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Old 10-24-2008, 04:32 PM   #1
Alfirin
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Ring of fire, Ring of Air, Ring of ?

I was wondering about something. Given the fact that each of the three eleven rings is associated with an element (Narya is referred to as the ring of fire, Villia as the ring of water, and Nenya as that of air) does anyone else get a feeling that it was orginally Celembrimbor's interntion to craft four eleven rings, that is to make a ring of earth as well. I can even vagely imagine such a ring and what it would look like; it's stone color probably green (I would even go so far as to imagine that said stone would be of similar substance to that which makes up Aragorn's Ellesar (a really fun idea for a fanfic would be the implication that that is what the ellesary orginally was, intended rough for the stone to be set in the Earth ring, and only later re-classified as a sutible token for the King of free men. well what do the rest of you think?
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:01 AM   #2
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Slight correction: Vilya is the Ring of Air, and Nenya is of Water.

I think you have a very interesting idea there, Alfirin!. I have considered the connection of the Rings to elements as well, and here is what I think.

There are not four elements found in most philosophies, but five: Earth, Water, Air, Fire + something referring to the Spirit world: Aether or "non-matter" or "Void" etc.

The Greek Classical Elements (Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Aether) date from pre-Socratic times and persisted throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, deeply influencing European thought and culture. The Roman Catholic Church supported the Aristotelian concept of aether because it supported the Christian view of earthly life as impermanent and heaven as eternal. The Hindu and Japanese also had essentially the same five elements: the four states-of-matter, plus a fifth element to describe that which was beyond the material world (non-matter or Void).

In Tolkien's Arda, Spirit World (Shadow World, the Invisible) exists parallel to the ordinary, physical, one (the World of Light) - like another side of one coin. So the concept of Aether would fit into the ME philosophy nicely.

I think that all the Rings may have been associated with each of the 5 elements:
Vilya with Air
Nenya with Water
Narya with Fire
The Seven Rings all associated with Earth
The Nine Rings all associated with Aether.

And indeed, we don't even know whether there were noticeable differences either between the rings within the Seven or between those of the Nine. Therefore all the Seven and all the Nine could constitute one entity each.

Dwarven Rings surely made Dwarves think of Earthly matters: collecting gold and wealth, mining of mithril, maybe they also helped in the craft.

The properties of the Nine Rings, (barring preservation, which is the property of all the Rings alike) seem to be connected mostly with the Spirit World, with Aether. The Nine cause psychological effects on the wielders and the surrounding people.

So, no - no additional Rings were necessary. All the elements had their Rings.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:12 PM   #3
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Narya

yeah sorry about that, I always get Nenya and Vilia confused, probably because to me, blue is the color or water (the blue sea) and white that of air (air is invisible), not the other way around. I can of course see the logic of the other way round (the sky is blue, and water is, in and of itself colorless).
The Japanese use aether (or as I learned it, "spirit") as the fifth element? I always assumed that they used the Chinese system, where element five is metal, which is seperate from earth (or is it that earth is divided into metal and wood, my mind seems to be confused on the subject)
On a related note what do you think the stones in the rings are. Galadriel specifcally refers to her ring as being the ring of adamant so it fairly safe to assume a diamond. The ovios idea is that the other two are a sapphire and a ruby, but they could be diamonds as well, as diamonds do come in colors (the Hope (blue) being an obvios example, along with such famous exmaples as the Dresden (green) the Tiffany (yellow) and the Hancock (purply-red). A part of me almost wants to believe they are all diamonds if not a type of elf gem more pure and perfect than any found in nature. Certainly each stones is proably truly exceptional; Vilia's diamond is probably waht in the gem trade is often referred to as a "Golconda" Narya's stone if a ruby is likely a "pigeon's blood" ruby and Nenya Sapphire likey makes the finest stones of Kashmir look grey.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:59 PM   #4
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Dwarven Rings surely made Dwarves think of Earthly matters: collecting gold and wealth, mining of mithril, maybe they also helped in the craft.
Exactly, also, fire, air and water are the three major components of earth. It would seem a bit redundant to make a ring of earth.

EDIT: Oh, you already pointed that out, Gordis. I guess I'm the redundent one here.
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
There are not four elements found in most philosophies, but five: Earth, Water, Air, Fire +
Slight correction;





Back to the matter in hand;

This matter did niggle me once upon a time. I had thought that the One Ring was very much the 'earth ring', as it were. (Given wheat Gordis has said, I'm more inclined to agree with him, but I feel it nice to explain this theory as well)...
Sauron's desire was to rule Middle Earth. He wanted it to bend to his will. Looking at the land of Mordor we can see that this extended even to the ruin of the earth itself. Not simply ruling the things living on it, but the land itself. It struck me that perhaps it was his intention to use the power of the ring to 'wither all woods'. Thus the Ring would give him power over the earth itself and therefore, you may say, was the Ring of earth.

