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The world is changing. Who now has the strength to stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor? To stand against the might of Sauron and Saruman and the union of the Two Towers? Together, my Lord Sauron, we shall rule this Middle-earth.
~ Saruman to Sauron
There will be no dawn... for men.
~ Saruman

Saruman the White, along with Sauron, is a primary antagonist of the fantasy book series by J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson's live-action film trilogy adaptation of the novels. Altought the figure of Saruman is very different between the cinematographic version and the book version. In the first one he is an ally of Sauron and wishes to extend his dominion over the Middle-Earth but in the book original version, Saruman only pretends to be his accomplice in order to take the ring for himself, defeat Sauron with it and rule all the Middle-Earth. He also has two different deaths: in Peter Jackson's movie Saruman dies during his conversation with Gandalf and Théoden in the Orthanc tower but in Tolkien's book he dies in the Shire where he set himself up, but in all two versions he is killed by Grima Wormtongue. He was an evil and powerful wizard who conveyed an air of nobility tainted by obvious tyranny. He is the secondary antagonist of The Fellowship of the Ring, the main antagonist of The Two Towers, before finally meeting his end in The Return of the King.

In The Hobbit trilogy, Saruman appeared as supporting protagonist in An Unexpected Journey and The Battle of the Five Armies.

He was portrayed by the late Sir Christopher Lee, who also played Count Dracula, Francisco Scaramanga and Count Dooku.

In the Books

Originally Saruman was opposed to the evil of Sauron but would later abandon his morality in order to try and gain more power for himself via allying with his former enemy - this theme was quite common in the series, of power corrupting and the inevitable destruction such things bring to a character: Saruman was no exception and despite his considerable power he would ultimately fall victim to his own quest for power. Saruman started quite as a noble and a gentleman. He was respected and the Head of the Order of powerful Wizards known as the Istari as well as the White Council. He was a powerful wizard, a creature known also as Maiar in Tolkien's world. This is the same species as Sauron and Gandalf, along with Ungoliant and the Maiar are the same as regular angels in Christianity. They were one of the first creatures to be created, they are immortal if not attacked and killed by battle and have the power to shape the world around them. The Maiar were created by Eru (God) in order to assist the Valar (the Archangels) with creating the world.

Saruman was one of the Istari, one of the Maiar, along with Sauron. They were forbidden by the only more powerful creatures then themselves to use their full power. So the mighty Valar ordered the Istari in to mortal bodies of old men stopping them to use their full power. Saruman did not respect that he is not allowed to use his full power when Sauron who is also one of the Maiar is not trapped in a mortals body and can use his full power that is why Saruman joined Sauron so he could get close to the Ring, and use it to use his full power; and more.


Saruman, as seen in Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings

Saruman also seeked dominion over Middle-Earth and took up residence in the Iron Fortress known as Isengard. Here, one of the superpowers during the War of the Ring was created.

Saruman was utterly defeated by Gandalf, the Ents, and the Rohirrim. So, when imprisoned in his fortress of Isengard, Saruman sweet-talked the Ent Treebeard into letting him out the door under pretence of only going out for a restricted time, but Saruman, being a liar and convincing Treebeard he had reformed, escaped with Wormtongue. Saruman took over the Shire, and for about half a year he manipulated the Hobbits into serving him. Saruman took a band of half-Orc humans to the Shire, where they became his police and bodyguards. He generally made life miserable for the Hobbits, imposing martial law, immense restrictions and general tyranny on the people. However, when Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin returned from the War of the Ring, Saruman got defeated when Sam and Merry stirred everyone into rebellion. Frodo was reluctant to kill Saruman because he was no killer. But Saruman scorned Frodo's mercy and made to leave the Shire with his henchman Wormtongue. He humiliated Wormtongue before leaving by revealing Wormtongue ate Lotho Sackville-Baggins who had ruled the Shire as Saruman's right hand man.

In the end, he was killed when his henchman Gríma Wormtongue slit his throat in the Shire, after Saruman beat him and degraded him once too often.

In films

Saruman is portrayed by the late Christopher Lee in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the classic Middle-earth Saga.

The Hobbit trilogy

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Saruman appears in the Hobbit film trilogy as the leader of the White Council. When Gandalf meets with him, and discusses Smaug with his theory that he might join the enemy, Saruman denies that Sauron is alive. But Gandalf reveals the Morgul blade of the Witch-King of Angmar. Gandalf also spoke to Saruman about a Necromancer, whom he suggests is just a mortal man conjuring sorcery.

This may have been a denial that Saruman made as he was secretly working for Sauron as a double-agent, or that Saruman is searching for the Ring already, and trying to not let the others interfere in his search, as the Ring will show itself is Sauron is close to it.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Saruman the White 19

Saruman in Dol Guldur

Saruman appears to assist Galadriel while rescuing Gandalf in Dol Guldur. Saruman, along with Elrond, takes on the Nine Nazgul. Saruman then holds up his hand, helping Galadriel expel Sauron from Dol Guldur. After Galadriel has been drained of her reserves, Saruman dissuades Elrond from pursuing Sauron and his final lines is "Leave Sauron to me." - This may foreshadow what is to come in The Fellowship of the Ring or it may indeed leave room for Saruman preparing to take on Sauron in the extended edition (should such a scene be made). It is important to note while in Dol Guldur, despite not taking Sauron head on, Saruman is still significantly more powerful than Galadriel.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

When Gandalf came to Saruman at Isengard, seeking his counsel, Saruman revealed that he had joined forces with Sauron and asked Gandalf to do the same. Gandalf refused, so they fought each other, ending with Saruman trapping Gandalf on the top of the tower of Orthanc. However, an eagle rescued him from the tower.

Saruman began crossing orcs with goblins to create monsters called Uruk-hai, more powerful than either. He sent a team of Uruks led by Lurtz to bring the hobbit with the One Ring (Frodo) to him. The Uruks took Merry and Pippin, since they thought Pippin had the Ring, though Lurtz was killed by Aragorn in the process.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Saruman possessed and brainwashed Théoden, the king of Rohan, aided by his servant Gríma Wormtongue. However, Gandalf, now Gandalf the White, and more powerful than Saruman, broke Saruman's control over Théoden. Wormtongue returned to Saruman, who created a whole army of 10,000 Uruk-hai to attack Rohan. The Uruks attacked them at Helm's Deep, but were defeated when Gandalf, Éomer, the Rohirrim, and the trees arrived. The Ents, meanwhile, attacked Isengard and flooded it, destroying all of Saruman's machines and caves.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Théoden, and Éomer came to talk to Saruman and ask him where Sauron was going to attack next. Saruman shot a fireball at Gandalf, but Gandalf was unaffected and destroyed Saruman's staff. Théoden offered Wormtongue a chance to rejoin the Riders of Rohan. Wormtongue was going to accept in order to escape Saruman's beatings, but Saruman slapped him. As Saruman was about to reveal Sauron's next plan, an enraged Wormtongue stabbed him in the back with a knife, twice. Saruman fell over the edge of Isengard and was impaled in the spike of a wheel that was once part of one of his own machines.

This is only shown in the Extended Edition of The Return of the King, as it was cut from the final picture and he is never even seen in the theatrical cut.

Saruman's commanders

Agents of Saruman


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