Saruman also goes by Carumo or Saruman the White. He is one of the chief wizards in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. However, his journey goes from light, or rather semi-light, to darkness.
Although initially a wizard who stuck to his own ways and didn’t want anything to do with the war, Saruman is a wizard who relied on his dark powers more than anything.
Saruman turned evil after he decided to find and claim the one ring for himself. He started turning evil while studying the dark arts of Sauron and began to admire them. His lust for power led him to secretly search for the One Ring and ultimately supplant Sauron as the dark lord.
Saruman started turning evil while studying the dark knowledge of Sauron. Over time, he admired the dark arts and lusted for more power and desired objects such as the one ring.
Although he sided with Sauron during the war of the ring, he secretly desired to find the one ring and supplant him as the dark lord.
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Saruman’s Beginning & Fall into Darkness
The story of Saruman starts with the order of the Istari. The Istari were five Maia who took the form of wizards that were sent to Middle Earth by the Valar in the Second and Third Age. Their task was to help the free peoples against Sauron.
Saruman’s specific task set by the Valar was to learn the dark arts of Sauron to better know their opponent.
One of the biggest reasons for Saruman turning evil was his thirst for knowledge, especially that of the dark powers. Initially, he kept to himself and held a balance in the world of wizards. However, he slowly turned to his lust for the One Ring.
His powers are a mix of light and dark magic. In particular, he was well-versed in mechanics, ring lore, wizard magic, and astounding ability of speech. He could use his speech to bend the strongest of minds.
Saruman was never a good diplomat. His name is Saruman the “Gray” subtly suggests he was never specifically on one side of the battle.
He was always obsessed with amassing power and gathering as much respect for himself as possible. Instead, he should have been thinking about the world of wizards as a whole and how each one of them could help to improve the world.
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When Did Saruman Turn Evil?
Saruman had a complicated relationship with Sauron from the very beginning. Since both wizards were Maiar who served under Aulë The Smith, they were essentially step-brothers and served on the same side.
Slowly, Saruman came in contact with Sauron and started to plot a way to get the One Ring. Because he realized that he could not beat Sauron in a fight, since Sauron was stronger both in his inborn powers and the additional powers of the One Ring, Saruman decided to become his servant. This was around the year 2851 of the book’s lore.
When Sauron left the service of Aulë The Smith, he became the first and greatest dark lord. On the surface, Saruman told everyone that he was against the powers of evil. However, he was jealous of Saruman’s power. He wanted the One Ring all for himself as soon as possible.
To achieve this, he convinced the Valar to send him to Middle Earth with the wizard Radagast, to fight against the dark forces. Saruman’s main goal was supposed to be to learn about the One Ring, Sauron, and the dark forces.
At least that’s what he told the Valars he would do. However, Radagast became too enthralled with nature and the many creatures of Middle-Earth and ignored Saruman as he promised he would to the Valar.
Slowly, he deceived his master, became paranoid, and could think of nothing else except how to get a hold of the One Ring finally. However, Saruman never saw the evil in his ways. In fact, he actually believed that what he was doing was for the greater good and that even Sauron would be able to turn good with his actions.
Also read: Why Did Gandalf Choose Bilbo in The Hobbit?
Were Saruman and Sauron Allies?
Saruman and Sauron were never true allies, although for a long time Sauron they were. Saruman said and acted as an ally to Sauron because they both had the same short-term ambition, to defeat the free people of Middle Earth. However, secretly, Saruman searched for the One Ring for himself and eventually overthrew Sauron as the dark lord.
What Sauron did not realize, however, is that Saruman had always only been working for himself and his own benefits.
Although we don’t know much about what was going on in Sauron’s mind, we know that Saruman fooled him about the location of the One Ring.
How Did Saruman Die?
The portrayal of Saruman’s death is different in the books and movies.
In the movies, Grima Wormtongue stabs Saruman in the back on top of Orthanc and he falls to his death. Upon falling to the ground, he hits one of his own spike wheel machines and is impaled on a spiked wheel.
In the third book, The Return of the King, Grima Wormtongue kills Saruman by cutting his throat after the souring of the Shire.
Contrary to the movies, Saruman isn’t killed on top of Orthanc and eventually escapes Isengard by convincing Treebeard to let him leave. Saruman, along with many ruffians, attack and take over the Shire. This event is known as the Scouring of the Shire.
After the War of the Ring, the four hobbits of the Fellowship return to the Shire and rouse the Hobbits into rebelling and overthrowing Saruman. After winning a few battles, the Hobbits regain control of the Shire.
Also read: Who is the Necromancer in the Hobbit?
Did Saruman Work for Sauron in The Hobbit?
Although during The Hobbit Saruman was starting to think about possessing the One Ring, he was not allied with Sauron. He started to work for Sauron shortly before The Lord of the Rings.