If you are wondering what are the powers of the One Ring in Lord of the Rings, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about that special artifact.
The power of One Ring is to control all other rings. It also gives special powers to its wearers, such as invisibility and unnaturally long life.
Continue reading our article to find out what is the One Ring made of, in-depth analysis of its powers, why is it so powerful, and how does it corrupt.
What is the One Ring made of?
At first glance, the One Ring – also known as the Ring of Power and Isildur’s Bane – is nothing more than an ordinary golden ring, akin to a common wedding band. However, when exposed to flame, a text in the cursed Black Speech of Mordor reveals itself.
The hidden text, confirmed by Gandalf in the hearth of Bag End, tells of the ring’s true purpose:
One ring to rule them all.
One ring to find them.
One ring to bring them all,
And in the darkness bind them.
The ring is unadorned on purpose. Whereas other rings of power contain brilliant gemstones, the One Ring prefers to conceal its true power, to avoid drawing too much attention.
For within the One Ring is the Dark Lord Sauron’s cruelty, malice, and will to dominate all life. It is the instrument through which Sauron’s evil spirit enters the world and fights in the ongoing battle for the soul of Middle Earth.
Chief among its properties is the will to return to the hand of Sauron, who bound so much of his life force to the ring. The ring emits a call, intangible and untraceable, that echoes through the mountains and valleys, through the villages and cities of Middle Earth.
It whispers to all forms of Evil: “Return me to my master.” This call draws an Orc ambush to Isildur and helps the Nine follow Frodo’s trail.
What are the powers of the One Ring?
The One Ring’s power is based on deception. In the Second Age of Middle Earth, long before a Baggin’s ever inhabited Bag End, the Elves of Noldorin were fooled by Sauron who appeared to them promising knowledge from the heavenly realm of Valinor.
They were deceived by Sauron’s disguise and accepted his offer to help create magic rings, three for the Elves, seven for the Dwarves and nine for Men. Centuries later, in the land of Mordor, Sauron secretly forged the One Ring, which held the power to control all other rings. The race of men was most easily corrupted and eventually fell under the spell of the One Ring, becoming the Nazgûl or Ring Wraiths, doomed forever to pursue and protect the One Ring.
The One Rings afford special powers to its wearers, such as invisibility and unnaturally long life. For example, Bilbo Baggin’s, who stole the ring from Gollum’s cave in the Misty Mountains, becomes famous among the Hobbit community for living to celebrate a one hundred and eleventeenth birthday.
However, when he leaves the ring behind and heads to Rivendell, his health quickly fades. When wearing the ring, one transition into the shadow world, the world in which the Ring Wraiths constantly live. To the naked eye, the ring bearer becomes invisible.
A handy trick in a tight situation, such as getting away from a possessed and resentful Boromir. But not so useful when being hunted by the Nazgûl on Weathertop when Frodo is stabbed with a Morgul-blade by the Witch King of Angmar.
Perhaps the most important strength of the One Ring is its near indestructibility. It is impervious to all magic, weaponry, and even dragon breath.
Gimli son of Glóin learns this the hard way at the Council of Elrond when he infamously and impetuously attempts to destroy the ring with a swing of his ax, which shatters into pieces on the ground. Gimli himself ends up square on his back, blinking in exasperation. Elrond clears up the issue, explaining that the One Ring can only be undone where it was made: in the fires of Mount Doom.
Why is the One Ring so powerful?
The incredible power of the One Ring comes from the source of all evil in Middle Earth, the ancient and wicked Morgoth, from whom Sauron learned all of his tricks. Morgoth was the most powerful of the Ainur, the demigods of Middle Earth. Then one day in the First Age of Middle Earth, he turned to evil.
During the Second Age, Sauron completed an internship of sorts with Morgoth. Luckily, the elves destroyed Morgoth, but that lead to Sauron taking up his mantle and setting up shop in Mordor. Thus, the reason the One Ring has such awesome power is that its true source of ill-will comes from the most powerful fallen angel in Middle Earth.
How does the One Ring corrupt?
Sauron’s will to dominate corrupts the bearer of the One Ring by inflating ambitions, sparking paranoia, and more than anything, fueling an indomitable will to possess the ring. In the case of Smeagól, eventually the mangled creature Gollum, the ring first causes him to murder out of envy. Speaking with the cruel will of Sauron, the ring convinces Smeagól that he has the right to possess it.
Tragically, the ring convinces Deagól, Seamgól’s brother, of the exact same thing. In a fight to the death, Smeagól strangles his own brother to possess the ring, fully corrupting his soul. This same fatal struggle is played out between Frodo and Gollum at the end of Return of the King, when Frodo, at last, becomes fully corrupted by the One Ring.
It is thought-provoking to consider that without two fully possessed, corrupted ring-bearers – Frodo and Seamgól – the One Ring may never have been cast into the fiery chasm from whence it came, to quote a great Elven King.
The ring corrupts not only he who wields it but also those in his company. The will of Sauron whispers envious words, elevating feelings of jealousy, and delusions of grandeur within the Fellowship. “If only I had the ring, so much good could be done. I am the one who can contend with the will of Sauron, not that weakling Frodo. All he wants is power.”
Poor Boromir, ever valiant and corruptible, succumbs to poisonous thoughts such as these. The captain of Gondor, seeking to restore the glory of his kingdom and please his overbearing father, allows himself to be corrupted and grows violent, attempting to steal the ring from Frodo.
Even though a person may aim for noble ends, the ring wields the wearer. It forces them to commit violent and evil acts. Even Gandalf and Galadriel, two of the most powerful leaders of Middle Earth, dare not use the ring for fear of its great evil.