho is a character on the periphery of the story despite his importance to the plot, or at least the part of the plot that concerns the Shire, and his true character has to be inferred by his effects on the world.

I never thought if Lotho as being Sauron like- he always just fought with Frodo for the inheritance of Bag End-- would he have gotten greedy too with the trade plans with Saruman? And you did mention Otho being the first to trade with Saruman?


Quote
Gandalf the White is an optimist, so I think Sharkey surpassed Gandalf the White's expectations for mischief, and he didn't guess at Lotho's independent role. I think Gandalf the White is also a psychopath, so he wouldn't have been particularly bothered by the destruction, though he would have feigned compassion for the sake of appearances.

I never agreed that Gandalf left the hobbits at the end. Saruman's quote about him using the hobbits and not helping them at the end really rang true with me. Why did he have to see Bombadil in the end? He coudl've faced off with Saruman himself. I don't really understand Gandalf at times and he does seem to have feigned compassion as you mentioned.

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


elentari3018
Rohan


Jun 21 2023, 12:54am

Post #5 of 47 (2494 views)
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good points [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Time was, I think, that Saruman was using the Shire as a colony - for ruthless resource extraction (particularly of his favourite luxury crop pipe weed) and to benefit interests outside the Shire. That was causing social, economic and environmental problems, but those were a secondary result of feeding the Isengard war machine (and Saruman's nicotine cravings). A motive that is familiar enough in the real world.

That would be in line with conquering all of MIddle-earth and Saruman would be the one to do so. IF the Shire was not free and if the Battle of Bywater did go ill, i wonder if Aragorn would've taken matters in his own hands to help the Shire. That would be a good point to think about.
Saruman was always around in the Shire to do some mischief and i'm glad the hobbits went back in time to stop him from more damage than he did. It was a sad scene with the hobbits looking at Bag End all destroyed and full of pollution. It is said that it was Tolkien's idea of what industrialization did to his own Sarehole.

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


Silvered-glass
Lorien

Jun 21 2023, 6:19am

Post #6 of 47 (2479 views)
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Lotho, the Overlooked Villain [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
For the question on Lotho, i didn't mean literally mind control but when did Sharkey first try to take over the Shire in the fashion of controlling the mayor. I remember Tom Cotton or Ham Gamgee saying that things got bad when the Travellers left. Did word get to Saruman to start mischief by sending spies to the Shire when everyone is busy looking for the Ring?


If we assume Sharkey and Wormtongue took the shortest road to the Shire after the meeting on the road while the hobbits made the detour to visit Rivendell, we can calculate a rough estimate for when Sharkey would have arrived. He would have then taken over immediately because he was a Wizard and Lotho just a hobbit with money.


In Reply To
I never thought if Lotho as being Sauron like- he always just fought with Frodo for the inheritance of Bag End-- would he have gotten greedy too with the trade plans with Saruman? And you did mention Otho being the first to trade with Saruman?


Lotho took over the Shire and started making up tyrannical new rules that were supposed to improve things but actually made everything worse. Lotho also had brutal Orc-like enforcers and an interest in developing productivity with technology. I think most likely Saruman was in this merely an enabler in that trade with him allowed the Sackville-Bagginses to grow rich and powerful beyond their original station.

Lotho also reminds me of a Frodo as a Ringlord. You could say that Lotho is Frodo's shadow even though there is no indication that Lotho ever had a Ring of Power, just a lot of gold and ambition. Lotho having gained a Ring of Power from somewhere would fit his loss of ordinary hobbit sense but cause other issues with the plot, complicating it with no payoff.

We don't know when Saruman first started his interest in the Shire, but I think it's likely that his pipe-weed purchases have been going on for more than a few years. So we need to consider the possibility that Lotho wasn't Saruman's first trading partner but merely inherited the profitable export business that became even more profitable once Saruman started to need to feed armies.


In Reply To
[I never agreed that Gandalf left the hobbits at the end. Saruman's quote about him using the hobbits and not helping them at the end really rang true with me. Why did he have to see Bombadil in the end? He coudl've faced off with Saruman himself. I don't really understand Gandalf at times and he does seem to have feigned compassion as you mentioned.


Given that I think Gandalf the White = Saruman, I think Saruman posing as Gandalf would have put his false identity into danger by allowing himself to interact with a place and people that Gandalf the Grey had known much better than Saruman. Also, Saruman didn't really consider the issue of "Sharkey" threatening the Shire very important for himself.


