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Old 08-10-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
Radtech51
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Rings of Power talk!

I know of many questions that were never specifically answered by J.R.R. Tolkien himself. I think in many ways he preferred to keep a lot a mystery like his famous character Tom Bombadil. I put together a list of nine questions that I thought were very interesting, I also I thought that we could explore the questions together. I’ve included my answer for each of the questions listed below but I would like to hear yours as well, please enjoy.

Some basic history first, (going from memory here).

In the beginning the elves created many rings (magic rings), the lesser rings were but essays in the craft until if was full-grown, they were of various sorts some more potent some less. To the Elven smiths they were but trifles (something of little importance or value), but to Gandolf's mind still to dangerous for mortals. The greater rings the rings of power were perilous, if a mortal kept one he would no longer age nor would he die but simply continue until at last every moment would be a constant weariness. And if he often used the ring to become invisible he would become invisible permanently and forever walk under the twilight shadow in the realm of the dark Lord.

Sauron the deceiver tricked and betrayed the Elven smiths so he could then learn the craft of ring making and in doing so later in secret forge the one master Ring, (The one Ring to Rule them All). 20 rings of power total were created 19 were created by the elves and one was created by Sauron, himself making the one master ring. As it goes, Nine for the mortal men doomed to die, seven for the dwarf lords in their halls of stone, three for the Elven king’s under the sky, and one for the dark Lord in his dark throne. In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.

As it is said when Sauron forged the one ring in secret he was revealed as a traitor and his true self was revealed. Sauron's ruling ring could not be kept as secret once it was created and thus Sauron was revealed as a traitor to the elves.

So what ended up happening to all 20 rings?
We know that the nine are accounted for, (Nazgul), the five were consumed by Dragons and the other two were captured by Sauron or destroyed. The remaining three were hidden form Sauron and have never been touched by him. Gandolf has one of them Narya is set with a red stone and is the element of fire. Galadriel's ring is known as Nenya set with a white stone and is the element of creation. Elrond's ring Vilya is set with a blue stone and is the element of air.

We also know that the three remaining rings of power are of a different type then the one ruling ring Sauron created, they can't be used in the same way to wage war or control others that was not their design. All 19 of the Greater Rings of power that the elves created were of the same craft but did very in function it would seem, it was never told specifically what each of the 19 greater rings could do but it was assumed that they had functions that were of good nature, learning etc. but most certainly not for evil use or by design like the one ring was. It wasn’t until Sauron later captured many of the greater rings that they were then turned to evil use. Sauron’s master ring was really the only one among the twenty that was specifically evil and was used as a weapon by design.

So now it comes to the questions, please feel free to debate and state your opinion about the rings and their uses, I’d very much like to here your opinions.

Why did Sauron not create more rings of power?

A: I suppose we may never know for sure if he ever attempted it during the war, at the very least he would have created a few of the lesser rings and designed them specifically for control over his servants, perhaps the one who called himself the mouth of Sauron was given such a ring? As for crafting more of the greater rings of power that feat would have proved more difficult especially since a large portion of his former power passed away from him when he lost the original ruling ring. However it is plausible to think that perhaps his control over the Nazgul or even his realm was diminishing over time without the one ruling ring back in his possession. Put more specifically his days in control over the Nazgul were numbered the moment he lost the one ring. This might also explain why he didn’t want to create any additional rings of power in fear that if he did so it would have further threatened his control over his realm without the one ring back in his possession first.

Why wasn’t Saruman the white giving one of the three greater rings of power originally since he was appointed to the task of learning about the craft?

A: So we know that it was Saruman’s task to learn everything he could about the rings of power, we also know that Saruman’s knowledge of the craft was very extensive. According to JRR Tolkien himself there existed a very real possibility of him finding the lost lore he needed and creating his own greater ring of power. So one might conclude that Saruman would have been the perfect choice to be chosen as one of the secret wielders of the three. My only conclusion is that the elves just didn’t trust Saruman but I’m sure he was still considered originally for the task. I’m also going to assume that the white council chose Saruman to be tasked with the responsibility of learning all about the rings and their lore and the decision had no bearing on him as a suitable wielder. One might also conclude that if by giving Saruman one of the remaining three greater rings of power it would have brought more attention to something they did not wish known. Saruman being the more powerful of the Wizards at the time just wasn’t the wiser choice.

Why is it none of the three greater rings of power never turned their wielders invisible even when they had them on?

A: Did Gandolf, Galadriel or Elrond ever even use there rings of power to become invisible?
Surely we know that all 20 greater rings of power had this ability, so I’m going to assume that every one of the wielders except for the Hobbits knew how to control this power. To become invisible came at a cost as we all know and I’m sure they didn’t want to pay the price for the ability.
We also know that Gandolf, Galadriel and Elrond always kept there ring of power on them and the rings were invisible to everyone but themselves or to another wielder with a great ring. For example Frodo was able to see Galadriel’s ring of power when Sam could not. It’s my belief that with training Frodo could have learned much about the ring and how to control it assuming he bent all his effort towards the task. However Galadriel warned him not to try in fear it would destroy him.


Why didn’t the ring wraiths ever use there rings to become invisible in the books?

A: They most surely had in the beginning which is why the ring wraiths now walk in the twilight land permanently and are almost all but invisible to anyone looking upon them directly. I’m also going to assume that they could have used there rings in the story to make themselves completely invisible but didn’t see the need to do it. Their eyesight was very poor and they needed there steeds as eyes. Also couldn’t make steeds become invisible anymore then Frodo could make his sword become invisible once he drew it from his sheath. However it would bring a potentially potent combat advantage to them if they were ever dismounted. I think the main reason none of them ever used the rings to become invisible during combat was due to over confidence.


What kind of power did the one master ruling ring that Sauron created really have?

A: In the books Galadriel said that the rings gave power according to one’s stature. We also know that at ring had the power of command and heightened one’s awareness, it also granted invisibility and exceptionally long life. With the one ring Sauron also created structures and fortresses so we know it also had the power of creation as well.

If I was to add to the list of powers I believe it would also grant the ability to call forth great army’s to it’s command and grant powerful control over them. I also believe the wielder could be granted great physical strength in combat and be given the power of domination over others most likely through fear.

What ever happened to all the lesser magic rings and might they have been also used in the war?

A: I’m going to assume for the most part they were all lost or destroyed, however I don’t think they would have been made for combat or destruction but more for learning and building. I think Sauron was the only one who ever warped the rings to do such evil things. I also think that Saruman must have had one of the lesser rings for his own or could have most certainly of made one for himself with this knowledge. Perhaps it was one such ring that gave him the gift he had over others with the use of his voice?

What exactly did Gandolf’s ring do? Was Narya the ring of fire?

Gandolf was known to be very talented and powerful when it came to the use of fire. Was it because of his spell knowledge as a Wizard? Or was it because of his use of the greater ring he wielded? When he fought the Balrog for example did the ring give him some kind of limited fire protection? Could his ring have ever been used as a weapon period? We know he stated before that the three were not crafted for such use but I can’t help but wonder. Did his ring grant him a better understanding of fire and of it’s control? Did it allow him to set things ablaze like he did on weather top when fighting off the Nasgul?
Upon reflection Gandolf did say he needed something to work with and couldn’t just create fire from nothing, so can we can assume the ring couldn’t do that? Or perhaps not, it’s quite possible that he was forbidden to ever use the ring in fear that it might bring attention to himself or reveal to Sauron where it could be found. And if Sauron captured Gandolf’s ring we know it would have been turned to evil use like he did with the Nasgul’s rings.

Could the one master ring have ever been used for good?

A: In the books they made this question rather clear, No. Put simply the one master ring was crafted by Sauron and a large portion of his power and former self was put into it’s making. It was made specifically for the sole purpose of gaining power by controlling others and any wielder who bent his will towards using it would have ended up like Sauron himself or as one of the Nasgul. To wield and use the ring you would have to become very similar to Sauron himself, you would end up dominating others and craving power. In order to use the ring to it’s full potential you would have to do these things or else the ring would utterly reject you, and if the ring knew you didn’t have the power in you to do these things it would just use you Intel it could work it’s way to another wielder. According to Gandolf a ring of power looks out for itself and no mortal could resist it’s control over you indefinitely, it would gain control over you in the end and it would ultimately dominate you. All the wise knew this and feared to touch it use it or even take it even to keep it safe due to that reason.

