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Topic: What IS the Power of The Ring?

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Slaves of udun
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Date: Sep 20, 2013
What IS the Power of The Ring?

[I don't know if this is in the books, but from the movies:] "...and into it (the Ring) he poured his cruelty, his malice, and his will to dominate all life."

[Another quote regarding Aragorn, from the book:] "In that hour I looked on Aragorn and thought how great and terrible a Lord he might have become in the strength of his will, had he taken the Ring to himself.  Not for naught does Mordor fear him. But nobler is his spirit than the understanding of Sauron."

 

So. What does The Ring do for others than Sauron? Why would Aragorn be so powerful with it? What would it do differently to him than to Frodo? Would it not just turn him invisible?  And why should Mordor fear Aragorn with The Ring? Would it not corrupt him eventually? Lots of questions.



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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Teralectus,

It might be helpful if you could give us a hint at who is speaking about Aragorn ...
I have posted several search engines that are magnificent encyclopedias. They can help with your questions.
They are (to name three of dozens);

1) The Tolkien Gateway. 2) The Encyclopedia Of Arda. 3) The Thains Book (An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor).

 

The books are rich with material that is NOT covered in the movies ... especially about the One Ring ... Gandalf explains much to Frodo, The Council of Elrond covers a great deal of the One Ring's history, more is revealed about the insidious evil nature of the Ring when Sam and Frodo are given the chance to look in the Mirror of Galadriel, and especially in The Lord of The Rings chapter after chapter shows the subtle evil that almost destroys Frodo and Middle-earth at the Ring's end.

No offense meant but just blatantly answering your questions would rob you of an intellectual and cultural experience that only the books provide. They will give you a hunger for more Tolkien that will eclipse any cinematic diet.

 

It is wonderful to see your enthusiasm and curiosity about Tolkien's works.  The scholastic and critical assessments run in the hundreds of volumes and the thousands of pages.  There are 726 PhD dissertations alone ... a bibliographic list of at least 20 authenticated Tolkien publications ... countless volumes of his unpublished works shared by his family including even the margin notes.

if you are willing to settle for used books you can buy them off Amazon for (almost) a song.  There are special editions that cost hundreds ... and new paper backs for less than $20.

As for your specific thread "What IS the Power of The Ring?"
It is a subtle vehicle of malevolent intent that ultimately corrupts its wearer ... no matter how good the intent.
Gandalf hints and states that through his desire to help the Ring would slowly make him as evil as the dark lord himself.
Galadriel when offered the Ring by Frodo says she would be a dark and beautiful queen who would be loved in darkness and despair ... there is so much more in Tolkien's writings ...
Give yourself a break ... find yourself a set of the books.

Bear



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Slaves of udun
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Hey Bear,

I do have the books and have read them multiple times, but it's been quite a while. I was just wondering if anyone knew off the top of their head. But thank you for the reference to "The Council Of Elrond" chapter and those three websites!



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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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If I recall in one of the books it says something about the ring "gives" power according to the wearer's stature. I'm not sure if stature is the right word. Anyway, Aragorn has got lots of power in him, Gandalf some more, Galadriel and so on. For poor little Gollum, he didn't get much out of it except long life, invisibility, and meaness.

I'm not sure if this is where you're going with the question. If you are asking, how did Sauron make the ring so evil, well, "magic."



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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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That quote you asked about Bear is from Legolas in RotK page 168. It was said when with wraiths and fear Aragorn and his people bested Sauron's own servants.

The Ring makes people invisible, it amplifies what gifts they have. Tolkien says of it that, 'It was his own and under his will. Even from afar he had an effect upon it, to make it work for its return to himself." [Letter #246] In other words it was always looking to get back to Sauron its master. He also says that only those who were of equal stature could withhold the Ring from Sauron while wearing it in his presence and not even Aragorn could hope to do this and like Frodo he "would have been utterly overthrown".

It was meant to be used in concert with the other Rings to control the free peoples. Therefore if he had ever regained it he would be totally aware of all the workings of the lesser Rings, where they were held, and who held them.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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To further cement the idea that the Ring enhances a wearers existing abilities note that the foundations of Barad-dur itself were built using the 'power of the Ring' (how exactly is anyone's guess, maybe Sauron sanctified each stone as it was built...) and Sauron is, of course, a Maia primarily focused on crafting.

I am not sure if Galadriel has any specific 'abilities' but she is certainly known for her beauty and I believe when she has her little 'You shall have a queen!...' moment when offered the Ring she says how beautiful and terrible she would be.

