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Minas Tirith Forums » Lord of the Rings » Who is a Ring Bearer? (Page 1)
Author Topic: Who is a Ring Bearer?
The Flammifer
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“Hamfast Gamgee” has a topic going “Giving up the One Ring”, which has touched upon – who was a Ring Bearer? I have divided this subject into three parts and was wondering if anyone could name them all:


1. There were 6 Ring Bearers (Someone who wore and is affected by The Ring.)
2. There was 1 Ring Wearer (someone who wore The Ring but was Not affected.)
3. There were 3 Ring Handlers (someone who did not wear The Ring, but only handled (held) it, but was not affected by its power in any way beyond possibly just its beauty.)


So, a Grand Tally:
Ring Bearers - 6;
Ring Wearers – 7 (All Bearers would also be wearers);
Handlers – 10 (All Wearers and Bearers would also be Handlers.)
This makes a total of 10 persons that ever touched The Ring.

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Aiwrendel
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From memory (no cheating)

Bearers (affected)
Sauron
Isildur
Sméagol
Bilbo
Frodo
Sam

Wearers (unaffected)
Tom Bombadil

Handlers (unaffected?)
Gandalf
Déagol
?

I’m adding a category (if you don’t mind)
Viewers (saw the Ring and were (or were not) affected in one way or another)
All at the Council of Elrond –
Aragorn
Boromir
Gimli
Legolas
Glóin
Elrond (once at the battle at the end of the Second Age and once at the Council in the Third Age)
Glorfindel
(am I missing someone at the Council?)
Isildir's um, squire? weapon bearer? What's that called? What was his name?
Merry
Pippin

Edit: My ususal plethora of typos.

[ 06-21-2014, 09:37 PM: Message edited by: Aiwrendel ]

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The Flammifer
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[] Super Aiwrendel
You only missed one “Handler” (Someone at Rivendell (probably Elrond) as Frodo had a new chain put on The Ring while he was being operated on.)

Council of Elrond: Erestor, I think Sam snuck in?

Isildur’s esquire was Ohtar

Great work—I’m sure there were other “Viewers” such as Elendil, Anarion, Gil-galad – more?

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Gollum Gollum
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Elendil yes, but Anarion and Gil-Galad are already dead when Isildur and Sauron fight. So: all the guys who saw the combat are also Viewers.
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The Flammifer
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You’re right – Anarion was killed much earlier.
Gil-galad and Elendil “killed” Sauron (although, yes, Isildur was involved in some way). Sauron was apparently visible (as well as The Ring).

Even though Gil-galad and Elendil were killed by Sauron they as well as others in the vicinity must have seen The Ring. (Isildur had no problem finding the proper finger to cut off.)

Cheers

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Hamfast Gamgee
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What about Faramir and all of those in his company that knew Frodo had the Ring and I suspect some must have seen it? I suppose we could add a category, those that were tempted by the One Ring. Even if they didn't see it, like Denethor.
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The Flammifer
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Now you move 3000 years forward; but that’s ok.
Faramir knew somewhat of Isildur’s Bane and called it “a mighty heirloom of some sort.”
He also thought it might be, “A fell weapon, perchance, devised by the Dark Lord.”
And he said, “But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway.”

So, No! Faramir never saw The Ring nor did any of his company. Nor did Faramir or his men know exactly what Isidur's Bane was.

Cheers []

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Aiwrendel
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More viewers? I hadn’t thought of those at the battle on Orodruin. How many were there to see the Ring on Sauron's hand as he was overthrown? Or did none see the Ring itself, only seeing the power of the one who ruled it? Did Isildur notice the One only after Sauron fell?

Ah! There was at least one other viewer who saw Isildur take the Ring when Sauron was overthrown. Elrond stated Isildur would not listen to our counsel to throw the Ring into the Fire.

I had to cheat (re-read) to remember.
Who was it?

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Gollum Gollum
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quote:
Nor did Faramir or his men know exactly what Isidur's Bane was.

