Sunday, February 18, 2018

Another LOTR Read-Along: The Voice of Saruman (TTT 3, 10)

And after the happy little interlude in the previous chapter, we get heavy and serious here. And suspenseful. I mean, for a minute there, I started to think Saruman had totally gotten Theoden under his spell. And I've read this how many times? Seen the movie how many times? But I still got all worried.

Saruman reminds me so, so much of Adolf Hitler. The power of his voice, anyway. Hitler was said to have a kind of mesmerizing thing going on when he made speeches. And the guy convinced a nation to go to war, to either participate in or turn a blind eye to all kinds of atrocities. That's a lot of power. Look at how Tolkien describes Saruman's voice:
Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves (p. 564).
Just like it's hard to tell what color Saruman's cloak is, it's hard to tell just what he's saying or why. I find that so scary! Not being able to tell just what something is or means... yikes.

Favorite Lines:

"The treacherous are ever distrustful" (p. 568).

"Well, well, things will go as they will; and there is no need to hurry to meet them" (p. 571).

Discussion Questions:

Saruman says to Gandalf, "You are proud and do not love advice, having indeed a store of your own wisdom" (p. 567). Do you think people who don't like advice are that way because they have enough wisdom of their own?

Do you think Gandalf actually does not love advice? Or would he gladly accept advice from someone he trusts, like Elrond or Galadriel?


  1. I think Saruman gets Gandalf utterly wrong here. I think the people who are most wise are the most eager to listen to other opinions (though they might rarely take others' "advice"). I think he would gladly heed the counsel of Elrond or Galadriel or another person whom he trusts.

    Also, if memory serves, Gandalf is said to have gained much of his wisdom when he was in Valinor by listening to the tales of the dead. To me, that seems like someone who is keen to take advice and listen to others' opinions.

    1. RM, I agree. Gandalf doesn't love Saruman's advice because he is wise enough to see Saruman's intent. But the advice of others, he takes.

      Ooooh, I did not remember/know that about Gandalf. That definitely sounds like someone seeking after advice and knowledge and others' thoughts on things.


What do you think?

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)