Did Frodo use the Ring in the Shire?
Sorry if this has been discussed before, search threw up a few hundred threads.
Did Frodo use the Ring in the Shire and if so, how much did he use it?
We don't hear of him doing so, but I suppose he must have. Galadriel says that he has only thrice set the Ring upon his finger since he "knew what he possessed", implying he had used it prior to this. But on the other hand, Gandalf immediately warns him not to make use of it, so if he did he disregarded Gandalf's advice. I am assuming he used it sparingly, and for the same reasons Bilbo did - escaping the unwelcome visitor and such.
King Elessar 8 Wrote:We don't hear of him doing so, but I suppose he must have. Galadriel says that he has only thrice set the Ring upon his finger since he "knew what he possessed", implying he had used it prior to this. But on the other hand, Gandalf immediately warns him not to make use of it, so if he did he disregarded Gandalf's advice. I am assuming he used it sparingly, and for the same reasons Bilbo did - escaping the unwelcome visitor and such.

Frodo put the Ring on his finger in the House of Tom Bombadil. The Ring slipped on his finger in Bree. The Witch-King's spell or some innate power of the Ring made Frodo put the ring on at Weathertop. Apparently, the Wielders of the Three Rings can sense when someone has the Ring one. If this is true they would have to know that the One Ring existed given Bilbo's rather extensive use of the ring.


Elrond sent messengers detailing Frodo's journey and his use of the Ring.
Right, those were the three times, but it isn't said if he ever put it on it pre-flight from the Shire. Your second point is interesting... I have nothing on that, except to suggest that your alternate idea is correct and Galadriel may simply have known through other sources how many times Frodo put on the Ring. The entire story falls apart if the wearers of the Three can sense the One being used casually, particularly considering Gandalf is one of those wearers. I think its unquestionable that the bearers of the Three would have been aware had Frodo (or Bilbo) attempted to use the Ring as intended, as in controlling the other Rings. Really, as Sauron had control of the Nine and (what was left of) the Seven, I should think that would have alerted him to the existence of the Ring as well.
Gandalf admonished Frodo not to use the Ring then night Bilbo disappeared. Frodo had many opportunities to tell Gandalf if he had ever used the Ring when Gandalf revealed the history of it. I believe he had never worn it. This was possibly why he was able to resist the lure of the Ring in his first encounter with one of the Black Riders.
In addition to Galadriel's conditional statement we have the small matter of Gandalf's letter. He tells Frodo "Do NOT use It again". This could be a mistake on Tolkien's part but I prefer to take it as face value.
The reason I would think he used it quite a bit in the Shire is that it seems to have a very strong effect on him. As Gandalf says, he doesn't think the Ring will have much effect as long as Frodo didn't use it. I can't believe that he would choose the house of Bombadil as the very first time to use the Ring, especially to test it in such a way.
As for the sensitivity of the bearers of the Three, it can be explained by the gradually increasing power of the Ring since Bilbo found it. Apart from this Gandalf admits to having felt an unease at that time (can't remember where he says this). Sauron also must have felt the Ring. We know from UT that he was searching. Obviously we ignore Gandalf's other embarrassing disclosures to Frodo. Smile
Well, there is no explicit reference to Frodo having worn the Ring after Bilbo gave it to him until he wore it at Bombadil's house. Gandalf's letter could be viewed as making a presumption just to get to the point. Merely keeping the Ring on his person was sufficient for it to slow his aging. And in re-reading the early chapters of the book I see now that Tolkien hinted at the Ring's influence then as well: he started thinking about following Bilbo "across the River".
No explicit reference maybe, Michael, but I'm not convinced by your analysis. Would Gandalf have used such a definite phrase? What would Frodo have thought when he read it if he hadn't used the Ring? He might have been upset by the insinuation, or simply have thought the old fool was losing his marbles. Either way it wouldn't have been very helpful. So both the letter and Galadriel's conditional indicate to me that Frodo had used the Ring in the Shire.

But now a quandary! Travis stated above that Frodo resisted the lure of the Ring at that first encounter with a Black Rider. I don't agree as he had already convinced himself it would be ok to use it and his hand was on the chain when the Black Rider moved off. The problem is that we hear Frodo's thoughts and he was convinced that it could do no harm to use the Ring because Bilbo had used it. A curious thought if he had used it himself and suggests he hadn't used it.

