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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Why did Gandalf go to Isengard?

The Shire

Nov 13 2013, 1:41am

Post #1 of 7 (466 views)
Why did Gandalf go to Isengard? Can't Post

It seems that once Radagast tells Gandalf that the Nine are abroad and searching for the Shire, he should have immediately gone back to guide Frodo. Instead he goes on to Isengard. The book gives a short explanation that maybe Saruman had weapons that would drive back the nine but that would hardly matter if they reached the ring first. How else to explain Gandalf's decision here that almost ends in ruin?

Tol Eressea

Nov 13 2013, 2:05am

Post #2 of 7 (347 views)
Radagast was Saruman's messenger... [In reply to] Can't Post

He was sent to lure Gandalf to Isengard. I am sure he wanted some kind of help, and he counted on Butterbur and Frodo to follow his instructions. Aragorn was another player, so I think that Gandalf felt quite safe in leaving Frodo for a bit. He couldn't know his plans would go astray.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!

The Shire

Nov 13 2013, 5:39pm

Post #3 of 7 (285 views)
Maybe he "had" to? [In reply to] Can't Post

Since Saruman was the leader of the order, perhaps Gandalf felt he had to take counsel with him before taking action? Plus with Aragorn and the other Rangers guarding the Shire, he probably felt Frodo was safe for now.

And what do trees have to talk about? Hmm...except the consistency of squirrel droppings?


Nov 14 2013, 12:06am

Post #4 of 7 (306 views)
Elementary really: [In reply to] Can't Post


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 16 2013, 12:48am

Post #5 of 7 (231 views)
It might have been a blessing in disguise! [In reply to] Can't Post

The thought has occurred to me that if Saruman had not been exposed to Gandalf, Gandalf might well have still considered him a friend at the time when the Fellowship departed from Rivendell. And, like when they travelled through Lorien, they might well have decided to go through Isengard, thinking Saruman an ally, in which case Saruman would have found the Ring!


Nov 17 2013, 7:40am

Post #6 of 7 (221 views)
Now that was an eye-opener, and no mistake! // [In reply to] Can't Post



Nov 17 2013, 11:53am

Post #7 of 7 (245 views)
Probably Gandalf was also not expecting to be detained in Isenguard very long [In reply to] Can't Post

Probably Gandalf was also not expecting to be detained in Isenguard very long.

Of course, from a writerly point of view it gets Gandalf off the scene so he can't chaperone the hobbits and they have to work hard to get even as far as Rivendell. Gives us a suspenseful Book I and toughens them up for the trials ahead.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


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