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Topic: Saruman or Gandalf?

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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Date: May 21, 2015
Saruman or Gandalf?

In the scene where an old man approached Gimli, Legolas, and Aragon, was it Saruman? If so, why didn't he bump them off or something?

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Date: May 23, 2015
As far as I know that is left open. Maybe it was Saruman spying. However, from what I remember it seems to indicate that it could be more mysterious than that. The fact the old man had a hat and was not hooded, as Eomer said, suggests something more mysterious than Saruman.

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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Date: May 27, 2015
I had the same thought but wasn't sure if it was too conspiracy theory-ish. So, what or who could it have been?

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Date: May 31, 2015
I guess it could have been some kind of premonition, or something related to 'fate' in some way, Iluvatar pulling the strings like he did with Gollum in Mt Doom. Not really sure. Obviously Tolkien had something in mind but he does seem to like to introduce the occasional enigma for us to ponder over.

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Hobbit from Hobbiton - Rank 4
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Date: Jun 12, 2015
Perhaps you don't bump off every old man with a hat that you see?


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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Jun 15, 2015

Filli,
Hmmm ... Not bumping off every old man with hat ... it cramps my style ... but your right ... us folks on "The Tolkien Forums" should play  nice ...wink



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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Date: Jun 18, 2015
I meant why didn't Saruman bump off our heroes.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Jun 22, 2015
Another thing to bear in mind is the subtle nature of magic in Middle-earth. I wonder, if it was Saruman, what he could have done to dispatch Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli quickly if he did want to kill them? There are, from memory, precious few instances where Gandalf wields magic in fighting situation in LotR and I don't recall any of them which would enable a Wizard to kill three warriors quickly. Though I'm a bit rusty - are there any instances in the books of this?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: May 28th
Honestly I just assumed it was Gandalf having a bit of fun.

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Date: May 30th

I don't remember what I personally thought when I first read the passage (the ending of chapter II of Book III, 'The Riders of Rohan', for easier reference), but I daresay I believed the old man to be Gandalf due to Aragorn's words to Legolas, noting that the man had a hat and not a hood. Since Eomer had said that Saruman walked hooded, Aragorn's observation pointed in the direction of Gandalf.

But actually the old man IS Saruman, as confirmed by Christopher Tolkien in HoMe VII: The Treason of Isengard and by Hammond&Scull in their LotR: A Reader's Companion, which I will cite in full:

"Scheme [a manuscript time-scheme of the events in LotR made by Tolkien] confirms Gimli's suspicion: 'February 30: Saruman appears on battlefield and is seen by Aragorn and companions at night.' An earlier time-scheme, written while Tolkien was working on Chapters 7 and 8 of Book III, includes the entry: 'Aragorn and his companions spend night on the battle-field, and see "old man" (Saruman)' (The Treason of Isengard, p. 428). They are a considerable way from Orthanc and the reader might wonder with Gimli in Book III, Chapter 5 whether it was really Saruman or only 'an evil phantom' of him, especially as he leaves no traces. But Gandalf later explains that it was Saruman: 'He was so eager to lay his hands on his prey [the hobbits and possibly the Ring] that he could not wait at home, and he came forth to meet and to spy on his messengers. But he came too late for once, and the battle was over and beyond his help before he reached these parts. He did not remain here long' (Book III, Chapter 5)."

In HoMe VII Christopher Tolkien notes that in the earliest version of the text his father might have thought the old man to be Gandalf, because (among other reasons) in that version the horses were not lost and neither did they seem afraid.



-- Edited by John Wain on Tuesday 30th of May 2017 08:52:58 AM

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