Felagund
Rohan


Jun 21 2023, 7:38pm

Post #7 of 47 (2458 views)
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evil, dissipated and 'unanchored' [In reply to] Can't Post

Great questions and framing and yes, I agree with you, this is amazing chapter. And one of the hardest hitting, I reckon. Consequences played out, to the bitter end:

  • for the Shire and its population. The War left nothing untouched in the end, even those who were content to keep out of the worldly affairs. This proved a false hope, sadly;

  • for our returning heroes. Heroes very much touched by the War already but hankering for their nostos, to stray into Homeric terminology for a moment. Home isn't as they left it, and like Odysseus on the brink of his long-delayed return to Ithaka, there is much fact-finding, planning, identification of traitors and villains, and violence to be had before a full home-coming can be achieved;

  • for those who trafficked with the Devil, even if Saruman was a much reduced Devil by this stage. Lotho, murdered in his sleep and possibly cannibalised; Ted Sandyman, stranded on the wrong side of history (and technology);

  • for Saruman and Wormtongue. Both killed but before then, fully displayed for all to see in their most degraded state.


  • I don't have much to add to the excellent answers and reflections you've already had. I'll linger on Question 8 though. I don't reckon Saruman's spirit would have gone to the Halls of Mandos. Saruman was of the Ainur, so the body he wore was literally like clothing. Clothing that could be destroyed, yes but as an Ainu, even of the lesser order (the Maiar), it was still 'raiment' (to use Tolkien's term) rather than substance. The entity that was known as Saruman in Middle-earth was first and foremost a spirit, rather than an Incarnate composed of two parts, a fëa and a hröa. Incarnates, also known as the Children of Ilúvatar, were unique in that respect.

    Instead, what I reckon is happening with the death scene you refer to is, as you put it, a rejection by the West. Where might a disembodied Ainu look to go after the destruction of their adopted physical form? To Valinor, most likely. This is presumably where Gandalf journeyed after his body expired atop Zirakzigil, and where Saruman, vainly, appears to have contemplated - before the symbolic rejection by the 'cold wind'. I may be reading more into it than there is but that the rejection is in the form of a gust may well be very deliberate as a device: an expression by the Lord of Valinor himself, Manwë Súlimo, 'The Lord of the Breath of Arda'.

    In this way, Saruman still exists but is too weakened and reduced to take new 'raiment', a new physical form. Just as Sauron was permanently crippled once the One Ring, and along with it much of his own 'native essence', was destroyed. Tolkien got into this in the essays that CJRT collected up in 'Myths Transformed' (Morgoth's Ring, HoMe 10). The text, in Note VIII, is referring to fate of fallen Maiar such as Balrogs, 'Boldog' Orcs and Sauron but it fits equally Saruman's situation, I reckon:


    Quote
    "... until released by death (killing), and they would dwindle in force. When released they would, of course, like Sauron, be 'damned': ie. reduced to impotence, infintiely recessive: still hating but unable more and more to make it effective physically..."


    The description of the 'killing' of the much grander entity (and indeed fall), Morgoth is described in similar terms, in Note VII of the same essay collection. The execution, by the Valar, of Morgoth's physical form after the War of Wrath, doesn't expunge Morgoth from existence. Rather, he is too weak to reconstitute himself, and is in effect "houseless" and "unanchored", to use Tolkien's terms. I won't go into here that Tolkien did go on to speculate that Morgoth might have been a special case, in that perhaps he could have 'rebuilt' a physical form, given enough time...! Although the point remains that there's a massive power scale difference between Prime Evil and those who were his servants or copyists.

    This material is written after the publication of LotR but, according to CJRT, not long after - still in the 1950s. And the context is Tolkien revising much older material, pre-dating LotR

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


    Felagund
    Rohan


    Jun 21 2023, 7:46pm

    Post #8 of 47 (2457 views)
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    pipe(weed) dreams [In reply to] Can't Post

    I agree, the pipe-weed purchases would have been going on for some years prior to the War of the Ring - noWizardme's 'colonial' reference is an apt one.

    Digging into 'The Hunt for the Ring' (Unfinished Tales), we see, in a CJRT gloss, that Saruman has been trafficking with the Bracegirdle and Sackville-Baggins families from before Lotho's emergence as a would-be Shire king-pin. In fact, Lotho is a 'scion' of both families and as we don't hear of another member of the Bracegirdle family active at the time of the Scouring of the Shire (apart from Lobelia, of course), perhaps Lotho inherited - or seized - both patrimonies. Speculation on my part there!

