Saruman: Already corrupted?

Discussion in '"The Hobbit"' started by Odin, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Odin

    Odin Registered User

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    Saruman seems to be evil in the Hobbit. He knows that Sauron is really the Necromancer and tries to deny Gandalf's claims to keep his master safe. When exactly did the White Wizard fall under the sway of the Dark Lord?
     
  2. Calion

    Calion Registered User

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    Actually, by the time of the Hobbit, Saruman finally agrees to attack Dol Guldur. I can't remember off the top of my head, but Saruman had been "corrupted" by at least the year 2850 or so; the time when Saruman vetoes an attack on Dol Guldur in spite of Gandalf is at least a hundred years before 2941 (the year of the Hobbit; the movie conflates the two times). However, the "corruption" was due to Saruman's own desire for the Ring, and he had not fallen under the influence of Sauron (unless it is the indirect influence of Sauron through the Ring; but had Saruman took the Ring for himself, he would have overthrown Sauron and become himself the dark lord). In fact, if Saruman ever served Sauron, it was mostly out of strategic reasons (or fear), and not like the Nazgul or Orcs serving Sauron (although there may be some such element, due to his use of the Orthanc-stone). Even during/right before the War of the Ring, Saruman "betrays" Sauron, e.g. trying to take Pippin and Merry to Isengard, instead of handing them to Lugburz. So even though Sauron may be called Saruman's "master" in some sense, it is a weak relationship and Saruman would never have worried about the safety of "his master," unless in case he felt the need of Sauron in order to overthrow other rivals such as Gandalf and Galadriel.
     

  3. Eledhwen

    Eledhwen Cumbrian

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    When Orthanc was vacated and Saruman's belongings were gone through, Gimli found the Elendilmir - the royal circlet of Isildur - which led them to understand that Saruman's minions had discovered Isildur's remains in the River Anduin. It is believed that Saruman probably burned the remains, and their location gave him a focus for his search for the Ring which had, of course, already been removed by Deagol and Smeagol. There is no date for this discovery, but it may be that Saruman's change of mind, allowing the attack on Dol Guldur, may have come about because the hunt for the ring had focused on the Gladden Fields, which would remain undiscovered in an attack launched from Lothlorien.
     
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  4. Bucky

    Bucky Registered User

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    Saruman did NOT veto the attack on Dol Guldur..

    That is pure PJ fantasy...

    Read your Appendices.

    But yes, he was corrupted by this time & searching the Gladden Fields for the Ring.
     

  5. Thispe

    Thispe Registered User

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    Hi, I'm new here :). Not that I really want to use my first post to back-talk to a well established member, but I can't help myself :). I agree that PJ did quite a number on The Hobbit, but on can't really fault his research. He knew the source material before he changed it.

    Saruman did indeed veto the attack on Dol Guldur, just not during the Hobbit but 90 years earlier after Gandalf found Thráin in the dungeon there and discovered that the Master of Dol Guldur was indeed Sauron.

    Look at LotR, Appendix B, third age, year 2851. There it reads: "The white council meets. Gandalf urges an attack on Dol Guldur. Saruman overrules him."

    There's a bit more information on Saruman's motivation on wanting to possess the One Ring and starting a search of Gladden Fields himself after that point, but that's the gist of it.

    PJ has a habit of conflating Middle Earth history, a lot. Just look at Elrond's reference about the 'watchful peace' in The Hobbit movie, even though in reality the watchful peace was over for longer than it had actually lasted at that point.
     
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  6. SKYLAH OAKENSHIELD

    SKYLAH OAKENSHIELD I love Kili!!!

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    He definitely appears as evil in the movies. I am not sure how he appears in the books, given the fact that I can't see him.
     
  7. Margius

    Margius New Member

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    Well, although it's not revealed directly whether Saruman is already corrupted or not, there're certain hints about it in his words and actions.
     
  8. Matthew Bailey01

    Matthew Bailey01 Member

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    In the Chronicle of Arda, Tolkien writes that Saruman's corruption began hundreds of years before the events of either of the Novels.

    If I were not on this iPad App, and in a browser based forum, I could look up the specific dates.

    We do know that by the time of The Hobbit Saruman had basically turned away from his path, and was working solely for his own ends.

    He was also breeding Orcs at this time as well. Tolkien has a not about this that appears in The History of Middle-earth, vol VII: The Return of the Shadow.

