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"Is Saruman Evil in the Hobbit?" Topic

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07 Jan 2013 11:09 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Is Sauruman Evil in the Hobbit?" to "Is Saruman Evil in the Hobbit?"

5,045 hits since 7 Jan 2013
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

COMMODORE LMV Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 8:53 a.m. PST

Is Sauruman evil in the Hobbit or has he not turned yet?

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 8:59 a.m. PST

In the film he's aloof and a little pompous and proud of his own knowledge (and scathing of those he considers inferior) – but appears to be on the side of good. That corresponds well with backround notes in LOTR and Unfinished Tales etc. I don't think he is mentioned by name in the original book "The Hobbit".

evilcartoonist Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 9:00 a.m. PST

Movie or book? I don't remember him being mentioned at all in the book. And the movie could be left to interpretation.

COMMODORE LMV Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 9:01 a.m. PST

I was thinking in the movie

Tiny Legions07 Jan 2013 9:01 a.m. PST

I would assume that you mean in the movie, since in the book, Sauruman is not mentioned. However to answer your question, we should see further parts for more evidence. I would say that the movie may have provided suspicion, but nothing more.

Xintao Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 9:17 a.m. PST

I seem to remember reading, that at this point in the story, he is working to stall Gandalf from focusing on Dol Guldor. He was looking for the One Ring and was hoping that if Sauron gained power, the ring would be revealed. I can't seem to recall where I read that.

Now this fits with the movie, as he is ignoring evidence right in front of his face.

Cheers, Xin

Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 9:19 a.m. PST

Agreed, as of now, his comments are open to interpretation, but there are two more films to come.

Galadriel certainly has her antennae waving all over the joint though.

BTW…Jackson said that parts of the story were filled in from other books (Silmarilion?), like Radogast.

Does anyone know where the movie fill in sources regarding him, the Necromancer and the Goblin that hates Thorin are (book wise I mean)?

JLA10507 Jan 2013 9:20 a.m. PST

IIRC, Saruman by the time of The Hobbit was already starting to turn, seeking to delay investigation into the true nature of the Necromancer in hopes of finding clues to the whereabouts of the Ring. His particular area of expertise was the study of the methods of the Enemy (Sauron) and so he was trusted by the White Council in all matters pertaining to Him.
I think he was portrayed well in the Hobbit, not appearing evil but seeking to delay and confuse the White Council for his own ends.

Balin Shortstuff Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 9:21 a.m. PST

In the books, Sauruman was looking for the ring himself and was trying to discourage any action that might impede that search. I think that's from the appendix in Lord of the Rings, but he's not mentioned in The Hobbit.

JLA10507 Jan 2013 9:23 a.m. PST

Check Fellowship, the chapter 'Council of Elrond' for Gandalf's telling of Saruman's growing treachery.
I've no idea where the Radagast's Rabbit-propelled sleigh comes from; in Fellowship Gandalf mentions Radagast riding a horse. Rabbit-sleds get more kiddie dollars, I guess.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 9:24 a.m. PST

the Goblin that hates Thorin are (book wise I mean)?

The appendices to Return of the King cover Azog – 'course he does die at Moria, so isn't available to chase Thorin in The Hobbit. In the film he lives and so…..

richarDISNEY Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 9:30 a.m. PST

Nope. Baddie.
I felt that he was trying to lull the others into inaction and getting Smaug on the dark side.

richarDISNEY Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 9:32 a.m. PST

And Andrew, the Necromancer is only MENTIONED in The Hobbit…

COMMODORE LMV Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 9:41 a.m. PST

Sauruman definitely comes off as ultra proud and certainly jealous of Gandalf's adventures

Roderick Robertson Fezian07 Jan 2013 9:48 a.m. PST

And for all of the movie-Saruman's sneering about the habits of Gandal re: pipeweed and Radagast's 'shrooms, book-Saruman had barrels of Old Toby and Longbottom Leaf stuffed in the cellars of Isengard… The hypocrite!

Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 10:16 a.m. PST

Thanks Gents, now to dig out my trilogy to find the appendices.

