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I watched the Hobbit-III movie today and I found the fight between Sauron vs Wizards+Elves combo interesting. For one, everyone except Saruman directly fought with Sauron. Saruman just enters the field, and despite Gandalf was in such a bad condition, does not attack Sauron! Was there a hint somewhere that he has already turned a traiter to Sauron? (We don't see him actually do that until LOTR-II movie).

Also, he tries to stop Elrond from pursuing Sauron further, saying "Leave Sauron to me". What to make of that?

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    The problem is the movies change so much, that it is hard to give an answer here without significant speculation. – suchiuomizu Jan 18 '15 at 19:52
  • So what happened in the books? Was Saruman already a traitor at this point in time (Hobbit-III) ? – Prahlad Yeri Jan 18 '15 at 19:57
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    @PrahladYeri Saruman never chose to turn evil, he wanted power,thought that finding the ring would give him immense power, and while trying to find that ring, Sauron lured him and made him his subject. Check this answer for more details: answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091025232949AA5VGte – yondaime008 Jan 18 '15 at 20:01
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    Well Saruman = Count Dooku but that doesn't count I guess... – Ali Caglayan Jan 18 '15 at 21:01
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    I suspect the reason Sauruman seemed inactive in that fight scene is that Christopher Lee was 92 years old at the time of filming and the filmmakers didn't want to do the entire scene with a stuntman – geewhiz Jan 19 '15 at 1:10
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There's only one indication in The Battle of the Five Armies that Saruman was going Dark Side, and it only works as one if you've also seen The Fellowship of the Ring. After Galadriel unleashes the Light of Eärendil on Sauron and the Nine, Sarumen gets this really bad-ass oneliner:

Saruman: Leave Sauron to me.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Which sounds amazing, but if you've seen Fellowship then you know that Saruman did a spectacularly bad job of dealing with Sauron.

Of course this is far from conclusive evidence, but that's kind of the point. If it was easy to point to evidence of Saruman going Bad, it wouldn't have taken until Fellowship for anyone to have figured it out.

A better indicator, although one that suffers the same problem, comes from An Unexpected Journey during the meeting scene in Rivendell. Despite word-of-mouth evidence from two wizards, whom Saruman should have no good reason to distrust, and eventually a dagger that should not exist, Saruman continues to deny the possibility of Sauron's return. Even without the benefit of hindsight, this evidence should have been enough to at least warrant investigation. Once again this isn't exactly evidence that Saruman has ulterior motives, but it's a move that really only makes sense once you know that he does.

In the books, Saruman is unquestionably looking for the One Ring independently of the White Council by this time:

2850 Gandalf again enters Dol Guldur, and discovers that its master is indeed Sauron, who is gathering all the Rings and seeking for news of the One, and of Isildur's Heir. He finds Thráin and receives the key of Erebor. Thráin dies in Dol Guldur.

2851 The White Council meets. Gandalf urges an attack on Dol Guldur. Saruman overrules him.

Return of the King Appendix B: "The Third Age (ii) The Third Age

In-text, there's a footnote on that last entry:

It afterwards became clear that Saruman had then begun to desire to possess the One Ring himself, and he hoped it might reveal itself, seeking its master, if Sauron were let be for a time.

Return of the King Appendix B: "The Third Age (ii) The Third Age

Just to complete the chronology, the Quest for Erebor takes place about a hundred years later:

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 River1. Sauron having made his plans abandons Dol Guldur. The Battle of the Five Armies in Dale.2

Return of the King Appendix B: "The Third Age (ii) The Third Age


1 The River Anduin, where Isildur was killed and the Ring lost

2 I'm putting the rest of the entry in spoiler tags, for anyone who hasn't seen the movie or read the book:

Death of Thorin II. Bard of Esgaroth slays Smaug. Dáin of the Iron Hills becomes King under the Mountain (Dáin II).

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