The Voice of Saruman

by Emyn
While reading a book, I find it easier to visualize things rather than hear things. I don't even know if there's a word that describes the experience of imagining in visualizing is to seeing. But it does happen. I get songs stuck in my head all the time.

So, when I first read the chapter from TTT entitled "The Voice of Saruman", I had to sit back for a moment and imagine the power behind a magical that could easily persuade, lure, or intimidate. It wasn't easy to do. And Saruman's voice, according to the books, is his greatest power. He can manipulate, call orders, and cast spells to a tremendous extent.

"The voice is our most powerful instrument," my grade school music teacher used to say. In part,I therefore thought that Saruman should have an amazingly clear and reverberating voice...full of sincerity, emotion, perfect inflection and amplification. He has the ability to deceive even Gandalf...if for a moment. For that matter, I felt so fulfilled when I finally heard the voice of Christopher Lee in the role of Saruman. Lee is so conscientiously distinctive and learned in his pronunciation of Tolkien's words that I feel so priveledged to hear him speak in these movies. To me, his voice goes far beyond what I imagined Saruman's voice to sound like. For lack of a better analogy, his voice sounds like a chocolate. It's sweet, dark, and absolutely tempting. And I must say, on that note, that Lee was a wonderful Dracula in his older films...although he didn't say much in them.

Anyway, where I work we are constantly bombarded by salespeople. And they each have their own way of pitching their products. Some of them are extraordinarily successful, while others are not. And the successful ones remind me of what Saruman could achieve with his prominent talent. Saruman, from what I understand, could explain and teach better than any other being in Middle Earth (prior to his downfall). And I believe that his downfall could possibly have been influenced by the power of speech he believed he could rely on...under any circumstance. He "speaks" with Sauron through the Palantir, and still he undeniably holds onto his power and authority through his didactics (though it reduces him to a "yes man" in the ultimate Corporation of Sauron's Evil Intentions). And because of this influential power he has, he believes that he could be Sauron's Vice President...or Executive Assistant or whatever. That is the tragedy of Saruman. And the thing that adds to it is the fact that people begin to see through him. Gandalf has become weary of his sales pitch, and Saruman's calm voice begins to falter. And as my boss always says, "The salesmen come first thing in the morning...just like bad breath."

By the way, I mean no offense to any salespeople out there. It's a tough job that I know quite well. The truly successful ones have a marvelous gift that should not be condemned or misread. I know that your average telemarketer hates his job, but I also know that there are a great many people out there who believe in the product they're selling or the cause they're supporting...and they do it well. They speak well, and they take the time to educate us. And as Treebeard (Saruman's ironic adversary) summed up in the movie, "...never say anything unless it takes a long time to say." And I think I've taken a too long time with this musing, but it's very worthwhile to me.