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Could a 'helpful' Saruman have been anymore helpful?

noWizardme
Valinor


Oct 27 2017, 11:59am

Post #1 of 16 (2230 views)
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Could a 'helpful' Saruman have been anymore helpful? Can't Post

An irony in LOTR is that Saruman tries to get the One Ring for himself, or at least to become a Power that will survive in a Sauron-dominated world. And yet, Saruman actually does a lot of things which (unintentionally on his part) help the destruction of the Ring. It makes me wonder - could Saurman have achieved any better if he had remained faithful to his anti-Sauron mission?

The services that Saruman accidentally give are as follows (as I see it):

By detaining Gandalf, he causes Frodo to set off with his 'conspiracy' including Merry and Pippin. I assume that those two were not in Gandalf's plans, and nor was being captured by a Barrow Wight. So, without Saruman, no Merry and no Barrow blade to assist Eowyn against the Witch King.

A hostile Saruman forces the Fellowship to pass through Moria (because they dare not travel through the Gap of Rohan and risk Saruman seizing the Ring). So, without Saruman, no death of Gandalf the Grey and no resurrection as Gandalf the White.

Saruman's orc attack of the Fellowship allows Frodo and Sam to get off to Mordor without the others (and we come to see that the others were needed to keep the War of the Ring going as a distraction).

The orc raid of course also brings Merry and Pippin to Fangorn. Their arrival causes the long grievances of the ents against Saruman finally to boil over. Had the ents not gone to war it is difficult to see how Rohan could have defeated Saruman on its own.

The failed orc raid creates confusion over who has the Ring. Saruman thinks Theoden has got it. Sauron thinks Saruman has got it - and then when Aragorn uses the palantir from Orthanc, I think that Sauron thinks Aragorn has the Ring. Nobody realises that they ought to be looking for Frodo, so he and Sam get clean away with it.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


squire
Half-elven


Oct 27 2017, 6:33pm

Post #2 of 16 (2152 views)
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I am Saruman the White, but Black is mightier still. [In reply to] Can't Post

Following Tolkien's early plot ideas, which did not include the existence of Saruman, we can imagine any number of reasons for the hobbits to travel to Rivendell without Gandalf (he was originally held prisoner by a hostile giant, i.e. Treebeard); for the Company to traverse Moria rather than the Gap (it's a tunnel under the mountains, an irresistible lure for all Tolkien heroes); and for the Fellowship to split as they did during their river journey.

But without the distraction to the West due to Saruman's treachery (the Treason of Isengard, so-called), the Mordor contingent would have its adventure with spiders, Gollum, etc., and the others would all continue to Gondor (with, perhaps, Gimli and Legolas departing to help their own people back North).

Saruman, should he still prove to exist and be a helpful sort, would presumably lead and guide Theoden's forces, reinforced by the Ents (unless they're still evil as when they detained Gandalf), in a mission of rescue and reinforcement to Gondor. Plenty of threats would remain: the Black Ships from the South, a huge attack from across Anduin by the full might of Mordor and the Easterlings, and of course the treason of Boromir and Denethor, forcing Aragorn, Gandalf, Theoden and Saruman to overcome a near-civil war in Minas Tirith while under attack by Mordor and Morgul.

Or not. But there's plenty of story here, as we all know -- too much story, some have carped. But is there plenty of room for a second wizard - who, by the way, would have no orc-army or Dunland forces, because he's not that kind of an evil wizard, remember? So his help to the forces of Good would be more moral and/or magical, and much less military. The problem would really be to differentiate him from Gandalf - meaning he might not be necessary to the story at all.



