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December 23rd, 2011, 03:08
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Ok, I'll humor you and act like I need to explain it.

In the novels, Saruman was a legitimate third power in the War of the Ring. He opposed Sauron, and, other than having studied him, had no connection to him whatsoever. He was power hungry and served no one but himself. He had aspirations of eventually ruling all of Middle Earth.

In the films, Saruman was portrayed as being nothing but a servant of Sauron, and a much weaker character in terms of ambition. I don't know why Jackson & company chose to portray him that way, but my guess is that they wanted to streamline the war into having two distinct sides, and make it easier for the audience to just see "good vs evil".

It's also been suggested that they used Saruman in the films as a "substitue" antagonist for Sauron, since the latter is never seen onscreen, and that Christopher Lee's popularity contributed to that.

Regardless of how you choose to look at it, the character in the films was *much* different than the one in the books.
Well, on that point I'm not sure it is clear in the books whether Saruman feinted to be a servant of Sauron, and then planned to turn on him or not. It was certainly portrayed that Saruman was playing a dangerous game with Sauron. Further, it is never clearly revealed what communication actually transpired between Saruman and Sauron, just guesses by Gandalf, all of which were couched as such and multi-valued. The Pippin palantir scene makes it seems like Saruman was in cahoots with Sauron, since Sauron thought Saruman was presenting a gift to him. The full intent and plan of Saruman was guessed at multiple times but never absolutely determined that I can remember.

Jackson made a guess at something more explicit. We still don't know if Jackson also imagined Saruman having the intent to turn against Sauron eventually.

So all in all I wasn't greatly disturbed by Jackson's portrayal of Saruman. Just the ending (i.e. missing Scouring of the Shire) and the parlay scene at Orthanc was weak. Saruman's power of voice was not properly demonstrated….
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