Wait, wait. Faramir got to know it, didn't he?
quote:
SAM: '[...] Now I watched Boromir and listened to him, from Rivendell all down the road - looking after my master, as you'll understand, and not meaning any harm to Boromir - and it's my opinion that in Lórien he finally saw clearly what I guessed sooner: what he wanted. From the moment he first saw it he wanted the Enemy's Ring!'
from: LotR, TTT, book 4, chapter 5 "The Window on the West"


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The Flammifer
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Aiwrendel, yes, I assume Elrond saw The Ring. He was beside Gil-galad when Sauron was killed. And I also assume that Sauron (and The Ring) were visible when he wore it. He made The One, and I also assume it didn’t make him invisible when he wore it. (Have to do some research on that, as I don’t know for sure. But I recall no mention of invisibility during the battle on the slopes of Orodruin.) Plus, as you say there is no mention of Isildur putting on The Ring at that time, so many could have seen it.

Gollum2,
Good catch [] I’d forgotten that passage. So Faramir DID know of The Ring then, but it seems he didn’t see it or ask to hold it.

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Aiwrendel
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Forgive me if I’m wrong but I sense some movie contamination. Tolkien’s text suggests only ring bearers could notice a ring on another bearer. Sam didn’t see Galadriel’s ring when at her Mirror yet Frodo did and Gandalf saw Saruman’s ring. Despite PJ’s depiction of Sauron in the battle and his Ring showing for all to see, I don’t think anyone saw the Ring itself: only the power of the wielder.

Because of that and since few were at the battle when it reached Mount Doom, I doubt any saw the actual Ring except...
quote:
‘Alas! yes,' said Elrond. ‘Isildur took it, as should not have been. It should have been cast then into Orodruin's fire nigh at hand where it was made. But few marked what Isildur did. He alone stood by his father in that last mortal contest; and by Gil-galad only Cirdan stood, and I. But Isildur would not listen to our counsel.
Again, sorry for somewhat derailing this thread and turning it into “who saw the Ring” instead of Bearers, and Wearers, but I think it important since those who were shown the Ring were affected as were those who handled it and wore it.

I don’t think anyone saw the actual One Ring or any of the Rings of Power unless they were Bearers themselves or were deliberately shown the rings by the bearers. The exception is if the Bearer was not wearing the ring as in Merry seeing Bilbo put his ring into his pocket after the “hiding” from the Sackville-Bagginses: Merry “saw a glint of gold as [Bilbo] put something back in his trouser-pocket”, and others could see the Ring when Frodo had it hanging by a chain around his neck.

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The Flammifer
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Hi Aiwrendel,
You have made some super points, and going a little off topic is no problem. These discussions almost always seem to so – that makes them fun.
First I never quote from the movies, too many inaccuracies . I’m a book-firster big-time.
Agreed, Sam didn’t see Galadriel’s Ring, only a star shining through her fingers. But Frodo did, so the The Ring gave the Bearer some special abilities.

As for Saruman’s ring: It wasn’t a Ring of Power. That knowledge was lost in the 2nd Age. It wasn’t made by the Elves of Eregion as were the 9, 7, and (Celebrimbor) the 3, and (Sauron) The One. I believe it was just a trial by Saruman and anybody could see it. If it had any esoteric qualities we don’t know of them.

The battle with Sauron on Orodruin: I believe Sauron held sway over The One and could wear it visible or not. He was overconfident during the Last Alliance, and chose to be visible (and The Ring) for a couple of reasons: First there is no mention of invisibility in the corpus. Second, he was at his peak of power and I think he thought his dreadful visage would strike fear and dread into his enemies. (A bad tactical error on his part which led to his destruction and the end of the 2nd Age.) After Sauron’s “death” Cirdan and Elrond were directly on the scene as Isildur cut off The Ring. Surely they must have seen it. This, all, of course is just conjecture on my part.
quote:
, but I think it important since those who were shown the Ring were affected as were those who handled it and wore it.
All at the Council of Elrond saw The Ring. Were they all as affected as Frodo or Gollum?

