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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Some confusing (to me) issues about the Power(s) of the Ring and Isildur
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Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 24 2013, 3:20pm

Post #26 of 130 (477 views)
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You sum up a lot of what has puzzled me [In reply to] Can't Post

That with the duality of the two worlds, Ardaic and Spirit, one of the central points that bugged me was understanding exactly what the invisibility effect represented, and how it related to "stature" (and what the heck is 'stature' anyway, in this context?)

Indeed I think that you state it well, that the Ring will take you into ITS world unless you have the power to force to do what you want (thanks as well, otaku-sempai.) I like the idea of understanding the mechanics of it all, and in a hierarchal sense, as in my OP, I think that the Ring is approximately of Maiar strength, reflecting Sauron, and that anyone lower in power/grace/stature (can we combine them?) would be overwhelmed by the Ring; so really Isildur only had a slim hope, as Numenorean, of dominating the Ring and only by exertion of all his strength. Elves have a better chance. Men and Hobbits none at all. (Bombadil - closer to Eru, so not overtaken by it?)

So I wonder - if he did experiment with controlling it - thus generating the lore that Boromir believes - maybe he never even HAD full control as 'a great leader of men' but that the Ring merely allowed him to think that he did, to encourage him down the path of use.

That understanding would reconcile the inconsistency that has plagued me! Smile

And I have never read invisibility as a power of the Seven. It seems very opposite of Dwarf character! Which is why I wish we had more examples of 'magical' items, since Gandalf is aware of the Ring's invisibility issue but connects it with lesser rings.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 24 2013, 3:40pm

Post #27 of 130 (492 views)
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Yes, reversing who dwells in Spirit [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Great points all around, especially regarding the Nazgul.

As for the Three Rings, their wearers are able to keep them invisible, but rings are small things to begin with.




So with the control that they are able to exert, they keep the Rings hidden by having the rings dwell in the Spirit realm. Explains a lot - especially why Frodo could see Nenya but Sam could not. Nice detail! Was hoping you would pop in CG!

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 24 2013, 3:45pm

Post #28 of 130 (455 views)
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Part of my confusion was about the meaning of statue relating to invisibility [In reply to] Can't Post

....And whether it is a side effect or as some have said its rather the Ring's choice of setting if you lack the power to control it. True, Frodo could see Glorfindel and Nenya as well.

Will look through text again - I may have interpreted something a bit off there relating to Sauron. Was thumbing through a lot of text to make sense of my question....!

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Mar 25 2013, 1:02am

Post #29 of 130 (482 views)
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Galadriel [In reply to] Can't Post

I did not take Galadriel's LotR speech as an indication that she wished to be more beautiful, or that she was unaware of her beauty. I feel she is well aware of it, and thus her mention of it in that scene is merely descriptive of what she would be like as an wielder of the One Ring. She likens the beauty she would have to that of Nature, and in images that increasingly stress the incredible power and strength that natural phenomena possess (in addition to beauty). To me it seems clear the temptation of the Ring for her is the same as it is for the male characters who reject it (or succumb to it) - power.


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Mar 25 2013, 1:17am

Post #30 of 130 (471 views)
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Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
* An orc actually saw him, sort of: For what it saw was not a small frightened hobbit trying to hold a steady sword: it saw a great silent shape, cloaked in a grey shadow, looming against the wavering light behind; in one hand it held a sword, the very light of which was a bitter pain, the other was clutched at its breast, but held concealed some nameless menace of power and doom.


Heh. This is the one I vaguely remembered and wanted to try and locate. Thanks!

This quote describes an effect of the Ring when Sam is not wearing it. Sam is merely clutching it in his hand, as described just before the quote:

"His will was too weak and slow to restrain his hand. It dragged at the chain and clutched the ring. But Sam did not put it on; for even as he clutched it to his breast, an orc came clattering down."