Another line of thinking is that Tolkien thought; wind, fire, water and earth was clich .
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hookbill the Goomba View Post
Slight correction;



LOL.

I am no expert on old philosophies. You better google "Four elements" and "Five elements" to learn much more.
I gather Tolkien mostly took into account the European (originally Greek) tradition of Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Aether. Especially considering that the Roman Catholic Church backed it. Japanese-Chinese beliefs were more alien to him, I guess.

As for the stones, it is stated (somewhere) that Nenya had an adamant, Narya a ruby and Vilya a sapphire. Nenya was made of mithril, the rest of gold. Every one of the Seven and the Nine had its own stone, but we are not told which ones.
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:27 AM   #7
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I suppose that Art must also be considered: "Four rings for the Elven kings" just doesn't sound quite as nice as "Three rings for the Elven kings." Then again, that's just Sauron, writing his binding-verse, and he never appears to have even considered that one of the Three was never owned by an Elven king, lord, or even male (other than its maker, Celebrimbor).

I have also suspected, rather more seriously, that Tolkien went for three rather than four as a symbolic nod to the Trinity; he does admit, after all, that he rather intentionally thought of lembas as something akin to the viaticum of communion, which was why is became so strengthening and sustaining the more it was a person's sole nourishment. This would seem to fall into that same kind of symbolic (not allegorical) thought. Then again, he may have started off with a thing for prime numbers, until he got to the Nine.
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:44 AM   #8
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I have also suspected, rather more seriously, that Tolkien went for three rather than four as a symbolic nod to the Trinity; he does admit, after all, that he rather intentionally thought of lembas as something akin to the viaticum of communion, which was why is became so strengthening and sustaining the more it was a person's sole nourishment. This would seem to fall into that same kind of symbolic (not allegorical) thought. Then again, he may have started off with a thing for prime numbers, until he got to the Nine.
Nine has some mystical symbolism. It is, after all, representative of Mankind (9 months of pregnancy), and Dante does have 9 circles in Hell (appropriate for Man in the evil sense of the Rings). The Trojan War lasted nine years, and Trojans, as we all know, help protect against the 9 months of pregnancy, which leads to the nine circles of Hell before a child graduates and leaves home.

See, it's all a vast, intertwined web of numerology.
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:19 PM   #9
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I think Gordis makes a good point.

On another note how about the ring verse:

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Ash nazg durbatulk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul
Maybe this is one of Tolkien's "puns". There are 13 words, which might correspond to the fact that in LOTR, only 13 rings of effective/important- The Nine, The Three and The One.
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:40 PM   #10
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Narya

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Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
LOL.

I am no expert on old philosophies. You better google "Four elements" and "Five elements" to learn much more.
I gather Tolkien mostly took into account the European (originally Greek) tradition of Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Aether. Especially considering that the Roman Catholic Church backed it. Japanese-Chinese beliefs were more alien to him, I guess.

As for the stones, it is stated (somewhere) that Nenya had an adamant, Narya a ruby and Vilya a sapphire. Nenya was made of mithril, the rest of gold. Every one of the Seven and the Nine had its own stone, but we are not told which ones.
That table's the Pratchett-Discworld one right, the one worked out by Wen the Eternally Surpised?

Okay, so the blue and red stones are specifed as being a ruby and sapphire. okay I withdraw the "three diamonds" theroy, though I do feel it is imcumbent of me to make mention of the fact that until reltively recent times (when technology allowed them to be differentiated) stones were usually assigned their identity based soley on color; any stone that was the right red was assumed to be a ruby, the right shades of green a emerlad etc. (this is why the giant stone in the british crown is called the "black prince's ruby", even though it is tecnically a spinel. Actually when someon did a study of the major sizable historic rubies in the crown jewels of europe, none ) of them turned out to actually be rubies (the few that weren't spinels were garnets) if Middle earth also classifies by color alone than a red diaons would be thought a ruby and a blue one a sapphire. Final fun aside, when the conquistadors first sacked the aztec empire the found in the treasury chuncks of truly incredible emerald (the cream of the mines of Colombia). However at that itme it was believed that emeralds were as hard and tough as diamonds so to test them the conqustadors smashed them with hammers, when the shattered they assumed what they had found was glass and discarded it. (all those fine emeralds you see in cargoes of ships like the Atocha came later after a conqustador who was actually familar with stones happen to be in a party.
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Old 10-27-2008, 08:32 AM   #11
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Ring of fire, Ring of Air, Ring of ?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I was wondering about something. Given the fact that each of the three eleven rings is associated with an element (Narya is referred to as the ring of fire, Villia as the ring of water, and Nenya as that of air) does anyone else get a feeling that it was orginally Celembrimbor's interntion to craft four eleven rings, that is to make a ring of earth as well. I can even vagely imagine such a ring and what it would look like; it's stone color probably green (I would even go so far as to imagine that said stone would be of similar substance to that which makes up Aragorn's Ellesar (a really fun idea for a fanfic would be the implication that that is what the ellesary orginally was, intended rough for the stone to be set in the Earth ring, and only later re-classified as a sutible token for the King of free men. well what do the rest of you think?
According to the UT chapter The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, The Elessar given to Aragorn had one of two origins:

