Why did the One Ring make its wearer invisible?
#1
I'll give a partial answer to my query. But first I must note two exceptions to 'the One Ring makes its wearer invisible': Tom Bombadil, and Sauron himself.

Now, the Ring doesn't actually make the wearer invisible. It shifts them into the 'shadow realm' or the 'wraith realm'. Frankly, I forget exactly what Tolkien called this other place.

Call it what you will, but it is a place that Sauron could reach by virtue of being a Maia. He did not need a device such as the Ring to give him this power/ability.

So, why imbue his Ring with this power, a power that he has (at the time of its forging, mind you) no use for? It is redundant; he does not need the Ring in order to walk unseen.

Is it a 'booby trap' of some sort, lest the Ring fall into the hands (or at least finger) of another? Perhaps. But my impression is that Sauron never considered that he would lose his Ring.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#2
I don't think Tolkien meant the "realm of shadows" to be a separate dimension within reality. I think he was simply using "the other side" to refer to an aspect of existence that was difficult to explain.

We only see this other aspect (as readers) in a few scenes, such as when Frodo puts on the Ring at Weathertop and Amon Hen, and when Sam puts it on in the Ephel Duath to escape the Orcs. They remain in physical contact with the world but their bodies seem to "fade". I think the One Ring conferred a sort of temporary fading to help its wearer commune with the spirits of faded Elves (or Men).

Remember, the One Ring simply collated the powers of the other Rings, and the Elves made at least some of the Rings of Power to help them communicate with the Unseen.

I think that by imbuing the One Ring with most of his native strength -- perhaps a portion of his own spirit -- Sauron conferred upon it all of his natural abilities.

Bombadil simply chose not to fade when he put the Ring on -- he appears to have understood its power better than Frodo and had enough of his own power that he could prevent the Ring from having that effect on him.

Or it could be that Bombadil -- like the Dwarves -- simply couldn't be forced to fade like an Elf and Man.
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#3
Mordomin Wrote:Call it what you will, but it is a place that Sauron could reach by virtue of being a Maia. He did not need a device such as the Ring to give him this power/ability.

So, why imbue his Ring with this power, a power that he has (at the time of its forging, mind you) no use for? It is redundant; he does not need the Ring in order to walk unseen.
Can Sauron walk unseen, even with help of the Ring?
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#4
Jaak Wrote:Can Sauron walk unseen, even with help of the Ring?
I don't see why not.
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#5
Being invisible, yet embodied, does give the wearer certain physical advantages against adversaries who rely on eyesight in Seen world. Bilbo was quite effective dancing unseen around spiders and stabbing them, as well as sneaking unseen around an Elven stronghold. Not invincible - Bilbo could be tracked by the tracks he did leave while wet, and stunned by a stray stone; and Gollum was able to grab and wrestle invisible Frodo. But much stronger than when visible.

The Nazgul could not be as strong while invisible - after getting forcibly uncloaked at Ford, they were unable to sneak unseen into Rivendell for eavesdropping or assassination like Bilbo had, nor even lay in ambush for Ring getting out of Rivendell.

It seems that Sauron was plainly visible to Isildur and Elendil in their fight. It would have been advantageous for Sauron to attack physically palpable but invisible to Men and lesser Elves - while Glorfindel was glowing at the Ford because he naturally occupied space in both Seen and Unseen, the Wood-elves clearly could not see Bilbo.

Could it be that because Sauron naturally occupied space both in Seen and Unseen, he also was unable to shift out of the Seen world, even if he wished so and had great advantage to gain from becoming invisible?
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#6
I'm not sure if Tolkien thought it through this deeply. I'm pretty certain that what he meant by "UnSeen" was the spiritual "world", where souls and things were the "outer aspect" of people.

Sauron, being a Maia, had access to that level of perception. The Elves of Aman also had access to it, either by virtue of having dwelt there, by virtue of having communed with/being taught by the Valar and Maiar, or both. Thus the Wood-elves would not normally have seen or looked into the "spirit realm".

