Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
How "intelligent" is the Ring?


Jan 28 2013, 5:07pm

Views: 1614
How "intelligent" is the Ring? [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting thoughts Mim and CuriousG!

I agree with you -

There's that passage where Frodo is wearing the Ring on Amon Hen, and is nearly discovered by Sauron:

He heard himself crying out: Never, Never! or was it : Verily I come, I come to you?

The "Verily" voice sounds like the Ring to me, loyally trying to get back to its Master (the "Never, Never" being Frodo). Though, as Shippey points out, you can also hold that "Verily..." it is some Freudian part of Frodo which wants to die, or wants to be evil: that doesn't work for me, but its a matter of opinion.

Like you and CuriousG, I've not supposed that the Ring is a fully independent or sentient "person" able to betray Sauron or have its own plans. Insofar as I've thought about this I imagine it as having certain behaviours, and perhaps it has the ability to vary those a bit according to context. That puts it along the way to intelligence, a bit perhaps like the magical equivalent of artificial intelligence or the intellectual abilities of some kind of animal. It tries to get back to Sauron, but some of its attempts don't work out because of the limited repertoire of things it can do. Or, of course, because of the intervention of other powers ("Bilbo was meant to find the Ring").

It's all nicely ambiguous - something very odd happens to Boromir: you can argue that the Ring is emanating a kind of evil power to which he succumbs; or that his problems come from within and he'd just as well be driven mad by the wish to have some completely inanimate object that he felt might save Gondor (Anduriel, perhaps?). Or combination of both - evil power working on inner turmoil.

Some of us had a conversation earlier ("oft evil will shall evil mar" ) which touched on whether its a return-to-owner strategy for the Ring to often give people megalomania (MIM, don't know whether you saw that thread?): our conclusions were that maybe inducing megalomania is a good way of getting proto-ring-lords to reveal themselves prematurely to Sauron for military defeat and his capture of the Ring, or whether by contrast its a design flaw in the Ring once it had left Sauron's control. Utterly unknowable (but fun to speculate) whether Sauron ever put any thought into that situation arising, and designed the Ring with any safety mechanisms (such as a return to owner system).

I was thinking, the Ring is not the only object to be a source of temptation. In the Two Towers Chapter The Palantir, Gandalf is musing on how Saruman came to be controlled via the palaintir. Gandalf says:

And how it draws one to itself! Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would...

Again, you could argue that this turmoil is all within Gandalf. But it reads more like something is emanating from the palantir to me....

One more thought for now - what do we suppose would have happened if Sauraman had got hold of the Ring, deposed Sauron and become the new Dark Lord? I'm wondering whether, in a sense teh Ring woudl make him become Sauron, not replace him. I'm thinking of the creepy way in which several ringbearers start to call the thing "My Precious". Bilbo hears that from Gollumn, but Gollumn can't have known of Isuldur's use of the term in the manuscript that Gandalf finds. It could just be a nicely creepy literary effect, but you could also hypothesize that the Ring has some concept of itself as Precious, and can put that, or the personality of former ringbearers, into its new bearer's head.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...

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! // Voronw_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronw_the_Faithful Jan 31 2013, 2:52pm


Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.