One Ring

Brief Description

The greatest of the Rings of Power, secretly forged by Sauron in Orodruin (ca. SeA 1600) with the intention to control the elven Rings of Power.


aka: the GreatRing, the RulingRing, IsildursBane, the treasure of the Enemy

Ash nazg durbatulūk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulūk
agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.“

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all
and in the Darkness bind them.

Comments and Discussion

A Ring of Power invests permanence against weariness and decay. Sauron created OneRing to give him immortality against the burdens of ruling the world.

A Ring has a "Conservation of Ringular Momentum" - like a flywheel. For years after Isildur took the Ring from Sauron it was still hot enough to burn him. Only centuries lying under the river Anduin cooled it off. And when Gandalf threw the Ring in Frodo's fireplace it remained "quite cool".

The Ring resists change, and helps preserve its bearer. And any oaths its bearer swears. Including oaths that will lead to the Ring's destruction. -- [PhlIp]

At first - in the original version of The Hobbit - the Ring was not much more for Tolkien, than one of those magic rings found in Nordic and Germanic tales (e.g. Odin’s ring Draupnir or Andvari’s ring Andvaranaut), it's properties eventually combined with Alberich’s invisibility cap/cloak (in one of the various incarnations of the tale of the hoard of the Niflungs we also find a magic ring with "interesting" attributes (contrary to Bilbo’s): "nur wer den ring trägt vermag Elberich zu erblicken"..."only the one who bears/wears the ring is able to perceive Elberich"; in some of those tales liosālfar light elves - or hvītālfar, white elves - and sometimes also dvergar dwarves, who there represent the swartalfar, the black elves - or döckālfar dark elves - are generally invisible to the human eye).

But lateron - during the slow and laborious creation process of the LotR - Tolkien must have put more thought into the OneRing and its properties. Eventually it became the representation of Evil (in the manichaean sense), something that IMO was not an easy step to take for a devout catholic like Tolkien (especially when we keep in mind how reluctant Tolkien was to ascribe the same to Morgoth "The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make real new things of its own."). Thus, I would not deem it impossible, that Tolkien had also a certain idea of the "mechanism" (if that is not a contradictio in adjecto) of "interaction" between his "spirits" and the material environment of Arda they inhabited (concerning the physical forms they could assume or became assigned or eventually the "physical" and "metaphysical" nature of the OneRing). -- ChW

FolderItems FolderCompendium

(C) The Tolkien Wiki Community Page last changed: April 7, 2003