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The Thain's Book
An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor


Detailed Biography
Important Dates
Names & Titles
Vital Statistics:

Race: Wizards
Arrived in Middle-earth: Around the year 1000
Date of Demise: November 3, 3019
Residence: Isengard
Parents: Not applicable
Siblings: None
Spouse: None
Children: None
Hair color: Black originally, then white with strands of black
Emblem: White Hand

Christopher Lee as Saruman
Christopher Lee as Saruman
in the New Line Film
Saruman - Howe
Saruman by John Howe

Detailed Biography

Saruman the White was the Chief of the Order of Wizards. He was wise and powerful, but he was also proud and he became corrupted by desire for the One Ring and was ensnared by the will of Sauron. He created armies and machinery and sought to expand his power, but in the end Saruman's works were undone by a power greater than any he could devise and he was slain by one of his own slaves.

Saruman was originally a Maia known as Curumo. The Maiar were spirits who helped and served the Valar in the Undying Lands. Curumo was one of the Maiar of Aule, the Vala whose domain was the substances of which the earth was made. Aule was a smith and a master of crafts and works of skill, and from him Curumo gained much knowledge.

Sauron had also once been a Maia of Aule. He had turned to evil and sought to establish dominion over Middle-earth and the Valar decided to send emissaries oppose him. Curumo was chosen by Aule and he became one of the Istari, or Wizards. The Wizards' mission was to help the free peoples of Middle-earth in their struggle against Sauron without seeking domination or power for themselves.

Curumo went to Middle-earth around the year 1000 of the Third Age. He was said to have been the first of the Wizards to arrive in Middle-earth, although according to another story he was asked by Aule's spouse Yavanna to bring the Wizard Radagast with him.

Curumo was called Saruman by Men, among whom he spent most of his time. The Elves called him Curunir. Like the other Wizards, he had taken the form of an old man. Saruman was tall with a noble bearing. His hair was black at first, and though it turned white over time streaks of black remained. Saruman had a fair voice and a subtle manner of speech which he could use to persuade others. His robes were white, signifying that he was the highest of the Order of Wizards.

Early on, Saruman went on many journeys throughout Middle-earth. He travelled into Rhun in the far East with the two Blue Wizards, but while they remained there Saruman returned to western Middle-earth.

In 2463, the White Council was formed comprised of the chief Wizards and Elves - including Saruman, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Cirdan. Their main concern was the evil power occupying the stronghold of Dol Guldur in Mirkwood, which they feared might be Sauron. When it came time to choose a leader of the Council, Galadriel favored Gandalf, but Gandalf refused and Saruman became the head of the White Council instead.

Saruman became resentful and jealous of Gandalf. He realized that Gandalf was stronger than he was, though more humble, and had greater influence among the peoples of Middle-earth. Saruman was also aware that Gandalf had been given Narya, one of the Three Rings of the Elves, and this made Saruman particularly envious because he considered the Rings of Power to be his special area of expertise. Saruman had long studied the history of the Rings and their making and eventually he even used his skills at craftsmanship to try his hand at Ring-making on a lesser scale.

Of special interest to Saruman was the whereabouts of the One Ring - the Ruling Ring forged by Sauron that had been taken by Isildur and lost in the Gladden Fields where Isildur was slain. Saruman made many visits to the archives of Minas Tirith and learned all he could about Isildur. Among the scrolls discovered by Saruman was one written by Isildur that described the Ring and the inscription it bore.

In the archives, Saruman also learned about the palantiri, or Seeing-stones - devices that could be used to gather information and communicate over great distances. Saruman knew that there was a palantir in the Tower of Orthanc at Isengard - a stronghold in the Gap of Rohan at the southern end of the Misty Mountains. Though Isengard was in Rohan, it belonged to Gondor, but the guard there had grown lax. In 2759, Saruman offered to take up residence in Isengard and repair and maintain its defenses. He was given the Keys of Orthanc by Beren, the Steward of Gondor.

