Painting of the tower of
Isengard by Alan Lee. Image copyright 1989 by Alan Lee.

Saruman's Diary

...Evidently I have relatives in England, though they spell "Sharp" with an extra "e". After writing an article which lamented the lack of stories from the Enemy's point of view, I received a small number of draft pages from the as-yet-untitled HoME XIII in the mail. Along with them was a note from "Aunt Nan" saying she'd met Christopher Tolkien as a result of finding this manuscript in "Uncle Avery's" papers. She brought it to CJRT's attention, and because of that she was able to obtain these draft-pages for me after reading my article. Amazing! I'm not sure whether to say "Ask and ye shall receive", or "It's a small world after all"; since the latter is a grotesque Disney product, I'll stick with the former.

I'll duplicate this exceptional document here for your benefit. Footnotes are displayed by clicking the appropriate links.


In all the works given in the history so far, there has been only one account of the events at Isengard, and that is the one given, in various forms, in Two Towers and 'The Fall Of Saruman' (HoME VIII. Part One). But the tale of Isengard consists in fact of two seperate accounts. The second account, once intended for the Appendices, has only recently come to light, found written on the back of several examination papers in the effects of one Mr Avery Sharpe of Bristol, now recently deceased. The text is here in a very rough state, pencilled hastily and often almost illegibly, sometimes erased and on one occasion actually spray-painted over. On the 30th of April 1944 my father wrote to Mr Sharpe that he would 'have your final examinations back to you any day now'; on the 4th of May (Letters no. 65), having read one entry to C. S. Lewis on the 1st, he was 'busy now with the next'; and on the 11th (no. 67) he said that he had read his 'final Orthanc entry to Lewis and Williams three days before, and they both hated it'. A letter to Mr Sharpe in my father's most ornate hand (no. 219) was found with the manuscript, dated the 29th of September 1959, saying he was 'terribly sorry about the delay in returning this'.

An isolated note written on a cocktail napkin no doubt belongs with this chapter: "King Elessar, after he was crowned in Gondor, began the reordering of his realm, and one of his many tasks was the restoration of the Tower of Orthanc. Then it was that all the secrets of the tower were revealed. Many things of worth were found, rare treasures and heirlooms from Rohan, brought (we guess) by Grima Wormtongue during the days of his deception; and the Box of Isildur, where Isildur's Bane of old once was kept; yea, even the Elendilmir itself, given to Elendil by Silmarien before the fall of Westernesse, the token of royalty of Arnor of old; and many other secrets besides. And among them there was a compass, bound all in black, and upon the leaves was the hand of Curumo, now written with firm hand, now scrawled in haste in its owner's dismay. This Elessar read, and bore it back to the Tower of Guard to complement the reunited kingdom's scrolls of lore."

27 February 3019: Incredibly good news! One of the crows just got here with a report. It seems that yesterday the Uruks scattered what's left of Olorin's little band of wanderers. They even captured two of those pathetic little halflings! Ahhh ha ha ha haa! And now they're bringing them here! If they don't actually have the Ring, they'll certainly know where it is. Hah! Victory is just around the corner. I just wish that pathetic pseudo-Wise bastard Olorin were here to see me win and defeat Sauron while he was out playing mah-jongg with all those mortal weaklings. But if he ever re-bodies and comes back from Valinor, I'll show him I wasn't called Curunir for nothing!

The first troops from Dunland began arriving at the Gate today. I was tempted to dismiss them and send them all back; once I have the Ring, I'll have all of Sauron's forces at my beck. Who needs these weak, black-haired terrorists? But I chose to let them stay anyway. It'll be fun to let them have their little revenge against the Forgoil before I enslave them all. Besides, they may come in handy as a mopup crew around Rivendell or something. Most of the troops from the Fords are back, too, exultant from the victory there; that kid of Theoden's is finally dead, and no longer a thorn in my side. Everything is going my way! The only problem now is finding enough food for all these troops.

Dinner wasn't too bad tonight: smoked salmon. I really think using fresh wood makes all the difference. I wonder if the factories have finished that rowan-wood desk I demanded? Or gotten it right yet? They've already built dozens, and I've rejected every one of 'em. Stupid bastards. They just can't seem to make one that looks right, even when I send my crows out to pick the best wood first. But damn it, they'll get it right if it takes the rest of their miserable pathetic little mortal lives.