1. It was made in Gondolin by a smith named "Enerdhil". who gave it to Turgon's daughter, Idril. She gave it to Erendil, who took it with him to Valinor. Olrin (Gandalf) later brought it with him to ME and gave it to Galadriel

2. Galadriel was complaining to Celebrimbor in Eregion about the fading and decay she saw everywhere in ME. He, out of love for her and knowing the first Elessar to be gone forever, wrought the second Elessar to ease her heart and allow her to heal the hurts of her realm and generally arrest the passage of time (basically the same power she obtained with her use of Nenya). After she was
given the Ring, she gave the Elessar to Celebran, her daughter, who then gave it to Arwen.

I had never considered the 'elemental' question before and can find no evidence that was Celebrimbor's intention, but I suppose it is possible.
The Elessar, however, seemingly had no part, theoretical or otherwise, in the making of the Three.
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Old 10-27-2008, 04:30 PM   #12
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According to the UT chapter The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, The Elessar given to Aragorn had one of two origins:

1. It was made in Gondolin by a smith named "Enerdhil". who gave it to Turgon's daughter, Idril. She gave it to Erendil, who took it with him to Valinor. Olrin (Gandalf) later brought it with him to ME and gave it to Galadriel

2. Galadriel was complaining to Celebrimbor in Eregion about the fading and decay she saw everywhere in ME. He, out of love for her and knowing the first Elessar to be gone forever, wrought the second Elessar to ease her heart and allow her to heal the hurts of her realm and generally arrest the passage of time (basically the same power she obtained with her use of Nenya). After she was
given the Ring, she gave the Elessar to Celebran, her daughter, who then gave it to Arwen.

I had never considered the 'elemental' question before and can find no evidence that was Celebrimbor's intention, but I suppose it is possible.
The Elessar, however, seemingly had no part, theoretical or otherwise, in the making of the Three.
I never really meant it to have a part other than theoretically. My though process was a follows; when Celembrior set about making the rings he would have of course have need raw materials, gold, mithril and gems. I made the assumption that for such a special undertaking stones would be cut specifically (there is not particualr reason for this (Celembrimbor, could have just as easly simply reached into a suppy of already cut gems and just taken out a ruby, sapphire, etc of the size he wanted, but having them cut special somehwo seems right). All I was implying with the ellesar angle was that any green stone needed for a hypotetical ring would likely have been of a similar substance to what Ellesar is made of and resemble it in color greatly. what I was implying was that if there was a ring of earth planned but never done Celembrimbor would have had a pieces of green rough lying around. this would actually still fit with the second orgin theory as celembrimbor looks to make another ellessary he look around his workshop finds the chunk of green rough and says to himself "Ah, this will do nicely" an thus begins work on the Ellessar.
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Old 12-07-2008, 10:42 AM   #13
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Ring The One Ring

This is an interesting thread. I'd always thought of the One Ring as the ring of aether.
The dwarves' rings (collectively) as rings of earth makes some sense.
The Men's rings . . . well, I would not worry about them too much. Aside from the One, the three eleven rings seem most potent to me, partly because of their bearers.
The nine rings for mortal men would not need to be anywhere near the potency of the three or even the seven. Men, especially kings of men, tend to be proud, ambitious, hubristic in a rediculously short life span (that is, compared to other races). Doesn't take much to put them over the edge; they can be easily tempted to avarice. Also, just a little *magic* (Galadriel might have a problem with my use of the word) would go a long way with Men. Maybe the Men's rings are not identified with an element, but with some compound or are a lower order ring connected to the greater ones only by Sauron's binding-verse. There were many other rings in the earlier Age; any one of them would have been too much for a Man to handle, don't you think?
Just wanted to put this quirky idea forward. Hope it sparks some debate!
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:22 PM   #14
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Vair, I think you underestimate Men - and without good grounds.

After all, Aragorn was a Man, and a great man, (and the greater you are, the greater is the pull of the Ring), but he did resist even the lure of the One: where Boromir and Isildur before him had failed.
The future nazgul were great Men as well, but they were at a grave disadvantage: they had no idea about the nature of the Rings they were offered. They didn't know the peril as the Elves kept the matter of the Rings and Sauron's involvement in it secret.
By the way, the idea that they took the Rings because of "avarice", "greed" and "without questions" in not supported by any Tolkien's writings. It is an invention of the movies, that tend to simplify things and represent Men as weak and greedy.