Yes, good point! Merry saw a glint of gold as Bilbo put The Ring in his pocket. But Frodo was apparently very careful and I’m not sure who saw The Ring when he had it on a chain around his neck? Didn’t he normally (or at least often) keep it in his pocket?

Cheers []

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"Faithless Is He Who Says Farewell When The Road Darkens"
It's much more difficult to sneak off in daylight!

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Gollum Gollum
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I think the One was visible when Sauron wore it.
Reason 1: Isildur cut off only one of Sauron's fingers and it was the one with the Ring.
Reason 2: Sauron had no reason to wear an invisible Ring. Everyone knew he had it anyway. By contrast, Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf wanted their Rings to remain hidden, that's why other people (save Ringbearers) couldn't see'em.

It's just my analisis and I have absolutely no proofs for that, but I think it's the Bearer who decides whether (s)he wants the Ring to be visible or not (apart from people other that Sauron wearing the One as it is more powerful than they are). In the Second Age the "Rings of Power" idea was all about friendship between Annatar (Sauron) and the peoples of ME, so making the Rings invisible when worn would make no sense.
quote:
Then Círdan led them to the Havens, and there was a white ship lying, and upon the quay beside a great grey horse stood a figure robbed all in white awaiting them. 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.
From: LotR, RotK, book 6, chapter 9 "Grey Havens"

I think this passage can be read as "Gandalf decided to make his Ring visible and so he did".

No, Flammifer, Frodo kept the Ring in his pocket only before he got to Rivendell.

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The Flammifer
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Mostly in agreement Gollumx2.
I also agree that Sauron and The Ring were visible during the battle on Mt. Doom. Just makes sense.

But I can’t agree that the bearer of a Ring of Power had a choice whether or not to have his or her Ring visible while wearing it (or his or her body).”
The Rings of Power were created some 5,000 years before the War of the Ring in the 2nd age. The knowledge of their craftsmanship had been lost after Sauron’s overthrow of Eregion a couple hundred years later.
The Three Elven Rings were never touched by Sauron and didn’t confer invisibility to anyone. There was no ‘decision’ by Gandalf or Galadriel – he was seen when wearing Narya and she was seen while wearing Nenya.
Also the nine Nazgul were visible apparently at all times: Bagshot Row; Green Hill Country; Amon Sul; flying hither and yon; and the Witch-king on the Pelennor. If these ‘bearers’ had a choice they would fight invisibly.

If anyone had a choice in the 3rd age it seems it would be only Sauron.
Cheers [] []

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"Faithless Is He Who Says Farewell When The Road Darkens"
It's much more difficult to sneak off in daylight!

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Gollum Gollum
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What I meant was that the Bearer can decide whether his Ring is visible or not. Ring, not body.

[ 06-23-2014, 09:28 PM: Message edited by: Gollum Gollum ]

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Aiwrendel
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I too think each wearer chooses whether the ring is visible and to whom. I have no evidence but the pattern seems to be present. I think Sauron’s ring only became visible to Isildur et. al. after he was vanquished.

And the Nazgûl were invisible. They had completely faded out of mortal existence and wore cloaks to appear visible (“to give shape to their nothingness.”) On Weathertop no one actually “saw” them because they had removed their cloaks; No one except Frodo and only after putting on the Ring. That's when he saw the "wraiths".

quote:
Over the lip of the little dell, on the side away from the hill, they felt, rather than saw, a shadow rise, one shadow or more than one. They strained their eyes, and the shadows seemed to grow. Soon there could be no doubt: three or four tall black figures were standing there on the slope, looking down on them. So black were they that they seemed like black holes in the deep shade behind them.
FotR - A Knife in the Dark

quote:
...the black robes are real robes that they wear to give shape to their nothingness when they have dealings with the living.
Strider - FotR - Many Meetings

