View Full Version : Saurons Ring

Eldarion son of Aragorn
08-29-2001, 09:09 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Ghost-Prince of Cardolan
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I'm very confused about when Sauron was brought to numenor as a prisoner and he had already made his ring, his body was thrown down n the fall of numenor and his spirit sent back to Mordor, how did he keep his ring?

"He turned to Eldarion, and gave into his hands the winged crown of Gondor and the sceptre of Arnor, and bade him farewell."</p>

08-29-2001, 11:10 AM
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Re: Saurons Ring

A very good question...I have no idea, but an answer to this would also be great for me too... <img src=smile.gif ALT=":)">


08-29-2001, 01:32 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
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Re: Saurons Ring

I believe Tolkien stated in a letter that Sauron took his ring with him to Numenor (and presumably brought it back with him even though his body was destroyed). However, I sadly cannot remember which letter this was in. Perhaps someone else will be able to enlighten us.

<font size="2">Down the sunlit breath of Day's fiery death
He sped from Westerland.</p>

08-29-2001, 06:01 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Newly Deceased
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Re: Saurons Ring

Hmmmmm... maybe he can actully hold on to it while he's a spirit cuase it is a magical ring y'know...or maybe he got a pocket on his spirit clothes...lol


The Barrow-Wight
08-31-2001, 09:36 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wraith of Angmar
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Re: Saurons Ring

I think you've got something there, Lindolir. Sauron in spirit form doesn't mean he was unable to interact with the world around him. He probably engulfed the Ring in his spirit as he made his way back to Middle-earth. Since it was a part of him, it seems likely that the Ring would have clung to him as tightly as he did to it.

The Barrow-Wight (RKittle)
<font size="2">I usually haunt http://www.barrowdowns.comThe Barrow-Downs</a> and The Barrow-Downs http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgiMiddle-Earth Discussion Board</a>.</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000002>RKittle</A>&nbsp; <IMG HEIGHT=10 WIDTH=10 SRC="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/oneringicon.gif" BORDER=0> at: 8/31/01 11:36:35 am

Tar Elenion
09-01-2001, 07:46 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
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Re: Saurons Ring

Letter 211:
&quot;Though reduced to a spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind, I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring&quot;.

Tar-Elenion </p>

Eldarion son of Aragorn
09-08-2001, 08:31 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Ghost-Prince of Cardolan
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Re: Saurons Ring

I still don't understand how he could of kept the ring when he was engulfed by the sea. He couldn't have suspected it to happen. The only way i can see is that he didn't take it with him. This sounds like another balrog question.

"He turned to Eldarion, and gave into his hands the winged crown of Gondor and the sceptre of Arnor, and bade him farewell."</p>

RyAN the Pure Heart
10-24-2001, 10:23 PM
The way i figure it he was in a form similar to the Nazgul, who, although more or less just a shadow, could still wear clothes, or even wield a sword. And therefore cetainly wear a ring.

In the Tolkien world there are many diffrent stages of living. As compaired to our living or dead world where there is no in between, just something to think about


10-25-2001, 09:48 PM
The ring was made with his power and blood,maybe that was the reason he was able to get out of there with it. I don't remember him falling into the sea, I think he would have cooled off so to speak, and GilGalad would not have died from that heat, that even melted his spear. Just my humble opinion. smilies/smile.gif

12-16-2001, 12:36 AM
In "Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age" -- in reference to Sauron's actions after the fall of Numenor and his preparations to challenge the exile realms of Gondor and Arnor, as well as Gil-Galad and the elves -- there is the line: "He took up again the great Ring and clothed himself in power;".

The implication in my view is that when years earlier, Sauron submitted without a fight to Ar-Pharazon, the King of Numenor, he did so without the ruling ring in his possession. Otherwise, he might not have been visible to the Numenoreans or might have had it taken from him by them.

Quite credibly, it was left at Barad-dur under the capable protection of the Nazgul, whom Sauron could definitely trust in this way, as he could send them to fetch the Ring three millenia later. They are slaves to him and to the ruling Ring, and it was beyond those phantoms to do anything other than guard it until their master's return, regardless of form.