Anyway, the Nine Rings were not made for Men, but for Elves (as well as the Seven and the Three). They undoubtedly count among the 20 Great Rings, in contrast to the Lesser rings made before. Great Rings were able to prolong the lives of mortals - untill they faded. That was a thing that the Lesser Rings couldn't do. All the Great Rings (save the Ruling Ring) had their proper gems, while the lesser were plain.

Also consider this. The Nine and the Seven were undoubtedly part of the original plan: they were made by Celebrimbor and Annatar jointly. So, if I am right, first they made the Rings of Aether, then the Rings of Earth.

The Three is a questionable matter, Celebrimbor made them alone, after Annatar had left Eregion. But were they made in secret from Annatar, or were they part of the original plan agreed upon? I think the latter: and it is the only possible explanation if the Rings were indeed associated with the elements. (Otherwise how could the plan stop at only two elements out of the five?) Thus Celebrimbor alone made the Rings of Air, Water and Fire and completed the circle.

As for the One, it was surely NOT a part of the plan agreed upon by Celebrimbor and Annatar. It was the Ruling Ring, nasty surprise for Celebrimbor. It exceeded all the 19 Rings in power and seemingly contained all their properties combined. I believe it should be outside the "elemental scheme".
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
The future nazgul were great Men as well, but they were at a grave disadvantage: they had no idea about the nature of the Rings they were offered. They didn't know the peril as the Elves kept the matter of the Rings and Sauron's involvement in it secret.

By the way, the idea that they took the Rings because of "avarice", "greed" and "without questions" in not supported by any Tolkien's writings. It is an invention of the movies, that tend to simplify things and represent Men as weak and greedy.
I will have to disagree, Gordis, Men knew full well that an enchantment lay on the Rings, and they used them quite readily to gain wealth and power, and through avarice and lust for dominion Sauron entrapped them:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
...but to Men he gave nine, for men proved in this matter as in others the readiest to his will.
Clearly, the implication here is that Man is more prone to evil, to avarice and to the snares of power, more so than any other race.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
Men proved easier to ensnare. Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerors and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing.
Likewise, it is evident that Men used the Rings as tools to increase their wealth and power, and that Men were quite aware of the abilities the Rings bestowed; however, it is also plain that, like any other addict, they ignored the painful side effects, and blithely went on using the Rings without concern for consequences. They may not have been aware of the end result, but they certainly would know the toll the Rings were taking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
Also consider this. The Nine and the Seven were undoubtedly part of the original plan: they were made by Celebrimbor and Annatar jointly. So, if I am right, first they made the Rings of Aether, then the Rings of Earth.
I am unaware of Tolkien ever using the term 'Rings of Aether'. Could you point it out in the text for me? Thanks.
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:48 PM   #16
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I will have to disagree, Gordis, Men knew full well that an enchantment lay on the Rings, and they used them quite readily to gain wealth and power, and through avarice and lust for dominion Sauron entrapped them.
The Nine Men knew it were Elven Rings of power and thus surely enchanted.
What they didn't know was that the Rings were corrupted by Sauron and that he possessed the Ruling Ring, thus gaining access to their thoughts and their souls, while they wore the Nine.
The Elves made the Rings for themselves and were eager to use them for their own ends - to "embalm" things, to prevent fading etc. Had the Elves used them, they would have been entrapped in the same way as the Nazgul. What prevented them from using the Rings was only the knowledge of Sauron's treachery: the Elves took off their Rings and didn't use them in the Second Age because they knew it was perilous while Sauron had the One. Men didn't possess such info.

As for intentions, it is clear that at least some of the Men had been well-meaning from the start:
Quote:
A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later - later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last - sooner or later the dark power will devour him.-The Shadow of the Past, LOTR
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Clearly, the implication here is that Man is more prone to evil, to avarice and to the snares of power, more so than any other race.
Actually it shows that between Dwarves and Men, Men were more easily corrupted, while Dwarves proved practically immune to the Rings. Thus Men got weaker Rings and more rings than the Dwarves. Here is the whole quote:
Quote:
But Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power (that is the Seven and the Nine]; and he dealt them out to the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping thus to bring under his sway all those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind. Seven Rings he gave to the Dwarves; but to Men he gave nine, for Men proved in this matter as in others the readiest to his will.
As for "snares of power" etc. we know what certain Elves and Maiar are capable of...
Quote:
Likewise, it is evident that Men used the Rings as tools to increase their wealth and power, and that Men were quite aware of the abilities the Rings bestowed; however, it is also plain that, like any other addict, they ignored the painful side effects, and blithely went on using the Rings without concern for consequences. They may not have been aware of the end result, but they certainly would know the toll the Rings were taking.
Once they started using the Rings it was next to impossible to stop: that was the whole point of the snare. And Sauron, gradually working on the Men's minds through the One, succeeded to corrupt them and to change their mentality, so their good purposes didn't last long. But had Elves or Maiar been in the Men's place, it would have happened with them as well. None was incorruptible, even Dwarves (to a certain extent). Gandalf feared to take the Ring himself, as did Galadriel, just because they knew that.