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    Felagund
    Rohan


    Jun 21 2023, 8:32pm

    Post #9 of 47 (2457 views)
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    'the ruinous path' [In reply to] Can't Post

    As it's expressed in the 'Valaquenta', in the context of Sauron following in the footsteps of his master. A suitably dark passage for a Dark Lord!

    The culmination of the path, walked in the pursuit of selfish power, is, ironically, utter impotence. Morgoth, Sauron, the Balrogs, Saruman - all of them stripped of their physical forms, still full of hate and rage but dissipated and blown to the winds.

    I like your list of Dark Lord characteristics. I reckon it's reasonably discernible that Sauron had a plan though, in the Second Age at any rate - along the lines of: accept me as dictator and I'll restore order to, and heal the wounds of, post-War of Wrath Middle-earth. Which then degenerates into something more along the lines of 'change of plans; the only way this is going to work is if you submit to me as your god-king'. By the events of LotR, I reckon your list pretty much captures him though.

    Sauron is indeed very much more powerful at the point of his defeat, compared to Saruman. I'd say too that this is still a pretty degraded edition of Sauron though, and not just morally. He's a shadow of his former strength and I'm not even sure the restoration of the One Ring to his hand would have changed that fundamentally. His 'death' in the cataclysmic fall of Númenor knocks him down a peg or two, to the point that he loses his ability to shape-shift into fair form. His second 'death' at the hands of Gil-galad and Elendil won't have improved matters (nicely covered in Letter 200, as Sauron's expenditure of "the inherent energy of the spirit"). And Sauron's post-Akallabêth state is characterised by Tolkien as "diminished" due to "having expended enormous energy in the corruption of Númenor" (Letter 211).

    He's powerful at the end of the Third Age but only in comparison to everyone else left, I suppose is my rambling point. At least Sauron's not forced to wander the lands for a bit, with only Shagrat for company, only to suffer the final insult of death by slipping on a banana peel whilst trying to get a license to establish a jewellery pawnshop in a down-at-heel suburb of the Iron Hills. Unless that hitherto lost Tolkien draft has been found, of course...?

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    Asger
    Rivendell


    Jun 21 2023, 10:26pm

    Post #10 of 47 (2447 views)
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    Sharkey - Sharku [In reply to] Can't Post

    I wonder if it’s related to the name Sharbhund? Shar-bhund meaning Bald Hill (or head), so in a way ‘bald man’ ~ ‘old man’, not nessesarily meaning that Saruman is bald

    "Don't take life seriously, it ain't nohow permanent!" Pogo
    www.willy-centret.dk


    oliphaunt
    Lorien


    Jun 21 2023, 10:59pm

    Post #11 of 47 (2447 views)
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    Mercy, or something else? [In reply to] Can't Post


    Quote
    4) How much has Frodo grown to resist vengeance without striking Saruman back?


    Frodo, in 'The Shadow of the Past':


    Quote
    'I am sorry,' said Frodo. 'But I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.'
    'You have not seen him,' Gandalf broke in.
    'No, and I don't want to,' said Frodo. 'I can't understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.'


    Frodo, regarding Saruman, in "The Scouring of the Shire':

    Quote
    'No, Sam! Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.”


    Frodo has turned 180, from wishing death on Gollum to sparing Saruman. He learned, not in the least by his own failure on Mt. Doom.

    Sparing Gollum may have changed the fate of Middle Earth.

    Sparing Saruman, not so much. But at least Frodo (and Sam) did not have to bear the additional weight of Saruman's death.

    It's not just about mercy, but also keeping their own souls clean. Killing enemies during a battle is different than executing a war criminal?


    *** Middle Earth Inexpert ***


    Ethel Duath
    Half-elven


    Jun 21 2023, 10:59pm

    Post #12 of 47 (2443 views)
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    Well, that's very interesting! [In reply to] Can't Post

    I hope some others will weigh in on this. I don't have the resources or expertise to say anything about it myself. But if this was in the "real world," I think there' be a good chance of some kind of relationship.



    oliphaunt
    Lorien


    Jun 21 2023, 11:14pm

    Post #13 of 47 (2440 views)
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    Prime Evil? [In reply to] Can't Post

    Is that the Darkmazon service that J. Bezosulbub tries to trick people into signing away their souls for?


