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Lord Of Dorkness

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R.I.P. — Christopher Lee · 10:45am Jun 12th, 2015

This is really, really going to be one of those years, isn't it? :applecry:

Not quite as much as say this time. One of those actors I really respected and always liked seeing perform, but no real personal anecdotes about.

I did utterly love his role as Saruman in The Ring slash The Hobbit, movies, though. Talk about one of those Presences that made you really believe that, yes, this man may bend reality by his terrible Will alone. That, yes, even the wizard to many, Gandalf, might be coved and bested by such a terrifying foe. That his power, had he but remained with the light, would have as grand a boon during trying times as his fall and betrayal was a bane for the entire world.

All that, and he still think he's doing good. That all will be worth it, as he leads Middle Earth into an age of industry and progress. That no matter the terrible, horrible cost now, it will be worth it later.

Just look at those eyes. That's not a tyrant glaring in defiance at the mob come to claim him, that's a teacher disappointed and quietly furious with a class that simply won't listen to his lessons.

I'll freely admit I didn't get why Saruman was spared in the end when I was younger and first read the books, but I do now. Road to hell, and all that. A great but mislead man shouldn't need to die, because a monster manipulated him.

That's a damn though act to do even at the best of times, but Lee made it look freaking natural. For six movies, with many, many scenes involving spraying spittle for take after take at something painted green and a stuntman in wire-work gear.

Now that's acting.

Pity they got his robe 'wrong,' but I guess Saruman Of Many Colors wasn't quite as terrifying in an age where the rainbow is a symbol for something rather far removed from delving too far into things No Man Was Ever Meant To Know.

Not even kidding, he's got a rainbow robe in the books. He stopped being Saruman The White because he figured out how white light and a prism works, and it was apparently all down-hill from there as far as sanity went.

"For I'am Saruman the Wise, Saruman the ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!" I looked and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered."

Still... if anybody could have made Saruman of Many Colors look terrifying, I think it would have been Lee. No joke. The man had that rare blend of both a gift and skill honed into something grand, and the stage is poorer for his loss.

Rest In Peace.

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Comments ( 11 )

Yeah, it is quite sad to see him go. The guy definitely lead quite a interesting life, and had quite the career during WW2.

Lee could sing too, thats the thing, the man could do opera proud level singing talent.


He apparently did a few poetry readings, too.

Multi-talented dude. Shame he's gone, but 93 and still acting right to the end is one heck of a run.

I feel like this song he covered was kind of a goodbye to fans. I swear it's like he could be singing this in heaven as a look back on his career.

Not even kidding, he's got a rainbow robe in the books. He stopped being Saruman The White because he figured out how white light and a prism works, and it was apparently all down-hill from there as far as sanity went.

It's bit more clever than that: Not rainbow, scintillating, like an oil film on water. His robe appears white until you look closely - then you see it is really exactly like a prism in reverse, with every color of the rainbow flashing across it so it looks like it was white all along. It's rather more stylish than Saruman the Hippiemancer.


Fair enough point.

I think the text is vague enough for both readings, and I will admit to personally prefer the 'Hippiemancer' look/interpretation.

Perhaps it's just me having read a bit too much fantasy, but the idea of the main threat wearing bright primary colors while the heroes clonk around in drab browns, grays and greens both intrigues and amuses me.

As the comedy option, it's certainly preferable. Personally, though, the Lord of the Rings is one of those few stories where I prefer to think of the imagery as genuinely awe-inspiring, both out of private nostalgia and because I honestly think it deserves it. For all that he ends up mostly ineffectual, in terms of influence on the overall plot, Saruman is an incredibly well-made and powerfully symbolic villain.


Actually, that's more or less exactly why I prefer to see the many colors thing as a bit more literal.

Not because it's comedy, (even if the concept has not aged gracefully) but because a rainbow robe like that isn't the type of clothes a villain would wear.

It's the type of clothes a hero would wear, and it says something quite profound to me how Saruman sees himself. It adds to the tragedy of his fall, that he never even realized that he did so.

That's an interesting way of looking at it, but thinking about it like that, I would almost disagree with you for the same reason. A hero might wear that kind of outfit (well, a JRPG hero, anyway), but however he might view himself, Saruman still isn't actually a hero, and he still has the grandiose sense of self-importance any villain does - his greatest failing is pride, after all. I don't think his sense of dignity could stand to wear that kind of clown suit.

I'm not really sure he ever actually viewed himself as a hero, though. Hitching his cart to the winning side, certainly, but not really a "good guy" as such. I've always thought of Saruman as the Denethor of the immortal half of the alliance - the character that has fallen to despair. He has been around for longer than even Gandalf and he has seen everything Sauron can do, and how little there is anyone can do to stop him, should he regain his full power... and he just doesn't believe anymore. He has given up and because of that, he gives in, even if he knows it's ultimately self-destructive. It's why I think he's so willing to do things like burn his own home to the ground to raise his army - he hasn't got anything left to lose, not even his own soul.

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