Man under an arc

The Voice of Conscience

What do you want, Gandalf Greyhame? Let me guess. The Key of Orthanc. Or perhaps the Keys of Barad-dûr itself along with the crowns of the seven kings and the rods of the Five Wizards!


Power vs. information

He starts with Gandalf and his idea of what his once subordinate colleague, would want from him.

It is only natural for Saruman to assume Gandalf would want all the aforementioned things, for what else is there besides power? Saruman views this particular situation from his own perspective.

And as his view of the world has changed drastically and taken him into the realm of power acquisition, it is only natural that he would suppose Gandalf would want the same, given that he has taken Saruman`s place.

However, Gandalf is above any type of disrespect towards the highest former member of his order. Moreover, he is not the least bit interested in any kind of power. Information is all that matters to him. Any hint of what awaits them is of vital importance to him, for he only seeks to give the world of Men a fighting chance.

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A chance at redemption

Your treachery has already cost many lives. Thousands more are now at risk. But you could save them, Saruman. You were deep in the enemy`s counsel.


Gandalf in all his wisdom and good-naturedness gives Saruman a chance to redeem himself. Saruman knows what the enemy is planning and where he will strike next. In order to prepare for an attack, Gandalf needs to know where the attack will take place so as to save as many people as possible from certain death.

He pleads to Saruman`s helpful side. He appeals to the wizard in him, to a part of his personality that might still live inside of him. There is always hope that Sauron`s influence might not have taken over Saruman`s entire being. There might still be some good left in him. That is all Gandalf has to hope for. 

Vague and sadistic

So you have come here for information. I have some for you. Something festers in the heart of Middle-Earth. Something that you have failed to see. But the Great Eye has seen it. Even now he presses his advantage. His attack will come soon. You`re all going to die. But you know this, don`t you, Gandalf?


Although he has told him something, it isn`t anything particular and nothing that could save anyone. These are only threats to their lives and the lives of every inhabitant of Middle-Earth. The look in Saruman`s eyes as he looks at the Palantir, interpreting images that appear before his eyes, it that of keen interest and sadism.

Saruman enjoys the fact that his former friend and all his company will die. It is a deranged mind that follows a deranged look. It is proof of there not being any good left in Saruman. The greed and need for power have overtaken all his faculties.

Stating the obvious

You cannot think that this Ranger will ever sit upon the throne of Gondor. This exile, crept from the shadows, will never be crowned king.


Demeaning Aragorn solely because of his own defeat shows how low Saruman has fallen from his once lofty status. He only mentions facts about Aragorn, that all already know. He was a Ranger in exile.

Without adding anything to that remark, it can be concluded that Saruman, just as Sauron, only fears Aragorn becoming the King that all of his company know he is capable of being. This is why Saruman doesn`t remain on his name for too long. Saruman is aware of the strength that this “Ranger” carries with him. He knows that without Aragorn, his army could have been victorious at Helm`s Deep.

The fate of the Halfling

Gandalf does not hesitate to sacrifice those closest to him, those he professes to love. Tell me what words of comfort did you give the Halfling before you sent him to his doom? The path that you have set him on can only lead to death.


This hits home with Gandalf. Gandalf has shown his feelings about this decision of his already while the Fellowship was forming. The guilt he has been feeling ever since Frodo left the Shire has not changed even as he himself faced death. Frodo himself volunteered to take the Ring to Mordor at the Council of Elrond, and from all those gathered there, he was the only sensible and logical solution to their problem.

This, however, did not help Gandalf feel any better about the quest. Which is precisely why he was the first to stand by him. He understood that as resilient as this Hobbit might be, he will need a guide and a wise friend to steer his emotions in the right direction. 

The fact is that no one could have helped Frodo in his quest, not even Gandalf. As painful as it is for Gandalf to admit, Frodo must do this alone. It is much easier for him to feel guilt and self-resentment than to view things as an objective observer. He traces everything back to himself as if he were the one to blame for this whole enterprise.

Gandalf only did what he judged to be right and what needed to be done at the time. The wraiths were coming for Baggins in the Shire, so the Ring had to be taken away. He himself refused to even hold it, let alone be its bearer, so Frodo took it upon himself to lead the wraiths away from his beloved realm.

Man with bowed head
Photo by Akshar Dave on Unsplash

Guilt and self-resentment

Frodo could not have known how perilous or how influential his quest would become. Gandalf, on the other hand, knew what would await the Ring-bearer. He has known from the beginning that, whoever ended up taking up this task, would face their own doom. There was only a fool`s hope of accomplishing this quest.

No matter what your perspective is on this point, it is irrefutable that Gandalf does care about those around him. Otherwise, we would not have felt any guilt and self-resentment about it now. Not all good decisions bring a comforting feeling.

Knowing how Gandalf felt about Frodo and his quest, served Saruman well in inflicting as much pain as possible. And it shows. Gandalf`s face sinks with a look of remembrance and an expression of guilt.

Both Éomer and Gimli glance at Gandalf as this information is given. Éomer is not that familiar with Gandalf so any doubt he may have had in the wizard could have been reactivated by this remark. Gimli, however, does not waste time expressing exactly what he thinks of Saruman`s speech.

I`ve heard enough! Shoot him. Stick an arrow in his gob.


What is interesting, is that his friend Legolas is more than willing to oblige his request. He swiftly takes an arrow from his quiver and he puts it to his bow….

Featured photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

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