    *** Middle Earth Inexpert ***


    elentari3018
    Rohan


    Jun 22 2023, 2:36am

    Post #14 of 47 (2425 views)
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    I like your explanation of where a fallen Ainur goes [In reply to] Can't Post

    but when Tolkien said that "out of the West came a cold wind and then dissipated", i feel like even the West has rejected the spirit and therefore Saruman is left to be a wanderer and his spirit is no more even in the after life. (If there are those that believe in afterlife.
    I think that in Middle-earth we usually know where the dead go but Saruman's afterlife is uncertain because of how low he has fallen as a wizard.

    When i first read Scouring" I was heartbroken that the hobbits had to come back to this but i kind of expected that the evil of Sauron and Saruman will leave no stone unturned and since he suspected that the Ring was there and since the Ranger were occupied elsewhere, the hobbits are also susceptible to outside dangers.

    "By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

    "And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


    elentari3018
    Rohan


    Jun 22 2023, 2:38am

    Post #15 of 47 (2425 views)
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    Frodo's growth and mercy [In reply to] Can't Post

    is one of the great endearing facts about him that i appreciate. He has grown a lot in that show down with Saruman at the end. And Saruman's surprise as his growth is very telling and accurate.


    Quote
    It's not just about mercy, but also keeping their own souls clean. Killing enemies during a battle is different than executing a war criminal?

    Yes, but keeping a cool head amidst all the hobbits that did want to kill Saruman right there and then shows us the merciful Frodo that i feel Tolkien wanted Frodo to have. We see Frodo staying his hand numerous times but this time is quite significant .

    "By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

    "And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


    elentari3018
    Rohan


    Jun 22 2023, 2:43am

    Post #16 of 47 (2425 views)
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    That would be Frodo turned evil indeed [In reply to] Can't Post


    Quote
    Lotho also reminds me of a Frodo as a Ringlord. You could say that Lotho is Frodo's shadow even though there is no indication that Lotho ever had a Ring of Power, just a lot of gold and ambition. Lotho having gained a Ring of Power from somewhere would fit his loss of ordinary hobbit sense but cause other issues with the plot, complicating it with no payoff.

    I never thought of Lotho that way but i guess greed can turn him into such. I always thought that Lotho was just done in by greed but was he evil or can he be described as evil? He is just your average hobbit trying to make more than a dime and also capitallizing by finally having Bag End but i am not sure if he can be equated to be "evil".

    You see many capitalists wanting more than a dime these days but that doesn't make them evil. You can call it smart even to want to develop the Shire. Shire politics had made hobbits rely on agriculture themselves and being closed off to the rest of Middle-earth. Was that wise to do in the Fourth Age? Can they really be isolationist? (Don't mean to get political but we never knew why the Shire didn't have relations trade wise with the rest of Middle-earth and Lotho kind of opened them up.

    "By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

    "And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


    (This post was edited by elentari3018 on Jun 22 2023, 2:44am)


    noWizardme
    Half-elven


    Jun 22 2023, 11:44am

    Post #17 of 47 (2392 views)
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    Dark Lords -- available in all sizes [In reply to] Can't Post

    Please excuse a reply to all of this sub-thread at once.

    Re Sauron - I agree that 3rd Age Sauron is not a very interesting character. I mean not very interesting when a character is viewed, as we have been doing, to look at the options they have and what they chose to do (or don't do; or fail to resist doing). We've been looking at that for our subjects and thinking about how their character influences their actions, and conversely how their choices, actions and inactions reveal their character (or how it is changing).


    Sauron is beyond all that by the time of LOTR. The threat he poses is easy to understand, but we're not particularly invited to think about his third-age choices and why he makes them. He seems not only diminished, but stuck in a rut.


    Saruman is a more interesting character - a very interesting one, I hope we mostly agree by now! - precisely I think because we are watching his whole descent into Darklordism. He does still appear to have choices, and so charactr affects what he decides to do.


    Saruman is such a devous and deceptive (maybe also self-deceptive) character that I don't suppose we can ever be sure what his mental processes 'were'. (Naturally they "weren't" anything in a literal sense because he is fictional, and we are shown what Tolkien wants us to see explicitly, or what works through suggestion to a reader's mind.)


    But to me that is part of the attraction: "that shimmer of suggestion that never became clear sight but always hints at something deeper further on" (something I see quoted as Tolkien explaining something about his own work, or maybe abotu Beowulf: but I've been unable to find the exact citation just now)

    Re Lotho - I like the idea of Lotho as Frodo's (or maybe Bilbo's) shadow, or one of them at any rate. Yes indeed, perhaps if one of the Bagginses had decided to stay home and 'improve' the Shire, then the Ring might have helped them do that, and events would have unfolded in much the same way. That is, it would all have ended badly.