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Good stuff here!

I speculate that if Lord Elrond possessed the One Ring, he would have the penetrating far-sight of the all the Palantiri and the foreknowledge of the Ages. Over time The Ring might become like the one Palantir that Sauron possessed, warping the visions that were beheld. Perhaps Elrond would ultimately be led to wrong doing through the malice that was within the One Ring; his thoughts led into errors through his growing piety and his foresight skewed by false vision. He also would be terrible.....just saying.



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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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I've always been interested in Sam's vision when he held the ring for that brief time. He wanted to create a garden and get rid of everything icky (forgive the paraphrasing). As Gandalf said the ring can corrupt good to evil. I wonder what would have happened in Sam's world. How would the ring have done Sam in?



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Slaves of udun
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The consensus seems to be that the Ring amplifies the strengths the wearer already possesses. Makes sense. Two questions.

- If I remember correctly, Tom Bombadil is a Maia? Hence why the Ring did not affect him.

- Why didn't the other rings of power turn the Elves and Dwarves into wraiths like they did to Men?



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I speculate that Men were lesser beings then Elves and Dwarves. They lived shorter lives and were most easily corrupted by power. There were only Three Rings for the Elves and they perceived Sauron as he forged or wore the One and did not wear or speak of theirs openly. Dwarves only coveted treasures but their hearts were not easily swayed. Being the most stubborn or self-willed of all the beings of Middle-Earth. That's my take.

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Looks like Sauron's idea of The One Ring was a complete failure? He puts a lot of his strength into it, with the purpose to be able to rule the other rings. Seems it would have worked with the Elven rings - but the Elves didn't use them when Sauron had his ring; it did not work with the Dwarves the intended way (or the rings of the Dwarves didn't); and Nazgul were at his command even when he didn't have the ring. With this last point I am not exactly sure, but weren't the nine rings made before the One, and didn't they work without it?

How did his ring control the other rings? I am curious about the fact that once Sauron's ring was destroyed, the Elven rings lost their powers. Sauron never touched those rings, yet the One ring seemingly did something to them - they continued to work in their original way while the One ring existed and wasn't in Sauron's possession but became no more than jewelry after it perished...

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Lórellinë

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The Nine were made before the One, I agree.

I would call the Nine and the Seven 'sixteen' Elvish rings with respect to their origin. Sorehead never touched the Three, but he did sack Eregion and later dispensed these Rings to Men and Dwarves [despite the Dwarvish claim noted in the Appendices]. To me that's how they became known as the Nine and the Seven, as the original plan was to dominate Elves by trickery.

The 'Seven' and the 'Nine' were part plan B, so to speak biggrin...

 

... despite that we can use these terms to refer to them before they were redistributed. The Seven did have some affect on the Dwarves, and certainly the Nine on Men. And even the Three on the Elves in some measure. But yes I would say 'plan A' largely failed due to Sauron underestimating the Elvish perception. 

And in my opinion [although this has been debated before], sometime after Sauron lost the One he took back the Nine, to ensure his domination of the Wraiths especially for the task of regaining the One and delivering it to him.

 



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"I am curious about the fact that once Sauron's ring was destroyed, the Elven rings lost their powers. Sauron never touched those rings, yet the One ring seemingly did something to them - they continued to work in their original way while the One ring existed and wasn't in Sauron's possession but became no more than jewelry after it perished..."                      

Lorelline, I've wondered this exact thing for a while. I just figured I was missing something. If they were made by Celebrimbor, how did Sauron control them? Or maybe not control, but bind them to his ring?

Also, I've never understood what it meant if the Elves "used" the rings. If the Elven rings were supposed to preserve things, weren't they in use all the time? I mean Lorien and Imladris were pretty well preserved and protected.



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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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The Elves didn't use the Three until after Sauron lost the One, but yes in the Third Age they did use them [edit: well besides using them before they realized what 'Annatar' was up to, of course].

 

Some say Cirdan did not use Narya, but in any case Appendix B seems to imply that, in general, all three were in use in the Third Age.



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 30th of September 2013 04:00:44 PM

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Maybe this will help, as in letter 144 for example, Tolkien explained:

'Though unsullied, because they were not made by Sauron nor touched by him, they were nonetheless partly products of his instruction, and ulrimately under the control of the One. Thus, as you will see, when the One goes, the last defenders of High-elven lore and beauty are shorn of their power to hold back time, and depart.'

 

The hold back the effects of time, anyway. I'm not sure that much will suffice for everyone however.