That same year, Saruman attended the coronation of King Frealaf of Rohan. He brought gifts and praised the valor of the Rohirrim. Rohan had just endured an invasion from Dunland as well as the Long Winter. In the years of hardship that followed they profited from their new friendship with Saruman and they were happy to have a Wizard of great power in the stronghold on their western border.

Saruman also became acquainted with Treebeard, the eldest of the Ents in nearby Fangorn Forest. He walked in the woods and spoke with Treebeard and learned many things from him, though he did not share information in kind.

The White Council met at Rivendell in 2851. Gandalf reported that he had been to Dol Guldur and had determined that the evil occupant was indeed Sauron. Gandalf recommended that the White Council attack Dol Guldur, but Saruman overruled him. Saruman told the Council that he believed the One Ring had been washed down to the Sea, where it could not be recovered, and that without it Sauron could not regain his strength. The Council agreed to continue to wait and watch, though Gandalf remained troubled.

In truth, Saruman began searching the Gladden Fields for the One Ring in order to claim it for himself. In his long study of Sauron's Ring, Saruman had become corrupted by the lure of its power and he sought to replace Sauron whom he had come to view as a rival. Saruman believed that if he found the Ring he would be capable of wielding it to establish order as he saw fit and rule the world of Men.

Saruman reasoned that if Sauron remained in Dol Guldur, the Ring might reveal itself while seeking its Master. But in 2939, Saruman learned that Sauron was also searching the Gladden Fields for the Ring. Therefore when Gandalf again proposed an attack on Dol Guldur at a Council meeting in 2941, Saruman agreed. It was by the devices of Saruman that the attack was successful, and Sauron fled Dol Guldur.

Unknown to the Council, Sauron had been prepared for the attack and he returned to his former stronghold in Mordor and began gathering his strength. He declared himself openly in 2951, and in 2953 the White Council met for the final time. They had learned that Sauron was actively seeking the Ring. Saruman assured them that he had determined that the Ring was in fact at the bottom of the Sea where Sauron would never find it.

Neither Sauron nor Saruman ever found the Ring in the Gladden Fields. Saruman did find the empty case on a chain that had once held the Ring, as well as the Elendilmir - the token of royalty of the North-kingdom - which Isildur had been wearing when he died. Saruman hid these items away in Orthanc along with many other treasures he had gathered. But the Ring was long gone. Gollum had taken it deep under the Misty Mountains where it was discovered by a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins.

Saruman had no knowledge of Bilbo's discovery, yet he was aware of Gandalf's interest in Hobbits and he was suspicious of everything Gandalf did. Saruman visited the Shire himself in disguise, but he feared discovery by Gandalf so he sent agents to Bree and the Southfarthing to learn what they could of Gandalf's interest in the Shire.

Saruman had also secretly begun to smoke pipe-weed from the Shire, though he publicly scoffed at Gandalf's use of it. He purchased pipe-weed from plantations owned by the Bracegirdles and Sackville-Bagginses and he used his payments to corrupt some of them to spy on their fellow Hobbits.

After the last meeting of the White Council, Saruman isolated himself in Isengard. He had originally been entrusted with Isengard as a lieutenant of the Steward and a warden of the tower, but now he claimed the stronghold for himself and began to increase its fortifications. He destroyed Isengard's beautiful gardens and dug pits which he filled with forges and machinery. To fuel the fires, Saruman had trees cut down in Fangorn Forest.

Saruman began to build his own army. He recruited Men from Dunland who hated Rohan, and he also gathered Wolves and Orcs to him. Among these Orcs were a special breed of Uruk-hai who were large and strong and could withstand direct sunlight. There were also a number of Men in Saruman's service who appeared to have Orc blood. These races may have been the result of cross-breeding experiments between Orcs and Men conducted by Saruman. Saruman was also said to have fed his Uruk-hai on the flesh of Men.

