The One Wiki to Rule Them All
The One Wiki to Rule Them All

"Once he was as great as his fame made him. His knowledge was deep, his thought was subtle, and his hands marvelously skilled; and he had a power over the minds of others. The wise he could persuade, and the smaller folk he could daunt. That power he certainly still keeps. There are not many in Middle-earth that I should say were safe, if they were left alone to talk with him, even now when he has suffered a defeat. Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel, perhaps, now that his wickedness has been laid bare, but very few others."
Aragorn, The Two Towers, "Flotsam and Jetsam"

Saruman, also known as Saruman the White, was first of the Istari (Wizards), the emissaries of the Valar sent to Middle-earth in the Third Age to help counter the returned Sauron. He was originally the Istari's chief, and was head of the White Council that for a time opposed the Dark Lord.

But by the late Third Age, Saruman was overcome by lust for power and swore fealty to Sauron, becoming one of his greatest servants. Having betrayed the Free Peoples of the World, the White Wizard then plotted to usurp his new master's place as ruler of Middle-earth, or at least stand at his right hand. In the War of the Ring, Saruman marshalled an army at Isengard to both conquer Rohan at Sauron's behest and try claim the One Ring for himself.

After his master's downfall and his own failure to conquer Rohan, Saruman journeyed to the Shire, where a host of Ruffians had already seized control of it through Lotho Sackville-Baggins, until Hobbits revolted and liberated the land, and exiled him. He was then slain by Gríma Wormtongue, his servant whom he had long abused.



Saruman was originally a powerful Maia of Aulë the Smith named Curumo (later in Sindarin, Curunír).[2] From the beginning, he was much like Sauron,[3] being ambitious and cunning, and desiring order. As Tarindor, Saruman was among the Five Guardians who were sent to reinforce Melian and the already active Guardians in protecting the newly-awakened Elves from Melkor's emissaries.

Third Age

Istari curumo by moi keiniku sang

Depiction of Saruman as the Maia Curumo, before leaving Valinor

In Valinor, the land of the Valar, a council was called by Manwë, Eru's regent, shortly after Sauron's defeat by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Though the Dark Lord was overthrown, he had not been effectively vanquished and his Shadow began to fall upon Middle-earth a second time. It was decided to send five emissaries to Middle-earth. These should be "mighty, peers of Sauron, yet forgo might, and clothe themselves in flesh," as they were intended to help Men and Elves unite against Sauron. The Wizards were forbidden, however, from matching the Dark Lord in power and fear, or trying to dominate the Free Peoples.[1]

Curumo was one of those who volunteered, whereas the last one, Olórin, (later known as "Gandalf") was commanded by Manwë to go too. It was from this point that Curumo began to be jealous of Olórin, due to Varda's decision to send Olórin not as the third Istar, but as the second. He also was charged to take Aiwendil (later called "Radagast") to please Yavanna, which Curumo did not wish to do, and this led to contempt for the latter Wizard. The others who were chosen were Alatar and Pallando (the Blue Wizards). Curumo then was appointed overall leader of the group.[1]

Arrival in Middle-earth

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The arrival of the Istari in Middle-earth

The Five Wizards arrived separately at the Grey Havens in the west of Eriador around the year TA 1000. Curumo appeared first, but apparently neglected to take Aiwendil with him; Aiwendil came later alongside Olórin.[4] Only the keeper of the havens, Círdan the Shipwright, knew Curumo's nature and purpose. Curumo would later discover that Círdan had given Narya, the Red Ring, to Olórin upon their first landing in Middle-earth. Even though Curumo was recognized as the head of the order while Olórin was not, Círdan had divined Olórin as the wisest and greatest of the Istari. Curumo's jealousy of Olórin grew from these events, perhaps because he feared that he would eventually supplant him as chief of the Wizards.

Christopher Lee as Saruman

Saruman portrayed by Sir Christopher Lee

To the Elves, Curumo became known as Curunír, whereas Men called him Saruman, the name by which he was afterwards remembered. The White Messenger and the two Blue Wizards went into the east of Middle-earth. After one and a half millennia, Saruman returned to the west, just as Sauron's power was growing again at Dol Guldur in Mirkwood.

The White Council

Yet he is great among the Wise. He is the chief of my order and the head of the Council. His knowledge is deep, but his pride has grown with it, and he takes ill any meddling. The lore of the Elven-rings, great and small, is his province.
— Gandalf the Grey

When the White Council was formed around the year 2463 of the Third Age in order to counter Sauron, Saruman was appointed its leader, though Galadriel wanted Gandalf in this position. Saruman refused to step down due to his pride, while Gandalf had declined; the White Messenger, though, continued to resent the Grey Pilgrim. He also had an intense dislike for Radagast, whom he dismissed as a fool.

At this point Saruman had begun to sense the resurgence of Sauron. This was also the same year that Sauron's One Ring was taken by the Stoor Sméagol (later called Gollum), who disappeared with it into the Misty Mountains for hundreds of years. The White Wizard's extensive research, especially into Ring-lore, had led him to admire the Dark Lord and he fell into the folly of imitating him. Saruman believed he could be the ruler of Middle-earth, in Sauron's likeness, and "have his own will by force".[1]

It was during the meetings of the White Council that Saruman first noted Gandalf's interest in Hobbits and the Shire, and believing that all his deeds related to some as yet undisclosed plan of his for self-enhancement, the White Wizard himself began keeping a closer watch on the Grey Pilgrim and sent spies to the Shire to report on all his movements. At first, he himself visited it secretly but stopped when he realized that its inhabitants had noticed him. Amongst the purposes of his visits was to procure some of the halflings' Pipe-weed, since in secret imitation of Gandalf (and for which he publicly belittled him) Saruman had begun to smoke.