    After all, he first had to find a way to breed his superior strain of Uruk-Hai (Superior even to the Uruks of Mordor), and then he had to breed an army of 10,000 of them.

    Such a task requires a substantial support infrastructure (housing, training, food, clothing, entertainment, etc...) that would have been required, and then Saruman would have needed a way to keep 10,000 Orcs quiet and off the radar of Lothlórien, which was nearby, and out of Fangorn.

    And, as has been echoed by others, ignore Peter Jackson's movies as a reference for what actually happened.

    MRB


    I obviously take Middle-earth too seriously!
     
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  9. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon Quality, not Quantity!

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    I believe Saruman was already harboring thoughts of eliciting power when he arrived in Middle-Earth. After Saruman had travelled East he took up sanctuary at Orthanc and from there it seems the he fashioned his intent upon creating greater power for himself. There again, could it have been long before that even still? I believe that Saruman had already known about the One Ring long before it became a concern of the White Council and as such his desire to control the power of Sauron had wormed its way into his psyche well in advance of any suspicion. Surely Saruman had known of Saurons actions in the East, or at the very least learned about him. Also, who can say what happened to the Blue Wizards who also journeyed East (as its told), did Saruman dispatch them in turn for their power? A wonderful and impossible question to answer Odin:)
     
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  10. King Naugladur

    King Naugladur Lord of Tumunzahar

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    The sole reason Saruman agreed to the assault against Dol Guldur, which happened in TA2941, the same year with the events at "The Hobbit" was his fear that Sauron's lackeys were close to finding the One Ring. He wanted to possess it, so he can be considered as corrupted.
    King Naugladur.
     
  11. Odin

    Odin Registered User

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    It's such a shame that Saruman seems to have been corrupt from the day he stepped off the ship at Mithlond. The White Wizard seems to have very few redeeming qualities and for the most part does nothing to aid the Men of the West as he had been commanded to do by the Valar. One might consider why the Valar even bothered to send such a proud and power-hungry Maia to Middle-Earth in the first place. Surely it would have been better for the people of Middle-Eatth if Curumo the Maia had never left Valinor. He certainly failed in his appointed task of aiding and guiding the free people against the Dark Lord.


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  12. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    Saruman wasn’t evil when he arrived in Middle-earth: the Valar would never have sent him if he were. He was proud, however, though not nearly so much at first as later.

    In Unfinished Tales, there is a section called “The Istari”. It tells that the Vala Aulë chose Curunír (Saruman) to oppose Sauron, who was also one of Aulë’s people in origin. Yavanna, Aulë’s wife and herself a powerful Vala, insisted that one of her Maia accompany Curunír, and she chose Aiwendil (Radagast). Though Yavanna was not evil in any way, sometimes her actions seemed driven by competition with Aulë. (For instance, when Aulë made the Dwarves, Yavanna insisted that she be allowed to make Ents to look after trees.) Curunír was the leader of the Istari, or Wizards (wise ones), who were sent to oppose Sauron by strengthening Elves and Men, but were forbidden to rule over them, or to oppose Sauron through their own force. (Basically, they were to offset his evil influence in Middle-earth: separating Elves from Men, and forcing creatures to do his wicked will.)

    Curunír arrived first, around 1000, and it seems Aiwendil was with him. Aiwendil’s heart seems never to have been in the mission, though: he preferred animals and especially birds, to Elves and Men, and became a friend to beasts and birds: as Beorn put it, “not a bad fellow as Wizards go.” Curunír resented Aiwendil: he had an weighty, important task at hand, and Aiwendil – Radagast – just wasn’t up to the job, in his opinion.

    Olórin – Gandalf – was also sent, but he was chosen by Manwë as “the third” (after Curunír and Aiwendil) because “Olórin was a lover of the Eldar that remained.” Olórin objected “that he was too weak for such a task, and that he feared Sauron. Then Manwë said that that was all the more reason why he should go”, and appointed him third. But when Manwë’s wife Varda (Elbereth Gilthoniel, the Star-kindler) heard Manwë, she looked up and said, “‘Not as the third;’ and [Curunír] remembered it.”

    When Gandalf arrived last in Mithlond, Círdan the Shipwright, who may have been the oldest surviving Elf in Middle-earth at that point, and who was extremely wise and far-sighted, had Narya, the Ring of Fire, in his possession. He gave it to Mithrandir (Olórin-Gandalf). Saruman eventually discovered this, “and begrudged it, and it was the beginning of the hidden ill-will that he bore to” Gandalf.

