What if the Ring is reactive and passive instead of sentient and active?

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
I have always believed that the Ring slipped onto Frodo's finger in the Prancing Pony because there were evil people there, and it was attracted by evil. (Not that the Nazgul are in town.) And Frodo's reluctance to show the Ring at the Council seems to be the opposite - no presence of evil and lots of powerful goodness. The Ring is drawn out by the presence of evil, and is shy in the presence of good. I don't see this as active, but reactive, and I see Frodo simply as a vehicle for those movements. I have not seen other occasions when Frodo either puts it on or comes close to putting it on where evil is not present except in Tom Bombadil's house; perhaps that's part of why I don't see that example as Frodo being ready to desert his companions under the Ring's influence.

In any case, in one of the classes about the what happens in the Barrow, Corey called up four incidents of the Ring acting directly on Frodo - not throwing it in the fire, when the Black Rider is crawling towards him in the Shire, and in Bombadil's house, and the Barrow as a fourth. He says the Barrow is the only one where Frodo actively resists. (He would have put the Ring on in the Shire if the Elves hadn't come along.) We can go on from there to Bree, Weathertop, crossing the river into Rivendell, though the last is complicated by the Nazgul and the wound of the Morgul blade. Frodo resists in the Barrow, and at Weathertop and the Ford he resists the Witch King himself even wearing the Ring. In those instances Frodo's own will takes over, and is stronger than other powers.

I am only talking about Frodo and the instances we actually see, because he's the first mortal who has held the Ring and known what it is. (Isildur knew what it was, but not what it did.)