What ever happened to the King of the Nazgul’s ring when he was slain?

A: As for this question I’m not sure, I didn’t hear anything about it I’m going to assume it ended up on the battlefield covered with dirt and debris from the battle and remained there. Perhaps after the battle someone came by and pick it up not knowing what it was? Or perhaps Gandolf went and retrieved the ring himself and placed it somewhere safe temporarily? Ultimately the one Ring was destroyed so this ring would have lost it’s power, still it would’ve made a Great souvenir.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:11 PM   #2
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Something has just occurred to me: why didn't Saruman try to take Narya from Gandalf when he imprisoned him? Was he not aware that he had it? I know he was made jealous by someone's comment "Not as the last" (can't remember it exactly, but it was to the effect that Gandalf might in fact prove the greatest of the Istari, and Saruman heard it and resented it).
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Pervinca Took View Post
Something has just occurred to me: why didn't Saruman try to take Narya from Gandalf when he imprisoned him? Was he not aware that he had it? I know he was made jealous by someone's comment "Not as the last" (can't remember it exactly, but it was to the effect that Gandalf might in fact prove the greatest of the Istari, and Saruman heard it and resented it).
That is a very good question, I'm going to assume he didn't know that Gandalf had the ring? The three rings of power were originally given to the elves and I don't know how Gandolf ended up with one of them but we can assume it's because the elves trusted Gandolf greatly and respected him more than any other. Anyway I'm very sure it had to be a kept a secret between the elves and himself only. I get the feeling that Gandolf never really trusted Saruman or approved of him ever becoming the leader of the white council, so it could have been that Gandolf himself told the elves not to entrust one of the greater rings to Saruman.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Radtech51 View Post
That is a very good question, I'm going to assume he didn't know that Gandalf had the ring? The three rings of power were originally given to the elves and I don't know how Gandolf ended up with one of them but we can assume it's because the elves trusted Gandolf greatly and respected him more than any other. Anyway I'm very sure it had to be a kept a secret between the elves and himself only. I get the feeling that Gandolf never really trusted Saruman or approved of him ever becoming the leader of the white council, so it could have been that Gandolf himself told the elves not to entrust one of the greater rings to Saruman.
Gandalf's ring was originally given to Cirdan of the Grey Havens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirdan
'Take now this Ring,' he said; 'for thy labours and thy cares will be heavy, but in all it will support thee and defend thee from weariness. For this is the Ring of Fire, and herewith, maybe, thou shalt rekindle hearts to the valour of old in a world that grows chill. But as for me, my heart is with the Sea, and I well dwell by the grey shores, guarding the Havens until the last ship sails. Then I shall await thee.'
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by blantyr View Post
Gandalf's ring was originally given to Cirdan of the Grey Havens.
Ah ok very good there seems to be sources of information that I have not yet acquainted myself with, so did Cirdan end up giving the ring to him and did it explain why?
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:09 PM   #6
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For the reasons in Blantyr's second quote.

Maybe Saruman never knew Gandalf had the Third Ring, or maybe he thought it inconsequential, as the Three were not made to help the Bearers control others.

Did Tolkien ever call Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond Ringbearers? The first time I heard them referred to as such was in the BBC radio dramatisation - when Gandalf said "I too am a Ringbearer."

BTW, great first post, Radtech51!
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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Gandalf's ring was not a magic fire-blasting wand-type weapon or anything; nor were any of the rings that we know of. The power of the Three is described by Elrond at the Council of Elrond:
Quote:
'The Three were not made by Sauron, nor did he ever touch them. But of them it is not permitted to speak. So much only in this hour of doubt I may now say. They are not idle. But there were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or domination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained.'
And in Appendix B, Cirdan tells exactly why he gives Narya to Gandalf:
Quote:
For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill.
Gandalf put Narya to use for the exact mission he was sent: to rouse the good people of Middle-earth to action, to inspire and rally them together.

Saruman did eventually know that Gandalf had a ring. In the Istari chapter in Unfinished Tales:

Quote:
"But Cirdan from their first meeting at the Grey Havens divined in him the greatest spirit and the wisest; and he welcomed him with reverence, and he gave to his keeping the Third Ring, Narya the Red.

'For,' said he, 'great labours and perils lie before you, and lest your task should prove too great and wearisome, take this Ring for your aid and comfort. It was entrusted to me only to keep secret, and here upon the West-shores it is idle; but I deem that in days ere long to come it should be in nobler hands than mine, that may wield it for the kindling of all hearts to courage.'

And the Grey Messenger took the Ring, and kept it ever secret; yet the White Messenger (who was skilled to uncover all secrets) after a time became aware of this gift, and begrudged it, and it was the beginning of the hidden ill-will that he bore to the Grey, which afterwards became manifest.
As Pervinca Took alluded, tension was already present between Saruman (Curumo) and Gandalf (Olorin) from the moment they were chosen to sail to Middle-earth as emissaries. In the same chapter as above, there is essay about a meeting of the Valar where the wizards are comissioned; this detail is recorded:

Quote:
Manwë replied that he wished Olorin to go as the third messenger to Middle-Earth. But Olorin declared that he was too weak for such a task, and that he feared Sauron. Then Manwë said that was all the more reason why he should go, and that he commanded Olorin (illegible words follow that seem to contain the word "third"). But at that Varda looked up and said: "Not as the third;" and Curumo remembered it.
________

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radtech51
So we know that it was Saruman’s task to learn everything he could about the rings of power, we also know that Saruman’s knowledge of the craft was very extensive. According to JRR Tolkien himself there existed a very real possibility of him finding the lost lore he needed and creating his own greater ring of power.
Knowledge of this ring craft wasn't specifically a 'task' assigned to Saruman, but rather it was a personal interest taken up by him in greed. Saruman would not have been in a great position to take Gandalf's ring, and he would have almost no use for it anyway. It might have even been risky.

Saruman, in his knowedge, would have know that the Three were never tainted, and accordingly did not submit to evil desires. His motivation was greed, thus Narya would've been useless to him. Gandalf tells Frodo as much in 'The Shadow of the Past':
Quote:
He knows that it is not one of the Three, for they have not been lost, and they endure no evil.
Perhaps you might ask if he would want Narya simply to make sure Gandalf no longer had it. Though he did strand Gandalf atop Orthanc, there was no great fight (as the movie portrays...); to take Narya from Gandalf may have taken all of Saruman's strength, if indeed he could have beaten Gandalf at all. It was not worth it. At that point, Saruman's focus is to find the One Ring, which he suspects is abroad, and is the reason he confronts Gandalf to begin with. He knows time is of the essence, and suspects Gandalf knows where it is.

Even if he were to find a way to get Narya, Saruman's brash attitude suggests he probably wouldn't have kept ownership of it secret as the humble Gandalf did. Instead, he would have worn it proudly, drawing attention to himself. Sauron would've become aware of this, which wouldn't have been in Saruman's best interest.

It is worth noting that Saruman did manage to make his own ring, but it was apparently a failure. Hadn't worked out the kinks yet, I guess!
________

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radtech51
A: Did Gandalf, Galadriel or Elrond ever even use there rings of power to become invisible?
Surely we know that all 20 greater rings of power had this ability, so I’m going to assume that every one of the wielders except for the Hobbits knew how to control this power.
I've never read anything that suggests any of the rings aside from the One Ring had the ability to grant invisibility to its wearer. This is a trait unique to Sauron's ring.
________

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radtech51
Why didn’t the ring wraiths ever use there rings to become invisible in the books?

A: They most surely had in the beginning which is why the ring wraiths now walk in the twilight land permanently and are almost all but invisible to anyone looking upon them directly. I’m also going to assume that they could have used there rings in the story to make themselves completely invisible but didn’t see the need to do it.
In addition to the last question (the other rings didn't grant invisibility as far as I know), once dead, the Nine no longer wore their rings. Instead, Sauron kept them which is how he controlled their wills when he did not have the One Ring.