    Maybe Lotho would make an interesting character study one day - either on his own or with Lobelia, or as part of a set of hobbits who stay in the Shire during Frodo's adventures. For now I'd note that the resentful, entitled, emotionally vulnerable and naieve minor nobility figure (maybe also none-too-bright) keeps turning up as the collaborator, agent, puppet or whatever of an interfering foreign power. Whether there is always a master plan by which the Empire will take over eventually I don't know. Certainly once the Lotho character has come to rely entirely on outside support it will occur to someone to wonder how useful the Lotho really is -- especially if the Lotho realises they have lost control and belatedly tries to re-assert it.


    I think you could also argue that Lotho is a bit like Saruman. An excessive idea of what is due to one, and an obsession with getting it. The feedback loop of being envious and prideful, being disliked because of that, and redoubling efforts to outdo others or "show them". The way that everyone else becomes assets or obstacles to that scheme, and any means will do. Is ther a bit of mini-Dark Lord to Lotho?

    And then Lotho finds out he was the Lady from Riga, not The Tiger after all*. That's another parallel: I certianly find it easy enough to imagine Saruman being swallowed by Sauron, just as Lotho is swallowed (oh dear, maybe literally....Shocked) by Saruman.

    --* From a limerick, sometimes used as a metaphor for someone thinking they can control forces that, alas, turn out to devour them:
    There are various suggested sources and authors for this ditty, and also some variants (e.g. Lady from Niger). But this is the version I know:

    There was once a Lady from RigaWho smiled as she rode on a tigerThey came back from the rideWith the lady insideAnd the smile on the face of the tiger

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

    (This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 22 2023, 11:46am)


    Felagund
    Rohan


    Jun 22 2023, 5:20pm

    Post #18 of 47 (2379 views)
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    juxtapositionopolis [In reply to] Can't Post

    It's a powerful bit of juxtaposition going on here, isn't it!

    Alongside the mercy theme, it's also possible that the author is contrasting spiritual growth with its opposite, degradation. The act of sparing Saruman is what's important to the 'growth' narrative, and that Saruman pretty much dies in a ditch, at the hand of his own deranged and debased slave, is the 'degradation' narrative set in contrast.

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    Felagund
    Rohan


    Jun 22 2023, 5:23pm

    Post #19 of 47 (2378 views)
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    :) [In reply to] Can't Post

    I hear that the introductory offers are great but customer service goes subterranean pretty quickly after that.

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


    Felagund
    Rohan


    Jun 22 2023, 5:27pm

    Post #20 of 47 (2379 views)
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    coinage [In reply to] Can't Post

    Am intrigued by the reference to the Shire not minting its own coinage. Is that an inference or is there a legendarium reference somewhere?

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


    Felagund
    Rohan


    Jun 22 2023, 6:08pm

    Post #21 of 47 (2381 views)
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    Gandalf's retirement [In reply to] Can't Post

    I've just been re-reading 'Homeward Bound', the chapter immediately before 'The Scouring of the Shire' and I thought of your Question 10 and your own follow-up on it:


    Quote
    10) What do you think Gandalf would have thought about what happened in the Shire? Did he know that Saruman would do this?

    I never agreed that Gandalf left the hobbits at the end. Saruman's quote about him using the hobbits and not helping them at the end really rang true with me. Why did he have to see Bombadil in the end? He coudl've faced off with Saruman himself. I don't really understand Gandalf at times and he does seem to have feigned compassion as you mentioned.


    Until re-reading Chapter VII, I had forgotten how explicit Gandalf is in his reasoning for leaving Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin to return to the Shire on their own:


    Quote
    "I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things right, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high: among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you."


    And this comes on the back of Gandalf remarking that:


    Quote
    "You have forgotten Saruman. He began to take an interest in the Shire before Mordor did."


    The context is what might be awaiting the hobbits in the Homecoming, after Barliman Butterbur has told them that "all's not well in the Shire neither." To put all of this another way, Gandalf appears to have guessed that Saruman has wreaked something bad in the Shire and may even be there in person; has no intention of joining in any confrontation with his former fellow Istar; is confident that the four hobbits are equipped to handle the situation; and effectively announces his retirement from the affairs of Middle-earth.

