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Curumo (Saruman) is not known, AFAIK, to have forgotten his identity and his mission from the Valar. Even ignoring his commitment to the Valar - he knows that Mairon's master is gone and won't be coming back despite his disciple's best efforts, and that the most Mairon can do is basically provoke the Valar into slightly more intervention. Hell, even if Mairon has a stable "victory" - what's the use in that for Curumo? It's not as though Mairon can mount a challenge of the Valar.

So why would Curumo even consider joining forces with Mairon? What did he expect to achieve? If he thought the opposition to him by the Istari, Elves and Men was going to fail - shouldn't he have just gone back to Valinor, or barring that, taken up a chair at the Gray Havens somewhere and watched it all crash and burn?

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    maybe worth providing the more commonly known names for these characters – NKCampbell Aug 14 at 17:11
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    But Sauron hasn't been Mairon since he was taken under Melkor's wing, so calling him as such is pretty ridiculous... Furthermore Saruman is different Curumo... Same as Mithrandir is not Olorin – Edlothiad Aug 14 at 19:08
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    I feel like using super obscure names in place of the common ones, particularly if it really is in support of an interpretation that "Saron did nothing wrong," significantly detracts from the question. It renders it incredibly confusing to anyone who has only read the main series and not ancillary material unpublished during Tolkien's lifetime. – Adamant Aug 14 at 19:56
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    yup - downvoting now for being deliberately obtuse and pedantic rather than helpful to the majority of users :) – NKCampbell Aug 14 at 20:14
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    Come on. Even if you think Gandalf thinks of himself as Olorin, and Sauron as Mairon, and Saruman as Curumo (I doubt this, but I could see the argument), you've got to see that someone whose read the books or seen the movies could read your question, to say nothing of if they just see the title, and have literally no idea that it's about the Lord of the Rings, if they miss the tags. You didn't even put an explanation in parentheses (Mairon, better known as Sauron). It would be like asking a question about Erik Weisz without ever mentioning his stage name. – Adamant Aug 14 at 20:39
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Saruman did not consider himself to have "joined forces" with Sauron. Rather, he no longer viewed him as an enemy, but rather a rival that need not be actively opposed, but cooperated with as needed. The goal was not to help Sauron, but to delay him until he could obtain the Ring for himself. That necessarily involved not being seen as part of the resistance against Sauron.

Sauron, on the other hand, likely viewed Saruman as a fool and someone to use. The parallel with Saruman's view of Radagast (as described in the essay on the Istari) is worth noting.

  • So, this quote: "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 Numenor. 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." - is a bluff? – einpoklum Aug 14 at 18:18
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    Yes, as Gandalf immediately recognizes. "Saruman, I have heard speeches of this kind before, but only in the mouths of emissaries sent from Mordor to deceive the ignorant." Saruman then switches tactics and tries to tempt Gandalf with the idea of "sharing" the Ring to overthrow Sauron. – chepner Aug 14 at 18:25

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