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Old 05-12-2005, 08:25 PM   #1
arcticstorm
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more than 9?

I remember reading somewhere that Sauron, not the nine Nazgul, held the 9 rings given to mortal men. with this in mind, I have a theoretical question about the Nazgul. Since they seemed to be some of the strongest servents of Sauron during the war, why didn't Sauron plan ahead by giving the nine rings out to other men that he had under his dominion back when he was the Necromancer, and in essence make some more Nazgul to help hunt for the ring? Or was it even possib;e for him to do this? And more importantly, would doing this have allowed Sauron to find the ring or retreive it earlier?
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Old 05-12-2005, 08:39 PM   #2
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I've been curious about this too, but I have a theory. Here goes:

The Nazgul are enslaved to the Nine Rings, which are in turn bound to Sauron/the One Ring. Sauron could control the Nazgul either through the One Ring (and thence into the Nine) or else through the Nine Rings directly, once they had become wraiths.

Therefore, since Sauron did not have the One Ring during the Third Age, it was necessary to have the Nine Rings to control the Nazgul. Had he given them out, he would have lost control of the wraiths, who would have likely sought out and killed the new keepers of the Rings, desiring them for themselves (think Gollum here).

Now, the only thing that I know of that could CERTAINLY make this theory fail is if Sauron didn't take back the Nine until the Third Age. If he took them back in the Second, then there is no obvious problem. But if he did it in the Third, the question is when, and was he strong enough to do so? After all, I don't see the Nazgul giving them up willingly if he didn't have the One Ring to control them, since they would have been as jealous of the fates of their rings as Gollum.
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Old 05-12-2005, 08:55 PM   #3
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I remember this thread discussed this possibility some. My own opinion is that the nine rings (and probably the seven and the three as well) were bonded to their owners in much the same way that the One Ring was part of Sauron. Their power could not be easily transferred to another, and would diminish the link with the original possessor if attempted. Certainly, after the death of a Nazgul, like the Witch King, Sauron might have decided to replace him with another corrupt mortal, but that would take time, perhaps a hundred years or more, before he could take the ring back and keep it with himself and expect the kind of blind obedience that he got from the rest of the Nazgul. That's just my opinion though. I can't back it up with anything textual.
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Old 05-13-2005, 01:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radagastly
My own opinion is that the nine rings (and probably the seven and the three as well) were bonded to their owners in much the same way that the One Ring was part of Sauron.
I don't think so. The One Ring was part of Sauron, because he forged it and while forging he put lots of his own (power) in it. That is, why the One Ring is such evil.
The lesser Rings were not forged by their bearers, the bearers were betrayed by the Rings and made the dependent of the Master-Ring, but I think that is uniidirectional, because nothing from the bearer is in the Ring.

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Originally Posted by radagastly
Certainly, after the death of a Nazgul, like the Witch King, Sauron might have decided to replace him with another corrupt mortal
Wasn't it so, that a Nazgul can't die, before the One Ring is not destroyed. By killing his physical shape, you could only diminish him to a 'spirit'.

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Originally Posted by Formendacil
If he took them back in the Second, then there is no obvious problem.
hmmm... I see a problem with the physical shape of Sauron and physical holding the Rings. Am I right, thinking that the diminshed spirit Sauron could not hold the physical rings? Where were the Nine Rings? It must be happened in the Third Age, when Sauron beginned to take shape.
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Old 05-13-2005, 08:05 AM   #5
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I take Formendacil's stance, that Sauron kept the Nine Rings so he could control the Nazgul, even without the one. A rather older thread done by Kransha (here is the link ) goes into what if Frodo claimed the ring? And was able to wrest power from Sauron, becoming the new "Ring-lord." Tolkien addresses this answer in Letter #243. That eventhough Sauron was not in possession of the one, he was still able to control the Nazgul. The Nazgul were enslaved to their Nine Rings, and Sauron kept them so he could control them, even without the One.
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Old 05-13-2005, 10:12 AM   #6
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Didn't the rings require time and use to enslave the owner? I assume that the men who took the Nine weren't idiots, and if I remember the text regarding the same it says that they fall to Sauron's dominion over time.

Assume an addictive substance. Some people partake, find nothing therein and walk away. Others get a rush of some kind, and so take additional hits. Wow! This makes me feel sooo good! After a while they need the substance just to be normal. Finally, they completely lose all willpower and so are enslaved to the substance.

