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Minas Tirith Forums » Library Council of Minas Tirith » Where was Gandalf's Ring? (Page 1)
Author Topic: Where was Gandalf's Ring?
Roll of Honor Marcho Blackwood - MSS
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Gandalf wore the Third Ring, Narya the Great, and the stone upon it was red as fire. Three questions have come to my mind:

1) Where was Narya when Gandalf wasn't wearing it?

2) Can we really believe that if Gandalf had it with him always that Saruman could or would overlook the ring and not keep it for himself when he imprisoned Gandalf?

3) If Gandalf had it all the time, after all it was given to him to aid him in his mission, what happened to it when he fell with the Balrog? Was it like his staff and 'reborn' with him?

There is a thread in Lord of the Rings that is related to this: Thread that discusses Ring Powers

I just can't believe that Gandalf could hide the ring when in physical custody by Saruman. I can see magically hiding it from the casual observer, but surely he would have been searched carefully for magical items.

[ 03-07-2003, 10:12 AM: Message edited by: Marcho Blackwood - MSS ]

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GLAMDRING The Foe Hammer
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Interesting questions, I'll give my thoughts on each one...

quote:
1) Where was Narya when Gandalf wasn't wearing it?
I don't think he ever took it off. I don't have any real reasons why I believe this. In fact, I can't think of any times that he ever used the ring outright.

He was a wizard so he probably had a bunch of little pockets all over his clothing where he could have hidden it. Who knows?

quote:
2) Can we really believe that if Gandalf had it with him always that Saruman could or would overlook the ring and not keep it for himself when he imprisoned Gandalf?
I think you posed the question in another thread about the rings themselves being invisible except to other ringbearers. If you have worn one of the great rings of power then you can see the rings.

Frodo could see Galadriel's ring but Sam could not. Even though Frodo was not wearing the One Ring at the time he could still see Galadriel's ring.

Brings up the question of whether he (Frodo) could see Gandalf's ring or not (maybe he didn't wear it all the time afterall, which goes back to question 1).

If that is the case, then since Saruman had never worn a great ring he could not see Narya. It is interesting that Saruman, as head of the White Council, would not know who had the 3 rings or at least not known that Gandalf had the one from Cirdan. Gandalf trusted him up until the time when they attacked Dol Guldur (said that Saruman was against it until the last) but before that time he would have trusted him completely.

The only others who knew Gandalf had Narya were Cirdan, Elrond, and Galadriel (probably Celeborn too I would guess).

quote:
3) If Gandalf had it all the time, after all it was given to him to aid him in his mission, what happened to it when he fell with the Balrog? Was it like his staff and 'reborn' with him?
He also still had me (Glamdring) with him after he came back so I don't see him having the ring again as a problem.

Very interesting questions and I'm sure others who have read all of the HoME texts (I have not read them all yet) will have some actual quotes and background for their views on this instead of just what they think (like me).

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Roll of Honor Marcho Blackwood - MSS
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Good point about Glamdring! I never thought about that one before, though it should be as obvious a question as the ring and the staff! So we have quite a number of physical items that survived the 'rebirth' somehow or another. A staff is something I see as being replaceable with relative ease, but the ring and sword are unique items.
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Roll of Honor Snaga
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Gandalf's staff was borken in Moria - right?:

"At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke assunder and fell from his hand..."

I remembered that because I thought - "Wow, Gandalf really put his all into that one - seems like he purposely sacrficed his staff." I always assumed he got a new one in Lorien, but who the heck can ever really know. Still, this doesn't take away anything on the ideas about his keeping his ring through the battle.

Again, I have no evidence for this at all, but I liked to think Gandalf could make any piece of wood his staff - with a little work of course.

[ 03-07-2003, 05:02 PM: Message edited by: Snaga ]

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Thalion
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quote:
3) If Gandalf had it all the time, after all it was given to him to aid him in his mission, what happened to it when he fell with the Balrog? Was it like his staff and 'reborn' with him?
Doesn't need to be, he came back in the same place he left, and although I never thought of it, probably the same body, so they Ring would still be right there on his person.
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Arnkell
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GLAMDRING said:
quote:
It is interesting that Saruman, as head of the White Council, would not know who had the 3 rings or at least not known that Gandalf had the one from Cirdan.
Gandalf trusted him up until the time when they attacked Dol Guldur (said that Saruman was against it until the last) but before that time he would have trusted him completely.

It has nothing to do with trust. Anyone carrying a Ring of Power, especially one of the Three, would be marked for death, with a price on his/her head, in Sauron-country and beyond.
The Ring-Bearers couldn't afford having anyone but themselves and the previous owners know, if only for the safety of their unknowing friends.
So unlike other things, things Gandalf didn't or couldn't withhold from Saruman's knowledge, this proved to be a saving grace, I think.