Around the year 3000, Saruman began to use the palantir. At first, Saruman may have seen visions of far-off places or events in the Orthanc-stone, but eventually he came in contact with another palantir - the Ithil-stone which was held in the Dark Tower by Sauron. Saruman's integrity had been weakened by the abandonment of his moral principles in his quest for power, and he was thus vulnerable to domination by the superior will of Sauron. Before long, Saruman felt compelled to report to Sauron via the palantir. The users of a palantir communicated by thought, and it is likely that Sauron learned more from Saruman than he intended to reveal.

Saruman continued his plan to expand his power, beginning with the conquest of Rohan. Rohan was Gondor's strongest ally and therefore it also benefited Sauron's plans for Rohan to be weakened. Saruman's Uruks came down from the Misty Mountains and raided the Rohirrim's horses and Sauron's Orcs conducted raids on Rohan from the east.

Saruman enlisted a Man of Rohan named Grima to be his agent in the court of King Theoden of Rohan. Grima became Theoden's counsellor and began to exert his influence over the King on behalf of Saruman. In 3014, Theoden became ill, possibly as a result of poisons administered by Grima. Theoden appeared to age prematurely and his judgment became clouded and he became dependent on Grima's advice. It was Saruman's intention to weaken King Theoden and thereby leave Rohan open to attack.

Above all, Saruman desired to find the One Ring, which he still hoped to claim for himself. He was increasingly suspicious that Gandalf was aware of the Ring's whereabouts and that somehow the Hobbits of the Shire were involved. Saruman's spies had reported that the Rangers of the North were closely guarding the Shire, and in 3001 this guard had been doubled.

In the summer of 3018, Saruman learned that the Nine Nazgul had left Mordor and were searching for the Ring in the possession of a person named Baggins in the Shire. Saruman decided to lay a trap for Gandalf to find out what he knew. He sent Radagast with a message for Gandalf telling him of the Nazgul's search and inviting him to come to Isengard so they could consult on the matter.

Gandalf arrived at Isengard on July 10. Saruman openly wore a Ring that he had created and he revealed to Gandalf that he was no longer Saruman the White but Saruman of Many Colours and his robes were of shifting hues.

Saruman proposed to Gandalf that they should rule the world of Men and that the means to this end was an alliance with Sauron.

"A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. There is no hope left in Elves or dying Numenor. This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means."
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Council of Elrond," p. 272-73
When Gandalf rejected this proposal, Saruman suggested that they could supplant Sauron if they claimed the One Ring for themselves, and he asked Gandalf to reveal its location. Gandalf again refused and Saruman had him imprisoned on the pinnacle of Orthanc.

With Gandalf out of the way, Saruman hoped to be able to find the Ring-bearer. Saruman had many agents travelling between Isengard and the Shire, stocking up on provisions in preparation for war. He sent the most trusted of these - a squint-eyed Southerner - to report on any Hobbits who left the Shire. But before Saruman's agent could report back, Gandalf escaped. He was rescued from the top of Orthanc on September 18 by Gwaihir the Windlord, who had come bringing news at the request of Radagast not knowing that Gandalf was being held prisoner.

Then the Lord of the Nazgul came to Isengard, sent by Sauron who was aware that Saruman had captured Gandalf. There are differing accounts of this visit. By one account, the Nazgul came two days after Gandalf's escape and Saruman used his Voice to persuade the Lord of the Nazgul that he did not know the Ring's location but that Gandalf did and they should seek him nearby. The Nazgul did so and instead found Grima, who revealed that Saruman was hiding his knowledge of the Shire from them. According to another account, Saruman only discovered that Gandalf had escaped when the Nazgul arrived, but he pretended that Gandalf was still there and had just told him the location of the Shire. The Nazgul later learned from the squint-eyed Southerner that Saruman knew far more than he had revealed.

In either case, Saruman found himself in a difficult position, for he was a known traitor to both sides. Saruman thought that he might still have time to find the Ring himself because he believed the Ring-bearer would have left the Shire already. But the squint-eyed Southerner was waylaid by the Nazgul and forced into their service. From Saruman's agent, the Nazgul learned that a Hobbit named Baggins lived in Hobbiton, and they began their relentless pursuit of Frodo Baggins as the Ring-bearer fled to Rivendell.

