If Saruman's forces had defeated Rohan, is there any indication of what he was planning to do next? The Ringbearer is far away from Saruman hand and in the territory of his rival Sauron.

Was he planning to send his Uruk Hai into Mordor (in secret, maybe?) to catch Frodo or would he have pledged himself to Sauron in the hopes of someday overthrowing him?

  • 2
    This seems quite opinion-based. That said, I'm assuming he did have a plan...
    – Valorum
    Dec 20, 2014 at 22:19
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a “What if ______ happened?” question.
    – user8719
    Dec 21, 2014 at 0:52
  • @DarthSatan - I didn't vote because I was interested to know what Saruman's plan was.
    – Valorum
    Dec 21, 2014 at 1:14
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    Don't forget that Saruman had no idea of the plan to send the ring into Mordor to destroy it, and, like Sauron himself, couldn't even conceive they would do such a thing. Dec 21, 2014 at 9:59
  • It's not OT because there could have been an answer. The fact that the answer is "we don't know" doesn't imply that other, similar questions, would acutally have an answer like "in book X chapter Y he reveals his plan".
    – o0'.
    May 18, 2015 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


There's no evidence of any plan that Saruman may or may not have had in the books. What is well established is that by some time before the events of Lord of the Rings he had begun to desire the Ring for himself, but likewise there's no evidence that Saruman was even aware that Frodo had the Ring and was taking it to Mordor to be destroyed. In fact in the chapter the Uruk-Hai it is suggested that he may have thought that one of Merry or Pippin had it:

'What are they wanted for?' asked several voices. 'Why alive? Do they give good sport?'

'No! I heard that one of them has got something, something that's wanted for the War, some elvish plot or other. Anyway they'll both be questioned.'

It's evident from the context that the latter speaker here is Ugluk, the commander of the Isengard Orcs.

The best account of Saruman's long-term plans is given in the foreword to Lord of the Rings where Tolkien speculates on an alternate outcome if the Ring had been used against Sauron:

Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth.

Everything else is speculative and opinion-based.

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    Interesting remark by Tolkien that I didn't remember. I wonder if that would have meant a lesser ring compared to Sauron's ring because Sauron's was linked to the 3, the 7 and the 9. I always kind of thought otherwise, but maybe Sauron's ring didn't draw any power from the link to the 3, the 7 and the 9. Maybe it was just a controlling link.
    – Joel
    Dec 21, 2014 at 18:36

Saruman had already allied himself with Sauron; the real question would be, what was Sauron's plan for Saruman's forces? Based on the geography my guess would be Sauron planned for Saruman to hold the region to the west of the southern end of the mountains, keeping Rivendell from sending an army to attack Sauron's rear while he dealt with Gondor (his main force would keep any reinforcements from Lorien from turning up). The next stronghold was Lorien, and again it would be Sauruman's job to protect Sauron's flank while he engaged Galadriel. Without the Ring, Lorien would be Sauron's greatest challenge; he was saving his main army (which was never really seen in the books, just a fraction of it at the Black gate at the end) for dealing with Galadriel.
Long-term, I think Saruman was hoping to be given governorship of the lands West of the mountains for his loyalty, while Sauron went on to conquer the rest of the world.

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