And just to note it [regarding my previous comment about the debate of Sauron 'holding' the Nine] I am already aware of the statement from Gandalf [in Fellowship] that: the Nine the Nazgul keep -- but despite this, there are a number of citations which appear to say or suggest that Sauron actually took back the Nine after he had lost the One.

But I'm too lazy to collect all of them again... today anyway smile



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That Sauron took the rings from the Nazgul is interesting... Lazy as I am I will look when I get a chance.

But I think my question is this: was the One ring needed at all? Was it said anywhere that those nine rings (at least) would not have worked on Men without first being affected by the One ring? They were already the rings of power (even if lesser ones), which seem to corrupt Men relatively easily. Maybe Sauron simply wasted lots of power on this ultimately useless ring?

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Lórellinë

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Well I think it is bad for a mortal to use a Ring of Power, but worse yet for one to use it when Sauron has the One. That said, in The Shadow of the Past, Gandalf seems to say that a mortal who becomes invisible permanently '... and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes sooner or later (...) the dark power will devour him.'

Well, in any case Sauron doesn't have the One at the time Gandalf is speaking.

 

In Concerning Galadriel And Celeborn [UT] Tolkien noted that Nenya had a power on Galadriel, which was '... great also and unforseen, for it increased her latent desire for the Sea and for return into the West, so that her joy in Middle-earth was diminished.' This is one of the Three obviously, so it may be an unintended consequence of preservation power. Is there any more text that concerns this particular notion? In The Road Goes Ever On Tolkien notes Galadriel's great desire for the Sea, but there he attributes this to her High-elven status, and, if I recall correctly, at least here notes nothing about Nenya as increasing it.

 

Anyway Sauron still used the One to dominate Men I would say, and it already existed due to the Elvish ruse. It was generally said that through the One Sauron could perceive all the things that were done by means of the lesser rings, and that he could see and govern the very thoughts of those that wear them. The mortals who were given the Nine became mighty and obtained wealth, and even used their rings to become invisible, and to see things [Of The Rings Of Power And The Third Age]: '... in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron.' They had long life by the Nine alone, but that became unendurable to them.

But here is the combined influence I think [OTROPATTA]: 'And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring they bore and under the domination of the One, which was Sauron's. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring...'

So I would say yes the Nine still worked on Men [and for Men], but with the One on Sauron's finger they could be more directly 'governed' by Sauron, if according to their original nature. I would guess that Sauron had influenced many Men through these Men, although ultimately of course they became things of terror, having no will of their own. 

How long did it take to become a wraith? I'm guessing it depended upon certain factors, but using the Tale of Years we can say this much anyway: in SA 1697 Eregion is laid waste and Celebrimbor slain. Sauron probably takes the '16' Elvish Rings at this time, but the Three are hidden. In SA 2251: 'About this time the Nazgul or Ringwraiths, slaves of the Nine, first appear'. So in 554 years we seem to have all Nine Men reduced to 'wraithdom' anyway.

 

But again, there was really no question of needing the One to enslave Men. Sauron needed no ring ruse to sway them in the first place, for [OTROPATTA]: 'Men he found easiest to sway of all the peoples of the earth; but long he sought to persuade the Elves to his service...'

 

Gil-galad and Elrond doubted Annatar. Fail! Yet in Eregion he cozened the Mirdain, but the Elves became aware of Sauron's design. Yet why not take the Rings back and give them out to other peoples? Plan B. The Dwarves however proved tough and hard to tame, and they [OTROPATTA] 'ill endure the domination of others'. They used their rings only for the getting of wealth '... but wrath and an overmastering greed of gold were kindled in their hearts, of which evil enough after came to the profit of Sauron.'

 

It is then, in this text I mean, that JRRT notes that Men proved easier to ensnare. I take this to mean that Men could be more easily dominated through the One, than Dwarves, as well as the Nine having a negative influence on them. Tolkien explains in letter 131 [after noting the redistribution of the Rings to Dwarves and Men], that:

'But Sauron dominates all the multiplying hordes of Men that have no contact with the Elves (...). He rules a growing empire (...)'. In this letter it's noted that Sauron had introduced a couple of weak points with his plan: for one thing that someone of sufficient heroism and strength could challenge Sauron and usurp his place, if he could get his hands on the One that is.

Another weakness was its destruction of course, but the One was unbreakable by any smithcraft less than his own, and it needed the fires of Mount Doom, and importantly I think, that Sauron likewise thought none would attempt to injure it [so great was the Ring's power of lust] in any case.

