According to Tolkien canon (e.g. sourced from JRRT ot CT), what was the earliest point that:

  • Saruman suspected that the One Ring was not fully lost and is recoverable

  • Realized that the One Ring was found (by Bilbo).

  • I was wondering this myself yesterday while watching the movie because of the council scene at Rivendell where Gandalf presents the Witch King of Angmar's sword. Saruman is just too dismissive of what appears to be clear evidence of Sauron's stirrings; I wondered if that meant he was already in league with Sauron, or being influenced by Sauron, etc. In the movie I don't believe Bilbo had procured the One Ring at that point. Just musing here ... Commented May 5, 2013 at 1:49
  • @Slytherincess Yes, at that point he'd already strayed from his appointed mission of helping defeat Sauron.
    – user1027
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


According to Unfinished Tales

In the Tale of Years the entry for 2851 refers to the meeting of the White Council in that year, when Gandalf urged an attack on Dol Guldur but was overruled by Saruman; and a footnote to the entry reads: ‘It afterwards became clear that Saruman had then begun to desire to possess the One Ring himself, and hoped that it might reveal itself, seeking its master, if Sauron were let be for a time.’

The Fellowship of the Ring set out in 3018. Unfinished Tales also states that Saruman had already been searching the Anduin and had found the Elendilmir and a golden case where Isildur had carried the Ring. Of course the Ring itself had gone centuries earlier.

  • I don't think the case belonged to Isildur. If I remember rightly, the case was made by Saruman to house the Ring once he had acquired it. Isildur kept the Ring on a chain around his neck. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 18:08

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