Three Rings of Power (for the Elven Kings) Explained (& Who Made Them?)
The Lord of the Rings carries its name for a good reason – the principal objects around which the plot revolves are actually several Rings, with the One Ring, controlled by Sauron, being the most important one. But, a total of twenty rings have been forged (the One Ring included) – the Nine Rings given to the Men, the Seven Rings given to the Dwarves, and the Three Rings given to the Elven Kings. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about the Three Rings given to the Elves in The Lord of the Rings.
The Three Rings were forged by and given to the Elves. They are called Narya (the Ring of Fire), Nenya (the Ring of Adamant), and Vilya (the Ring of Air). They remained hidden until the end of the Third Age, after Sauron was overthrown. These rings were invisible instead of making the wearer invisible.
The rest of this article will further explain the role and importance of the Three Rings for The Lord of the Rings saga, but also the other Rings of Power. We’re going to give you more details on each of the Rings, what they can do, how they were forged and by whom, as well as some other details that will give you a proper rendering of the role of the Three Rings in the franchise as a whole.
What are the Three Rings of Power?
The Three Rings of Power is the name given to the three Rings that Celebrimbor forged himself, and that were never touched by Sauron. These Rings were given to the Elves. They were called Narya (the Ring of Fire), Nenya (the Ring of Adamant), and Vilya (the Ring of Air). Narya was first worn by Gil-galad, who gave it to Círdan, and last worn by Gandalf. Vilya also belonged first to Gil-galad, before Elrond inherited it after his death. Nenya was only carried by Galadriel.
The Three Rings remained hidden from Sauron, and the whereabouts of the Three Rings were revealed only at the end of the Third Age, after the One Ring had been destroyed and the Dark Lord Sauron overthrown. These Rings were invisible, rather than rendering the wearer invisible, which was an advantage.
Galadriel revealed her possession of one of the Rings to Frodo Baggins when he was in Lothlórien after seeing her ring. This was because he possessed the One Ring. Later, while traveling down the River Anduin, Frodo spoke of it to Aragorn, who admonished him not to speak of it outside of Lórien, fearing that Sauron would find out the location of the Ring.
Each of the Three Rings had special properties, but their power was severely limited and they were still subjected to the power of the One Ring. During Elrond’s council, Elrond explained that neither Rivendell, Lórien, nor the Grey Havens (the places of the Three Elven Rings) had the power to resist the might of Mordor.
What do the Rings of Power do?
In this section, we are going to tell you what each of the Three Elven Rings could actually do, since each of them had some special properties that made them special.
Narya, the Ring of Fire or the Red Ring, is one of the Three Elven Rings of Power, along with Nenya and Vilya. Forged by Celebrimbor, it was given to Gil-galad but after his death, it passed to Círdan, who gave it to Gandalf upon his arrival in Middle-earth. Like the other elven rings, Narya also has a precious gem set in its body, in this case, a red gem, hence the name of “Red Ring”.
It possesses the power to give vigor to the wearer and to persevere strength, fighting against anyone who tries to subject the bearer of Narya to themselves. It is also invisible unless its bearer wishes to show it, unlike the One Ring which makes its bearers invisible by transporting them to the shadow world.
This difference between the two rings highlights the difference between the two artifacts: Narya is a ring free from evil and therefore does not exert any negative influence on its bearer, while the One is tremendously powerful and exerts enormous power over whoever wears it, unless it’s Sauron.
Nenya, also known as the White Ring, Ring of Adamant, and Ring of Water, is one of the Three Rings of Power, along with Narya and Vilya. It was entrusted to Galadriel and was kept by her throughout her life. It is described as the ring of beauty because it possessed the power to hide the works created from the eyes of evil, in fact, the queen of Lórien was able to defend her land from Sauron thanks to the power of the artifact.
The ring had been forged in silver or mithril and probably had a diamond set in the body. It had the power to preserve beautiful things from the corruption of evil and to protect them from the decay of time, as well as to hide them from the sight of the wicked.
Vilya, also known as the Ring of Sapphire, the Blue Ring, or the Ring of Air, is one of the Three Rings of Power of the Elves, along with Narya and Nenya. It is the most powerful of the three rings and was entrusted by Celebrimbor to the Supreme King of the Noldor, Gil-Galad and then passed, on after his death in SA 3441, to his cousin Elrond, the Half-elf.
