And then Lady Galadriel steps in. As soon as she does, Saruman retreats his argumentative claws against Gandalf. Galadriel can see the importance of these concerns of Gandalf’s.
Galadriel: “Let him speak.”
Gandalf: “There is something at work beyond the evil of Smaug. Something far more powerful. We can remain blind to it, but it will not be ignoring us, that I can promise you. A sickness lies over the Greenwood. The woodsmen who live there now call it Mirkwood. And they say…”
Saruman: “Well? Don’t stop now. Tell us what the woodsmen say.”
Gandalf: “They speak of a Necromancer living in Dol Guldur. A sorcerer who can summon the dead.”
Saruman: “That’s absurd. No such power exists in this world. This Necromancer is nothing more than a mortal man. A conjurer dabbling in black magic.”
Saruman’s want of explanation from the woodsmen sounds a lot like degradation. Gandalf gives a location as well as the testimony of a dark power rising in Dol Guldur but Saruman is all but interested. Saruman finds a simple explanation of the phenomenon, a simple mortal man dabbling in dark magic. A completely plausible explanation since none of them had seen the Necromancer.
Knowing what we know about what happens with Saruman in the original trilogy, one could also assume that he is dismissing Gandalf’s concerns and everything related to them in order to pave his own way to Sauron. It is only reasonable for Saruman to assume that if he dismisses Gandalf’s arguments and leaves room for Sauron to thrive, he would be in a much better position to rule alongside him. Preparing the groundwork for what will happen.
Gandalf: “And so I thought too but Radagast has seen.”
Saruman: “Radagast? Do not speak to me of Radagast the Brown. He’s a foolish fellow.”
Gandalf: “Well, he’s odd, I grant you. He lives a solitary life.”
Saruman: “It’s not that. It’s his excessive consumption of mushrooms. They’ve addled his brain and yellowed his teeth. I’ve warned him. It is unbefitting one of the Istari to be wandering the woods.”
And there it is. As much as Gandalf believes his fellow Wizard, Saruman disregards his opinion right off the bat. Gandalf can’t even finish his thought before Saruman interrupts him. He does not even respect the Brown Wizard enough to hear his testimony second hand.
It would seem that within the order of the Wizards there is a strong hierarchy as well as a sense of superiority and inferiority. It appears that the only opinion worth having and mentioning is that of Saruman. His power as well as his decisions are the only ones that can bring protection to Middle-Earth.
Every other Wizard seems incapable of doing anything according to his judgment. The only one in the White Council that can stop him in his tracks is Lady Galadriel. She, as the most powerful, holds the power over the proceedings as well.
Two faces of power
It is interesting to note that the ones who hold the most power in this Council are the ones whose opinion matters the most. But what we see are two ways in dealing with power.
Lady Galadriel invites Gandalf to share his opinion and his attitude toward this new/old evil. She is eager to know what is happening in Middle-Earth and how they can help protect it. She uses her superior powers to bestow democracy on the White Council, hearing everyone out and not rejecting opinions or judging other members of the Wizard’s order. Galadriel is unbiased and open-minded.
Saruman, on the other hand, uses his position as the superior leader of the Istari to plant his own opinions and disregard those he finds unbelievable. He exerts his power to gain control over the proceedings. Saruman’s want of possession and control is plainly seen. This type of power elicits greed. Greed not only in these immaterial goods but material ones as well. That part we have already seen in the Lord of the Rings. This is only a prelude to Saruman’s eventual rise and subsequent demise.
Galadriel: “You carry something. It came to you from Radagast. He found it in Dol Guldur.”
Galadriel: “Show me.”
Saruman: “….listen to me. I would think I was talking to myself for all the attention that he paid. By all means…”
Elrond: “What is that?”
Galadriel: “A relic of Mordor.”
Elrond: “A Morgul Blade.”
For all his self-defense, verbal explanation and argumentation, there is one piece of proof Gandalf can present to the Council. There is fear in Lady Galadriel’s eyes as Gandalf uncovers the Blade. She and Lord Elrond are clearly surprised by this find and terrified at the same time.
Galadriel: “Made for the Witchking of Angmar. And buried with him. When Angmar fell, Men of the North ook his body and all that he possessed and sealed it within the High Fells of Rhudaur. Deep within the rock they buried him in a tomb so dark it will never come to light.”
Elrond: “This is not possible. A powerful spell lies upon those tombs. They cannot be opened.”
This is a mystery. This Blade should not see daylight again, but here it lies, under the noses of the greatest powers in Middle-Earth and they are befuddled. Could it then be that the owner of the Blade escaped his tomb as well? Is it that far-fetched to believe that a Witch King is out and about, brought to life by the same sorcerer that Saruman claims to be human?
Powers much stronger than that of a human would be needed to break the spell that protects the tombs. Could that imply the coming of an old enemy, one they thought to be vanquished?
Saruman: “What proof do we have this weapon came from Angmar’s grave?”
Gandalf: “I have none.”
Saruman: “Because there is none.”
And as simple as that Saruman disclaims everything. He has taken an objective perspective to these proceedings. Since there is no way to prove this weapon came from the grave that presumably cannot be opened, Saruman rejects any reasoning behind its origin. It could simply be that this weapon has been left behind from an era that none dare to speak about.
Saruman: “Let us examine what we know. A single Orc pack has dared to cross the Bruinen. A dagger from a bygone age has been found. And a human sorcerer who calls himself “The Necromancer” has taken up residence in a ruined fortress. It’s not so very much after all. The question of this Dwarvish company, however, troubles me deeply. I’m not convinced, Gandalf. I do not feel I can condone such a quest. If they’d come to me, I might have spared them this disappointment. I do not pretend to understand your reason for raising their hopes.”
As Saruman explains the evidence and the chain of events logically, it cannot be denied that everything can be explained reasonably without bringing any old evil powers into the mix. It is all perfectly reasonable when you take it out of the common context. Individually, each of these occurrences do not mean anything other than a hindrance to the company’s progress.
And what of the Dwarves? They would have not gone to Saruman and asked for his blessing of their quest. It would never have come to a quest had it not been for Gandalf in the first place. Saruman may feel somewhat insignificant as no one asked for his opinion.
Galadriel: “They are leaving.”
Galadriel: “You knew.”
Saruman: “Now, I’m afraid there is nothing else for it.”
Lindir: “My Lord Elrond. The Dwarves, they’re gone.”
While Gandalf and Lady Galadriel communicate telepathically, Saruman is oblivious and continues with his conclusion. His final judgment is to forbid the Dwarves to continue their journey to the Lonely Mountain. Both Gandalf and Galadriel mischievously look at one another. They know that despite Saruman’s disagreement, the Dwarves are leaving as they silently speak. And then Lindir comes in to announce the Dwarves leaving.
Read on in my next post.