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Thingol of Doriath
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Saruman knew that Gandalf had Narya. And he resented it...
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Arnkell
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Wasn't that from some formerly-unpublished part of HoME? I didn't think that bit was canon, but I'm not sure.
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Thingol of Doriath
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quote:
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.
"The Istari" Unfinished Tales
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Dark Lord Andúril
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Ah, another thought. When Gandalf died after he fought the balrog, what happened to his ring? Was it preserved through his 'death' process? Surely if he was given a new body, then it would have been lost? Was it left on the mountaintop and he found it?
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Michael Martinez
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Gandalf's staff was not "reborn". Galadriel gave him a new staff when he was taken to Lorien by Gwaihir the Windlord.

When Gandalf was slain by the Balrog, his body lay on the peak of Zirak-Zigil. When Iluvatar restored him to life, his spirit simply returned to his body (which presumably was healed by Iluvatar).

Since there is no mention of Gandalf removing Narya, it must be accepted that he had the ability to hide its presence (mostly) from Saruman, who in at least one passage (cited above) is said to have ascertained eventually that Gandalf possessed it (or, at least, one of the Three).

[ 08-02-2004, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: Michael Martinez ]

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Earendilyon
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quote:
Galadriel gave him a new staff when he was taken to Lorien by Gwaihir the Windlord.
Do we have evidence for this, or is this pure conjecture. I can't recall this from the LotR. Lorien was, of course, the first place where he could get a new staff ...

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Incanus
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quote:
think you posed the question in another thread about the rings themselves being invisible except to other ringbearers. If you have worn one of the great rings of power then you can see the rings.

Frodo could see Galadriel's ring but Sam could not. Even though Frodo was not wearing the One Ring at the time he could still see Galadriel's ring.

Brings up the question of whether he (Frodo) could see Gandalf's ring or not (maybe he didn't wear it all the time afterall, which goes back to question 1).

If that is the case, then since Saruman had never worn a great ring he could not see Narya. It is interesting that Saruman, as head of the White Council, would not know who had the 3 rings or at least not known that Gandalf had the one from Cirdan. Gandalf trusted him up until the time when they attacked Dol Guldur (said that Saruman was against it until the last) but before that time he would have trusted him completely.

Is there evidence that this power of concealing the ring of power you weild something of physical concealment or of both that and a mental concealment. For, even though Gandalf, during his time as a gray wizard, was concealing it from all others save those who knew of it, I doubt he would be able to coneal it from Saruman, undoubtedly stronger than him at that time, without some unconscious aid from Narya itself. Of course, your theory could very well be true, and it sounds logical. But it's just odd to me why Frodo never noticed Narya if he could see Vilya (isn't that Galadriel's?), even with the given ability that those who have once possessed the ring may indeed see others.

Also, didn't Samwise possess the ring for a short while? Granted, he didn't wear it, and he didn't see anyone with a ring of power after that either, until the very end of his travels.

And another question, if it is that, going by your theory, a wielder, previous or present, of a ring of power can see others, how come they could see The One Ring all the time, save for when it was being worn?

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Roccondil
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quote:
Is there evidence that this power of concealing the ring of power you weild
The only quote that bears directly on this comes at the end of The Return of the King, when the Hobbits arrive at the Grey Havens.

quote:
As he turned and came towards them Frodo saw that Gandalf now wore openly upon his hand the Third Ring, Narya the Great, and the stone upon it was red as fire.
The word “openly” implies that prior to this the Ring was hidden from view. However, whether this can be taken to imply that previously the Ring was on his finger, but invisible is another question.

If one accepts that invisibility of the Three Rings was one of their properties, then once the One Ring was destroyed this property would be lost and so Narya would have to become visible.

However, it could also be that Gandalf (and Galadriel, and presumably Elrond as well) used some sort of concealment spell so that others did not notice their Rings. At the end of the Third Age and as they were leaving Middle-earth this spell was no longer necessary.

[ 10-26-2005, 04:12 AM: Message edited by: Roccondil ]

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Morgil
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However, although it is mentioned in the text that Frodo could see Galadriel's ring there is no record of him noticing Elrond's; even though he spent a lot of time in Rivendell. Perhaps it has something to do with Eärendil's star?

[ 10-26-2005, 06:50 AM: Message edited by: Morgil ]

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Roccondil
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That's very true, although in the earlier part of "The Grey Havens", when Frodo and Sam meet Elrond and Galadriel in the Green Hills, both Vilya and Nenya are clearly visible to the Hobbits then.

I think this is further evidence that they were hidden in some way before this.

