310 – The Voice of Saruman

The Voice of Saruman

Saruman has been known to the reader as a menace in the background ever since the Council of Elrond.  Jackson, understandably, brought him forward in his films: a fascinating character played by an outstanding actor.  Tolkien, in a different medium and expecting only a small and well-educated audience, keeps him distant.  As far as I remember, we do not get the occasional narrator mentions of his viewpoint that we get for Sauron.

Saruman has been an enigma, and now we get to meet him.  Conveniently for story-telling, this happens after the friendly re-union of the Three Runners and the Two Captured Hobbits.

We are also now half-way through a very long narrative.  It is good story-telling to have at least one lesser foe who is disposed during a long story.  This happens in Asimov’s original Foundation stories – originally twelve separate stories and not really a trilogy, since the new foe appears half-way though what’s published as Book Two.  The same applies to the three books later merged in Saberhagen’s Empire of the East series[A] – a natural for dramatization, though there are racist overtones with the ‘Evil East’ that would need to be removed.  Likewise a series of foes in the six main books of E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s Lensman series, which also had some rather more overt racism that would surely be scrubbed away.[B]  Someone did an English translation of a Japanese cartoon series,[C] which apparently discarded the very thing that might have made it a success: a succession of ever-more-dangerous enemies.  Each is finished off to make a complete book, and very suitable for a television season.[D]  There is vast scope to do better, maybe just for a niche market on a streaming service as is happening with The Expanse.[E]

To get back to Tolkien: he has Saruman as a foe to topple as the tide begins to turn against Sauron, who however still has the advantage.  Tolkien did something similar in the older story of Beren and Luthien, in which it is Sauron who falls half-way through and sets up for the defeat of Morgoth.  A defeat which would presumably not have happened had Sauron truthfully reported his failure to his Dark Lord.  You could also find points in common between Huan the Hound of Valinor and Treebeard the Ent: both uncorrupted aspects of dangerous nature.

Saruman himself remains dangerous even after his defeat.  But Gandalf, as usual, is moral rather than pragmatic.

“’I have now a last task to do before I go: I must pay Saruman a farewell visit. Dangerous, and probably useless; but it must be done. Those of you who wish may come with me – but beware! And do not jest! This is not the time for it.’

“’I will come,’ said Gimli. ‘I wish to see him and learn if he really looks like you.’

“’And how will you learn that, Master Dwarf?’ said Gandalf. ‘Saruman could look like me in your eyes, if it suited his purpose with you. And are you yet wise enough to detect all his counterfeits? Well, we shall see, perhaps. He may be shy of showing himself before many different eyes together. But I have ordered all the Ents to remove themselves from sight, so perhaps we shall persuade him to come out.’

“’What’s the danger?’ asked Pippin. ‘Will he shoot at us, and pour fire out of the windows; or can he put a spell on us from a distance?’

“’The last is most likely, if you ride to his door with a light heart,’ said Gandalf. ‘But there is no knowing what he can do, or may choose to try. A wild beast cornered is not safe to approach. And Saruman has powers you do not guess. Beware of his voice!’”

The confrontation is rather different from what got from Peter Jackson, and which he placed in the Extended Edition of the third film.  There, Saruman stood on top of his tower.  Tolkien more sensibly has him speak from a window balcony above the main door, itself raised and with 27 steps leading up to it.

“They came now to the foot of Orthanc. It was black, and the rock gleamed as if it were wet. The many faces of the stone had sharp edges as though they had been newly chiselled. A few scorings. and small flake-like splinters near the base, were all the marks that it bore of the fury of the Ents.

“On the eastern side, in the angle of two piers, there was a great door, high above the ground; and over it was a shuttered window, opening upon a balcony hedged with iron bars. Up to the threshold of the door there mounted a flight of twenty-seven broad stairs, hewn by some unknown art of the same black stone. This was the only entrance to the tower; but many tall windows were cut with deep embrasures in the climbing walls: far up they peered like little eyes in the sheer faces of the horns”

In discussions after I presented the original version to Coventry Smial, people asked ‘why 27’.  This is three times nine, which possibly matters.  The whole design is unlike any military tower I’ve ever come across, and seems to incorporate strong magics.  You can find a good description and some illustrations at Tolkien Gateway.[F]  And it is immense, with a flat summit where “a man might stand five hundred feet above the plain”.[G]  (No figure is given for Sauron’s tower, but we are told it is much larger, and presumably more military.)Orthanc

Gandalf climbs the steps.  The door is inset between two extensions of the tower and he is exposing himself to attacks from either side, if this were a normal military tower.  A normal military tower would also not have a balcony.  Clearly such rules do not apply at Orthanc.

