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The grey figure in Fangorn: was it Gandalf or Saruman?

Ged

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In "The Riders of Rohan", Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas are camping for the night. Gimli takes first watch. Suddenly he looks up.

'There just on the edge of the firelight stood an old bent man, leaning on a staff, and wrapped in a great cloak; his wide-brimmed hat was pulled down over his eyes. Gimli sprang up, too amazed for the moment to cry out, though at once the thought flashed through his mind that Saruman had caught them. Both Aragorn and Legolas, roused by his sudden movement, sat up and stared. The old man did not speak or make a sign.'

This MUST have been either Saruman or Gandalf. Which of them was it?
 

Bill the Pony

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In book III Ch. 5, the white rider, Gandalf says it wasn't him.

'Wait a minute!' cried Gimli. 'There is another thing that I should like to know first. Was it you, Gandalf, or Saruman that we saw last night?'
'You certainly did not see me,' answered Gandalf, 'therefore I must guess that you saw Saruman. Evidently we look so much alike that your desire to make an incurable dent in my hat must be excused.'
So unless he forgot it again (remember he almost forgot his name as well), it must have been Saruman. (unless there are any other options??)
 

Ged

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BtheP:
Thanks. That seems to definitely rule out Gandalf. Now I'm trying to work out whether Saruman could possibly have been at the edge of the forest at that time and still have got back to Isengard in time to order the attack at Helm's Deep....
 

Bill the Pony

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And what you got me wondering about, is why the horses disappeared. First they thought Saruman scared them away, but later they think the horses did not sound scared, but very happy. So what happened to them? And why? Did they find Shadowfax? I'll read the whole piece again later, but if anyone knows already...
 

Greenwood

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Originally posted by Bill the Pony
And what you got me wondering about, is why the horses disappeared. First they thought Saruman scared them away, but later they think the horses did not sound scared, but very happy. So what happened to them? And why? Did they find Shadowfax? I'll read the whole piece again later, but if anyone knows already...
If I remember correctly the thinking was that the horses were first frightened away, but then encountered their leader Shadowfax and greeted him with joy.
 

Ged

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If Saruman HAD been at the edge of Fangorn at this time, he would virtually have seen his Uruk-hai battling the Riders of Rohan. Does this all fit in? Could he then have got back to Isengard in time?

Flotsam and Jetsam:
"There was a pale figure hurrying away in and out of the shadows of the pillars, and it had nearly reached the stairway to the tower-door."

This was presumably Saruman or Wormtongue, though the Ents presumed it to have been Saruman. If Saruman he must therefore have been fleeing on foot, alone, from the edge of Fangorn.

My question is: could Saruman have done this in the time available?

Or was it possibly Gandalf the Orc Hunters saw in the forest?

Edit: and if it WAS Saruman, then he must have been away from Orthanc during the battle of Helm's Deep.
 
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Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by Ged
If Saruman HAD been at the edge of Fangorn at this time, he would virtually have seen his Uruk-hai battling the Riders of Rohan. Does this all fit in? Could he then have got back to Isengard in time?

Flotsam and Jetsam:
"There was a pale figure hurrying away in and out of the shadows of the pillars, and it had nearly reached the stairway to the tower-door."

This was presumably Saruman or Wormtongue, though the Ents presumed it to have been Saruman. If Saruman he must therefore have been fleeing on foot, alone, from the edge of Fangorn.

My question is: could Saruman have done this in the time available?

Or was it possibly Gandalf the Orc Hunters saw in the forest?

Edit: and if it WAS Saruman, then he must have been away from Orthanc during the battle of Helm's Deep.


I also don't think the question could be if he could have gotten back in time but rather would he have dared? Would Saruman have the guts to go by himself all the way to fangorn on foot? I think not he also would have been struggling 4 time. Maybe it was a phantom or a spy??????????
 

Greenwood

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Ged

Saruman was not seen entering the circle of Isengard but was seen making a run for Orthanc after the Ents attacked. Pippin says that Saruman had evidently come down to the gates of Isengard to see his army off.
 

PRH

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Eomer states that Saruman walks abroad as an old man from time to time.

I take it to have been Saruman, so anxious to get the Ring that he goes out to meet his Uruk-Hai returning from Parth Galen.

I find it a little odd that this was never really addressed after Gandalf says it wasn't him. I guess Tolkien felt it was obvious and didn't need answering, or maybe he wanted his readers to guess.
 

Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by PRH
Eomer states that Saruman walks abroad as an old man from time to time.

I take it to have been Saruman, so anxious to get the Ring that he goes out to meet his Uruk-Hai returning from Parth Galen.

I find it a little odd that this was never really addressed after Gandalf says it wasn't him. I guess Tolkien felt it was obvious and didn't need answering, or maybe he wanted his readers to guess.

I don't Tolkien had to adress alot and he can't do everything but i would have liked 2 have known.
 

BluestEye

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Where is your imagination, people?
Saruman could have made an Astral Projection journey into Fangorn Forset without moving from his Orthanc Tower. Remember that he wasn't just a Wizard, but a powerful Maia. Physical distances, when he is alone and can transform himself without anybody noticing it, don't have to bother him.
I guess he was trying to figure out what's going on with his Uruk-Hais and if they succeeded to bring him the Ring. Also maybe he wanted to see what's going on with the Ents that he knew he got very hungered.

BluestEye
 

Armagetya

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Best answer is Radagast. Tolkien did not include people into his realm for no reason (with the exception of Tom Bombadill). Radagast was a strong friend of the animals and Illusion and shape change were his domain. Remember that Radagast was 1 of the 5 wizards charged with resisting Melkor (Saurons boss).
 

Bucky

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Where is your imagination, people?
Saruman could have made an Astral Projection journey into Fangorn Forset without moving from his Orthanc Tower. Remember that he wasn't just a Wizard, but a powerful Maia. Physical distances, when he is alone and can transform himself without anybody noticing it, don't have to bother him.
I guess he was trying to figure out what's going on with his Uruk-Hais and if they succeeded to bring him the Ring. Also maybe he wanted to see what's going on with the Ents that he knew he got very hungered.

BluestEye
This is such new age revisionist history that it doesn't even deserve the effort I'm taking to type this response to say it's total conjexture with noT one shad basis at all for fact within Tolkien's Middle-earth.
 

Parsifal

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I also don't think the question could be if he could have gotten back in time but rather would he have dared? Would Saruman have the guts to go by himself all the way to fangorn on foot? I think not he also would have been struggling 4 time. Maybe it was a phantom or a spy??????????
Somewhere it says (don't remember where and don't have the book with me) that Saruman was so impatient about the prospect of having captured Hobbits (and The Ring, ofcours) that he came out of Isengard to meet his raiding party. But he came too late to be able to salvage anything from the battle.
 

Zenith

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Re: Parsifal

Somewhere it says (don't remember where and don't have the book with me) that Saruman was so impatient about the prospect of having captured Hobbits (and The Ring, ofcours) that he came out of Isengard to meet his raiding party.
You are absolutely correct there. Not only does Gandalf indicate it was probably Saruman, just earlier in the conversation with the Three Hunters he states,

"He (Saruman) was so eager to lay his hands on his prey that he could not wait at home, and he came forth to meet and to spy on his messengers. But he came too late, for once, and the battle was over and beyond his help before he reached these parts. He did not remain here long....."

Therefore it was clearly Saruman. Gandalf states it very clearly, and I'm surprised when Gimli later asked if it was Gandalf or Saruman they saw, seeing as how Gandalf just told them. I'm even more surprised Gandalf didn't have a smart remark to Gimli about his lack of attentiveness. However, question answered and case closed.
 

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