28 February 3019: More Dunlendings arriving today. It looks like I'll have ten thousand troops within the Ring! A lot of the newcomers are saying they don't want to "sleep with the Orcs". Hah! If they only knew! You'd think that a few of them, at least, would have begun to notice the resemblances. But I want to keep them all together, anyway; they need to work together, if they're going to fight together as brothers. Or second cousins, anyway.

It's getting harder and harder to stay away from the Ball. I want to see the halflings, and see how close the Uruks are; the Ring is so close I can almost taste it. But if I use the Ball, He might read too much of my thought. And then what? The Nazgul come after the Orcs, wham bang; and the halflings are gone, and He gets the Ring. No, I have to stay away from the Ball. I know He's expecting a report, but I can't take the chance. Once I have the Ring, though, then I'll contact Him... and tell Him what His new duties will be to the Realm of Saruman. Maybe I'll make Him my boot-black... that is, if he's good enough at it....

The stress of waiting for the halflings to be delivered is almost more than I can take. I keep imagining things going wrong. Some of His troops are out there, too. Mauhur's near the Forst with reinforcements, but I'm still worried. My nerves are killing me. I'm going outside for a smoke... no, better stay inside, someone might see me. Dammit, I have to cut back on the pipe-weed. It's just ruining my voice.

29 February 3019: I've got to get a look at that Ring. I want to see how He put it together, how He got His Power into it. I was with Aule a lot longer than He was; I should know more than Him about it! Maybe He learned things from the Great Enemy that Aule couldn't teach. It's not like the Lamps were all that clever a piece of work, anyway. I've got to get a look at that Ring. Maybe I could get my ring to work. Oh, sure, I can control Worm with it; but I can control Worm with a harsh look, the pathetic little leech. No, the Ring-lore has only given me Voice; only the Ring itself will give me power!

I can't wait any longer; I'm going out there to meet them. I want the halflings now, not sometime next week! I'll leave Ulugl'm in charge while I'm gone; he knows what he's doing, even though he babbles all the goddamned time. He'll keep all the troops in line, if he doesn't bore them all to sleep first. I'm on my way as soon as I'm done writing this. I just need to get something to eat before I go. The damned Dunland merchants just can't get me fresh vegetables, and you just can't get anything to grow inside the Ring. Is asking for some decent vegetables asking too much?

2 March 3019: The last three days have been perfectly damned miserable. Everything's gone wrong. I have a headache you wouldn't believe.

I left Isengard on Wednesday, right after lunch, and set out East over the Bridge; early Thursday morning, I saw smoke rising near Fangorn. There was something about it that held my attention, and so I headed towards it. Sure enough, late Thursday afternoon, I found the Orcs. They'd all been killed and burned by those damnable Horsemen! All of 'em! Even Mauhur and his reinforcements! The whole thing left me a little sick and dizzy. I think the shock must have temporarily snapped my mind; I wandered for a time, lost in thought, and that night I swear I saw a Dwarf in Fangorn Wood! Impossible! He was with a Man and an Elf; the Man leaped up and said I was his father! Dammit, it's these lousy provisions I keep getting that are doing it. It's malnutrition, I tell you. Once I get the Ring I've got to set up a stronghold where I can at least get some decent food.

Friday morning I was a little more clearheaded. I went back and searched the battleground. There's no doubt about it: the filthy Forgoil must have killed the halflings, and taken the Ring for themselves! If they don't have it, they certainly know where it is now. I've got to stop them before they try to use it! They won't know enough about the Ring to use all its powers, of course, not yet; they haven't studied all the ancient Ring-lore, as I have. But if they try using it at all, He'll notice! And He'll come after it! I can't risk that. I made it back here late last night and roused the Guard. I have to attack the Mark immediately; it's the only way to stop them from using the Ring! I can't trust Worm to filch it in time; I have to get it from them quickly, and that's exactly what I'll do - even if I have to destroy every filthy Brigand of the Mark to do it!

