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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Where are the Nine rings physically located in the Third Age?

uncle Iorlas
Bree


Apr 25, 6:56pm

Post #1 of 17 (1693 views)
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Where are the Nine rings physically located in the Third Age? Can't Post

I asked this question years ago on Imladris.net and some guy told me Sauron is actually wearing them, now that the Nazgul have been reduced to wraiths without free will. But Gandalf says "the Nine the Nazgul keep." But--if they all lose their corporeal form in the Bruinen and must go whistling back to Mordor insubstantially, where are their rings? Rolling along the ground behind them?



[not a fair question, no, precious]


squire
Half-elven


Apr 25, 7:46pm

Post #2 of 17 (1669 views)
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Boggle, boggle, boggle, boggle, boggle, boggle, boggle! [In reply to] Can't Post

Believe it or not, Tolkien declared in a letter that when Sauron's body was destroyed in the downfall of Numenor, he had had his One Ring with him - and his spirit carried it back to Mordor where he proceeded to rebuild himself:
Though reduced to 'a spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind', I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon which his power of dominating minds now largely depended. - JRRT, Letter 211, 1958.

Along with that awful guidance, we can also remember that, at the Ford, the Nazgul did not "lose their corporeal form" as you put it. Rather, they were unhorsed and unclothed, and so were both invisible to the mortal world and footbound.
‘I thought they were all destroyed in the flood,’ said Merry.
‘You cannot destroy Ringwraiths like that,’ said Gandalf. ‘The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him. We hope that they were all unhorsed and unmasked, and so made for a while less dangerous;...' - LotR II.3

Sauron's body was actually destroyed, a la Merry's imagination; his spirit alone flew home to Mordor, bearing the Ring in mid-air or so we are asked to non-bogglingly imagine. But the wraiths are different. So I think we can well imagine the Nine walking home, with their Nine Rings still on their invisible, but not incorporeal, fingers.

Yes, there is the famous instance of the scary shadow that later flies over the Company in the Wild, but I don't think anyone has established that that was a Nazgul. If they could fly, they wouldn't need the fell beasts!

As to the rest of your question, I have wondered what Sauron did do with the Dwarven Rings that he recovered - three of the seven, I think, with the other four having been consumed (and melted?) by dragons. Did he keep them in a vault, for future use? Did he distribute them to more Men, outside the ancient lore of the Ring-verse?



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'.
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Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 25, 8:04pm

Post #3 of 17 (1652 views)
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Three of the Seven offered to the Dwarves? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...I have wondered what Sauron did do with the Dwarven Rings that he recovered - three of the seven, I think, with the other four having been consumed (and melted?) by dragons. Did he keep them in a vault, for future use? Did he distribute them to more Men, outside the ancient lore of the Ring-verse?


Glóin at the Council of Elrond:

Quote
...about a year ago a messenger came to Dáin, but not from Moria--from Mordor: a horseman in the night, who called Dáin to his gate. The Lord Sauron the Great, so he said, wished for our friendship. Rings he would give for it, such as he gave of old. And he asked urgently concerning hobbits, of what kind they were, and where they dwelt. "For Sauron knows," said he, "that one of these was known to you on a time."


This offer seems to have been utterly rejected, so perhaps the remaining three of the Seven were given to such servants as the Mouth of Sauron. If things had worked out better for Saruman, he might have received one of them.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


uncle Iorlas
Bree


Apr 25, 10:58pm

Post #4 of 17 (1645 views)
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I don't think I can promise not to boggle. [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact I believe I am boggling as we speak.

I had just noticed, too, where I believe in the Silmarillion it says that he took up the Ring again and clothed himself in power when he re-formed after Numenor, and I took that as a sign that he'd stowed it somewhere on the mainland before coming to bow to Ar-Pharazon.

Dear old Professor T. All of your ideas are not equally good. If the Ring flew away from the wrack of Numenor, why didn't it up and fly away from Isildur?


uncle Iorlas
Bree


Apr 25, 11:02pm

Post #5 of 17 (1639 views)
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and that's another thing [In reply to] Can't Post

Since when do dragons consume golden things, anyhow? Surely they're meant to covet them instead?

Maybe the rings were consumed in fire on the occasion of these various dragons' last, untold battles with whatever hero eventually dispatched each one? Or villain, if someone in Sauron's employ.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 25, 11:22pm

Post #6 of 17 (1641 views)
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By accident? [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps those dragons consumed those Rings along with their owners.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Petty Dwarf
Bree


Apr 26, 12:45am

Post #7 of 17 (1636 views)
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I am assuming that the Ring did not fly off on its own. [In reply to] Can't Post

Rather, Sauron, who was pretty powerful at that time since he had the Ring with him, flew back under his own power while carrying the Ring.

Slight but important difference.

"No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 26, 11:37am

Post #8 of 17 (1600 views)
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“An app for Find My iRing” [In reply to] Can't Post

Another good question, Uncle I—thanks!

I’ve never been clear on this myself, and searching LOTR for “the Nine” turned up the 3 references below. The first and third imply that Sauron treats the 9 and 7 the same way, whatever that is: in a vault, or on his coffee table, or on his own fingers, who knows. But the second reference says the Nazgul keep the 9 while the remaining Dwarf rings are “taken” by Sauron.