Richard D.-Understood, I but from how it was portrayed in the movie, I was wondering if there was further source material, as it seems to be, something of, a factor in the upcoming films.

Pohtonen07 Jan 2013 10:31 a.m. PST

I don't think he was evil at that time, but he was trying to delay Gandalf.

I thought the White Council's meeting didn't happen until Gandalf left the group before they entered Mirkwood.

Goober07 Jan 2013 10:31 a.m. PST

Gandalf mentions Azog the Defiler to Thorin in the book, and Thorin replies something about cursing his name (Azog, not Gandalf) but that's about it.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 10:31 a.m. PST

book-Saruman had barrels of Old Toby and Longbottom Leaf stuffed in the cellars of Isengard… The hypocrite!

They're in the extended version of the films as well.

The appendices to Return of the King cover Azog – 'course he does die at Moria, so isn't available to chase Thorin in The Hobbit.

Azog is first mentioned in The Hobbit as the killer of Thror "in the mines of Moria." At the start of the Battle of Five Armies, Gandalf says that Bolg's father was slain by Dain "in Moria"— presumably during the great dwarven war against the orcs— and a footnote in the text says Bolg's father was Azog. So the movie departs from this history and has Azog maimed by Thorin. There is no mention of this incident in any of Tolkien's works, though the account of a young Thorin defending himself with an oak branch as a shield and thereby gaining his sobriquet is mentioned elsewhere. This event occurred during the war against the orcs, I believe during the battle at Moria in which Azog is slain.

billthecat07 Jan 2013 10:32 a.m. PST

Not totally evil in intent. but selfish and proud, thus well on his way.

COMMODORE LMV Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 10:41 a.m. PST

I know part of Sauruman's fall is his jealousy of Gandalf, of how the elves listen to Gandalf and these things fuel Sauruman's obsession to locate the ring which in turn puts him into contact with Sauron who then turns him.

victor0leto07 Jan 2013 10:50 a.m. PST

All I can say is, man Scaramanga has really let himself go.

TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 11:34 a.m. PST

Does Saruman have a superfluous nipple?

SBminisguy07 Jan 2013 12:51 p.m. PST

Check the Quest of Erebor in Unfinished Tales, JRR's short story that was intended to more closely link The Hobbit with LOTR. That's where Jackson is drawing this additional material and inspiration from. If he holds to it -- in the 2nd or 3rd movie there should be an army of Elves and Beornings storming Dol Guldur to eject the Necromancer, at which time Sauron is revealed and moves to Barad Dur.

Timbo W07 Jan 2013 1:08 p.m. PST

According to the Tale of the Years, The Hobbit takes place in 2941.

Prior to this in 2851 Saruman had dissuaded the White Council from attacking Dol Guldur and starts searching the Gladden Fields for the Ring.

2939 Saruman discovers that Sauron's servants are searching the Gladden Fields but fails to inform the council

2941 Events of The Hobbit, Saruman agrees to an attack on DG as he's worried that Sauron may find the Ring

2953 Saruman feigns that the Ring has been washed away down the Anduin to the sea, starts fortifying Isengard, spying on Gandalf and the Shire

3000 Saruman uses the palantir and is ensnared by Sauron, he now becomes a traitor to the White Council

3018-3019 Events of the Lord of the Rings

So basically Saruman appears to be out for himself from at least 90 years prior to The Hobbit, aiming to find the Ring and claim it for his own. Not until 3000 is he 'properly evil' if you like, but it's a slippery slope.

Wellspring Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 1:46 p.m. PST

Others have listed pretty much everything. LoTR's appendices, some of the actual text, the Silmarillion, and related unfinished works by Tolkien all discuss this in detail. In the appendices to LoTR, Gandalf also points out that Bilbo's account of his adventure is high on whimsy and missing some key details.

