Full Name: Saruman
Name Meaning: Crafty Man (Old English)
Aliases: Saruman the White, Saruman the Wise, Saruman of many colours, the White Hand, Curunir, Curumo, and Sharkey
Birth Date: Unknown
Date of Death: 3rd November, TA 3019
Saruman was the chief of the Istari, and when he arrived in Middle-earth from Valinor, almost everyone considered him the wisest of the five wizards. He was appointed to the head of the White Council even though Galadriel would have chosen Gandalf. Saruman never forgot this, and held it against both Galadriel and Gandalf. Saruman offered to guard the fortress Isengard as a service to the stewards of Gondor. The Steward in office, Beren, readily agreed, as Saruman had not shown himself to be untrustworthy. Saruman took up his abode there, and used Orthanc as his headquarters for some of his study into the lore of the Rings of Power. This was his field of expertise, and his relationship with Gandalf did not improve when Gandalf doubted some of his assumptions. Saruman definitely did not intend to become evil in the beginning, but his study of the Rings and of Sauron led to that end. He looked into the palantir, or seeing-stone, of Orthanc, trusting his own strength, and thereby was ensnared by Sauron, who also possessed a palantir. Saruman began to create his own miniature Mordor, ripping down trees, forging weapons, and breeding orcs. He also sent a spy, Grima, into Rohan to weaken the King. He fancied all of this to be quite original; he turned a blind eye to the fact that he was mimicking Sauron. All this time, Saruman kept his intentions hidden from the White Council. His secret ambition was to find the One Ring so that he himself could wield it, and the best disguise for his true goal was to hold with the theory that the Ring had slid down the river into the sea, and now lay at the bottom of the ocean. Saruman also counselled that they should not invade Dol Guldur and drive its master out. Again, Gandalf didn't completely hold with either of these ideas, and again, Saruman hated Gandalf even more for it.
Saruman decided that he should attempt to lead Gandalf to his side. He called upon Radagast the Brown, another wizard, to tell Gandalf that the Nine Ringwraiths had crossed the river and that if there was any hope, Gandalf must seek Saruman's aid at once. Radagast knew nothing of Saruman's true intentions, and delivered the message to Gandalf. Gandalf, after hearing Saruman's real plan, refused to have any part in the scheme. Saruman imprisoned Gandalf atop Orthanc, where Gandalf was later rescued by Gwaihir the Eagle.
Saruman learned that the King of Rohan was now healed by Gandalf, not in the weakened state Grima was supposed to have him in. Saruman therefore sent his huge army of Uruk-hai to Helm's Deep, where he knew the King would retreat. Accompanying the Uruks were Dunlending men, who Saruman raised into a fervor by spreading lies about the Rohirrim to them. Unfortunately for Saruman, his army was defeated, and Gandalf and his companions claimed the victory. This wasn't the biggest of Saruman's worries, though. The long-suffering Ents had finally gone to war against the rampaging Uruks and their master. The Ents, with Treebeard at their head, attacked and flooded Isengard, trapping Saruman in Orthanc. The wizard was later joined by his spy, Grima. The Helm's Deep victors visited the two prisoners, and gave Saruman a chance to help them and redeem and free himself. Saruman tried to use the power of voice, which had never failed him, to convince his enemies that he had done no wrong, but Théoden and Gandalf saw through this thinly veiled ploy and refused to believe the wizard. Gandalf broke Saruman's staff, casting him out of the order of the wizards. To add insult to injury, Grima lost Saruman his palantir by foolishly throwing it out the window, aimed at Gandalf's head.
Treebeard, now guardian of Orthanc, had a weakness for seeing living things imprisoned, and Saruman still had the knowledge to speak to Treebeard in the exact way to make Treebeard pity him. Saruman's words had their desired effect, and Treebeard released Saruman and Grima, thinking there was no harm left in them. Saruman, though, certainly still had the power to do much harm, especially to innocent creatures. He took control of the Shire under the name Sharkey, recruiting many vile mercenaries to subdue to the hobbits. When Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry returned to the Shire, the hobbits created an uprising against the men, fought the Battle of Bywater, and won with hardly any bloodshed. The hobbits visited Saruman at Bag End; Saruman sneered at them and tried to stab Frodo on his way out. Frodo's hidden mail shirt snapped the blade, and Frodo insisted that Saruman be allowed to live. But something inside Grima, a kicked and beaten slave now, snapped: he jumped on Saruman, slit his throat, and ran away. He fell dead some paces later with several hobbit arrows in his back.
< <Back to character biographies index