The Nine were present in the 'wraith-world' (what you call twilight) in death because they were mortals who wore the corrupted rings - not because of anything relating to invisibility. Though their bodies had died and faded because they were designed to be mortals, they were able to persist somewhat immortally through the corruption of the rings as long as the One Ring existed. Some other immortal beings have this trait (being present in the spiritual realm) as well.

We know at least High Elves could exist/were visible simultaneously in the physical realm and the spiritual realm. Gandalf explains to Frodo why he was able to see Glorfindel.
Quote:
'And here in Rivendell there live still some of his chief foes: the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power.'

'I thought that I saw a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?'

'Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the Firstborn. He is an Elf-lord of a house of princes.'
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:35 PM   #8
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I've never read anything that suggests any of the rings aside from the One Ring had the ability to grant invisibility to its wearer. This is a trait unique to Sauron's ring.
Gandalf: "A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Rings of Power, does not die, but neither does he grow or obtain more life ... and if he often uses it to become invisible, he fades; he becomes in the end permanently invisible ...."

I think they conferred invisibility, but to mortals only.

I think there was a discussion on the LOTR Plaza a while ago to the effect that the invisibility factor was possibly a mere by-product/unintended additional effect of the production of the rings, not a specific purpose in design.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Legolas View Post
Gandalf's ring was not a magic fire-blasting wand-type weapon or anything; nor were any of the rings that we know of. The power of the Three is described by Elrond at the Council of Elrond:

And in Appendix B, Cirdan tells exactly why he gives Narya to Gandalf:

Gandalf put Narya to use for the exact mission he was sent: to rouse the good people of Middle-earth to action, to inspire and rally them together.

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Quote:
Reply: Thank you for sharing that it explains much.
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Saruman did eventually know that Gandalf had a ring. In the Istari chapter in Unfinished Tales:



As Pervinca Took alluded, tension was already present between Saruman (Curumo) and Gandalf (Olorin) from the moment they were chosen to sail to Middle-earth as emissaries. In the same chapter as above, there is essay about a meeting of the Valar where the wizards are comissioned; this detail is recorded:

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Quote:
Reply: Very interesting thank you for sharing that it does explain some of the issues between the two.
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________


Knowledge of this ring craft wasn't specifically a 'task' assigned to Saruman, but rather it was a personal interest taken up by him in greed. Saruman would not have been in a great position to take Gandalf's ring, and he would have almost no use for it anyway. It might have even been risky.

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Quote:
Reply: I might be wrong but I do remember reading that that specific task was appointed to him. Of course whether or not he appointed it to himself I don't know?
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Saruman, in his knowedge, would have know that the Three were never tainted, and accordingly did not submit to evil desires. His motivation was greed, thus Narya would've been useless to him. Gandalf tells Frodo as much in 'The Shadow of the Past':

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Quote:
Reply: That's assuming that the rings had no other use for Saruman but to do good? I'm not convinced that Narya would have been useless to him and I belive all the greater rings of power to be of value.
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Perhaps you might ask if he would want Narya simply to make sure Gandalf no longer had it. Though he did strand Gandalf atop Orthanc, there was no great fight (as the movie portrays...); to take Narya from Gandalf may have taken all of Saruman's strength, if indeed he could have beaten Gandalf at all. It was not worth it. At that point, Saruman's focus is to find the One Ring, which he suspects is abroad, and is the reason he confronts Gandalf to begin with. He knows time is of the essence, and suspects Gandalf knows where it is.
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Quote:
Reply: So Saruman did know Gandolf had one of the greater rings in his possession? I'm surprised when he was captured Saruman didn't attempt to take it although I do understand your logic when you say it would have been a big battle. Sauron sought after the three hidden rings of power so I'm convinced Saruman wouldn't be any different. Sauron alone had the ability to turn the greater rings to evil use but I can't help but wonder if Saruman couldn't have used Gandolf ring in some way to help him? After all he was trying to learn how to make a greater ring of power wouldn't Gandolf's ring have given him a blueprint of some kind? At the very least he would have had a gift to give Sauron one would think?

PS: I always did wonder why Gandolf never did fight Saruman like in the move? In the book it just said that Gandolf was taken, at that moment couldn't they have taken the ring as well?
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Even if he were to find a way to get Narya, Saruman's brash attitude suggests he probably wouldn't have kept ownership of it secret as the humble Gandalf did. Instead, he would have worn it proudly, drawing attention to himself. Sauron would've become aware of this, which wouldn't have been in Saruman's best interest.

It is worth noting that Saruman did manage to make his own ring, but it was apparently a failure. Hadn't worked out the kinks yet, I guess!
________

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Quote:
Reply: I didn't know he attempted to try and make a greater ring? I was referring to one of the lesser rings, I wouldn't be surprised if he was able to make one of those.
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I've never read anything that suggests any of the rings aside from the One Ring had the ability to grant invisibility to its wearer. This is a trait unique to Sauron's ring.
________

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Quote:
Reply: I believe Gandolf was talking about all rings of power when he said this to Frodo. "The greater rings the rings of power were perilous, if a mortal kept one he would no longer age nor would he die but just continue until it last every moment was a constant weariness. And if he often used the ring to become invisible he would become invisible permanently, and forever walk under the twilight shadow in the realm of the dark Lord."
I believe this would also explain the ability for each ring to become invisible on the wielders hand if they wished it. I might be wrong but this is the way I interpreted it, I never came across any document that I can recall that stated that the ability of invisibility was only granted to the one ring and not the others.
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In addition to the last question (the other rings didn't grant invisibility as far as I know), once dead, the Nine no longer wore their rings. Instead, Sauron kept them which is how he controlled their wills when he did not have the One Ring.

The Nine were present in the 'wraith-world' (what you call twilight) in death because they were mortals who wore the corrupted rings - not because of anything relating to invisibility. Though their bodies had died and faded because they were designed to be mortals, they were able to persist somewhat immortally through the corruption of the rings as long as the One Ring existed. Some other immortal beings have this trait (being present in the spiritual realm) as well.
--------------------------------
Quote:
Reply: I'm not convinced of this, the greater rings of power granted immortality to the Nine who were given the rings of power and they would not die or age, nor were they likely to ever give up their rings willingly. As Gandolf says no one ever willingly gives up a ring of power, the ring may play with the idea but only if it serves a goal. Rings of power look out for themselves primarily like Gandolf said.
We know at least High Elves could exist/were visible simultaneously in the physical realm and the spiritual realm. Gandalf explains to Frodo why he was able to see Glorfindel.

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Quote:
Reply: I had read somewhere that Glorfindel was resurrected? I believe it was to fix a contradiction of an earlier tale of Glorfindel being killed by a Balrog and also introduced one of the rare instances where Resurrection took place in middle Earth?
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Last edited by Radtech51; 08-10-2012 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:48 PM   #10
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From Galadriel: "the rings give power according to the measure of each possessor".

So . . Lesser folk become invisible, while great power becomes even greater power.


Saruman was trying to convert Gandalf, so that may have factored into his not taking the ring. He might also have been unable to take it as the ring was a thing of true Art, and Saruman was a diminished thing by that time. We see how Gollum responded to elf-rope, and Narya was far, far greater in craft and "purity" or perhaps even "holiness", if one wants to give it a name.


Note that I always correlated Gandalf's skill with fireworks and the like with Narya. While it was a thing to kindle spirits, it likely granted understanding of fire in general, as well as "providing" a certain grey-cloaked wizard with a "firey" temper.

After all, each Istar had a focus, and Gandalf's was clearly languages and cultures, not fire. He was a philologist, really. Can't imagine why, of course. . .


As to why more rings were not made. .

1) they may not have been needed. Maybe there were 7 dwarf kings and 9 mortal kings of note, and that's all that was needed to hold sway.

2) Perhaps adding more rings would have made it harder for Sauron to maintain control over all of them (spreading him thin, as it were).

3) 3, 7, and 9 are magical numbers. There are few others in Western tradition, save 13, and JRRT would have had to come up w/a race for that batch.