King Theoden chooses to come with him, and brings Eomer.  Gandalf then tells Aragorn to come with him, and suggests the others stay at the foot of the stairs – strict hierarchy.  But Gimli, who is often rash, chooses to come up, and Legolas comes with him.

Gandalf  summons Saruman, and is answered by the despicable Wormtongue.  Who is told to summon Saruman, who is something else:

“The Riders of Rohan sat uneasily upon their horses, on either side of the stair, and looked up darkly at the great tower, fearing what might befall their lord. Merry and Pippin sat on the bottom step, feeling both unimportant and unsafe.

“’Half a sticky mile from here to the gate!’ muttered Pippin. ‘I wish I could slip off back to the guardroom unnoticed! What did we come for? We are not wanted.’

“Gandalf stood before the door of Orthanc and beat on it with his staff. It rang with a hollow sound. ‘Saruman, Saruman!’ he cried in a loud commanding voice. ‘Saruman come forth!’

“For some time there was no answer. At last the window above the door was unbarred, hut no figure could be seen at its dark opening.

“’Who is it?’ said a voice. ‘What do you wish?’

“Théoden started. ‘I know that voice,’ he said, ‘and I curse the day when I first listened to it.’

“’Go and fetch Saruman, since you have become his footman, Grima Wormtongue!’ said Gandalf. ‘And do not waste our time!’

“The window closed. They waited. Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves. When others spoke they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell. For some the spell lasted only while the voice spoke to them, and when it spake to another they smiled, as men do who see through a juggler’s trick while others gape at it. For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away. and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them. But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it.

“’Well?’ it said now with gentle question. ‘Why must you disturb my rest? Will you give me no peace at all by night or day?’ Its tone was that of a kindly heart aggrieved by injuries undeserved.

“They looked up, astonished, for they had heard no sound of his coming; and they saw a figure standing at the rail, looking down upon them: an old man, swathed in a great cloak, the colour of which was not easy to tell, for it changed if they moved their eyes or if he stirred. His face was long, with a high forehead, he had deep darkling eyes, hard to fathom, though the look that they now bore was grave and benevolent, and a little weary. His hair and beard were white, but strands of black still showed about his lips and ears.

“’Like, and yet unlike,’ muttered Gimli.”

Saruman is not exactly an orator – there is no indication he has ever addressed a vast crowd of people he wishes to win over.  Or would need to, given the social structures of Middle Earth.  But I am sure than Tolkien had in mind the enormously powerful oratory of Mussolini and Hitler – which English speakers are largely protected from, since it does not translate well.  For us, the last of the powerful orators was Churchill – and since Tolkien did not entirely approve of Churchill, he might have also seen a connection.[H]  In his letters he says:

“Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people. If people were in the habit of referring to ‘King George’s council, Winston and his gang’, it would go a long way to clearing thought, and reducing the frightful landslide into Theyocracy. Anyway the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men.”[I]

“We are attempting to conquer Sauron with the Ring. And we shall (it seems) succeed. But the penalty is, as you will know, to breed new Saurons, and slowly turn Men and Elves into Orcs.”[J]

As given, Saruman’s art is shown as persuasion one-to-one, or to small groups. But definitely a seductive and deceiving voice.  Reminding me of what Milton in Paradise Lost calls ‘words clothed in reason’s garb’.[K]

Gimli, being a dwarf, is not easily bent to anyone’s will.  He mocks the offer of help with words I am rather fond of:

“The words of this wizard stand on their heads,’ he growled, gripping the handle of his axe. ‘In the language of Orthanc help means ruin, and saving means slaying, that is plain. But we do not come here to beg.’”

Surprisingly, Theoden is left uncertain.  It is left to Eomer to remind him of what stands behind Saruman’s nice talk:

“Will you parley with this dealer in treachery and murder? Remember Theodred at the Fords, and the grave of Hama in Helm’s Deep!

Hama was the door ward who let in Gandalf’s staff, and was killed in the earlier fighting.  What counts for more is the death earlier of Theoden’s only son.

Saruman next tries to make Theoden fear the ents, who are indeed an alien force with a justified anger at what men have done to the natural world:

“You may find the Shadow of the Wood at your own door next: it is wayward, and senseless, and has no love for Men.”