It would be silly to say that alcohol, crack-cocaine, a Ring, etc enslaves the addict, as we are talking about inanimate objects with no life, will, souls, minds. It is the user that does the enslaving, yet one normally says that one is controlled by the substance.

And if the good feeling is wealth (dwarves) or control of other wills (men) or paradise/stasis/whatever (elves) or dominion (Sauron), over time one becomes addicted. Galadriel and Elrond were addicted to what their Rings provided; when the Rings finally failed, they left Middle Earth. Each Ring extracted payment for what it gave; some such payments may not be readily seen and also may be worth paying.

I assume that the Nine enjoyed the power, status, abilities and 'things' that the Rings gave them, but obviously they thought that they could skip out on paying the bill. Instead of living out their allotted time, they continued on and on and on as wraiths, under the domination of Sauron, feared by their former kind, desiring yet hating life - sounds wonderful.

Even Sauron, by dumping some of himself into the One Ring made himself an Achille's heel by which he was finally destroyed. Though his abilities were enhanced by the Ring he also was then able to lose it.

You'd think that maia would know better.
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Old 05-13-2005, 10:37 AM   #7
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Sorry to deviate from your main subject here, but I've been wondering. If Sauron captured however many (3 or 4) of the seven Dwarf rings, and the others were consumed by dragon fire, what did Sauron do with those Dwarf rings. He used the nine to enslave the Nazgul, why then did he not use those additional rings?
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:02 AM   #8
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Turin, I believe it's in the conversation between Gandalf and Frodo in the Shadow of the Past. Sauron for some reason wants to gather all the rings. He's already got the nine, he's got the dwarven rings that weren't eaten by dragons, and he's been looking for the three. However, whatever his plans are with the rings of power, won't matter if he gets the one back. I think he just wanted all the rings as in a way to be more powerful
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"So it is now: the Nine he has gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed. The Three are hidden still. But that no longer troubles him. He only needs the One; for he made that ring himself, it is his, and he let a great part of his own former power pass into it, so that he could rule all the others."~Gandalf, The Shadow of the Past.
I think it's just Sauron trying to gather whatever power that he can from the rings that are left, but now that he's getting closer to catching The One, the other rings don't matter.

alatar, very neat post about addiction. In an interview with Andy Serkis he said he did Gollum's character based off a person addicted to drugs or alcohol. That's how Gollum was, only instead of drugs/alcohol he had a ring addiction, and on a side note I think Serkis nailed the role well.
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
It would be silly to say that alcohol, crack-cocaine, a Ring, etc enslaves the addict, as we are talking about inanimate objects with no life, will, souls, minds.
While the addicition analogy is a good one, and one which I have used myself in the past, it does not fully explain the effect of the One Ring, which is portrayed as an entity in its own right and played an active role in seeking to ensnare its bearers and find its way back to its Master.
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
While the addicition analogy is a good one, and one which I have used myself in the past, it does not fully explain the effect of the One Ring, which is portrayed as an entity in its own right and played an active role in seeking to ensnare its bearers and find its way back to its Master.
Much agreed, but wasn't sure how else to explain my thoughts regarding the Nine. The One is truly a being in itself. Not sure of the right word (it'll come to me sometime after I'm away from my computer), but is not the One Ring a 'little Sauron,' or id?
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Old 05-13-2005, 11:40 AM   #11
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Do we know for sure though that Sauron only put his will and strength etc. into the One Ring alone? Is it possible that every ring made by him contained some of this - maybe explaining why even with him unable to take physical form and so 'hold' the nine rings the Nazgul did not rebel.
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Old 05-13-2005, 01:19 PM   #12
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The 'rules' that apply to the One Ring are no doubt different from the Nine and Seven, but not completely. Just as we see Frodo, Gollum, and Bilbo lust after the Ring when it is taken from them, it seems the Nazgul would do the same if Sauron gave them away to others with similar intentions of corruption and control. Sauron himself holding the Nine Rings would not be the same because he is the controller of the Nine and those enslaved to them...it's not the same as someone else gaining posession of one of the Nine Rings.
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Old 05-14-2005, 01:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Even Sauron, by dumping some of himself into the One Ring made himself an Achille's heel by which he was finally destroyed. Though his abilities were enhanced by the Ring he also was then able to lose it.