...For some reason lately, I keep on thinking about the Great Music. I remember Olorin and I singing the same melody for a time, and that moment when I thought I'd found a stronger theme and started singing it instead. And it sounded so good, so strong and powerful, I knew the One would appreciate it most of all. But then Olorin's damned major-chords got all confused with my minors, and I lost track of where I was, and I lost my voice. And right when I'd recovered, and was just starting to sing again, the One ended the music! Damn, that was frustrating!... Why am I thinking about that now? As if I haven't got enough to think about. It's really beginning to get on my goddamned nerves. I need another smoke. Damn that Olorin for getting me started on this accursed weed.

...It's coming up on midnight now, and Ulugl'm tells me (in his usual long-winded style) that they're almost ready to march. There's enough of them to decimate Edoras! And Wormtongue'll keep that old fool Theoden unprepared; by the time he sees what's coming, it'll be too late for them all. I've had a pretty bad setback, but now that I've had a good meal (venison stew; it was surprisingly good, even the vegetables were fresh for a change) and some time to think, I'm in much better spirits. I should have the Ring, or at the least know where it's hidden, within a handful of days. And then, nothing will be able to stop me - not even Him!

Now to go downstairs and send my minions off to kill the horse-vermin. This will be a glorious night! I'll have to remind the captains to search the bodies of Theoden and his household for the Ring - inside and out, if necessary. I must get the Ring!

3 March 3019: This has been a really wretched day. I no sooner finish sending my armies after Edoras when what happens? Some psychotic tree comes and starts hammering at the Gate and yelling like hell. And when my stupid ineffectual guards can't get rid of it - what the hell's wrong with them? Aren't they fed well enough? - it calls more trees, and they all start tearing apart the Ring! The whole damned Ring of Isengard! One of them got in and tried to kill me! The damned monstrosity chased me all the way back to the Tower, screaming that I was a "tree-killer"; I was lucky to make it back in alive! What the hell is this? Why are they so upset over one lousy desk?!

Ahhh, but once I was back in the Tower - then I gave them something to think about! I fired up the furnaces and the forges, and started sending up fires and gas from underground. Hah! That made 'em think twice! I set one of 'em afire with a spray of narphilm, and the rest just went crazy. Hah! It was so funny watching them hurl themselves against the Tower! Oh, they were loud; I thought my eardrums would break from their screaming. But it was delightful! They may have torn the Ring to shreds, but it looked like they were all going to kill themselves too!

But they didn't, damn it. They all just stopped. I think they all got bored with the attack when they realized they'd never be able to defeat me. A few hours ago most of them left, walking away to the North. Not all of them; a few are still loitering around in the Ring. I can still see a couple from here. Stupid damned wretched Ents! When I get the Ring I'll burn all their forests to the ground.

But I'm stuck here, at least until these last few trees pack up and leave and go attack somebody else. Once they go, though, I'm heading South. My troops should be starting to sack Edoras tomorrow morning, and then I'll be able to claim the Ring for myself. But I need news, damn it; and my crows refuse to come while those last few trees are here. And I don't dare use the Ball; this is the last thing I'd want Him to find out about! No, no, patience, I must be patient; once these last few deranged trees get tired of standing around they'll leave to cause ruin elsewhere, and I can continue with my plans. I've almost got the Ring; all I have to do now is be patient.

I'll definitely need a new fortress. Something with a decent kitchen for a change. I wonder if the Barad-dur has a good kitchen?

4 March 3019: Damn those stupid Ents! They're making my life hellish. I woke up choking around three this morning, and found the room full of smoke; I thought I'd been smoking in bed again, but no! The damnable trees have flooded the Ring! They poured water in for hours; it's been flooding all the basements, the factories, breeding-pits, storerooms, armouries, dungeons, playrooms, everything! The Downward Passage has been flooded all day. I'm trapped in here like an ant. It's only been the last few hours that I've been able to open a window around here.

I don't know how the hell I'm going to get all this repaired.