At Isengard

A new power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. There is no hope left in Elves or dying Númenor. This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it.
—Saruman, speaking to Gandalf - The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"

Saruman, Corrupted Wizard

Saruman, as depicted by John Howe

In the year TA 2759, Saruman came to the crowning of Fréaláf Hildeson in Rohan, wooing him with gifts and flattery. With the permission of both the Steward of Gondor, Beren, and the King of Rohan, Fréaláf, Saruman settled in Orthanc at Isengard as both "warden of the tower" and representative of Minas Tirith. Though a nominal ally to both the Rohirrim and Gondorians, the White Wizard's main goal all along had been to eventually claim the stronghold as his own seat of power.[5] As he had hoped, Saruman also found one of the remaining palantíri in Orthanc and concealed his use of it from the rest of the White Council.

In TA 2850, Gandalf entered Dol Guldur and confirmed that the evil presence was indeed Sauron. On Saruman's advice, the White Council decided against attacking Dol Guldur. The Grey Pilgrim would later remark that it was at this meeting that he first began to suspect that the White Wizard desired to attain the One Ring. Saruman's real intention was to allow Sauron to build up his strength, so that the Ring would reveal itself and he could claim it first. Concealing his contempt, Saruman persuaded Radagast to teach him how to tame birds and beasts; these he used as spies for his own purposes, unbeknownst to the Brown Wizard.[6] He later found that the Enemy had more knowledge of the possible location of the One Ring than he expected. Therefore, in TA 2941, Saruman finally agreed to an assault upon Dol Guldur. The attack was successful, and by the devices of the White Wizard, the Dark Lord was driven from the fortress.

At the last meeting of the White Council in TA 2953, Saruman claimed that the Ring had been "passed down Anduin to the Sea". He then ceased all cooperation with the Wise, taking Isengard for his own and fortifying it. Surrounding himself with "all who hated Gondor and Rohan" (i.e. Northern Orcs from the Misty Mountains, Dunlendings and other evil things), Saruman troubled the borders of the Rohirrim during the reign of Thengel and began building his own army. Around TA 2990, Saruman started the "special breeding" Orcs at Isengard and, as Morgoth and Sauron had done before him, crossbred Orcs with Men to make Half-orcs,[3] and eventually his own Uruk-hai, both of whom could endure the sunlight.

1oshuart - Saruman

Saruman the White, by 1oshuart

Soon enough, Sauron, who had returned to Mordor used the palantír captured from Minas Ithil, which had since become known as Minas Morgul, to establish contact with Saruman's Orthanc-stone. Daunted with threats and lured with promises of power,[7] the White Wizard was ensnared and became one of the Dark Lord's greatest agents, desiring or no longer opposing his victory. Though the Wise were suspicious of Saruman's designs regarding the Ring, they were not aware he was now "an ally, or servant, of Sauron".[8] Far from a faithful subordinate, however, the White Wizard plotted to usurp his new master's place as Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth. If the gamble for the Ring failed, Saruman's fawning and usefulness would see him rise at Sauron's side, in time becoming the true power behind his throne.[9] The White Wizard failed to understand that he was little more than the Dark Lord's puppet and would have ultimately been cast aside;[10] Sauron knew, or guessed, Saruman's thoughts "even without the aid of palantíri or of spies".[3]

Motivated by both his master's instructions and thoughts of his own dominion, the White Wizard made the final preparations for the conquest of Rohan. Aided by his Orcs, Saruman slowly turned Nan Curunír into "a child's model or a slave's flattery" of Mordor:[11] trees were cut down and replaced by caverns filled with forges, furnaces and other machines. Around TA 3000, "the shadow of Mordor reached out to Rohan" and Saruman sent many of his Uruk-hai to join the Northern Orcs and the Mordor-orcs in raiding the eastern villages. To further weaken the kingdom, Saruman bought Gríma Wormtongue, Théoden's royal counselor, with the promise of Éowyn's hand by TA 3014 and used him as a mole in the court of Edoras to sap the king's strength with deceitful advice and poisons. Suspecting a potential connection between the Ring and the Shire (based mostly on Gandalf's interest there), Saruman instructed his agents to infiltrate the Shire and keep tabs on the comings and goings of any important Hobbits. His dealings with Pipe-weed had also earned him allies among the Sackville-Baggins and Bracegirdle families, who owned many plantations.[10] Further trying to emulate his master, the White Wizard crafted his own lesser ring and similarly styled himself as "Ring-maker".[9]

Using the kind-hearted Radagast as an unwitting pawn, Saruman summoned Gandalf to Isengard; so it was that upon Gandalf's arrival, Saruman revealed his betrayal and true intentions, shedding the title of Saruman the White in favour of Saruman of Many Colours. Saruman announced his desire to rule Middle-earth as Sauron's right-hand, or to supplant him using the Ring; he then demanded that the Grey Pilgrim submit to him or to his master. Gandalf refused both choices, for which Saruman imprisoned him atop Orthanc. This way, Saruman thought he would force Gandalf into revealing the Ring's whereabouts,[9] before sending him as a prisoner to Sauron in Mordor;[12] the White Wizard had even revealed to Sauron he "had got as his prisoner" the Grey Pilgrim.[10] But Gandalf later escaped with help from Gwaihir the Windlord, one of the Great Eagles, and made Saruman's treachery known to the rest of the Free Peoples at the Council of Elrond.[9]

Beginning of the End

We will have peace, when you and all your works have perished--and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men's hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! Even if your war on me was just--as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired--even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there?
—Théoden, The Two Towers, "The Voice of Saruman"


Saruman making a bomb in his tower, Orthanc

By one account, the Nazgûl came two days after Gandalf's escape, and Saruman used his voice to persuade the Morgul Lord that he did not know the Ring's location but that Gandalf did, and that they should seek him nearby. Hearing this, the Nazgûl went back on the main road and instead found Gríma, on his way to tell Saruman that Gandalf had been to Edoras. Fearing for his life, Wormtongue revealed that that the corrupted Wizard had withheld information and told the Ringwraiths how to reach the Shire.