You'd think that maia would know better.
I think, that Sauron would have never thought, that someone could take his Ring from him. That's a good example, how someone could be blended by his own power.
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Old 05-16-2005, 12:17 PM   #14
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I think, that Sauron would have never thought, that someone could take his Ring from him. That's a good example, how someone could be blinded by his own power.
Isn't that usually the case in which one is one's worst enemy?

And regarding the 'other' rings: my assumption has always been that except for the dwarven Seven that the other rings were worn by the owners. Elrond, Galadriel and Gandalf wore theirs; Sauron did until he got an Isuldurian manicure, and I assume that the Nine had theirs, and so Sauron had no need to physically hold them. The 'control' of the Nine was via the Rings - like a cell phone that (1) you couldn't get rid of, (2) you always had to answer, and (3) you had to do whatever the caller told you to do ("Hi...ya, this is the Eye...hey, go to the Shire and find some midget called Baggins...").

The Dwarves, immune to becoming wraiths, were able to 'give up' their Rings - not that they did so until the very end, and of course not willingly, but my point is that they were not held by the Rings as were the Nine. Sauron collected what remained of the Seven so that, if necessary, he could use them again to corrupt a new family of Dwarves.
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Old 05-16-2005, 12:49 PM   #15
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Ring An interesting distinction...

Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Sauron collected what remained of the Seven so that, if necessary, he could use them again to corrupt a new family of Dwarves.
Need it have been Dwarves, in fact? I don't recall any innate difference between the lesser Rings of Power not made by Celebrimbor-that is, the Seven and the Nine. Could Sauron not have gifted human followers with the recovered Dwarven rings? The Mouth of Sauron, for instance, or Herumor of "the New Shadow"? (Herumor is a particularly interesting case as possession of a ring might just justify his being the same Herumor that lorded it over the Haradrim in the Second Age.)
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Old 05-16-2005, 02:11 PM   #16
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I like Alatar's analogy of the Ring being like a drug and the Ring bearers like addicts. It certainly goes a long way towards explaining the effect it had on certain people, for just as some seem to be able to resist drugs (alcohol, tobacco whatever) so some could resist the Ring.

I had always assumed that Sauron possessed the rings himself and that they were not worn by the Nazgul. When Frodo puts on the Ring as the Nazgul attack on Weathertop, he sees them in their wraith form; hair, helmets, swords and hands are described. Rings are not. In Lothlorien, Galadriel tells Frodo that none of the rings can be hidden from the Ring bearer, so surely he would have seen rings if they had been worn.

As for using the three remaining Dwarf rings to corrupt others. Would the rings have been able to exert a corrupting force if Sauron had not yet regained the One Ring? It was the 'Master Ring', for want of a better title, made in secret to control and corrupt the others. Without it, would not the other rings made originally by the Elves have reverted to their original purpose and therefore been useless to him?

Quote:
Originally posted by Alatar: The One is truly a being in itself. Not sure of the right word (it'll come to me sometime after I'm away from my computer), but is not the One Ring a 'little Sauron,' or id?
This idea of the One Ring being 'sentient' has always fascinated me. It seems like a living being at times and is often referred to as such in the books. It adapts its size to the bearer's finger, it abandons its bearer(s) and appears to slip onto Bilbo's finger of its own accord. I suppose that it is open to interpretation, being magical and all. The idea of it being a 'little Sauron' conjures up all sorts of pictures!
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Old 05-16-2005, 02:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirel
Need it have been Dwarves, in fact? I don't recall any innate difference between the lesser Rings of Power not made by Celebrimbor-that is, the Seven and the Nine. Could Sauron not have gifted human followers with the recovered Dwarven rings? The Mouth of Sauron, for instance, or Herumor of "the New Shadow"? (Herumor is a particularly interesting case as possession of a ring might just justify his being the same Herumor that lorded it over the Haradrim in the Second Age.)
Sorry, not exactly sure what you mean. Are you saying that one of the dwarven rings could have been recovered and redistributed to ensnare men? Would these men become wraiths like the Nine or simply covetous/greedy?