[ December 16, 2001: Message edited by: Man-of-the-Wold ]

12-16-2001, 01:31 AM
Good post, Man of the Wold, and a definite possibility. There still exists the letter that Tar Elenion mentioned, however, which seems to imply that he did transport the Ring with him, but how he did so is just going to have to remain unclear to us.

12-16-2001, 01:55 AM
He couldn't be invisible with the ring on, as Isildur seen him when he cut it off. smilies/tongue.gif
And he sure wouldn't leave his most precious possession at Baradur for someone else to get a hold of.

12-16-2001, 03:02 PM
It's possible that to Sauron, the Ring's power to make its bearer invisible was optional.

As long as Barad-dur was guarded by the Nazgul, I see no reason why Sauron would not have left the Ring there. It seems like they would be suitable guards for it.

12-16-2001, 10:00 PM
Would you have left it there if you were him? He wouldn't have left it anywhere, he would have kept it with him, he never would have taken the chance.

12-17-2001, 12:52 AM
You're probably right, Elrian, though I don't think there's enough evidence to rule out Man-of-the-Wold's suggestion. Sauron may have had his reasons for leaving it behind. Perhaps the inherent evil of the Ring prevented him from making himself appear benevolent? Maybe he forged a safe in the fires of Mount Doom. smilies/wink.gif

12-17-2001, 08:37 PM
It didn't say that all the rings were given out at that time, but it does say that some of the 9 were black Numenoreans. He would have never left the ring behind. When he fell into the destruction of Numenor he would have needed the extra power the ring held to get back to Mordor, he certainly didn't swim or go by boat.

12-18-2001, 02:46 AM
Thank you all for the gratifying debate.

The invisibility point was foolish. Sauron is the master of his Ring, and could certainly have controlled its effects, and conceivably, he could have bound it to his spirit as he shed physical form while escaping The Downfall. Mithrandir retained both Narya and Glamdring in a comparable situation after the Battle of the Peak.

As for the recent points of Elrian, I'd say that if Sauron had had the Ring when Numenor drowned, he could have saved himself and returned in much better form then he did. Nevertheless, as indicated in the "Silmarillion" and LOTR, he could be quite resourceful and effective even without the ring, which either did not exist or was lost for him when Isilidur finished him off. (As for the Nine, three had been great Numenorean lords, athough they were ensnared long before the advent of actual "Black Numenoreans." It would be interesting to know where the other six came from, probably kings and warrious among the Easterlings, Haradrim, possibly the Southmen of the White Mountains and Dunland, and much less likely Adunaic groups of the North.)

But still in trying to address Middle-Earth mysteries (as I am frequently compelled to do in response to my eight-year-old daughter’s insatiable and always insightful interrogations), I first give full force and meaning to whatever was actually committed to the main, completed publications (Silmarillion, Hobbit and LOTR), and then only secondarily use available, non-contradictory information from other sources about Tolkien’s work for filling in the blanks.

Returning to my quotation above, one must allow for Sauron to have at some point “put down” the Ring, in order that he could “take [it] up again.” Surely, after making it back to Barad-dur he didn’t just go on a ring-less holiday. Therefore, I still contend that it stayed behind at Barad-dur.

Then the question must be answered: Why might he have risked leaving it behind? For this, I submit that taking it to Numenor might have seemed much the greater risk, given Sauron’s position at the time. First, his assumptions regarding the Numenor had just been shattered by the immense force of the Armada. He was in great fear, and his surrendering was intended to avoid the Numenoreans defeating and destroying his power base, thus saving Mordor. He correctly realized that the Kings of Men were terribly powerful in ways even beyond shear military strength. Therefore, as a hostage of Ar-Pharazon he should have been anxious about keeping anything safe in his possession.

With Mordor no longer the concern of the Sea Kings, and the Middle-Earth Dunedain and Eldar not likely to challenge Mordor without the threat of Sauron (indeed after his return he had the freedom in his realm to mount an attack on Minas Ithil), the Ring would be quite safe there with the Ulairi as guards. They could no more take and use it, as you or I could use our lungs to eat. They were simply an extension of the ring’s power. If need be, they could have secreted it away, assuming Sauron didn’t institute other safeguards before he went to Umbar. And the capacity to delude and corrupt the Numenoreans was manifest even before the making of the Rings of Power.


“ . . . their rich men ever richer.”