    Silmarillion says (bolding and square brackets mine),
    In the “Council of Elrond” in FotR Elrond indicates that in “study[ing] the lore of the Rings of Power, their making and their history,” Saruman was beguiled by the power of the One Ring, and thus he fell from grace.
    The White Council was formed in 2463, about the same time that Déagol, Sméagol’s friend, found the One Ring in Gladden Field: Sméagol murdered him and took the Ring.

    Isengard was never a fortress of Rohan. It was always an outpost of Gondor; but the house of the hereditary lords of Angrenost failed, and the Dunlendings took control of it in 2710, according to the Tale of Years.

    In 2758-9, Saruman and Gandalf parted ways in how they responded to the crises in Arnor and Gondor. The Long Winter struck the Shire, and Gandalf came to the aid of the Hobbits and other folk living in the ruined kingdom; while Saruman took possession of Isengard, at least nominally as its steward for Beren, the 19th Ruling Steward of Gondor. One of his purposes might have been to use the palantír of Orthanc to look for the Ring. Yet even then, he probably wasn’t yet fallen. When Théoden asked Gandalf about Saruman in TT, Gandalf said,
    Saruman began to experiment with making Rings. He knew where the One Ring was lost, and began searching the Gladden Fields for it around 2851 (according to the Tale of Years). Sauron had been searching there much longer: that’s probably why he chose Dol Guldur as a base of operations. Gandalf saw Thorin Oakenshield’s father, Thráin son of Thrór, in Dol Guldur that year, discovered that Sauron was there, and urged the White Council to drive him out; but Saruman overruled him because he hoped Sauron’s presence would make the Ring easier to find.

    But in 2939, according to Tale of Years, “Saruman discovers that Sauron's servants are searching the Anduin near Gladden Fields, and that Sauron therefore has learned of Isildur's end. He is alarmed, but says nothing to the Council.” Two years later, Gandalf meets Thorin Oakenshield on the road to Bree, and they concoct a crazy scheme to hire a Hobbit as a burglar. And during that adventure, Gandalf left them at the entrance to Mirkwood so that he could attend the White Council and help drive Sauron out of Dol Guldur. (Insuring, incidentally, that Sauron was too distracted to bother Thorin & Co in Mirkwood, or send any assistance to Smaug.) Saruman agreed to this because neither he nor anyone else knew Gollum had the One Ring, and he was afraid Sauron might get it first. And the One Ring – changed hands. And no one knew that, either.

    It isn’t clear exactly when Saruman fell, as Gandalf pointed out. From the beginning he was proud, and looked down upon Radagast (partly because the “dopy” Radagast was thrust upon him by his boss, Aulë: Saruman didn’t want him, and Radagast probably didn’t want to go); eventually, he despised Radagast. When Varda said Gandalf wasn’t “the third [Wizard],” Saruman wondered what she meant, and it bothered him. He resented Círdan’s gift of the Ring of Fire to Gandalf. He begrudged Galadriel’s promoting Gandalf to head the White Council.

    But most of all, Saruman studied Sauron and Sauron’s black arts in great detail. Like Sauron, he was one of Aulë’s folk, and though Sauron was stronger, Saruman was powerful, too. And somewhere along the way, as Treebeard told Merry and Pippin, Saruman began “plotting to become a Power.” To do that, he needed the One Ring. And he fell.

    My bet is that he made that fateful decision sometime after he entered Isengard in 2759 but before 2851, when he overruled Gandalf at the White Council in order to leave Sauron alone in hopes of finding the One Ring for himself. Gandalf chose one way; Saruman chose the other; and Radagast wandered off.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  13. King Naugladur

    King Naugladur Lord of Tumunzahar

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    It was the study of the Black Arts that played a crucial part in Saruman's downfall, I am sure. If you trifle with evil even a little, you end up embracing it.
    King Naugladur.
     
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  14. Odin

    Odin Registered User

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    It really sounds like Saruman never achieved any real good in the two thousand years he was on Middle-Earth. It seems short-sighted on the part of Manwe to send such a proud and self-centred Maia to be one of the Istari. Did Saruman the White ever achieve any good in Middle-Earth or would it have been better if he never left Valinor.