4) On that last note: 3 is trinity (or rather, Trinity), which a Catholic would connect good images with; 7 is the number of deadly sins; and Dante had 9 RINGS of hell for men to lodge themselves in with their follies. This last bit (all of point 4) is speculation/IMO, but JRRT was a very devout Catholic, and such associations would have been lurking about his brain.

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Old 08-10-2012, 10:40 PM   #11
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I have always found the rings to be quite dull and uninteresting in the Tolkien mythology. However I do wonder if invisibility was given to every race that wore Sauron's ring. Gollum, Bilbo and Frodo were all hobbits and besides Isildur were the only ones who put on the ring. The movie makes it look like Isilidur too could become invisible. However I'm not sure if that is in the book. If it isn't one can assume the ring amplifies the power that is already within the person/creature that is wearing it. It's a bit of Sauron's spirit put into the wielder.

If this is true one could speculate as to what would happen if different characters in the story put on the ring. Like what would happen if an elf or a dwarf put it on. What would happen if one of the maias put it on!? Saruon put some of his power into the ring, so to put it on he would only become whole. While Gandalf for example putting it on would amplify his maia spirit with that of sauron's. How many maiar makes a vala?

That Tom Bombadil made the ring dissapear and when Frodo put it on still could see him suggests to me he is a vala. If not Aule, the ruler of all matter then some unknown vala of unknown strength. Anyway I find this Tom Bombadil creature to be very interesting, Tolkien said he put Bombadil into the story as a important comment. Why so important? I know it's off topic but all topics seem to lead to the ultimate and most interesting mystery within the lord of the rings.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:55 AM   #12
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Good catch on the mortal/invisibility bit, my oversight. It has been a while!

Re: Saruman's task, I meant that the only mission given to the wizards was to take on the forms of old men, travel to Middle-earth, and motivate the races there to combat Sauron. Any other tasks would've been something he chose for himself later on.
____

I think any of the Three, specifically, would have been of no use to Saruman in his selfish, evil plan to replace Sauron. As Gandalf stated, the Three (Vilya, Narya, and Nenya) would "endure no evil." Intentionally kept from Sauron by Celebrimbor, they had no evil in them, and so had no tolerance for it. Gandalf's phrase "endure no evil" sounds like they may have even been able to render themselves limp in the hands of evil, basically incomprehensible to one of selfish intent even in the breaking down. We do not know if he had the strength or knowledge to unmake such a great thing. In any event, that is speculation and I think the key is that Saruman did not wish to fight Gandalf head on for it (at least not yet), and was content with the thought that he had Gandalf, along with Narya, imprisoned on his tower.

Saruman needed Gandalf alive because he suspected Gandalf knew the whereabouts of the Ring, which was far more important. Saruman also knew he had very little time; he was in a race against Sauron to find the One. A battle would've been in neither wizard's best interest. Even if Saruman was confident of his odds against Gandalf, he would not have fancied a potential face off with Sauron soon after. Saruman had not yet deceived himself so far as to think he could handle both Gandalf and Sauron.

I imagine the two wizards would have nearly killed each other, much like Gandalf and Durin's Bane (the Moria balrog). Gandalf admits later that he didn't want to fight Saruman as it would've been in vain. I think he'd have said the same of the balrog, only in that matter he had no choice. His situation with Saruman does not reach that point. We do not know what Saruman intended to do with Gandalf apart from pry him for his knowledge of the Ring's location. His approach to Narya could've been as simple as "I'll get it from him tomorrow, after I've had a good breakfast." Saruman's decisions are made under the impression that Gandalf was in his clutches until he decided otherwise; it was not in the plans for him to be flying away on an eagle!
____

Still, the wraiths were already invisible by the time Frodo had the Ring:
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And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, The Silmarillion)
They did not have their rings any longer to use anyway, but if they had, whatever further 'invisibility' you could suggest would be of limited usefulness. Their main power was inciting terror, and they did that with ease. Furthermore, their invisibility did not seem to affect their cloaks or steeds, which they were almost always accompanied by in accounts we're given.

The Nine were subject to counterfeit immortality, a different immortality than Elves; in a way they almost die in that their fundamentally mortal bodies could not endure immortality (this is unchangeable by any save Eru), and so they faded to Wraiths, the invisible creatures Frodo met. They only achieve longevity. After this passing into the shadow, they need not actually have the rings in their possession to continue 'living' or be invisible. Their immortality continued for as long as their rings existed and were powered by the One Ring.

Sauron does indeed hold the Nine Rings, which is how he continued to control them even without the One Ring in his possession. We're told so in a few places:

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At length therefore he [Sauron] resolved to use the Ringwraiths. He had been reluctant to do so, until he knew precisely where the Ring was, for several reasons. They were by far the most powerful of his servants, and the most suitable for such a mission, since they were entirely enslaved by their Nine Rings, which he now himself held; they were quite incapable of acting against his will, and if one of them, even the Witch-king their captain, had seized the One Ring, he would have brought it back to his master. (The Hunt for the Ring, Unfinished Tales)
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I do not think they could have attacked [Frodo with the One Ring at Weathertop] with violence, nor laid hold upon him or taken him captive; they would have obeyed or feigned to obey any minor command of his that did not interfere with their errand - laid upon them by Sauron, who still through their nine rings (which he held) had primary control of their wills. (#246, Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien)
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So it is now; the Nine he had gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed. The Three are hidden still. (Gandalf to Frodo, Fellowship of the Ring)
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You saw the Eye of him that holds the Seven and the Nine. (Galadriel to Frodo, Fellowship of the Ring)
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:35 PM   #13
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The movie makes it look like Isilidur too could become invisible. However I'm not sure if that is in the book.
It is. The ring treacherously slips from his finger when he jumps into the Anduin, and that is why he is killed - because the orcs see him and shoot him.
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
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Of the rings Sauron created, Tolkien writes in Letter 131 to Milton Waldman (emphasis mine):
And finally they [the Rings of Power created in part by Sauron] 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 to make 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.
So the rings worn by Cirdan and Gandalf, by Elrond, and by Galadrial “did not confer invisibility.” Presumably all of the other Rings of Power did or could confer invisibility.

But in The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, III DURIN’S FOLK, Tolkien writes of the dwarves:
But they were made of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination. Though they could be slain or broken, they could not be reduced to shadows or enslaved to another will; and for the same reason their lives were not affected by the Ring, to live either longer or shorter because of it.
This implies that dwarves could not be rendered invisible merely by the wearing of one of the Seven Rings. (If they had been rendered invisible, one would have suspected that the dwarves would have known of this power and would have suspected when they learned of Bilbo’s ring that it might be one of the lost dwarf rings.) Possibly a dwarf wearing a Ring could become invisible by so willing.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Aragrax View Post
From Galadriel: "the rings give power according to the measure of each possessor".

So . . Lesser folk become invisible, while great power becomes even greater power.

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Interesting concept although one might think becoming invisible would be in the greater power list?

Saruman was trying to convert Gandalf, so that may have factored into his not taking the ring. He might also have been unable to take it as the ring was a thing of true Art, and Saruman was a diminished thing by that time. We see how Gollum responded to elf-rope, and Narya was far, far greater in craft and "purity" or perhaps even "holiness", if one wants to give it a name.

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I see your point but if Sauron sought after the three greater rings of power in hope to turn them to his use why not Saruman?

Note that I always correlated Gandalf's skill with fireworks and the like with Narya. While it was a thing to kindle spirits, it likely granted understanding of fire in general, as well as "providing" a certain grey-cloaked wizard with a "firey" temper.

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I agree his ring might have granted him better understanding of fire in general. Might this have been turned to evil use if Sauron ever captured his ring?
After all, each Istar had a focus, and Gandalf's was clearly languages and cultures, not fire. He was a philologist, really. Can't imagine why, of course. . .


As to why more rings were not made. .

1) they may not have been needed. Maybe there were 7 dwarf kings and 9 mortal kings of note, and that's all that was needed to hold sway.

2) Perhaps adding more rings would have made it harder for Sauron to maintain control over all of them (spreading him thin, as it were).

