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Saruman's blood on the Shire

Alveric
Rivendell


Jan 4, 6:54pm

Post #1 of 15 (1439 views)
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Saruman's blood on the Shire Can't Post

So Saruman claims "Whoever strikes me shall be accursed. And if my blood stains the Shire, it shall wither and never again be healed."
Wormtongue strikes him and is immediately killed, so that seems like a valid curse/prophecy by Saruman. But what about the rest? Is this an idle threat? Because then his blood does stain the Shire, but then we see the Shire restored (largely due to elven magic). But no specific reference to this threat or prophecy, or the specific location of the blood stain. --is there?
(Whereas, for example by comparison, where Snowmane was burned "ever black and bare was the ground")


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 4, 7:14pm

Post #2 of 15 (1400 views)
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Idle threat, IMO [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for bringing this up, because I love this threat--I was certain on first read that the curse was true, despite what Frodo said right after, and that the Shire would become a desert. But as you point out, it doesn't come to pass, and I think Frodo is speaking with Author Authority here. We can debate if the curse worked halfway, because it did seem to bring about Wormtongue's death, and I'm never exactly sure why anyone felt inclined to kill him, unless the hobbits were nervous and trigger-happy.


Quote

Saruman looked round at their hostile faces and smiled. ‘Kill him!’ he mocked. ‘Kill him, if you think there are enough of you, my brave hobbits!’ He drew himself up and stared at them darkly with his black eyes. ‘But do not think that when I lost all my goods I lost all my power! Whoever strikes me shall be accursed. And if my blood stains the Shire, it shall wither and never again be healed.’

The hobbits recoiled. But Frodo said: ‘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!’


I like to think that even if Saruman had some power left for a real curse, there was power in the Shire to prevent it. Gandalf made a tantalizing comparison to Frodo in Rivendell about the Shire's power when explaining Glorfindel and Rivendell's power:


Quote
‘Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the Firstborn. He is an Elf-lord of a house of princes. Indeed there is a power in Rivendell to withstand the might of Mordor, for a while: and elsewhere other powers still dwell. There is power, too, of another kind in the Shire.



Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 4, 7:41pm

Post #3 of 15 (1394 views)
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I'm picking, too, that Sam's Lothlorien dirt [In reply to] Can't Post

could have helped counter any curse. But mostly I think Saruman was lying through his teeth.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


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noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 4, 7:56pm

Post #4 of 15 (1394 views)
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Bluffing, according to Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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"Frodo said: ‘Do not believe him! He has lost all power, save his voice that can still daunt you and deceive you, if you let it."


Frodo seems to know what he’s doing here, so it doesn’t surprise me when the Shire doesn’t wither. I imagine the hobbit bowmen as being both jumpy and all fired up ready to kill someone. So Wormtongue’s death seems explicable without imagining it’s a Saruman curse. Or maybe curses come true without needing to have any power...

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


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 4, 8:41pm

Post #5 of 15 (1388 views)
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Maybe the 600-pound what-if in the corner of our minds is [In reply to] Can't Post

what if a hobbit had killed Saruman? What if Sam did? What would have happened to them because of this would-be curse? Would they have been killed by Wormtongue or another hobbit? Hard to picture that happening.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 5, 1:32am

Post #6 of 15 (1376 views)
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I think he lost his authority and his power [In reply to] Can't Post

when Gandalf cast him out of the order of Istari. All that was left to him was illusion and persuasion. And the judgment was confirmed when he died.

"..about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing."
I've always taken this as the Valar's final rejection of him. Winds are the province of Manwë, aren't they?

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 5, 1:56pm

Post #7 of 15 (1349 views)
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I was just thinking about this. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's interesting that the intervention of the Valar actually also makes Saruman's curse void - his blood never gets a chance to stain the Shire as his spirit is blown away on the wind and what's left is reduced to a few skeletal remains. I kind of think that that's how loss of power and authority work - it's not that you can't make a curse, but that it will never be carried out because Higher Powers will make sure the curse can never come true.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Jan 5, 1:57pm)


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 5, 2:46pm

Post #8 of 15 (1335 views)
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I like that (in fact I'm 'blown away'!) [In reply to] Can't Post

It had never occurred to me that there wasn't actually any blood to stain anything. So in fact whether or not Frodo was right turned out to be irellevant.