By another account, Saruman still had Gandalf as a prisoner when the Nazgûl arrived. The White Wizard assured the Ringwraiths that he would obtain the Shire's whereabouts from the Grey Pilgrim or hand him over to them. Daunted by the "full horror of service to Mordor", Saruman had actually been about to beg Gandalf for forgiveness and help, only to find him gone. Nonetheless, he pretended that the Grey Pilgrim was still there and had just given up the location of the Shire. Saruman believed he now had enough time to try seize the Ring, while still feigning allegiance to Sauron. But the Ringwraiths soon learned that the White Wizard knew far more than he had shared with them. On their way to the Shire, the Nazgûl met one of Saruman's agents in Eriador, from whom they got detailed maps of the Shire. They sent the spy back to the Shire after warning him that he was now in the service of Mordor not Isengard; the spy in question was the ill-favored Dunlending at the The Prancing Pony.[10]

Commanded by Sauron, Saruman moved against Théoden to keep Rohan from riding to Gondor's aid. With Gríma preventing any military mobilization within the kingdom, Saruman sent large raiding forces to wreak havoc in the Westfold of Rohan. The only true obstacles to his invasion were Théoden's son and nephew, Théodred and Éomer respectively. As Wormtongue had failed to turn the two men against each other, the White Wizard tasked his servants to slay the king's heir at all costs. Per this special order, the warriors of Isengard engaged the defenders of Rohan at the Fords of Isen; the First Battle at the Fords of Isen ended in the death of Théodred followed by the retreat of Saruman's hordes. At the same time, the corrupted Wizard also tried to betray his master: he sent trusted warbands to hunt down the Fellowship and capture the Ring-bearer. Saruman's scouts, led by Uglúk, ambushed the company at Amon Hen, where they took Pippin and Merry captive, while also shooting Boromir "with many black-feathered arrows" when he tried to defend the Hobbits. Slowed on their way back to Isengard by conflict with Mordor-orcs sent by a suspicious Sauron, the Isengarders were slain on the eaves of Fangorn by Rohirrim led by Éomer. Gimli believed he had glimpsed Saruman at the site of the skirmish, presumably having hastened to claim the Ring from the Hobbits.

The White Wizard's position was becoming dangerously isolated: his neighbors he had "made [his] enemies" and he had also "cheated [his] new master". Believing he might yet claim lordship over Rohan and regain Sauron's favour by delivering the Rohirrim to him,[12] Saruman intensified his efforts against Théoden. Although Gríma Wormtongue had been ousted as an agent of the Enemy, Rohan had been weakened, allowing Saruman to marshal his full might and unleash his Uruk-hai hordes upon the Rohirrim people at Helm's Deep. Though it initially held the upper hand, Saruman's army was vanquished in the Battle of the Hornburg, its ranks broken by Gandalf's reinforcements. Meanwhile, the Wizard also found his own stronghold under assault. The Ents led by Treebeard besieged Isengard, seeking vengeance for incursions by Orc axemen into Fangorn. These two confrontations led to the end of Saruman's reign of terror in the West, while also costing Sauron a valuable, albeit duplicitous, vassal.

Power destroyed

Your servants are destroyed and scattered; your neighbours you have made your enemies; and you have cheated your new master, or tried to do so. When his eye turns hither, it will be the red eye of wrath. But when I say 'free', I mean 'free': free from bond, of chain or command: to go where you will, even, even to Mordor, Saruman, if you desire. But you will first surrender to me the Key of Orthanc, and your staff. They shall be pledges of your conduct, to be returned later, if you merit them.
—Gandalf the White, The Two Towers, "The Voice of Saruman"


Saruman looks down upon Gandalf from the pinnacle of Orthanc

Following the Ents' destruction of Isengard, Saruman found himself confined to Orthanc and his servants scattered or killed. After the arrival of Théoden, Gandalf, Aragorn, and the remaining members of the Fellowship, Saruman confronted them from the balcony of Orthanc. He made one final unsuccessful attempt to bring Théoden under his sway, offering him counsel and friendship. The king refused, recognizing him as a pawn of Sauron and demanding justice for the atrocities Saruman had committed against the Rohirrim. Gandalf offered Saruman a chance for redemption, which involved surrendering his staff and the Key of Orthanc as a pledge, in exchange for freedom to head wherever he pleased - even to Sauron in Mordor. Saruman had a moment of doubt but in the end pride, anger, envy, fear and hate won over and he refused the chance of redemption.[12] Moreover, he did not want to "appear a rebel" to his master and suffer his wrath.[7]