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This was my belief as well.
3) 3, 7, and 9 are magical numbers. There are few others in Western tradition, save 13, and JRRT would have had to come up w/a race for that batch.

4) On that last note: 3 is trinity (or rather, Trinity), which a Catholic would connect good images with; 7 is the number of deadly sins; and Dante had 9 RINGS of hell for men to lodge themselves in with their follies. This last bit (all of point 4) is speculation/IMO, but JRRT was a very devout Catholic, and such associations would have been lurking about his brain.
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I did not know that about Prof. Tolkien although it does not surprise me.
.

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Old 08-13-2012, 05:45 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=Legolas;673149]Good catch on the mortal/invisibility bit, my oversight. It has been a while!

Re: Saruman's task, I meant that the only mission given to the wizards was to take on the forms of old men, travel to Middle-earth, and motivate the races there to combat Sauron. Any other tasks would've been something he chose for himself later on.

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You might be right although I still get the impression that this was a task appointed to him by the white council, at the very least agreed upon by them.
____

I think any of the Three, specifically, would have been of no use to Saruman in his selfish, evil plan to replace Sauron. As Gandalf stated, the Three (Vilya, Narya, and Nenya) would "endure no evil." Intentionally kept from Sauron by Celebrimbor, they had no evil in them, and so had no tolerance for it. Gandalf's phrase "endure no evil" sounds like they may have even been able to render themselves limp in the hands of evil, basically incomprehensible to one of selfish intent even in the breaking down. We do not know if he had the strength or knowledge to unmake such a great thing. In any event, that is speculation and I think the key is that Saruman did not wish to fight Gandalf head on for it (at least not yet), and was content with the thought that he had Gandalf, along with Narya, imprisoned on his tower.

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Why did Sauron seek the hidden three then? Or why keep them Secret? Especially if one knows the hidden three could never be used for evil purposes?
Saruman needed Gandalf alive because he suspected Gandalf knew the whereabouts of the Ring, which was far more important. Saruman also knew he had very little time; he was in a race against Sauron to find the One. A battle would've been in neither wizard's best interest. Even if Saruman was confident of his odds against Gandalf, he would not have fancied a potential face off with Sauron soon after. Saruman had not yet deceived himself so far as to think he could handle both Gandalf and Sauron.

I imagine the two wizards would have nearly killed each other, much like Gandalf and Durin's Bane (the Moria balrog). Gandalf admits later that he didn't want to fight Saruman as it would've been in vain. I think he'd have said the same of the balrog, only in that matter he had no choice. His situation with Saruman does not reach that point. We do not know what Saruman intended to do with Gandalf apart from pry him for his knowledge of the Ring's location. His approach to Narya could've been as simple as "I'll get it from him tomorrow, after I've had a good breakfast." Saruman's decisions are made under the impression that Gandalf was in his clutches until he decided otherwise; it was not in the plans for him to be flying away on an eagle!

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If Gandolf did indeed think the fight would have been in vain then I suspect he thought he would have lost the fight. Otherwise why risk being taken captive and Saruman finding the ring? I'm convinced that you are correct, Gandolf had thought they if he resisted Saruman he would have been killed no doubt it, and then for sure the ring would have fallen into his hands. To become Saruman's captive was the only choice at hand in his mind.
If Saruman was to try and take the ring from Gandolf I suspect Gandolf would not and could not have resisted without being killed, ring of no ring Gandolf allowed himself to be taken captive because he had no other choice. So I remain puzzled why Saruman did not take Galdolf's ring other then the fact he still thought he could have persuaded Gandolf in joining him and by taking Gandolf's ring would have destroyed any chance of that in his mind.
____

Still, the wraiths were already invisible by the time Frodo had the Ring:


They did not have their rings any longer to use anyway, but if they had, whatever further 'invisibility' you could suggest would be of limited usefulness. Their main power was inciting terror, and they did that with ease. Furthermore, their invisibility did not seem to affect their cloaks or steeds, which they were almost always accompanied by in accounts we're given.

The Nine were subject to counterfeit immortality, a different immortality than Elves; in a way they almost die in that their fundamentally mortal bodies could not endure immortality (this is unchangeable by any save Eru), and so they faded to Wraiths, the invisible creatures Frodo met. They only achieve longevity. After this passing into the shadow, they need not actually have the rings in their possession to continue 'living' or be invisible. Their immortality continued for as long as their rings existed and were powered by the One Ring.

Sauron does indeed hold the Nine Rings, which is how he continued to control them even without the One Ring in his possession. We're told so in a few places:
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I don't doubt this but I find it very hard to swallow, why would the wraiths allow Sauron to take the rings away from them? Why would the rings have no other usefulness to them other then to make then invisible? These were greater rings of power corrupted and turned evil by Sauron's hand once he captured them, surely they had other important virtues the wraiths could have used?
.

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Old 08-13-2012, 05:55 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jallanite View Post
Of the rings Sauron created, Tolkien writes in Letter 131 to Milton Waldman (emphasis mine):
And finally they [the Rings of Power created in part by Sauron] 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 to make 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.
So the rings worn by Cirdan and Gandalf, by Elrond, and by Galadrial “did not confer invisibility.” Presumably all of the other Rings of Power did or could confer invisibility.

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Very interesting but why then did the One Ring have power over them?
But in The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, III DURIN’S FOLK, Tolkien writes of the dwarves:
But they were made of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination. Though they could be slain or broken, they could not be reduced to shadows or enslaved to another will; and for the same reason their lives were not affected by the Ring, to live either longer or shorter because of it.
This implies that dwarves could not be rendered invisible merely by the wearing of one of the Seven Rings. (If they had been rendered invisible, one would have suspected that the dwarves would have known of this power and would have suspected when they learned of Bilbo’s ring that it might be one of the lost dwarf rings.) Possibly a dwarf wearing a Ring could become invisible by so willing.
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Makes you wonder what uses the Dwarfs even found in the Greater Rings given to them? Or why they were even selected to be given Rings of Power due to it's limited effect on them?
.

PS: I can't help but wonder this... If the Greater Ring's of Power were never designed for mortals why then were they given to them?

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Old 08-13-2012, 09:11 PM   #18
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Very interesting but why then did the One Ring have power over them?
Because Sauron, the foremost expert in the power of the Great Rings, made it to have power over the other Great Rings.

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PS: I can't help but wonder this... If the Greater Ring's of Power were never designed for mortals why then were they given to them?
Because Sauron saw that immortal and invisible Men completely under his control would be useful servants/slaves. The Elves may not have even considered giving rings to humans. But Sauron, as it later turned out, had a different agenda than did his Elvish helpers.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:51 PM   #19
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Radtech, it looks like you're putting "quote" tags around some of your own comments, so I'm not actually sure whether the following was asked by you, or someone earlier in the thread.

