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Who could have fully mastered the One Ring?
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moreorless
Rohan

May 16 2010, 10:08am

Post #1 of 43 (581 views)
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Who could have fully mastered the One Ring? Can't Post

Its mentioned that "the wise" could have commanded the One Ring and set themselves up as a new dark lord but does Gandalfs comments about Mortals "fading" apply to all men? Would Aragorn or perhaps more importantly Denethor have been able to set themselves up as a new dark lord? I know the Nazgul themselves were great Numenorean lords but there nine Rings were specifically created to control them.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


May 16 2010, 10:19am

Post #2 of 43 (318 views)
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This is easy: Sauron & only Sauron. [In reply to] Can't Post

"fully mastered the One Ring" It is invested with Sauron's personal power and is therefor an extension of his being. It would have caused anyone else to do harm in spite of their intentions.


Kangi Ska

There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.


Man on Fire


Curious
Half-elven


May 16 2010, 12:12pm

Post #3 of 43 (364 views)
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In a letter Tolkien theorized that only Gandalf the White [In reply to] Can't Post

could have used the Ring to conquer Sauron directly. But in the text of LotR it is more ambiguous -- Galadriel seems genuinely tempted to use it, and Sauron seems genuinely worried about Aragorn using it. Sauron has been conquered in the past, despite his Ring, by the might of Numenor and by the Last Alliance. So perhaps he is simply paranoid about Aragorn.

Note that Sauron does not seem at all worried about the Balrog of Moria or Saruman using the Ring against him. Saruman has delusions of becoming mightier than Sauron. But Sauron is delighted when he sees Pippin and thinks Saruman has found the Ring. Therefore Saruman's ambitions seem delusionary.


PhantomS
Rohan


May 16 2010, 4:10pm

Post #4 of 43 (295 views)
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the master [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien himself wrote that Gandalf was the only one who could, but in all honesty the Ring only has one master, which is Sauron. Anyone wanting to challenge him via the Ring will have to be of equal stature- of which only Gandalf the White would be, after Saruman's fall from grace and true power.

Other characters who think of themselves with the Ring are dreaming and will totally fail- Boromir, Saruman, Galadriel and Sam- merely because they are overestimating their will, which is inferior to Sauron's. Legolas thinks that Aragorn would be a powerful lord if he took the Ring, but like Gandalf said to Denethor about Boromir, he would not be the same man after getting the Ring. Sam and Galadriel wisen up and power down after recognizing their limits and lesser ambitions, Saruman and Boromir do not (though the latter repents).

Sauron does not think Aragorn is a potential master of the Ring either; he hates Elendill's heirs and plus Aragorn is fighting him for ownership of the Palantir, which is rightfully his- and wins, which makes Sauron quite angry; Aragorn with the Ring is not in Sauron's mind at all- it is Aragorn with his sword and orb.

Hence only Gandalf could possibly take up the One Ring and depose Sauron- which is why the Valar explicitly forbade him to do so.


Lord of Magic
Bree

May 16 2010, 10:13pm

Post #5 of 43 (251 views)
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Very good point about Gandalf [In reply to] Can't Post

It's certainly a very practical explanation for the forbidding of power vs power.

However, I think you might have underestimated Galadriel....She had the power to read Sauron's thoughts about the elves and turn his gaze away from Lothlórien, just with the power of Nenya. In fact, I think any of the holders of the elven rings could have been a match for Sauron....

Former Duke of Stardock, Overseer of the Paraphysical Army of Tokidoki, High Mage in Service to King Lyam conDoin I of Rillanon, The Absolute Lord, Ruler, and Sovereign of all Tokidoki.

The White Dragon and Arnölé, The Lord of All Magic


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

May 16 2010, 11:14pm

Post #6 of 43 (280 views)
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Aragorn [In reply to] Can't Post

I always think that Aragorn could have mastered the One Ring, at least in the way to defeat Sauron and claim it for his own. Of course, in doing so he would have been a changed man and after a while wouldn't have been a man at all, just another Dark Lord. But Aragorn was the person that Sauron most feared, even above Gandalf. After all it wasn't Gandalf that showed himself to Sauron in the Palantir taunting Sauron, it was Aragorn. And Legolas seemed pretty convinced that Aragorn could have wielded the device.


