From The Lord Of The Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Three rings for the Elven-Kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-Lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
in the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
In addition, the closer they got to Mount Doom, when Sam wore the ring, it sharpened the bearer's hearing and made the people he looked at very blurry and only really shadows, if I'm not mistaken. I really just know that it impaired their eyesight. Also, it got much heavier as it got closer to Mount Doom. The weight actually remained the same - Sam couldn't feel it when he carried Frodo on is back. However, the bearer of the Ring found the task of throwing the Ring away very difficult because it felt like something was trying to stop them by making the Ring incredibly heavy. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, that the Ring was Sauron's source of power, seeing as how destroying the Ring destroyed his kingdom.

And I wouldn't say that it was THROWN into Mount Doom... It kinda fell in. Silly Gollum, Rings are for Hobbits! (and elves, dwarves, and mortal men, apparently, according to the legend)


Another note : the Nazgul (the 9 mortal men doomed to die) were related to the One Ring. The Nazgul were only able to see someone if they were wearing the Ring (or any of the special Rings). Otherwise, they relied on their hearing, smelling, and their horses' sight. I imagine that had Sam and Frodo spent a long time with the Ring on, they would have ended up like the Nazgul.

Furthermore, Gollum used to be a hobbit-like creature (Smeagol was his name), but his long time spent in the mountain and his extensive use of the Ring transformed him into the creature he is today.

When I'm walking home in the dark, with ragged clouds scudding across a mithril Moon, I prefer it in the original.

21st century? Information Age? No such thing as magic? Don't you believe it.

Azh nazg durbatulûk,
Azh nazg gimbatul,
Azh nazg thrakatulûk,
Agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

::shiver::


Thanks to the learned ones who noted that this is actually Black Speech, not Orcish.

Many consider the power of the One Ring is making its wearer invisible and extending his lifespan. True, the ring was used for those purposes, but not solely, nor did it affect everyone. So, after some consideration, I came to the conclusion that these are not the powers of the One Ring, but rather the desires of the ones wearing it. Nowhere does it say the ring is to make the wearer invisible, this is simply an assumption made by Bilbo. No one, of those who used it, expected anything else of it.

Bilbo first used the ring when he desired nothing more that to disappear, and he did. Bilbo used the ring on many occasions afterwards, but always with the same intention in mind. The ring, simply provided. Frodo, too, used the ring to disappear and once to gaze at Mordor, just before the breaking of the fellowship. A reasonable claim is that Frodo used the ring at Bree, unintentionally, and it made him disappear, but that can be attributed to the fact that Frodo expected to disappear once the ring hit his finger.

On at least one occasion, Sam used the ring to enhance his senses of hearing and sight. Sam also used the ring, unconsciously, to appear as a great Elf-warrior and intimidate an Orc at Minas Morgul. Though Sam did not know the ring would bear such effect, and did not understand that it has, he in fact wished to become an Elf-warrior, as that notion was mentioned earlier.

This theory also explains why the ring bears no affect on Tom Bombadil. Tom was not aware of the ring's invisibility power, as the others perceived it, and it makes a lot of sense Tom didn't wish to disappear, nor did he wish for anything else.

The ring is said to posses much of Sauron's power, it's a part of him--with the ring, they are one. Sauron didn't disappear when he used the ring, but rather channeled its power to other uses, something the Hobbits were not aware to be possible. And those who were, did not want, or have, a chance to wear the Ring.

The only conflicting idea to this theory is that of Gollum's first experience with the ring. It is told he returned to his village, wearing the ring, only to discover no one can see him. He later expected nothing else of the ring, and that it provided--invisibility.

Update: Xamot suggested that it's possible Gollum too, wished to disappear when he returned to the village. As he killed his friend little earlier, maybe he feared some punishment.

Here follows another theory, to quote Bink:
An important thing you should note is that Gandalf on several occasions says the Ring gives its bearer power according to his own measure. Which is why, in my opinion, Sauron, a Maia, using the Ring was able to bring about a Great Darkness and rule Middle Earth. While to the far lesser creatures as Sam, Frodo and Gollum it only provided invisibility, enhancing, again my own little theory, a power which they already possessed as Hobbits--being able to move about unnoticed, and to disappear quickly when they wish--just like Gandalf says.

The One Ring is most likely inspired by the story of Gyges Ring in Plato's Republic. Gyges ring made its wearer invisible, allowing him to act with impunity. For Plato, it was a device to show how a person would behave free of social constraints. Gyges, on finding the ring by chance and discovering its power, proceeds to assassinate the local King, marry the Queen, and so take over the position of local Tyrant.

Unlike Tolkien's The One Ring, Gyges ring is not evil in itself. It is simply the power it grants its user, the ability to act without fear of punishment, that causes its wearer to become evil.

Tolkien elaborates on this, making it the source of evil, the power of the true Tyrant. Just as Plato explains in The Republic that there can only be one Tyrant in a City - Tyrants do not peacefully co-exist with one another - so Gandalf repeatedly ominously tells us "There is only one Lord of the Ring".

As Sunshine shows above, the Ring’s true power is to project its wearer’s desires, making it in reality just another tool, like all the Elven blades forged from fallen stars or under the hammer of Aule in the Silmarillion. It may be an esoteric understanding of The Lord of the Rings that the Ring never was evil in itself, but instead it magnified the pre-existing desires of those whose thoughts focused upon it, hence both Saruman and Denethor II are turned evil by lust for The Ring.

Or perhaps Tolkien is putting forward the idea that all material objects humans turn into tools are made for a purpose – and so desire in themselves to be used. Knives are made to stab people. Guns wish to shoot people. All the nuclear weapons in the world do not just sit idly. They are constantly exerting a pull on all politicians minds, awake or asleep, ‘use me’, ‘fire me’, ‘destroy your enemies’, ‘the world shall be yours’. Hmmm…. Sleeping comfortably?

So power itself is a drug which changes the way people behave, not randomly, but according to the source that gives them power. Hence Plato believed the rule of any tyrant who comes to power through the sword will be of the lowest character, dominated by their basest desires, so in fact Gyges could look forward to the least happy life of all. Plato believed his Philosopher-Kings, who come to power through their love of wisdom, would therefore rule with wisdom, and create the happiest possible state. If only Viggo Mortensen was destined to become ruler of the world instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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