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I am unaware of Tolkien ever using the term 'Rings of Aether'. Could you point it out in the text for me? Thanks.
He didn't. It is a hypotheses I have advanced in my first post. Neither did Tolkien write that ALL the Rings were associated with Elements. The Three were - but what about the rest? It is being discussed in this thread.
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:05 PM   #17
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I'm personally against the reasoning shown above by Gordis, when speaking of the Seven as Rings of Earth and the Nine as Rings of Aether.

It was only a coincidence that Dwarves were naturally inclined to love gold and gems that the Rings increased this lust.

As for the Nine, they worked very much like the Seven, only difference is Men wanted rather power then treasures.

So in the end you could rather say the Nine = the Seven, there was not any big difference between them really, only the consequence was due to the different bearers. So attributing them to different elements makes little sense.

As for the Three, that is a different story, as after all they were not touched by Sauron. Here you really can see a certain connection to the elements, especially in the case of Gandalf, of whom it is said that his innate power of controlling flames and fire was enhanced by the ring.

Why is there no ring of earth?
Well, I believe because the Rings were not intended to symbolise the elements in the first place.
Usually, the classical elements are thought of as being equal, but in Tolkien's works this equality is clearly broken by Vilya being stronger than the other two.

My conclusion?
It was never intended to have a Ring of Earth and the other three elements were chosen so as to fit with their bearers.
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:35 PM   #18
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As for intentions, it is clear that at least some of the Men had been well-meaning from the start:

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A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later - later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last - sooner or later the dark power will devour him.’-The Shadow of the Past, LOTR
Actually it shows that between Dwarves and Men, Men were more easily corrupted, while Dwarves proved practically immune to the Rings. Thus Men got weaker Rings and more rings than the Dwarves.
Gandalf is referring to the Rings in general, and seemingly more regarding the One, and not specifically to the Nine. Gandalf does not indicate that any of those who became Nazgul had any good intentions whatsoever. In my reading, it seems plain that Sauron chose the Nine ringbearers shrewdly as Men having the exact temperment and greed to eventually become his Ulairian thralls.

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Once they started using the Rings it was next to impossible to stop: that was the whole point of the snare. And Sauron, gradually working on the Men's minds through the One, succeeded to corrupt them and to change their mentality, so their good purposes didn't last long. But had Elves or Maiar been in the Men's place, it would have happened with them as well. None was incorruptible, even Dwarves (to a certain extent). Gandalf feared to take the Ring himself, as did Galadriel, just because they knew that.
Hmmm...the Rings heighten a man's abilites, virtues and vices -- what men are predisposed to, so the Ring works on; therefore, it seems plain that the Nine Ringbearers, already great and evilly disposed men of their lands (I believe it says somewhere that the WiKi was a sorceror of note prior to wearing a Ring), used the Rings to heighten their own aspirations. You seem to be forgiving the Men all their trespasses and imputing to the Ring all eventual evil; on the contrary, the Ringwraiths were chosen precisely for the evil that already was in their hearts.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:24 PM   #19
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My conclusion?
It was never intended to have a Ring of Earth and the other three elements were chosen so as to fit with their bearers.
You may be right and I can't prove that the Seven and the Nine were necessarily also connected with the elements, as were the Three. Yet, it would somehow make the whole scheme less perfect, wouldn't it?

Your last statement, however makes me wonder who the original owners of the Three were supposed to be? Certainly not Gandalf - at the time even himself had no idea he would come to ME one day. Certainly not Elrond - he wasn't that important a figure yet. Then who?

I think Celebrimbor made one ring for himself and likely it was the strongest ring, Vilya.
Galadriel, who was present for most of the time in Ost-in Edhil and was Celebrimbor's secret love, most likely was supposed to get Nenya from the start. I guess Celebrimbor tailor-made it for her, using not gold, sullied by Morgoth, but pure Mithril.
Then who was to have Narya? Interesting question, isn't it? Was it Celeborn? Or perhaps the King Gil-Galad? Or maybe Celebrimbor kept Narya for his buddy Annatar, one of fiery nature, former maia of Aule? We are not told that Celebrimbor and Annatar parted as enemies back in 1500... And as disinterested as Annatar may have seemed, it would have been unfair if he himself wouldn't get a single ring out of the common project.