And the one which speaks to both scenarios: 'It was in any case on his finger.'

smile



-- Edited by Galin on Tuesday 1st of October 2013 08:50:53 PM

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It appears that we don't know if the lesser rings without the One ring would have worked just the same, at least on Men - likely not; when they are first used for Men the One already exists. But the reason to put so much strength and will into the One ring was the desire to dominate those other rings and the Three in particular, which were the most powerful. The other 16 could perhaps be governed with a less powerful One.

It also seems that all those 16 rings were basically the same and not made specifically for Dwarves or Men. Maybe Dwarves could have been influenced with more powerful or differently designed rings. (Until now I thought that there were special rings for each race).

It is explicitly stated that the other rings were ruled by the One so that they would 'last only so long as it too should last'.

What is also interesting is the source of power of those other rings, including the Three. That source doesn't seem to be named. But there should be lots of power in them, and if maybe some strength of Sauron went into the 16, the Three were not touched by him. Was Celebrimbor able to put his own strength there? But it is nowhere mentioned that his strength was diminished after he made them (and besides he is not a Maia and hardly can do that).

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Lórellinë

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I wonder if Sorehead did something further to the 16 after he slew Celebrimbor. Of The Rings of Power might imply this?

'... but to Men he gave Nine, for Men proved in this matter as in others the readiest to his will. And all those rings that he governed he perverted, the more easily since he had a part in their making, and they were accursed, and they betrayed in the end all those that used them.'

 

Hmm, possibly not the only interepretation I guess. And to note the Dwarvish claim [since I keep ignoring it essentially]: the Dwarves believed that Durin III's ring was the first of the Seven to be forged: '... and they say that it was given to the King of Khazad-dum, Durin III, by the Elven-smiths themselves and not by Sauron, though dobtless his evil power was on it, since he had aided in the forging of all the Seven.' Appendix A, Durin's Folk

So Tolkien offers a variation, which is great tale telling here in my opinion, but if forced to decide for myself 'which is true', with all due respect to the Dwarves, I don't see why this would be. Granted there was friendship between Eregion and Moria, but I just don't think that's a good enough reason to explain why the Elven Smiths would give a Ring of Power to a Dwarf as a gift.

 

Another question is whether or not the Three conferred invisibility.

I have said 'not necessarily' in the past, despite that Sam admittedly seems not to see Nenya when asked [but he sees something that the reader can easily enough associate with Nenya, however], but recently I was taken to task about that, due to Gandalf's implication to Frodo [in Fellowship] that the Great Rings made mortals -- at least -- invisible. And that the Three should be included by implication, as being Great Rings.

 

I can see that, yet in the Waldman letter Tolkien seems to say that the Three did not confer invisibility without exception, and that invisibility power was more connected with Sauron in general, and that the Three were directed to the preservation of beauty. And it kind of makes sense to me that to focus on preservation power alone might be a factor in making the Three the most potent...

... although that's just one way of looking at it, I admit. And thanks Bear smile



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I may have missed it in the above responses, but what power did the 9 give to the mortal men. I get what the 3 and the 7 did, but am a little fuzzy on the nine.



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I'll post a section of the famed Waldman letter... well since I can copy and paste it smile

 

'The chief power (of all the rings alike) was the prevention or slowing of decay (i.e. 'change' viewed as a regrettable thing), the preservation of what is desired or loved, or its semblance - this is more or less an Elvish motive. But also they enhanced the natural powers of a possessor - thus approaching 'magic', a motive easily corruptible into evil, a lust for domination. And finally they had other powers, more directly derived from Sauron ('the Necromancer': so he is called as he casts a fleeting shadow and presage on the pages of The Hobbit): such as rendering invisible the material body, and making things of the invisible world visible.

The Elves of Eregion made Three supremely beautiful and powerful rings, almost solely of their own imagination, and directed to the preservation of beauty: they did not confer invisibility. But secretly in the subterranean Fire, in his own Black Land, Sauron made One Ring, the Ruling Ring that contained the powers of all the others, and controlled them, so that its wearer could see the thoughts of all those that used the lesser rings, could govern all that they did, and in the end could utterly enslave them. He reckoned, however, without the wisdom and subtle perceptions of the Elves. The moment he assumed the One, they were aware of it, and of his secret purpose, and were afraid. They hid the Three Rings, so that not even Sauron ever discovered where they were and they remained unsullied. The others they tried to destroy.