    Gandalf's position can be read as harsh. But I reckon it also goes with the broad brush strokes of the original mission of the Istari and what they were in Middle-earth to do: aid and assist the Free Peoples but not to the point of personally dueling evil. And, arguably, it goes with the more detached approach of the Valar more generally: post-Morgoth evil in Arda is for the Free People's to sort out, even if the Istari are there to provide some guidance and mobilisation along the way.

    And Gandalf's not wrong either: these hobbits have grown and can take the Shire back from Saruman. And not just with the requisite violence. As others have eloquently put it elsewhere in the thread, Frodo has grown into a merciful, enlightened leader who knows when to put the sword away.

    Anyway, harsh or no, Gandalf is written as having given some thought to his actions, and his broader point about it being time for our heroes to take responsibility for the troubles ahead makes sense to me within the story's internal logic.

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


    oliphaunt
    Lorien


    Jun 22 2023, 10:03pm

    Post #22 of 47 (2372 views)
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    Saruman was less powerful than the hobbits [In reply to] Can't Post

    Totally agree it was not harsh for Gandalf to let the hobbits deal with Saruman on their own, no more than life itself is harsh.

    The idea that Gandalf might/should have hand-held the hobbits to recover the Shire doesn't fit the story. A bit less obvious, but still along the lines of 'have Gwahir drop the ring off at Mt. Doom'.

    The 'Free' in "Free Peoples' includes taking responsibility for their future. And that included kicking Saruman out of the Shire and figuring out the best way to get that done.


    *** Middle Earth Inexpert ***

    (This post was edited by oliphaunt on Jun 22 2023, 10:04pm)


    Ethel Duath
    Half-elven


    Jun 23 2023, 2:12am

    Post #23 of 47 (2361 views)
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    Question 10: [In reply to] Can't Post

    Sorry, I've been swamped, and want to address the rest very soon!

    But, yes, it's hard to see Gandalf remove himself. However if he had not--and I see it as a very wise move--the strength and confidence, and the moral and mental growth of the four Hobbits could have been stunted, or at least called into question--if only in the minds of the citizens of the Shire, if not in the minds of the four themselves. And what confidence would the Shire folk have found in their new leaders if Gandalf had been the rescuer and the defeater of Saruman, instead.

    They had to learn to stand on their own, and be respected by their fellow citizens. Plus, it's clear Gandalf knew his task was over, and that he would eventually be heading to Valinor (where there could be no doubt, as an aside, when in the presence of the Valar whether Gandalf was really Gandalf).



    (This post was edited by Ethel Duath on Jun 23 2023, 2:17am)


    elentari3018
    Rohan


    Jun 24 2023, 2:25am

    Post #24 of 47 (2326 views)
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    This is a good quote [In reply to] Can't Post


    Quote
    "I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things right, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high: among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you."

    and explains why Gandalf doesn't help the hobbits and Oliphaunt also mentioned that it was the same reasoning as why Gwaihir didn't help the hobbits or free peoples drop the ring into Mt. Doom but it did sound a bit harsh because perhaps Gandalf knew what was happening with Saruman in the SHire and actively did not want to participate in the end which i thought was a bit bothersome.


    Quote
    assist the Free Peoples but not to the point of personally dueling evil. And, arguably, it goes with the more detached approach of the Valar more generally: post-Morgoth evil in Arda is for the Free People's to sort out, even if the Istari are there to provide some guidance and mobilisation along the way.

    but some may argue that Gandalf was there for mobilizing Rohan and Gondor against Sauron and that was more active participation. He could've facilitated the hobbits at the end with Saruman or he thinks it's a less problem than Sauron could be? I guess it is a smaller scope versus the wars that Rohan and Gondor had to go through.

    you have good points and i can see where Gandalf is coming from. What Saruman did say at the end that Gandalf used the hobbits and now letting them mind their own business was a bit off putting for me. (see! i am in the spell of the Voice of Saruman. ;)

    "By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

    "And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


    oliphaunt
    Lorien


    Jun 24 2023, 10:49pm

    Post #25 of 47 (2289 views)
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    Saruman's escape from Isengard [In reply to] Can't Post

    What was the whole point of Saruman's escape from Isengard? If he didn't escape, then no trip to the Shire, and no opportunity for Frodo to offer him mercy. So I guess the point was for Frodo's sake, that there was still something unfinished about his personal journey. If Gandalf handled it, then that growth wouldn't have occurred.


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