“[Sauron] said: ‘ . . . And though, doubtless, the gift of life unending is not for all, but only for such as are worthy, being men of might and pride and great lineage, . . .’.”

12-18-2001, 10:45 AM
More of Letter 211, of which Tar-Elenion alreay quoted a part:

Ar-Pharaz˘n, as told in the 'Downfall' or Akallabŕth conquered a terrified Sauron's subjects, not Sauron. Sauron's personal surrender was voluntary and cunning: he got free transport to N˙menor! He naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the wills of most N˙menoreans. (I do not think Ar-Pharaz˘n knew anything about the One Ring...)

So yes, Sauron did have the Ring with him on Numenor.

[ December 18, 2001: Message edited by: Elenhin ]

12-18-2001, 11:32 AM
JRRT's two letters on the subject seem to me to be very clear: Sauron took the Ring to Numenor with him and his spirit carried it away after the Downfall.

Two additional points. Of the members of the Fellowship, none perceived that Galadriel possessed an Elven ring except for Frodo (and he recognized it only because he bore the One) and none "saw" Narya on Gandalf's hand. Given the inherent power of the One and he who wielded it, it seems that Sauron could have easily hidden it from the Numenoreans. Second, and I'm trying to recall where I read this (either HoME, Akallabeth or UT), the elves did not reveal the existence of the Rings of Power or the One to men, possibly until the Last Alliance. So the Numenoreans may have been unaware of the One. I seem to recall this being stated in conjunction with a discussion of the origins of the Ring Verses (whether they were elvish or mannish in origin and when they were "written").

12-18-2001, 01:46 PM
Nice work, Mithadan and Elenhin. I guess that settles it. smilies/smile.gif

12-18-2001, 03:56 PM
Wait a minute Obloquy! Last I checked, JRRT has not named me the final arbiter of LoTR debates. In fact I hate it when one of my posts ends a thread. Let's see if Man-of-the-Wold can muster a response and keep this debate going. smilies/wink.gif

12-18-2001, 04:08 PM
Well met!

As far as Sauron taking the Ring with him to Numenor, I doubt he can further that argument in view of the Letters quotes. But I don't suppose I should speak for everyone. You've got me convinced, but let's see what Man-of-the-Wold and his daughter think. smilies/biggrin.gif

12-18-2001, 08:04 PM
Well, this is quite something.

Clearly, when Tolkien wrote those letters, which I have not studied, his idea was that Sauron had the Ring, and evidently used its power on the Numenoreans, to which Sauron certainly did indeed submit voluntarily, "to gain what he would by subtlety when force might not avail."

However, this seems at odds with the Akallabeth and "Of the Rings of Power and Third Age," where the Ring is in no way even hinted at in all Sauron's dealings in Numenor.

So, one can accept the letters at face value as the formulation that Tolkien settled on and had in mind when composing those books as they were posthumously published. There are definitely ways to allow that he could have "spirited" it back to Middle-Earth somehow even with the lost of his bodily form in the Downfall.

But I personally would like to know more about the timing of those letters and whatever information is available (perhaps in HoME) with respect to the development of Tolkien's writing in this respect.

I would offer two reasons why JRRT's ultimate formulation involved a Ring-less serpent in the Garden of the Edain:

1. First, the quote that I started with, which I have also found repeated more firmly in the Akallabeth: "There he took up again his great Ring in Barad-dur," (which admittedly might mean nothing more than that he put it back to work, but somehow that doesn't make sense given the tone, etc.)

2. With the Ring at fault the Numenoreans seem less culpable in their own fall. Who could expect them to resist corruption in the face of Sauron wielding the One Ring. No, I think that Tolkien wanted Sauron's imprisonment in Numenor to be only a mistake of pride and the precipitator of the Numenoreans' fall.

Surely, Sauron's impact on Numenor was very severe, leading to Melkor/devil worship, human sacrifice, conquest and all the rest. But as a moral lesson, it was really intended to be a demonstration of Man's own penchant for pride, arrogance, fear and thus evil, which Sauron simply fostered and vastly accelerated with lies and deceptions, on top of a thousand-year-old trend.