At any rate, I think the Frodo example, this Sam example, and what Galadriel suggests the Ring could do for her, all provide the sort of reason the original poster is looking for, to give someone reason to believe that the Ring would do more even for a mortal, than allow him or her to become invisible. It could inspire fear and panic in enemies of its bearer, and loyalty in followers of its bearer. Certainly properties that could make it seem an asset to a leader of men in war, as Boromir was.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Mar 25 2013, 4:49am

Post #31 of 130 (427 views)
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arithmancer, your comments reflect my own thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

her words never specifically say that the Ring will make her beautiful, just as Gandalfs comments relative to himself about the One Ring appealing to his pity and desire to do good do not mean that it will turn him into a being with such desires, he already posses those traits, just as Galadriel already posseses beauty.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Mar 25 2013, 4:58am

Post #32 of 130 (488 views)
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Please don't misunderstand my reply, Sauron was physically big and strong [In reply to] Can't Post

In some of the UT or BOLT writing (can't remember which), when he lands in Numenor he is described as taller than even the Men of Numenor, so he's probably over 8', and in one of JRRT's letters he says somethng to the effect of he was of man shape yet larger (similar to one aspect of the Balrog description),but not giant and he was terrible to behold. He was certainly strong to be able to defeat Gil-Galad and Elendil at the same time. It is just not defined whether the One Ring assists in creating these attributes. As the Maia were able to manifest physical forms as they saw fit it is clear that Sauron could take on the shape of a large strong man/humanoid without the One Ring, until the point of it's desturction when too much of his native power invested in it was lost.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Mar 25 2013, 5:00am)


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 25 2013, 2:28pm

Post #33 of 130 (413 views)
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Well said ! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In some of the UT or BOLT writing (can't remember which), when he lands in Numenor he is described as taller than even the Men of Numenor, so he's probably over 8', and in one of JRRT's letters he says somethng to the effect of he was of man shape yet larger (similar to one aspect of the Balrog description),but not giant and he was terrible to behold. He was certainly strong to be able to defeat Gil-Galad and Elendil at the same time. It is just not defined whether the One Ring assists in creating these attributes. As the Maia were able to manifest physical forms as they saw fit it is clear that Sauron could take on the shape of a large strong man/humanoid without the One Ring, until the point of it's desturction when too much of his native power invested in it was lost.





Smile

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


sauget.diblosio
Tol Eressea

Mar 26 2013, 3:28pm

Post #34 of 130 (407 views)
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Regarding beauty. [In reply to] Can't Post

Galadriel didn't just say that she'd be beautiful, like a model would be beautiful. She said she'd be "not... dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!” She's saying that she'd become an uncontrollable force of nature, with all the good and ill that that would bring.

As for Glorfindle, maybe i'm missing something, but why *wouldn't* Frodo be able to see him while wearing the Ring? Wouldn't he see him just like everything else in the "real" world?

Also, i like the idea of the Ring offering invisivility as an enticement (or was it "programmed" in by Sauon?), because the best time for the Ring to leave it's current "owner" is when it's being worn, so that it can just slip off. Much more difficult for it to eacape when it's being worn around a chain, or in a pocket (though not impossible, as Gollum surely knows).


axewielder
The Shire

Mar 26 2013, 3:55pm

Post #35 of 130 (431 views)
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This is the best Explanation of Bombadil and Why the Ring does affect him I have ever seen [In reply to] Can't Post

It's long but it is worth the read if you have questions as why the Ring has no effect on Tom and it answers rather thoroughly who Tom is. As I said, it is the best explanation I have seen: www.whoistombombadil.blogspot.com/


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Mar 26 2013, 5:40pm

Post #36 of 130 (394 views)
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Glorfindel could be seen by Frodo as a figure bright and clear [In reply to] Can't Post

while all Aragorn and the others were not. What I stated about this earlier is what Gandalf explains to him in Rivendell.

The explaination of why mortals become invisible is also partially explained there, it is because they are in spirit world when wearing it, too much use permanantly puts them there, that is why the ringwraiths are wraiths not mortal men any more and why they are permanantly invisible. Invisibility is a side effect not a power. The One Ring is made to dominate and rule and was intended for Sauron only, he would not have formulated enticements for mortals. The only possible consideration he gave to others in respect of the One Ring was making it impossible for anyone to willingly destroy it or let harm come to it.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 26 2013, 9:17pm

Post #37 of 130 (462 views)
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Greetings, axewielder, and thanks, this is a great read [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It's long but it is worth the read if you have questions as why the Ring has no effect on Tom and it answers rather thoroughly who Tom is. As I said, it is the best explanation I have seen: www.whoistombombadil.blogspot.com/





Very much enjoyed reading these ideas. As you might see in my original post, I have always been a bit on the fence as to whether Tom is some sort of unique Ainur, but that he is certainly closer to the Music than the Ring and the Maiar, and thus is not affected by the Ring as anyone equal to or of lesser power than a Maiar. So I very much enjoyed reading the theories posted in the above link. tom's existence as he musical embodiment, versus one of the singers, is a very neat theory. It does explain nicely his relationship with Goldberry, as the writer correctly points out the Music echoes through the waters and all through Arda and makes sense as to his love for her.

