quote:Galin wrote: In general perhaps you make too much of the lack of mention of the Three in the story.
TWH responded: 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.
Or they were simply not mentioned in the story, until Frodo and Sam, the writers, decided to tie things up at the end (or externally, Tolkien). Anyway, it's interesting that for the first edition Tolkien published (describing Gandalf): '... and on his hand he wore the Third Ring, Narya the Great…' And for Elrond: 'upon his finger was a ring of gold…' And for Galadriel: 'On her finger was Nenya…'
So all three are noted as wearing their rings. But for the Second Edition: '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.'
Tolkien chose to add this for Gandalf I note, the Grey Pilgrim, a wanderer among many peoples and one of the Nine Walkers of course.
quote:Galin wrote (well according to TWH I wrote): 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.
TWH responded: 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.
No, that's just a more general point about this citation. Yes you can continually claim that Tolkien doesn't negate invisibility in general and only necessarily negates those powers which he raised -- but it just seems odd to me that Tolkien would write this description this way if the Three were themselves invisible.
And talking about context, let's at least post what I actually wrote instead of your abbreviated, mid-sentence and out of context version of it: after posting the citation from letters I wrote: 'Seems to me that Tolkien would like to distance the Three from Sauron by including this bit about invisibility -- and the Three making themselves invisible, though less in measure obviously, is 'the power of invisibility' still.'
Anyway, you have Celebrimbor imbuing the Three with invisibility after he became aware of Sauron's designs. And when I pointed out that Sauron still had the One, and that the Elves could not know he would ever lose the One, you responded…
quote: 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.
I would rather look at the text Tolkien actually wrote (Unfinished Tales): 'They should have destroyed all the Rings of Power at this time 'but they failed to find the strength'. Galadriel counseled him [Celebrimbor] that the Three Rings should be hidden, never used, and dispersed, far from Eregion where Sauron believed them to be.'
Of The Rings Of Power notes the Elves concealed the Three and never used them openly while Sauron held the One -- which is of course written after the fact, as nobody knew Sauron would ever lose the One.
By the way, not 'Celebrimor'
quote: … 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.
Here's another point: note that Sauron did not become invisible when he wore the One Ring, even though his Ring ]i]did]/i confer invisibility; for he was its master, and could control its powers at will. However it's likely that he could make the Ring invisibile, as when he surrendered to the Numenoreans.
This would be the same case with the Three.
From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010
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I have a little question about Rings, magic and all things invisible. What about the powers of the lesser Rings that Gandalf mentions. Did they have any or were they simply tinkets? Or were there any devices in ME that could simply make one invisible. Even to Sauron. None were ever mentioned, but in the Hobbit the Dwarves didn't drop down with great surprise with the notion of invisibility!
From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006
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When Galadriel first lifted up her arms: 'Frodo gazed at the Ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.' We don't know at this point that the Ring was necessarily invisible. Frodo didn't suddenly see a ring, he saw it and suddenly understood -- this connects to Galadriel's question later.
The second time Galadriel lifts her hand the Ring issued a great light that illuminated her alone. Frodo does ask why he cannot: '... see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them' but even this isn't exactly 'simple sight' but perception as well. As Ringbearer his 'sight has grown keener' -- not his physical visual powers I think, but his ability to see that which is hidden from the perception of others.
But of course comes the issue of Sam: yet note Galadriel's question compared to what had been noted about Frodo suddenly understanding: 'And did you not see and recognize the ring upon my finger? Did you see my ring?' she asked, turning to Sam.' Granted Galadriel doesn't say 'and recognize' to Sam as well, but I find it notable that 'and recognize' was added to a draft at some point, where the earlier text simply had 'see' for Frodo's question as well. Sam doesn't actually mention any ring of course, admittedly suggesting invisibility, but he did see something -- and to my mind something connected to what was actually going on too -- he saw 'a star through your [Galadriel's] fingers'.
Again that's something, but perhaps Sam would not 'see' the truth even if he had noticed an actual ring: he wasn't the Bearer of the One, and as a Hobbit in general is 'Halfwise' and simple (Sam already had said he didn't want 'to see no more magic' even). This would be quite like Tolkien in my opinion: a good way to illustrate perception would be to have Sam see something he thought was something else, and simply not understand what all this talk was about.
