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Saruman

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Also known as Saruman the White or Saruman of Many Colours (Éo."Man of Cunning"), Saruman was considered arrogant and envious of Gandalf. He was head of the White Council of the Third Age and originally was known as Cúrumo, a chief of Aule's firespirits. He eventually looked into the Palantír and lost the constest of wills against the Enemy, becoming apparently subservient to him and swearing his allegiance to Sauron. Enticed by the will of the Dark Lord and thirsting for power, Saruman sought, by terrible means to either gain the One Ring for his own or become Sauron's servant alone. No longer opposing him, Saruman thought of his master's victory as the future of the World. In truth, he became not much different from Sauron in mind: he wanted to impose order on Middle-Earth by any ways necessary, even if it meant establishing his or his master's dominion.

Saruman the White, the Chief of the Order of Wizards, had, for most of the Third Age, few dealings with Hobbits. He traveled extensively his first centuries in Middle-Earth, studying the enemies of the Free Peoples and researching their tools and methods, becoming known to the Elves as Curunír (S. "Man of Skill"). Saruman cooperated frequently with Gandalf the Grey in efforts to preserve the northern Dúnadan kingdoms and overthrow the Witch-king. During all this time, he visited the Shire seldom and aided its people only incidentally. In T.A. 2759 Saruman took up residence in the Tower of Orthanc, lying in the Gap of Rohan at the juncture of Eriador and Gondor.

He strove to form alliances and secret societies in Dunland, Saerlann, and the settlements along the Gwathló and the Brandywine to counter the influence of the agents of the rulers of Goblin-gate, Mordor, and Moria. Since his methods were more devious and generally "dirtier" than those of Gandalf and the Elves, he kept most of his network of spies hidden from all eyes. Twisted in spirit by Sauron's influence and his own desire for power, Saruman finally renounced his guardianship over Orthanc in T.A. 2953, claiming the fortress and the surrounding valley as his own. He then began gathering an army of Orcs, wolves, wargs , and evil Men in the caverns under the southern Misty Mountains, transforming the once-placid Wizard's Vale (S. "Nan Curunír") into a fortified realm of mines and factories. His minions in Orthanc called him Sharkú (Or."Old Man"); this name was passed on to his mannish agents in Eriador as "Sharkey". His servants and allies in Eriador now began to gather information and resources for Saruman's own ends; the wizard betrayed some of the most noble of them in the process. When Sauron also began to take an interest in Eriador, Saruman arranged to eliminate his master's agents and thus keep him, dependent on Saruman's sources. He was able to maintain his double treachery until almost the last throw of the dice, even managing to imprison Gandalf in 3018.

Saruman eventually betrayed the White Council and the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth and revealed his allegiance (though not genuine) to Sauron. He made Isengard a breeding pit of Orcs, Wargs, and evil Men. Saruman imprisoned Gandalf atop of Orthanc, who could only be rescued by Gwaihir. As the White Wizard grew accustomed to the epithet Sharkey, he began to take an active interest in the Shire. He realized in 2953 that Gandalf had asked the Rangers of the North to devote more of their limited manpower to guarding this peaceful realm. The Shire-folk seldom dealt with outsiders, but Sharkey was able to use the greed and ambitions of merchant-traders like Lotho Sackville-Baggins to his advantage. Not only did he develop sources and spies within the Shire, he was also able to purchase quantities of leather goods, cloth, and bulk foods in the Shire and ship them south for the use of his growing army. In spite of Sharkey's efforts, the most important bit of knowledge he might have secured—the location of the One Ring—eluded him until Frodo Baggins had already left for Rivendell. Fearing his master would find out about his attempts to get his hand on the ring, Saruman immediately decided to please Sauron, for he still hoped that should he not claim it he could keep up the facade of a genuine allegiance. At the Dark Lord's instructions, the former White Wizard committed his armies to an assault on Rohan, only to see all his might and machinery destroyed by the Rohirrim and the Ents. As he met Gandalf the White, he ended up being cast out of the White Council by the new white wizard's hand. Saruman remained in Orthanc until his voice could bewitch Treebeard to let him go. Weakened, suddenly and horribly aged, his staff broken by Gandalf, Saruman fled northward following the defeat of his master, Sauron.

After leaving Isengard, Saruman rouse a band of ruffians made up of Half-Orcs, Dunlendings, and renegade Breelanders to go scour the Shire. Lotho had already seized power in the Shire; the Wizard came to Bag End in fall of T.A.3019 determined to revenge himself and Sauron on the Hobbits by destroying as much of the country as possible, for their role in their defeats. His Staff having been broken by Gandalf and much of his power taken away, His magic items, for the most part, were drained and useless. One of his purposes in coming to the Shire was to locate new sources of power; he expected to find artifacts here left untouched since Arnorian times. Fortunately, the Ringbearers returned home only two months after the initiation of Sharkey's plan. That return brought about the Wizard's removal and death. He finally met his end at the hands of his agent Grima Wormtongue who in turn was shot by the Halflings of the Shire.


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References:

  • Lords of Middle-earth Vol I: The Immortals
  • MERP:Middle-Earth Adventure Guidebook II
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