The one part where the argument is Against Tom's being Maiar I find a bit debatable, as the quibble between singing and spellcasting as a mode of focusing power and giving identity to the character seems a bit tenuous; but overall I like the Music theory.

Thanks very much for the link, and welcome!

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 26 2013, 10:38pm

Post #38 of 130 (472 views)
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(Elizabeth, Maciliel, Arithmancer, Otaku-Sempai, Silverlode, Curious G, ElendiltheShort, sauget.diblosio, Axewielder; I have loved reading and processing all the viewpoints you present.) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to everyone for their input and ideas to date! (Many and more are welcome, but I thought at this point I would sum up what conclusions we have come to based on my original question...)

To sum up the ideas to date, I would say that it appears that the invisibility power of the Ring is an effect that is imposed on anyone wearing the Ring who cannot bend it to their will, and that they exist in the Spirit world of the Ring, at the Ring's choice, during this time. So the wearer is passive in this sense. Thus Isildur being invisible when fleeing and ending up in the reeds makes sense now - at the time he had no control at all of the Ring.

Indirectly then, I think the lore that Boromir believes is a reflection of control Isildur may have BELIEVED himself to have over the Ring, an illusion perhaps fostered by the Ring as it gave Isildur perceived strength and stature and perhaps compelling voice and Command...but Isildur never really had any control at all.

The Ring is most likely an artifact on par with Maiar powers, like its creator. I like some of the leads this idea gives us in relation to who and what Bombadil may be.

So the events of the Gladden Fields now make much more sense to me, and it does not seem inconsistent that Isildur would have a history of comprehending the Ring's power but also still be secondary to its will.

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Mar 27 2013, 7:51am

Post #39 of 130 (383 views)
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It's all in Letter 131 [In reply to] Can't Post

First of all two of my half remembered ideas were wrong, it does not confer invisibility only to mortals, nor is it a side effect it is a specifically conferred power.

This is what JRRT wrote on the matter. I will only provide relevant snippets to try and avoid any copyright issues by not typing out entire tracts of text.

OK here goes, I will write his text in blue

The chief power (of all the rings alike) was the prevention or slowing of decay (i.e. 'change' viewed as a regretable thing), the preservation of what is desired or loved, or its semblance....

But also they enhanced the natural powers of a possessor-thus approaching magic, a motive easily corruptable into evil, a lust for domination. And finally they had other powers, more directly derived from Sauron.......such as rendering invisible the material body, and making things of the invisible world visible.

of the Three Elven Rings......they did not confer invisibility

of the One Ring....contained all the powers of the others, and controlled them, so that its wearer could see the thoughts of all those that used the lesser rings, could govern all they did, and in the end could utterly enslave them.

So Brethil my friend I hope you can happily conclude from this that the invisibilty conferred by the Great Elven Rings, excluding the Three greatest that Sauron never touched or had any part in making, the others being the Nine given by Sauron to men and the Seven given (I think) by Sauron to the Dwarves plus that of the One is an intended power that has nothing to do with the stature and/or need/desire of the user of the One Ring or of the One Ring itself.

A conclusion from this is that the command that Boromir is talking of has nothing to do with any gained Maia power and can possibly be construed as being an enhancement of his natural power, as a leader of men. He has the natural or learned ability to lead men, due to his position in Gondor as a man of prowess and the One Ring would greatly enhance this ability to command. He would become an even greater and more dominant version of what he already is.

Clearly anyone who wears the One Ring becomes invisible and may realise and use its full potency if they have mastered it, but it may be that they can still posses it, claim it and not wear it to greatly benefit from it's power. I wil try to research further to see if there is any writing to define this situation.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Mar 27 2013, 7:53am)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Mar 27 2013, 11:27am

Post #40 of 130 (338 views)
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if the ring enhances the bearer's natural powers [In reply to] Can't Post

 
...then perhaps it makes sense that it confers invisibility on hobbits, who are naturally gifted at passing unseen.


cheers --


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Mar 27 2013, 11:40am

Post #41 of 130 (340 views)
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The power to [In reply to] Can't Post

"render invisible the material body" is in no way otherwise distinguished or qualified to make any race exceptional or excluded in this respect. That explains why Isildur also turned invisible.