Once my troops get the Ring from Edoras, how the hell am I going to get out of here to get it? It's not like these Trees are going to provide me with a rowboat. This is really making me sick. And there's nothing to eat around here; just some cheese and crackers, and the cask of wine I had waiting for the victory celebration. I knew I should have kept some more food in the Tower! Dammit, the hunger's making me lightheaded. I've been chain-smoking all afternoon; it clears the stench from the flooding, and takes my mind off the hunger. I've got to think of a way out of here. Maybe if I stand on the roof all night like Olorin did, some Eagle will get me out of here and out onto the plain. Or it could just tear me apart, too; they were always Mithrandir's allies anyway. I wonder if that fool Radagast the Bird-Lover knows what's happened? Not that you can ever find him when you need him. Dammit, I've got to get out of here so I can receive the Ring!

5 March 3019: I spent most of the night up on the roof. No Eagles. I drank all the wine; it was the only thing I had left, apart from some stale biscuits I found behind a cabinet. I fear I drank too heavily, and spent a large part of the night (at least, the part I can remember) tracing the lines on the floor with my fingers. I've spent most of the day with a desperate hangover.

That pathetic bastard Worm arrived this morning, too; the trees even let him come to the Tower. I thought when I saw him that he'd gotten word of the Ring from Theoden, or perhaps laid hands on the Ring itself, and was bringing it to me! Why else would he leave Edoras? So once he got to the door I yanked him inside - he was soaking wet, and covered in slime, and one of those damnable trees was nearby - and slammed the door. "What in the hell happened here?" he gasped, half-drowned. "I thought you said Isengard was invincible."

I ignored him. "Do you have the Ring?" I demanded.


"Do you have any food?"

"I don't have anything," he whimpered. "They kicked me out of the hall. It was either come here, or ride into battle."

I let go of him and he fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes. What I wouldn't give for a sack of potatoes! "The strawheads are riding to battle?" I demanded. "Where? How long ago did they leave?"

"Uh, they didn't say where," Worm snivelled. "Probably took Eomer's advice, and went for the Fords, I'd guess. And they probably left on the same day I did, the second. Hey, what day is it, anyhow?"

"Then they've probably already fought their battle by now," I mused. My forces were enough to mop up any army Theoden could muster, fighting in open ground at the Fords; it could be that the Ring was already on its way here. I still had a chance.

"When it's all over, will I still get Eowyn?" Grima asked.

"Eowyn?" I screamed. "Eowyn!? I'll give you Eowyn! Filthy little bag of grease. Don't whine to me about trifles! Ask me again once I have the Ring! Once we defeat the former Ring-lord and burn down a few of these forests, and get a couple of decent square meals, then we'll see about getting you that skinny bleached tomboy. For right now, leave me alone! Watch to the South; I'm expecting a delivery." And I kicked him in the ribs and strode upstairs.

Grima's pathetic whining hadn't made my hangover any better; I spent the rest of the morning chain-smoking and holding my head between my hands. (Now the pipe-weed is starting to run low! If I run out of that, I'm going to be really ticked.) Just past noon Worm started banging on the door; the noise was so loud, I thought my head was going to explode. "Go away, you grovelling insect!" I cried.

"But there's people on the Road," Grima said. "Coming this way."

I flung the door open, pushed past Worm and darted for the southern windows. My troops! The Ring! They were here at last! The water had receded, I noted, and the ground was visible; they had a clear path to the Tower. Would the Trees give them any trouble? But even as I looked, my hopes were dashed yet again: they weren't my troops, they were damned Horsemen, and it looked like Olorin at their head! "I thought he was dead," I whispered.

"Didn't you know?" Worm whined. "He woke Theoden. I saw him twice on the plain on the way here; he's been everywhere! And he's been calling up legends out of the ground, it seems; the tall guy over there says he's Isildur's heir. Eogorne, I think he said his name was."

"You're delusional," I spat. "Even if there were an heir of Isildur, would he have a strawhair's name?" But I was staring at Olorin. Something felt different about him. I've always been suspicious about him; but now he looked different, somehow, even at this range. Could he have the Ring? It had to be either him, or Theoden; that would explain his shaking off old age and riding into battle once again. It was also the only way they could defeat my troops! I decided Theoden must have the Ring.

And as I watched, a few of them (including a couple of children and this so-called "Isildur's Heir") were dismissed to stand watch at the gates, and the others went around to the North. I spat at Worm as we moved to a northern window. "I see Eogorne got left behind to stand watch," I hissed. "Not being treated very well for an Heir of Isildur, is he?" Wormtongue just whimpered and crawled off somewhere.