Saruman's staff is broken

Saruman's staff broken by Gandalf

Gandalf, who had returned from death to accomplish the mission Saruman did not, expelled the turncoat from the ranks of the Istari and the White Council and broke his staff. Saruman also lost the palantír of Orthanc when Gríma threw it off a balcony, undecided about which he hated more, Saruman or Gandalf, and hitting neither.[12] With no captive to send nor palantír to "answer the summons", Saruman had no means of appeasing Sauron. He thus locked himself in Orthanc, living in terror of the Free Peoples and especially of his master.[7]

Final fall

Left out of the final stages of the War of the Ring, Saruman eventually managed to persuade the Ents holding him captive to let him leave Isengard after he handed to them the Key of Orthanc. He went thence to the Shire, which his ally Lotho Sackville-Baggins had brought under control. Powerless to directly avenge himself on Gandalf, Saruman instead resolved to hurt the Hobbits Gandalf was so fond of. To this end, he spent his final days as a criminal master in Hobbiton known as Sharkey (from the Orkish sharkû, meaning "old man"), disposing of Lotho Sackville-Baggins through Gríma. But his reign of terror came to an end with his overthrow in the Battle of Bywater, after which Frodo confronted Saruman and exiled him from the Shire. Saruman agreed to leave. However, when Frodo attempted to convince Gríma that he no longer needed serve Saruman, Saruman exposed Grima's murder of Lotho Sackville-Baggins. Gríma argued that Saruman made him to that, but Saruman mocked him and slapped him down. As Saruman began to walk, a now rageful Gríma, who had reached his breaking point, slit his throat from behind with a dagger, leading to the end of the corrupted Wizard.

After Saruman's departure from Orthanc, King Elessar entered the tower with the intent of re-ordering it. Inside, Elessar's men found many treasures that Saruman had stolen from Rohan. The original Elendilmir, presumed lost forever when Isildur perished in the Gladden Fields, was also found, as well as a golden chain presumed to have once borne the One Ring. It was suspected that, during his search for the Ring near the Anduin, Saruman had discovered the remains of Isildur and burnt them out of scorn, keeping only his possessions.


As a Maia, Saruman could not really die. His spirit separated from his body much like Sauron's did after the fall of Númenor. As an incorporeal spirit, he should have been called to the Halls of Mandos, but it is implied that he was barred from returning. It is indicated that his spirit was left naked, powerless and wandering, never to return to Middle-earth:

Whereas Curunir was cast down, and utterly humbled, and perished at last by the hand of an oppressed slave; and his spirit went whither-soever it was doomed to go, and to Middle-earth, whether naked or embodied, came never back.
—Saruman's fate


Curumo was his original Quenya name meaning "Skilled Man" or "Cunning One". Curunír and Saruman (both meaning "Man of Skill") were the translations in Sindarin and Mannish tongues respectively.

Other names

He was often called Saruman the White (or Curunír 'Lân by the Elves), as well as Saruman the Wise. After his betrayal, he shed "the White" mantle and styled himself as Saruman of Many Colors.

Tarindor, meaning "Wiseminded Man" in Quenya, was Saruman's name in his days as a Guardian. Ruffians in the Shire called him Sharkey, which the author speculates might be derived from sharkû, which means "Old Man" in the Orkish form of Black Speech.

Titles & epithets

  • The White Wizard (also White Messenger)
  • The Lord of Isengard
  • The Jailor of Mordor[12]
  • The Ring-maker[13]

Powers & abilities

Saruman's status as both the greatest Istar (originally) and follower of Sauron gave him arsenal to a variety of powers. Though he would eventually be defeated by Gandalf the White, Saruman was very mighty at the peak of his power, managing to imprison Gandalf the Grey. Gandalf described him as an one of great knowledge, cunning, and skill. Like his master, Saruman was capable of breeding his own Uruk-hai and Half-orcs, and had many spies, whether aerial or walking, that could evade detection. He was extremely learned in Ring-lore and the devices of Sauron, and this knowledge enabled him to create great forges and explosives that could breach the walls of Helm's Deep and burn an Ent to death. Unfortunately, his extensive knowledge of the Enemy's devices helped enable his own demise: enamored by the power exemplified by the Great Rings - particularly the One Ring - he fell into mimicry of Sauron, and became his puppet. Based on either teachings imparted by his master or his own studies, he both forged his own lesser Ring (styling himself as a "Ring-maker") and bred his own Half-orcs and Uruk-hai.

He was well-versed in magic, one spell he displayed giving speed and strength to the Orcs who had kidnapped Merry and Pippin while obstructing Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. By far, Saruman's greatest power (and the only one he could retain after the fall of Isengard), however, was speech. He seemed to have had the ability to bend any but the absolute strongest minds to his will simply by speaking to them, a daunting effect similar to Sauron's. Even with Isengard broken, Gandalf had to be very careful, as Saruman could ensnare almost anyone with the power of his voice, few could contend with his will. Gandalf was not drawn into this power when he confronted Saruman; in trying to enchant some in the company, he left others out of his designs, and thus could not ensnare everyone at once. However, even in this situation, it is said that only Gandalf himself remained totally unmoved. Aragorn stated during this time that few other than Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel could resist his voice, even at this point. Saruman later used his persuasive power to escape Orthanc, convincing Treebeard to let him go.