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I don't doubt this but I find it very hard to swallow, why would the wraiths allow Sauron to take the rings away from them? Why would the rings have no other usefulness to them other then to make then invisible? These were greater rings of power corrupted and turned evil by Sauron's hand once he captured them, surely they had other important virtues the wraiths could have used?
At any rate, the answer is that the wraiths had no will of their own by this point, and thus no say in the matter.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:28 PM   #20
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Because Sauron saw that immortal and invisible Men completely under his control would be useful servants/slaves. The Elves may not have even considered giving rings to humans. But Sauron, as it later turned out, had a different agenda than did his Elvish helpers.
Quite so, the Seven and the Nine were given out by Sauron himself after he seized them during the War of the Elves and Sauron, not by the Elves. There is that tradition in Khazad-dûm that the Ring of Durin's line was given to them directly by the Elves rather than by Sauron but it's not completely verifiable:
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It was believed by the Dwarves of Durin's Folk to be the first of the Seven that was forged; and they say it was given to the King of Khazad-dûm, Durin III, by the Elven-Smiths themselves and not by Sauron, though doubtless his evil power was on it, since he aided in the forging of all the Seven. ~Durin's Folk
I wonder - did Sauron intend for the Nine to turn their bearers into Wraiths? It was certainly useful that they did, but was it part of his plan? The Seven hadn't quite worked as planned on the Dwarves (they only made them greedy and wrathful, not susceptible to external control), but maybe that was the exception due to their unusual natures, which Sauron did not fully understand. I suppose the most efficient way to use the Nine would be to have them always controlling the same nine Men who never died, and thus making them into Wraiths would seemingly be the only way to do that, and had certain perks like making them terrifying and sorcerous. I always got the impression that the Seven and the Nine were identical, which is to say sixteen Great Rings with identical powers, and that their division was based solely on race; the Seven only had strange effects because Dwarves were using them.
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But Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power; 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. And all those rings that he governed he perverted... etc ~Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
This would mean that Sauron had to an extent wasted seven of them on the Dwarves and might explain why he spent a certain amount of effort in the Third Age trying to recover them. Did he want to re-use them and never got around to it, or were they simply too much of a potential danger as weapons in the hands of his enemies so long as he lacked the One? It is said of the Dwarves using the Seven that:
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wrath and an overmastering greed of gold were kindled in their hearts, of which evil enough after came to the profit of Sauron.
But perhaps "evil enough" was not quite the kind of top quality evil (as it were) that Sauron really wanted. It seems to me that his master plan with the Rings, to have effectively conquered all of Middle-earth in one stroke, was on the one hand a brilliant gambit which would have payed off extravagantly if properly executed and yet, evidently, contained a great deal of risk which proved to be his downfall.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:54 AM   #21
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In my oppinion, Sauron when he made the One did already expect that the Elves would resist him and take of the Rings as soon as they saw that he could controll them through their rings with the One. Therefore he uttered the vers about dealing out the Rings to the people of Middle-Earth.
It maight have been his plan from the start, to delivere the Rings to Dwarves and Men, but I am not so sure about that. To teach the Elves the spezial lore needed to forge the Rings in a way that he could controll all the Rings with the One, even so he had not helped in the forging of all Rings, is one thing. But to decieve the Elves in a way that they thought they would forge the Rings for themself, but acually would do it for the use of other races by Saurons design seem a bit to komplicated for me. But it is not impossible. Maybe the plan was more subtile and the abilities of the Seven and the Nine were suggested by Sauron to the Elven-smiths, so that it was easy for him to dedicate them later to Dwarves and Men.

Anyhow that the Seven failed to bring the Dwarves under Saurons controll, is clear. And that Sauron gave the Rings to the Dwarves is evidence enough that he tried exactly that. So at least that part of Saurons plan failed. But why?
The offering of three Rings to Dain does cast some doubt on the failer. On the one hand the offer could be a simple lie. But then we have to consider what was offered really: Three Rings for the Dwarves when Sauron would regain the One. Maybe he couldn't controll the Dwarves but he could see what was done with the Rings (Galadriel gave withness of these talking to Frodo). So at least he would have gained a spy glass into the mind of the dwarvish ring-bearers, most likely high ranking Dwarve-Lords.
A second factor might have been that Dúrin III recieved his Ring directly from Celebrimbor and not from Sauron. Celebrimbor gave it to Dúrin for save keeping not for use, he might have provided the Dwarves with ample warning about the influence of Sauron on that Ring in particular and the Rings in general. That means in contrast to the Men that got their Rings the Dwarf-Lords of Khazad-dûm might have had a warning, what they were dealing with. And the other Dwarves that got the Rings from Sauron might have gained the warning through communication with Khazad-dûm. So maybe as did the Elves the Dwarves started using their Rings only after Sauron lost the One. Which would explain why the Rings did not work as Sauron expected.

Respectfuly
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:33 AM   #22
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Radtech, it looks like you're putting "quote" tags around some of your own comments, so I'm not actually sure whether the following was asked by you, or someone earlier in the thread.


At any rate, the answer is that the wraiths had no will of their own by this point, and thus no say in the matter.
Sorry about that was a mistake in the format thanks for catching that. I still think that the wraiths powers were reduced by giving up their rings. I'm not sure why Sauron would take away a great amount of their power like that? I understand some say that he needed their rings to control them but at that point didn't he already have control?

PS: Has it ever been told how fast Sauron with the one ring could control the other rings of power? My reasoning is this at one point when Sauron first created the master ring shouldn't he pretty much have won the war at that moment?
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:12 PM   #23
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I'm not sure why Sauron would take away a great amount of their power like that? I understand some say that he needed their rings to control them but at that point didn't he already have control?
Sauron did indeed control the Nazgûl totally. I don't see not physically carrying the Nine causing any loss of the Ringwraiths' power, though. Once they entered the wraith-world, the effects on them should be the same as wearing the rings.
Any why would Sauron want them with himself? Safekeeping, maybe. The Nazgûl were capable of being destroyed, and Sauron would not have wanted his rings in unknown hands, especially when he lacked the One.

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PS: Has it ever been told how fast Sauron with the one ring could control the other rings of power? My reasoning is this at one point when Sauron first created the master ring shouldn't he pretty much have won the war at that moment?
With the One, Sauron could know the thoughts of the wearers of the other Rings of Power, but I don't think he "controlled" the rings themselves.
The One was tied to the other Rings, but it could only exact its influence on them if they and the One were in active use at the same time.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #24
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Sauron did indeed control the Nazgûl totally. I don't see not physically carrying the Nine causing any loss of the Ringwraiths' power, though. Once they entered the wraith-world, the effects on them should be the same as wearing the rings.
Any why would Sauron want them with himself? Safekeeping, maybe. The Nazgûl were capable of being destroyed, and Sauron would not have wanted his rings in unknown hands, especially when he lacked the One.
I see and this makes sense to me and I do agree with the logic here. However it does raise another question as to where Sauron could have kept or hidden the rings of power he had kept or captured for safe keeping. He was himself in a type of spirit or wraith form when he was defeated by King Elendil and had to flee to Dol Guldur, the Hill of Sorcery, in southern Mirkwood. How could Sauron have taken the rings of power with him when he had to flee? Then Sauron was eventually driven out of Mirkwood by the White council and again went back to Mordor and rebuilt Barad-dûr. However wouldn't by that time his land have long been plundered and searched? Wouldn't they have found any lost of hidden rings of power long ago?
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:17 PM   #25
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However it does raise another question as to where Sauron could have kept or hidden the rings of power he had kept or captured for safe keeping. He was himself in a type of spirit or wraith form when he was defeated by King Elendil and had to flee to Dol Guldur, the Hill of Sorcery, in southern Mirkwood. How could Sauron have taken the rings of power with him when he had to flee? Then Sauron was eventually driven out of Mirkwood by the White council and again went back to Mordor and rebuilt Barad-dûr. However wouldn't by that time his land have long been plundered and searched? Wouldn't they have found any lost of hidden rings of power long ago?
Good questions, with no certain answers!

Perhaps, with Sauron defeated, the Witch-king, knowing his master would eventually return (since nothing had changed for the WK or his fellow wraiths, regarding their enslavement), took the rings with him into temporary exile in the East.
Then, when Sauron began his re-embodiment in Dol Guldur, the rings were returned by the Nazgûl.

That's my guess, anyway.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:30 AM   #26
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Good questions, with no certain answers!

Perhaps, with Sauron defeated, the Witch-king, knowing his master would eventually return (since nothing had changed for the WK or his fellow wraiths, regarding their enslavement), took the rings with him into temporary exile in the East.
Then, when Sauron began his re-embodiment in Dol Guldur, the rings were returned by the Nazgûl.