But note that when Legolas passed through the Paths of the Dead, where the spirits of Men were visible to everyone, he was not frightened or intimidated by the spirits, which he deemed to be weak.
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#7
Wonderful thread. Michael, you mentioned Bombadil. I don't remember if the issue has been resolved, but I always thought that the One had no power over Bombadil because he was too powerful. I have always thought that Bombadil is at least Maia and probably one of the Valar. A very laid-back vala, but powerful for sure. Walking unseen would be well within the range of Valar abilities. Thoughts? Later Kind folks--Paul:book:
Frontiers of any type, physical or mental are but a challenge to our breed. Nothing can stop th questing of man, not even man. If we will it, not only the wonders of space, but the very stars are ours
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#8
For my part I thought Bombadil was Tolkien himself, self-inserted into the narrative just for the heck of it.
:deadhorse:
"A Iluvatarinya! En na pelecco carinyesse!"
"Oh my God! There's an axe in my head!" :worry:

http://www.yamara.com/axe/#Q1
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#9
I have always felt that Bombadil could have used the One Ring if he had wished to, but it was unable to corrupt him simply because he had no unsatisfied desires. It's not that the One Ring was powerless with Bombadil -- he just seemed to laugh at whatever temptation it presented to him.

Bombadil could probably stand before the Mirror of ERISED and see himself exactly as he is. Whether that's Tolkien himself in some metaphorical form, well, I suppose that's up to the reader to decide.
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#10
Did the Ring possess power to lure and corrupt Valar, had it been carried to Uttermost West?
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#11
That's an interesting question. I suppose it might hinge on whether Sauron had played a part in corrupting any Maiar other than Saruman before he made the Ring.
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#12
No, the Ring cannot go into the West because, as is said in "The Council of Elrond", those there would not receive it. Just as Sauron cannot go into the West, neither can his Ring.

Btw, could the Lords of the West have destroyed the Ring, had it come to them? Tolkien had some pretty funny rules about who could make or unmake things. By "funny rules" I mean that certain things could only be destroyed by certain specific means.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#13
Michael Wrote:Bombadil could probably stand before the Mirror of ERISED and see himself exactly as he is. Whether that's Tolkien himself in some metaphorical form, well, I suppose that's up to the reader to decide.
I thought that he would see Goldberry.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#14
He sees himself in Goldberry's dress?
:deadhorse:
"A Iluvatarinya! En na pelecco carinyesse!"
"Oh my God! There's an axe in my head!" :worry:

http://www.yamara.com/axe/#Q1
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#15
I would say that if the Valar had the power to execute Melkor then they certainly had the power to destroy the One Ring. But if they would not have permitted it to follow the Straight Road (or, if Iluvatar would forbid that) then the question is really sort of moot.

A Vala could probably have visited Middle-earth and done the deed, but again Tolkien seems to feel that they were forbidden from take direct action against Sauron. It seems to me that the only plausible explanation for their restraint against Sauron is that the Noldor were bound up with the creation of the Rings of Power. They had to find a solution to the problem they helped create.

In the end, the Noldor failed but then so did the Valar. It really took an intervention from Iluvatar to set matters straight.
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#16
Elrond and Galadriel both refused the Ring, yet they were by no means completely immune to it. They feared the temptation of the Ring - as did Aragorn and Faramir - it did work on them and it would have utterly corrupted them if they had yielded.

Just because the Valar refused the Ring does not mean they were not as vulnerable themselves as Elrond and Galadriel.
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#17
I agree with you Jaak, but your list of those who refused the Ring is incomplete. First, there is Bilbo. Then Gandalf, then Tom Bombadil. Then Strider. Then there is the entire Council of Elrond (except, perhaps Boromir). Let us not forget Faramir.

For something so alluring, it seems to have been refused a lot.
If some Disney-princess can do it, why not Sauron?
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#18
And it's a little known fact that the ring was severely depressed at its failure to seduce so many people. If it hadn't been destroyed, it was due for years of intensive therapy. Later Kind Folks--Paul
Frontiers of any type, physical or mental are but a challenge to our breed. Nothing can stop th questing of man, not even man. If we will it, not only the wonders of space, but the very stars are ours
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#19
It took him into spiritual realm and supernatural realm instead of the natural or physical world. The ring only seduce about how many people? Ten kings, two hobbits and no dwarves or elves. Not good stats. I bet an elf maid can seduce more.
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
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#20
badlands Wrote:It took him into spiritual realm and supernatural realm instead of the natural or physical world. The ring only seduce about how many people? Ten kings, two hobbits and no dwarves or elves. Not good stats. I bet an elf maid can seduce more.
I want to meet this elf maid of yours.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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