Eldorion
Rohan


May 17 2010, 12:53am

Post #7 of 43 (244 views)
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Tolkien would disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

In Letter #246 he wrote that "In his [Sauron's] actual presence none but very few of equal stature could have hoped to withhold it from him. Of 'mortals' no one, not even Aragorn." I interpret the first sentence of the quote to mean that one would have to be a Maia (or an extremely powerful Elf ... perhaps Glorfindel?) to even stand a chance of withholding the Ring from Sauron in Sauron's presence. I personally think that a direct in-presence confrontation would have been inevitable in order to fully master the Ring, for if Sauron still lived an upstart's claim to be Ring-lord would be in doubt to all, including Sauron's servants.



There's a feeling I get, when I look to the West...
My Tolkien site



Eldorion
Rohan


May 17 2010, 12:56am

Post #8 of 43 (249 views)
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I don't find the text to be ambiguous... [In reply to] Can't Post

...unless one assumes that the various characters who were tempted were having realistic visions of power. Given that even Sam had visions of power about the Ring, I think we can safely assume that thinking one could use the Ring to overthrow Sauron and actually being capable of doing so do not necessarily go hand in hand.

We don't know much about Sauron's feelings concerning Aragorn, but he may just have been playing it safe by trying not to overlook anything.



There's a feeling I get, when I look to the West...
My Tolkien site



Curious
Half-elven


May 17 2010, 1:29am

Post #9 of 43 (243 views)
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You don't find that ambiguous? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
... thinking one could use the Ring to overthrow Sauron and actually being capable of doing so do not necessarily go hand in hand.

We don't know much about Sauron's feelings concerning Aragorn, but he may just have been playing it safe by trying not to overlook anything.


The fact that you have to qualify your statements (not necessarily ... may just have been) shows that the text of LotR remains ambiguous on this point -- we simply don't know whether anyone could overcome Sauron using the Ring. We can be pretty sure that the hobbits stood no chance, but we can't be sure that Gandalf or Galadriel or Aragorn stood no chance. They all rejected that option not because it clearly could not work (it seemed at least as likely as Frodo throwing the Ring in the Cracks of Doom) but because they did not believe in fighting evil with evil.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


May 17 2010, 1:34am

Post #10 of 43 (245 views)
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Come to think of it, there is one besides Sauron who could fully master the one ring. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tom Bombadil: he is the Master.

Kangi Ska

There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.


Man on Fire


Elizabeth
Valinor


May 17 2010, 1:53am

Post #11 of 43 (278 views)
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Sauron viewed Aragorn as most likely... [In reply to] Can't Post

...to try to use the Ring, assuming that his ambition would lead him in that way. But I see no indication that Aragorn would have been able to master it, even had he been inclined to do so. No, Gandalf would have been the only serious contender, IMO.






Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Donry
Tol Eressea


May 17 2010, 11:27pm

Post #12 of 43 (194 views)
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Interesting.... [In reply to] Can't Post

hadn't thought of Tom.....

What's the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?"


Donry
Tol Eressea


May 17 2010, 11:31pm

Post #13 of 43 (193 views)
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Outside... [In reply to] Can't Post

of the Bombadil possibility I would agree, It appears Gandalf might be the only one, with Galadriel or Aragorn possibly coming close. But there wouldn't be a prize for second in the story.....or coming close. Imho that is, having read the thread here that is.

What's the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?"


squire
Valinor


May 17 2010, 11:43pm

Post #14 of 43 (204 views)
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The book seems to clearly state otherwise [In reply to] Can't Post

Tom and the Ring are on separate planes of existence, for lack of a better image.

