Gandalf not the traitor

Aspen Convallin

New Member
Gandalf not the traitor:

So, after Gandalf visits Gondor, Gollum is caught and taken to Mirkwood. We thought maybe this was because they had facilities to hold him and were more open to keeping prisoners at all. But also, maybe Aragorn and Gandalf sought the help of Mirkwood because it is not connected to the White Council, and the wood elves are less communicative with the other elves; this would lessen any chance that Saruman would hear about Gollum.

Gandalf goes to Mirkwood to question Gollum and requested the wood elves treat him respectfully because there was still hope for his cure.

Gandalf then goes to The Shire, proves it is the One Ring, and prepares Frodo to leave.

"I have heard something that had made me anxious" we know not what or how but off he goes and runs into Radagast, who has a message for him from Saruman.

Radagast says "They have crossed the River secretly and are moving westward." about the Nine.

Well, if it's "secretly" then how does Saruman know?

"I knew then what I had dreaded without knowing it."

His dread had finally crystallized - the dread he'd felt when he had to threaten Bilbo with uncloaking to get him to leave the ring for Frodo. "I spoke yet of my dread to none...seventeen years ago" when his "doubts were awakened again to sudden fear". His dread then and his dread now frame all the time he had seriously suspected Saruman of purposely lying, not just mistaken.

And about "knowing": Gandalf insists on final definitive proof sometimes like when he answered Frodo's question about "knowing all this" Gandalf said he had known much but "still do not know, one might say. There is a last test to make. But I no longer doubt my guess." Same thing here to himself.

Hearing the message from Radagast, Gandalf longer had any doubt that Saruman was purposely lying; because how else would Saruman know for sure that the Nine had crossed the Anduin unless he was in league or at least communicating with Sauron. And Saruman must have learned from the same source that the ring was suspected to be in The Shire - a place of great interest to Gandalf. Saruman now seriously suspects that Gandalf has proof of his deception.

So Gandalf was quite aware that Saruman was luring him to Isengard, with the offer of time-limited help, in order to get the ring or knowledge of the ring's whereabouts.

So, why would Gandalf go to Isengard if he knew it was a trap? Because he needed irrefutable evidence that Saruman was lying and because he hoped he was wrong. He had to give Saruman a chance to explain and if wrong, maybe Saruman did have a weapon or strategy to defeat the Nine. If not wrong, perhaps there was hope for rehabilitation for Saruman, ever the hope of Gandalf, that the tools of evil could be reformed and healed.

"now that I learn your mind...You have unmasked yourself at last".

Also, if he doesn’t go, if he goes back to the Shire to get Frodo, Saruman will know for sure where the ring is, chase them and get the ring. Gandalf going to Isengard provides a distraction which will allow Frodo enough time to get to Rivendell, if Butterburr delivers the letter, he hopes.

When we get to Isengard next, we can re-examine Gandalf's motivations for going to Isengard
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
His dread had finally crystallized - the dread he'd felt when he had to threaten Bilbo with uncloaking to get him to leave the ring for Frodo. "I spoke yet of my dread to none...seventeen years ago" when his "doubts were awakened again to sudden fear". His dread then and his dread now frame all the time he had seriously suspected Saruman of purposely lying, not just mistaken.

And about "knowing": Gandalf insists on final definitive proof sometimes like when he answered Frodo's question about "knowing all this" Gandalf said he had known much but "still do not know, one might say. There is a last test to make. But I no longer doubt my guess." Same thing here to himself.

Hearing the message from Radagast, Gandalf longer had any doubt that Saruman was purposely lying; because how else would Saruman know for sure that the Nine had crossed the Anduin unless he was in league or at least communicating with Sauron. And Saruman must have learned from the same source that the ring was suspected to be in The Shire - a place of great interest to Gandalf. Saruman now seriously suspects that Gandalf has proof of his deception.

So Gandalf was quite aware that Saruman was luring him to Isengard, with the offer of time-limited help, in order to get the ring or knowledge of the ring's whereabouts.
I don't understand how you come to that conclusion.

Gandalf's first dread is that the ring that Bilbo found is the One Ring, and this crystallized for him in that farewell scene with Bilbo, of course. All the intervening research he has done - the search for Gollum, the archival search in Minas Tirith - have been directed to finding the provenance and any other way of identifying the Ring. The last proof he needs is seeing the letters on it, which affirms that this is the same Ring Isildur had taken from Sauron's hand.

His interviews with Gollum added the information that Sauron now knew that the Ring still existed, and about the Shire and Baggins, and would be looking for both. He would also learn Gollum's story of how he got the Ring (and when), and he would be shocked by the effect the Ring had had on Gollum, increasing his worry about both Bilbo and Frodo.

He then hurries to Frodo and tells him about the Ring and his current danger from Sauron and from the Ring itself.

After a couple of months he hears rumors that trouble him, though we don't know from where. He goes to learn more, telling Frodo he should be back before Frodo leaves. He goes to gather more information, probably from the Rangers guarding the Shire, and perhaps others he meets in the Bree area, and is returning when he meets Radagast. The news about the Nine gives a focus to his fears. He has been feeling the Shadow that comes with them. That has been his dread.

Here's where your theory falls apart.

1. The only person who knows that Gandalf is going to Isengard is Radagast, who generally keeps to himself. He trusts Radagast, who indeed knows nothing of the betrayal, but if he suspected danger from Saruman, he would have told at least one other person where he was going. He doesn't tell Frodo in the letter he leaves with Butterbur, nor does he look for one of the Rangers to get the news to Aragorn. And the only message he gives to Radagast is to send the animals to look for news and bring that news to Gandalf and Saruman at Isengard. Gandalf would have arranged for back-up if he was going into danger and leaving Frodo to even greater danger.

2. The message about the Nine is that they are going about asking about a place called Shire, and are not heading directly there. Radagast is having trouble finding it, and he knows from Saruman where to look. The Nine don't even seem to have that kind of general knowledge.

3. There are other ways Saruman could have learned that the Nine had crossed the river. He has had spies around the Shire for years; he probably also has spies sent in other directions, and especially to the south. He would probably keep an eye on Minas Tirith, and could have learned about the battle where the shadow defeated and drove back the Gondorians. (Gondorites?) He would have been able to interpret that terror much better than the men of Gondor had. He could even have seen them in the palantir if he still had any power to use it on his own.

4. His conversation with Saruman as he reports it doesn't fit with the theory that he mistrusts Saruman and is trying to get him to show his hand. He went there to find help, not to reveal already-suspected treachery.
 
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