HASA Resources

Timeline Event

Saruman provisions Isengard for war

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Year: 3018

Description:
An event in the prelude of the Invasion of the Westfold by Saruman; see that entry for an overview:

Table of Contents:

Muster of Warriors and Slaves
Manufacture of Weapons and Armour
Trade with the Shire for Provisions
Notes

The Council seems to have been unaware, since for many years Isengard had been closely guarded, of what went on within its Ring.

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 3, The Palantíri: Notes, Note 7

This was the stronghold of Saruman, as fame reported it; for within living memory the men of Rohan had not passed its gates, save perhaps a few, such as Wormtongue, who came in secret and told no man what they saw.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard


Muster of Warriors and Slaves

The use, and possibly special breeding, of Orcs was kept secret, and cannot have begun much before 2990 at earliest. ... [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 3, The Palantíri: Notes, Note 7

'Wolves and orcs were housed in Isengard, for Saruman was mustering a great force on his own account, in rivalry of Sauron and not in his service yet.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 10, Strider

'... Saruman has armed the wild hillmen and herd-folk of Dunland....'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 7, Helm's Deep

Many houses there were, chambers, halls, and passages, cut and tunnelled back into the walls upon their inner side, so that all the open circle was overlooked by countless windows and dark doors. Thousands could dwell there, workers, servants, slaves, and warriors with great store of arms; wolves were fed and stabled in deep dens beneath.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard

Beneath the walls of Isengard there still were acres tilled by the slaves of Saruman....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard


Manufacture of Weapons and Armour

[Said Treebeard,] '[Saruman] and his foul folk are making havoc now. Down on the borders they are felling trees -- good trees. ... [Most] are hewn up and carried off to feed the fires of Orthanc. There is always a smoke rising from Isengard these days.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 4, Treebeard

[Said Gandalf,] 'They took me and they set me alone on the pinnacle of Orthanc ... I looked on [the valley below] and saw that, whereas it had once been green and fair, it was now filled with pits and forges.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 10, Strider

The plain, too, was bored and delved. Shafts were driven deep into the ground; their upper ends were covered by low mounds and domes of stone.... For the ground trembled. The shafts ran down by many slopes and spiral stairs to caverns far under; there Saruman had treasuries, store-houses, armouries, smithies, and great furnaces. Iron wheels revolved there endlessly, and hammers thudded. At night plumes of vapour steamed from the vents....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 8, The Road to Isengard

[The Dunlendings] were without body-armour, having only among them a few hauberks gained by theft or in loot. ... In Isengard as yet only the heavy and clumsy mail of the Orcs was made, by them for their own uses. [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Notes, Note 11

They were armed with short broad-bladed swords, not with the curved scimitars usual with Orcs.... Upon their shields they bore a strange device: a small white hand in the centre of a black field; on the front of their iron helms was set an S-rune, wrought of some white metal.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 1, The Departure of Boromir

It seemed that the Orcs had pressed on with all possible speed. Every now and again the pursuers found things that had been dropped or cast away: ... a heavy iron-nailed shoe broken on the stones.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan


Trade with the Shire for Provisions

Saruman had long taken an interest in the Shire ... because ... he had taken to the "Halflings' leaf," and needed supplies, but ... kept this as secret as he could.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Other Versions of the Story

Saruman ... began to collect detailed information about the Shire.... For this he used Hobbits within the Shire, in the pay of the Bracegirdles and the Sackville-Bagginses,1 but his agents were Men, of Dunlendish origin.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Other Versions of the Story

... one of Saruman's most trusted servants (yet a ruffianly fellow, an outlaw driven from Dunland, where many said that he had Orc-blood) had returned from the borders of the Shire, where he had been negotiating for the purpose of "leaf" and other supplies. Saruman was beginning to store Isengard against war. This man was now on his way back to continue the business, and to arrange for the transport2 of many goods before autumn failed.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Other Versions of the Story

[Said Farmer Cotton,] 'Of course [Lotho Sackville-Baggins] started with a lot of property in the Southfarthing which he had from his dad; and it seems he'd been selling a lot o' the best leaf, and sending it away quietly for a year or two. But at the end o' last year he began sending away loads of stuff, not only leaf. Things began to get short, and winter coming on, too. Folk got angry, but he had his answer. A lot of Men, ruffians mostly, came with great waggons, some to carry off the goods south-away, and others to stay. ... [Soon] they began lording it around and taking what they wanted.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 8, The Scouring of the Shire

[Said Pippin,] 'I will make you some toast. The bread is three or four days old, I am afraid.' ...

'Will you have wine or beer? There's a barrel inside there ... And this is first-rate salted pork. Or I can cut you some rashers of bacon and broil them, if you like. I am sorry there is no green stuff: the deliveries have been rather interrupted in the last few days! I cannot offer you anything to follow but butter and honey for your bread.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 9, Flotsam and Jetsam

'It was Pippin who found two small barrels, washed up out of some cellar.... When we opened them, we found they were filled with this: as fine a pipe-weed as you could wish for, and quite unspoilt.' ...

[Said] Merry. '... [It] is Longbottom Leaf! There were the Hornblower brandmarks on the barrels, as plain as plain. How it came here, I can't imagine. For Saruman's private use, I fancy. I never knew that it went so far abroad.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 9, Flotsam and Jetsam

'[I understand all] except one thing,' said Aragorn: 'leaf from the Southfarthing in Isengard. ... I know well the empty countries that lie between Rohan and the Shire. Neither goods nor folk have passed that way for many a long year, not openly. Saruman had secret dealings with someone in the Shire, I guess. Wormtongues may be found in other houses than King Théoden's.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 9, Flotsam and Jetsam

'Well now, what about a smoke, while you tell us what has been happening in the Shire?' [Pippin] said.

'There isn't no pipe-weed now,' said Hob; 'at least only for the Chief's men. All the stocks seem to have gone. We do hear that waggon-loads of it went away down the old road out of the Southfarthing, over Sarn Ford way. That would be the end o' last year, after you left.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 8, The Scouring of the Shire


Notes

1 Lobelia Bracegirdle married Otho Sackville-Baggins; their son was Lotho, who seized control of the Shire at the time of the War of the Ring, and was then known as "the Chief." Farmer Cotton referred in conversation with Frodo to Lotho's property in leaf-plantations in the Southfarthing (The Return of the King VI 8).

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Notes, Note 17

2 The usual way was by the crossing of Tharbad to Dunland (rather than direct to Isengard), whence goods were sent more secretly on to Saruman. [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Notes, Note 18

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 12May05, 27May05, 19Oct05

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