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General question about the ring and invisibility

The Shire

Nov 12 2013, 3:39pm

Post #1 of 13 (2873 views)
General question about the ring and invisibility Can't Post

This is one of those juvenile "what if" questions that doesn’t have a real answer, but I find it interesting. The ring turns you invisible. It also turns your clothes and weapons invisible. Even Sting, which emits light is invisible (except in the Hobbit cartoon).

My speculative question is this… how can the ring determine which objects touching the owner should be affected? Here are some examples:

Wearing a helmet: it’s invisible
Wearing a hat: it’s invisible
A feather falls on my head: ?

Holding a sword: it’s invisible
Holding a 10 foot tall pole: it’s invisible
Carrying person on your shoulders?
Wrapping your arms around Smaug’s Tail:?

Would the old anti-invisibility trick of throwing flour on the person make them visible? or would the ring make the flour invisible too?

Also, what would happen if Bilbo put the ring on one of Smaug’s horns? Would the whole dragon turn invisible? I guess we could argue that the ring is somewhat aware of situations and makes its own decisions, but I’m curious what other people think.

Sorry for the stupid questions. Dignified people need not respond. Thanks!

(This post was edited by 1415dr on Nov 12 2013, 3:47pm)


Nov 12 2013, 5:25pm

Post #2 of 13 (2741 views)
Hmmmm... The flour trick is very interesting.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I would say that the ring would decide which thing to make visible or not. Probably the inadvisability wouldn't extend towards other living things, but inanimate objects would probably become invisible.

Beware the shiny
They are there to steal your heart.
You must just say no.

On another note, wonder what obscure holiday it is today? No? Of course you do! That is why I have created This calender to tell you! Enjoy. I take suggestions if I missed your favorite holiday.


Nov 12 2013, 5:34pm

Post #3 of 13 (2756 views)
What you need is the Ring FAQ [In reply to] Can't Post


(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Nov 12 2013, 5:38pm)

The Shire

Nov 12 2013, 6:26pm

Post #4 of 13 (2726 views)
brilliant research [In reply to] Can't Post

thank you

Fredeghar Wayfarer

Nov 12 2013, 9:25pm

Post #5 of 13 (2712 views)
While I can't outdo that FAQ... [In reply to] Can't Post

...these would be my guesses.

The Ring would only make invisible anything that is touching you at the moment you put it on (clothing, hat, helmet, sword, etc.). Those items are shifted with your body partly into the wraith-world. Anything you touch after that would still be in the physical world. For example, when Gollum tackled Frodo at the Cracks of Doom, he did not become invisible by touching him. He appeared to be grappling with something that isn't there.

One question is whether hiding something in your pocket after putting on the Ring would work. The item would still be in the physical world but would be obscured by your phantom-like clothing. Anyone remember if there is an example of this in the books? Does Bilbo hide the keys to the Dwarves' cells in the Elvenking's dungeon? Or is no one around to see the seemingly floating keys?

As for putting the Ring on Smaug, I think it would have a different effect. The Rings of Power enhanced (and corrupted) the natural abilities of the wearer. Hobbits are able to move about stealthily and unseen so the One Ring makes them invisible. Dwarves have a love of gold and jewels so their rings gave them the dragon-sickness and magnified their greed and ability to accumulate wealth. Men desire power and immortality so the Nazgul were given great power and their lives were unnaturally extended. Sauron's spiritual power and strength would be magnified if he got the One Ring back. And so forth.

There are no accounts of a dragon getting a Ring of Power so we have no way of knowing what effect it would have on him. Like Dwarves, dragons desire wealth so the Ring might have a similar effect on Smaug as the Seven Dwarf Rings. Or it might enhance his inner fire or his strength. Invisibility would probably be a secondary effect as it would shift him into the wraith-world but we don't know for sure.

Tol Eressea

Nov 12 2013, 9:53pm

Post #6 of 13 (2713 views)
Oh, the things you could do..... [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a discussion with some other, non-fans, and we came up with all the outlandish things we'd do with the Ring. Unfamiliarity was a bonus in this case, as it allowed several humorous thought to be aired.