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Bracegirdle
Valinor


Oct 27 2017, 6:48pm

Post #3 of 16 (2146 views)
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I love your examples of a 'helpful' Saruman [In reply to] Can't Post

Each a somewhat necessary link toward the destruction of the Ring. Your last couple of points bring to mind what is possibly the biggest reason for the Ring's destruction - Sauron's gaze was constantly directed outward beyond the walls of Mordor to the battles and skirmishes, and his search for the bearer of the Ring. Most especially after Frodo and Sam leave the area of the Isenmouthe they are just two renegade/deserting (?) orcs and not worthy of so much as a glance as the real threat lies outside his realm while all others are gathered around Udun preparing for battle at the Morannon.

Each of your 'helpful' Saruman examples are quite valid:

Firstly the loss of the Lord of the Nazgul (due in part by Merry's barrow-blade) would surely draw the attention of Sauron (not that the Battle of the Pelennor Fields would not have already done so).

Next, Gandalf the White would surely arouse the attention of Sauron, much more than a Gandalf the Grey.

Next, Frodo and Sam sneaking off to Mordor alone is a necessity: Were someone of 'power' (or going back to the Council of Elrond some force of power) to assail the interior of Mordor Sauron's gaze would be drawn inward.

Next, Merry and Pippin's arrival at Fangorn begins not only the destruction of Isengard but the power of the Hourns and Ents at Helm's deep was significant. Also surely keeping Sauron's attention outward.

So, lastly, it's Ring Ring, who's got the Ring. It's so confusing. Uh oh, there's a gangly creature hopping around in the Sammath Naur.

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




Eruonen
Valinor


Oct 28 2017, 12:11am

Post #4 of 16 (2114 views)
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I can imagine trying to really confuse Sauron by [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Saruman and say Merry if revealed via the Palantir from Orthanc then he marshals Rohan and rides to Minas Tirith.
2. Gandalf and Pippin...revealed via the Palantir at a different location with Aragorn and the Rangers etc. possibly raising forces from the North.....Dale and Erebor.

In fact, show some fake rings - just enough to confuse him.

Sauron would not know which halfling to worry about while Frodo and Sam are sneaking into Mordor.


Na Vedui
Rohan


Oct 28 2017, 9:50pm

Post #5 of 16 (2019 views)
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Seeing it all laid out like that is quite revealing - [In reply to] Can't Post

I hadn't realised quite how much of it there was. i.e. Saruman, who considers himself so much wiser than other people, and so much better equipped to steer Middle-earth's rulers and people as he sees fit "for their own good", actually seems to score more own goals than anyone! "Oft evil will shall evil mar".
But it's all of a piece with other things in LOTR, which could well have been subtitled Tales of the Unexpected Outcome.
Folly:- Pippin throws a stone down a well, stirs up the Balrog - Gandalf becomes the White. He looks in the Palantir - Sauron gets confused about who has the Hobbit with the Ring.
Disobedience: Eowyn runs off to war instead of staying at home like she's told to; so does Merry - putting them just where they need to be to sort out the Witch-King (and for Eowyn to meet Faramir).
Desire for the Ring: Boromir scares Frodo into making the decision to face Mordor; Gollum intervenes at the last moment and saves Frodo from his failure.
Tolkien's "Chance - if chance it was" has a habit of turning the unlikeliest scenarios into eucatastrophe .... and a wicked sense of humour!

(This post was edited by Na Vedui on Oct 28 2017, 9:51pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 30 2017, 3:11am

Post #6 of 16 (1891 views)
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To play Morgoth's Advocate [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for a great topic, Wiz!

I was trying to think how things would have worked if Saruman had remained true to his mission as Gandalf did.

1. I think one big change would have been more aggressive action against Sauron when he was weak and taking shape in Dol Guldur. They drove him out once, and there was peace again. He came back, and Saruman stalled, wanting Sauron to reawaken the Ring first, and then they acted too late, so he just went to Mordor. So, alternate history is he would have been driven out a 2nd time when he was too weak to take over Mordor.