In this as in all things Bombadil remains an enigma.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 27 2013, 12:26pm

Post #42 of 130 (325 views)
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The info in Letter 131 [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"render invisible the material body" is in no way otherwise distinguished or qualified to make any race exceptional or excluded in this respect. That explains why Isildur also turned invisible.

In this as in all things Bombadil remains an enigma.





Thanks Elendil for the excerpts from 131! A great read in its entirety.

I think the things Boromir wanted were indeed already within himself, but of course it is the nature of Men to desire more. That is one thing I want to explore further as well - since at the speech above Tol Brandir Boromir references the power of Command (note the capital) as does Gandalf earlier in Moria - that is what makes me wonder if it is a more specific 'magic' (not that Tolkien readily employed the magic concept) or perhaps it is enhancement of voice (without granting the correct words?) Would like to find something either further in support or refution, other than the two statements in FOTR.

Indeed, I agree, clearly the Three do not confer invisibility - perhaps because if their purpose is to preserve and to slow decay, they have no ambition to dominate; and thus do not exert the egocentric force of the Ring in bringing the wearer into the spirit side. The Seven assuredly did not convey invisibility. One wonders if this should have tipped Gandalf off sooner, or if there were many lesser items that conferred this effect in a different method (not by use of the spirit), and thus did not immediately indicate that this was the One.

Axewielder above posted a link to an article about Bombadil which was a very interesting read. That will require much more thought as well....

Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.


imin
Valinor


Mar 27 2013, 3:02pm

Post #43 of 130 (345 views)
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Good post [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally i still see the invisibility as a side effect certainly for mortals (men, hobbits) as they had no choice in the matter - the ring takes them into the spirit/unseen/wraith world where they do not normally go as they see in the purely physical.

If another maia were to wear the ring i would imagine them being visible like Sauron, if an elf - specifically a Calaquendi then they too may be able to stay visible as they walk in both the seen and unseen worlds.

The three do not confer invisibility and as the others rings (other than The One Ring) were all made originally for elves i doubt they would have made elves invisible as what is the point of that?

However like you say Sauron also perverted the rings after collecting them before giving them to men and dwarves (dwarves who don't become invisible either) so i do think the ability to become invisible was a power in a way but more a side effect of what Sauron was after - to make you into a wraith under his complete domination. Sauron himself when wearing the ring was visible as well - due to being in both unseen and seen worlds and his physical body more a shell.

Other's have stated how if one's will is great enough they can subdue the rings own will. I think it is important to remember the will of the ring is essentially Sauron's will, a maia, so not exactly small.

Any mortal it says would just hand the ring right back to Sauron, even Aragorn if met face to face - “In his actual presence none but very few of equal stature could have hoped to withhold it from him. Of ‘mortals’ no one, not even Aragorn.” Letter # 246.

To be honest letter 246 is a gold mine of info on this, talking about how if given the ring Gandalf alone maybe could have a one on one face to face confrontation. “self to self. ... It would be a delicate balance.” and “If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring. ... But the Ring ... would have been the master in the end.” Letter #246

Elrond and Galadriel would have to do it by military force even with the ring it is said - “Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated.” Letter #246

All very interesting stuff!


(This post was edited by imin on Mar 27 2013, 3:04pm)


imin
Valinor


Mar 27 2013, 3:12pm

Post #44 of 130 (362 views)
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Reply, lol. [In reply to] Can't Post


perhaps because if their purpose is to preserve and to slow decay, they have no ambition to dominate;



In preserving and slowing decay that itself in a way is dominating - dominating the natural order/flow of things.


/reply] The Seven assuredly did not convey invisibility.



This is true for the dwarves one would think as they did not turn into wraiths. However if a man were to be given one of the seven i think they two would have become invisible and a wraith in time. I think this because the dwarves are singled out as being immune from becoming wraiths - it's a natural power they have and also only the 3 elvish rings were said to have no invisibility.

One has to presume i guess that the lesser rings did have the ability to make one invisible (or near enough) as if it were only the 16 rings which made men invisible (7 already in the hands of a race who cannot be invisible) and the 9 already accounted for, like you say that leaves only 1 option, so to me it means others to had to have this effect. Sauron was helping them make the rings - so i don't see it as a massive stretch.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Mar 27 2013, 3:35pm

Post #45 of 130 (363 views)
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But was Sauron completely confident of the Ring's dominance? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Other's have stated how if one's will is great enough they can subdue the rings own will. I think it is important to remember the will of the ring is essentially Sauron's will, a maia, so not exactly small.