In other versions

A new Power has arisen. Against it, there is no hope. With it, there is such hope as we never had before. None can now doubt its victory, which is near at hand. We fought it in vain - and foolishly. We knew much but not enough. We looked always at it from the outside and thought a mist of old falsehood and hate; and we did not consider its high and ultimate purpose. We saw not the reasons, but only the things done, and some of those seemed evil; but they were done under necessity. There has been a conspiracy to hinder and frustrate knowledge, wisdom, and government. The Elder Days are gone. The Middle Days are passing. The Younger Days are beginning. The day of the Elves is over. But Our Days are begun! The Power grows, and I shall grow as it grows, until all things are ours.
—Saruman to Gandalf, The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond (2)"

In the earliest drafts of The Lord of the Rings, Saruman was known as Saramund or Saramond. His original title was "the Grey", but this was changed to the "White" in following versions. Saruman, having "fallen and gone over to Sauron", betrays Gandalf and hands him over to the Nazgûl or to Treebeard (here portrayed as an evil Giant in league with the Enemy, rather than a benevolent Ent).

In the following drafts of The Council of Elrond chapter, Saruman is based in the Tower of Orthanc at Isengard, which is here located "north of the Black Mountains in the South"; in some versions, he is even credited with the construction of Orthanc. In his declamatory speech, the Wizard further justifies the Dark Lord's misdeeds as necessary evil for a higher purpose, which the Free Peoples refuse to see. He then offers Gandalf two choices only: "to submit to [him] and to Sauron" or to remain imprisoned in Orthanc until Sauron's victory (the proposal that the two Wizards take the Ring for themselves is absent); Saruman then begins to gather "a great force for the service of his new master".[14][15] Even so, Gandalf muses that Saruman will prove faithless in his role as Sauron's servant.[15] The Wizard's plot to betray his new master is finally introduced in a late version of The Departure of Boromir: Aragorn wonders if Saruman's attempt to capture the Ring-bearer at Amon Hen was him "merely working under the command of Mordor, or playing some hand of his own".

In the early sketches of the following chapters, Saruman was to play the part of Sauron's lieutenant during the Siege of Minas Tirith (a role given to the Witch-king in the published version). Seeing "the war-beacons afar off blazing in Mordor", Saruman would lead the army of Isengard in joining with the armies of Mordor and the rest of its allies for an assault against Ondor (Gondor). During the siege, Boromir, jealous of Aragorn, would defect to Sauron's forces and seek Saruman's aid in becoming the Lord of Minas Tirith. In addition, "Sharkey", the secret ally of Cosimo (Lotho Sackville Baggins), was originally conceived as a separate character from Saruman.

In adaptations

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

"Together, my Lord Sauron, we shall rule this Middle-earth. The old world will burn in the fires of industry. Forests will fall. A new order will rise. We will drive the machinery of war with the sword and the spear and the iron fist of the Orc. We have only to remove those who oppose us."
Saruman, to Sauron, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Saruman is played by Sir Christopher Lee and is the secondary antagonist of The Fellowship of the Ring and primary antagonist of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Unlike in the source material, the title of "Saruman of Many Colours" is omitted, and he is referred to only as "Saruman the White". In addition, Saruman is portrayed as Sauron's right-hand (or "his puppet"); early scripts suggested building Saruman up as "Darth Vader to Sauron's Emperor".[16][17] In addition, his intention to usurp his master (mentioned in tie-ins such as Weapons and Warfare and Wētā Workshop merchandise)[18][19] is only implied in the trilogy itself. However, a deleted scene had Saruman claim that if could wield the Ring's power he could "command Middle-earth"[20] While Saruman's interactions with Gandalf are toned down in the theatrical cut, the extended edition emphasizes Saruman's grudge against Gandalf, alluding to similar passages from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.

Instead of as shimmering different hues, the robes were made a cream white to suggest that, even after his defection to the service of the Dark Lord, the White Wizard considers himself unfallen.[21] Saruman's staff of power is shown as a talisman of his authority, resembling Orthanc, with a white crystal set between the four spires.

Saruman was originally the chief and greatest of Istari, sent to aid the Free Peoples make their stand against Sauron. The White Wizard "could exert much control over men's minds" through his voice and his skill earned him the Elven name Curunír. His researches into the lore of Middle-earth especially the devices of the Enemy, persuaded him that he could become the ruler of Middle-earth in the likeness of Sauron. He settled in Orthanc at Isengard, both to establish a seat of power and to use the Palantír. Saruman was lured by Sauron into his service with promises of power "and became little more than the Dark Lord's puppet".[18] Though acting out his new master's will, Saruman plotted to cheat Sauron,[19] usurping his place as Lord of the Rings and of Middle-earth. Saruman recruited the Orcs of the Misty Mountains, allied with the Dunlendings and bred his own Uruk-hai by crossbreeding Orcs with Goblin-men.[18]

In The Fellowship of the Ring, after Gandalf rides to Isengard to seek his counsel, Saruman reveals his betrayal, announces his designs, and urges him to join with Sauron. When Gandalf refuses, Saruman imprisons him atop Orthanc. He later uses his Seeing Stone to receive his master's instructions. Ordered to build "an army worthy of Mordor", Saruman calls his Orcs of the Misty Mountains,[18] and openly begins preparations for war: the concealed network of forges, furnaces and palisades is revealed, trees are cut for fuel and Uruk-hai are bred in the caverns. Saruman confronts Gandalf once more atop Orthanc, trying to coerce him into submitting to Sauron or revealing the One Ring's location to him instead. The Grey Pilgrim dismisses the corrupted Wizard's delusions of grandeur: neither will he be his master's right-hand nor will he become the new Lord of the Rings. To Saruman's surprise, Gandalf then flees on Gwaihir's back, leaving him empty-handed. Saruman tracks the Fellowship using Crebain and summons massive snow avalanches and rock-slides to try and hinder the heroes at Caradhras. Still trying to seize the Ring before Sauron, Saruman keeps the first hundred Uruk-hai for his own elite fighting force and learns through the Palantír that the Fellowship is in Lothlórien.[18] He then sends his loyal minion, Lurtz, to capture the Ring-bearer; Saruman's Uruk-hai troop attacks the company, slaying Boromir and capturing Merry and Pippin.

