29

Saruman was one of Maiar, like Gandalf. Meaning that he had a mortal body but presumably, when that body was killed, would simply return back to his ("spirit?") being.

Is there any confirmation from Tolkien that this is indeed what happened after he was knifed by Grima? Or was he somehow completely destroyed since he was de-powered by Gandalf?

  • 1
    Hopefully this answer will help persuade you to read the book! Great though the films are, the books are great works of art in their own right (& do fill in some of the blanks). – AAT Sep 7 '12 at 7:27
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    @AAT - there are other possibilities besides the binary "didn't read the book" and "read the book and remember every single little detail 5 years later" :) As a matter of fact, wasn't Saruman's death NOT in the movie at all? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 7 '12 at 10:29
  • @DVK He has a death scene in the extended edition, you can view it here at the end of the video. – NominSim Sep 7 '12 at 13:57
  • @NominSim - good gosh, 10 hours? – The Fallen Sep 7 '12 at 17:23
  • @SSumner It gets good around 09:07:42 doesn't it? – NominSim Sep 7 '12 at 18:45
37

To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.

It is very much implied by that passage from the Scouring of the Shire that Saruman attempted to pass back into Aman, the West, but was denied. Given he was denied and that, as far as we know, Eru did not step in to banish him from time (as per Morgoth) he would have roamed Arda as Sauron would:

his fall will be so low that none can foresee his arising ever again. For he will lose the best part of the strength that was native to him in his beginning, and all that was made or begun with that power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever, becoming a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape.

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    I stole your quote, and hopefully improved my answer. The parallel between Saruman's destruction and that of Sauron's is uncanny. – NominSim Sep 6 '12 at 22:02
  • This means that all the balrogs, being dead evil Maiar without the favour of the West, would also roam around as shadows. Seems a bit weird to me. – Amarth Nov 15 '18 at 17:36
45

When Saruman is killed,

To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.

This is almost identical to what happens to Sauron:

'The realm of Sauron is ended!' said Gandalf. 'The Ring-bearer has fulfilled his Quest.' And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.

From what Gandalf has said of Sauron's destruction:

For he will lose the best part of the strength that was native to him in his beginning, and all that was made or begun with that power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever, becoming a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape.

We can be almost certain that Saruman suffered the same fate.

  • Wow, you're right. That is uncanny. – Plutor Sep 7 '12 at 12:19
  • Wasn't that quote about Sauron's destruction based on the idea that the Ring, which held a great portion of his power, was destroyed? Wouldn't Saruman retain more of himself in death, since he was whole and hadn't poured himself into a physical object before he died? Or would his "human" body have served a similar function as the Ring did to Sauron, allowing a portion of him to be permanently destroyed? – Nerrolken Nov 24 '14 at 18:48
-4

There are 5 immortal wizards Radagast The Brown, Gandalf The Grey/White, Saruman The White, Morinehtar The Blue, and Rómestámo The Blue. When Durins Bane killed Gandalf in the mines of Moria he resurrected himself. That means the other wizards can do it to. If Saruman did resurrect himself what would he do? Go back to Isengard with then Ents still hanging around there? I don't think Sauron would wont him anymore.

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    Gandalf didn't resurrect himself; Eru did. – user8719 Jan 24 '14 at 10:41
  • This is a completely wrong answer. Did you read other answers showing related canon material? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 24 '14 at 12:25

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