Tom could not master the Ring, since he lacks the essential will to dominate anything or anyone outside of his own land. Within his land, where he is (as you say) already the Master, he has no need of it.



squire online:
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Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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Donry
Tol Eressea


May 17 2010, 11:54pm

Post #15 of 43 (207 views)
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Interesting.... [In reply to] Can't Post

now, forgive my ignorance, but does this mean that ultimately Tom could have destroyed the ring had he desire to? Obviously I'm assuming there is no definite answer to this question or it would be common knowledge. But I'm wondering if Tolkien had spoken of this in any of his letters? As Bombadil seems to be an incredibly powerful character.
Everything I've read on Bombadil (which is not much) seems to paint an impression, for me anyway, that is he more of a 'Watcher' on Middle-Earth than anything else. And by 'Watcher' I'm referring to the 'Watchers' of the Marvel Universe, who were forbidden to change the course of time, but in the past have 'nudged' events in certain directions if you will? As I'm unsure of Bombadil's purpose really. The 'Watchers' at least had a stated purpose, but what of Bombadil's? Is it stated some where in the Tolkien universe or is it a point of discussion still?

What's the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?"


squire
Valinor


May 18 2010, 1:32am

Post #16 of 43 (202 views)
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Watcher? What kind of Watcher did you have in mind? [In reply to] Can't Post

Why look for "Watchers" in the Marvel universe when there is a perfectly good one in Tolkien's?


Again Frodo approached the willow and lifting up his arms he spoke in rising wrath. Let go, let go! he cried, and struck the bark with his stick. Open, open! he shouted, and followed it with the same command in every language he had ever been taught or learned from Bilbo. Then he threw his stick on the ground, and sat down in despair.


At that moment from far off the wind bore to their listening ears a sound almost like a song. The ponies startled, and Sam sprang to their sides and whispered softly to them.


‘How I hate this foul stream!’ Sam stooped and picking up a large stone he cast it far into the rippling water.



The stone vanished with a soft slap; but at the same instant there was a swish and a bubble. Great rings formed on the surface out beyond where the stone had fallen, and they moved slowly towards the bank of the river.


‘Why did you do that, Sam?’ said Frodo. ‘I hate this place, too, and I am afraid. I don’t know of what; not of the willow, or the pathless woods, but of something else. I am afraid of the Withywindle. Don’t disturb it!’


‘I wish we could just leave!’ said Sam.


With a suddenness that startled them both Frodo sprang to his feet. He was laughing! ‘I’ve got it!’ he cried. ‘How simple, Sam, like most puzzles when you see the answer.’


Picking up his tinder and flint he stood before the tree and said in a clear voice: Fire!


As soon as Frodo had struck a spark, it kindled the dry grass and a flurry of flame and smoke went up. The twigs crackled. A tremor ran through the whole willow. The leaves seemed to hiss above their heads with a sound of pain and anger. A loud scream came from Merry, and from far inside the tree they heard Pippin give a muffled yell.


There was a sound as of a wind rising and spreading outwards to the branches of all the other trees round about, as though they had dropped a stone into the quiet slumber of the river-valley and set up ripples of anger that ran out over the whole Forest.


Frodo strode forward and put his hands on Merry’s legs. But at that moment several things happened. Frodo felt something seize him by the ankle, and he fell with a cry. The ponies gave a wild neigh of fear, and turned tail and dashed away along the path into the rushes. Sam leaped after them, and then hearing Frodo’s cry he rushed back to the bank, weeping and cursing.



Frodo was in the water close to the edge, and a great tree-root seemed to be over him and holding him down, but he was not struggling. Sam gripped him by the jacket, and dragged him from under the root; and then with difficulty hauled him on to the bank. Almost at once he woke, and coughed and spluttered.


They turned round and saw the waters of the river seething, as if a host of waterfowl were swimming ashore from midstream.


Suddenly, hopping and dancing among the dangling fronds of the willow, there appeared out of the water an old battered hat with a tall crown and a long blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a splash there came into view a man, or so it seemed.


He was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, though he made noise enough for one, boiling out of the water with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through the mud and roots like a cow taking a bath.


‘Help!’ cried Sam and Frodo running towards him with his hands stretched out. The old man held up one hand, and they stopped short, as if they had been rooted to the ground where they stood.


He ran to the tree just in time. There he saw Merry’s feet still sticking out - the rest had already been drawn further inside. The old man turned and paused, as if he was considering what word would open the tree from within. Then he put his mouth to the crack and began singing into it in a low voice. They could not catch the words, but evidently Merry was aroused. His legs began to kick. The old man sprang away, and breaking off a hanging branch smote the side of the willow with it. A noise of rending and crashing came dully through the weathered rinds of bark.