In The Two Towers, Saruman begins his war against Théoden at Sauron's command. He first convinces the tribal chief Wulf to ally Dunland with Isengard and Mordor against Rohan; then he sends raiding parties of Isengard Orcs and Dunlendings to wreak havoc the Westfold. Alarmed at the slow movement of his loyal troop with the halflings, Wizard hastens in building his master the requested second army to conceal his treachery.[18] Underestimating the Ents' ire, Saruman approves the cutting of Fangorn to fuel his war machine. It is soon revealed that Saruman has bought Rohan's steward, Gríma, using him to addle Théoden's mind and make him fall before Sauron. Through Wormtongue's poisons, the Wizard influences and outright possess the King at will, assuming lordship over the land. To remove another threat to his control, Saruman's warriors attack and mortally-wound Théoden's son, Théodred, in battle at the Fords of Isen. Saruman's Uruk-hai, however, are waylaid by Éomer's Rohirrim and the captive Hobbits escape into Fangorn, while his hold over Théoden is broken by the resurrected Gandalf. Having tried (and failed) to claim the Ring, the corrupted Wizard now seeks to bargain for his master's clemency. Learning of Aragorn from Gríma, Saruman prepares his army at Isengard to crush Rohan and slay the Heir of Isildur to regain Sauron's favor.[18] As Théoden's people departs Edoras for Helm's Deep, Saruman sends Sharku's Warg-mounted pack to harrass them. Having amassed 10,000 warriors, he unleashes them at his master's command to destroy the world of Men. Aided by Saruman's devices, such as ladders and blasting-powder bombs, the Uruk-hai overrun the Rohirrim and their Galadhrim allies at Helm's Deep. The tide turns by the end thanks to Gandalf's reinforcements, however, and Saruman's legions are defeated. The vengeful Ents also besiege Isengard and flood it, ending Saruman's reign of terror and depriving Sauron of his service.

Saruman 1

ToyBiz version of Saruman


Saruman falling to his death from Orthanc

Saruman does not appear in the theatrical cut of The Return of the King; Treebeard only suggests that his power is no more. In the extended edition, Gandalf, Aragorn, Théoden, Gimli, Legolas, Éomer, Merry and Pippin confront Saruman in Isengard. At first, the corrupted Wizard feigns humility and tries to barter for peace with the King. When Théoden instead demands justice, Saruman dismisses him and begins mocking Gandalf. Gandalf also reprimands him for his misdeeds, but offers him the chance to repent by revealing Sauron's plans. The corrupted Wizard merely taunts them that his master's attack, which will bring about their death, is imminent. Saruman then tries to slay Gandalf, only for the uninjured Gandalf to effortlessly break his staff and expel him from the Istari ranks. Embittered, he denies the mistreated Gríma freedom of service by smacking him, and belittles Théoden. As he is about to tell his adversaries where their "doom" will be, he is stabbed in the back by Wormtongue, who had reached his breaking point. After Saruman's lifeless body falls from Orthanc's pinnacle onto one of his machines' spiked wheel, the Palantír drops from his sleeve.

The Scouring of the Shire, which is where the Dark Lord's puppet meets his end in the novels, is entirely omitted from the film adaptations, although certain actions such as Saruman being killed by Gríma before the latter was felled by an arrow did reference the event indirectly. Peter Jackson considered the Scouring anticlimactic.

The Hobbit film trilogy


"Who is that odd little fellow?" - Sir Christopher Lee during the shooting of The Hobbit

Sir Christopher Lee reprised the role in Peter Jackson's live action The Hobbit trilogy. He originally expressed interest in voicing the Dragon Smaug, but the role ended up going to Benedict Cumberbatch. Christopher Lee also managed to humor Peter Jackson by asking him "Am I still in the movie?" This refers to when Christopher Lee's (Saruman's) death scene was cut from the theatrical version of The Return of the King and he had a falling out with Peter Jackson a decade before. Deriving from his actions' description in The Silmarillion, Saruman is depicted as frequently opposing Gandalf, hindering his efforts out of spite while maintaining the facade of an "old friend" as head of the White Council . Certain scenes also imply his vast knowledge of Sauron's devices, implying he has secretly grown enamored of his ways and power.

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, he arrives in Rivendell for a meeting of the White Council. Irked by what he perceives as Gandalf's contesting of his authority, Saruman expressing his disapproval concerning the quest to reclaim the Erebor and belittles Gandalf for 'looking for trouble where none exists'. He questions his fear of a potential alliance between the Dragon Smaug and a returned Sauron, while also claiming that the vanishing Dwarven Rings were of no value to the Enemy without the lost Ruling Ring. The White Wizard also appears to be skeptical of the information the Grey Pilgrim provides on the Necromancer and he further dismisses the information when he learns it came from the Brown Wizard, who he believes is a fool and an embarrassment on their order due to his consumption of mushrooms. When presented with the Morgul blade, Saruman states there is no proof that it belonged to the Witch-king of Angmar. The White Wizard sums up all of the Grey Pilgrim's concerns as nothing to worry about but, as final slight, he states that he feels he cannot condone the quest of the Dwarves to reclaim the Lonely Mountain. However, Gandalf had foreseen Saruman's pettiness and had beforehand bid Thorin Oakenshield's company leave Rivendell without him.