In the resulting war between Sauron and the Elves Middle-earth, especially in the west, was further ruined. Eregion was captured and destroyed, and Sauron seized many Rings of Power. These he gave, for ultimate corruption and enslavement, to those who would accept them (out of ambition or greed). Hence the 'ancient rhyme' that appears he leit-motif of The Lord of the Rings...'

 

JRRT, letter 131 to Milton Waldman

 

Milton Waldman was in publishing, and Tolkien wrote a long-ish letter to Waldman in hopes that his company would publish The Silmarillion along with The Lord of the Rings.

 

It didn't happen biggrin

 

A 'pivotal' moment I think, as Tolkien's 'regular publisher' [the firm who published of The Hobbit I mean] ended up accepting The Lord of the Rings but not The Silmarillion at this time -- which really wasn't finished anyway, but I think it took some wind out of JRRT, who had had a relative flurry of new writing in the early 1950s in hopes of putting his Silmarillion on bookshelves.

 

Anyway that's the section I referred to [above] about the Three not conferring invisibility [although again I note the implication from Gandalf that as Great Rings of Power they did confer invisibility, at least with respect to mortals].



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I think it should be fun to try and list the rings' 'properties'.

So, the One ring:
- is made by Sauron alone

- of course is not intended to be used by anyone but him; requires much strength and will to be used for domination

- can communicate with the other rings when worn to
-- tweak their properties and dominate them so that henceforth they don't work without it (one-time action)
-- make them able to read minds and affect thought and behavior of their wearers
- when not worn, can (passively by some background signal) communicate with the other rings (so that they either work or lose power)

- can communicate with its own wearer to transmit to him the thoughts of wearers of the other rings and from him his will towards wearers of the other rings
- can communicate with its bearer (when in close proximity) to induce the desire to wear it
- confers invisibility to mortals (not to Maiar like Bombadil or Sauron himself; no info about other races)
- can preserve things / confers long life
- makes its owner addicted to it
- makes it owner/long time wearer hate the sun
- converts desire to ability like lesser rings do
- cannot communicate with its maker or anybody (including wearers of other rings) when not worn
- has a will of its own and tries to get back to its master
- power source is Sauron's own power put into it
Seems the working part of it is its inner surface

The Three
- made by Celebrimbor alone but Sauron's ideas are used to a degree
Original properties:
- can preserve things and slow down effects of time (thus also converting the desire to prevent/slow down the decay into the ability to do so)
- effects on mortals - unknown; definitely not intended for use by mortals
- Narya can 'kindle all hearts to courage'
After being affected by the One:
- could betray the thought, influence the thought, and finally enslave their owners (therefore they are hidden and not worn)
The power source of the Three is unknown, unless it be the power of their wearers (then when not worn they don't do anything unlike the One)

The Seven and the Nine
- made by Elven smiths in collaboration with Sauron
Original properties - like those of the Three, only less; ( although in Unfinished Tales (Galadriel and Celeborn) the power and purpose of the Three are mentioned to be different);
-- the Nine are not intended for mortals;
-- the Seven - conflicting evidence on the intended use (in Unfinished Tales the Seven are not found by Sauron right away upon his assault on the House of the Mirdain; Celebrimbor reveals 'where the Seven were bestowed' when tortured - implying possibly that they were given to Dwarves? The Silmarillion gives essentially no detail on how Sauron gets hold of the Seven, but states that it was Sauron that gave the rings to the Dwarves. )
After the One affected them (it is not clear that when Sauron 'perverted' them he did it only through the One ring or somehow directly in addition):
- can enhance natural abilities of the wearers / turn desires into abilities
- Human wearers become
-- invisible
-- virtually immortal
-- reduced to wraiths
-- so enslaved that they can be commanded by Sauron without the One ring (and possibly even without their own rings)
- Dwarves become greedier and more violent but unaffected otherwise
The source of power for these 16 rings is likewise unknown.

I found it curious that Sauron did not try to use any rings in Numenor. He could make more rings and demonstrate that he could make humans immortal - the thing the Numenoreans desired most and over which they could be easily manipulated; he of course succeeded without it just as well.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Thursday 3rd of October 2013 11:17:18 AM



-- Edited by Lorelline on Thursday 3rd of October 2013 11:40:21 AM

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Lórellinë

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About the Seven and the text 'Concerning Galadriel And Celeborn' [UT], Christopher Tolkien notes: '[It is not actually said here that Sauron took possession of the Seven Rings, although the implication seems clear that he did so.]'