[ 06-24-2014, 10:04 AM: Message edited by: Aiwrendel ]

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The Flammifer
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quote:
Over the lip of the little dell, on the side away from the hill, they felt, rather than saw, a shadow rise, one shadow or more than one. They strained their eyes, and the shadows seemed to grow. Soon there could be no doubt: three or four tall black figures were standing there on the slope, looking down on them. So black were they that they seemed like black holes in the deep shade behind them.
This quote comes down to personal interpretation I guess. Tolkien had his wonderful (sometimes obtuse) way with words. You interpret the paragraph with emphasis on “felt”, whereas I interprete that they SAW three or four (Turns out to be five.)
This often seems the way Tolkien writes to make a point. The point here is the Nine were visible but very dark. The Travelers were by a fire, had no “night vision” and the Nazul seemed very dark and shadowy against the dark background.
I think they must have had their cloaks on or Aragorn and the Hobbits would have seen nothing. (Except Frodo when he put on the Ring.)

The only passage in LOTR that I know of where a “bodily” form of a Nazgul was seen was on the Pelennor; Ewoyn saw “a deadly gleam of eyes”. But this may have just been a Nazgul “thing”?

As both you (Aiwrendel) and Gollumx2 seem to agree that a Ring Bearer can choose whether or not his Ring is visible, I’ll not argue or disagree with the point. It’s possible.
Cheers [] []

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Gollum Gollum
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Aiwrendel is right: the Ringwraiths are bodiless and invisible (save for someone wearing a (?)/the Ring). Only their clothes, swords etc. are "real" and thus can be seen.

quote:
Now few could withstand even one of these fell creatures, and (as Sauron deemed) none could withstand them when gathered together under their terrible capitain, the Lord of Morgul. Yet this weakness they had for Sauron's present purpose: so great was the terror that went with them (even invisible and unclad) that their coming forth might soon be perceived and their mission be guessed by the Wise.

[...]

The Lord of Morgul therefore led his companions over Anduin, unclad and unmounted, and invisible to eyes, and yet a terror to all living things that they passed near. [...] They reached the west-shores of Anduin [...] and there received horses and raiment that were secretly ferried over the River.

From: UT, part III "The Third Age", chapter 4 "The hunt for the Ring", subsection (is that the right word?) 1 "Of the Journey of the Black Riders according to the account that Gandlaf gave to Frodo"



[ 06-27-2014, 07:27 AM: Message edited by: Gollum Gollum ]

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The Flammifer
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quote:
Aiwrendel is right: the Ringwraiths are bodiless and invisible (save for someone wearing a (?)/the Ring). Only their clothes, swords etc. are "real" and thus can be seen.
I think that’s what I said (or attempted (poorly) to say) above. Thus the Five WERE visible to Aragorn and the Hobbits on Amon Sul.
(My opinion interpreting the statement, “Soon there could be no doubt: three or four tall black figures were standing there on the slope . . .”), they had to be clad… and seen!

quote:
Now few could withstand even one of these fell creatures, and (as Sauron deemed) none could withstand them when gathered together under their terrible capitain, the Lord of Morgul.
This statement, of course, didn’t make it into the published LotR, as Gandalf fought to a draw all Nine, and Aragorn (with a little Hobbit help) fought off Five. (I’m sure JRRT would have changed the wording here had he been alive to scrutinize UT.)

Cheers,
thanks Gollumx2 for including your source
[] []

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Gollum Gollum
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Coming back to the (in)visibility of the Rings: I'm not sure whether a Ringbearer (unless their Ring is the One) can see other Rings.