He makes a valid point about peace and war:

“Am I to be called a murderer, because valiant men have fallen in battle? If you go to war, needlessly, for I did not desire it, then men will be slain. But if I am a murderer on that account, then all the House of Eorl is stained with murder; for they have fought many wars, and assailed many who defied them. Yet with some they have afterwards made peace, none the worse for being politic.”

I’d agree that war is not murder: it is authorised by existing authorities.  But with both war and murder, the reasons make a very big difference.  Saruman’s comfortable existence at Isengard was not threatened by anyone except Sauron: yet he chose to fight on Sauron’s behalf and attack people whom he had pretended friendship with.

The other key difference is that Treebeard is honest, and Saruman is not.  Treebeard is content with what he has, and even resigned to its gradual loss.  Saruman never loses his grand ambitions.  Never overcomes his inability to see that he has done wrong.  And shows this by acting against his own best interests: losing his temper and revealing too much of his real feelings:

“[Theoden says] When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc…

“The Riders gazed up at Théoden like men startled out of a dream. Harsh as an old raven’s their master’s voice sounded in their ears after the music of Saruman. But Saruman for a while was beside himself with wrath. He leaned over the rail as if he would smite the King with his staff. To some suddenly it seemed that they saw a snake coiling itself to strike.

“’Gibbets and crows!’ he hissed, and they shuddered at the hideous change. ‘Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among the dogs? Too long have they escaped the gibbet themselves.”

Much later, we learn that Wormtongue has been won over to this dismal view of his own people.  And has somehow inflicted it on Eowyn.  This is explained by Gandalf as she lies sick after helping defeat the Witch-King.  Which also makes sense of her sudden passion for Faramir, the highest-ranked individual after Aragorn in the highest surviving human civilisation.

I’d also say that if you viewed the events as real, Saruman is much too crude and makes too many errors.  Good story-telling, like much else.

Still thinking he can control others, Saruman now tries to win over Gandalf:

“’But you, Gandalf! For you at least I am grieved, feeling for your shame. How comes it that you can endure such company? For you are proud, Gandalf-and not without reason, having a noble mind and eyes that look both deep and far. Even now will you not listen to my counsel?’

“Gandalf stirred, and looked up. ‘What have you to say that you did not say at our last meeting?’ he asked. ‘Or, perhaps, you have things to unsay?’

“Saruman paused. ‘Unsay?’ he mused, as if puzzled. ‘Unsay? I endeavoured to advise you for your own good, but you scarcely listened. You are proud and do not love advice, having indeed a store of your own wisdom. But on that occasion you erred, I think, misconstruing my intentions wilfully. I fear that in my eagerness to persuade you, I lost patience. And indeed I regret it. For I bore you no ill-will; and even now I bear none, though you return to me in the company of the violent and the ignorant. How should I? Are we not both members of a high and ancient order, most excellent in Middle-earth? Our friendship would profit us both alike. Much we could still accomplish together, to heal the disorders of the world. Let us understand one another, and dismiss from thought these lesser folk! Let them wait on our decisions! For the common good I am willing to redress the past, and to receive you. Will you not consult with me? Will you not come up?’

“So great was the power that Saruman exerted in this last effort that none that stood within hearing were unmoved. But now the spell was wholly different. They heard the gentle remonstrance of a kindly king with an erring but much-loved minister. But they were shut out, listening at a door to words not meant for them: ill-mannered children or stupid servants overhearing the elusive discourse of their elders, and wondering how it would affect their lot. Of loftier mould these two were made: reverend and wise. It was inevitable that they should make alliance. Gandalf would ascend into the tower, to discuss deep things beyond their comprehension in the high chambers of Orthanc. The door would be closed, and they would be left outside, dismissed to await allotted work or punishment. Even in the mind of Théoden the thought took shape, like a shadow of doubt: ‘He will betray us; he will go – we shall be lost.’

“Then Gandalf laughed. The fantasy vanished like a puff of smoke.

“’Saruman, Saruman!’ said Gandalf still laughing. ‘Saruman, you missed your path in life. You should have been the king’s jester and earned your bread, and stripes too, by mimicking his counsellors. Ah me!’ he paused, getting the better of his mirth. ‘Understand one another? I fear I am beyond your comprehension. But you, Saruman, I understand now too well. I keep a clearer memory of your arguments, and deeds, than you suppose. When last I visited you, you were the jailor of Mordor, and there I was to be sent. Nay, the guest who has escaped from the roof, will think twice before he comes back in by the door. Nay, I do not think I will come up. But listen, Saruman, for the last time! Will you not come down? Isengard has proved less strong than your hope and fancy made it. So may other things in which you still have trust. Would it not be well to leave it for a while? To turn to new things, perhaps? Think well, Saruman! Will you not come down?’