Saruman meanwhile began to move forward with his plan to conquer Rohan. Gandalf had gone to Edoras after his escape to warn King Theoden but was sent away on Grima's advice. Saruman claimed lordship over Rohan's lands and he closed the Gap of Rohan and companies of Orcs bearing his emblem of the White Hand began to trouble the Rohirrim.

Saruman's spies continued to hunt for the Ring-bearer. On January 8, 3019, a flock of crebain passed over the Fellowship in Hollin. It is likely that these birds were in the service of Saruman and reported back to him with news of the Ring-bearer's southward progress. On January 18, messengers from Moria arrived at Isengard and reported that the Fellowship had passed through Moria and was heading south. Saruman sent out scouts led by Ugluk to find them.

In Rohan, Saruman's forces were meeting with resistance from the Rohirrim led by Theodred, the King's son, and Eomer, the King's nephew. Saruman decided that Theodred had to be eliminated, and on February 25 he sent out a company with orders to kill the King's son. At the First Battle of the Fords of Isen, Theodred's position was relentlessly assailed and in the end he was slain. But then Saruman made a strategic mistake and did not move immediately to invade the Westfold, in part because of the resistance force led by Grimbold and Elfhelm.

The next day on February 26, Ugluk and his company came to Amon Hen where the Fellowship was camped. Saruman had ordered Ugluk to kill all but the Halflings, who were to be brought back to Isengard alive and unspoiled. Ugluk's company captured Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took and slew Boromir of Gondor who tried to defend the Hobbits. An Orc from Mordor named Grishnakh wanted to take the Hobbits to Sauron, but Ugluk prevailed and carried his captives toward Isengard.

At the edge of Fangorn Forest on February 28, Ugluk's company were surrounded by the Riders of Rohan led by Eomer. The next day at dawn, the Riders attacked and slew them all. But worse for Saruman was the fact that Merry and Pippin escaped into Fangorn Forest, where they met Treebeard. Treebeard had long been troubled by Saruman's wanton destruction of trees in Fangorn, and Merry and Pippin's arrival roused him to take action.

Saruman was unaware of what had befallen his Uruk-hai and he was so eager to obtain the Ring that he came himself to the edge of Fangorn on the night of February 30, where he was spotted by Gimli, Aragorn, and Legolas. Saruman found the burned carcasses of his company but he did not know whether they had been bringing him the Ring and if so what had become of it.

Fearing that the Rohirrim may have taken possession of the Ring, Saruman returned to Isengard to launch a full assault on Rohan. Before noon on March 2, Saruman sent out a portion of his forces who engaged the Rohirrim in the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen. The Rohirrim put up a stubborn resistance, but at midnight Saruman unleashed the full strength of Isengard: an army of ten thousand Orcs, some mounted on Wolves, as well as Men, some from Dunland and others who seemed to have Orc-blood. The defenders of the Fords of Isen were swept aside and scattered while Saruman's army continued to the stronghold of Helm's Deep, where King Theoden had taken refuge.

Saruman was at the gate to watch his troops leave, but when the last company had gone the gates were suddenly assailed by the Ents. Saruman had not anticipated that the Ents would rise against him, and he had no idea how to deal with this ancient force of nature. The Ents hurled down the gates and tore down the walls of Isengard. Saruman fled back to Orthanc pursued by Quickbeam, an Ent whose beloved rowan trees had been destroyed by Saruman's Orcs.

Saruman locked himself in the tower, which the Ents were unable to break. He attacked the Ents with liquid fire and fumes from vents and shafts in the grounds of Isengard. The Ents were enraged and they hurled themselves at Orthanc and Saruman responded with an eerie laugh. This caused the Ents to become quiet and determined. They diverted the waters of the River Isen into Isengard and Saruman's fires were quenched and his filth was washed away.

At dawn on March 4, Saruman's army was defeated at the Battle of Helm's Deep thanks to the timely arrival of reinforcements gathered by Gandalf and a forest of Huorns sent by Treebeard. Many of Saruman's Men surrendered and were shown mercy, but his Orcs fled into the Huorn forest and none came out alive.

