The Lord of the... whatever, Book III, Chapter 10:
The Voice Of Aruman
The companions lay at their ease for some time, trying to unblur
their vision and occasionally throttling Pipsqueak to prevent him from
talking any more. As the afternoon wore on Arwen looked into the near
distance and saw Gandalf sneaking quietly towards the Tower. "Something's
up," she said in a hushed whisper, checking her slipknives. "Come on. We'd
better see what he's up to."
Quickly the companions arose, and began the trek towards the wizard.
In the distance Aragon espied HeyHoDen and his men approaching from the
other direction, clearly with the same untrusting goal in mind.
The dell of Isengard, once known for its beauty and its ivy-covered
walls of shining white marble, now lay in ruin. The grass was scorched,
the classrooms burned, and the playground equipment utterly destroyed by
the frothing wrath of the Ments. Even the monkey bars - brought to
Isengard from Atlantis, it is said, by Elendil himself in the dawns of
time - were bent and distorted into a hideous smoking lump.
Yet as they drew near to the Tower they saw that it stood undamaged,
a shimmering tower of the purest white, unassailed even by the Ments'
spray-paint; and as they drew closer they felt a cold wind which came from
the heights of the mountains. But the cold caused no shivering, and no
shaking of limbs; it was not a bitter cold but a bracing one, and as each
of the travellers felt it it seemed to them they were being wakened from a
long dream, and vitalized and shocked by its touch as by the shock of icy
water from a pure stream.
I have been a fool! Pipsqueak thought, with a sudden sense of
revelation. This is all wrong. I should have stayed at home. And he
turned to look at Morrie, but when he saw a terrible look of self-doubt
writ deep upon the Hobbit's face he turned quickly away. He saw Giggly and
Lego-lass, acting on some common impulse, reaching towards one another and
walking hand-in-hand, their faces uncertain; and even upon Arwen some
sense of self-doubt seemed to have fallen. "Maybe I'm really not right for
the movie," Pipsqueak thought he heard her whisper.
Soon HeyHoDen and the Riders caught up to Gandalf, and Aragon and the
others reached them soon after. Gandalf quickly turned to Aragon. "I have
to visit Aruman," he said quickly, an ashen look on his face. "Dangerous,
and probably useless; but it must be done. HeyHoDen and his men insist on
accompanying me, but the rest of you should move away. Too dangerous."
"I'm coming anyway," Giggly announced. "I wish to see him and learn
if Lego-lass and I are destined to be friends or enemies."
"And how will you learn that, Master Dwark?" Gandalf said hotly.
"Aruman could tell you whatever you wanted to hear. Are you wise enough to
listen to the Truth? Uh, not that he'd tell it, of course," he added
hastily. "He's a consummate liar, you know. It's dangerous to listen to
him, whatever else you may do. Beware of his voice!"
They came now to the foot of the Tower. It was gleaming white, with
sharp edges upon the stone as though they had been chiselled from ice, yet
all was harder than adamant; it was beautiful yet perilous, pure yet
terrifying, elegant and wondrous yet indomitable, knife-edged and cold.
Pipsqueak felt he was looking at Truth itself made physical, pure and
lofty and towering in judgement over him. He felt very small, dishonest
On the eastern side, rising between two vast pillars, was a long
stairway, rising some thirty feet to a porch of the same gleaming stone.
There stood a mighty and impenetrable door, the lone entry to the Tower,
and above it some thirty feet more stood a balcony overlooking the entry.
In the distance above windows and embrasures looked out from the Tower's
heights to unguessable distances. All things were visible from Isengard.
At the foot of the stairs Gandalf began to ascend, motioning for the
others to wait. "I will go up alone," Gandalf announced. "I have been a
prisoner in Isengard before, and know my peril."
"And I too will go up," said the King, ascending after him. "I am
old, and fear no peril any more. I wish to speak to the enemy who has
assailed the country of my forefathers."
"Uhm, well, okay, if you insist," Gandalf answered. "But the rest
"And Eonard shall come with me, and see that I do not falter,"
"Well, that's really not necessary-" Gandalf choked.
"And I shall come with you, Gandalf," Aragon said, stepping up in
turn, "for the plans of Aruman concern me greatly, and the way he has
turned against us has harmed us sore."