But the true status of the Nazgul comes into play here also. If Merry and Eowyn could physically kill one, then they have corporeal forms. So at the Ford of Bruinen, when they were unhorsed & unmasked, why didn’t they just wait there until the Ring left Rivendell again (they were invisible which would make them pretty good spies), and then they could waylay the Ringbearer after he left Elrond’s protection and take the Ring back to Sauron, on foot if they had to.

Since they didn’t do the latter, I think there was more damage to them at the Ford then we non-wizards can understand, and their only option was to return to Sauron to be “repaired.”

Gandalf at Bag End:
“the Nine he has gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed.“

Ganadalf at Council of Elrond:
‘The Nine the Nazgûl keep. The Seven are taken or destroyed.’

Galadriel:
‘You saw the Eye of him that holds the Seven and the Nine.‘


InTheChair
Lorien

Apr 26, 7:17pm

Post #9 of 17 (1582 views)
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He does have nine fingers, so without the one, it's a very neat match [In reply to] Can't Post

Then for the three of the seven, two in the nipples, and some place must be reserved for the last one.

I'm thinking that the effort expended by Sauron to escape Numenor and take the one with him, left him forever after unable to change his shape. I think there something to that effect somewhere. Perhaps the same meant he could not a second time at Dagorlad escape his body and carry the ring with him, so it's Bingo for Isildur.

The Nazgul may have carried their own. Not sure. No ring is mentioned after the Witch-King gets knifed and passes away.

Would they be destroyed when the one was? Or if you had the energy to dig through all the rubble of Barad Dur, could you find the nine again, but now they were just powerless rings?


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 26, 8:27pm

Post #10 of 17 (1570 views)
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Very good point, Chair [In reply to] Can't Post

As usual, I missed an obvious point: if the Nazgul wore the Nine, why wasn’t one of the Nine discovered where the Witch-king had been?

Though it might be a detail that Tolkien overlooked or hoped readers would overlook. What if Eomer shows up on the scene, grieving over his uncle & sister, and puts on one of the Nine? It just messes up all the heroic deeds that were to follow that day.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 26, 9:06pm

Post #11 of 17 (1566 views)
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Éomer, Ring-lord [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Though it might be a detail that Tolkien overlooked or hoped readers would overlook. What if Eomer shows up on the scene, grieving over his uncle & sister, and puts on one of the Nine? It just messes up all the heroic deeds that were to follow that day.


It's not as though Éomer would have turned into a Nazgûl over night. It took the bearers of the Nine centuries to become dark undead. And the Ring of the Lord of the Nazgûl would have lost its potency once the Master Ring was destroyed. However, it has been my own understanding that Sauron kept the Nine Rings to himself, though they were still linked to the forms of their bearers.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


uncle Iorlas
Bree


Apr 27, 3:08am

Post #12 of 17 (1554 views)
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We meet again, Ockham, my ancient enemy [In reply to] Can't Post

Um. Yes. Now you mention, that is probably the most natural use-case.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 27, 3:30am

Post #13 of 17 (1544 views)
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Your wit is razor sharp! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


noWizardme
Valinor


Apr 29, 5:06pm

Post #14 of 17 (1354 views)
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"...and some place must be reserved for the last one. " --ouch? // [In reply to] Can't Post

through the *nose*, I was thinking, of course....

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


noWizardme
Valinor


Apr 29, 5:17pm

Post #15 of 17 (1357 views)
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...with the words DON'T BOGGLE inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover... [In reply to] Can't Post

I suppose that of Sauron's spirit could carry the One Ring around, maybe it could carry lots of them without boggling. So 'Sauron has them all' is a solution one isn't to boggle at.

Or, if the Nine are still on the hands of their bearers/victims, including the WK when he's slain I probably shouldn't boggle at an invisible ring on an invisible hand evaporating (or whatever the word would be) with it's finally-properly-dead owner.

In fact the best way not to boggle, I'm finding , is to imagine that the rings aren't corpreal all the time in the way that boring ol' conventional rings are. But its a bit 'Do as I say! Common sense is no more use here!'

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


newrow
The Shire

May 29, 8:39pm

Post #16 of 17 (565 views)
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Nine Ring Location [In reply to] Can't Post

Either the nine rings are with each Nazgul or in Sauron's possession.

Would Sauron take the risk to loose such a valuable weapon even if all Nine were together? I doubt it. Remember that the Nine were not with Sauron upon Oroduin with Elrond, Elendil, Isildur, Gil-galad, and Cirdan. Why not? May be Sauron knew the Ringwraiths would not stand a chance. Battle must have been ongoing in and around Mordor at that time giving a Nazgul a command of an army.

Sauron was able to take the One Ring with him from a sinking Numenor since the One Ring is spiritual connected to him.

If a Ringwraith worn a Ring of Power would not that ring be used to great effect? How can Gandalf with one Ring of Power deflect nine others upon Weathertop? Why did the Ringwraith all come upon the Hobbits on that same hill? Why not use the rings to call upon sorcery of weather or nearby corpses to animate and attack? Remember that Gandalf displayed great power upon another hill of stone facing the wargs west of the West-gate of Moria.

I hold that Sauron took possession of the Nine while he was under siege at the end of the Second Age. Each Ringwraith already had great powers without wearing a ring. Sauron had no more use of overt powers during the Third Age; he had patience and of course poor management skills to avert the strike of orcs guarding the Sammauth Naur.


noWizardme
Valinor


May 29, 8:44pm

Post #17 of 17 (561 views)
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Welcome to the Reading Room, newrow// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm

 
 

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