This was the fall from grace that Men only redeemed when the Dunedain (such as the rangers Aragorn and Faramir) and their allies returned to a state simple nobility not unlike the Edain of the First Age. To blame it on the Ring in Numenor simply potrays the Numenoreans as victims.

As for some of the minor points:

a. Yes, of course Sauron could conceal the Ring from casual sightings, but he didn't know what would happen when he was at the mercy of the Numenoreans and the powers that they might and did in fact have. Think of Amon Hen. Also, Isildur and Elendil were able to take Ring, at admittedly a great cost. My daughter and I still see taking the Ring to Numenor as the greater risk.

b. Unless the paranthetical note in the Letter 211 quote is also from the letter itself, and not a personal remark, I don't see why the Numenoreans would not have had at least as much of an idea about the One Ring as Isildur did, which was still quite naive. Sauraon had given the Nine to Men including three Numenoreans captain early in the Second Age, and Tar-Eldarion and Tar-Ministar had worked close with Gil-Galad in running Sauron out of Eriador. Surely, they'd have learned the Lore of the Rings during those events.

So, that it for now.

12-19-2001, 07:31 AM
I knew I should have quoted a longer part of that letter. The sentences after my previous quote are:
I do not think Ar-Pharaz˘n knew anything about the One Ring. The Elves kept the matter of the Rings very secret, as long as they could. In any case Ar-Pharaz˘n was not in communication with them...

The letter was sent in 1958 in response to a reader who had asked several questions regarding the LotR and its appendices. One of them was simply "How could Ar-Pharaz˘n defeat Sauron when Sauron had the One Ring?", and Tolkien answered it with a short version of the Downfall-story.

I don't know when 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age' was written, and I don't think that its "original" version is included in the HoME series. Does anyone know the year?

About the moral of the story. I don't think that a Ring-wielding Sauron makes the Numenoreans any less guilty. The Numenoreans surely could have resisted unwanted influence from Sauron - they were the Kings of Men and all that. They were already quite evil when Sauron first got there, and it can't have been really difficult to make them worship Melkor, with or without the Ring.

[ December 19, 2001: Message edited by: Elenhin ]

12-19-2001, 10:36 AM
Tolkien didn't think of the Numenoreans as mere victims. Here's some stuff from Letters (interesting that Letters contains so much information on the Numenoreans!):
The Downfall is partly the result of an inner weakness in Men – consequent, if you will, upon the first Fall (unrecorded in these tales), repented but not finally healed. Reward on earth is more dangerous for men than punishment! The Fall is achieved by the cunning of Sauron in exploiting this weakness. Its central theme is (inevitably, I think, in a story of Men) a Ban, or Prohibition.

So the Numenoreans were at least partly responsible.

Here's another interesting point a little bit later in the same letter:
They became thus in appearance, and even in powers of mind, hardly distinguishable from the Elves – but they remained mortal, even though rewarded by a triple, or more than a triple, span of years. Their reward is their undoing – or the means of their temptation. Their long life aids their achievements in an and wisdom, but breeds a possessive attitude to these things, and desire awakes for more time for their enjoyment.

Here it says that even in "powers of mind" (will? perception?) the Numenoreans were nearly on par with the Elves (Eldar?). So we could conclude that they were just as culpable for their Fall as those Elves in Eregion would have been, had their error been as fully realized as that of the Numenorean rebels. The last two sentences also apply to another recent thread that pointed to the Elves' immortality as their bane. This quote was speaking specifically of the Numenoreans, but we know that Tolkien considered the concept and may have applied it to the Elves as well.

Here's just a bit more pertinent information from the same letter:

There are three phases in their fall from grace. First acquiescence, obedience that is free and willing, though without complete understanding. Then for long they obey unwillingly, murmuring more and more openly. Finally they rebel – and a rift appears between the King's men and rebels, and the small minority of persecuted Faithful.

Gotta go stand in line for seats! Hope these quotes help. smilies/smile.gif

12-19-2001, 01:07 PM
I knew I saw that bit about the elves concealing the existence of the Rings somewhere, though I think there's a more extensive discussion in another book.

BTW, Man-of-the-Wold, congrats on being named the Down's Poster of the Week (see the BarrowDowns Forum).