2. How much Ring lore did Saruman have? Why do we have to take Gandalf's word for everything when he didn't know as much as Saruman? All this is leading up to the idea of Saruman being at the Council of Elrond and saying, "No, we don't have to take the One Ring to Mt Doom to destroy it. There's a better way." OK, fill that in with your own imagination, but i think it's a plausible alternative, and that way Frodo doesn't get his finger bitten off.

3. Rohan suffered heavily in the Battles of Isen and Helm's Deep. And Saruman lost his whole army. What if a much stronger Rohan got to Gondor sooner AND with an allied army of Dunlendings on loan from Saruman at their side? (This assumes Saruman never raised an army of Orcs or half-Orcs.) Maybe Minas Tirith would have never faced so much peril. But that's a problem, because it's a good thing Denethor went crazy and killed himself. If he hadn't, because Saruman was so helpful, and maybe even helped Denethor use the palantir without Sauron's manipulation, maybe there would have been civil war in Gondor between Denethor and Aragorn.

4. The Shire would never have needed Scouring.

5. The Ents would have probably sat out the war.

6. No Gandalf the White, but maybe with Saruman as a sort of second Gandalf, that would be okay.

7. Sauron might still have worried the Ring was west of the Anduin in Sauron or Gandalf's hands. (That nuclear flash in Lorien convinced him that Galadriel had renounced it.)

Those are some scenarios I can think of for now. I guess overall, I think a loyal Saruman would have helped in the War of the Ring more than a disloyal one did, but that's more of a proposal meant to be questioned & tested than a real assertion--I don't know. I think my gut about Tolkien is that he was willing to use "oft evil will evil mar" to make use of a disloyal Saruman to achieve his ends, but he could have used him as a good guy too.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Oct 30 2017, 7:12am

Post #7 of 16 (1865 views)
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Or what about [In reply to] Can't Post

If Saruman had remained good, but it is Galadriel who is tempted and falls into evil? That might be an interesting twist a dark Elven queen. And I always felt that there was something about Galadriel that she might have fallen into evil. Sorry, Aragorn!


noWizardme
Valinor


Oct 30 2017, 1:36pm

Post #8 of 16 (1828 views)
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Tales of the Unexpected Outcome [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I hadn't realised quite how much of it there was. i.e. Saruman, who considers himself so much wiser than other people, and so much better equipped to steer Middle-earth's rulers and people as he sees fit "for their own good", actually seems to score more own goals than anyone! "Oft evil will shall evil mar".
But it's all of a piece with other things in LOTR, which could well have been subtitled Tales of the Unexpected Outcome.


I like that 'tales of the unexpected outcome'! I suppose that on one level, it gives Tolkien a number of exciting plot twists. On another, I suspect this is a theme - it's how Middle-earth 'works'. If things are 'meant' to go a particular way, they can be 'meant' to go that way at such a deep and complex level that resistance is actually helpful.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 30 2017, 3:43pm

Post #9 of 16 (1821 views)
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Galadriel takes the Master Ring [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If Saruman had remained good, but it is Galadriel who is tempted and falls into evil? That might be an interesting twist a dark Elven queen. And I always felt that there was something about Galadriel that she might have fallen into evil. Sorry, Aragorn!


If Lady Galadriel accepted the One Ring from Frodo (let's set aside the idea of a Saruman who remains unfallen for this as one variable too many).

1. As one of the greatest among the Wise at the end of the Third Age, Galadriel might be able to rally the Free Peoples behind her.

2. If Galadriel cannot command the armies of the Enemy, she might at least be able to dominate them enough to demoralize them.

3. With the Ring she might be able to banish, possibly even destroy, the Nazgûl. In time she might even be able to command them.

4. Sauron cannot be destroyed for as long as the Ring remains whole. He probably cannot even be banished to beyond the confines of Arda as was Morgoth. He would remain a hidden threat, scheming to regain his Ring.