In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Saruman arrives at Dol Guldur along with Elrond, after being summoned there by Galadriel, to rescue Gandalf. Saruman appears as Galadriel and Gandalf are surrounded by the Nazgûl and offers his assistance. At this, two of the Nine turn towards him and both he and the Elf-lord begin to battle with the Ringwraiths. Saruman duels several of the Nazgûl, appearing to be able to handle up to two at a time. In the end, they overpower the Nine, who retreat momentarily. After Gandalf is taken away by Radagast, Sauron appears before the remainder of the White Council along with the returning Nazgûl. The White Wizard readies himself for further battle but appears to be paralyzed with awe of the Dark Lord's power. Galadriel rises in a terrifying ethereal form and begins a battle of wills with Sauron. The Wizard barely seems to notice this, still stunned in amazement and dread of the Enemy. Galadriel eventually gains the upper hand and banishes Sauron from Dol Guldur. After recovering from his shock, Saruman notes that while Galadriel has banished Sauron, it took nearly all of her power to do it and tells Elrond to take her back to Lothlórien, When the Elf argues that the One Enemy must be found and permanently destroyed, the Wizardd replies that without the One Ring, the Dark Lord will never regain his full strength. He then tells them to go and 'leave Sauron to me.' This is most likely the point, where Saruman embraces the path that would see him in thrall to Sauron.

There is also a song called "The Voice of Saruman" created by the heavy metal band called "Lorien."

Ralph Bakshi version

LOTR78 Saruman

Saruman of Many Colours in Ralph Bakshi's version of The Lord of the Rings.

In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film of The Lord of the Rings, Fraser Kerr provided the voice of Saruman. At one point in that film's development, film executives thought that the names "Saruman" and "Sauron" were too similar, and would confuse the audience, and decided that Saruman should be renamed "Aruman". This decision was eventually reversed, but some references to "Aruman" remained in the finished film. The dialogue of Bakshi's film retained Saruman's adoption of the title "Saruman of Many Colours", and the character was dressed in red.

By the beginning of the animated film, the Wizard had sworn fealty to the Dark Lord, hoping to rule at his victorious master's side or supplant him. When Gandalf arrives at Isengard to ask his counsel, Saruman reveals his true intentions and urges Gandalf to join with Sauron or help him get the Ring for himself. After the Grey Pilgrim refuses both choices, the corrupted Wizard imprisons him atop his tower, confident that he'll either claim the Ring or, at least, be counted among his master's "good servants"; soon after, Gandalf escapes his clutches with the help of Gwaihir. Around the time the Fellowship escapes Moria, Saruman sends an Orc warband to hunt the Fellowship and capture the Ring-bearer; these warriors slay Boromir and take Merry and Pippin captive. Nonetheless, inner conflict between the Orcs of Isengard and those of Mordor as well as an attack by the Rohirrim foil his attempted second betrayal. Further, Gandalf reveals that the royal counselor of Rohan, Gríma, is Saruman's agent and so frees Théoden from his influence. At Isengard, Saruman has mustered an Orc army to crush the people of Rohan at Helm's Deep, intent on then joining Sauron in conquering the rest of Middle-earth. During the battle, Saruman sends a swirling stream of magical fire to blow apart the ramparts and walls of the Hornburg, allowing his servants to overrun the defenders. Nonetheless, the tide turns in the favor of Théoden's allies and Saruman's army is defeated.

Radio version

Peter Howell played Saruman in BBC Radio's 1981 serialisation of The Lord of the Rings.

Voice dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Spanish (Latin America) Blas García
Spanish (Spain) Camilo García
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Jonas Mello / Ednaldo Lucena (The Hobbit trilogy)
German Otto Mellies
Italian (Italy) Omero Antonutti
French (France) Michel Le Royer
Polish Aleksander Bednarz † (AUJ)
Czech Boris Rösner † (The Lord of the Rings trilogy)

Pavel Rímský (The Hobbit trilogy)

Slovak Marián Slovák (The Lord of the Rings trilogy)

František Kovár (The Hobbit trilogy)

Hungarian Gábor Reviczky
Turkish Mazlum Kiper

Video Games

The Battle for Middle-earth

Saruman BFME

Saruman in the BFME game-series

The evil campaign of The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth begins with the White Wizard's open defection to the Dark Lord's service, followed by Isengard's expansion, the cutting of Fangorn and the conquest of Rohan, signified by the fall of Helm's Deep and the deaths of both Théoden and Éomer.

In The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II and its expansion The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king, Saruman does not take part in the campaign since BFME II shows the War in the North. While ROTWK is set before Saruman's arrival in Middle-earth, in all games however, he does appear as the main hero for Isengard in skirmish battles.

Saruman starts off with the standard wizard blast power which can destroy an entire battalion of infantry (Without armor upgrades) His second ability was a fireball, very useful for blasting away heroes and flyers. His third power was called "Wormtounge" this ability allows Saruman to gain control of units with the power of his voice (Note: This power was temporary the units will return to their original faction after a minute or so. However if the player commands the controlled unit to attack and destroy an enemy building the unit remains in Saruman's possession) His next power was Speechcraft. This allows friendly units to gain a major boost in experience. His final power was Lightning Blast, in which Saruman casts down a mighty lightning strike that can decimate infantry (With armor upgrades).