My point (if I were making one) was that Sauron knew of the Three, knew where the Nine were and was collecting the Seven. Some of these were consumed by the Dragons, yet a few (four?) still existed. Wasn't Thráin's Ring taken from him in Dol Guldur, and wasn't this the same ring that Balin was looking for in Moria? Could one of these be the same promised by Sauron, base father of lies, to Dáin Ironfoot in return for information regarding Bilbo Baggins?
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Old 05-16-2005, 02:35 PM   #18
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You are right in every respect.

However...I was under the impression that the Seven and the Nine were intrinsically identical in their effects. The difference was extrinsic, in that men were utterly corrupted as the twist in their power, and Dwarves made covetous as the twist in their wealth. Working on this principle, one of the Seven given to a man ought to have the same properties as one of the Nine given to a man. Am I correct?
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Old 05-16-2005, 02:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Much agreed, but wasn't sure how else to explain my thoughts regarding the Nine. The One is truly a being in itself. Not sure of the right word (it'll come to me sometime after I'm away from my computer), but is not the One Ring a 'little Sauron,' or id?
This is an interesting concept, that the will Sauron put into the Ring was what we might call his [i]id[/b] rather than his ego. How far could we push this? Can we characterise Sauron's psychology in this way? I mean, can we differentiate different aspects of him this way? Do we know him well enough?
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Old 05-17-2005, 08:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirel
However...I was under the impression that the Seven and the Nine were intrinsically identical in their effects. The difference was extrinsic, in that men were utterly corrupted as the twist in their power, and Dwarves made covetous as the twist in their wealth. Working on this principle, one of the Seven given to a man ought to have the same properties as one of the Nine given to a man. Am I correct?
Was going to say 'disagree,' but started to think about it a bit...

As Celebrimbor and Annatar have not yet returned my calls, I'll speculate on the Rings specificity. The Seven and Nine, as far as we know, were never worn by people of different races (races referring to Elves, Dwarves, Men, Hobbits, etc), so there is no information there. Two of the Three, as far as we know, were worn by Elves exclusively. Narya was worn by both Cirdan and Gandalf, and so we have an example where the same ring imparted the same power to wearers of different races.

The One, which is a bit different than the others, was worn by a Maia, a Man and three hobbits. To each power was given, yet only in accord to each's innate ability. Don't think that the Ring made Sauron invisible, but this ability was given to the other four bearers. Hobbits and Men could be subsets of the same species/race, and so not sure how much information we get here.

Not even going to mention Bombadil...

So based on this scant evidence I would assume that a dwarven ring on the hand of a man would ignite a fierce desire for gold. A human ring on the hand of a dwarf would allow for some 'power' yet I don't think that a dwarf would be able to (1) use it to dominate the wills of other dwarves or (2) become a wraith. It may open the dwarf to suggestion by the bearer of the One, and turn the dwarf to the dark side, but I don't think that you would get a dwarven Nazgul (which is a good thing as they would look silly atop black horses...).
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Old 05-17-2005, 09:15 AM   #21
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I disagree with the idea that the Rings of Power were race-specific when they were forged. I checked out "Of the Rings of Power" in the Sil, and find no mention of differences in their making; only when Sauron/Annatar distributed them did they work on the recipients. Here are some of the pertinent quotes:
Quote:
In those days the [Elven] smiths... made Rings of Power.

Now the Elves made many rings...

[Sauron] demanded that all the rings should be delivered to him, since the Elven-smiths could not have attained to their making without his lore and counsel. But the Elves fled from him; and three of their rings they saved, and bore them away, and hid them.

But Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power; and he dealt them out to the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping thus to bring under his sway all those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind. Seven rings he gave to Dwarves; but to Men he gave nine, for Men proved in this matter as in others the readiest to his will.
The chapter goes on to tell of the different corruption of Dwarves and Men, and all that is said (way too much to quote here) shows that the difference was in the recipients, not the rings themselves. So basically, that backs up what Anguirel said, and I agree.
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Old 05-17-2005, 10:04 AM   #22
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Thanks for the quotation. It's always helpful to have the source material presented.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar
I disagree with the idea that the Rings of Power were race-specific when they were forged. I checked out "Of the Rings of Power" in the Sil, and find no mention of differences in their making; only when Sauron/Annatar distributed them did they work on the recipients.
Would you say that the rings had different innate powers? Were the Seven all alike or at least similar? Were the sixteen (Nine human and Seven dwarven) all alike?