I agree. I think the story is meant to highlight the importance of the Three here. Sauron takes the Nine [and other works] by simply ransacking, but the Seven and Three he couldn't find. He then tortures Celebrimbor, who will give up the 'location' of the Seven [at least 'where the Seven were bestowed'], but not the Three. Even under torment Celebrimbor would not give up these, and he was put to death.

Although I realize lack of evidence doesn't prove the point, it would seem strange to me that the reader is not told that, despite Celebrimbor's revelation, Sauron still could not actually take hold of the Seven at this point. Moria was shut against him [according to this text anyway], so that even if he knew the Seven were already with the Dwarves, it would avail him little for now.

Of course on the other hand, 'giving up the Three' at this point didn't necessarily mean Sauron would obtain these right away! So that undermines my argument here.

 

If Celebrimbor only gave up the location of the Seven as being with the Dwarves, then he is not necessarily giving them up to Sauron at the moment -- compared to, under torture: you can have the Seven 'now' Sauron, but not the Three, as the Seven I value lesser. To me this draws a stronger contrast with respect to what Celebrimbor does with the Seven [giving them up now, physically, to Sauron, by telling him where they are] compared to the Three [not even telling him where they are or who has them].

If that makes enough sense, anyway!

 

And for me it would even be stranger to think that all seven were given to the Dwarves [again noting that I don't even believe the first of the Seven was given to them by the Elves, despite what the Dwarves said, and despite that this is an intended internal variation]

Of The Rings Of Power is explicit that Sauron gave the Seven to the Dwarves, which appears to agree with the Waldman letter I think. Although it's interesting that Gandalf [The Shadow of the Past] says that: 'Seven the Dwarf-kings possessed...' while being more explicit that 'Nine he gave to Mortal Men...'

As noted Appendix A relates the belief that Durin's Ring was given to the Dwarves by the Elven smiths, not by Sauron, but this also suggests to me that this was a special circumstance, and that at least the other 6 were given by Sauron [although admittedly this is not stated clearly here if I recall correctly]. This section also notes what a Ring could not do to a Dwarf.

Anyway my take on the UT scenario is that Sauron ultimately took all 16 in Eregion, learning from Celebrimbor where the Seven were hidden, either in a place or places yet to be uncovered in Eregion, or who had them, and through these Elves, subsequently where they were hidden. 

Of course 'implied' is still implied in any event smile



-- Edited by Galin on Thursday 3rd of October 2013 02:14:52 PM

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I am trying to understand whether the Nine and the Seven were different. In The Silmarillion they are collectively referred to as 'remaining rings of power', but in UT it seems that either there is a clear distinction (because the Seven are mentioned as a separate group) or that Sauron knows exactly how many such rings there should be - seven are missing. In that passage only the Three are said to have 'different power and purpose'.

How does Sauron know about the Three and why Celebrimbor made them without Sauron whom he trusted is interesting. From UT it follows that (1) Celebrimbor and others revolt against Galadriel and she leaves Eregion, then (2) Rings of power are being made and soon afterwards Sauron leaves Eregion - he needs Mt. Doom to make the One ring; next, (3) 'at length' (!) Celebrimbor learns about the One ring and consults Galadriel as to what to do - but they fail to destroy the rings of power; (4) Sauron is not happy that his plan is discovered and he attacks Eregion.

He may have known the number of the lesser rings, but about the Three he wasn't told (probably simply because he has left by that time?) and seems to find out about their existence only through his One ring, which implies they were used at that moment.

Concerning the 16, even if there was a difference among them we are not told what it was, but they were still made for Elves, not for Men and, with one possible exception, not for Dwarves.

"...it would seem strange to me that the reader is not told that, despite Celebrimbor's revelation, Sauron still could not actually take hold of the Seven at this point. Moria was shut against him [according to this text anyway], so that even if he knew the Seven were already with the Dwarves, it would avail him little for now."
Here I am not sure I understand - not all Dwarves were in Moria, only Durin's folk.

Overall, your argument is not easy to get (to me at least) but what I gathered is that it indicates that the Seven were close by (and thus not with the Dwarves) so telling where they were was equivalent to giving them up (because Sauron got them), showing that those rings didn't really matter, as opposed to the Three.

"Of course on the other hand, 'giving up the Three' at this point didn't necessarily mean Sauron would obtain these right away! So that undermines my argument here."

In my opinion this strengthens the argument not undermines it. Celebrimbor could have told where the Three were without immediate jeopardy to them, yet he chooses to defy Sauron nevertheless. This shows that the Three were of special significance to him. In a way it fits together with his love for Galadriel (although his earlier revolt against her doesn't; and of course his origin has changed many times but ultimately he becomes a Feanorian. Ok, one of the Feanorians got analyzed under a microscope but what about the others?..).