I'm not saying this is a clearly correct interpretation (especially if there is other text to consider on this point), but if Tolkien wants to keep invisibility in general out of the picture with respect to the Three, perhaps he would have explained this scene as being more about perception than simply visual recognition of a ring. Upon meeting people and talking with them for a while even, I wouldn't necessarily be sure (an hour later or whatever) whether or not they were wearing any rings, unless it's made notable for some reason.
Again I would agree that it seems odd that Sam didn't actually see any Ring, and odd too that he should say he wondered what they were talking about, as Galadriel simply states she is wearing Nenya! Even if Sam hadn't noticed an actual ring, Galadriel's meaning should be plain enough.
Still, all this occurs after Sam's vision. Sam was notably upset by what he saw in the mirror, and we don't know how attentive his was being after his experience -- and we can 'see' in his answer to Galadriel that his mind is (at least arguably) still on home after Frodo's vision and conversation -- wishing Galadriel would take the One and stop 'them digging up the gaffer' and so on.
In any event, let's put it this way: as noted, Gandalf simply says the Power of the Three is ended, at a time well before the Three pass Oversea.
And if we are asked to entertain the possibility that Gandalf was, for some reason, speaking figuratively here...
The notion of physical visual powers is a tricky one, it's not about simple light and reflection, but we're dealing with another world here: i.e. the "Unseen" or "wraith" world which the Nazgul inhabit; when Frodo wears the Ring, Gandalf says he is "half in the wraith-world," and likewise he was sinking into it after being stabbed by the morgul-knife; this also allowed him to see the Nazgul plainly during the Flight to the Ford, just as when he wore the Ring.
The wraith-world is invisible to the living, but Frodo is able to see a least Galadriel's Ring after he sees the Eye of Sauron, in addition to his being the Ring-bearer. So this change would apply to his being able to see into the wraith-world-- at least with regard to seeing the Great Rings, since this power pertained to the Rings and their connection to Sauron and the One.
Bombadil was likewise able to see clearly into this world, telling Frodo "Old Tom Bombadil’s not as blind as that yet."
We also know that wearing the Ring still causes one to cast a faint shadow, despite being completely invisible to the eye. So it's impossible to analyze this in terms of normal living sight.
[ 04-14-2011, 07:58 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]
From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010
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quote: I agree that this scene is key to any interpretation of the topic. But have you said anything to counter the nay-sayer(s)?
By the way, I don't quite understand what you mean by 'counter' the nay-sayers. I think I've given a possible (but not perfect) variant interpretation -- an interpretation other than Nenya was actually invisible to Sam that is -- but no more than that.
Boiled down: Sam was deeply worried about the Shire, but at some point heard (as in payed attention to) at least part of the conversation between Frodo and Galadriel, and looking at some point, saw something that was actually the Ring, though he thought it was a star.
Sam was not interested in (nor expected) that one of the mighty Three should be on Galadriel's finger. Here he was interested in, now especially, the Shire and his Gaffer. Galadriel asked if Sam saw her Ring... Sam could have answered yes, but he would not have known a ring (had he certainly noted a ring) was Nenya. Frodo 'saw' both ways: one with his eyes, the other with his greater perception.
Galadriel noted that Frodo saw and understood -- granted it seems odd that Sam didn't even 'see' correctly, much less understand -- but Galadriel's mere question need not mean she already knew Sam's answer must be that he saw nothing (knowing that Nenya was invisible to him).
I'm not sure that I can 'counter' a given nay-saying, if by that you mean raise an argument that certainly proves a nay-saying wrong. So far I've had but one response (elsewhere) and it was somewhat favorable at least, in my opinion.
I'm sure there will be nay-sayers, although it seems the White Hand might have to reform to do so; again I admit my interpretation is not without its weak points, but even TWH didn't choose to attack my interpretation directly, but rather chose to explain his view again that Nenya was invisible.
Registered: Dec 2004
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