Or did Sauron, having a big bag of rings, either select specfic sets that would work best with specific races or, when creating them (by hand or by proxy), did he have specific races in mind? Did he know what the common desire of each race (wealth, power, beauty, etc) was and so created rings that would fulfill the same, thus being more attractive bait to the potential addict?

Though he had no hand in making the Three, we know that these were (1) different from each other and (2) attractive to the elves. Where the Seven and Nine as different within each set? I thought that somewhere it states that the seven hoards of the dwarves all had a ring at its beginning, and so I would assume that these were all similar.

Would men, using the same Three, become Nazgul? It's hard for me to see that they would as I always think of the Three as good. And would the elves be attracted to the rings of the dwarves?

I don't think that Sauron, who weighs all things to something or other (or some quote that I can't remember), allowed chance to distribute the rings of power.
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Old 05-17-2005, 10:12 AM   #23
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You answer some of your own questions. The Three are not of Sauron's making, and so would not "wraithify" (it's a word now!) the bearer.

I expect the Nine and Seven (which are made with Sauron's aid and are a different case) would look aesthetically different from each other, and perhaps have different floklore surrounding their properties and origins. However, the sets of the Seven and Nine would not differ from each other apart from the general differences between each ring. As Estelyn rightly points out, they all come under the many rings crafted by Elves (insert "and Annatar".)
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Old 05-17-2005, 10:23 AM   #24
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The more I think about the Sil passages I quoted, the more I'm convinced that the Rings of Power were all originally made by the Elves for themselves! I find no indication that they intended them for other races, and no reference to others having them before Sauron "collected" and distributed them.

Sauron first intended to use the Elven rings (all of them) to control the Elves.
Quote:
But Sauron guided their labours, and he was aware of all that they did; for his desire was to set a bond upon the Elves and to bring them under his vigilance.

But the Elves were not so lightly to be caught.
Giving the Rings to Men and Dwarves was apparently Plan B, after Plan A had failed.

The only differences mentioned about the various rings are: the Three which were saved by the Elves were the last that they had made; they had the greatest powers; Sauron had no part in their making and never even touched them. Other than that, I find no textual evidence for variations in the kind of corruption that the other rings would cause. We do read about "lesser rings", so I would assume that there were various degrees of strength to them. However, I see no indication that the sixteen major rings differed in any way.

It would be interesting to know what Sauron did with the Dwarven rings he recovered - their exact number is not told here. Why didn't he put them to use? Was it too late, perhaps happening after he had lost the One? It doesn't seem like that would be the case. Why would he let an opportunity to enslave new subjects pass by?
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Old 05-17-2005, 10:24 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Anguirel
You answer some of your own questions. The Three are not of Sauron's making, and so would not "wraithify" (it's a word now!) the bearer.
It's a bad habit - answering my own questions...too many voices in the head. And wraithify works for me. Can't wait to hear my kids state that,"Daddy, Joey keeps wraithifying me..."


Quote:
I expect the Nine and Seven (which are made with Sauron's aid and are a different case) would look aesthetically different from each other, and perhaps have different floklore surrounding their properties and origins. However, the sets of the Seven and Nine would not differ from each other apart from the general differences between each ring. As Estelyn rightly points out, they all come under the many rings crafted by Elves (insert "and Annatar".)
Was the 'Annatar & Elves Ring shop' an assembly line? I can see, in making the Seven, that each was another attempt at making a specific ring-type, each better than the one before at whatever the specific intent was for that ring set.

And you gotta hand to Annatar - he had the elves making jewelry for the dwarves - what a salesman!
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Old 05-17-2005, 10:29 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by alatar
...you gotta hand to Annatar - he had the elves making jewelry for the dwarves - what a salesman!
We cross-posted, alatar - from the context, I would disagree with your conclusion. The Elves were not making jewelry for the Dwarves, they were making it for themselves!
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Old 05-17-2005, 11:02 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by alatar
And wraithify works for me.
Tecchnically, it should be enwraith.
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Old 05-17-2005, 01:09 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar
We cross-posted, alatar - from the context, I would disagree with your conclusion. The Elves were not making jewelry for the Dwarves, they were making it for themselves!
That's what they thought too! But surely Annatar influenced the making of the Seven, which turned out to be useful to him. Seven large hoards of gold to attract seven large greedy dragons, mistrust/discord within and between different clans, secrecy, Balin (you gotta feed Balrogs somehow), etc.