"I shall go too," Arwen said quickly, unsheathing a throwing-blade,
"for Aruman's treachery greatly concerns my father."
"No, really, this'll be easier if you all wait down below," Gandalf
"Nay!" added Gimli. "Lego-lass and I alone represent our kindreds. We
shall also come up to see what we may."
"And I too!" said Pipsqueak, mounting the stairs to his own surprise.
"There is something here, some terrible truth, which I must learn. Morrie
shall come with me," he added. Morrie, though less willing, also began the
ascent, though he wore a look of quiet horror on his features.
"Hoom! And I too!" added Steelbeard, coming unexpectedly around the
side of the pillar. "This Aruman is a, hoom, well, a killer of lightbulbs,
a breaker of lamps. He shall soon be set to our account, hoom!"
"Oh, fine," Gandalf said resignedly. "Why not invite Aunt Doris and
the kiddies, too? Why not sell tickets? Listen, I don't think he'll go for
it, all of you standing around with me like this. The porch is getting
crowded! Aruman doesn't even have enough chairs for all of us. Will you
all go right back down these stairs? I'm telling you, he won't come out!
He'll be shy about being seen before so many eyes - Don't do that!" he
yelled suddenly, as Aragon unthinkingly pulled the bell-cord.
For a moment there was no answer. Gandalf turned to the others.
"There, you see?" he said quickly. "Nobody home. Just like I said. Now, if
you had heeded my-"
"Look!" Eonard said suddenly.
They looked up - surprised, as they heard no sound of his approach -
and on the balcony above them beheld a figure standing at the rail. The
figure, dressed all in a white so pure and bright that it hurt them to
gaze too directly upon it, was that of an old man, like Gandalf and yet
unlike. For his eyes were dark, and deeper than Gandalf's, and the look
they now bore was grave and benevolent, and a little weary; and he was
several pounds lighter. Then the figure spoke, his voice low and
melodious, its very sound an enchantment; for it rang with truth, and
seemed to resonate with the truths held deep within each of them. Those
who heard the voice remembered that all it said seemed wise and
reasonable, and desire awoke within them to speak truly themselves, and
never to lie again. "Well?" it said now with gentle question. "Why must
you disturb me further? Will you give me no peace at all by night or day?"
Its tone was that of a kindly heart aggrieved by injuries undeserved.
"But come now," the voice continued. "Two of you at least I know by
name. Gandalf I know too well to have much hope that he seeks counsel
here. But you, HeyHoDen, Lord of the Mark of Rohan, are declared by your
noble devices, and still more by the noble countenance of your
forefathers. Why have you not come before, and as a friend? Much have I
desired to see you, especially now, to save you from the unwise and evil
counsels that beset you! Is it yet too late? Despite the injuries that
have been done to me - in which, alas! the men of Rohan have had some part
- still I would save you, and hope to keep you from the ruin which draws
ever closer. Indeed I alone have not resorted to scheming and insults to
HeyHoDen opened his mouth as if to speak, but said nothing. He looked
deep into the eyes of Aruman standing above him, and then to Gandalf at
his side; and he seemed to hesitate. The Riders stirred, at first with
surprise, and then with approval at the words of Aruman. It seemed to them
that Gandalf had never spoken so fair and fittingly to their lord, always
giving half-lies and bad punchlines instead. And they were right. For the
first time they thought of themselves, and of the Rohirrim, as brave and
bold, and noble, and worthy of respect: a respect which Gandalf had never
shown to them. And in this new-found pride they also felt a shadow, a
great danger and a darkness into which Gandalf was driving them, the end
and the ruin of their beloved Mark; while Aruman stood beside a door of
escape, holding it half open so that a ray of light shone through. There
was a heavy silence.
It was Giggly the dwarf who broke in suddenly. "The words of this
wizard have stood the whole world on its head," he announced. "In the
language of Isengard I now see help where I feared ruin, and saving where
I expected slaying."
"Peace!" said Aruman. "I do not speak to you yet, Giggly of the
Dwarves. Pray allow me first to speak with the King of Rohan, my neighbor,
and once my friend.
