I think we’ve covered all the possibilities here. For those of you following the debate on the Evening Post’s mysterious picture, I’ve compiled the latest ideas on what it could be. It took ages. No more please.

Here goes:
Explanations for that mysterious picture of the impaled wizard keep rolling in….This isn’t all of them, but the ones here sum up the rest.
Casper said:
“1) ….maybe it’s one of the bogus Palantir visions Sauron put over on him (to
convince him resistance was hopeless by showing *Gandalf* dying a horrible
death). Just about the time Denethor freaked out, Gandalf was down by the
gates where all the big siege engines (including Grond) were raising havoc.
I believe Ian McKellen commented that the character we see in the picture
isn’t Gandalf. That would be (sort of) true if it were only an illusion of
(Ulmo came up with something on the same lines: “Idea: The wizard is an effigy of Gandalf made by Orcs (Mordorian or Isengarders) and used as a battle standard or a demoralizer.”)

Cipher also says the same, rather eloquently:
“It’s a vision sent from Sauron to make Denethor feel isolated and helpless. Denethor, while not liking Gandalf, sees him as a powerful being and perhaps one that could help him out. So Sauron sends Denethor a vision of Gandalf dying horribly on a pike. Supporting evidence? The background is a bluescreen, indicating the use of CG during post production. The vision would be full of smoke, hard to see what’s going on, but there would be an overly oppressive *presence* that I’m guessing would have to be depicted using CG.
Secondly: PJ is a big Tolkien fan and an excellent director. Killing Saruman at Ornthanc would completely mess up the ending of the trilogy which is one of its distinguishing characteristics: it may have elves and dwarves, dragons and rings of power, but it’s not a fairy tale. Everyone doesn’t live happily ever after, and even if you’ve won the big battle, that doesn’t mean you’ve won everything. That final appearance by Saruman and the saving of the Shire lends a heavy feeling of reality to the story and without it, LOTR would not be as powerful a tale. I’m sure PJ knows this and wouldn’t mess with it.”

Continuing on with Casper’s reasoning:
“2) It may have nothing to do with Gandalf and just be some random old fogey
in a white robe. When the evil hordes descended on Minas Tirith, they did
all sorts of stuff to terrorize the city. Maybe the poor schmuck in the
photo got run over by one of the siege engines or something. The wheel
could (again) be one of the wheels of the huge battering ram.

3) It could be some kind of daydream of Sauron’s – going over in his mind
the slowest and most painful way to kill his annoying adversary after his

It can’t be a scene from Moria, as some suggested, because Gandalf didn’t
wear white robes until after his “death”.

It can’t be Saruman either. He was dressed in dirty rags by the time he
died, and the victim in the photo is too tidy. Also, I don’t think Saruman would have been wearing white even on a good day…”

TheCityOfSyracuse (what, everyone?) said:
“Its Saruman. The setting is the Shire…The “new mill” Rather than kill him with a knife, Grima pushes him somehow as Saruman is gloating on how the hobbits will find much done that they will not undo in their lifetimes.”
Lanales Elf Archer said the same thing. So far this is the winning theory in my view.

“Why build an expensive set of the rape of hobbiton (my term)and not use some of the ironic detail that Tolkien clearly intended to make this dramatic point?”

Good thought! Enrique, in Spain, had similar thoughts:
“The very first thing that came to my mind, however, was that they were shooting Sharky´s end (Sarumans death) at the destroyed Shire. Remember that using the rivers power there was a mill, and later the mill was destroyed to build some kind of factory. But it seems unlikely to me that they would have also destroyed the big mill´s wheel (maybe retouched it to a more “spiky” somber apperance) as the mechanism would still be of much industrial use. So, why not have Saruman run away from the hobbit uprising and falling into one of the wheel´s spikes?. That way, the destruction of the Shire really appears after Sauron´s demise. “

Randy had a more metaphysical explanation:
“I strongly believe I have found what the spiked wizard is. It is Gandalf, and the previous theories support mine. Towards the end of the chapter “A Journey in the Dark” there is a line that reads…”The noise of churning water came up from far below, as if some great mill-wheel was turning in the depths.” It would seem that Sauron had the orcs of Moria carring out the same sort of tasks that were conducted at Angband, The Dark Tower and Isengard; some sort of evil involving machinery. When Gandalf fell in Moria he was impaled on one of these spike-wheels down below. This of course would necessitate the replacement of his Gandalf the grey body with the Gandalf the white body by Eru. The noises heard down the well could also be said to be akin to machines. This theory could be integrated into the movies without change to the book’s storyline.”

Whereas Malcolm could imagine a script that would be funnier:
“Ok here’s a possible explanation for the wizard on the spike.
The Wizard is Gandalf. When Gandalf goes to break Saruman’s Staff they struggle and Gandalf falls on to this big Wheely spikey thing left lying around.
Saruman goes ‘HA!’
Gandalf gets off the spike and there is no wound (and no blood)
Saruman goes ‘What the ***?’
Gandalf then explains (as he has before) that no mortal weapons can harm him since his rebirth. (From the chapter ‘The White Rider’: Gandalf says “No blame to you, and no harm done to me. Indeed my friends, none of you have any weapon that could hurt me.”
So even Anduril could not hurt Gandalf the White what would a little spike do ?

I think this is PJ’s way of showing that Gandalf has returned from death more powerful than he was.”

“Maybe this guy is just wearing white against the black colored wheel so the effects guys can make him look like something else. Sort of like the they painted Kevin Bacon different colors in Hollow Man so they could do effects on him. The opposite of acting in front of a green/blue screen,” suggests Dave.

Enivri thought “I think it is part
of a dream sequence and that it is Gandalf *Ian Mackellen said it wasn’t him
not that it wasn’t Gandalf*. I reckon that it’s part of one of Frodo’s
troubled dreams that he has when he’s in Mordor. He doesn’t know that
Gandalf is alive and he’s probably still upset about his death and so
envisions him dying horribly. Maybe Frodo often dreams of how Gandalf died
at the bottom of the darkness in Moria? That would certainly justify him
losing hope *along with everything else!*”

OK OK, that’s enough. We’re starting to earn our reputation for being nit-picking fanatics.