Tolkien fact 27 – The Saruman Tragedy

[Originally posted on March 29th, 2015]

Perhaps one of the more tragic characters in Middle-earth’s history is that of Saruman. He was originally part of the Order of the Istari (Wizards) sent to aid Middle-earth in the war against Sauron. From the beginning he was interested in power and machines and might but was still ‘good’ for all intents and purposes. While Gandalf travelled the lands and met with many people, Saruman remained in the South and eventually took up residence in Rohan, in the tower of Orthanc. He was especially interested in the lore concerning the Rings of Power and the tales of what happened to the One Ring. He too puzzled out the history of the Ring and and many of his actions began to interfere with the rest of the Council of the Wise to prevent them from learning the truth of it (though Bilbo messed up those plans pretty badly). In the movies he is depicted as being in league with Mordor while in the book he feigns this league in order to establish himself as a supreme power to rival the Dark Tower. He wanted the Ring for himself to contest the might of Sauron. However, as the story progresses, many things happen that he doesn’t count on (Ents, hobbits, etc.) and his plans go awry. He is kicked from the Council, replaced in the Order by Gandalf (who is now White), has his staff broken, his army is destroyed, and the Ring of Isengard is flooded. He quickly goes from a being with substantial might to one with only a wicked tongue. He is held prisoner in Orthanc until the end of the War and meets his end after a failed attempt to take over the peaceful realm of the Shire.

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