5. The power of the Three Rings would remain intact and the Rings of Water and Air could continue to preserve the realms of Lothlórien and Rivendell. However, because of the influence of the Master Ring, Lórien would become stagnant and would eventually become corrupted. The Elves of Lórien would either abandon the Golden Wood or in time be corrupted themselves.

6. Galadriel's prophesy to Frodo about herself would gradually come true. She would turn to evil, but her charisma and power would prevent any effective opposition. All would love her and despair.

"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Oct 30 2017, 3:44pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Oct 30 2017, 6:02pm

Post #10 of 16 (1799 views)
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Nobody is safe [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I always felt that there was something about Galadriel that she might have fallen into evil.


One of the roles that Both Saruman and Galadriel play, I think, is that they show that 'nobody is safe' from the Ring. Or just about nobody - Tom B and Sam seem to suffer few ill effects, and maybe that is for the same reason that Saruman and Galadriel and Boromir are at risk. What I mean is that those who are accustomed to and desire command find the Power of Command that the Ring offers very tempting. They already have a foothold in that world, so to speak.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


InTheChair
Lorien

Oct 30 2017, 6:11pm

Post #11 of 16 (1798 views)
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Probably boils down to Gollum. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
By detaining Gandalf, he causes Frodo to set off with his 'conspiracy' including Merry and Pippin. I assume that those two were not in Gandalf's plans, and nor was being captured by a Barrow Wight. So, without Saruman, no Merry and no Barrow blade to assist Eowyn against the Witch King.


On the other hand M&P thrust themselves into the company on their own, just as they do again at Rivendell, and it is by no means certain Gandalf would have outright refused them even if things had gone to his plans.


Quote
A hostile Saruman forces the Fellowship to pass through Moria (because they dare not travel through the Gap of Rohan and risk Saruman seizing the Ring). So, without Saruman, no death of Gandalf the Grey and no resurrection as Gandalf the White.


True enough, though there are other dangers in ME where Gandalf might have needed to do his sacrifice.


Quote
Saruman's orc attack of the Fellowship allows Frodo and Sam to get off to Mordor without the others (and we come to see that the others were needed to keep the War of the Ring going as a distraction).


Though there were also Mordor orcs on that side of the river.


Quote
The orc raid of course also brings Merry and Pippin to Fangorn. Their arrival causes the long grievances of the ents against Saruman finally to boil over. Had the ents not gone to war it is difficult to see how Rohan could have defeated Saruman on its own.


But had Saruman been a friend they wouldn't have needed to.


Quote
The failed orc raid creates confusion over who has the Ring. Saruman thinks Theoden has got it. Sauron thinks Saruman has got it - and then when Aragorn uses the palantir from Orthanc, I think that Sauron thinks Aragorn has the Ring. Nobody realises that they ought to be looking for Frodo, so he and Sam get clean away with it.


No a totally convincing argument IMO.


Then also I haven't even considered all the points where Saruman might have offered help or assistence.

The real clincher if you ask me, is that if Gandalf hadn't fallen, and had been with Frodo and Sam much longer it seems much less likely that they would have picked up Gollum as a companion.


No One in Particular
Rivendell


Oct 31 2017, 1:48am

Post #12 of 16 (1757 views)
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I just don't trust that elf woman... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If Saruman had remained good, but it is Galadriel who is tempted and falls into evil? That might be an interesting twist a dark Elven queen. And I always felt that there was something about Galadriel that she might have fallen into evil. Sorry, Aragorn!


There was. Galadriel was proud, and in Middle-earth, pride ALWAYS goeth before the fall. Smile

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 1 2017, 2:26am

Post #13 of 16 (1713 views)
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It says a lot that Galadriel had a test to pass [In reply to] Can't Post

Whereas the other most powerful figures--Gandalf, Cirdan, & Elrond--did not. But Galadriel did pass, and Saruman did not.

But what about our first impressions of Galadriel, be they by book or movie? I think the movies made her seem much more vulnerable to turning evil.