Friend 1:
They spent a few movies taking the one ring to get destroyed yes? But... They could have saved so much time and effort if they would just have put the one ring on some random dead body. The ring will thus become invisible and the dead body wearing the ring is already dead, so when the dark riders find it, they can't kill it again.

Friend 2:

If it worked that way you could do this:

Set the ring on a door hook .
This makes it ,the door,invisible.
Then scare some one and as they try to run out, they get flattened!

Trees, and logs would be good candidates for these pranks too!

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


Nov 13 2013, 2:31am

Post #7 of 13 (2685 views)
*applause* That was GREAT! :D [In reply to] Can't Post

OMG! I love the way you think! I'm still sitting here smiling like a Tookish Fool! *high five*

So.... if you can see a hobbit's shadow when he's wearing the Ring, wouldn't it be invisible too if that shadow is hooked to his heel like Peter Pan?

Maybe the Ring has to be on a finger to work. What if you swallowed it? Would it burn your belly like a Silmaril? I mean, no one in the story used the Ring any other way to become invisible or else the chain it hung from would be invisible, right? Otherwish when it's hanging from a chain around your neck, you'd be invisible, right? So if it was stuck over one of Smaug's horns... because he doesn't have any fingers... would it work? How would the Ring know it's not a finger... or a toe?

Oh my... we could beat this up forever if we do it right :D

5th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013
1st draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013


"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!

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The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Nov 13 2013, 2:39am

Post #8 of 13 (2683 views)
Oh, I need to bookmark that page! Thanks, Elizabeth! // [In reply to] Can't Post


Welcome more children to Middle Earth. Support The S.H.I.R.E. Project!


Nov 13 2013, 12:56pm

Post #9 of 13 (2663 views)
How about if it [In reply to] Can't Post

was used as an ear ring? Would the entire body become invisible? What if you put it on and do not wish to become invisible? If I am correct than Sauron was wearing the one ring on his finger when it was taken from him. So how did anyone know where to strike if he was invisible?

Faithful servant yet master's bane,
Lightfoot's foal, swift Snowmane

Tol Eressea

Nov 13 2013, 1:42pm

Post #10 of 13 (2672 views)
I don't think that he was necessarily invisible.... [In reply to] Can't Post

He may have been, but the Ring gives power in measure to that they already possess. It makes the powerful more powerful, and I liken it to an amplifier. Sauron + Ring = his native power x 1.???. The hobbits might have the power of invisibility as it enhances their natural powers of stealth. Sauron probablu could turn himself invisible, but channeled his power into something more egocentric. He doesn't seem like the type to hide, he might rig the game and cheat, but he wants everyone to see how powerful he is.

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!

The Shire

Nov 13 2013, 3:21pm

Post #11 of 13 (2653 views)
Elizabeth's FAQ offers a good explanation [In reply to] Can't Post

Basically, that the Ring confers invisibility by moving the wearer out of phase with the physical world and into the spiritual world.


Sauron isn't affected because he's already a native inhabitant of the spiritual plane. He isn't shifted, and his physical form is unaffected as it's only a shell he's intentionally wearing, as we wear clothes.

Or something. Smile Doesn't to my mind explain why Sauron's physical shell is unaffected while Bilbo's clothes get shifted. Then, there's another bit from the Tolkien newsgroup treating light bending and a metaphysical "skin" around a ring-wearer that's actually an elegant theory, but doesn't bear on Sauron's physical shell.


Honestly, "because he doesn't want to be invisible" isn't a bad theory.


Nov 13 2013, 5:12pm

Post #12 of 13 (2645 views)
Being shifted [In reply to] Can't Post

out of phase with the physical world makes sense the Nazgul could see Frodo when he wore the Ring. Then there's ol' Tom Bombadil. ;) Gives us a clue about him if the physical world phasing is investigated.