I also like noticing how Saruman's end is reminiscent of Sauron's:

Sauron: And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.

Saruman: To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising very slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.

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


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jan 5, 2:50pm)


Belegdir
Lorien


Jan 5, 4:40pm

Post #9 of 15 (1328 views)
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I think any curse was diverted [In reply to] Can't Post

While the curse was true, it was directed at the hobbits and the Shire. However, since it was Grima that struck him the blood doesn't stain the Shire as no hobbit struck Saruman.

Well, that's one interpretation anyway.


Alveric
Rivendell


Jan 7, 7:01pm

Post #10 of 15 (1266 views)
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all very reasonable [In reply to] Can't Post

These are all very reasonable explanations: perhaps some combination of Saruman's extremely diminished state and Galadriel's magic soil. But it still seems to me just a tiny bit odd that no mention is made of the specific spot where his blood (we can assume) stained the ground--you'd think they'd make a mound or something. The event seems to have happened right in front of Bag End, maybe Tolkien didn't want some nasty unflowering mound there.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Jan 7, 9:27pm

Post #11 of 15 (1252 views)
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I have always taken Saruman's threat to be [In reply to] Can't Post

little more than mere words. I think by this point he has ZERO power- as in actual, Istari power- just the ages-long learned skill of the "power of persuasion".

We all know people like him in this world, the most infamous (and IMHO vile) being Hitler. Hitler was no wizard, but he had the power with words to completely transform Germany into the Third Reich, and take an elected position and use it to usurp all authority and become a ruthless dictator who murdered millions.

I think at this point in the tale Saruman has no actual power and he knows it. His threat is idle, but he's still riding the glory wave of being a former wizard, and I have a feeling many of the lackeys that followed him (and even some of the hobbits, no doubt) still thought he possessed the power that formerly went with that title. This threat of his may have simply been a last-ditch effort to use his persuasion to intimidate and overpower the hobbits, and it failed because there was no real power behind the threat.

The imagery after his fall, of clearly being cast out of the order of the West, was vivid. I believe his power was gone the minute Gandalf the White came to be (thus taking his place), but he still tried to cling to power in whatever way he could and overpower whomever could still be subdued so that he would feel like he still had power over something. In this case, the perceived "weakest race", the hobbits, seemed a very good candidate for him to do so.

The moment his spirit looks toward the West is when I think he hoped to be allowed back, but because of the evils and malice he had wrought, the Valar pretty much said, "Nope! We cast you out, and you cannot return." And he faded just like Sauron had.

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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 7, 9:44pm

Post #12 of 15 (1243 views)
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Oh, that's very nice. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


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

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


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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 7, 9:46pm

Post #13 of 15 (1252 views)
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And both events happen in Mordor. [In reply to] Can't Post

Remember that Frodo had said of the Shire, "This is Mordor" just a page or two earlier.


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

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


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Saruman
Bree


Feb 1, 12:27am

Post #14 of 15 (573 views)
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Although... [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a fascinating thread. I've thought about this question before. I think that, as most have said, Saruman at this point was void of most of his powers. However, perhaps because I am a biased Saruman fan, I don't believe that he was all bluff. I assume that even the most minor of wizards or magicians could technically have the power to curse someone or some place if they desired. Saruman, although cast out from the Istari, would still have been knowledgeable and skilled to a certain extent, especially because of his past. He was never specific about what type of curse he cast.

What if the curse he cast was one against Frodo's will, arguably the hobbit whom he hated most? The hobbit who showed him mercy against all odds? If this was the case, then Saruman's curse did come to fruition, as Frodo became extremely depressed and left the Shire, his homeland which he loved so much before the pangs of the Quest.

"I have seen it..."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Feb 1, 2:53am

Post #15 of 15 (563 views)
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I take Saruman at face value on that point [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt 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.’


I really don't think he has anything left at all but his bitterness.

 
 

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