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114 votes

How could Saruman lose the battle of Helm's Deep?

The defenders had a bunch of things going for them. First, they had nowhere to run. This is the situation Sun Zu called Desperate or Death Ground. "死地則戰" or "on desperate ground, fight". A shaky ...
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109 votes
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Did Saruman know about the Ents?

Yes he does In the film Treebeard talks about how Saruman used to walk through through Fangorn. Implying a familiarity at least from Treebeards point of view, as Treebeard knows enough about Saruman (...
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96 votes

How could Saruman lose the battle of Helm's Deep?

The battle was all but lost until Gandalf turned up with the forest of Huorns, who proceeded to swallow up the Orcs altogether and scare the Dunlendings into surrender. The defenders themselves had ...
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74 votes
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Why didn't Saruman break Gandalf's staff on Orthanc as Gandalf broke Saruman's?

A wizard's staff is symbolic rather than a source of actual power, and so breaking a wizard's staff has no effect on the wizard's power. How do we know this? Because Gandalf was able to defeat the ...
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58 votes

Why were Sauron and Saruman not considered Balrogs?

Balrogs were a specific type of Maia - spirits of fire - whereas both Sauron and Saruman were mentioned as being not of that type. The only other Maia of this type mentioned in the texts is Arien, ...
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51 votes

What version of the LoTR film shows Gandalf breaking Saruman's staff?

Scene 4: The Voice of Saruman This scene was cut from the original film, and was later added into the extended edition from the film, it was one of 4 scenes that were cut entirely from the second half ...
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50 votes
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What version of the LoTR film shows Gandalf breaking Saruman's staff?

That scene is from the Extended Editions of The Lord of The Rings series. The success of the theatrical cuts brought about four-disc Extended Editions, with new editing, added special effects and ...
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  • 35k
44 votes
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Why didn't Gandalf know what the Palantir was?

From "The Palantiri" in Unfinished Tales: "The palantir were no doubt never matters of common use or common knowledge even in Numenor" And "It is evident that at the time of the War of the ...
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  • 2,952
38 votes
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Why were Sauron and Saruman not considered Balrogs?

Balrogs were in the service of Morgoth before Time Mairon was a servant of Aule, not Melkor Although VoC claims Balrogs were a "spirit of fire" only two characters in Tolkien's writings are ever ...
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  • 75.3k
36 votes

Why did Saruman attack Helms Deep instead of capturing Edoras?

Answering from memory ... I'll have to check the details later. Saruman's principle goal at this point was to destroy the Rohirrim as a fighting force. There was nothing to be gained by seizing ...
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34 votes

Why didn't Gandalf know what the Palantir was?

I could have put the pieces together, and I am infinitely less wise than Gandalf. You could put the pieces together, because you are reading about it in a book, where the author has specifically ...
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33 votes

Why does Saruman travel to Fangorn forest?

He doesn't In The Treason of Isengard, Christopher Tolkien discusses this passage briefly; he admits that he has a hard time reconciling the conflicting narratives, but proposes the possibility that ...
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33 votes

How could Saruman lose the battle of Helm's Deep?

The odds could have gone both ways Looking at historical examples, 10-to-1 numerical advantage when assaulting a fortress (without heavy artillery or air support) is a reasonable match with no ...
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  • 1,988
33 votes

Why didn't Saruman break Gandalf's staff on Orthanc as Gandalf broke Saruman's?

Presumably because Gandalf was sent back by the Powers with greater power specifically for the purpose of fulfilling the role that Saruman had forsaken, to contest Sauron. From The Two Towers (...
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28 votes
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Why did Saruman lose his power after he was banished from Orthanc?

I don't think the books ever went into much detail, but from this... Book III, ch.10: ‘Be­hold, I am not Gan­dalf the Grey, whom you be­trayed. I am Gan­dalf the White, who has re­turned from ...
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  • 27.3k
28 votes
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Did Saruman break the Istari's charge to 'inspire not fight'?

He outright broke Rule 1 and Rule 2. to reveal themselves in forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men or Elves by open display of power. Unfinished Tales - Part IV: II The Istari With ...
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  • 75.3k
25 votes

What would have happened to Saruman if Sauron acquired the One Ring?

He wouldn't have become a wraith. The 9 Kings of Men became wraiths as their lives were stretched beyond their natural limits. Saruman, however, is immortal; while his Istari body could die, his ...
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22 votes
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Why didn't the phantom of Saruman do anything when he saw the travellers on the borders of Fangorn?

It's hard to ascertain why exactly he didn't hurt them, as Tolkien doesn't give insight as to what Saruman is thinking then (or at all). "It was an evil phantom of Saruman" 'That would not ...
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  • 25.3k
20 votes
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Where is Saruman's many colored cloak referenced?

In The Fellowship of the Ring, during the Council of Elrond at Rivendell; Gandalf relates the tale of the fight which he had with Saruman in Isengard. ‘For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, ...
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  • 65.4k
19 votes
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What would have happened to Saruman if Sauron acquired the One Ring?

TL;DR Had Sauron gained the One Ring, Saruman would almost certainly have been tortured by him, although it is unlikely he would be used and would definitely not be made a wraith. Tortured? Saruman ...
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  • 25.3k
18 votes

Why didn't Saruman take Narya from Gandalf?

This is an old thread but I wanted to put one more possibility out there that doesn't seem to have been considered. Saruman didn't take the ring from Gandalf because he couldn't. In my mind it was ...
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  • 181
18 votes

Why didn't Gandalf know what the Palantir was?

Why would Gandalf have immediately identified the palantír? There were only ever eight of the palantíri known of in Middle-Earth, and few remain in Middle-Earth by the Third Age: in the towers west of ...
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  • 16.8k
18 votes
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How large were Saruman's and Sauron's armies?

As noted by Richard in the comments, there isn't any definitive figure for Sauron's army, but we could guess anywhere upwards of 50,000 due to this bit of text, taken from Richard's link here: Mordor'...
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  • 5,159
17 votes

What did Saruman mean by "Something festers in the heart of Middle-earth"?

Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens (LOTR's Writer and Producer) discuss this scene in the 'Director's Commentary' track, explicitly confirming that the evil "festering in the heart of Middle Earth&...
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17 votes
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What were Saruman's original intentions, and how did they change over time?

Saruman's downfall seems to have come as a result of his study of the works of Sauron, and the subtle realisation that his abilities (and the essence of his power) were actually pretty comparable to ...
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