Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Tree-son of Isengard

Get it?  Tree-son?  Like treason?

Anyway, in this article I'm going to point out a few of the major differences between the actual events concerning Saruman's corruption and the way the movies portrayed it.

I was a movie fan first.  I saw the movies years before it ever occurred to me to pick up the books.  And so, like a lot of movie fans, I was expecting the movie but in book form.  Of course there were major differences that I picked up on quickly, like Tom Bombadil and the Scouring of the Shire (which were not even in the movies) but there were also subtler differences that  I didn't even notice the first time around.

Photo Property of Newline Cinema
On my first read-through--particularly during The Two Towers--I got kind of confused.  I relied on my knowledge of the movies to get me through.  When I went through a second time, I realized I had one element completely backwards!

The element was this.

Remember how in "The Two Towers" movie, Saruman is speaking to Sauron via the Palantir?  "Who now can stand against the forces of Isengard and Mordor; and the Union of the Two Towers?"

The movie sets it up so it seems like Saruman decided to (or was corrupted into deciding to) become Sauron's servant.  He hopes that he and Sauron can co-rule Middle-earth.  Gandalf of course contests that "There is only One Lord of the Rings....only one who can bend them to his will...and he does not share power!"  


In the book, Saruman actually wants to supplant Sauron.  Remember how Galadriel says: "In place of a dark lord you would have a queen!  Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn!  Treacherous as the sea!  All shall love me and dispair!"  That's pretty much Saruman's plan. (See left) Get all buddy buddy with Sauron (his first treason against Gandalf and the rest of the White Council) but then turn on him and become a new Dark Lord (his second treason).  

It's this second treason that eventually leads to Saruman's downfall.  Doubtless if Sauron was on his side he would have sent forces to help out and Saruman would not have succumbed so easily to Treebeard and his forces.

I think the way the movie portrays it makes it more simple (always a plus for movie audiences).  However, I prefer the book version because I think it has a deeper meaning.  Rarely do people do evil under the awareness that they are doing evil.  More often, people trick themselves into thinking that they are doing what is right--like how Saruman told himself supplanting Sauron would be the right thing to do, but it eventually led to him being corrupted with his own power.  I think that this is a very good place to see the theme of the nature of evil.  Thoughts?

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