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"...it would seem strange to me that the reader is not told that, despite Celebrimbor's revelation, Sauron still could not actually take hold of the Seven at this point. Moria was shut against him [according to this text anyway], so that even if he knew the Seven were already with the Dwarves, it would avail him little for now." 'Here I am not sure I understand - not all Dwarves were in Moria, only Durin's folk.'

Correct, I just meant, even if the closest Dwarves to him at the moment had all Seven [due to a close friendship with the Elves of Eregion,] Sauron still couldn't have them now; but yes, also if they had gone to other Dwarf realms, it would likewise avail Sauron little, at the moment anyway.



'In my opinion this strengthens the argument not undermines it. Celebrimbor could have told where the Three were without immediate jeopardy to them, yet he chooses to defy Sauron nevertheless.'

 

I can't remember what I was thinking except that orginally, for some reason, I didn't realize that Celebrimbor revealing the location of the Three also wouldn't necessarily mean Sauron could get hold of them soon. So I looked at the comparisons wrongly, at first.

Perhaps that's what I meant? Even I'm not sure today biggrin LOL

 

Anyway, yes I think it better elevates the Three [by comparison to the Seven] if Celebrimbor actually divulges the location of the Seven knowing Sauron can have them 'now'. Something like:

I'll tell you where the Seven are [as he knows they are with the Dwarves already, under this theory anyway], but not where the Three are.

versus [the scenario that I think is implied] 

I'll actually give you the Seven right now [as they are in Eregion, and here's where they are], but I'm not even going to tell you where the Three are.

 

Or something!



-- Edited by Galin on Friday 4th of October 2013 11:08:22 PM

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As far as the 7 go, I had thought several were eaten by dragons. Was that before or after Sauron got his paws on them? And if the elves took off their rings when Sauron put his on, why was Galadriel wearing hers? Was it because the One wasn't being used? If so, would the other 2 be on hand (semi-pun) during the years Sauron didn't have his ring?

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The dragons should have consumed some (4) of the Seven rings after Sauron got them all (seven or at least six) and gave them to the Dwarves.

According to the Appendix A, the ring that Thror (and then Thrain) had was perhaps 'turning to evil now that its master was awake'. This is very interesting since Sauron didn't have the One ring at the moment.

As to the Elven rings, they were used even when Sauron was already 'awake' but did not have his ring. Seems that unlike the Seven and the Nine, the Three would not respond to Sauron without the One ring. Whether the Three would have responded to the One worn by somebody else, like Frodo, would be interesting (although hardly possible) to know.

Vilya and Narya seem to be 'on hand' and at work just like Galadriel's Nenya.

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I have followed this discussion with interest and really enjoyed it ... So much conjecture ... multiple and contradictory references ... the huge gap between what Tolkien wanted published and the modifications he was forced to include, exclude, and modify to get things published. It seems there maybe other contexts with multiple layers ... from which spring many questions which your posts have answered ... still there are contexts not directly addressed ...

A. The Rings before the One Ring was made and what it was made of (like a huge part of the life force of Sauron).

B. The powers of the Rings while Sauron wore The One Ring (which is why the three were hidden and not used)                             

C. The power of The One Ring after it was cut off Saurons finger.                                                                                                   

D. How once the One Ring was destroyed what was left of Sauron?

 



-- Edited by Bear on Sunday 6th of October 2013 08:29:35 AM

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Is (A) about the material the One was made of or the lesser rings were made of?
It seems like the One ring is made of gold combined with Sauron's power (sounds very scientific I know). Vilya and Narya were also golden but Nenya was made of mithril. Other rings of power seem to be golden. I recall that silver would be resistant to evil, unlike gold.

I am now inclined to think that the source of the lesser rings' power was in their wearers, and the rings themselves only transformed the existing will, desire, and power into the possibility to reach what was desired; so they were power modulators but not power generators (even more scientific).

If that's true, it should then follow that the 'greatness' of each of this rings corresponds to 'greatness' of their wearers. While the Nine or the Seven are never compared within each group (or between), the comparative characteristics of the Three are pretty confusing. Vilya belonging to Elrond (Half-Elven) is called 'mightiest of the Three' in the Return of the King; on the next page there is 'Narya the Great' worn by Gandalf (who is a Maia); in the Unfinished Tales Galadriel (who is considered greatest of Noldor at the time) receives 'Nenya, chief of the Three'... nothing is possible to prove.