It was brought to Aman by Elrond at the end of the Third Age. It is described as the most powerful of the Three Rings, having the power to preserve peace and tranquility in a limited place. Generally, the nickname “Ring of Air” is attributed to indicate its superiority to the other two which are instead called by the names “Ring of Fire” and “Ring of Water”. It has a stone set in its metal body; the gem is blue in color, hence the name of “Sapphire Ring”.
Who made the Rings of Power?
The Three Elven Rings of Power were forged by none other than Celebrimbor, one of the finest forgers in Tolkien’s fictional world. This happened during Sauron’s initial deception when he, “disguised” as Annatar, infiltrated the Elven realms and tricked the Elves into forging the Rings. Around SA 1500, Elvish smiths begin the creation of the Rings of Power, and Sauron left Eregion to return to Mordor.
In SA 1590, Celebrimbor alone finished forging the Three Rings of the elves. These Three Rings were never be touched by Sauron and were therefore never corrupted by him, but still remained subjected to the One Ring. They were named Vilya, Narya, and Nenya after the main Middle-earth elements of air, fire, and water, respectively.
In SA 1600, when Sauron secretly created the One Ring, Celebrimbor realizes the initial deception. He then refused to submit and sought advice from Galadriel in Lothlórien. She advised him to hide the rings. He, therefore, left Nenya to her and sent the other two to Gil Galad in Lindon. In SA 1693, Sauron retaliated by attacking Eregion, devastating the kingdom.
In SA 1697, Celebrimbor was captured and forced, under torture, to reveal where the rings of power are. He would ultimately reveal everything except the location of the Three Rings of the elves. Sauron then put him to death, and his body, pierced with arrows and clinging to a pole, was presented as a banner as Sauron attacked the elves who have come as reinforcements.
How many Rings of Power are there?
The Rings of Power were twenty in total and were forged in the Second Age by Sauron to seduce and, in secret, deceive and rule the Kings of every people/race of Middle-earth. Nineteen of them were forged by the elven smiths of the Eregion, under the leadership of Celebrimbor. Three of them were entrusted to the Elves, seven to the Dwarves, and nine to Men.
Later the bearers of all these rings were deceived, because Sauron, in the flames of Mount Doom, created another ring, called the “One Ring” to rule over all the others and submit them to his will. Sauron placed so much of his dark powers in this ring that he could not be completely defeated, even if his physical form was annihilated until the ring was destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom, which formed the basis for the main plot of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
What happened to the other Rings of Power?
We have already told you what happened to the Three Rings of Power that were distributed among the Elves, and we know that Sauron kept the One Ring for himself. So, what happened to the remaining sixteen Rings? It is not known precisely when Sauron distributed the Seven Rings to the Dwarves and the Nine to Men, but they were distributed to these two people at some point so Sauron could control them.
Still, the Dwarves proved impossible to subdue, but the Men were easily dominated: the nine lords who received a ring used it to increase their power, but one after the other, they tipped over into the realm of shadows, becoming specters entirely subject to the will of Sauron: the Nazgûl. Their first appearance took place around SA 2250.
Does Gandalf have a Ring of Power?
As we know very well, Wizards were not given a Ring of Power. Sauron prepared nine for the leaders of Men, seven for the Dwarven rulers, and three were given to the Elves. Gandalf, as a Wizard, never received one and, honestly, knowing how powerful he was, he never actually needed one in the first place. Gandalf did eventually end up with Narya, but that was through inheriting it, not by actually receiving it.
Does Elrond have a Ring of Power?
Elrond certainly was a candidate for a Ring of Power, seeing how he was a powerful and wise Elven leader, but he wasn’t among the recipients of the Rings of Power, when they were first handed out. Elrond was content with remaining loyal to his kin and that is a role, along with the advisory one he had in the main series, that fit him quite well. As with Gandalf, Elrond ended up inheriting one of the Rings, Vilya, but that was much later and he wasn’t originally given one.
Does Galadriel have a Ring of Power?
When the three Elven Rings were first handed out by Celebrimbor, Galadriel of Lothlórien was among the Elven leaders that received one. Her Ring was called Nenya and Galadriel carried it with her all the time. She never did wield the One Ring though, as there was danger of the One Ring significantly corrupting Galadriel.