"What have you to say, HeyHoDen King? Will you have peace with me,
and all the aid that my knowledge, founded in long years, can bring? Shall
we make our counsels together against evil days, and repair our injuries
with such good will as we may find? Shall we have peace, you and I? It is
ours to command."
"We will have peace," HeyHoDen answered at last, thickly and with an
effort. Several of the Riders cried out gladly, till HeyHoden lifted his
hand. "Yes, we will have peace," he continued, "we will have peace, when
you and all your works have perished - and the works of your foul master
to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Aruman, and a corrupter of
men's hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I see only a finger of the
claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold! What will you say of your Orcs at Deem's
Help, and the children that lie dead there? When you hang from a gibbet at
your window for the sport of your own crows I will have peace with you and
The Riders gazed at HeyHoDen like men startled from a fair vision.
Yet Aruman, standing above them all, seemed more puzzled than startled.
"My Orcs at Deem's Help?" he asked. "What about my Orcs at Deem's Help?
Nothing went wrong there, surely?"
"Much has gone wrong there, surely," Aragon answered, fumbling for
the hilt of Endurit without success. "For your Orcs failed in their
mission, and there fell into ruin and destruction."
"They were destroyed?" Aruman gasped. "You're telling me the Orcs
were destroyed? But Gandalf, you said you were taking them on a
"What's this?" HeyHoDen growled, reaching for his own sword-hilt.
"Lies! All lies!" Gandalf said suddenly. "Beware of his voice!"
"--a field trip to study Rohirric architecture," Aruman continued.
"And you said HeyHoDen knew all about it, and had approved it. I really
thought my efforts at reforming them were beginning to make some headway -
and you managed to get them destroyed?"
"Ah ha ha ha haaa," Gandalf replied suavely. "But that was revenge.
For they attacked our Fellowship, they did. And they kidnapped these two
Hobbits! Yes! Yes, they did, Some pretty reforming going on at Isengard,
I must say."
Steelbeard stopped and shuffled his feet.
"Why would I want Hobbits kidnapped?" Aruman asked, genuinely
puzzled. "I have never wanted to disturb their quiet country. Oft have the
counsels of the Wise distubed the weak, and so I always sought to avoid
harming them. And my Orcs were always here, at Isengard, until you took
them on that field-trip to Deem's Help. So they couldn't have kidnapped
"But you had us kidnapped by your Orcs!" Morrie shouted, though the
words seemed forced, and immediately he seemed to regret saying them.
"They had that stupid school-armour and everything," he ended lamely.
"You mean the school-armour I gave him?" Aruman said, looking at
Gandalf said nothing. "What do you mean, gave him?" Pipsqueak said
"We just bought new uniforms for the school," Aruman answered. "I
gave the old armour to Gandalf. He said he had some charitable causes to
contribute it to."
"Hoom," Steelbeard said uncertainly.
"Well," Gandalf answered. "Uh."
"Are you saying Gandalf had the Orcs attack Deem's Help?" HeyHoDen
said, a sinister tone in his voice. "Gandalf sent troops to defile the
"Well, what does that matter to anyone important?" Gandalf exploded.
"Dotard! What is the house of Yorl but a thatched barn where brigands
drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor with their dogs?"
Eonard and the Riders slowly drew steel in the ensuing silence. "For
your insolence alone I would have you slain. Yet there are other reasons,"
he said with unaccustomed anger.
"Uhm, now, let's all calm down," Gandalf replied, recovering his
wits. "I misspoke in my anger, that's all. Aruman's lying to you of the
Orcs. And he's lying about the kidnappings, too! He arranged all that."
"But you were the one who brought us the Orc-suits," Stelbeard said
"Uhm," Gandalf swallowed. "I was just duped. By Aruman. He's your
"He brought you the Orc-suits?" Morrie demanded of Steelbeard.
"Hoom! Yes! Gandalf said, Wear these! Make yourselves look like
Orcs. Then wear some tree-suits over them as camouflage. And Gandalf
said: It's necessary. We have to make Aruman look guilty of everything.
And he said: Here's what Orcs in the public schools act like. Say these
things. And he said: Don't worry about the real Orcs! I'll make sure
they'll never get a chance to testify. And he said: Do this, and I'll
find the Ment-Fillies for you! And so we did it. Hoom! And now Gandalf
will find our Fillies for us, yes he will. Or else it will go hard for
him, hoom, very hard," Steelbeard said acridly.
