In the Hobbit movies, Saruman talks about how Sauron is gone, but seems unconcerned about an orc pack under the influence of Azog (who in the films basically the most powerful orc around not a cause for concern). I am confused by the fact that Saruman is not concerned this pack has taken up residence at Weathertop, gone near the Shire, and dared to cross the Bruinen. Is there canon (movie) evidence why this might be? Maybe Saruman sees Azog and his pack as a good distraction for his own activities.

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    Your question is currently unclear. Who is it that is not concerned about Azog's army that you think should be concerned? – numaroth Dec 2 '14 at 22:43
  • @numaroth Edited for clarity. – Matt Gutting Dec 2 '14 at 23:01
  • There's no reason for them to assume that Azog is the leader or that they're at Weathertop. – user36952 Dec 10 '14 at 4:17

Saruman is famously arrogant when it comes to the "little things." Gandalf delights in the common folk of Middle Earth, but Saruman is primarily concerned with the major players and great, sweeping motions of history. He studies the Rings of Power, he discusses the return of Sauron, and otherwise he mostly stays in Orthanc.

A pack of Orcs, while dangerous to an individual or a town, is of no concern to someone who works on the scale of empires. Azog (if we assume, as Saruman did, that Azog wasn't associated with any greater power) would hardly have shaken the foundations of Middle Earth. He might have killed some folks, burned some towns, eventually gotten killed during a raid, and quickly been forgotten by history. We know that Azog was working for the returned Sauron, which makes him a serious threat, but Saruman didn't believe that at the time.

It's the equivalent of a Roman Emperor or a Pope stating that a band of robbers and highwaymen in Spain is "not a cause for concern." He's not saying that they're harmless, he's saying that they're not a big enough deal to register on his own radar.

They're simply below his pay-grade.

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  • Could you give some references to Saruman being primarily concerned with major players? It sounds plausible, but film canon seems to show that he simply dismisses all the signals that great power is at play, to the point where Gandalf and Galadriel have to talk in private about it. – Deltharis Dec 2 '14 at 23:53
  • There are numerous references in the books and letters about Saruman being attracted to power, chiefly concerned with the creation of the Rings of Power, etc. Film canon references are more subtle, but include the way he speaks of Thorin, Radagast, Rohan, hobbits in general, and others whom Gandalf respects but whom Saruman seems to disdain for being ridiculous, powerless, or unimportant. He is also portrayed as much more arrogant than Gandalf (dismissing claims which Gandalf believes), and much more closed-off from the world (we never even see him leave Isengard in the entire LOTR trilogy). – Nerrolken Dec 3 '14 at 0:03
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    Good answer. When you've defeated the lions, you don't waste time on the house-cats. – Omegacron Dec 3 '14 at 21:22

In book-canon Saruman had already fallen for the temptation of the Ring by this time, as the Tale of Years for TA 2851 notes:

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

Because the third movie hasn't yet been released we don't yet know if Peter Jackson is or is not going to incorporate this into his own plot, so we don't yet know if Saruman has turned evil or not in the timeframe covered by the first two movies.

We therefore can't say if Saruman's apparent lack of concern about these Orcs is or is not a cover for his own activities, because we don't yet know if his own activities are evil or not.

One thing we do know is that there was some concern about them: Elrond and the Elves from Rivendell were out hunting them, after all. Perhaps it's the case that Saruman wasn't concerned because somebody else was already dealing with the problem? We'll find out when the third movie is released.

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  • It's also important to note that this Orc-pack doesn't even exist in book-canon. – user8719 Dec 2 '14 at 23:47
  • Is that quote the only reference to Saruman having fallen to temptation already? It does not seem like strong evidence, there might have been many reasons not to attack on Dol Guldur. In fact, reasons good enough for Gandalf not to suspect anything for the next few decades to come. – Deltharis Dec 2 '14 at 23:51
  • @Deltharis: and what do you make of the "Saruman begins to search near the Gladden Fields" part of it? – user8719 Dec 3 '14 at 8:29
  • If we go by @Nerrolken answer about Saruman wanting to go after the big players - searching for the ring is understandable either way, it IS the greatest artifact of power in the neighbourhood that at any time could fall into the wrong hands. I know I would look for it. And for him to think "I am the greatest of the White Council, only I can withstand it's temptation, others need not know" he would just need a lot of arrogance (which he has), not neccesarily linked to rings tempting power. – Deltharis Dec 3 '14 at 8:57
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    @Deltharis - a point of clarification. The arrogance that you can temper the ring when others cannot is EXACTLY how The One Ring hooks someone. That in fact IS the temptation of the ring. – Omegacron Dec 3 '14 at 21:25

Saruman knows is that Elrond and his elves killed a pack of orcs near the secret entrance to Rivendell. As he isn't looking for trouble it's easy to dismiss that as a minor problem already solved.

He knows nothing about Azog being there, that's why he's not worried about him.

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I think Saruman is just being dismissive. He probably just means something along the lines of 'there will always be small bands of orcs kicking around - so few do not offer much of a threat.' Really of course he is just continuing his old trick of trying to allay the Council's fears in case they start to think that maybe Saurin could have returned and interfere with his intended recovery of the One ring.

It is however Jackson's material. Not terrible out of kilter with canon, but not from the actual book.

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