That's my guess, anyway.
That's what I had though as well, however what about this time when he could have easily of lost his own ring: During the time when king Ar-Pharazôn sailed to Middle-earth to combat Sauron, seeing the might of Númenor, Sauron agreed to be the king's captive, and he was brought back to Númenor. What happened to the one ring then? Why didn't king Ar-Pharazôn take the ring from him then when he was captured?
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:11 PM   #27
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During the time when king Ar-Pharazôn sailed to Middle-earth to combat Sauron, seeing the might of Númenor, Sauron agreed to be the king's captive, and he was brought back to Númenor. What happened to the one ring then? Why didn't king Ar-Pharazôn take the ring from him then when he was captured?
Sauron would certainly have had the One on his person when captured. However, the Númenóreans probably did not even know of the existence of the Rings of Power at that time. I can see the wily Sauron saying something along the lines of "Please, Great King, this heirloom is all I have left to me. Let me treasure it, since I have nothing else."
Since they were unwary enough about Sauron and his ways to have taken him to their homeland in the first place, I don't see why the Ring would have specially concerned them.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:31 PM   #28
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Sauron would certainly have had the One on his person when captured. However, the Númenóreans probably did not even know of the existence of the Rings of Power at that time. I can see the wily Sauron saying something along the lines of "Please, Great King, this heirloom is all I have left to me. Let me treasure it, since I have nothing else."
Since they were unwary enough about Sauron and his ways to have taken him to their homeland in the first place, I don't see why the Ring would have specially concerned them.
I see your point, after all he was a smooth talker form what were told.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:49 PM   #29
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Sauron would certainly have had the One on his person when captured. However, the Númenóreans probably did not even know of the existence of the Rings of Power at that time. I can see the wily Sauron saying something along the lines of "Please, Great King, this heirloom is all I have left to me. Let me treasure it, since I have nothing else."
Since they were unwary enough about Sauron and his ways to have taken him to their homeland in the first place, I don't see why the Ring would have specially concerned them.
I doubt that Ar-Pharazôn knew anything of the Ring. His predecessors on the throne had been hostile to the Elves who may alone have known of the great Ring, and even they may not have known the extent of its power. But Ar-Pharazôn had little to do with the Elves, the truth of whose traditions of Manwë and Varda Ar-Pharazôn had grown to largely disbelieve.

Ar-Pharazôn would have attributed Sauron’s power to various sources, including Sauron’s origin as a mighty Maia. Had the Elves attempted to warn Ar-Pharazôn of the Ring, he would have disbelieved them, seeing Sauron, so it seemed, humbled before him and his obedient servant.
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:42 PM   #30
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The One Ring was most likely on Sauron's finger the whole time, or at least somewhere on his person. If you reread the chapter on Galadriel's Mirror, Galadriel's ring, Nenya, was only visible if she chose to reveal it, and then only Frodo saw it plainly (he being a Ringbearer himself), while Sam saw a light but could not discern a ring. Likewise, few even knew Gandalf had a Ring of Power, not even Saruman, who held him in captivity in Orthanc briefly.

Evidently, Ar-Pharazon never noticed it.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:57 PM   #31
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Likewise, few even knew Gandalf had a Ring of Power, not even Saruman, who held him in captivity in Orthanc briefly.
From Unfinished Tales, Part Four, II The Istari:
And the Grey Messenger [Gandalf] took the Ring [from Cirdan], and kept it ever secret; yet the White Messenger [Saruman] (who was skilled to uncover all secrets) after a time became aware of this gift and begrudged it, and it was the beginning of the hidden ill-will that he bore to the Grey, which afterwards became manifest.
I am aware that Tolkien added this later and may not then have been considering carefully about whether Saruman knew that Gandalf bore the Red Ring when Gandalf was Saruman’s captive.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:46 PM   #32
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I am aware that Tolkien added this later and may not then have been considering carefully about whether Saruman knew that Gandalf bore the Red Ring when Gandalf was Saruman’s captive.
Logically, it seems Saruman should have known the dispositions of the Three. After all, he was the head of the White Council, apart from his general knowledge of the Rings of Power.

That brings a question though. Assuming Saruman did know where the Three were, why, by the time of the War of the Ring, did Sauron not have that knowledge?
The latter dominated Saruman through both's use of their palantiri, but maybe Saruman kept that hidden; an example of his dealing against both sides?
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:15 PM   #33
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From Unfinished Tales, Part Four, II The Istari:
And the Grey Messenger [Gandalf] took the Ring [from Cirdan], and kept it ever secret; yet the White Messenger [Saruman] (who was skilled to uncover all secrets) after a time became aware of this gift and begrudged it, and it was the beginning of the hidden ill-will that he bore to the Grey, which afterwards became manifest.
I am aware that Tolkien added this later and may not then have been considering carefully about whether Saruman knew that Gandalf bore the Red Ring when Gandalf was Saruman’s captive.
What you offer is a mistake in editing in unpublished material causing an immense plot hole which obviously was not in the published story. Considering Saruman was making his own rings, he certainly would have taken Narya from Gandalf when he had him completely under his power - had he known a Ring of Power was there. Particularly so if, as the later, unpublished material states he had "ill-will" due to the ring. Saruman gaining Narya at Orthanc could very well spell the doom of the West.

The Return of the King contains, in Appendix B, the following:

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Throughout the Third Age the guardianship of the Three Rings was known only to those who possessed them.
This is bolstered in "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" in the Silmarillion, where it states:

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But the red ring remained hidden until the end, and none save Elrond and Galadriel and Cirdan knew to whom it had been committed.
But this is neither here nor there as, per usual, you missed the point I was trying to make entirely.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:52 AM   #34
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Leaf Rewrite?

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What you offer is a mistake in editing in unpublished material causing an immense plot hole which obviously was not in the published story.
I wouldn't think of it an editor's mistake, but a preliminary draft.

I forget which fantasy author told this tale, but one women entered a trivia contest at a science fiction convention where the questions were about the books she had written herself. She lost the contest. Badly. The many writes, rewrites, edits and changes got so confused in her head that her fans -- exposed only to the finished product -- remembered the final released version of her own world better than she did.

I suspect Tolkien knew his world better than most, but he rewrote and fine tuned to no small degree.
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:54 PM   #35
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What you offer is a mistake in editing in unpublished material causing an immense plot hole which obviously was not in the published story. Considering Saruman was making his own rings, he certainly would have taken Narya from Gandalf when he had him completely under his power - had he known a Ring of Power was there. Particularly so if, as the later, unpublished material states he had "ill-will" due to the ring. Saruman gaining Narya at Orthanc could very well spell the doom of the West.
Saruman may still have had hope that Gandalf would see reason and join with him. In the chapter “The Council of Elrond″, Elrond said:
But they [the three Elvish Rings] were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or domination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained.
So I see no problem in reconciling Saruman letting Gandalf keep Narya, for the time, with his knowledge that Gandalf possessed it. I see an equally great problem with Saruman not putting Gandalf to death immediately once Saruman had got hold of Gandalf. What was Saruman preserving Gandalf for? Did Saruman perhaps prevision that if Gandalf died, Manwë would send him back? Was Saruman genuine in his hope that Gandalf would ṗerhaps eventually reveal all that he knew of the Ring to Saruman? If as, then better do no more than imprison Gandalf without worrying about Narya.

It is the two quotations that you have presented that state clearly that the secret of who possessed the Three Rings was only known to their possessors which shows conclusively that the quotation I presented from Unfinished Tales does not fit with other material published in Tolkien’s lifetime.

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But this is neither here nor there as, per usual, you missed the point I was trying to make entirely.
The quotations you presented are not “neither here nor there” but the proof that you are correct.

Of course I did not accept the point you were trying to make because I had forgotten those clear statements.

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Old 08-19-2012, 09:16 PM   #36
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It is the two quotations that you have presented that state clearly that the secret of who possessed the Three Rings was only known to their possessors which shows conclusively that the quotation I presented from Unfinished Tales does not fit with other material published in Tolkien’s lifetime.
I am aware of that, hence my posting them.

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Of course I did not accept the point you were trying to make because I had forgotten those clear statements.
Yes, of course. But again the larger point I was making, the one germane to the previous discussion, and the one you took off the beaten path, was the concept that a ringbearer can wear a Ring of Power unobtrusively so that it remains hidden, unless the ringbearer chooses to reveal it or another Ringbearer sees it, as was the case with Galadriel and Frodo, and then with Gandalf at the Gray Havens with Narya.

We can rightly assume that the Rings never left the persons of Galadriel, Gandalf or Elrond, and it is quite probable the same can be said with Sauron in Numenor. With the One Ring hidden (perhaps hidden in plain sight on Sauron's finger), then it was much easier to delude Ar-Pharazon and subjugate the Numenoreans.