Gandalf and King Theoden came to Orthanc for a parley with Saruman on March 5. Saruman tried to persuade King Theoden to join with him by using the power of his enthralling Voice.

Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves. When others spoke they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell. For some the spell lasted only while the voice spoke to them, and when it spake to another they smiled, as men do who see through a juggler's trick while others gape at it. For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away, and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them. But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it.
The Two Towers: "The Voice of Saruman," p. 183
But Theoden was not deceived. He remembered the cruelty of Saruman's army and he perceived that Saruman was but a tool of Sauron. When Theoden rejected his overture, Saruman turned his attention to Gandalf, but Gandalf only laughed. Gandalf gave Saruman the choice to come down from his tower and abandon his alliance with Sauron. Saruman had a moment of doubt, but pride and hatred won out and he refused. Then Gandalf revealed that he had become Gandalf the White and he broke Saruman's staff and cast him out of the Order of Wizards and the White Council. Saruman crawled back inside Orthanc.

Grima threw the palantir down from the tower and it was picked up by Pippin. Saruman was enraged when he realized what Grima had done, for now he had no means of communicating with Sauron. A Winged Nazgul was already on the way to Isengard to determine what Saruman was up to. When Pippin looked into the palantir, Sauron thought that Saruman was holding the Ring-bearer captive. Later that day Aragorn looked into the Orthanc-stone and confronted Sauron, drawing the Enemy's attention to the return of Isildur's heir and incidentally giving Saruman a reprieve from Sauron's wrath.

Saruman remained imprisoned in Orthanc guarded by the Ents. On March 25, the Ring was destroyed and Sauron's realm fell into ruin. Treebeard maintained his vigilance for several months afterward and he gave Saruman a detailed account of Sauron's downfall, speaking at great length until Saruman grew weary. Saruman's power had greatly decreased since his staff had been broken, but he still had his Voice. He was able to play on Treebeard's reluctance to cage any living thing, and he convinced the old Ent that he no longer posed a threat to anyone. Saruman was released on August 15. He turned over the Keys of Orthanc to Treebeard and headed north with Grima.

On August 28, Saruman and Grima were overtaken by Gandalf and the Hobbits and Galadriel, Celeborn, and Elrond. Gandalf and Galadriel offered Saruman help, but Saruman refused and he gloated because the Three Rings of the Elves had lost their power when the One Ring was destroyed. Merry gave Saruman some pipe-weed and Saruman told the Hobbits that they might find that things had changed in the Shire in their absence.

Saruman was angered to see the Hobbits looking prosperous and safe under Gandalf's protection and he decided to teach them a lesson. He travelled to the Shire with Grima, arriving on September 22. Many of his agents were already there at the invitation of Lotho Sackville-Baggins, one of the Hobbits whom Saruman had corrupted. Lotho had set himself up as Chief Shirriff but in reality the Chief's Men were in charge of the Shire, and they enforced a number of unfair Rules. When the Men's real master Saruman arrived, he took over as Chief. Lotho was stabbed to death in his sleep by Grima at Saruman's command.

Saruman sought revenge for the destruction of Isengard by trying to ruin the Shire. The Chief's Men began wantonly destroying and burning homes, trees, and farmland. The New Mill was used for some industrial purpose and the Water became polluted with waste. Saruman moved into Frodo's home at Bag End and filled the gardens with garbage and sheds. Provisions became more scarce, and the Rules became harsher, and Hobbits who were imprisoned in the Lockholes were often beaten.

Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin returned to the Shire on October 30. Saruman learned of their arrival and sent a message to the Shirriff-house at Frogmorton that they were to be arrested and brought to him. But the four Hobbits outpaced their captors and came to Bywater, where they rallied their fellow Hobbits to rise against the Chief's Men. At the Battle of Bywater on November 3, the Hobbits defeated the Chief's Men and drove them out of the Shire.