I'm sure everyone here knows by heart the verses I quote below, but let's have a more detailed look into them, as they may give the answer.
quote:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Step by step:
quote:
One Ring to rule them all
That's the easiest bit: the One can control all the others, that's why Sauron needs only the One and doesn't give a damn about the Three.
quote:
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
Sauron, the lord of the One Ring, can influence other Ringbearers, so that finally their free will vanishes. He wins either all the Rings (apart from the fact that he didn't succeed with the Three) or at least their power (this we've been discussing in the Nazgul-Rings thread recently). He will use this power to win the dominantion over ME, creating one dark empire ("in the darkness bind them").
quote:
One Ring to find them
And here's the key part. The One Ring definitely gives its (Its?) bearer the ability to detect other Rings - Sauron must have had this purpose when fashioning it/It. That's why Frodo sees and recognizes Galadriel's Ring while Sam doesn't.
But if we make a slight change to one letter in this sentence and make it "one Ring to find them" instead of "One", the meaning is quite straightforward: only this Ring can detect the Rings, others cannot. Yet since the word is "One", it's not that easy.

Your views (except for that I'm picking holes in an issue that doesn't really exist, or at least wasn't intended by Tolkien)? []

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The Flammifer
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I love this lead poem in LotR. It is quite mysterious is it not . . .but.
quote:
Three Rings for Elven Kings under the sky.
The only power the One had over the Three was when Sauron had possession of the One the Three were pretty much useless. When he lost the One the Three came into their own and could be used for their various purposes. (Never invisibility.) But they again became useless upon destruction of the One.
quote:
Seven for Dwarf Lords in their Halls of Stone
Sauron was never able to get the seven Dwarf Ring-bearers to submit to his will. The Seven didn’t turn the Dwarves invisible, and it seems the Dwarves natural stubbornness and hardiness gave them some kind of immunity to the Seven Rings. The only affect the Seven seemed to have on the Dwarves was to enhance their want for gold and other goodies.

quote:
Nine for mortal men doomed to die
Only the Nine seemed to serve their intended purpose.
quote:
One Ring to rule them all
Thus it seems the One only “partially” ruled them all.

As for Rings seeing other Rings, or people wearing Rings seeing other Rings, etc. I abstain, thag you very buch;
[] [] []

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Gollum Gollum
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If Sauron wanted to become the Lord of ME, he could either enslave all the free creatures or simply destroy them.

The Elves: they definitely wouldn't serve Sauron. Noone knows what would have happened to the three Ringbearers if Celebrimbor hadn't heard Sauron speaking the "One Ring to rule them all..." words. I assume they'd either become Wraiths (as men) or be destroyed by the development of their negative characteristics (as dwarves). Sauron's plan didn't work with the Elves because they managed to hide the Three before he ever touched them.

The Dwarves: with all their stubborness, they weren't the most reliable allies for Sauron, so it was better for him to destroy them "just in case". As their love of gold grew, dragons began to attack their colonies - and that's exactly what Sauron wanted. Four of the Seven were destroyed by dragon-fire, and but for the secret passage Thror's Ring would have been destroyed too. Sauron didn't have to "get the seven Dwarf Ring-bearers to submit to his will". He just wanted the dwarves to grow less numerous, proud and mighty. I'd say he achieved his goal.

Men: definitely not to be destroyed, as they may be turned into very useful servants (like guys from Harad and Umbar in T.A.). The Nine Ringbearers became Sauron's most reliable, successful and terrifying slaves.

Had Sauron succeeded to pour some of his evil will and malice into the Three, all the 20 Rings would work as he wanted them to.

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Galin
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It's interesting that Tolkien revised the following description [Narya on Gandalf's hand] for the second edition of The Lord of the Rings...

quote:
'... and upon the quay stood a figure robed all in white awaiting them. As he turned and came towards them Frodo saw that it was Gandalf; and on his hand he wore the Third Ring, Narya the Great, and the stone upon it was red as fire.'
Revised by JRRT in the 1960s to...

quote:
'... and upon the quay beside a great grey horse stood a figure robed all in white awaiting them. As he turned and came towards them Frodo saw that Gandalf now wore openly on his hand the Third Ring, Narya the Great, and the stone upon it was red as fire.'
Although interpretations can vary here, and besides adding a mention of Shadowfax, for myself I see this change as emphasizing that Gandalf 'now' wore Narya openly on his hand, whereas before he did not. 'Openly' by magic? I don't see a great reason to think so, based on this much anyway, although some will point to Sam...