(B) the power of the Rings of Power when the One ring is in use - it doesn't seem to be any greater, it is different - the rings of power become communication devices from their wearers to the One ring's wearer and controlling devices the opposite way.

(C) the power of One ring cut off from Sauron is in maintaining contact with all the lesser rings; those rings now depend on its existence and are good for nothing once it gets destroyed; the One now also tries to find its Master. It can 'feel' his presence and that he is 'awake'. But the Master cannot perceive the ring. Kind of interesting. The One ring also leaves its marks on its bearers/wearers other than its true Master.

(D) After the One ring is destroyed, probably not much remains of Sauron, but since he was a very strong (or even the strongest) Maia I would think that he is not ultimately vanquished; the Ainur are truly immortal, after all. Maybe the most malicious part of him got destroyed with the ring? Maybe he repented or at least realized that his business wasn't very rewarding.

I also find this statement interesting:
"So it is now: the Nine he has gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed". What is meant here I am not sure - did he take the rings from the Nazgul because they are enslaved anyway? Was there any benefit to Sauron from having these rings? Or was it to bend the Nazgul's will any further by promising to give those rings back? Or maybe he simply got back the Nine along with the Nazgul, so they still had their rings?



-- Edited by Lorelline on Sunday 6th of October 2013 05:33:20 AM

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Bear wrote:

D. How once the One Ring was destroyed what was left of Sauron?


 
Specifically in relation to this it says in LOTR that:

"For he will lose the best part of the strength that was native to him in his beginning, and all that was made or begun with that power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever, becoming a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape. And so a great evil of this world will be removed."

Clearly Sauron is doomed to a meaningless, pointless existence with no hope of regaining any power.



-- Edited by Bilbo Baggins on Sunday 6th of October 2013 12:06:53 PM

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"But the Master cannot perceive the ring. Kind of interesting."

I had thought that Sauron could "perceive" the ring when it was being worn by someone, being used, as it were. Isn't that why, when Frodo put on the ring in Parth Galen and in Mordor, Sauron's eye was immediately on him?

"I also find this statement interesting:
"So it is now: the Nine he has gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed". What is meant here I am not sure - did he take the rings from the Nazgul because they are enslaved anyway? Was there any benefit to Sauron from having these rings? Or was it to bend the Nazgul's will any further by promising to give those rings back? Or maybe he simply got back the Nine along with the Nazgul, so they still had their rings?"

The way I took this was when Sauron had the One on he was able to manipulate the 9 and ensnare the bearers/wearers. I've always assumed he took the 9 and sort of used them as bait (??) to keep the Nazgul hanging onto his will. This was all guesswork. But, I'm beginning to think that the 9 would have still worn theirs. That way Sauron could continue to control them. When he didn't have the One, they were still his slaves since he'd already twisted them round his finger. Being a Maia he could do that pretty well. Plus, at that point, the Nazgul would have been almost like a bunch of crackheads.

A thought just popped into my head...

What if when Sauron lost the One, he took back the 9 to make sure the Nazgul had to stay with him?

All of the above is just wanderings from a sleepy mind and not based in any fact. But it is fun to speculate.

 



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Thinking further of the power Sauron had over mortal Men, I got an idea (don't know how novel it is) that maybe one of the purposes of giving Men the Nine rings was to render them pseudo-immortal, and that to simply make his task of dominating Men easier in purely pragmatic sense. He likely could have found slaves good enough, or basically manipulate mightiest and proudest Men (up to Ar-Pharazon; I am not saying 'smartest'/'wisest') without much problem; but to get a new set of them every 30-40 years would be quite a headache. Of course they also instill horror in people like no usual mortal Men could, but how important was that?

But if Sauron takes the rings from them, it is interesting that they don't die right away - neither does Gollum when he loses the One ring, so the 'conservation' effect of those rings is lasting ( that's a 'property' I forgot to put on my list).

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It is said that the One ring maintains 'rapport' with its master. It feels him and wants to return to him. He on his part cannot feel it if it is not in use. But we know that the other rings always are under its control - therefore they feel it. The question is, do they feel where it is? And if yes, can they be used to locate the One (while it is not in use)? Maybe not - I was somewhat surprised that Sauron who had a few of the Seven in his possession (seems we will never be clear about the Nine) didn't try to use any of them to discover the whereabouts of the One. Or if he tried, it didn't work.

Gandalf was concerned about the One ring also, and had Narya (controlled by the One) - but he too did not use it to locate the One. Narya was different from the other lesser rings of course, and perhaps less suitable.


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