The Lord of the Rings: Conquest

In the first mission of The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, Saruman sends his army at Sauron's command to assault Théoden's people at Helm's Deep, which ends in his defeat. In the next mission, Isengard is attacked by the Ents and the Rohirrim; once the pits of Isengard are captured, the Rohirrim and Ents struggle towards Orthanc, from where Saruman directs the defense. Later in the mission, the player gets to take control of Gandalf, and is led up through the stairs inside the Tower of Orthanc to confront Saruman in a duel (the setting is the same as seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, however this time Gandalf is on an equal level of power if not stronger than Saruman . Once the player succeeds in killing Saruman, then the player can move on.


Saruman charging towards the White Tree of Gondor to destroy it.

In the evil campaign, Sauron regains the One Ring and uses his power to recall

His power stretches enough that he recalls his most potent servants (Saruman and the Witch-king) and his uneasy ally, the Balrog Durin's Bane. After the retaking of Osgiliath, Saruman is given a large army by Sauron to conquer the weakened Minas Tirith, Saruman is at the front line of the Orc force breaking through the ranks of Gondorian soldiers as he reaches out to complete his objective of destroying (burning) the White Tree and does so (fulfilling the vision Pippin had seen).

Later we see Saruman leading the assault on Weathertop, where Aragorn with the aid of Gondorians, the Ents and the Great Eagles making a last stand against Sauron, defending Rivendell and the Shire. The White Wizard is sent to kill the Heir of Isildur, who stands at the peak of Weathertop waiting. Saruman succeeds in killing Aragorn and so Sauron moves out to destroy Rivendell.

In the game, Saruman's staff is the same as that of the Mouth of Sauron. Saruman's specialty in the game is the area attack, where he will strike the staff against the floor and punch the ground sending out two shock waves, much more powerful and causing more damage than the standard mage. His melee attack is also quick and swift, and his magic and glow of the staff is purple.

The Lord of the Rings Online

LOTRO - Saruman

Saruman in The Lord of the Rings Online

In The Lord of the Rings Online, Saruman can be seen inside the tower of Orthanc, both during the "Epic Quest" involving Isengard and the "instances" set inside and under the tower, in the depths. He can also be seen once in the Dunlending village of Avardin.

Lego: The Lord of the Rings

In the LEGO The Lord of the Rings game, Saruman is a playable character with unique abilities. Saruman's staff can levitate specific Lego objects, provide light in dark places, shoot energy bolts and conjure up a magical barrier.

He can be found atop Orthanc, which the player must use a variety of characters to ascend. He can be purchased for 500,000 studs.

LEGO: The Hobbit

In LEGO: The Hobbit, Saruman is able destroy silver LEGO objects and can be found in Rivendell.

See also


Saruman and Gríma Wormtongue in the Tower of Orthanc, in the films
Puppet of Sauron
A life-size standup of Saruman
Saruman wallpaper
Saruman guardians of middle earth 001-480x330
Saruman as he appears in Guardians of Middle-earth
Saruman lego figure final image
Saruman depicted as a LEGO mini-figure
Saruman; The White
Saruman the White
Saurman - LOTR The Card Game (ally)
Saurman in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Voice of Isengard Expansion
Saruman - LOTR The Card Game (Hero)
Saruman in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Challenge of the Wainriders Adventure Pack
Saruman (Enemy) - LOTR The Card Game
Saruman (Enemy) in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Treason of Saruman Expansion


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ጻሩማን
Arabic سارومان
Armenian Սարուման
Assamese সৰুমন
Belarusian Cyrillic Саруман
Bengali সারুমান
Bulgarian Cyrillic Саруман
Burmese ဆာရူမန်
Catalan Sàruman
Chinese (Hong Kong) 薩魯曼
Esperanto Sarumano
French Saroumane
Georgian სარუმანი
Greek Σάρουμαν
Hebrew סארומן
Hindi षरुमन
Italian Saruman
Japanese サルマン
Kannada ಸರುಮನ್
Kazakh Сарұман (Cyrillic) Saruman (Latin)
Korean 사루만
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Саруман
Lithuanian Sarumanas
Macedonian Cyrillic Саруман
Marathi सरुमन
Mongolian Cyrillic Саруман
Nepalese षरुमन
Norwegian Sarumann
Pashto سرومن
Persian سارومان
Punjabi ਸ੍ਅਰੁਮਨ
Russian Саруман
Sanskrit षरुमन्
Serbian Саруман (Cyrillic) Saruman (Latin)
Sindhi سارومن
Sinhalese ෂරුමන්
Tajik Cyrillic Саруман
Tamil ஷருமந்
Tatar Саруман
Telugu సరుమాన్
Thai ซารูมาน
Ukrainian Cyrillic Саруман
Urdu سرومن
Uzbek Саруман (Cyrillic) Saruman (Latin)
Yiddish סאַרומאַן


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, "The Istari"
  2. The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Account of the Valar and Maiar According to the Lore of the Eldar"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Morgoth's Ring, Part Five: Myths Transformed
  4. The Peoples of Middle-earth, Part Two, Chapter 13: "Last Writings"
  5. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"
  6. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Palantír"
  8. Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part Four, Chapter 3: "The Palantíri"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter II: "The Council of Elrond"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Part Three: The Third Age, IV: "The Hunt for the Ring"
  11. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Road to Isengard"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 The Two Towers, "The Voice of Saruman"
  13. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter II: "The Council of Elrond"
  14. The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond (1)"
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Treason of Isengard, "The Council of Elrond (2)"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare
  19. 19.0 19.1