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Originally Posted by Morthoron
Gandalf is referring to the Rings in general, and seemingly more regarding the One, and not specifically to the Nine. Gandalf does not indicate that any of those who became Nazgul had any good intentions whatsoever.
I have to disagree. Gandalf speaks of the great Rings in general, but what mortal but the nazgul had become "in the end invisible permanently", had become a wraith? Not a single one, only the Nine. Any information Gandalf relates could only refer to the fate of the nazgul, otherwise it would be idle speculation. Yet it is not- Gandalf speaks with full knowledge.

Actually this passage by Gandalf reads like a lament for someone he knew well; one even gets an impression that Gandalf speaks as first-hand witness. And as written, it was exactly the case. This is a very old element of the story, as can be gleaned from the drafts published in HOME 6. Originally, all the wizards were Men, not Maiar, and the Wizard-King (Witch-King in the published story) was "the most powerful of the wizards of Men", Gandalf's boss. Most likely, Gandalf referred to him in this passage, having been witness to his fall to the Ring.

Now, in the published story, Gandalf, of course, is a Maia who came to ME about three thousand years after the nazgul had become wraiths. Yet the passage remains as it was written.

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Originally Posted by Morthoron
(I believe it says somewhere that the WiKi was a sorceror of note prior to wearing a Ring),
Nay, not prior to the Ring. The quote you seemingly have in mind is Gandalf's words in LOTR:
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‘Yet now under the Lord of Barad-dr the most fell of all his captains is already master of your outer walls,’ said Gandalf. ‘King of Angmar long ago, Sorcerer, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgl, a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, shadow of despair.’
It refers to Angmar's period, when the WK had been a wraith for about 3000 years already.

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Originally Posted by Morthoron
In my reading, it seems plain that Sauron chose the Nine ringbearers shrewdly as Men having the exact temperment and greed to eventually become his Ulairian thralls
Hmmm...the Rings heighten a man's abilites, virtues and vices -- what men are predisposed to, so the Ring works on; therefore, it seems plain that the Nine Ringbearers, already great and evilly disposed men of their lands (I believe it says somewhere that the WiKi was a sorceror of note prior to wearing a Ring), used the Rings to heighten their own aspirations. You seem to be forgiving the Men all their trespasses and imputing to the Ring all eventual evil; on the contrary, the Ringwraiths were chosen precisely for the evil that already was in their hearts.
Nay, the rings not only heighten someone's abilities. If it were only this, why would Gandalf and Galadriel fear to wield the Ring? The problem is that the Rings corrupt. The One corrupts because it contains a goodly portion of Sauron's power and will, it is part of Sauron himself. The Nine corrupt because through them the very same Sauron (who has the Ruling Ring) gets access to the very mind of the possessor of one of the Nine: corrupts and twists it. Good intentions may remain at first, but they would be carried through by evil means, then the very intentions would turn evil.
Tolkien explains in L#246:
Quote:
Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained 'righteous', but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for 'good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great).
[The draft ends here. In the margin Tolkien wrote: 'Thus while Sauron multiplied [illegible word] evil, he left "good" clearly distinguishable from it. Gandalf would have made good detestable and seem evil.']
The Rings were weapons of psychological warfare, able to corrupt virtually anyone. They were used by Sauron to make the greatest Men of their time his servants - people who would have never served him otherwise. They were not meant as rewards to faithful servants, evil by their own choice, they were too precious for that - after all, Sauron had only nine, he had to choose with care.

When choosing a Ringwraith Sauron had to consider two things:
1.The importance of the country the nazgul represented, which would get an immortal leader and would most likely be also enthralled to Sauron for all eternity.
2.The value of the man himself. Here he could go for an outstanding man even if he wasn't bringing his country along with him - an able sorcerer or an outstanding warrior, who merited to be given one of the nine Rings and become an immortal servant of the Dark Lord.

Evil or good intentions of the future nazgul are immaterial in all this - whoever they were at the start they would turn evil anyway. And the best servants would be Men of integrity, originally noble and good. Like Isildur. Or Aragorn. Or Boromir.

By the way, Morthoron, I have read your "Tales of a Dark Continent". Great story, great settings - I loved it.
But you know, your Cui-Baili had all the makings of a nazgul, if Sauron only managed to thrust a Ring on him. He was a great man, ruler of a great country, he had enough problems to wish for some additional power. Strange that Sauron let pass such a golden opportunity. Khamul, by contrast, as you depict him, was not much of a prize - why waste a ring on such a scoundrel? Such like are ten a penny in every generation.

