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Topic: Rings of Power

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Date: Oct 21, 2006
RE: Rings of Power

Dwarves had natural magical resistance.
They couldn't do magic, but nor could they be so easily influenced by magic.
Unfortunately the 7 rings seemed, at least as far as Dwarves are concerned, just like The One, to make a person's greatest desire even more important for them.
We know the 7 Dwarvish Lords only got even greedier after getting the rings, and we know that Thrain who had the last ring was foolish enough to pass close to Dol Guldur on his way to the Lonely Mountain.
Now, I dunno what one of the 9 would have done to them, though I suspect they would have had the same effect.

Elves even though more skilled in magic, would also not be so easily corruptable, because of their nature.

-- Edited by The Might at 14:51, 2006-10-22

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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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I never responded to Gothmog's post about there being a lot of rings of power and that only the strongest ones survived the onslaught of Sauron. I vaguely remember reading that as well and that was the reason I started this thread, to see if anyone else had more detail.

Perhaps it is in HoME or the letters or even BoLT.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Dwarves do not have magical resistance. They were made by Aule in the time of Morgoth to be unyeilding and resistant to corruption.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Tolkien had some interesting things to say in a letter...



'But many of the Elves listened to Sauron. He was still fair in that early time, and his motives and those of the Elves seemed to go partly together: the healing of the desolate lands. Sauron found their weak point in suggesting that, helping one another, they could make Western Middle-earth as beautiful as Valinor. It was realy a veiled attack on the gods, an incitement to try and make a seperate independent paradise. Gilgalad repulsed all such overtures, as also did Elrond. But in Eregion great work began (...)


'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 (...) 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.' JRRT Letters


There's more in the actual letter anyway (some editing here, by me).



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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very interesting quote here Galin...seems to shed some more light on this topic
also, I must congratulate you for your extensive knowledge of the letters
I always regret not having read them yet, because as it seems there is a lot of interesting information in them.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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'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.' JRRT, Letters

Nonetheless, some think the Three were invisible themselves (at least until the destruction of the Ring).

Thoughts? I have my own thoughts developing here, but wondered what others think first.

 



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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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From memory I think there are a few accounts of other people seeing the Three Rings of Power on their bearers. Didn't someone see Galadriel's Ring of Power in Lorien? Also I vaguely recall someone seeing Gandalf's Ring of Power sometime or other.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Very briefly described, yes Frodo saw Nenya in Lothlorien... but Sam says he saw a star through Galadriel's fingers, prompting some to argue that Frodo saw Galadriel's invisible ring with enhanced perception, or special sight.

 

By the time of (the chapter) The Grey Havens the power of the Three is ended in any case -- so for those who argue the Three were once invisible, the idea is that they were no longer invisible by this time.

 



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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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I am not sure in this matter, but it may be that the rings were invisible, or at least were 'magically' hidden from sight. That Frodo could see the ring on Galadriel's finger seems possible to me, given that he was the Bearer of the One Ring at that time.

However I am no expert in LotR so I cannot pinpoint any relevant passages or quotes regarding the issue to back up my opinion (which therefore is just that, a subjective opinion).

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Is there anything that supports the idea of the Three being invisible? Or is it just speculation?

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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It seems a matter of the Three not being described, or mentioned as being noticed by anyone -- outside of the Lothlorien scene (where Sam's answer, for example, is taken into account) and scenes after the One was destroyed.

 

The letter is also interesting: Tolkien notes that the powers of invisibility mentioned (rendering invisible the material body, and making things of the invisible world visible) were more directly derived from Sauron... and then (as we know) Sauron did not touch the Three, nor did these rings confer invisibility.

 

To me this at least seems to distance Sauron even more from the Three, and I can't find any indication of Celebrimbor imbuing the Three with invisibility to keep them secret after he had learned of Sauron's plan -- rather the plan seems to be to try to keep them hidden and out of Sauron's reach (Nenya's tale is a bit confusing here), and they were not to be used in any case (as Sauron still had the One and no one knew he would ever lose it).

 

Of course it has been argued that these rings were invisible nonetheless, and I'm looking for more opinions. Admittedly one would think Sam should have at least noticed a ring, if not certainly realizing it was one of the Three, but I think there are factors that at least could possibly explain this.


 



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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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What factors are you referring to, Galin?

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Well, maybe...

 

... although Earendil was said to be bright enough that Galadriel cast a dim shadow, it was still dark, and Frodo sees the ring when the starlight glanced off Nenya. When Galadriel first lifted up her arms: 'Frodo gazed at the Ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.' We don't know at this point that the Ring was necessarily invisible. I think this connects to Galadriel's question later.

The second time Galadriel lifts her hand the Ring issued a great light that illuminated her alone. Frodo does ask why he cannot: '... see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them' but even this isn't exactly 'simple sight' but perception as well. As Ringbearer his 'sight has grown keener' -- not his physical visual powers I think, but his ability to see that which is hidden from the perception of others.

But of course comes the issue of Sam: yet note Galadriel's question compared to what had been noted about Frodo suddenly understanding: 'And did you not see and recognize the ring upon my finger? Did you see my ring?' she asked, turning to Sam.'

 

Granted Galadriel doesn't say 'and recognize' to Sam as well, but I find it notable that 'and recognize' was added to a draft at some point, where the earlier text simply had 'see' for Frodo's question as well. Sam doesn't actually mention any ring of course, admittedly suggesting invisibility, but he did see something -- and to my mind something connected to what was actually going on too -- he saw 'a star through your [Galadriel's] fingers'.

