Why Do We Think the One Ring Will Act Like the Nine?

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
In another thread, this question occurred to me: why do we assume that the One Ring will turn a mortal bearer into a wraith? Gandalf says it in The Shadow of the Past, but how does he know it? Do all the Rings of Power do the same things? The subservient rings were made for the people they were given to. The dwarf rings didn't work. The rings for Men did, but we don't know how they worked. How long did it take the Nazgul to become wraiths? Did they wear them all the time, or only at times? Did they even make their bearers invisible? Surely if they were kings and lords, wouldn't they want to use their powers when they could be seen? Did their rings give them other powers as well? Could it have taken a thousand years for them to become wraiths, after their butter had been stretched so thin it disappeared? They could certainly be Sauron's slaves before they became wraiths. Sauron made those rings specifically for Men, and would be suited to the strength of Men.

But the One Ring was made for one being only - Sauron himself, and was suited to his own strength.

It did not make Sauron invisible. It made Isildur, Gollum, Bilbo and Frodo invisible when they wore it. It didn't make Tom Bombadil invisible. So we can probably conclude that it made mortals invisible when they wore it. But none of those mortals became wraiths, even though Gollum had and used the Ring for hundreds of years. Isildur only had it for a short time. Bilbo had it for 61 years, Frodo 17. We have been discussing this assuming that it meant that hobbits were resistant to wraithification. Frodo's danger of becoming a wraith did not come from the Ring, but from the morgul knife.

So the One Ring has never turned anyone into a wraith. We don't know if hobbits are resistant, or if the Ring just doesn't do that.
 
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Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
In another thread, this question occurred to me: why do we assume that the One Ring will turn a mortal bearer into a wraith? Gandalf says it in The Shadow of the Past, but how does he know it? Do all the Rings of Power do the same things? The subservient rings were made for the people they were given to. The dwarf rings didn't work. The rings for Men did, but we don't know how they worked. How long did it take the Nazgul to become wraiths? Did they wear them all the time, or only at times? Did they even make their bearers invisible? Surely if they were kings and lords, wouldn't they want to use their powers when they could be seen? Did their rings give them other powers as well? Could it have taken a thousand years for them to become wraiths, after their butter had been stretched so thin it disappeared? They could certainly be Sauron's slaves before they became wraiths. Sauron made those rings specifically for Men, and would be suited to the strength of Men.

But the One Ring was made for one being only - Sauron himself, and was suited to his own strength.

It did not make Sauron invisible. It made Isildur, Gollum, Bilbo and Frodo invisible when they wore it. It didn't make Tom Bombadil invisible. So we can probably conclude that it made mortals invisible when they wore it. But none of those mortals became wraiths, even though Gollum had and used the Ring for hundreds of years. Isildur only had it for a short time. Bilbo had it for 61 years, Frodo 17. We have been discussing this assuming that it meant that hobbits were resistant to wraithification. Frodo's danger of becoming a wraith did not come from the Ring, but from the morgul knife.

So the One Ring has never turned anyone into a wraith. We don't know if hobbits are resistant, or if the Ring just doesn't do that.
Firstly, it depends on which version of the story you read, to determine whether the Seven and the Nine were made by Sauron for the Dwarves and Men respectively, or whether they were made by the Elves of Eregion, under the tutelage of Anatar (Sauron) for themselves.

Secondly, we don't know what other sources Gandalf, and presumably Saruman, have to derive the conclusions made.

So, this leaves us with our own observations:
1. The One Ring worn by Men (and their sub-species) renders the wearer invisible.
2. Rings of Power given to Men (and their sub-species) are given long life, and perhaps are robbed of death through any but violent means.
3. Elves, and Ainur that wear Rings don't become invisible.

And then Gandalf's assertions unchallenged:
1. Given enough time, the effects of Rings of Power on their (mortal?) bearers become permanent.
2. The other Rings of Power (and their bearers) are made subservient to the One when the wearer of the One exerts a dominant will upon them.

Any others?
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
Secondly, we don't know what other sources Gandalf, and presumably Saruman, have to derive the conclusions made.

So, this leaves us with our own observations:
1. The One Ring worn by Men (and their sub-species) renders the wearer invisible.
2. Rings of Power given to Men (and their sub-species) are given long life, and perhaps are robbed of death through any but violent means.
3. Elves, and Ainur that wear Rings don't become invisible.

And then Gandalf's assertions unchallenged:
1. Given enough time, the effects of Rings of Power on their (mortal?) bearers become permanent.
2. The other Rings of Power (and their bearers) are made subservient to the One when the wearer of the One exerts a dominant will upon them.
I think Gandalf's main source of ringlore has been Saruman until very recently and we know that he didn't always pay attention when Saruman lectured on the subject; and we know that source has been corrupted for a long time. And when Gandalf went to Minas Tirith's archives, he was looking specifically for any of Isildur's papers, and was in a hurry. I doubt that he did more than glance at anything else he leafed through before he found what he was looking for, namely anything that would help him identify Frodo's ring, whether as the One Ring or not. Obviously he knows about the elven-rings, since he bears one is good friends with Elrond and Galadriel. What do they know of the other rings? Did they know Celebrimbor? I wonder if the archives have any info on the rings of Men.

And yes, that's what we know - and as far as we know the One Ring also creates possessiveness and covetousness in those who hold it or are near it, and it doesn't make men or hobbits into wraiths.
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
I think Gandalf's main source of ringlore has been Saruman until very recently and we know that he didn't always pay attention when Saruman lectured on the subject; and we know that source has been corrupted for a long time. And when Gandalf went to Minas Tirith's archives, he was looking specifically for any of Isildur's papers, and was in a hurry. I doubt that he did more than glance at anything else he leafed through before he found what he was looking for, namely anything that would help him identify Frodo's ring, whether as the One Ring or not. Obviously he knows about the elven-rings, since he bears one is good friends with Elrond and Galadriel. What do they know of the other rings? Did they know Celebrimbor? I wonder if the archives have any info on the rings of Men.

And yes, that's what we know - and as far as we know the One Ring also creates possessiveness and covetousness in those who hold it or are near it, and it doesn't make men or hobbits into wraiths.
Galadriel for sure knew Celebrimbor, as he is her half-uncle's grandson and as such a quite a close kinsman. And by descent - had Maedhros not relinquished the High Kingship of the Noldor - he would be in line to be High King, so even if not High King himself, he still is one of the clear leaders of the Noldor in exile - a VIP in Noldorin context.
 

Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
Let's examine the evidence to make that determination:
Number of Elves that handle the One Ring: 0
Number of Istari that handle the One Ring: 1
Number of Istari that wear the One Ring: 0
Number of people rendered invisible by the One Ring without wearing it: 0
Number of people who wore the the One Ring without being rendered invisible: 2
Racial status of those people: 1 Maia, 1 Unknown

Result: Insufficient data to make a determination.
 
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