In the movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Saruman was constantly running counter to whatever Gandalf said and disapproved of his constant "meddling".
So, was Saruman being subtly influenced by Sauron at this point (via the Palantir, perhaps?)
Does anyone know when exactly Saruman turned, so to speak?

  • 1
    Saruman didn't exactly "turn." He was planning to take the One Ring for himself and take Sauron's place. It's been far too long since I watched the films for me to state unequivocally that the Saruman as untrustworthy lieutenant storyline is as clear-cut there as in the books though. I do believe that Saruman and Sauron came to an arrangement through the Palantier, but it was an uneasy one. Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 5:57
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    Could this question be better phrased as "When did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?"
    – Anthony
    Commented Jan 5, 2014 at 13:36
  • 2
    @anthony-arnold: sure, but unfortunately, you have elected the way of pain... ;)
    – djm
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 0:12
  • 1
    – user13267
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


No, at the time of The Hobbit, Saruman was not yet being directly influenced by Sauron. He started using the Palantir only about 50 years after Sauron was driven out of Dol Guldur (an event that happens simultaneously with the climax of The Hobbit - which is not a coincidence):

2851 The White Council meets. Gandalf urges an attack on Dol Guldur. Saruman overrules him (footnote: 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.). Saruman begins to search near the Gladden Fields.

2941 Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf visit Bilbo in the Shire. Bilbo meets Sméagol-Gollum and finds the Ring. The White Council meets; Saruman agrees to an attack on Dol Guldur, since he now wishes to prevent Sauron from searching the River. Sauron having made his plans abandons Dol Guldur. The Battle of the Five Armies in Dale. Death of Thorin II. Bard of Esgaroth slays Smaug. Dáin of the Iron Hills becomes King under the Mountain (Dáin II).

c. 3000 The shadow of Mordor lengthens. Saruman dares to use the palantír of Orthanc, but becomes ensnared by Sauron, who has the Ithil Stone. He becomes a traitor to the Council. His spies report that the Shire is being closely guarded by the Rangers.

-- Lord of the Rings, Appendix B "The Tale of Years", The Third Age

However, Saruman had always been jealous of the respect given to Gandalf, right from the time they came to Middle Earth thousands of years earlier. This jealousy is in fact what led him to desire the One Ring for himself, a desire that Sauron was eventually able to use to manipulate him (Can't at the moment find a quote for this).


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