The first of the five Maiar to enter Middle-earth. He was also the eldest, and the chief of the order, the White Wizard. He was chosen by Aulë. He was subtle of speech, and could persuade anyone to do almost anything.

His name translates to mean: 'Man of Skill'. This is also the meaning of his name in Quenya, Curumo. In Sindarin, 'Curunír' means 'the one of cunning devices'. Orcs called him 'Sharkey', said to come from an Orcish word 'sharkû' meaning 'old man'.

For the first 1,000 years he was in Middle-earth he traveled much, and mainly to the East. He came back though, for the first meeting of the White Council and was made their leader. It was at this time he started studying the Rings of Power, and the ways of the enemy.

He was given the keys to Orthanc by Beren the 19th Steward of Minas Tirith, and lived there from then on.

During the time of the War of the Ring he had been won over by Mordor. He renounced being the White Wizard, and called himself 'Saruman of Many Colours'. He had for a long time been spying all over Middle-earth with the unwitting help of Radagast and his birds. He also had a palantír which he used to communicate with Mordor. He bred an army of Uruk-hai that could travel in the sunlight. It was with these warriors he hoped to regain the One Ring and overthrow Sauron. He asked Gandalf to join him in taking the ring, and in this way revealed his treachery.

When he had sent his army out to Rohan, the Ents attacked. They stripped Isengard bare, and flooded it. Saruman was a prisoner in the tower of Orthanc. At this time, his spy in Rohan, Gríma Wormtongue arrived, and was imprisoned with him.

He used his powers of persuasion and got Treebeard to release him. He made his way as a beggar to The Shire and set up home in Bag End. Finally he was killed by his own slave, Wormtongue and will never been seen again in Middle-earth.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by Hathaldir