Gandalf makes what’s actually a very generous offer:

“A shadow passed over Saruman’s face; then it went deathly white. Before he could conceal it, they saw through the mask the anguish of a mind in doubt, loathing to stay and dreading to leave its refuge. For a second he hesitated, and no one breathed. Then he spoke, and his voice was shrill and cold. Pride and hate were conquering him.

“’Will I come down?’ he mocked. ‘Does an unarmed man come down to speak with robbers out of doors? I can hear you well enough here. I am no fool, and I do not trust you, Gandalf. They do not stand openly on my stairs, but I know where the wild wood-demons are lurking, at your command.’

“’The treacherous are ever distrustful,’ answered Gandalf wearily. ‘But you need not fear for your skin. I do not wish to kill you, or hurt you, as you would know, if you really understood me. And I have the power to protect you. I am giving you a last chance. You can leave Orthanc, free – if you choose.’”

“’That sounds well,’ sneered Saruman. ‘Very much in the manner of Gandalf the Grey: so condescending, and so very kind. I do not doubt that you would find Orthanc commodious, and my departure convenient. But why should I wish to leave? And what do you mean by ‘free’? There are conditions, I presume?’

“’Reasons for leaving you can see from your windows.’ answered Gandalf. ‘Others will occur to your thought. Your servants are destroyed and scattered; your neighbours you have made your enemies; and you have cheated your new master. or tried to do so. When his eye turns hither, it will be the red eye of wrath. But when I say ‘free’, I mean ‘free’: free from bond, of chain or command: to go where you will, even, even to Mordor, Saruman, if you desire. But you will first surrender to me the Key of Orthanc, and your staff. They shall be pledges of your conduct, to be returned later, if you merit them.’

“Saruman’s face grew livid, twisted with rage, and a red light was kindled in his eyes. He laughed wildly. ‘Later!’ he cried, and his voice rose to a scream. ‘Later! Yes, when you also have the Keys of Barad-dur itself, I suppose; and the crowns of seven kings. and the rods of the Five Wizards, and have purchased yourself a pair of boots many sizes larger than those that you wear now. A modest plan. Hardly one in which my help is needed! I have other things to do. Do not be a fool. If you wish to treat with me, while you have a chance, go away, and come back when you are sober! And leave behind these cut-throats and small rag-tag that dangle at your tail! Good day!’ He turned and left the balcony.”

Gandalf is facing someone who had been much more powerful.  But during the confrontation, he evidently realised that as Gandalf the White he is now stronger:

“’Come back, Saruman!’ said Gandalf in a commanding voice. To the amazement of the others, Saruman turned again. and as if dragged against his will, he came slowly back to the iron rail, leaning on it, breathing hard. His face was lined and shrunken. His hand clutched his heavy black staff like a claw.

“’I did not give you leave to go,’ said Gandalf sternly. ‘I have not finished. You have become a fool, Saruman, and yet pitiable. You might still have turned away from folly and evil, and have been of service. But you choose to stay and gnaw the ends of your old plots.”

Saruman cannot accept that Gandalf desires nothing for himself.  Nor can he even be a modest plotter who will step down so as to stay in the game.  Gandalf concludes he is beyond help:

“Stay then! But I warn you. you will not easily come out again. Not unless the dark hands of the East stretch out to take you. Saruman!’ he cried, and his voice grew in power and authority. ‘Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the order and from the Council.’

“He raised his hand, and spoke slowly in a clear cold voice. ‘Saruman, your staff is broken.’ There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman’s hand, and the head of it fell down at Gandalf’s feet. ‘Go!’ said Gandalf. With a cry Saruman fell back and crawled away.”

The staff evidently counts for quite a lot – just what, we are never told.  Gandalf in his older form can use his staff to kill orcs and break bridges, but his power gets exhausted, as happens in Moria. Saruman probably has different powers, greater than those of Gandalf the Grey.

