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Timeline Event

Parley with Saruman in Isengard: Overview

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: March 5, 3019


An event in the Invasion of Westfold by Saruman; see that entry for an overview:

The Participants
— Gandalf and His Allies
— Saruman and His Ally
The Timeline
The Prelude
The Parley
The Aftermath

The Summary
The negotiation between Gandalf and Saruman after the failure of Saruman's invasion, in which Gandalf offers to free Saruman from Orthanc.

The Participants

The Participants: Gandalf and His Allies
To ride with him to Isengard the King chose Éomer and twenty men of his household. With Gandalf would go Aragorn, and Legolas, and Gimli.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard

'Welcome, my lords, to Isengard!' he said. 'We are the doorwardens. Meriadoc, son of Saradoc is my name; and my companion... is Peregrin, son of Paladin, of the house of Took.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard

The Participants: Saruman and His Ally
'The Lord Saruman is within [Orthanc]; but at the moment he is closeted with one Wormtongue, or doubtless he would be here to welcome such honourable guests.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard

The Timeline
March [3019]
Théoden retreats to Helm's Deep. Battle of the Hornburg begins. Ents complete the destruction of Isengard.

[See: Saruman imprisoned in Orthanc]

Théoden and Gandalf set out from Helm's Deep for Isengard....

[See: Gandalf and Théoden ride from Helm's Deep]

Théoden reaches Isengard at noon. Parley with Saruman in Orthanc. Winged Nazgûl passes over the camp at Dol Baran. Gandalf sets out with Peregrin for Minas Tirith....

[See: Gríma Wormtongue imprisoned in Orthanc with Saruman]

[See: Gandalf and Théoden arrive to parley with Saruman]
[See: Saruman tries to beguile Théoden]
[See: Saruman tries to beguile Gandalf]

[See: Gandalf offers Saruman his freedom]
[See: Gandalf expels Saruman from the Istari and the White Council]

[See: Gríma Wormtongue hurls the Palantír from Orthanc]

[See: Saruman remains imprisoned under Treebeard's guard]

[See: Gandalf and Théoden camp at Dol Baran]
[See: Pippin looks into the Palantír of Orthanc]
[See: Aragorn takes possession of the Palantír of Orthanc]

[See: Winged Nazgûl flies over Dol Baran]
[See: Gandalf and Pippin ride for Minas Tirith]

Aragorn overtaken by the Grey Company in the early hours. Théoden sets out from the Hornburg for Harrowdale. Aragorn sets out later.

[See: Gandalf brings news to Edoras]
[See: Winged Nazgûl flies over Edoras]

[See: Théoden and Aragorn ride for the Hornburg]
[See: Grey Company overtakes Théoden and Aragorn]

[See: Théoden and Aragorn stop at the Hornburg]
[See: Merry offers his service to Théoden]

[See: Aragorn looks into the Palantír of Orthanc]
[See: Aragorn parts company with Théoden at the Hornburg]

[See: Théoden rides for Dunharrow]
[See: Aragorn rides for Dunharrow]

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

The Prelude
'When the Ents had reduced a large part of the southern walls to rubbish, and what was left of his people had bolted and deserted him, Saruman fled in a panic. He... was within a step or two of being caught and strangled when he slipped in through the door.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 9, Flotsam and Jetsam

'"Well, [Wormtongue] has gone in," [Treebeard] said when he returned. "I saw him crawling up the steps like a draggled rat. There is someone in the tower still: a hand came out and pulled him in. So there he is, and I hope the welcome is to his liking."'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 9, Flotsam and Jetsam

'I shall return to Isengard, and those who will may come with me.... I wish to speak with Saruman, as soon as may be now,' said Gandalf, 'and since he has done you great injury, it would be fitting if you were there.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard

The Parley
[Said Gandalf,] '... I had reasons for trying [to parley with Saruman]; some merciful and some less so. First Saruman was shown that the power of his voice was waning. He cannot be both tyrant and counsellor.... Yet he fell into the trap, and tried to deal with his victims piece-meal, while others listened. Then I gave him a last choice and a fair one: to renounce both Mordor and his private schemes, and make amends by helping us in our need. He knows our need, none better. Great service he could have rendered. But he has chosen to withhold it....'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 10, The Voice of Saruman

[Said Merry,] 'But think of the last part of that business with Saruman! Remember Saruman was once Gandalf's superior: head of the Council.... He was Saruman the White. Gandalf is the White now. Saruman came when he was told, and his rod was taken; and then he was just told to go, and he went!'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 11, The Palantír

The Aftermath
The riders hailed the king with joy, and saluted Gandalf. The spell of Saruman was broken: they had seen him come at call, and crawl away, dismissed.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 10, The Voice of Saruman

'So Saruman would not leave?' [Treebeard] said. 'I did not think he would.'....

'Saruman shall not set foot beyond the rock, without my leave. Ents will watch over him.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 10, The Voice of Saruman

'[Saruman] lives now in terror of the shadow of Mordor.... He will be devoured, if the power of the East stretches out its arms to Isengard. We cannot destroy Orthanc from without, but Sauron — who knows what he can do?'

'And what if Sauron does not conquer? What will you do to him?' asked Pippin.

'I? Nothing!' said Gandalf. 'I will do nothing to him. I do not wish for mastery. What will become of him? I cannot say. I grieve that so much that was good now festers in the tower.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 10, The Voice of Saruman

'[Even] if we had entered in, we could have found few treasures in Orthanc more precious than the [palantír] which Wormtongue threw down at us.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 10, The Voice of Saruman

'... Saruman certainly looked in the Stone since the orc-raid, and more of his secret thought... has been read than he intended. A messenger has been sent to find out what he is doing. And after what has happened tonight another will come, I think, and swiftly. So Saruman will come to the last pinch of the vice that he has put his hand in. He has no captive to send. He has no Stone to see with, and cannot answer the summons. Sauron will only believe that he is withholding the captive and refusing to use the Stone. It will not help Saruman to tell the truth to the messenger. For Isengard may be ruined, yet he is still safe in Orthanc. So whether he will or no, he will appear a rebel. Yet he rejected us, so as to avoid that very thing! What he will do in such a plight, I cannot guess.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 11, The Palantír

'The winged Shadow?' said Théoden. 'We saw it also, but that was in the dead of night before Gandalf left us.'

'Maybe, lord,' said Dúnhere. 'Yet the same, or another like to it, a flying darkness in the shape of a monstrous bird, passed over Edoras that morning, and all men were shaken with fear. For it stooped upon Meduseld, and as it came low, almost to the gable, there came a cry that stopped our hearts. Then it was that Gandalf counselled us not to assemble in the fields, but to meet you here in the valley under the mountains. And he bade us to kindle no more lights or fires than barest need asked.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 3, The Muster of Rohan

Elena Tiriel 18May05, 22Sep05, 6Aug06, 28Aug06

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