12-19-2001, 03:22 PM
Those letters are darn intertesting. I will need to get a good edition of them and HoME, although my worruy has always been to get too enmeshed in the evolution of Mr. Tolkien's work, in which there are inevitable conflicts with the configuration that matches and makes his published tales what they are. True Genius.

The letter was clearly from some time ago, and may relate to early conceptions of Numenor and the Second Age. It is an attempt, soon after publication, to clarify LOTR, Appendix A,(I),(i), which is very cursory, and for which one may assume that Mr. Tolkien had only developed the historical outline of Second Age tales, which were sadly never really developed fully.

The Akallebeth and "Of the Rings or Power and the Third Age" provide quite a bit, and are found (I think) always in association with the Quenta Silmarillion, for which my first HMCo American Printing of the "The Silmarillion" is one of my last great Tolkien acquisitions, until about a year ago, when my daughter and I got into it in anticipation of today's long-awaited event.

(The Unfinished Tales though provide some excellent stuff too, for which I'd have urged C. Tolkien to have refined into the best possible complete stories.)

I think it is clear, as I and others have noted, that Tolkien was nevertheless very interested in the concept of Numenor. It expands on the Atlantis tales, by painting a picture of how enhanced grace can be more than Men can handle. Mr. Tolkien was at pains to show with the example Beor the Old that resistence to death was not a natural state but a manifestation of pride and fear. But that these arose from the free choices and attitudes that true Men have the choic and usually the power to reject.

Whether Sauron had the ring in "his pocketes" so-to-speak, while in Numenor, is not really critical. The story is pivotal to Tolkien's philosphy, and I suspect that he wanted to go beyond the conception that Sauron used the Ring to "dominate the will" of the King's Men, as indicated in that letter. If this were the case then they are not so culpable, and more akin to "victims."

So, I still prefer to think that Sauron left the Ring behind, and was merely a manipulative voice. [Also, Sauron likely would NOT have known whether the Elves had tried or been successful in keeping the Ring's existence secret from the Numenoreans, although Tolkien's letter suggests that he may have wanted that to be the Elves' objective]

If Sauron was supposed to have the Ring while in Numenor (and of course brought it back) then I believe that Tolkien would have us not think of it as an excuse for the Numenorean's Fall:

They had long started down the path of arrogance and faithfulness.

However much Sauron "bewitched" the King, his really effect was not through power, but rather mischievious lies that preyed on fears and greed, and that the King's Men chose to listen to, paralleling Melkor's plan with the Noldor, for which goodness was more of a predetermination.

They then descended into the type of horrible sin that Sauron promoted through ever increasing fears of death and hate of the Valar.

02-09-2003, 05:55 AM
Forgive my feeble chronological powers, but did the Nazgűl actually exist when Sauron went to N˙menor? I believe that the Nine had been given out before the One was forged (or they might not have seemed quite as attractive), but had enough time elapsed for their bearers to become the wraiths that we know and love?

If the Nazgűl were not around in their Third Age form, the One would not have had a very suitable guardian. Presumably a guardian would be needed to keep any wannabe Lords of the Rings away from Sauron's preciouss. And if the Ringwraiths were present at that point, I am very impressed by Ar-Pharaz˘n's ability to defeat Sauron's forces (unless of course there was no battle necessary). I think that to defeat the Nazgűl without the help of any High Elves would have been quite an accomplishment.

One of my reasons for believing Sauron took the One with him to N˙menor is his desire for the Ring. It completes him (thanks, Jerry). I think that he was at least as vulnerable as others to the lure of the Ring. True he was Its master, and probably able to control most of its power, but I think he also would have been bound to Its rules. Tolkien's point was that by externalising power, you lose a degree of control over It (his analogy was of a dictator using armies to become powerful, which could not always be relied on completely), and so in a way you become subordinate to It.

Inderjit Sanghera
02-09-2003, 06:22 AM
Yes-the Nazgul existed when Sauron went to Numeneor.

LoTR;appendix;tale of years

Second age:
2251: About this time the Nazgul, or ringwraiths, first appear.

Sauron went to Numenor in 3262.

The nine were given out after Sauron slew the smiths of Eregion and captured Eregion.

05-01-2003, 03:31 PM
i agree, the hatred within suaron and the ring was very strong, so he held on to it as it held on to him. Hatred can never be seperated.