Study Guide

The Two Towers Book 3, Chapter 10

By J.R.R. Tolkien

Book 3, Chapter 10

The Voice of Saruman

  • Gandalf and Théoden are returning from their powwow with Treebeard, and Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, Merry, and Pippin go to meet them. Aw, the fellowship is (almost) back together.
  • Gandalf has a last task, and in order to complete it, he needs a tête-à-tête with his former wizarding buddy.
  • He rides up to Orthanc with his friends, and knocks on the door of the tower, nice and polite.
  • Gríma Wormtongue asks what they want from a window above their heads, but Gandalf just tells him to go away.
  • Suddenly, Saruman's beautiful and compelling voice speaks out: "Why must you disturb my rest? Will you give me no peace at all by night or day?" (3.10.27). Really, dude, you want peace?
  • Then, he addresses Théoden directly, using his marvelous voice to enchant the Riders of Rohan with empty words about making peace with Théoden.
  • Gimli to the rescue! He breaks in and says they shouldn't stand here amazed at the words of an old liar.
  • Théoden, on the other hand, does not say a word.
  • When Éomer asks Théoden, "will you parley with this dealer in treachery and murder? Remember Théodred at the Fords, and the grave of Háma in Helm's Deep!" (3.10.34), Saruman turns on Éomer and tells him not to interfere.
  • Ah, but it's much too late. Théoden rejects Saruman's call for peace, reminding him that his war on Rohan was not just.
  • Of course, this really ticks Saruman off, so he starts insulting Rohan. Way to be mature.
  • Then he turns on Gandalf, inviting him up into Orthanc to share Saruman's valuable counsel.
  • Gandalf, cool dude that he is, just laughs at the idea that he needs Saruman's advice.
  • Instead, he suggests that Saruman come downstairs, now that Isengard has fallen. Gandalf will even allow Saruman to leave freely and go where he wants.
  • Of course, he will have to hand over his staff and the Key of Orthanc.
  • Stubborn Saruman scoffs and turns away, but Gandalf calls him back.
  • He officially casts Saruman out of the Council of the Wise and snaps his staff from a distance—it cracks in Saruman's hand. Looks like the guy gets what he deserves.
  • As Saruman goes back inside, something heavy comes flying out of the tower towards Gandalf.
  • It bounces on the ground and rolls into a nearby pool.
  • Pippin goes to rescue it, while Gandalf guesses that whatever it is was thrown by Wormtongue.
  • He has another guess, too: it is probably Orthanc's most precious treasure. But unfortunately, he won't tell us what that treasure is just yet. Always so mysterious, he is.
  • At last, everyone finally has the pleasure of meeting Treebeard.
  • The jolly old Ent welcomes Legolas, in particular, suggesting that he come to Fangorn ASAP if he wants to see the great forest.
  • For now, Gandalf says they have to hurry back to Edoras.
  • Gandalf also wants to bring Merry and Pippin, even though Treebeard will miss them.
  • Merry and Pippin say a warm farewell to Treebeard, and Gandalf reminds him that Saruman can't be allowed to escape.
  • Treebeard agrees that the Ents will watch him "until seven times the years in which he tormented us have passed" (3.10.87). Shmoopers, that's a very long time.