Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?1
The old verse is truer now than ever. The days have come into shadow in the west indeed. Saruman, our seeming ally, is gathering his forces for a war he says is inevitable. He has deceived many of late, speaking fair words to win over the free peoples of Middle-Earth to his cause. Not long ago, the Council of the Wise, at his prompting as much as at that of Gandalf the Grey, attacked the Necromancer's stronghold of Dol Guldur, in Mirkwood. Saruman proclaimed this a triumph, and the power of the Enemy broken. But the Enemy seemed destroyed once before, when Numenor fell. Ere that disaster befell, Sauron was thought the ally of the men of the West. 'Lord of Gifts' they named him. How bitter was his last gift to them, when Meneltarma plunged down! And again he rises, unbroken by the spells of the wise. He seeks to set nation against nation, and tribe against tribe, until his forces can overrun the world.
I fear that Sauron is not the only ally whose friendship the world of men will come to rue. Too heavily we lean on Saruman now. Rohan looks to the west for aid, to the fortress of Orthanc. Our king is old, and his chief adviser, Grima Wormtongue, speaks for him too much. Grima claims Isengard is our truest ally, and that Saruman will come to support us. Support us! He has only ever exploited us. Any man can look west and see the smoke of industry rising over the Gap of Isen. Those of our Riders who have passed by Fangorn Forest of late have said that the trees move anew. Nature is disquieted at the white wizard's actions, and I know in my heart that when he has burned from the Misty Mountains to the White, he will turn to the Westfold.
Saruman says he will stand by the men of the Riddermark against the orcs of Mordor and old Angmar. How should we trust him, when our scouts tell us he has goblins and orcs of his own? His choice of allies speaks louder than Wormtongue's pleas. What war is he planning? He cannot think to march on Mordor with such a force. No, Sauron is beyond his grasp. Angmar? What might there once was in Angmar has long since waned, and the Witch-King gone to his master's side at Barad-Dur. Even if Angmar or Moria did threaten the lands of men, what would it avail Saruman to aid them? His own fortress is unassailable. But already Dunland, which never threatened Isengard, sends tribute to Orthanc. Saruman's might serves other ends than the defence of men, now.
Saruman will brook no dissent. If the Council of the Wise wish otherwise, he
cares not. And if Grima retains his hold on this kingdom, the honour of Rohan will be utterly lost, as we ride to war with whomsoever Saruman pleases, with the whips of his orcs at the tails of our steeds. Some in Meduseld see the true danger to us. Eomer, the king's nephew, sees much. But I do not know if he can break the Worm's hold on his uncle. Of old, Gandalf the Grey would come and speak with Theoden King. Wise were his counsels, though not always merry. But we have not seen the Grey Pilgrim this many a long age. Who will come to the aid of Rohan? Gondor? Gondor waits in impotent fear of the Dark Lord. No men will come from Minas Tirith to defend the Mark.
Where is the Grey Pilgrim? Where is Gandalf?
- the testament of Eadmund, son of Eadward, scribe of Rohan,
who died of unknown causes at Edoras in 3018 TA
If you don't get it, check the pipelinks. Not that I believe in allegories, but the conceit was worth while developing. Tolkein loathed allegory - Leaf by Niggle was the closest he came to the genre. This is not intended as an allegory, but as a satire.
- The Lord of the Rings: Part Two: The Two Towers Book 3, Chapter 6. J R R Tolkien.