He then seized Merry’s feet and drew him out of the suddenly widening crack.


There was a tearing creak and the other crack split open, and out of it Pippin sprang, as if he had been kicked. Then with a loud snap both cracks closed fast again. A shudder ran through the tree from root to tip, and complete silence fell.


‘Thank you!’ said the hobbits, one after the other.


The old man burst out laughing. With that he picked up his hat, and then with a beckoning wave of his hand went hopping and dancing back into the water, still singing loudly and nonsensically.


The hobbits followed him to the edge of the bank. But that was not enough. The stranger soon disappeared under the swirling currents, and the noise of his singing got fainter and further away, blending with the rustling wind and sunlit waters.


‘I felt that something inexplicable was near from the moment my foot first touched the water,’ said Frodo. ‘Who was that odd man?’


‘I don’t know,’ answered Merry, ‘but he was guided by only one purpose, as if his job was to be a Watcher in the water against the perils of this valley and its willows. It seems there are older and merrier things than elves in the watery pools of the world.’




squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Donry
Tol Eressea


May 18 2010, 1:36am

Post #17 of 43 (182 views)
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I see.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think my question may have been answered.....nicely done sir!

What's the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?"


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

May 18 2010, 8:35am

Post #18 of 43 (179 views)
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Tom Bombadil [In reply to] Can't Post

Tom Bombadil couldn't or possibly chose not to, master the One Ring. Yes, it didn't have the effect of making him invisible, but according to Gandalf at the Council of Elrond but Bombadil couldn't change its powers or destroy the Ring. If he could have done, then Gandalf would have sent it to him rather than Mordor. Although this does beg the question as to why Bombadil was the only being that didn't go invisible when wearing the One!


sador
Half-elven


May 18 2010, 9:13am

Post #19 of 43 (185 views)
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But in the same letter [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien mentions that Galadriel did contemplate using the Ring, and he thinks she might have succeeded (as well as Elrond), by building up a powerful contending empire, and challanging him. (Note that Ar-Pharazon and Gil-galad did just that). Gandalf was the only one who might have stood a chance in witholding the Ring from Sauron in a one-on-one personal combat in Gorgoroth (and even thatwas not clear), but the Ring could be the foundation of a cometing military force.
In short, Boromir was right regarding the possible use of the Ring; and Denethor wasn't.

Gandalf mentioned in The Last Debate that one of the Great wielding the Ring (and he said there were several such - which would definitely include Aragorn) would be a grave threat to Sauron; and that Sauron's best policy was to sieze the Ring as soon as possible, using the opposition leaders' rashness and internal strife - which is just what the follhardy assault on the Morannon is (or would be, had it not been a feint regarding the real strategy).

The Maiar status has nothing to do with it, except for the contest of wills which might have taken place.

I also note that Gandalf + Ring had only a chance against Sauron; which suggests that Gandalf vs. the Wiki was not such a slam dunk as some people seem to think. But that is beside the point.

A fair warning: I am a nitpicker by taste, talents and profession.

"...Still, undespairing, do we sometimes slowly file
Discursive threads regardless of our doom..."
- squire.



dormouse
Half-elven

May 18 2010, 11:09am

Post #20 of 43 (202 views)
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Seems to me [In reply to] Can't Post

... that that the thing about Tom Bombadil is that the ring couldn't master him. The ring seems to play on a character's desire to control something, be it a kingdom or an enemy or just his own garden. Tom doesn't have that desire in his make-up so he gives the ring nothing to work on. He couldn't master it because it wouldn't occur to him to even try - as Gandalf said, he would lose it or forget it.


Curious
Half-elven


May 18 2010, 3:42pm

Post #21 of 43 (211 views)
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Bombadil's purpose and nature is a mystery. [In reply to] Can't Post

He doesn't really fit into the world of LotR.