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  15. King Naugladur

    King Naugladur Lord of Tumunzahar

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    Perhaps the second, Odin. But, Curumo (Saruman) was a Maia of Aule and Aule was the one who chose him. Interstingly enough, Sauron was also a Maia of Aule, so it may be argued that it would be futile to pit him against Sauron, the mightiest of the Maiar, at least of the same order.
    King Naugladur.
     
  16. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    In his early days, Saruman must have been quite the foil to Sauron’s schemes. As a fellow Maia of Aulë's folk, he understood Sauron better than any of the other Istari. He was chosen by Aulë for this specific task, and although the reasons are not laid out for us, we can assume that he possessed great native power as a Maia, that he was wise, and that he had tremendous insight into how other people thought and might act: like any good commander, he could put himself in his opponent’s place. Sauron also possessed these gifts, and had misused them; it was hoped that Saruman would, through proper use of them, overcome many of Sauron’s nefarious plans. And no doubt he did. In “Flotsam and Jetsam” in The Two Towers, Merry and Aragorn have this exchange:
    Aragorn is no fan of Saruman’s, either: in his three score years of travels, he has never been to Isengard, though he should certainly have been welcome there as the Heir of Isildur, a claim Saruman could not contest. (Galadriel, Elrond, and Gandalf would all vouch for him.) Something kept him away: certainly not any warning from Elrond or Gandalf: they trusted Saruman until he betrayed Gandalf by imprisoning shortly before Frodo set out for Rivendell. Aragorn, though, had his own senses, and seems to have avoided Saruman for some other reason.

    But think too of the exchange between Manwë and Varda: Olórin (Gandalf) would be sent as the third; and Varda responded, not as third. Does this mean that both Curunír (Saruman) and Aiwendil (Radagast) were greater in native power than Olórin? I think it might. If that is so, then both Saruman and Radagast might be expected to “do more” to defeat Sauron. Gandalf was sent because he loved the Eldar that remained in Middle-earth. Neither Saruman nor Radagast shared this deep love for the people they were sent to help – Elves and Men – and so each failed to hew to his assigned task, following instead those things dearer to his own heart. That Radagast remained honest while Saruman did not may be due more to Saruman’s long study of evil art, of necromancy and sorcery, that as King Naugladur just said, led to Saruman’s undoing.
     
  17. Matthew Bailey

    Matthew Bailey Member

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    A couple of points on this thread:

    1) What is mean by "Fallen?"

    Saruman can have "Fallen," without having necessarily become a minion of Sauron, nor indeed an open enemy to the White Council.

    Fallen can also mean "Corrupted." And in that sense, it just means that Saruman lost the correct/righteous path. His goals had not changed, just the means. And in Middle-earth, Intentions and Methods mean an awful lot.

    To that end, Saruman was still likely "Fallen" long, long before he openly betrayed the rest of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. And while Fallen he was still working to free Middle-earth from the influence of Sauron, and to right the Wrongs done to the world by Sauron. It is just that his heart had been corrupted by the sin of Pride, and thus he erred in his judgment of the proper courses to take.

    But as I pointed out above, it would have taken Saruman a long time to both create his breed of Uruk-Hai, and then to breed 10,000 of them. Thus he had to have Fallen quite low by at least 200 years prior to the events of The Hobbit.

    2) In that Tolkien mentions that Curumo (Curunír) - and I quote from above: ". . . (…Saruman …) was chosen to be their chief, for he had most studied the devices of Sauron of old."

    Remember that this is written in The Silmarillion.

    That means that Tolkien, when he says "of old" he is talking about from the time of Sauron's corruption by Morgoth. So Saruman knew quite a bit more about Sauron's means and devices LONG BEFORE Saruman even came to Middle-earth at the opening of the 2nd millennia of the Third Age.

    That itself means that Saruman already had some measure of "corruption" existing even before he entered Middle-earth, manifested as his Pride.

    Saruman likely represents, to Tolkien, the sin of Pride, and how Saruman fell not to Sauron, but to his own Pride.

    MB
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
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  18. Eledhwen

    Eledhwen Cumbrian

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    Blinkered fascination can lead the inquirer to become ensnared by/obsessed with the object of their study. If the thing turns out to be "evil", then one can easily see how it can corrupt. Melkor's chief weapon was his persuasive powers. It is interesting that Saruman too had that same gift.
     