Frodo then went to Bag End and found Saruman. The Wizard gloated over the destruction he had wrought, and some of the local Hobbits called for his death. But Frodo declared that Saruman's life should be spared and ordered him to leave. Saruman tried to stab Frodo, and still Frodo refused to allow the others to kill the once-great Wizard.

Saruman rose to his feet, and stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred. "You have grown, Halfling," he said. "Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! Well, I go and I will trouble you no more. But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell."
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 299
Saruman prepared to leave and ordered Grima to accompany him, and Frodo told Grima he could remain if he wished. Saruman revealed that Grima had killed Lotho, and when Grima replied that he had done so at Saruman's command, Saruman mocked him and kicked him in the face. Grima then leapt at Saruman and slashed his throat. Saruman died and his spirit left his body, never to return to Middle-earth nor to the Undying Lands from whence he came.
To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.

Frodo looked down at the body with pity and horror, for as he looked it seemed that long years of death were suddenly revealed in it, and it shrank, and the shrivelled face became rags of skin upon a hideous skull. Lifting up the skirt of the dirty cloak that sprawled beside it, he covered it over, and turned away.
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 300

Additional Sources:

The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" (p. 299-303) covers the early White Council meetings and Saruman's deception.

Unfinished Tales: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" (p. 276-77) mentions Saruman's discovery of the Ring case and the Elendilmir.
"The Hunt for the Ring" gives different versions of the the Witch-king's visit to Saruman and includes the essay "Concerning Gandalf, Saruman and the Shire" about Saruman's pipe-weed use and his spies in the Shire.
"The Battles of the Fords of Isen" gives more detail on Grima's control of Theoden as well as Saruman's military strategy and the "Appendix" covers Saruman's occupation of Isengard.
"The Istari" gives background information on Saruman as the Maia Curumo of Aule.
"The Palantiri" has general information on how the palantiri worked as well as Saruman's use of the Orthanc-stone.

The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring (p. 418-19) mentions Saruman's cross-breeding of Orcs and Men.

The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "The Departure of Boromir," p. 360-61; "The Uruk-hai," p. 378-79 includes excerpts of Tolkien's Scheme which gives dates and details on the actions of Ugluk and Grishnakh.

Important Dates

Third Age:

Saruman arrives in Middle-earth around this time.

The Wise discover that an evil power has built a stronghold at Dol Guldur in Mirkwood.

The Wise fear the power at Dol Guldur may be Sauron.

The White Council is formed. Saruman becomes the Head of the White Council.

Saruman takes up residence at Isengard.

The White Council meets. Gandalf reports that Sauron is at Dol Guldur and urges an attack, but Saruman overrules him. Saruman begins to desire the One Ring for himself and starts searching the Gladden Fields.

Saruman learns that Sauron's servants are searching the Gladden Fields for the One Ring.

The White Council meets. Saruman agrees to attack Dol Guldur, hoping to prevent Sauron from finding the Ring. The White Council drives Sauron out of Dol Guldur.

Sauron goes in secret to Mordor.

Sauron declares himself openly in Mordor.

The White Council meets for the last time. Saruman lies to the Council, saying he has learned that the Ring was washed down the Anduin to the Sea. He fortifies Isengard and begins to spy on Gandalf and sends agents to Bree and the Shire.

Saruman may have begun cross-breeding Orcs and Men around this time.

c. 3000
Saruman uses the palantir of Orthanc and is ensnared by Sauron and becomes a traitor to the Council. Saruman learns from his spies that the Rangers are guarding the Shire.

The Rangers double their guard on the Shire.

King Theoden of Rohan begins to fall under the influence of Saruman through his agent Grima Wormtongue.

July 10: Saruman imprisons Gandalf in Isengard.

September 18: Gandalf is rescued from the pinnacle of Orthanc by Gwaihir.

January 8: A flock of crebain flies over the Fellowship in Hollin. The birds may have brought news of the Ring-bearer's journey back to Saruman.
January 18: Messengers from Moria arrive at Isengard and report that the Fellowship passed through Moria and is heading south. Saruman sends out scouts led by Ugluk.
January 30: Saruman receives a report from Ugluk and sends reinforcements with orders to capture the Hobbits alive.

