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Old 05-28-2019, 07:04 AM   #8
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
What I am curious to know people's thoughts on is Grima, because I love that scene and his character there. I wouldn't go as far as to say he is redeemed, but he does have a glimmer of light in a Gollum 2.0 kind of way. He is about to turn his back on his past and learn a little love and kindness. Then Saruman crosses the line and pushes him into a state of hatered and rage, which is how he dies. Grima dies having paid for his sins, though not really regretting them (sorry that it failed but not that he did it sort of feeling), having opened a door into a better way of living but not stepping through it. How is he to be judged?

Mind you, I'm not sure that Grima killing Saruman is a sin in the same way, say, Turin's murders are, even the accidental ones. It's justice and poetic justice, it doesn't seem wrong in context. But it's also not right, again given the context of forgiveness as the emphasized virtue.

Now that I think of it, with his death Grima paid for Saruman's death, not for anything else he's done or been. But what was he at the end? Did he die Gollum or Smeagol?
I think the key difference between Grima and Gollum is that Gollum's near-redemption was the result of kindness. He was treated well by Frodo, and the spark of Smeagol within him responded to that; it was Sam's unthinking actions that ruined it.

Grima, though, was moved to a kind of false repentance by cruelty. As you say, he's not sorry for most of his actions (possibly Lotho's death), but he hates Saruman. What he's tempted by doesn't seem to be redemption, but defection. Had he somehow been able to take Frodo's offer, he would have rested, had food and shelter for a while - then headed off to, like as not, take up some other unpleasant occupation.

It is to Tolkien's credit as a writer that he makes us feel pity for a character who has really been a stereotypical evil minion the entire time we've known him. But ultimately, Grima kills Saruman out of personal, selfish anger, not to make the world better, but simply to get him out of his face. I don't think that's a redemption arc.

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