Don’t worry, there’s still some antagonism to be had!
Our heroes come across two beggars trotting along in the barren lands. Riding by them, Gandalf notices Saruman. Gandalf begins a conversation with him, and there’s no doubting that it goes poorly.
Gandalf and Galadriel offer help to Saruman, now that he has no power to himself. He isn’t interested, and will actually change directions so that he isn’t traveling the same way as the people he despises. There’s bitterness there for being taken down a peg, but also still a streak of mockery that never goes away. He laughs at the elves for destroying their very own power by destroying that of others. He whips a weary Wormtongue into action to try and move on.
I actually don’t think that Saruman makes his point very clearly here, but he’s talking about the fact that the Rings of Power are weakened with the destruction of the One Ring. This hasn’t ever been a connection I’ve fully understood, but Saruman likes to laugh at those who throw away power, even though they destroyed something much greater and more threatening to their interests. Most people would be able to live with that tradeoff. Not Saruman.
Suffice it to say that Saruman remains selfish even to the end. He’s too proud to accept help of any kind or admit that he has been wrong. It’s not a good look for anyone, especially one so defeated.
Wormtongue seems to want to get away, but he’s a follower, not a leader. He’ll never be free to make his own decisions.
Each day forward is another day closer to the end. Even if it ends with Wormtongue being a whiner.
No one dies today.
“But Wormtongue only shot a glance of his bleared eyes full of…”