  19. Matthew Bailey

    Matthew Bailey Member

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    Obsession is one of the themes Tolkien returns to again-and-again as a form of "corruption."

    And the similarity between Melkor and Saruman both having the give of being very persuasive is no accident at all.

    Both represented, to Tolkien, a conceit of Modernity, and the manifestation of a particularly dangerous Christian Ideology, that "Pure Reason" leads to Sin. It is too complex an issue to do any justice to here. But to Tolkien this was something Tolkien saw in people who proposed things that sounded perfectly reasonable, yet ran completely counter to his conception of "Good."

    An extreme example of this would be Adolph Hitler. But Tolkien also was a ferocious critic of The Enlightenment (and THERE is where the ideology is dangerous).

    I completely understand Tolkien's views on this subject, as (being a Scientist) I see people every day pervert the Sciences, Reason, and Logic in order to advance an agenda that runs completely counter to everything we know, and which will come to no good. But the discovery of their errors is itself revealed by the Sciences, Reason, and Logic. Unlike Middle-earth, our Universe contains no Absolutes of Good and Evil.

    But within Middle-earth.... Saruman and Melkor both represent the manifestation of Evil through what is seemingly Reasonable and Just. Thus, they have perverted the gifts they have of being able to explain What Is in a way that everyone could understand into a corruption that instead works to manipulate and deceive others to convince those others that what they (Melkor and Saruman) want is actually what is "Reasonable" and "Just."

    In that respect, I completely concur with Tolkien.... As I see people every day take the Gifts they have, of Intelligence, or Loyalty, or the Arts, and corrupt them to advance causes that only harm Humanity and the World as a whole.

    And just like Saruman, these people have allowed themselves to be deceived by their own words. For whatever reason, obsession has led them to seek any justification to maintain that obsession.

    This is one of the things that creates such a fascinating universe in Middle-earth. That Tolkien was able to create such clear examples of how what Christianity calls "Sins" leads to harm, that it is obvious even to the non-religious how these Sins can lead to failure, and harm (even when intentions are good), even if Good and Evil are not the same sort of tangible things in our universe that they are in Middle-earth.

    MB
     
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  20. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Skulking near Archet

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    Another interesting thread, worthy of revival.

    Rather than "competition", I would use the word "counterbalance". As Aule's wife, Yavanna knew him well. In the Silmarillion, after he reveals to her his creation of the Dwarves, and Eru's acceptance of them, she replies:

    'Yet because thou hiddest this thought from me until its achievement, thy children will have little love for the things of my love. They will love first the things made by their own hands, as doth their father. They will delve in the earth, and the things that grow and live upon the earth they will not heed. Many a tree shall feel the bite of their iron without pity.'

    The somewhat surprising implication appears to be that, had Yavanna been in on the creation of the Dwarves, she could have imbued in them a love and respect for living things that they would now lack; in fact, the marriage of Aule and Yavanna could be taken to indicate an original intention to "marry", or combine, two loves: of creation, of the making of things, with the appreciation and love of things "as they are", in and for themselves. If so, Aule's secret creation of the Dwarves, without Yavanna's nature entering into it, could be a sort of "original sin"; after all, the "conquest of nature" has been a theme, and a goal, ever since.

    Tolkien felt this very keenly: his love of trees, for instance, is clear, not just in the books, but in his own explicit statements. But so is his ambivalence: he loved trees, but "tree-worship", of whatever form, was anathema to him. And he recognized that the use of the natural world was necessary; after Yavanna procures from Manwe the provision of "protectors" for her creations, Aule responds:

    'Nonetheless they will have need of wood'. . .and he went on with his smith-work.

    It seems that Tolkien understood the opposition and tension between the two desires, the two yearnings, deeply regretted it, and invented both an explanation, and a "mythical" remedy, for it -- at least in Middle Earth.

    And these counterbalancing acts would, at Yavanna's urging, continue, with the selection of "messengers": Curunir, "marvelously skilled in the work of his hands", must be balanced with Aiwendil, with his love for Yavanna's creations.

    As an aside, it strikes me that the story of Aule's "subcreation" is a parallel to Tolkien's, and reflects both his hopes and fears concerning it. The fear:

    'As a child to his father, I offer to thee these things, the work of the hands which thou hast made. Do with them what thou wilt. But should I not rather destroy the work of my presumption?'

    And the hope:

    'May Eru bless my work and amend it!'
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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