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Old 12-07-2008, 06:12 PM   #20
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on the selection of Nazgul to be:
Wasn't there something about Sauron giving power's without rings to two Black Numernoreans who went on to become great cheiftans amoung the Haradrim? I seem to recall, whne reading this passage that it sounded like Sauron would have liked to number them amoung his Nazgul but had run out of rings by then.
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:08 PM   #21
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Actually this passage by Gandalf reads like a lament for someone he knew well; one even gets an impression that Gandalf speaks as first-hand witness. And as written, it was exactly the case. This is a very old element of the story, as can be gleaned from the drafts published in HOME 6. Originally, all the wizards were Men, not Maiar, and the Wizard-King (Witch-King in the published story) was "the most powerful of the wizards of Men", Gandalf's boss. Most likely, Gandalf referred to him in this passage, having been witness to his fall to the Ring.
Interesting concept, but I still disagree with you. Here is a footnote from Letter#156:

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There were evil Numenoreans: Sauronians, but they do not come into this story, except remotely; as the wicked Kings who had become Nazgul or Ringwraiths.
And another regarding the amplification of personal attributes in Letter#131:

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The chief power (of all the rings alike) was the prevention or slowing of decay...the preservation of what is desired or loved, or its semblance -- this is more or less and Elvish motive. But also they enhanced the natural power of a possessor -- this approaching 'magic', a motive easily corruptible into evil, a lust for domination [my emphasis].
These quotes, taken in conjunction with previous quotes I offered from 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age' lead me to the conclusion that Sauron chose those Men who were more apt to be led into temptation (i.e., those displaying the attributes of greed and a lust for power). These would not be Men of the mold of a Faramir or Aragorn, noble and good and not prone to corruption, rather Men already exhibiting evil tendencies: vicious warriors, sorcerors (the word 'sorcery' nearly always connotes evil in Tolkienic jargon), and avaricious kings (the Sauronic Numenoreans referred to above).

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Nay, the rings not only heighten someone's abilities. If it were only this, why would Gandalf and Galadriel fear to wield the Ring? The problem is that the Rings corrupt. The One corrupts because it contains a goodly portion of Sauron's power and will, it is part of Sauron himself. The Nine corrupt because through them the very same Sauron (who has the Ruling Ring) gets access to the very mind of the possessor of one of the Nine: corrupts and twists it. Good intentions may remain at first, but they would be carried through by evil means, then the very intentions would turn evil.
Ockham's razor. The easiest path is the one of least resistance. We know that at least three of the Nazgul were Numenoreans (whom Tolkien identified as 'wicked kings' and Sauronic), and Khamul was an Easterling, and they seem to have been ever under the subjugation of Sauron. Even you agree in least in part the means by which Sauron chose the Ringbearers:

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When choosing a Ringwraith Sauron had to consider two things:
1.The importance of the country the nazgul represented, which would get an immortal leader and would most likely be also enthralled to Sauron for all eternity.
2.The value of the man himself. Here he could go for an outstanding man even if he wasn't bringing his country along with him - an able sorcerer or an outstanding warrior, who merited to be given one of the nine Rings and become an immortal servant of the Dark Lord.
An able 'sorceror' (like the Black Numenorean Mouth of Sauron) would be evil, as sorcery, or more particularly Necromancy, was always considered evil in Middle-earth.

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Evil or good intentions of the future nazgul are immaterial in all this - whoever they were at the start they would turn evil anyway. And the best servants would be Men of integrity, originally noble and good. Like Isildur. Or Aragorn. Or Boromir.
Aragorn, like Faramir, rejected the Ring. Isildur and Boromir could not. This denotes characteristic virtues for the former, and fatal flaws in the latter that could be twisted to Sauron's will. But I see your point -- it's just that it seems more likely that a truly good and noble character would not associate with Sauron in the first place, and a wise man would always question gifts from a dark source.

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By the way, Morthoron, I have read your "Tales of a Dark Continent". Great story, great settings - I loved it.
But you know, your Cui-Baili had all the makings of a nazgul, if Sauron only managed to thrust a Ring on him. He was a great man, ruler of a great country, he had enough problems to wish for some additional power. Strange that Sauron let pass such a golden opportunity. Khamul, by contrast, as you depict him, was not much of a prize - why waste a ring on such a scoundrel? Such like are ten a penny in every generation.
Thanks for the kind words. That story was a pleasure to write. I don't know where you read it at (its posted on at least two sites), but there is a companion piece 'The Quest of the Three Kindreds' floating about as well.