And then Wormtongue illustrates the self-harming nature of evil.  Unseen – but who else could it have been – he throws something that falls and cracks the stone steps leading to the doorway of Orthanc: magical material made by Numenorians which had resisted the old magic of the Ents:

“At that moment a heavy shining thing came hurtling down from above. It glanced off the iron rail, even as Saruman left it, and passing close to Gandalf’s head, it smote the stair on which he stood. The rail rang and snapped. The stair cracked and splintered in glittering sparks. But the ball was unharmed: it rolled on down the steps, a globe of crystal, dark, but glowing with a heart of fire. As it bounded away towards a pool Pippin ran after it and picked it up.

“’The murderous rogue!’ cried Éomer. But Gandalf was unmoved. No, that was not thrown b Saruman, he said; nor even at his bidding, I think. It came from a window far above. A parting shot from Master Wormtongue, I fancy, but ill aimed.’

“’The aim was poor, maybe, because he could not make up his mind which he hated more, you or Saruman,’ said Aragorn.

“’That may be so,’ said Gandalf. ‘Small comfort will those two have in their companionship: they will gnaw one another with words. But the punishment is just. If Wormtongue ever comes out of Orthanc alive, it will be more than he deserves.

“’Here, my lad, I’ll take that! I did not ask you to handle it,’ he cried, turning sharply and seeing Pippin coming up the steps, slowly, as if he were bearing a great weight. He went down to meet him and hastily took the dark globe from the hobbit, wrapping it in the folds of his cloak. ‘I will take care of this,’ he said. ‘It is not a thing, I guess, that Saruman would have chosen to cast away’…

“Strange are the turns of fortune! Often does hatred hurt itself! I guess that, even if we had entered in, we could have found few treasures in Orthanc more precious than the thing which Wormtongue threw down at us.’

“A shrill shriek; suddenly cut off, came from an open window high above.

“’It seems that Saruman thinks so too,’ said Gandalf. ‘Let us leave them!’

We later learn that it is a palantir, perhaps made by Feanor himself.  It can crack the almost unbreakable stone of the Numenorians, which fits the pattern of declining power in Tolkien’s mythology.  In his letters he explains something I have missed until I went through those letters and made a detailed study of what he had said.  The declining quality of light was one of many surprises.

“The Light of Valinor (derived from light before any fall) is the light of art undivorced from reason, that sees things both scientifically (or philosophically) and imaginatively (or subcreatively) and says that they are good—as beautiful.  The Light of Sun (or Moon) is derived from the Trees only after they were sullied by Evil”  (The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien: Note to Letter 131.)

Yet the new and evil light is not insignificant.  The red glow is Sauron, as we later learn.  But all of this is being set up for the next chapter.

Having done his duty by Saruman, Gandalf abandons him and introduces the Three Runners to Treebeard.  Who concentrates on Legolas:

“Last he turned to Legolas. ‘So you have come all the way from Mirkwood, my good Elf? A very great forest it used to be!’

“’And still is,’ said Legolas. ‘But not so great that we who dwell there ever tire of seeing new trees. I should dearly love to journey in Fangorn’s Wood. I scarcely passed beyond the eaves of it, and I did not wish to turn back.’

“Treebeard’s eyes gleamed with pleasure. ‘I hope you may have your wish, ere the hills be much older,’ he said.

“’I will come, if I have the fortune,’ said Legolas. ‘I have made a bargain with my friend that, if all goes well, we will visit Fangorn together – by your leave.’

“’Any Elf that comes with you will be welcome,’ said Treebeard.

“’The friend I speak of is not an Elf,’ said Legolas; ‘I mean Gimli, Gloin’s son here.’ Gimli bowed low, and the axe slipped from his belt and clattered on the ground.

“’Hoom, hm! Ah now,’ said Treebeard, looking dark-eyed at him. ‘A dwarf and an axe-bearer! Hoom! I have good will to Elves; but you ask much. This is a strange friendship!’ ‘Strange it may seem,’ said Legolas; ‘but while Gimli lives I shall not come to Fangorn alone. His axe is not for trees, but for orc-necks, O Fangorn, Master of Fangorn’s Wood. Forty-two he hewed in the battle.’

“’Hoo! Come now!’ said Treebeard. ‘That is a better story! Well, well, things will go as they will; and there is no need to hurry to meet them. But now we must part for a while. Day is drawing to an end, yet Gandalf says you must go ere nightfall, and the Lord of the Mark is eager for his own house.’”

Treebeard had earlier told the hobbits of his suspicion of Lothlorien.  Now he accepts Legolas and any elf Legolas views as trustworthy. A dwarf is another matter: he gives no definite answer, though we learn later that he accept them both.  Legolas sees the Helms Deep caves that Gimli cherishes, and he has a proper visit to Fangorn.