As a book firster, I was caught completely by surprise by her temptation at the Mirror and the scary glimpse of the Dark Queen. Though on later reads, I've been turned off by her mentally invading the Fellowship's minds upon initially meeting with them--without permission, and tempting them too. Boromir wasn't all wrong when he questioned her motives and integrity. Gandalf and Elrond didn't pull tricks like that. (Gandalf did with Pippin the palantir, but there was real danger that the hobbit was under Sauron's control then.)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 1 2017, 7:10am

Post #14 of 16 (1694 views)
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Tests [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It says a lot that Galadriel had a test to pass
Whereas the other most powerful figures--Gandalf, Cirdan, & Elrond--did not. But Galadriel did pass, and Saruman did not.


Cirdan's test came when Mithrandir debarked at the Grey Havens and Cirdan realized that the Istari should be given the Ring of Fire. He doesn't enter directly into the events of LotR except through his emmisary Galdor. Gandalf's tests came when he was captured by Saruman and when he had to decide his action at the Bridge of Khazad-dum. So it is only Elrond who doesn't seem to get tested, unless it was by his decision as one of the Peredhil.


In Reply To
But what about our first impressions of Galadriel, be they by book or movie? I think the movies made her seem much more vulnerable to turning evil.

As a book firster, I was caught completely by surprise by her temptation at the Mirror and the scary glimpse of the Dark Queen. Though on later reads, I've been turned off by her mentally invading the Fellowship's minds upon initially meeting with them--without permission, and tempting them too. Boromir wasn't all wrong when he questioned her motives and integrity. Gandalf and Elrond didn't pull tricks like that. (Gandalf did with Pippin the palantir, but there was real danger that the hobbit was under Sauron's control then.)


I'll mostly agree, except on her right to test the company who had come into her realm.

"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."


newrow
The Shire

May 29, 9:27pm

Post #15 of 16 (591 views)
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Uncorrupted Saruman [In reply to] Can't Post

First, how I wonder how Saruman could have been useful if he repented when Gandalf the White visited Orthanc.

Remember that orc army north of Minas Tirith. It was strong enough to defeat the Rohirrim and may be that host unfought with Saruman.
I think Saruman would have been militaristic and thus brought more warriors to the River and thus bring opponents as well and so remove any hope of a Ringbearer to secretly enter Mordor from the west.

I think Saruman staying in Dorwinion would have been better.
Now, did Saruman learn tools or tricks or spells from the other three wizards? He learned about fire powder, but from who? From the east and one of the Blue Wizards? How did Saruman take control of Theoden in a spiritual sense? How did Saruman control the Crebain unless by eavesdropping on Radagast's musing on bird-taming? Where did Saruman learn to control the weather? He traveled so far for knowledge that he did not notice his greatest enemy was under his branch.

I think that the Fellowship would have traveled around to Longstand as Boromir suggested and thus come upon those still studying the dark arts as did the Men of the Mountain.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 29, 10:36pm

Post #16 of 16 (585 views)
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The Lore of Saruman [In reply to] Can't Post

Saruman might have developed the lore of explosives and incendiaries on his own. His patron Vala was a master of Crafts, so alchemy probably came to him naturally. He probably did learn the speech of birds from Radagast, before he dismissed him as foolish. Weather-control might have been a specialty of one or both of the "Blue Wizards'.

Remember that Saruman wanted possession of Isengard for an important reason; even before his corruption, he wanted access to the Orthanc-stone. He couldn't get that in Dorwinion. And at first his search for the One Ring was made for the best of reasons. Saruman's mistake was being arrogant and prideful enough to think that only he was worthy of possessing and studying it. Thus he kept his search secret from the rest of the White Council. Also, he mistakenly thought his will was strong enough to resist the control of Sauron, and so he dared to use the palantír.

Saruman controlled King Théoden through Wormtongue, not through literal possession. The latter was from the films, not the book.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on May 29, 10:38pm)

 
 

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