More thoughts have come in about the wizard-on-a-spike picture
SB was at the set on consecutive days and sheds some light:
“I just want to offer my opinion on the wizard on a spike. Shoulda done this earlier, I know. The same actor who was the wizard on the spike (or a good look-alike) was filming a scene the very next day. How do I know? Because I saw them filming at the Wingate set the next day. What were they filming? In the two hours I was there, it was a crane shot taken from 30 feet or so in the air, looking down on that same wizard on a white horse leading eight or so individuals. I noticed a Gimli dummy on the back of someone, and someone who looked like Aragorn (could be a double). This was all beside the big wheel. This leads me to believe that it *was* Gandalf, especially as he spoke some inaudible lines that day.

Why he was on the spike? Who knows. The security guards said that the Evening Post ( were very wrong, however. One more thing… on the day after the spike day, the security guard told me that they were using all doubles that day, and the real action was up the road at the river set, where all the stars where. I don’t know if he was trying to get me to bugger off, but it certainly seems that most of the main characters have doubles.”

A few people thought it was Saruman, such as AW:
“I think that it is pretty clear what the impaled wizard was. It was Saruman’s demise(presumably by the actions of Wormtongue). I think that the destruction in the Shire will be completly omitted in the movies. It would be anti-climactic in a film(after the spectacular fall of Sauron) and really is of little relevence to the central story. As for the issue of no blood, remember how Saruman died in the books, it was fairly bloodless…”

Another good idea from MT:
“Just read your article… wanted to comment on the bit regarding the blood. The Wheel is rotating in water, thus its likely it would not be bloody… especially if the wizard (or whomever) died and was sloshing around there a bit before someone found him. Perhaps Saruman was let go, and stumbled on one of his own machines. After he was under water awhile, someone discovered it and the machine was rotated…bringing the unbloody body up out of the water.”
I kind of like this idea – it’s nifty and gets round the R13 classification (no scenes with oodles of gore). I still think he’d be pretty pinkish-looking though – blood doesn’t rinse off as easy as you could wish. Not if you’re wearing white.

Olorin said:
“… Nor can it be Sauron showing Denethor his doom (although that would be a cool way to make him even more suicidal), as he has no Minas Tirith uniform on, & I doubt that if they stripped him of it they would have given him some white robes in return. My guess, therefore, is that it might be a part of a flash through Mordor/Lugburz or Isengard/Orthanc, showing Sauron/Saruman torturing an old man. Unless Gandalfs been having nightmares after the fight with the Balrog…”

I’m really impressed with the imagination people have brought to bear on this, which is remaining such an intriguing problem. Bending the rules, playing with ideas….it makes us storytellers in our own right.