As far as the Ring going to Khamul, he was, of course, a chieftain of the great confederation of tribes eventually to be known as the Balchoth (and save for some bad luck, and miscalculation of his enemies strength and cunning, could have been emperor of all lands east of the Orocarni Mountains). If you remember, the Ring was offered to Cui-Baili's father, Cui-Ealain, who rejected the embassy of Mordor (wisely on his part, but it was to cause his death). Had Sauron offered the Ring to a later generation, he might have caught Cui-Baili at a weak moment at the end of his life, but domination or avarice was not necessarily motivational factors for Cui-Baili, so it really wouldn't have worked.
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:34 AM   #22
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I believe that this other discussion going may need a thread of its own as it is going quite off-topic, although interesting to read.

So yeah, back to the idea with the elements.
You say that not considering the other Rings in connection to earth and aether makes the scheme less perfect, but then again Vilya's greater power already makes the scheme imperfect, something strange when talking about classical elements in perfect balance.

It just doesn't add up for me, I have more reason to think against an intended balance of elements within the Rings of Power.
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Old 12-08-2008, 12:48 PM   #23
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I believe that this other discussion going may need a thread of its own as it is going quite off-topic, although interesting to read.
I agree. How is in normally done on this forum? Is there a mod with big scissors who comes and cuts the thread in two? Or should we open a new thead ourselves and repost the relevant bits? I need an advice, so I shall wait with my reply to Morthoron ans Alfirin.

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It just doesn't add up for me, I have more reason to think against an intended balance of elements within the Rings of Power.
Well, you can't deny that the Three are connected with the elements: it is canon. So, the connection of the other rings with the elements makes sense. The major problem had been that it was next to impossible to establish such connection with four elements, but quite possible with five. That is about all I wanted to say: I have no data that Tolkien had such connection in mind.

Another thing: the stones of the Three match the fates of the three Silmarils: one perished in the fire by Maedhros, one cast in the sea by Maglor, and one sailing in the air with Erendil. Perhaps it is this way that the elements came into play at the stage when Celebrimbor alone was making the Three. Maybe the elements as such weren't even considered when Annatar and Celebrimbor were discussing the Ring-project.

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So yeah, back to the idea with the elements.
You say that not considering the other Rings in connection to earth and aether makes the scheme less perfect, but then again Vilya's greater power already makes the scheme imperfect, something strange when talking about classical elements in perfect balance.
In Arda some of the Valar are connected with the elements: Manwe with Air, Ulmo with water, Aule with fire, Yavanna with Earth, Mandos with the Spirit World. And of them all, Manwe is the mightiest, just as the Ring of Air is the mightiest of the Three.

By the way, Vilya is called "the mightiest of the Three" - LOTR "The Grey Havens", yet in UT "Galadriel and Celeborn" Nenya is called the Chief of the Three . So, it doesn't seem that the Rings varied in power very much, otherwise there won't have been such confusion.
Personally, I believe that it was Nenya that was the masterpiece of Celebrimbor's craft, even if it was not the strongest of the Rings. He made it all alone as a gift for the woman he hopelessly loved: no doubt it was the most perfect of his creations. He chose for it pure Mithril instead of "sullied" Gold, he adorned it with adamant, the most spectacular of stones. Nenya was associated with water, and thus with Ulmo, who alone of all the 14 Valar cared for the exiled Noldor, never abandoning them.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:07 PM   #24
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I agree. How is in normally done on this forum? Is there a mod with big scissors who comes and cuts the thread in two? Or should we open a new thead ourselves and repost the relevant bits?
Please open a new thread and repost the relevant bits. Cutting those posts or parts of them from this thread would be tricky at best, because they contain points that are relevant to this discussion as well.
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:28 PM   #25
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Thanks, Estelyn.

The new thread on the future nazgul is HERE and the side-discussion is being relocated there.

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Old 08-06-2012, 12:08 PM   #26
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Good question, mate. I personally don't think Celebrimbor would have made a fourth ring. The epitome of elvish artifaction were Feanor's Silmarils, and they were each associated with air, fire, and water. Also, I believe Feanor was Celebrimbor's grandfather, so I think Celebrimbor would have followed in that tradition.
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Old 08-06-2012, 12:33 PM   #27
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I agree that the Three elven rings mirror the fate of the silmarils cast in to fire and water and borne up in the air. Earth seems a bit too static and somehow it seems to me that since the stones and metal came from earth, earth didn't need a ring... but that is just my impression. As for the Elessar, there are various versions of its origins but the ethos behind it is different. It was always intendend to be and instrument of healing power rather than commanding power so I don't quite see it fitting in with the rings.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:48 PM   #28
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I think that maybe Tolkein had the idea that fire, water and air made up the earth, meaning that there was no need for a fourth ring because the other three already fixed the problem. Also, in the poem about the rings, it says, "Three for the elven kings under the sky." If there were FOUR rings then the poem would go thus, "Four for the elven kings under the sky." Which doesn't sound anywhere near as good.
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