The question remains as to why Frodo or Bilbo could not hide the One Ring in such a way as Galadriel did with her ring (or perhaps as Sauron did in Numenor). It is likely that they did not possess the same innate power as the Eldar or Maiar, hence they were not fully able to exploit the power of the One Ring, using it for what amounts to merely "parlor tricks".

P.S. Sauron certainly did have the One Ring in Numenor. In Letter #211 Tolkien states, “He naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the minds and wills of most of the Númenóreans.” And in Letter #131 Tolkien reiterates that Sauron (now in spirit form) wisked the Ring away from the ruin of Numenor: "I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring [from Numenor], upon which his power of dominating minds now largely depended."
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #37
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I am aware of that, hence my posting them.
You posted, “But this is neither here nor there …” when it should be the main point. Then you followed it with a gratuitous insult. Now you claim you should not have posted, “But this is neither here nor there …” since you were aware that this was the main point. *Sigh*

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We can rightly assume that the Rings never left the persons of Galadriel, Gandalf or Elrond, and it is quite probable the same can be said with Sauron in Numenor.
“Assume” and “probable″ indicates you that what you are saying is to some degree dubious. It is at best only “reasonable”. You can “assume” anything you want. You can even “wongly assume″ things.

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The question remains as to why Frodo or Bilbo could not hide the One Ring in such a way as Galadriel did with her ring (or perhaps as Sauron did in Numenor). It is likely that they did not possess the same innate power as the Eldar or Maiar, hence they were not fully able to exploit the power of the One Ring, using it for what amounts to merely "parlor tricks".
The word “likely” is another of those words that indicates that what you are saying has not been established. It at least equally “likely” that hiding the Ring was one of the many powers of the One Ring which Bilbo did not use because he was unaware of them. He thought that the Ring was a Ring of invisibility and nothing more. Frodo only wore the Ring three times for short periods of time and in circumstances where he would not have considered experimenting with it to see what else he could do with it and what he could not do.

It is also just as “likely″ that the Elven Rings were rendered invisible by magic outside of their own power.

This is one of the many points unexplained in The Lord of the Rings. Were the dwarf rings also invisible to those looking at their wearers? Unknown.

In the Milton Waldman letter Tolkien states:
And finally, they [the 16 Rings of Power created by the Elven-smiths of Erebor with Sauron’s help] had other powers, more directly derived from Sauron (‘the Necromancer’: so he is called as he casts a fleeting shadow shadow and presage on the pages of The Hobbit): such as rendering invisible the material body, and making things of the invisible world visible.
But of the three rings created by the Elves without Sauron’s aid, Tolkien writes: “… they did not confer invisibility″. How this fits with these three Rings being worn by the wearers invisibly is not said.

Perhaps this is another case where material written by Tolkien but not published within The Lord of the Rings should be disregarded. Or perhaps not.

But Tolkien also has Gandalf say in the chapter “The Shadow of the Past”:
A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. It may slip off treacherously, but its keeper never abandons it. At most he plays with the idea of handling it on to someone else’s care—and that only in an early stage, when it first begins to grip. But as far as I know Bilbo alone in history has ever gone beyond playing, and really gone and done it.
But Cirdan, the keeper of one of the Rings of Power, had also handed on his Ring of Power, to Gandalf himself. The best one can do to avoid seeing here a tremendous hole in The Lord of the Rings is to claim that Gandalf was uncharacteristically speaking loosely here and not thinking of the Elven-rings or perhaps even deliberately lying.

There are other dubious things in The Lord of the Rings which do not quite cohere without lots of assumptions being made. But if more than one assumption is possible, then which one actually happened. The most likely one, when one of the assumptions is obviously more likely? But in real history unlikely things often occur.

If Sauron happened to be wearing a visible Ring, or even more than one visible ring, there is no particular reason by Ar-Pharazôn would have considered anything untoward about that. But yes, Sauron might indeed have been wearing the Ring invisibly, but also might not have. The theory you present is quite reasonable, but only as one possible fan fiction that would serve.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:26 PM   #38
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In the Milton Waldman letter Tolkien states:
And finally, they [the 16 Rings of Power created by the Elven-smiths of Erebor with Sauron’s help] had other powers, more directly derived from Sauron (‘the Necromancer’: so he is called as he casts a fleeting shadow shadow and presage on the pages of The Hobbit): such as rendering invisible the material body, and making things of the invisible world visible.
But of the three rings created by the Elves without Sauron’s aid, Tolkien writes: “… they did not confer invisibility″. How this fits with these three Rings being worn by the wearers invisibly is not said.
Such topics naturally lend themselves to speculation, so I wanted to throw this out there.
Could the "invisibility" of the Three be connected with the nature of their possessors as Elves, and in Ganadalf's case, as a "divine" creature?

Gandalf explained to Frodo that Glorfindel, having dwelt in the Blessed Realm, existed simultaneously in the "real" world and that of hidden things which the Ringwraiths inhabited. Therefore he was visible to those in either world. The One (and the Nine, and the Seven) put its wearer in the wraith-world. Maybe the Three, not designed to confer invisibility, but still connected to the One, simply displayed an opposite effect when worn by Galadriel and Gandalf. I know this would not apply to Elrond, since he had never set foot in Aman, but we do not know his policy of guarding Vilya. Did he wear it all the time? Keep it in his pocket? Who can say?

It also makes me think of the One vanishing when handled by Bombadil. Was that a momentary glimpse of a similar occurrence?
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:02 PM   #39
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You posted, “But this is neither here nor there …” when it should be the main point. Then you followed it with a gratuitous insult. Now you claim you should not have posted, “But this is neither here nor there …” since you were aware that this was the main point. *Sigh*
You are a trip. There was no "gratuitous insult", you took the discussion off the beaten path. What you were saying was "neither here nor there" with what I was discussing previously: the topic being the Rings of Power being unseen by those who themselves were not Ringbearers. In your haste to be contrary (because attempting to prove me wrong seems to be your current avocation), you decided to throw out a quote from unpublished material that was contrary to published material. I had to waste time finding the appropriate quotes in hopes of going back to the original discussion. Alas, the effort was for naught!

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“Assume” and “probable″ indicates you that what you are saying is to some degree dubious. It is at best only “reasonable”. You can “assume” anything you want. You can even “wongly assume″ things.
My, how tedious. Perhaps I should quote extemperaneously from unedited material to bolster my suppositions.

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“ The theory you present is quite reasonable, but only as one possible fan fiction that would serve.
Using the term "fan fiction" certainly will gain you admirers in a debate. I'll remember that next time you whine about insults.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:54 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
You are a trip. There was no "gratuitous insult", you took the discussion off the beaten path. What you were saying was "neither here nor there" with what I was discussing previously: the topic being the Rings of Power being unseen by those who themselves were not Ringbearers. In your haste to be contrary (because attempting to prove me wrong seems to be your current avocation), you decided to throw out a quote from unpublished material that was contrary to published material. I had to waste time finding the appropriate quotes in hopes of going back to the original discussion. Alas, the effort was for naught!
Guess so. I see you as trying to prove me wrong. There are lots of interesting discussions that arise from people trying to prove each other wrong. I am quite ready to admit I am wrong as I was in the matter of Saruman knowing of Narya in the published Lord of the Rings.

Possibly you intended no insult. It does not so read to me: “per usual, you missed the point I was trying to make entirely.” Your points are sometimes actually wrong, as are mine, but I don’t think that either of use are wrong per usual.

Quote:
My, how tedious. Perhaps I should quote extemperaneously from unedited material to bolster my suppositions.
Perhaps you should. I try not to believe in any set of suppositions when there are other equally possible explanations. I can entertain various contradictory explanations simultaneously without believing any of them.

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Using the term "fan fiction" certainly will gain you admirers in a debate. I'll remember that next time you whine about insults.
I was not aware that “fan fiction” was an insult. Do you then consider that your imaginative account of Sauron with an invisible ring was not fan fiction? Then what was it? I admitted quite readily that your fan fiction was quite possible. My suggestion that the ring was visible and Ar-Pharazôn just didn’t think anything of it was also fan fiction if that matters.

I think it best that I put you on my ignore list as you seem determined that anything I post is wrong, which indeed it sometimes is, but not so often as you seem to believe.
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