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Old 07-05-2013, 04:36 PM   #1
Nikkolas
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Saruman's Words to Gandalf and Galadriel

"‘Saruman,’ said Galadriel, ‘we have other errands and other cares that seem to us more urgent than hunting for you. Say rather that you are overtaken by good fortune; for now you have a last chance.’

‘If it be truly the last, I am glad,’ said Saruman; ‘for I shall be spared the trouble of refusing it again. All my hopes are ruined, but I would not share yours. If you have any.’

For a moment his eyes kindled. ‘Go!’ he said. ‘I did not spend long study on these matters for naught. You have doomed yourselves, and you know it. And it will afford me some comfort as I wander to think that you pulled down your own house when you destroyed mine. And now, what ship will bear you back across so wide a sea?’ he mocked. ‘It will be a grey ship, and full of ghosts.’ He laughed, but his voice was cracked and hideous.


Saruman was decidedly unstable by this point but the underlined passage seems significant. What does he mean that the Elves and everyone doomed themselves by overthrowing him?
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Old 07-05-2013, 05:26 PM   #2
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Should we start the discussion with the obvious (and easy) answer?

Galadriel's and Gandalf's refusal to use the ring(s) means their downfall - well the vanishing of the elves and in some sense of all powers of old from the ME as it will now become the world of men devoid of magic or any other "powers of old" aka. the influence of the West.

And it looks more like a hindsight: You have doomed yourselves, and you know it. And it will afford me some comfort as I wander to think that you pulled down your own house when you destroyed mine. So it's not a threat or suggestion to any further deals but only stating the obvious with some bittterness, like "had you gone my way we - not men - could all be strong and thrive but now as I lose also you'll wither away".

One could argue whether it was "overthrowing" him Saruman claims was wrong or just his idea or POV they didn't take into consideration - well they wrestled with it both but came to an opposite comclusion Saruman did. But surely overthrowing the idea meant in the end also the end of Saruman. Which is quite pointedly exhibitioned in what cosequently happens in the Shire...

Anyway, Saruman was right as well. Of course.


Different readings?
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:43 PM   #3
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I was thinking about this passage recently and the one soon just before the lorien elves depart from the company going back to Rivendell where it says that a wanderer would have seen them as carvings. A hypothetical wanderer again would see the elves passing through the shire to Mithlond as a "swift shimmer" or "a light and a shadow" it is as if they have already faded.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:13 PM   #4
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I read that as referring to his work prior to the Scouring of the Shire. After all, that was in a way the "purest corner" of ME. But I did not have particular reasons for reading it that way other than that Saruman makes references to this encounter later, at Bag-End.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:50 PM   #5
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I was thinking about this passage recently and the one soon just before the lorien elves depart from the company going back to Rivendell where it says that a wanderer would have seen them as carvings. A hypothetical wanderer again would see the elves passing through the shire to Mithlond as a "swift shimmer" or "a light and a shadow" it is as if they have already faded.
Hmm. The part of the relevant passage Nikkolas didn't underline, this:

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'And now, what ship will bear you back across so wide a sea?' he mocked, 'It will be a grey ship, and full of ghosts.'
I find more intriguing, maybe in line with what Mith suggested. When Saruman says the ship will be "full of ghosts", maybe he's going even further in mocking Elrond and Galadriel specifically. Being shorn of the power of the Three, they were indeed "ghosts" in Middle-earth, already fading.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:10 PM   #6
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Doesn't Galadriel say to Frodo already that she's going to wane / fade and withdraw from the ME? And I think Gandalf hints towards the same idea all the way...

So it's not that Saruman is "breaking the News" - one way of Tolkien to show Saruman is no more in control of things and seeing things to come, but only stating what the others already know?
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:03 AM   #7
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So it's not that Saruman is "breaking the News" - one way of Tolkien to show Saruman is no more in control of things and seeing things to come, but only stating what the others already know?
Looks like it to me. I think it's just Saruman being bitter, making a point of reminding Elrond and Galadriel, the latter especially (as he perceived her as being his enemy and Gandalf's friend on the White Council) of what they had lost.

Saruman does something similar with Frodo at Bag End, telling him he will have neither good health or a long life, again trying to spoil whatever sense of victory or accomplishment the heroes have.
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