I love Lord of the Rings, like, to an almost alarming degree. My sister and I discovered the trilogy during a particularly bored period of time between the sixth and seventh Harry Potter books, so we finished the 1000+ page whopper before Fellowship was released, and then had a fantastic time with the movie trilogy. We even tried (and marginally succeeded) at learning Quenya, Tolkien’s Elvish language. Fun fact and total #tbt – quenya was also my original username on Neopets.
Anyone who’s seen the movies should be familiar with the origin story for the Ring:
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
But in true Tolkien form, there’s a lot more information out there, information that provides a ridiculous backstory and builds a world untouched until George R. R. Martin’s. So if you’re interested in the info you really don’t need to know to watch the movies, keep reading.
Nineteen rings of substantial importance were forged by the Elvish smiths of Eregion in the Second Age. Celebrimbor, a master smith, was directly responsible the three greatest – Vilya, Narya, and Nenya. Unbeknownst to the smiths, Sauron commissioned the rings and secretly forged his own in the fires of Mount Doom, specifically to tie the power of the other rings to his. Their first problem was trusting someone whose return address reads Mt. Doom, Middle Earth, but that’s neither here nor there, really.
Image via Lord of the Rings Wikia
The Elves sensed his evil in their rings and took them off as soon as Sauron put his on. Furious at his foiled plan and how he and his biddies no longer had matching best friend jewelry, Sauron demanded the rings back, because he’s petty, and went to war with the Elves when they refused, because he’s petty. They successfully kept the three greatest Elvish rings hidden, though Sauron recovered the other sixteen, giving Seven to the Dwarves and Nine to the Men. (It’s called fashion, look it up.)
Image Via Imgur
Image Via Reddit
It’s indicated in The Silmarillion that the Seven Rings for the Dwarves are a distinct set, different than the Nine given to the Men. The Seven were created before the Nine, however there’s no mention of whether or not these rings were fundamentally different in their powers or side effects – both the Seven and the Nine are equal in that they are all less powerful than the Three Elvish Rings. The Three Elvish Rings, you remember, the ones created by Celebrimbor, were created for a specific purpose – to preserve the beautiful lands in which they resided, to heal, and to resist evil, so while they are still connected to Sauron (think Sauron and Saruman’s looking glass) they aren’t actively controlled. The other rings were more for warmongering purposes, you know, weapons of mass destruction and all that.
An unintended side effect of the rings is that the wearers’ lifespan increases exponentially. As the rings were meant for the Elves, this wasn’t part of the plan, but I’m sure Sauron didn’t complain once the Nine Men decomposed and became the “undead” Nazgûl, ringwraiths of extraordinary power, drawn to the power of the ring and under Sauron’s complete control. You might remember them, they ride horses sometimes, mostly dragons though (Fellbeasts, if you’re particular, which I am).
Image Via Kaijumatic.
The Dwarves who received the rings did not bend to Sauron’s power. Sure, they became ridiculously wealthy, even for Dwarves, as the Rings brought forth an unceasing greed, and each came to ruin regardless. Safe to say these are either lost in the mines of Moria or have been returned to Sauron prior to the events of Lord of the Rings.
So there ya go, you’re all caught up! Now go watch all eleven hours and thirty six minutes of the extended edition trilogy for me, you’ll be glad you did.
Featured Image Via Daily Dot.