And I'm going to go with wraitherize along with the new BD "I got wraitherized at the Barrow-Downs" clothing line. Maybe enwraithed is the correct word and that makes more sense to my British cousins, but this is 'Merica.

But to be serious for a moment, I guess that the elves made all of the rings, lesser and greater, for some purpose. Assume that all rings, excluding the One, were somewhat identical in purpose. What was that? What were the Elves, with or without Annatar's influence, trying to achieve? Why were these rings so perilous to all folk (even, I assume, to the elves with the exception of the Three)? Was that strictly due to Annatar? In todayspeak, did Annatar encode a backdoor into each ring that allowed him to slip some corruptive influence in?

Sorry, but as always, more questions.
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Old 05-17-2005, 01:41 PM   #29
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Rather than offer my own opinion, I'd again like to draw on Tolkien's text to deduce answers to those questions of yours, alatar.

Let me start with your "making of the Seven" - as I said, I see no evidence that the Seven or Nine were made with a specific number, race, or purpose in mind, nor even that they were separate. It would seem to me that Sauron divided them arbitrarily; they may have been the sixteen most powerful - we don't know what other rings there were, but since they play no role in the further story, we can neglect them.

As to the purpose for making the rings, it is not specifically mentioned, but from the context, this is what I assume. Here are Sauron/Annatar's words which precede the making of the rings:
Quote:
...wherefore should Middle-earth remain for ever desolate and dark, whereas the Elves could make it as fair as Eressëa... ...I perceive that you love this Middle-earth, as do I. Is it not then our task to labour together for its enrichment, and for the raising of all the Elven-kindreds that wander here untaught to the height of that power and knowledge which those have who are beyond the Sea?
The passage goes on to say that the Elves received his counsel gladly,
Quote:
...for in that land the Noldor desired ever to increase the skill and subtlety of their works. ...they desired both to stay in Middle-earth, which indeed they loved, and yet to enjoy the bliss of those that had departed.
In other words, the Elves wanted to have their cake and eat it too! However, their motivation was positive. They wanted the power to do good in Middle-earth, perhaps even to negate some of the evil Melkor had done. So while some reasons were a bit selfish, the general idea was not necessarily so.

Whether Annatar slipped a chink into all of the rings in order to get his "virus" in there later cannot be told from the text, though it might be possible. That would not entirely account for his influence on the Three, which he did not make but which were forged with the knowledge he had imparted to the Elven smiths. However, it is quite clear that the rings themselves would not have had that effect on their bearers without his influence. It starts with the fact we already know:
Quote:
...secretly Sauron made One Ring to rule all the others, and their power was bound up with it, to be subject wholly to it and to last only so long as it too should last.
Later on, when he has regained all but the Three, we read:
Quote:
...all those rings that he governed he perverted, the more easily since he had a part in their making, and they were accursed, and they betrayed in the end all those that used them.
It would be interesting to speculate on what would have happened if the Rings of Power could have been used by the Elves without Sauron's curruption! Would the desire to make Middle-earth like Valinor have caused regression instead of progress, like we see in Galadriel's realm?
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Old 05-17-2005, 04:41 PM   #30
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I agree that the Elves made the rings for themselves. Their purpose seems to have been for good. Elrond says:

Quote:
"The Three were not made ... as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or domination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained."
'Preserve all things unstained' this seems to be the crux of the matter. To keep Middle-earth stable and unchanged. Estelyn's question is an interesting one. What may have happened if the Elves had been able to keep their rings? A society that does not progress will stagnate and die.

I don't agree, however that the Seven and the Nine were the most powerful of the rings. Sauron had already gained possession of the Nine when he captured Celebrimbor and tortured him into revealing the whereabouts of the remaining rings.

Quote:
Then Celebrimbor was put to torment, and Sauron learned from him where the Seven were bestowed. This Celebrimbor revealed, because neither the Seven nor the Nine did he value as he valued the Three." Unfinished Tales : The History of Galadriel and Celeborn
These three rings are elementals, of sorts, and certainly seem to be regarded, by the Elves at least, as more powerful than the others. Or perhaps I am reading too much into this and it is simply the fact that the Three were untainted by Sauron that makes them so special to the Elves.
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