Again that's something, but perhaps Sam would not 'see' the truth even if he had noticed an actual ring: he wasn't the Bearer of the One, and as a Hobbit in general is 'Halfwise' and simple (Sam already had said he didn't want 'to see no more magic' even). This would be quite like Tolkien in my opinion: a good way to illustrate perception would be to have Sam see something he thought was something else, and simply not understand what all this talk was about.

I'm not saying this is a clearly correct interpretation (especially if there is other text to consider on this point), but if Tolkien wants to keep invisibility in general out of the picture with respect to the Three, perhaps he would have explained this scene as being more about perception than simply visual recognition of a ring.

 

Maybe I would make a poor detective here, but upon meeting people and talking with them (for a while even), I wouldn't necessarily be sure, an hour later or whatever, whether or not they were wearing any rings, unless it's made notable for some reason. It seems odd that Sam didn't actually see any Ring, and odd too that he should say he wondered what they were talking about, as Galadriel simply states she is wearing Nenya! Even if Sam hadn't noticed an actual ring, Galadriel's meaning should be plain enough.

Still, I note what occurs after Sam's vision. Sam was notably upset by what he saw in the mirror, and we don't know how attentive he was being after his experience -- and we can 'see' in his answer to Galadriel that his mind is (at least arguably) still on home after Frodo's vision and conversation -- wishing Galadriel would take the One and stop 'them digging up the gaffer' and so on.

 

Boiled down it's a combination of light, Sam being distracted by his vision and perhaps not even caring to understand (at least at the moment) what Frodo perceived. It's just a possible interpretation I think, but not 'bullet proof' as I say.

 



-- Edited by Galin on Tuesday 7th of June 2011 05:25:53 PM

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Your interpretation is also how I see it. Frodo being a Ringbearer could suddenly perceive Nenya, but Sam could not. This to me suggests that the ring was at least 'magically' hidden from normal people (or to say rather that through its power it could remain hidden from sight). On the other hand, I am not quite sure of its being invisible, or if it only stayed hidden so long as it was worn by Galadriel (or at any rate a mighty person with strong will); that is to say, if she had lost it, I don't picture it staying invisible, but rather becoming visible and plain as any other ring. Could someone take it and immediately feel its power, or should it have been someone who knew about its power beforehand in order to 'access' it?

This is a question I don't have the answer to, but if my line of thought is correct, then I am led to the conclusion that the three rings were not invisible, only hidden by a combination of their own power and the ability of the bearer to make use of that power.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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I should clarify my post above then, just a bit. I'm still on the fence myself, or at least musing about options, but my last post seeks to raise the idea that the Three need not be 'invisible' in any way.

 

So there I'm suggesting that Frodo simply saw Nenya in the (relative) dark because of glancing starlight, and that his greater perception allowed him to 'know' it was one of the mighty Three and not just a nice ring upon the finger of an Elf. He 'suddenly (...) understood' or 'recognized' Nenya for what it was.

 

In other words, the suggestion is that the Three were hidden -- as in, not worn openly or spoken of openly, but people could see them otherwise -- if they were paying enough attention however (Sam arguably was not, at least at all points, and especially after his vision). And seeing one of the Three, if it were allowed, it took exceptional perception to certainly recognize it as one of the Three.

 

It's not certain that Galadriel expected Sam's answer to be that he saw no ring at all, and I think it's possible that the point was rather about recognition in any case.

 

And why add (second edition, The Grey Havens) that Gandalf now openly wore Narya, where earlier editions had, at the same point, already noted Narya on his finger in any case? as the other rings are noted as well at this point. 

 

It's not the only answer, but one answer could be because Gandalf would be particularly cautious about simply wearing Narya: being the Grey Wanderer rather than the already hidden Elf (hidden in his or her Elven realm), simply putting his ring on, if it were easily visible, would be wearing it more openly than if Elrond or Galadriel wore their rings among chosen company.

 

If that makes sense! biggrin



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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Concerning the multiplicity of the rings, I wonder if this is the passage the topic-starter was referring to:

 

"My birthday-present! It came to me on my birthday, my precious." So he had always said to himself. But who knows how Gollum came by that present, ages ago in the old days when such rings were still at large in the world? Perhaps even the Master who ruled them could not have said.

The Hobbit. Riddles in the Dark

 

As to Elves being susceptible or resistant to corruption/influence by rings, I guess the answer is that we don't know, but at least by the Silmarils they were influenced a lot.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Tuesday 30th of July 2013 11:46:50 PM

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Lórellinë

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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What if there were twenty-five, not twenty, gold rings?
 
The list of the Rings of Power has an obvious pattern but a line seems to be missing.  We're all familiar with the One Ring and that of the three elemental ones of the Elves; Narya (meaning 'fire'; worn by Gandalf), Vilya ('air'; worn by Elrond), and Nenya ('water'; worn by Galadriel).   What of the other elements and qualities (see attachment)? 
Sorry; the image didn't attach completely.  Here's a link:
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_element#/media/File:Four_elements_representation.svg
Here's a possible solution:
 
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne.
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky.
Five Rings for the Gnome-princes by the sea.
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in halls of stone.
Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die.
 
Until more is known I will suggest that provisionally these shall be their names; Gondya ('stone'), Ringya ('cold'), Hithya ('mist'), Urya ('heat'), and Lithya ('ash').
 
Perhaps the Blue Wizards had dealt with them and so were not part of the story in The Lord of the Rings.   
 
There is a tale that needs to be told.
 
 


-- Edited by James the Just on Monday 30th of July 2018 04:46:54 PM

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