THE RINGS OF POWER: It all started with J.R.R. Tolkien’s children’s fantasy book, The Hobbit, which was originally intended to be a stand-alone work. However, the book’s enormous success led its publisher to request a sequel. Tolkien expanded upon the simple plot device of a magical ring, mentioned in passing in The Hobbit, to create The Lord of the Rings series, which has had an immeasurable impact on the fantasy genre.
You are likely familiar with the characters from Tolkien’s adaptations, such as Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Gollum, and Aragorn. The famous quest to destroy the “One Ring that rules them all” is also well-known. However, you may be wondering what the Rings of Power actually do.
What Do the Rings of Power Actually Do?
The Rings of Power were created by Annatar, who was actually Sauron in disguise. He convinced the Noldorin Elves of Eregion to help him craft magical rings that would grant their wearers wealth and dominion over others. The 20 Rings of Power were forged by Noldorin Elven-smiths during the Second Age of Middle-earth. Seven Rings were made for the leaders of the seven kindreds of the Dwarves, nine were given to the leaders of Men, and the Elven Rings were created separately and numbered three.
The One Ring, forged by Sauron, greatly increases the Dark Lord’s power, grants invisibility, extends life, and allows the wearer knowledge of the other Rings. However, it corrupts the mind of anyone who wears it and is loyal only to Sauron. The other Rings enhance the natural power of their wearers, but each set of Rings has side effects. The Elven Rings slow down time and preserve, making their wearers prone to nostalgia and procrastination. The Dwarf Rings build extraordinary wealth, but make their wearers vulnerable to anger and greed. The Nine Rings of Men increase lifespan and inspire terror, but enslave their wearers to the One Ring and Sauron’s will, transforming them into Ringwraiths.
Amazon’s The Rings of Power delves into the creation of the 20 Rings, though it deviates somewhat from Tolkien’s history. Season one introduced Elves, Dwarfs, Men, Orcs, wizards, Sauron, and the creation of the Three Elven Rings. What will season two bring? What Rings will be forged next? Will the One Ring make an appearance? Only time will tell.
It all began with The Hobbit. Author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote this children’s fantasy book as a stand-alone work. And in it, he casually mentions a magical ring that the story’s protagonist, Bilbo Baggins, uses to escape from the creature Gollum. The ring was a simple plot device, nothing more. But the book’s monumental success led its publisher to ask Tolkien for a sequel. And boy, did he give them one. Rather than make a direct sequel, Tolkien went in a different direction. He expanded upon that one, scarcely mentioned ring in The Hobbit to create The Lord of the Rings, a series of adult books that have had an immeasurable impact on the fantasy genre.
You know many of Tolkien’s adaptations. There’s the critically acclaimed The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, the not-so critically acclaimed The Hobbit franchise, and Amazon’s ongoing TV show The Rings of Power. You know the characters, like Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Gollum, and Aragorn. You know the famous quest to destroy “the One Ring that rules them all.” But there’s one thing you may not know. One question that you may find yourself wondering, even after watching all this content: What the heck do the Rings of Power actually do?
A Little History on the Rings of Power
Tolkien created thousands of years of rich, fantastical history. So before we get into what these Rings do, let’s dive into where they come from. The Rings of Power came to be through a mysterious figure named Annatar, who called himself the Lord of Gifts. Annatar persuaded the Noldorin Elves of Eregion to help him craft magical rings that would grant their wearers wealth and dominion over others. With Annatar’s help, the Rings of Power were forged by Noldorin Elven-smiths during the Second Age of Middle-earth. Many magical rings were created, but there were only 20 Rings of Power.
Seven Rings were made for the leaders of the seven kindreds of the Dwarves. Nine Rings were given to the leaders of Men. The Elven Rings came next and were created separately from the others. There were three of them, named for the elements of fire, water, and air. Each Ring of Power was adorned with a gem. All of them, that is, except one.
Why the Rings Were REALLY Crafted
As it turns out, Annatar the Lord of Gifts was actually Sauron in disguise. He manipulated the Noldorin Elves to help him craft the Rings of Power, and he certainly didn’t do it out of the goodness of his heart. After the 19 Rings were created, Sauron secretly used the cursed language of Black Speech and the fires of Mount Doom to forge the last Ring. His Ring. Since the 19 Rings were molded with the Dark Lord’s influence, they all became connected and bound to his own. Even the three Elven Rings, which were made separately from Sauron, were still molded with the Dark Lord’s craft. And that’s all it took. The band around Sauron’s finger became an all-powerful, master Ring, allowing him to bend the other wearers to his will and grant him total dominion. “The One Ring to rule them all”, indeed.
What The One Ring Does
Because the others rely on the One Ring’s survival, Sauron’s band is the mightiest of the bunch. When worn, it greatly increases the Dark Lord’s power, though this doesn’t seem to be the case for its other wearers. Just look at Gollum. The One Ring also grants invisibility, extended life, and knowledge of the other Rings to its wearer. Sauron put everything he was into that Ring: all of his power, all of his wickedness. Because of this, the One Ring corrupts the mind of anyone who wears it. Also, its loyalty lies only with the Dark Lord. It will betray its wearer and do what it must to return to its master’s hand.
What the Other Rings of Power Do
Every Ring enhances the natural power of its wearer, though each set of Rings possesses different magical properties. But there are side effects that come with these properties.
Aside from Sauron’s Ring, the Elven Rings are the most powerful. Their purpose is to heal and preserve by slowing down time and keeping its effects at bay. This resistance to time makes their wearers prone to nostalgia and procrastination. Each Elven Ring also has a unique ability that’s connected to its element. For instance, the fire Ring instills hope in others, the water Ring wards off evil, and the air Ring preserves wisdom.
Like the One Ring, the Seven Dwarf Rings extend the lives of their wearers. They also build extraordinary wealth, which in turn makes their wearers vulnerable to anger and greed. Neither the Elven nor Dwarf Rings can grant invisibility. This power is reserved for the Nine Rings of Men. In addition to invisibility, these Rings can increase their wearer’s lifespan and inspire terror in the hearts of others. But to wield them, Men had to pay a terrible price. The Nine enslaved their wearers to the One Ring and Sauron’s will and transformed them into Ringwraiths, invisible, spirit-like entities with corrupt minds.
What’s Next for the Rings of Power?
Amazon’s The Rings of Power delves into the creation of the 20 Rings, though it seems to have veered a bit from Tolkien’s history. There’s only been one season, but so far, we’ve seen Elves, Dwarfs, Men, Orcs, wizards, Sauron, and the creaton of the Three Elven Rings. What will season two bring? What Rings will be forged next? Will the One Ring make an appearance? We’ll just have to wait and see — and hope that Amazon delivers.