However, why, according to Galadriel, her Ring cannot be hidden from Frodo when both Elrond (and of course Gandalf) have done so is a deeper question.

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LyraLuthien Tinuviel
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By the time Frodo sees Galadriel in Lorien, he has been bearing the Ring long enough for it to become a burden. It is weighing on his mind more, consuming him. Perhaps, as it enthralls him, it also enables him to see things he could not before.
Also, at the Mirror of Galadriel, the Elf and the Hobbit are together in the heart of her realm, sharing deep secrets and hidden fears. Perhaps Frodo's experience with the Mirror opened an inner eye of some sort.
After this encounter, he sees neither Elrond nor Gandalf again until after the One Ring is destroyed. Perhaps if he had, he might have caught a glimpse of their rings.
This is pure speculation, of course.

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Don't say we have come now to the end; White shores are calling.
You and I will meet again.
Across the sea a pale moon rising; the ships have come to carry you home.
And all will turn to silver glass; A light on the water
Grey Ships pass into the West.

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Roccondil
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But very insightful speculation and I think that you are quite probably correct.
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Incanus
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I agree LyraLuthien. A very insightful speculation. I wanted to ask though, about your quote, Roccondil. Was it just Frodo that saw Narya, or did the others see it as well. The same question I would ask about the meeting with Galadriel, Celeborn and Elrond before they reached the Shire, where Frodo also saw the other rings.

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Thingol of Doriath
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quote:
Perhaps Frodo's experience with the Mirror opened an inner eye of some sort.

Galadriel makes a comment when Frodo sees her ring that has been interpreted several ways(I forget if it was here or at another Tolkien site).

quote:
"Yes," she said, divining his thought, "it is not permitted to speak of it, and Elrond could not do so. But it cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye... This is Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, and I am its keeper."
This quote is pretty vague and raises many questions, depending on how you interpret her words.

1. Being a ring-bearer wasn't enough... it took seeing the Eye of Sauron as well to allow him to see other rings.

2. Galadriel makes a choice to reveal its presence to Frodo. His seeing the Eye being a deciding factor in her decision. Perhaps she felt that he would need this knowledge to continue on his quest, after seeing Sauron?

I lean towards the second interpretation... Frodo does meet Gandalf later (and spends a lot of time with him) without seeing Narya. It isn't until they are at the Grey Havens that Frodo notices it. This fits then... that Gandalf kept the rings presence hidden until then.

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Incanus
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From your first one, though, Thingol, couldn't one interpret the words to mean that a Ring-bearer could see the rings of others, but having seen the Eye is just a further step in that ability?

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
2. Galadriel makes a choice to reveal its presence to Frodo. His seeing the Eye being a deciding factor in her decision. Perhaps she felt that he would need this knowledge to continue on his quest, after seeing Sauron?

This wouldn't be it, because Sam couldn't see her Ring-- and the Rings didn't have the ability to be seen selectively: either they were in the "Seen World," or the Unseen World (i.e. the "wraith-world").

After Frodo saw the Eye of Sauron, then she said that the Ring could no longer be hidden from Frodo (or specifically, one who bore the Ring, and had seen the Eye".

THIS is why she asks Sam "did YOU see my Ring?", i.e. in order to show Frodo that he had gained the ABILITY to see it.
If she had the ability to reveal it selectively, then this question wouldn't make any sense.
Thus when the Ring is destroyed, Frodo loses this ability; he sees Elrond, Galadriel as well as Gandalf only three months afterward, with no mention of seeing any Rings on their fingers.

It's also possible that the Three Rings eventually lost their ABILITY to be worn unseen, along with their other special powers-- this is WHY they left Middle-Earth, since the power that preserved Rivendell and Lorien no longer existed.

Also, it needs to be stated that, as Frodo tells Galadriel, "I am permitted to wear the One Ring;" this permission was given to him by the Council, including Aragorn its rightful owner.

Finally, at the Council, Gloin asks "what about the other Three Rings? Where are they?" And Elrond answers "of them it is not permitted to speak," when in reality Elrond wore Vilya, the most powerful of the Rings, invisibly at all times-- including at the Council; this was the power which protected and preserved Rivendell, and allowed him to command the river-- just as Nenya protected Lorien from attack by orcs.

quote:
By the time Frodo sees Galadriel in Lorien, he has been bearing the Ring long enough for it to become a burden.
Actually it doesn't take any time for this: when Sam first puts the Ring's chain around his neck in Shelob's Lair, his head is dragged almost to the ground by the "weight" of it.

To answer this question, therefore: Gandalf's Ring was on his finger at all times, however it was invisible to all eyes but Frodo, Elrond and Galadriel-- and Frodo never saw Gandalf again after Moria, until after the Ring was destroyed and he apparently lost his power to see it.

