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PandaCat, GilArda, Mourya

Although many believe that Gandalf was able to repel Saruman from the body of King Theodem of the Rohirrim because of his elevation from Gray to White, that's only part of the truth. How had Theoden become enchanted? And though true that Grima Wormtongue was instrumental in allowing Saruman to enter his king, again, that's not the whole story.

If you looked carefully, this little ceramic sculpture of a death-like wizard clutching a palantir sat by the throne of Theoden, and it had arrived shortly before the king's behavior had become erratic and strange. Wormtongue had brought it in, and through this avatar, Saruman was able to get close enough. It was a conduit for the black-hearted wizard, as well as a sort of transmitter of information. As long as the figurine stood intact by the king, there was no hope of anyone freeing Theoden from enthrallment.

It might have been like that forever, except Grima Wormtongue became greedy, and wanted Prince Theodred, the son of the king, to fall under the control of Sarumen. That would be the only way Wormtongue could move to marry Eowyn, the niece of the king, and thus be in line to ascend to the throne of Rohan himself.

So when Theodred went to fight at the fjords of the River Isen, Wormtongue stuffed the figurine in the prince's equipment. Sarumen started to beguile the young man, but Theodred soon realized that whatever had consumed his father was starting to work its way into him! He resisted, harder and harder, not knowing the source of this magic.

Alas, Theoden had bodily survived this attack because he let it wash over him, never resisting. But Theodred's resistance caused the strands that moored his body to his life spirit to snap, one by one, till finally, death was inevitable ...

Knowing he would die, Theodred looked through all this equipment till he found this little figurine. Knowing this was the source of Rohan's misery, with a last mighty effort he smashed it, hoping it would release its grip on his father ...

When the prince's corpse was entombed, the king's nephew Eomer threatened Wormtongue and was exiled from Rohan for his noble pains. The evil underling's plan was working! The only thing keeping Wormtongue from being king was Eowyn's resistance to his advances. He no longer had Saruman's avatar, so this would be the most difficult part of his project ... or so he thought!

Unfortunately, Theoden was so overtaken by Saruman that even the destruction of the avatar had no effect. But it did loosen the evil wizard's hold, paving the way for Gandalf to fight Saruman directly for the body and soul of Theoden!

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