He takes no notice of Aragorn, but regrets the departure of the hobbits.  He has added them to Ent lore in a nice little verse:

“Ents the earthborn, old as mountains,
“the wide-walkers, water drinking;
“and hungry as hunters, the Hobbit children,
“the laughing-folk, the little people,

And he asks them to look out for Entwives – he still hopes, though the story implies it will be in vain.

He can even feel a little sympathy for Saruman:

“So Saruman would not leave?’ he said. ‘I did not think he would. His heart is as rotten as a black Huorn’s. Still, if I were overcome and all my trees destroyed, I would not come while I had one dark hole left to hide in.’

“’No,’ said Gandalf. ‘But you have not plotted to cover all the world with your trees and choke all other living things. But there it is, Saruman remains to nurse his hatred and weave again such webs as he can.”

That’s an important difference.  The fault of Modernists is that they fail to see how other ways of life could have merit.  Are much too keen to impose uniformity.

Less philosophically, Gandalf also advises Treebeard how to keep Saruman secure:

“He has the Key of Orthanc. But he must not be allowed to escape.’

“’Indeed no! Ents will see to that,’ said Treebeard. ‘Saruman shall not set foot beyond the rock, without my leave. Ents will watch over him…

“But you must be wary. The waters have gone down. It will not be enough to put sentinels round the tower, I fear. I do not doubt that there were deep ways delved under Orthanc, and that Saruman hopes to go and come unmarked, before long. If you will undertake the labour, I beg you to pour in the waters again; and do so, until Isengard remains a standing pool, or you discover the outlets. When all the underground places are drowned, and the outlets blocked, then Saruman must stay upstairs and look out of the windows.’

“’Leave it to the Ents!’ said Treebeard. ‘We shall search the valley from head to foot and peer under every pebble. Trees are coming back to live here, old trees, wild trees. The Watchwood we will call it. Not a squirrel will go here, but I shall know of it. Leave it to Ents! Until seven times the years in which he tormented us have passed, we shall not tire of watching him.’”

But while they do not tire, they are vulnerable because they are decent and can feel pity, as we later learn.  An interesting narrative not in the film, where Saruman rather neatly falls and is impaled on the spikes of one of his own machines.  That must be why he was put on top of the tower: from the balcony he would have fallen on the stairs and met a much less dramatic end.

Jackson did things differently, eliminating Saruman’s later corruption of The Shire, which is found unchanged when they return in the film.[L]  Instead we have a vision of The Shire conquered by Sauron’s forces when Frodo looks into Galadriel’s mirror.  This has different significance, as I will discuss further when I get to it.

Copyright © Gwydion M. Williams.

[A] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_the_East_series.  A fourth book, Ardneh’s Sword, is only loosely connected but I found it the best of his later works.  The Swords stories I found hopelessly inferior and gave up after the first volume.

[B] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lensman_series.  A seventh book, The Vortex Blaster, is separate and is set part-way though the main sequence, involving a lower-level foe.

[C] The IMDb actually shows two.  I think I saw a US adaptation of ‘Lensman: Galactic Patrol’, which has the Overlords as the main foe.  The other ‘Lensman’, which sounds different.  Both were made in Japan.  Neither seem available on DVD, and are probably not worth making an effort for.

[D] The IMDb actually shows two.  I think I saw a US adaptation of ‘Lensman: Galactic Patrol’, which has the Overlords as the main foe.  The other ‘Lensman’, which sounds different.  Both were made in Japan.  Neither seem available on DVD, and are probably not worth it.

[E] Originally Netflix and now Amazon

[F] http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Orthanc

[G] Book Three, Chapter 8: The Road to Isengard

[H] For my own views, rather different from Tolkien’s, see Britain’s Mixed Feelings About Hitler in the 1930shttps://gwydionmadawc.com/20-british-history/britains-mixed-feelings-about-hitler-in-the-1930s/.

[I] The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien: Letter 52.

[J] The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien: Letter 64.

[K] Spoken by Belial after the defeat of the rebel angels, and dismissed as ‘ignoble ease and peaceful sloth – not peace’.  (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00144940.1958.11481977?journalCode=vexp20.)  Treating it as if real, I’d have seen it as rather a good idea, however unworthy the proposer.

[L] One of many points that were not in my original studies and which arose from discussions within the Coventry Smial.

Advertisements