Bombadil was a creation of Tolkien who existed in poetry independent of The Hobbit or The Silmarillion, and Tolkien was determined to use him in LotR. However Bombadil's power is too flamboyant for LotR, much more so than even Gandalf's or Elrond's or Galadriel's, for example. Based on the Bombadil chapters, he seems more powerful than Gandalf or Elrond or Galadriel.

But in the Council of Elrond, Tolkien, through Gandalf, attempted to downplay Bombadil's powers, stating that although nothing has power over Bombadil, neither did Bombadil have any significant power in the world, existing almost independently of the world. Gandalf also argued that even if Bombadil has power, he is not trustworthy.

It's an awkward explanation, I think, for in the Bombadil chapters he clearly does have power over Old Man Willow and the Barrow-wight, so why wouldn't he have power over Nazgul or the Ring? Furthermore in the Bombadil chapters he seems quite trustworthy, rescuing the hobbits and teaching them as well.

I think Tolkien should have downplayed Bombadil's powers by rewriting the Bombadil chapters, but for whatever reason he decided not to do that, leading to endless questions about Bombadil's true nature. In one early letter to Tolkien a reader asked if Bombadil was God, which Tolkien quickly denied, but I would argue that in the Bombadil chapters he displays godlike powers which are hard to explain. Gandalf's explanation didn't lay those speculations to rest.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


May 18 2010, 3:58pm

Post #22 of 43 (222 views)
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Tulkas in the Third Age. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska

There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.


Man on Fire


Eldorion
Rohan


May 18 2010, 4:29pm

Post #23 of 43 (195 views)
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I was discussing... [In reply to] Can't Post

...personal confrontation of Sauron. Obviously it is possible to overthrow Sauron militarily even without the Ring.



There's a feeling I get, when I look to the West...
My Tolkien site



Lord of Magic
Bree

May 18 2010, 8:26pm

Post #24 of 43 (167 views)
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Bombadil [In reply to] Can't Post

I think has power, but it isn't power as everyone seems to be thinking of. There's power of strength, overbearing, of might and of magic. The power that the Ring gives. But the power of Bombadil is something different.

I think Bombadil's power is that he doesn't desire anything more than what he already has. This frees him from being manipulated by people or by objects. He doesn't feel the urge to go out and gain for himself, but thrives by being who he his. So his power is really a power of being. Lady Goldberry says 'He is' in response to Frodo's question. He is himself, nothing more, nothing less(I actually did a paper on that very subject)

To answer the question of why Bombadil is obeyed by Old Man Willow and the Barrow-wright, I think it might be because of the influence that comes from simply being himself. This might sound a little far-fetched, but think about it; if you've ever met someone who was perfectly content with their life. They knew who they were, they were comfortable with everything about themselves, their faults as well as their virtues. You were drawn and inspired by them, and it gives them a sort of authority, although they might not recognize it.

Old Man Willow, while being a tree, is obviously sentient(perhaps he is an Ent that has become 'tree-ish'. The Old Forest was once part of Fangorn), and may obey Bombadil less for his 'being himself' then for having known Bombadil for his entire life(I assume here that Bombadil is older than Willow). As for the Wright, it seems to live off of fear. Bombadil never seems to be worried about himself though, so fear doesn't work on him. Although it might be that the joy of Bombadil, from being himself, is just too much for the Wright to handle.

Former Duke of Stardock, Overseer of the Paraphysical Army of Tokidoki, High Mage in Service to King Lyam conDoin I of Rillanon, The Absolute Lord, Ruler, and Sovereign of all Tokidoki.

The White Dragon and Arnölé, The Lord of All Magic


Eldorion
Rohan


May 18 2010, 9:00pm

Post #25 of 43 (188 views)
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Bombadil's power [In reply to] Can't Post

The impression I always get from the book is that Bombadil's power is limited to his own country. Within the Ring lacks power, at least over Bombadil: Gandalf says at the Council of Elrond, "Say rather that the Ring has no power over him. He is his own master. But he cannot alter the Ring itself, nor break its power over others." This isn't conclusive, but I think it suggests that Bombadil's power, such as it is, would not allow him to master the One.



There's a feeling I get, when I look to the West...
My Tolkien site



(This post was edited by Eldorion on May 18 2010, 9:01pm)

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