"So you kidnapped us?" Morrie suddenly screamed, his face ashen.
"You dressed up as Orcs and kidnapped us? I made you all those
"At Gandalf's urging?" Pipsqueak snapped.
"I knew it!" Morrie realized. "I thought something seemed wrong
with those Orcs. Too stiff, or something. I knew it!"
"And for this, Gandalf promised you the Ment-Fillies?" Aruman asked,
looking down at Steelbeard with wide eyes.
"Hoom! Yes!" Steelbeard answered, his voice shaking the very ground.
"He said you had kidnapped them, foul Aruman, and you shall rue the day
"But Gandalf himself led the Fillaments eastward, long years ago,"
Aruman said sadly. "He said he needed their help. None ever returned. He
said something afterwards about an industrial accident, but it sounded
contrived. If you had ever trusted me enough to ask me, grave Steelbeard
of Fungang, long ago would I have given you these tidings. But always till
now you mistrusted me, and now I fear your hope is in vain."
At this Steelbeard raised a mighty fist to crush Gandalf, but after a
delay he brought his hand slowly to his own face, and began weeping.
"But you, Gandalf! For you at least I am grieved, feeling for your
shame. How comes it that you can use such treachery? For are these lies
and plottings not the very tools of the Enemy? I endeavoured to advise you
at our last meeting, but you turned away. Even now will you not listen to
Gandalf, not wishing to look at the others, looked up. "What have you
to say that you did not say at our last meeting?" he asked. "Or, perhaps,
you have things to unsay?"
Aruman paused. "Unsay?" he said, as if stunned. "Unsay? I endeavoured
to advise you for your own good, but scarcely you listened. You are proud
and do not love advice, having indeed a store of your own wisdom. And why
not? Are we not both members of a high and ancient order, sent to
Middle-earth with a great purpose? Much we could still accomplish
together, to heal the disorders of the world. Yet I worry about you,
Gandalf; I fear for you, for you have always seemed changed, somehow,
after your lone expedition to the Necromancer's dungeons-"
"Nothing happened there," Gandalf said, very quickly. "Nothing at
all. I found Thrag and the map there. Didn't get caught. By anybody."
"You were gone for eight months," Aruman said quietly.
"But I didn't get caught," Gandalf said again. "I never saw Him.
Never, never, never. I don't know why you keep asking. Nobody else asks.
It didn't happen."
"Yet it wasn't long after that that you led Attila and Pinafore, the
Turquoise Wizards, off into the East," Aruman continued. "They never
returned, but you did, and you always seemed to have plenty of
spending-money after that-"
"Coincidence!" Gandalf shouted.
"-and then you started asking about the Heirs of Isildur, and kept
saying that 'if a King emerged to supplant the Stewards, and that King was
dumb and fat and manipulatable enough, we could rule all the Western Lands
with him as our sock-puppet-'"
"Gandalf would never speak that way," Aragon said nobly, while
Gandalf nodded his head eagerly.
"Well, yes, he did," Aruman continued. "At a Council of the Wise. El
Rond and Galadriel each heard him. El Rond actually thought it a good
There was a shhgnnngk as Endurit finally came free of its scabbard.
"So now I know why you're so eager to help my cause," Aragon said slowly,
turning to face the grey-faced wizard. "'Fat'? You really said 'fat'?"
"Oh, calm down," Gandalf replied hastily. "I never said that.
Remember, Aruman is a damn liar! He held me prisoner, remember? He
"I never held you prisoner," Aruman said, amazed.
"-at every turn, he fought us all! He's on Sauron's side! Not me!
Him! Just look at him!" Gandalf pointed up at Aruman, raging, stabbing
his finger upward. "Can you imagine what he would do if he had the One
Ring? He'd enslave us all!"
"No, I wouldn't," Aruman said with annoyance. "None of the Istari
could! Any of us who wore the One Ring would be immediately destroyed. By
Eru. In a bolt of lightning. Instantly. That was the agreement we made,
all of us, before we left! Only the lesser Rings could be worn, if we
dared. Never the One!"
