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Loyal evil

The Shire

Jan 28 2013, 1:54pm

Views: 1480
Loyal evil [In reply to] Can't Post

I like what Shippey says because he entertains the idea that the ring might in and of itself not be evil. Which is a suggestion that I think does actually have merits. My biggest problem is that if the ring is itself fundamentally evil, and it has agency and thinks and acts for itself…then wanting to constantly go back to Sauron doesn’t make total sense. For example, when Isildur takes the ring Sauron is reduced to nothing. Surely, if the ring was evil and had agency then staying with Isildur, an important and powerful figure in the world of men, would actually be better for it in the long run than slipping off his finger to be found by…who knows what. It couldn’t really have been in a better position, but it leaves that position because…well we can only assume that it wants to return to Sauron. Unless we want to go so far as to give the ring an emotional dimension and suggest that it’s just angry with Isildur for being the one who hurt its master. A bit of a stretch I think.

Admittedly, the ring does seem to make conscious attempts to be handed to more powerful people. Frodo may not want the ring to be burnt in the fire, but he offers it to Gandalf, Galadriel and Aragorn (in a way) fairly freely. We could suggest that at those moments the ring is diminishing its hold on Frodo as it sees a chance to get a more powerful host. But that does sound a little out of character for what we know of the rings normal tactics in changing owners, slipping off fingers. But it is in the lack of logic of behaviour on the rings part that makes me think that it is not a freely acting evil force. It may have evil effects, but it doesn’t seem to me that there is any kind of consciousness or thought behind that.

Another point of interest is, I think, that Sam is the only character who is tempted with glory and power while he is actually in possession of the ring. Does Gollum ever express that he was promised kingdoms and riches and greatness? I don’t think that he clearly does. I don’t think theres a clear sense that that was the impression Bilbo got from the ring either. Isildur I’m less sure about, there is the implication but the emphasis is that he simply doesn’t want it destroyed. The people who are tempted by it for its power, Gandalf, Galadriel, Boromir…don’t actually have much, if any, direct physical contact with the ring. Which leaves us with several questions. Question one, does the ring only act on the person in physical possession of the ring or does it have a wider influence, is its influence based on physical contact or does it have a wider psychic influence? If we consider the ring to be something that draws out an individuals internal evil, then we would have to say option B. However I don’t think that’s the case, as I will explain with my own theory next. Question two, why is Sam tempted in that way and none of the other ring bearers are? I’d hazard the suggestion that it is because the ring gives in proportion to the strength of the bearer, Sam being the strongest and greatest of those we see bear the ring, he is given the greatest offer. I’m not sure though, there are many problems with that suggestion. There are more questions but I think those are the two most pressing.

What I would propose the ring is, is intensely loyal to its creator. All of its actions, leaving Isildur, leaving Gollum, attempting to make Frodo reveal himself are all motivated by a desire to return to Sauron. I don’t think we need to give the ring any more agency than that. It’s like its programmed with a homing beacon. It will return to its creator, by any means necessary. That may cause it to do evil, or drive its bearers to evil but I don’t think that necessarily means it itself acts out of evil.

Subject User Time
How The Ring tempts noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 27 2013, 5:02pm
    Get thee behind me, Ring! CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 28 2013, 12:36am
    Loyal evil Mim Send a private message to Mim Jan 28 2013, 1:54pm
        I like your conclusion CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 28 2013, 4:45pm
        How "intelligent" is the Ring? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 28 2013, 5:07pm
            The power of the ring... elevorn Send a private message to elevorn Jan 28 2013, 6:06pm
                There was only One Ring, but CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 28 2013, 6:50pm
            Not so sure about the Palantir. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Jan 28 2013, 10:42pm
                Corrupted palantirs, an insight into Sauron's powers and methods? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 29 2013, 1:05pm
                    still not sure about the palantir... telain Send a private message to telain Jan 30 2013, 7:09pm
                        Imbued vs contaminated? CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 30 2013, 9:11pm
                            "When can an object be evil?" May be a promising question noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 31 2013, 11:05am
                                Some objects are "evil" in Tolkien's world, but he explains what that means in terms of his story. squire Send a private message to squire Jan 31 2013, 2:37pm
                                    Very interesting answer: thanks! // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 31 2013, 2:40pm
                                    Very well said! // Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Jan 31 2013, 2:52pm


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