Oh dear, what a dilemma. I suppose the lesson is that when it comes to Tolkien it's best not to delve too greedily or too deep. Smile
I don't believe he did or had a chance to. It would have given Sauron and his Ringwraiths a better chance to retrieve from him.
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
I,m not quite sure of the timelines, but hadn't Bilbo already passed the RING to Frodo before the Ringwraiths made their first appearances in the late Third Age, say after SR 1600? If so, it is unlikely that Bilbo's use of the ONE would have attracted much attention from the forces of evil. Frodo, if he used it at all before Bombadil's house, probably picked up on Gandalf's unease and seldom wore it. I think he mentioned (when Gandalf returned) keeping it in a trunk. 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
Bilbo's wearing of the One Ring did not draw in any evil creatures. Sauron was unaware at the time that the Ring had been found. He only learned that from Gollum.

I agree that Tolkien leaves this in a vague, ambiguous state. He may have felt it was an unimportant point, or that it was too complicated to work out for the narrative.
If having one of the other rings made one aware of whenever someone put on the one. then Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel would have been "paged" every time Gollum used it.
As would some of the Dwarves. And Sauron.
Checking through the early chapters of LoTR, it certainly can be interpreted that Frodo just kept the Ring in his pocket for 17 years, and that the very first time he actually put it on his finger was in the house of Tom Bombadil.
But that hardly seems plausible. Surely he'd have wanted to try out being invisible at least once?
As I mentioned, the other Ringbearers would only be aware of the possessor of the One Ring if he/she wished it to be so - if that owner used the Rings power to attempt to control the other Rings/minds of those who wear them. Galadriel says to Frodo that this property of the Ring can only be used by someone of great power in the first place, so Gollum could neither unintentionally or intentionally draw the notice of the other Ringbearers.

About Frodo using the Ring in Tom Bombadils house, it doesn't say whether or not he had previously used the Ring, but Frodo's thoughts (something along the lines of being delighted by his friends reactions which showed that it was "his Ring") cause me to believe he probably had.
The Ring itself played a part in all these incidents. It was capable of influencing whomever possessed it and deliberately did so on numerous occasions. It wasn't so much that Frodo or Gollum would have wanted to notice or be noticed by other Ringbearers, but that the Ring itself was trying to get back to Sauron and was making choices about when to expose itself.
I wonder if Bilbo had used the ring prior to his birthday incident. Maybe it is the only reason why the Ringbearers knew where to look? Gollum probably only gave them the name of the thief,not the location of where the thief live. It was obvious that the person who had used the ring had to be Bilbo, not someone else.
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
King Elessar 8 said - "but Frodo's thoughts (something along the lines of being delighted by his friends reactions which showed that it was "his Ring") cause me to believe he probably had"
My thought exactly. It seems highly unlikely that he would choose that moment to use the Ring for the first time, and just to play a trick. Especially after all that he had learned about it.

badlands, Bilbo had definitely used the Ring prior to his party. He had been seen (!) using it by Merry.

Gollum must have lost the Ring a long time before Bilbo found it. He didn't even know it was missing! He probably hadn't used it for years, no need in the dark. So Bilbo's use of it was the first since it had become active again. Gandalf mentions a vague feeling of unease at the time Bilbo had used the Ring - "a shadow fell on my heart". Perhaps the other ringbearers felt it too, but assumed it was to do with Sauron's reappearance.

I'm not happy to assume that Gandalf told Frodo not to use it again if he didn't know he had already. It just doesn't seem right, not very Gandalfy. So the letter is either a mistake on Tolkien's part, in which case we can read the book as though Frodo had not used it; or Gandalf knew he had used it which changes the way we read chapter 2 especially.

I've just noticed that Frodo was getting regular letters from Bilbo! How about that? Always something new to find....
Actually, Gollum had very recently lost the Ring - a mention is made that he probably lost it in the near past when he was strangling a goblin (the infamous "orc imp"). When Bilbo meets him he was still gnawing on its bones.
Quite right King Elessar. In fact it says he had used the Ring a few hours before. Bang goes another theory. No surprise though, even Tolkien didn't know the importance of the Ring when he wrote 'The Hobbit'.
I'm not sure Tolkien would have considered it important to the plot to establish that Frodo had worn the Ring at some point in the Shire. Gandalf's warning may have only seemed like prudent good advice to him. After all, both he and Frodo knew that Bilbo had worn the Ring many times.

I think it may be significant that Gandalf admonished Frodo not to use the Ring just before he left the Shire. Would Gandalf have something like that if Frodo had never used the Ring in all the years he had it? Maybe not. So perhaps that is the best evidence that Frodo probably wore the Ring a few times.

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