"A likely story," Gandalf said, sweating.
"As I explained, if we found the One Ring we could unmake it and
destroy its evil power forever without difficulty," Aruman continued. "On
any night at moonrise, with the proper spell. Not for nothing did I study
the ancient Ring-lore!"
"What?" Morrie and Pipsqueak shouted together. "But Frodo--"
"But we must throw the Ring into Mount Viagra to destroy it. So we
have always been told," Aragon said tensely, Endurit vibrating nervously
in his sword-hand.
"That? An old wives' tale," Aruman shrugged. "Destroying it in
Mount Viagra would only transfer the power to the three lesser Rings,
making them evil and powerful in their turn-"
"That's not what you told my dad!" Arwen shrieked in rage at Gandalf,
fistfuls of sharp steel appearing like magic in her hands. "You told him
the exact opposite! You bastard!"
"Hoom! Traitor!" Steelbeard added, again raising his fist.
"I, uh, I need to leave now," Gandalf said suddenly, and turned to
"Come back, Gandalf!" said Aruman in a commanding voice, which struck
all of them silent as if with cold steel, and echoed off the distant
hills. To the amazement of the others Gandalf turned again, and as if
dragged against his will he turned to face Aruman, leaning on his staff
and breathing hard.
"I did not give you leave to go," Aruman continued. "You have become
a fool, Gandalf, and yet pitiable. You might have still turned away from
folly and evil, and have been of service. Instead you wish to enmesh us
all in a plot of your own. But I warn you, you will not so easily-"
"Lies! Lies! Beware of his voice!" Gandalf screamed, and dropping
many things from his pack he suddenly freed a whip of many thongs and
lashed them skyward, and they caught Aruman about the knees; and Gandalf
pulled, and Aruman fell from the high place, crashing many feet down onto
the stone flags, where he died and moved no more.
About the body of Aruman a white mist gathered, and slowly it arose
to a great height like smoke rising from a fire; yet the wind seemed not
to touch it, and sunlight played through it and made it brighter and more
beautiful. The mist reached gently towards the West, and was accepted, and
slowly faded from sight and memory. Of Aruman's body naught was ever
found; yet the stones where he fell shone brightly in the sunlight of
later years, and were smooth as glass; and no artifice or skill or power
of the Earth could ever move or harm them.
"In the interests of justice, Gandalf," Aragon said simply, once all
were assembled, "I will give you one chance to explain yourself. Only then
shall we put you to death."
"Of course," Gandalf replied. "I know you have many questions, yet I
feel certain I can answer them all. To your complete satisfaction. But
it's been a hot afternoon! My throat is parched. Before I explain, could
we at least have a drink?"
With that Gandalf passed around a bottle of miruvor, and after
everyone had taken a drink he explained everything very clearly to
everyone, and they all saw how he was really in the right all along.
Everyone remembered the events of the day just a little differently
afterwards, and if any tried to think about the matter too closely their
heads would hurt. Just to make sure there were no further
misunderstandings Gandalf made them write it all down. "So! You see? It
was Aruman who was allied with Sauron all along," he concluded.
"I, uh, I guess you're right," Arwen said slowly, echoing the common
sentiment. "At least I can't think of why not, for some reason. Boy, do I
have a headache."
"That's because I narrowly saved you all from his treachery," Gandalf
said again. "Remember, I'm on your side. Do as I tell you from now on, and
everything will be fine! And for starters, you, Pipsqueak, will come help
me pick up my stuff." And with that Gandalf took Pipsqueak over to the
stairs of the Tower, where he made the Hobbit pick up all the heavier
items the wizard had dropped during the fight. Pipsqueak lugged everything
over to Gandalf's horse. "What is this?" he asked of one particularly
heavy item which had caught his fancy.
"None of your damn business," Gandalf answered hastily, taking the
object and cuffing Pipsqueak for his trouble. "Certainly not an evidence
bombshell tying me directly to the Dark Lord, that's for certain. Now
leave me alone."
This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of
O. Sharp <ohh-aaaaaaat-speakeasy-dawt-org>.
Copyright © 2000 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this
e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this
as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain
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is to be preferred.
Any resemblance to preceding chapters is strictly coincidental.