5th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013
1st draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013


"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!

TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)

Registered User

Nov 16 2013, 4:47pm

Post #13 of 13 (2685 views)
solomons ring of power [In reply to] Can't Post

The Book of King Solomon cover
pixel spacer
The Ring of King Solomon

According to the Talmud, Solomon’s ring was engraved with the shem ha-meforesh—the Ineffable Name of GOD. And Islamic authors tell us that it contained “the Most Great Name of GOD,” along with four jewels that had been given to Solomon by angels.

In the Islamic accounts, however, the jewels are said to be inscribed with phrases. The first jewel gave Solomon dominion over the winds, and was inscribed “To GOD [Allah] belong power and greatness.” The second gave him dominion over birds and beasts, and was inscribed “Let all living things praise GOD.” The third gave him dominion over earth and water, and was inscribed “Heaven and earth are the servants of GOD.” The fourth gave him dominion over the jinn, and was inscribed “There is no GOD but GOD, and Muhammad is His messenger.” (Muhammad, of course, was not born until many centuries after the angels brought Solomon the jewels. The anachronism can be explained by the fact that angels exist outside of time.)

The ring served King Solomon as a signet ring, for sealing letters and decrees. But it was also the source of his supernatural powers. With it he was able to control the winds, and to fly about on a wind-borne carpet. It allowed him to communicate with animals (and even with flowers). But its most notable use involved the jinn. By means of his ring, Solomon could summon these otherworldly spirits and make them do his bidding. He could also exorcise them from possessed persons.

Did Solomon’s ring actually contain jewels given to him by angels? After a fashion, reports Nicholas Roerich, a Russian mystic who traveled in Tibet during the 1920s. According to Roerich, the ring was set with a fragment of the Chintamani Stone. This ancient stone (described as a chunk of moldavite with glowing striations) had been preserved in a lamasery that Roerich visited. The abbot presented Roerich with a fragment of it, and revealed that the stone had been brought to earth by a messenger from Sirius. Another fragment, said the abbot, had been presented to Emperor Tazlovoo of Atlantis, and another to King Solomon.

So the ring may have contained a fragment of the Chintamani Stone. What it did not contain was a so-called Solomon’s Seal. A hexagram or pentagram, Solomon’s Seal is the magical symbol par excellence. But it did not arise until medieval times, appearing on amulets that sought an association with King Solomon and his ring.

And one final description of the ring has come down to us. It is found in a Yiddish folk tale. The tale goes as follows:

King Solomon was sitting on his throne one morning, And he decided that Benaiah, the captain of the Palace Guard, needed a lesson in humility. So the king summoned Benaiah and gave him an impossible mission to fulfill. “I have heard rumors of a fabulous ring,” said Solomon. “It has a unique power. When a sad man gazes upon it, he becomes happy. But when a happy man gazes upon it, he becomes sad. Find this ring and bring it to me.”

Benaiah set out in search of the ring. He traveled from town to town, inquiring as to its whereabouts. But no one had ever heard of such a ring. And he was about to give up when he spotted a junk shop, whose proprietor was sitting out front. Benaiah approached the man and described the object of his search.

“A ring that cheers the sad and saddens the cheerful?” said the junk dealer. “Come inside.”

They entered the shop. From a boxful of baubles the junk dealer took a plain, silver ring. He engraved some words on it and gave it to Benaiah. Benaiah read the inscription, nodded sagely, and headed back to the palace.

Solomon was expecting an unsuccessful—and humbled—Benaiah. So when Benaiah strode in and handed him the ring, the king was taken aback. Inspecting it, he read the inscription—and let out a melancholy sigh.

King Solomon removed his costly rings and slipped on the ring from the junk shop. “It was I who needed a lesson in humility,” he said. “This ring has reminded me that wealth and power are fleeting things.”

For inscribed on the ring was a Yiddish phrase:

GAM ZU YAAVOR (“This too shall pass”)

(from The Book of King Solomon)


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