The movie deviates from the books, but some of the changes actually make it closer to Gandalf's version of events and further from Bilbo's story. Others are purely Peter Jackson :(

Saruman isn't mentioned by name in the Hobbit, however, we do hear about the White Council. At the end, Gandalf (who has missed much of the events at Erebor) comes back to report that he's persuaded the White Council to move against the Necromancer, and drove him out of Dol Goldur. At the time they believe that the Necromancer is the Witch King of Angmar (leader of the Ringwraiths), having finally realized that he was more than just some very evil human.

Saruman is fully evil by now, but hasn't yet revealed himself as such. He's been searching for the Ring for a long time, at first to keep it from Sauron, but gradually he's been seduced by the idea of using it himself. His plan was to let Sauron return so the Ring would reveal itself, then snatch it up before Sauron could recover it. So early on he advocates a "watch and wait" strategy towards the Necromancer, but eventually his fear that Sauron might actually recover the Ring leads him to acquiesce to the Council and move to drive Sauron out of Mirkwood.

By "fully evil" I don't mean "working for Sauron". He was doing plenty of wicked things, secretly, at the time of the Hobbit and before. To some extent, Saruman never really worked for Sauron. He pledged himself to Sauron after the Hobbit, true, but it was a false pledge intended to stay close to the Dark Lord until the opportunity arose to supplant him.

Tankrider07 Jan 2013 4:17 p.m. PST

"Galadriel certainly has her antennae waving all over the joint though."

And some right nice appendages they are, too!

Baron Trapdoor Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 6:05 p.m. PST

No hes just a very grumpy old man.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 7:51 p.m. PST

Seeing the sexual tension between Galadriel and Gandalf made me start growing my mustache again.

He's Christopher Lee! Of course he's Evil!!!

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 8:03 p.m. PST

This is all actually discussed in great detail in Unfinished Tales, Part III, The Palantiri. It chonicles Saruman's taking the keys to Orthanc and his growing distance from the White Council and ultimate corruption.

Unfinished Tales is a must-read for anyone interested in this kind of stuff.

Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 9:43 p.m. PST

Toscach, SBMinisguy et al…Thank you!

Now to see if the library has UT or I have to go buy it!

COMMODORE LMV Inactive Member08 Jan 2013 8:47 a.m. PST

"Seeing the sexual tension between Galadriel and Gandalf made me start growing my mustache again."

It was way better than the sexual tension between Frodo & Sam!

MechanicalHorizon Inactive Member08 Jan 2013 3:05 p.m. PST

I always thought Saruman was corrupted long before he was sent to Middle-Earth, since he and Sauron were both pupils of Aule and learned their craft from him.

I think Saruman was turned and was trying to help Sauron all along.

Wellspring Inactive Member15 Jan 2013 9:52 a.m. PST

MechanicalHorizon, I've heard that theory before and there's some logic to it. Tolkien himself seemed to suggest that Aule's domain (sub-creation and crafting) was more easily corrupted than others.

Feanor fits in the same mold. Actually, now that I think of it, so do Eöl and Maeglin. All were smiths who turned to evil. The story of the Nauglamir stems in part from greed, but also the pride of the dwarves who were corrupted by their desire to keep their own creation.

So, yeah, good point! I still think Saruman was corrupted later, but your theory fits too.

In my view, he was good when he was in Valinor and was corrupted over time. At first, he was just trying to locate the Ring, the source of Sauron's power. Then, it occurred to him that he could keep it safe, and maybe even use it, however briefly, to defeat Sauron. In his zeal to acquire it, it corrupted him, and he gradually envisioned himself as the new Dark Lord. Feigning an alliance with Sauron enabled him to be close enough to steal the Ring when it revealed itself (which no doubt Sauron was fully aware of). Of course, there's a fine line between convincingly feigning an alliance with evil and actually being evil.

It actually mirrors a scene in the Silmarillion. After Thingol sets Beren on the Quest of the Silmaril, his wife warns him that it would go ill for him. King Finrod later explains to Beren something like "the Silmarils are cursed with an oath of hatred, and he that even names them in desire moves a great power from slumber". Simply desiring them, even if they aren't even around, is enough to corrupt and destroy. Beautiful and good and utterly perilous. So much the worse then is the One Ring, which is fundamentally evil.

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