... but Sam saw something, and it's something that easily connects to Nenya, as when Frodo first saw Nenya it was when the rays of Earendil glanced off of it, and the white stone 'twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand.' And Frodo 'understood'.

And that's very near what Sam saw as well, he saw a 'star through your finger'. Tolkien connects these two descriptions. Although of course Galadriel had asked if Sam simply saw her ring -- but this is the sentence directly following Galadriel's question to Frodo: 'And did you not see and recognize the ring upon my finger? Did you see my ring?' she asked turning again to Sam.

So I think the 'and recognize' is implicit to Sam as well. And Sam saw something but did not recognize it -- not even enough to 'see' a ring specifically, which granted is why enough people seem to interpret Nenya as being visible only to Frodo here, but yet he saw almost the exact description of Nenya given earlier.

And Sam had earlier been shaken by his vision in the mirror, and didn't want to 'see no more magic' by the time Frodo realized Galadriel's ring must be one of the Three.

Strained? Maybe; but I still think it's a viable enough interpretation. If the Three truly did not confer invisibility, and if Celebrimbor made them before he suspected Annatar, I don't see why they should necessarily be imbued with any measure of invisibility power.

Plus, why can't Galadriel wear some jewelry? A ring on her finger doesn't necessarily mean it's a ring of power, or one of the Three. Okay Galadriel might not be the best example here, but I'm just saying... also, for myself, I don't necessarily notice every ring on every hand of every person I meet...

... even in full daylight []

Anyway, the information that the Three did not confer invisibility comes from a letter, but in A Shadow Of The Past Gandalf at least implies, in my opinion, that the 'Great Rings' can be used to make oneself invisible...

... and Shirly the Three are part of the Great Rings compared to the lesser rings. But does Gandalf merely generalize here, as Gandalf was teaching Frodo about the perils of using a Ring of Power with respect to invisibility, and he knew that Frodo did not hold one of the Three in any case, so why digress about the exception at this point [if we have an exception here], when it matters little to Frodo... who knows his ring can make a hobbit invisible.

Or something else []

[ 07-22-2014, 08:46 AM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Aiwrendel
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***TANGENT ALERT***
I hate to mention this as it is a tangent to the subject, but perhaps we long ago turned off that road. [] A question about the Great Rings and lesser rings has bugged me for years: Were all 16 rings Annatar helped make, the Three Celebrimbor made, and the One great rings? Certainly the One, Three, and Nine were...
quote:
... A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings... if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently... Gandalf - FoTR - The Shadow of the Past
...but what of the Seven? And if all 20 rings were Great Rings, where are the lesser rings and how many were made? All the LoTR states is “many Elven-rings were made”, a statement which included both Great and lesser.
If the answer is, “No one knows”, just tell me and I’ll be quiet. []
/TANGENT ALERT

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Aiwrendel
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Back on subject.

“Frodo saw that Gandalf now wore openly on his hand the Third Ring...” I always interpreted that as meaning Gandalf previously wore it hidden.” After all, what good is a ring of power unless you are ready to use it? Did Gandalf keep it in his pocket until needed? When did he slip in on in Moria? At the last second as the Balrog approached? Or did he always wear it hidden from most? In order to preserve and protect Rivendell and Lorien wouldn’t Elrond and Galadriel need to wear their rings most if not all of the time?

Galin got it right when he noted “and recognize” as the key to a Great Ring’s apparent invisibility. All of the Great Rings could be worn without most seeing them. Is there ever a mention of anyone seeing a ring on a Nazgul, Dwarf, Elf, or Sauron except for Nenya and the One Ring earlier in this thread?

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