1. Change of Heart
The Missing Scene From The Wizard Battle
Gandalf / Saruman POV
By Milly of Isengard
I can feel his terrified heart racing, as my hand clasps his chest -
my knee is pressing into his back - one move on my part, one swift
sure thrust of pressure, and it will be over.
Or will it?
If I do it poorly, or it simply goes wrong, I will merely cripple him.
I don't want that.
"Well?", he snarls at me, with a voice that shakes with fear and
spite all at once, "Weak fool! If I were the one in your place, you
would be dead by now! Have you no courage at all?"
"Be silent!" I tell him sternly, trying to make my mind focus on the
right course of action.
How it has changed, in a moment!
Saruman and I had been discussing the situation of the Ring, and he
had suddenly stunned me by suggesting that I - we- align ourselves
And the situation had degenerated into a violent matching of powers -
dangerous, so dangerous.
I had made a very fortunate move, and had found my chance, and now I
was astride him, debating how to proceed further.
"I do not wish to hurt you! Will you yield, now, and be reasonable?"
I whisper to him, through gritted teeth.
Saruman makes a great effort to throw me off of him, and hisses angry
"If I am fortunate to regain even an measure of chance, I will
I hear myself sigh wearily, but it is no use, I cannot do this.
I cannot break his spine, even though it would have saved many lives
in the future.
I simply cannot do it- I do not have the heart to.
"Saruman! Shall we stay like this forever? Be reasonable! If you will
calm yourself, I will let you up!"
He groans under me, and sounds as if he cannot breathe.
"Saruman! Speak to me! I am not that foolish!"
But I am, as it turns out.
His body goes limp under me, and remains that way.
In horror, I slowly, and carefully, begin to loosen my grasp around
And of course, that was all he was waiting for:
My fate was to be banished to the top of the pitiless Tower, to think
on my transgression in the black and frigid night.
I wondered if I had not shown any mercy to him, would he have killed
me when given the opening?
Was he, perhaps, moved by it, though he would never admit it?
Why did he not, as he swore, incinerate me?
And in later years, I sometimes wondered if I would have had the -
the courage and coldness - to have broken his back and ended the
danger of him, if I had known what he would do to Middle Earth?
And I know, in my heart, where the spiritual strength, and strategic
weakness, of mercy and pity lives, that I would have done the same as
For when we lose the mercy in our hearts, we also lose the purpose of
I have made a critical error, and I am about to pay for it with my life.
The discussion with Stormcrow- so easy and pleasant in the beginning, walking among the trees in the Gardens, with no animosity between us - had spiraled into a nightmare.
I had genuinely believed he would simply follow my lead- I was not advising him, nor was I commanding him. It was somewhere in between.
I did not anticipate such aggressive, sarcastic resistance.
He has a way with words, my Olórin.
Such biting responses: I had gently told him that it would be wise to go along with the Dark Lord for the time being, as it was the only real hope – and then, later, we would regain our advantage.
I sought to avoid annihilation.
That, and if we were able to obtain the Ring for ourselves- well, there would no stopping us! Sauron would grovel at OUR feet.
It was so obvious.
But not to Gandalf.
And so it had gone from disagreement to outright battle, after I lost my temper.
How could I not lose it?
He insulted me fiercely!
Implying I had lost my reason, and the like. I was not pleased.
I HAD to retaliate.
Our Staves had contended with each other, and then, I made an error, and lost my balance for a fraction of a moment- and he was upon me, digging his knee painfully into the middle of my back, and grasping me around my chest tightly – I could scarcely breathe.
I was shocked at his violence. And insubordination!
I was truly shocked. Hurt, even. I would never let him see any weakness from me in that manner, of course.
How easily he had thrown aside our friendship- and my authority over him.
I suppose he never cared that deeply about me anyway.
Only the halflings, they were all he knew how to love.
The closest he has ever come to showing any feeling for me was today, in fact.
He had poured wine for me, and I had taken it from him, and our fingers had touched for a moment, a very long moment -
Our eyes had met, then, and his blue eyes had stared directly into mine.
For a moment, I even fancied he - no- no, I was mistaken, of course.
He cares nothing for me.
Perhaps I only gave him the opening he longed for, to discard me.
In any event, now he sits atop me in the fashion of a lover- ah, if only we were engaged in that instead! – but there is nothing loving about the way he presses that knee into my back.
It takes me a long moment to understand, he is about to kill me, to snap my back.
As I suddenly realize this, my breath chokes in my throat and I feel fear, real and sickeningly powerful, rush into me.
I will not beg for my life.
I will not.
I will not yield to him, and I will not surrender to him.
Why, he ought to be groveling before me!
I am the MASTER, not he. I am the WHITE – and he is the Grey.
Why not sue for mercy for the moment, and then when you regain the advantage -
I would prefer to die, and it will simply be that he has murdered me.
My death will be upon his conscience, and the guilt of it.
That would be far better.
I will NEVER plead for my life.
The fear has matured into terror, and my heart thunders, racing in my chest.
I am sure he can feel it, as he is clasping me so tightly.
We exchange a few asinine words, and then I have an idea:
I feign suffocation, and then lie still as death under him.
He prods me, and threatens me, but I do not move.
He shouts at me, and now I hear fear in his voice, as well. Remorse. Dread.
Perhaps he is so not sure of himself?
He sighs angrily, but loosens his hold on me- I do not move- not yet.
“Saruman!” He shakes me, rather gently, for someone who was about to kill me only a few moments ago.
He is not restraining me at all, now, only trying to “revive” me.
Oh, I will come to life, yes, my Olórin!
And I do, and the look on his face – he does not really look that surprised – is almost worth the sore back. And the hammering pulse, that is slowing now.
I hurl him up to the heights of the Tower.
Think on your actions, my Gandalf. Think well.
And perhaps, when I go up to you again, you will have had- a change of heart.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.