February 25: Saruman's forces attack the Rohirrim and succeed in killing Theodred, the King's son, in the First Battle of the Fords of Isen.
February 26: Ugluk's company attacks the Fellowship's camp at Amon Hen and take Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took captive.
February 29: The Uruk-hai are slain by Eomer's Riders. Merry and Pippin escape to Fangorn and meet Treebeard.
February 30: Saruman goes to the edge of Fangorn to investigate. He finds the burned corpses of his Uruk-hai but does not know what happened to the Hobbits. He is spotted by Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn.

March 2: Saruman's forces defeat Erkenbrand's Riders at the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen and continue to Helm's Deep. Gandalf frees Theoden from Saruman's influence and Theoden decides to ride to war against Saruman. Treebeard and the Ents also decide to go to war and march to Isengard. The Ents arrive at night and Saruman locks himself in Orthanc while Isengard is destroyed.
March 3: Battle of Helm's Deep begins. The Ents complete the destruction of Isengard.
March 4: Saruman's forces are defeated at dawn at Helm's Deep.
March 5: Gandalf and Theoden parley with Saruman. Gandalf breaks Saruman's staff and casts him out of the Order of Wizards. Grima throws down the palantir. Saruman is imprisoned in Orthanc.

August 15: Treebeard releases Saruman from Orthanc. Saruman and Grima head north.
August 28: The Hobbits and Gandalf meet Saruman on the road. Saruman and Grima head for the Shire.

September 22: Saruman arrives in the Shire. He moves into Bag End and takes over as Chief from Lotho Sackville-Baggins.

November 3: The Hobbits defeat Saruman's Men at the Battle of Bywater. Frodo spares Saruman's life, but Saruman is killed by Grima.

Names & Titles

Saruman the White
The name Saruman means "man of skill." This was his name in the language of the Men of the North. In Old English, the word searu means both "art, skill, cleverness, cunning" and "device, trick, snare, ambuscade, plot, treachery." Saruman's color was originally white and he wore white robes.
Unfinished Tales: "The Istari," p. 390, 392, 401 note 6; Old English

Curunír means "the one of cunning devices" or "man of skill or craft" in Sindarin. The element curu means "craft, skill" and nír is a lenited form of dir, a masculine ending. He was also called Curunír 'Lân, where 'Lân is from glân meaning "white."
Unfinished Tales: "The Istari," p. 390, 392 and index entry
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entry for DER and KUR
Selected Sindarin Vocabulary

Curumo is the Quenya equivalent of Curunir. This is the name by which Saruman was known as a Maia.
Unfinished Tales: "The Istari," p. 393, 401 note 6

White Messenger
When Saruman arrived in Middle-earth he was referred to as the White Messenger because he was a messenger of the Valar and was clad in white.
Unfinished Tales: "The Istari," p. 389-90

Chief of the Order of Wizards
Saruman was the Chief of the Order of Wizards, which also included Gandalf, Radagast, and the Blue Wizards.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Shadow of the Past," p. 57; Unfinished Tales: "The Istari," p. 389

Head of the White Council
After the formation of the White Council - comprised of the chief Wizards and Elves - Saruman became the Head of the White Council.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Shadow of the Past," p. 57

Saruman the Wise
Saruman was called - and called himself - Saruman the Wise.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Council of Elrond," p. 264, 272

Saruman Ring-maker
Saruman referred to himself this way because he made at least one lesser Ring of Power.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Council of Elrond," p. 272

Saruman of Many Colours
Saruman forsook his original color of white in favor of many-colored robes that changed before the eye.

"White!" he sneered. "It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken."
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Council of Elrond," p. 272

Saruman came to the Shire in September of 3019 and took over as Chief from Lotho Sackville-Baggins. He was also referred to as Boss.
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 292

Saruman was called Sharkey by his people in Isengard as well as by the Chief's Men in the Shire. Saruman thought it was a term of affection, but it was probably derived from the Orcish word sharkû meaning "old man."
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 298

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