But then Theoden and Olorin added insult to injury, and they sat down to the North with all their troops and had a big merry picnic! Right in my view! Here I am starving, nothing left to eat here but stale biscuits, and they sit there eating what looked to be a twelve-course meal! Damn them! I felt myself salivating more and more the longer I watched. The vicious, heartless bastards! Olorin put them up to this, I just know it.

After I'd watched all I could stand, I knew all hope was lost. Obviously they had the Ring, and obviously I was not in a position to defeat them myself. Did any of my army still exist? Could they make it here in time to overpower Theoden so I could recover the Ring? After all, there weren't more than thirty of them here. I didn't see any choice. I went upstairs to the Pedestal and sat down at the Ball. The idea of facing Him terrified me, but it was the only way I had to locate my troops. I hesitated for what seemed like hours, then I removed the cloth to gaze at the Ball.

No sooner had I done so, though, than Worm began banging at the door. "They're here!" he cried. "They're outside the door. They're calling for you!"

"Stay here!" I ordered. I went down to the balcony, and stepped out to speak to them from there.

...I don't even want to talk about this. I tried talking to Theoden first, thinking he had the Ring, and hoping I could ally with him now and steal the Ring from him (or have Grima steal it for me) later. At length, though, he made it clear he didn't have it. Stupid old goat! After I insulted him, I turned my full attention upon Olorin.

Obviously he had the Ring; I should have realized that immediately. He seemed more powerful; also he had rebodied far too quickly after vanishing in the Mines. The Ring must have been claimed by him! I used all the powers I had; I tried to entice him back inside, as I had before, but this time he refused. And then he had the temerity to ask me if I wanted to come down! Very tempted I was to do so; I could have escaped the Tower, and been free. But then he demanded the keys to Orthanc! My home, goddammit! And my staff! This was asking too damned much. I told him to go fuck himself and went back in to use the Ball; if I could summon my army here quickly enough I'd mop the stones with his insolent tongue, Ring or no Ring!

But then he used a word of Command. I didn't know he was even capable of it. And then... he broke my staff! And destroyed my colour! It must be the Ring! It's the only possible explanation! He could never have done that to me without it! And just as they were all getting ready to go, Worm threw something heavy out the window at them (though he just about knocked my head off doing it). Damned insolent fool! But the worst part of my day was still coming.

I was stripped of power; I felt like an ordinary mortal Man, tired and weakened. But if I could find my armies with the Ball, and could somehow get word to them, I would still have one last chance of killing Olorin, and gaining the Ring, and regaining my powers. I ran upstairs and found Worm standing next to the Pedestal.

And the Ball was missing. That stupid little irresponsible kleptomaniac must have snagged it. "Where's the Ball?" I demanded.

"Ball?" he asked.

"The Ball," I growled. "The palantir. The big black thing. Don't fuck with me, Worm! I need it now! It's our only hope! Where the hell is it?" I started to look under the table for it.

"I, uh," he whined, "I threw it at them. Didn't you see it? I was aiming at them, I promise!"

...I don't remember much after that; I remember screaming, and then flying into a rage, but the memories all kind of go black after that. I look at Grima now under the rising moonlight, snivelling in the corner, and he seems to be covered with new bruises; and he shrinks back a little every time I look up. Serves him right, the goddamned little toad.

The trees are back again, too. I talked to one of them; he calls himself Treebeard, and if anything he's even more impossibly long-winded than Ulugl'm was. Still, at least I can get news from him (though he fills it with lots of grotesque moralizing), though I'm not sure how much of what he says I believe. Still, though, at least now the Ball is gone; He won't have any way to bug me any more... unless He sends the Nazgul all the way out here; but now that Olorin is wielding the Ring they're probably under his command now. They're probably spying out the Barad-dur for him even now; I doubt I'll ever see a Nazgul ever ever again.

...I'm still hungry. But at least now there's the prospect of fresh meat, at least; Grima seems kind of lean for my tastes, but he might be passable with the right seasonings.

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"The words of this wizard stand on their heads." - Gimli, Two Towers p. 184