Any mortal it says would just hand the ring right back to Sauron, even Aragorn if met face to face - “In his actual presence none but very few of equal stature could have hoped to withhold it from him. Of ‘mortals’ no one, not even Aragorn.” Letter # 246.

To be honest letter 246 is a gold mine of info on this, talking about how if given the ring Gandalf alone maybe could have a one on one face to face confrontation. “self to self. ... It would be a delicate balance.” and “If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring. ... But the Ring ... would have been the master in the end.” Letter #246

Elrond and Galadriel would have to do it by military force even with the ring it is said - “Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated.” Letter #246

All very interesting stuff!



Despite what Tolkien asserts, I think that Sauron was afraid that someone as strong-willed as Aragorn or Lady Galadriel could contest him for possession of the Ring. In the case of Galadriel, he might even have been right to worry (even if she would have been taking an ill-considered risk).

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


imin
Valinor


Mar 27 2013, 3:44pm

Post #46 of 130 (357 views)
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I don't think we will ever know one way or the other for sure [In reply to] Can't Post

I think of the invisibility as more a contingency for if the ring was ever taken and then used against him - if they used it, they would become powerful and could potentially try and conquer him through military might (other than perhaps gandalf) but if they kept using it, they would ultimately turn into a wraith and then fall under his dominating will and walk right back to sauron.

From what Tolkien says i don't think he was ultimately worried that Aragorn or any mortal could have a will greater than the rings. With Galadriel i think she was more a threat and more so again Gandalf. The ring gave the bearer a sense of extreme power, so perhaps when Galadriel was offered the ring, the ring played up to her desire to rule and made her think she would be totally bad ass and conquer him when really the ring would ultimately conquer her - just take longer than with a man as we are so weak, lol.

This is not to say the ring wouldn't have made Aragorn more powerful - it would have but only up to a point and if he kept using it he would become a wraith and if he used it for evil ends that would happen quicker - evil being to conquer/defeat someone.

I think in these cases the best guesses we can make are from what Tolkien writes.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Mar 27 2013, 3:49pm

Post #47 of 130 (372 views)
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I think that Aragorn gave Sauron reason to worry... [In reply to] Can't Post

The Dark Lord was unable to dominate Aragorn through the palantir, that must have been troubling to him. On the other hand, he must have realized that if Aragorn tried to oppose him directly, using the One Ring, that the Ring would effectively double Sauron's will. Indeed, he might have been relying on that very thing.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


imin
Valinor


Mar 27 2013, 4:01pm

Post #48 of 130 (334 views)
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Palantir [In reply to] Can't Post

Aragorn not Sauron was the rightful owner of the Palantir where as with the Ring, it was Sauron not Aragorn who would have been the rightful owner, something which i think effects the outcome. Also standing up to someone in a palantir is not the same as doing it face to face - at least not in Tolkien's mind.

Like you say it would have been troubling to not just dominate him as you do basically everyone instantly but again as you say by using the ring against Sauron it would have worked into Sauron's hands i think anyway, im sure others will disagree, lol.

I think out of any mortals Aragorn would gain the most from the ring and have the best shot at trying to conquer the will of the ring but like Isildur i believe it would conquer him as though he is a tiny bit elf and maiar it's not the same as going up against one of the most powerful maia.


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 27 2013, 5:21pm

Post #49 of 130 (340 views)
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Sauron was beaten twice even when he had the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

The first time was by Ar-Pharazon, the second by the Last Alliance. So even while he had the Ring he wasn't all-powerful. To have the Ring on the finger of an enemy had to fill him with doubt.

All the same, when he was beaten, it was by numerically superior forces. Neither Lorien nor Gondor had an army (or allied army) big enough to threaten him if Galadriel, Gandalf, or Aragorn held the Ring. I think he feared his enemies more than he needed to in reality and that they couldn't have defeated him. Just my 2 cents.


imin
Valinor


Mar 27 2013, 5:58pm

Post #50 of 130 (322 views)
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True, i feel this is similar to what i was saying though, lol. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that he worried too much but then the he isn't all powerful even with the power of the ring so my guess is his doubts come from him not having as much power without the ring (back to old self) and the other person/being having more power which can lead to domination of weaker wills - other people - enough to create an army - he has already been beaten by armies twice so he was worried.

I am just doubtful over certain's people's ability to subdue the One Ring's will - e.g. a hobbit or a man even one like Aragorn after what is in letter 246.

Though this is kinda getting away from invisibility and the powers the ring gives people, lol.

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