[ 10-30-2005, 12:13 AM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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To update this: I don't think that Gandalf's Ring was visible to anyone, since only those who could see into the Wraith-world, were able to see it.

Frodo gained this ability from bearing the One Ring and seeing the Eye of Sauron; however there's no reason to believe that the others could see even their own Rings, while they were worn invisibly; since they couldn't see into the wraith-world.

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Mithrennaith
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I think WiKi is out on a limb too far.

Certainly Gandalf would be able to see into the wraith world - he is a Maia! And isn't he the one who explains to Frodo in Rivendell about having seen Glorfindel as he can be seen in the wraith world?

And, with Gandalf's explanation being, that Glorfindel is in the normal and the wraith world at the same time, because he has lived in Valinor - the same applies to Galadriel. So she would be able to see into the wraith world.

[ 11-18-2005, 07:43 AM: Message edited by: Mithrennaith ]

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The White Hand
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quote:
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"Ended" could be a tentative statement; again, Gandalf wasn't wearing a visible Ring on his finger, so where was it? And if the Ring had no more power, why would he hide it? The plausible answer is that it still had power, and so he kept it invisible while that power lasted.
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In general perhaps you make too much of the lack of mention of the Three in the story.

quote:

Except that they were expressly mentioned when they were visibly worn, and this was only at the end of the book. So either the Rings remained invisible, or were taken off and hidden; but there's no reason the wearers would do that, if the Rings lost their power.

quote:
quote:
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Galin wrote: But wouldn't Nenya be 'conferring invisibility' if Galadriel using her ring (again if she can't achieve this herself), uses its power to hide... her ring?

TWH responded: Not under the proper definition of "conferring," which means making someone else invisible-- not itself.
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Well I think my statement is still true as it stands, given that confer simply means 'to grant or bestow' -- I see nothing wrong with stating that Nenya 'grants' its powers to the wearer, who can use or direct these powers. But that was only to help nail down your theory anyway, which seems to be…
by including this bit about invisibility -- and the Three making themselves invisible, though less in measure obviously, is 'the power of invisibility' still.


NOT in the context of the statement regarding the other Rings, which "bestowed invisibilty" in terms of doing so upon the entire wearer-- and this was context used. So you're switching context in order to avoid the inevitable conclusion.

Likewise, the Three Rings didn't even confer that invisibility at first, so this was also the context of the statement; if Celebrimor imbued them with this power afterward, then he would have done so after learning this power from the other Rings he destroyed.

Finally, those other Rings conferred invisibility as a means of trapping the wearer in the wraith-world in order to break them permanently to Sauron's will; and of course Sauron secretly imbued them with this power, since he assisted with the crafting of all the Rings other than the Three.

In contrast, Celebrimor only wanted to hide the Rings from sight; and it wouldn't hurt the wearer in order for the Ring itself to be hidden in the wraith-world.

quote:
quote:
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Meanwhile it's entirely possible that Celebrimor imbued the Three Rings with this power after he hid them from Sauron, in order to keep them hidden from sight even while they were worn.
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I would guess the reason you raise this idea is because there's no great reason to have made the Three invisible initially.

So you suggest Celebrimbor did this later, and in part to keep the Three hidden from sight even while the Three were worn -- that is, the Elves planned to wear the rings after Celebrimbor had perceived the designs of Sauron? and while Sauron still had the One on his finger (nor could the Elves know it would someday be taken from him)?

They couldn't know, but they could HOPE.

There would be no other good reason to keep them, if they could never be used by the Elves-- only by Sauron; obviously Celebrimor was saving them for a sunny day.

I personally would have a hard time believing that Celebrimor would be so wickedly vain and self-indulgent, as to keep the Rings as nothing more than a keepsake of his handicraft, despite the danger they would represent in that situation; this would rank right up there with Fëanor in the kinslaying.

quote:
quote:
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The point remains: the Rings were invisible, but Elvish magic never makes anything else invisible; again,...
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Well I guess my point 'remains' too then which concerned being clear in the thread when attributing claims to people.

Regardless of who said it, we know that the Rings were invisible to normal eyes, save to those with the power to see them-- i.e. the Ring-bearer, after seeing the Eye of Sauron, and presumably the keepers of the Three themselves.

So the Rings were either made invisible their own power, or by the powers of their keepers; and of those who possiblities, only the former has precedent, while the latter has great counter-evidence via absence in the face of need.
So logic favors the former; the only alternative is that the Elves could make things invisible, but never did-- a clear case of proving a negative.

[ 04-10-2011, 01:19 AM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

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