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Old 03-28-2005, 07:41 AM   #41
Hot, crispy nice hobbit
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But what I found more interesting is whether Saruman could coerce Grima into cannibalizing. We know of course that by that time the relationship between Saruman and Wormtongue is exactly as Gandalf had put: "gnaw one another with words." But Saruman seemed to turn up much better off, with his command of words.

Cannibalizing is one of the most unspeakable acts that Prof T portrayed. In fact, he reserved this taboo acts for only animals and the unclean.

Quote:
'Alas!' said Theoden. 'Must we pass this way, where the carrion-beasts devour so many good Riders of the Mark?" "This is our way," said Gandalf. "Grievous is the fall of your men; but you shall see that at least the wolves of the mountains do not devour them. It is with their friends, the Orcs, that they hold their feast: such indeed is the friendship of their kind. Come!"
Gollum is understandably a cannibal... Yet, Prof T had his way and displayed some of the redeemable qualities in him. Surely, Grima, who was subservient to a deceitful master, is more deserving of pity?
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:19 AM   #42
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I'm with Lalwendë: Saruman, I think, here is being sarcastic (thought as I've said before the first part, about him watching the stars, is not sarcastic).
Still agree with the first bit; still don't agree with the second bit. I hold to the belief that Saruman is just dripping sarcasm in all aspects of this scene, but hey, to each her own.

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Saruman is also punning on calling Gríma Worm, saying that he now even eats the dead.
Now that is interesting; I didn't think of that before. Plus, a worm is basically the lowest form of life, a parasite, even as Grima was to Theoden. It can't survive on its own -- it needs others around to help it live, perhaps why Grima decided to go with Saruman even when Gandalf told him to just leave him.
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Old 03-28-2005, 11:47 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encaitare
It can't survive on its own -- it needs others around to help it live, perhaps why Grima decided to go with Saruman even when Gandalf told him to just leave him.
Well, as far that goes, EVERY living thing (with the possible... er... likely exception of the Valar and other Ainur) needs other living things in order to survive.

Another point in Grima's favour?
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Old 03-28-2005, 02:09 PM   #44
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Well, as far that goes, EVERY living thing (with the possible... er... likely exception of the Valar and other Ainur) needs other living things in order to survive.
Let me make myself clearer -- what I meant was that it seems that Grima would not be able to make it on his own, unlike, say, Aragorn. He lacks that sort of independence, which is why I wonder where exactly he thought he was going when he ran off after killing Saruman.
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Old 03-28-2005, 07:51 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encaitare
I wonder where exactly he thought he was going when he ran off after killing Saruman.
I tend to think he was just running. Running away. Away from Saruman and his tormenting.

After snapping like he did before attacking Saruman, I don't think it was still in his mind that Frodo had offered help. I wonder, would Frodo still have offered the help, with the killing of Lotho and Saruman? He offered the help because Gríma had done no harm to him. Now Frodo knows Gríma's killed his cousin. But then again, he was a S-B, and had been the "Chief" of the destruction of the Shire. And that was a horrid show of violence and savageness in killing Saruman. But then it was Saruman, I needn't go into all his wrong-doings.
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Old 03-28-2005, 08:28 PM   #46
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One of Tolkien's nice touches is the way he leaves open possible
speculative musings on various characters and events,
and why some early critics missed the shadings of some of
his characters. One can imagine scenarios where Grima is
redeemed. Note that both Theoden and Frodo consider him
worthy ofof being offered chances to choose redemption.
And it's a nice touch by JRRT to leave the question of Grima's
cannibalism not definitively answered (although I'm inclined to think he
probably was guilty, but even so, to what extent would that have
really been his choice, or did Saruman unduly influence and
dominate him)? But of course, one could counter by quoting
Tolkien. I think in one of the Letters he says something to the
effect of Gollum being the sort of wretched creature he was
because of earlier choices he had made.
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Old 03-29-2005, 02:34 PM   #47
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There is another possibility with Grima and why there are those prepared to give him pity and the chance for repentance. He has done great wrong, and Tolkien takes great care to show us just how far he has fallen into evil ways, but Saruman bullies him. In his final act of killing Saruman, Grima is taking out his anger at his master and fighting back, despite it being too late. He fights back not because he sees that Saruman has done wrong on the wider scale but because Saruman has done wrong to him. I wonder if he had carried out this act before this point had been reached would he have been shown more pity? But would he have accepted it? We know Grima has been an excessively proud man, and his sense of shame in being brought so low must have been almost too much to bear, so I don't think he would have accepted pity, whether Saruman was around or not.
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Old 03-29-2005, 03:25 PM   #48
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Thanks for (sort of) clearing that up about the palantirs Keeper of Dol Guldur. No end of confusion followed that post!

On the whole cannibal thing I don't think that Grima did eat Lotho, it seemed more that Saruman was just being cruel, to poke fun at him almost. Though Grima was a wretched creature I don't believe that he was truly evil but that view is based upon his rebellion against Saruman right at the end. The fact that he was able to kill does suggest he is evil but then you could say that about Eomer or Aragorn as they all kill evil. I realise that this is a stretched comparison but it sort of works.
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Old 03-29-2005, 08:52 PM   #49
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The thing about the killing of Saruman was that it was a murder, albeit commited under extreme provocation. Neither Aragorn nor Eomer would have committed murder under any circumstances, indeed, I think that they would not have even snared an orc with a falsehood, let alone murder one. I think Frodo would have given Wormtongue (I'm pretty sure Grima was dead well before Worm and Saruman got out of Orthanc) a chance to repent had he not been slain by the hobbit archers.

As for the cannabalism I favour not. I see Saruman's thinly veiled accusation as just another way of degrading Wormtongue out of spite and malice.
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