The Power of the Ring Over Immortals
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Author:  Christian [ December 8th, 2007, 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  The Power of the Ring Over Immortals

I have had a question concerning the hold of the One Ring over those who are immortals. More specifically those of the Elven race. In the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf says both of the following concerning mortals:

"It is far more powerful than I ever dared to think at first, so powerful that in the end it would utterly overcome anyone of mortal race who possessed it. It would possess him."

"Yes, sooner or later--later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last--sooner or later the dark power will devour him."

From the chapters "In the House of Tom Bombadil" and "The Council of Elrond" it seems that the One Ring does not have a hold on Tom Bombadil as he does not disappear when putting on the Ring and Gandalf says that "he would soon forget it, or most likely throw it away". Since it seems that Tom Bombadil is immortal, does that mean that the Ring would not have any effect on the Elves either?

I would appreciate it if anyone could help answer this!

Author:  Ánië Súrion [ December 8th, 2007, 4:06 pm ]
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Hmm. That's an interesting question, Christian. It would certainly seem you were right, if not for Galadriel's reaction to the Ring. Remember what happened when Frodo offered to it to her?

"And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!"

That seems to indicate that even though Elves are powerful creatures, even they can be tempted and corrupted by the Ring's power. Certainly it doesn't explain Tom Bombadil's apathy towards the Ring though...there's another unanswered question, I suppose. I hope that helped you. :)

Author:  TheThain [ December 8th, 2007, 6:03 pm ]
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^Yeah... The ring deffinatly does affect Elves. But I've never quite understood why the ring has no power over Tom Bombadil... Doesn't Goldberry (or was it someone else...?) say that it's because he's his own master? I still don't get it though... :blink:

Author:  Aerandir [ December 10th, 2007, 3:10 pm ]
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Well, I agree with you, Aerlinniel, in all but one aspect--I don't think it's a given that Elves would resist it. I think that they merely stand a better chance of doing so than the average mortal, but that it really depends on the individual.

Though to be honest, I've always grouped the Elves with the 'mortals' in that setting, and taken it to refer to everyone except for the Valar and Tom, since Gandalf fears that he would succumb to it, and so do Galadriel and Elrond.

Author:  [ December 26th, 2007, 4:15 pm ]
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It's been a while since we had a good Tom Bombadil discussion, perhaps it's time to revive them again!
I'm with Aerlinn on this. Tom is a mystery and he doesn't seem to share any of the feelings or ambitions or agendas that the other races must submit themselves to, like greed. Tom does not want the ring and he doesn't care about it at all. Though I don't suppose that is a sufficient answer as to why he doesn't become invisible when he wears the Ring.

But I can't help thinking about what Tom would have done if Sauron had won the battle for Middle-earth. Could Tom and Goldberry then escape the power of the darkness and keep their litte haven or would they have fallen under the Shadow too?

Author:  Tar-Vanimelde [ December 27th, 2007, 6:09 pm ]
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I really try not to spend too much time thinking about Tom, because he realy is an enigma. I don't think even he would be able to excape Sauron, though he might go on unnoticed for a while because of his power in the wood. However, I still question this because it was said of him (by Glorfindel maybe, or Gandalf? I can't remember) that he would fall "last as he was first."

Author:  Iritarimel Noramírë [ December 27th, 2007, 7:41 pm ]
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Tom Bombadil was one of the first to live on the world, wasn't he? There was some mention somewhere of his power being linked directly to the earth or something; something about a natural power or something that went deeper than that of the elves. Thats why he's not affected I think; it was made after him by a power less strong that can't really affect him... I think...


Author:  Altariel Frodo [ January 5th, 2008, 7:47 pm ]
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Fascinating topic...

My older sister has a theory that Tom is a Vala. He wouldn't necessarily have to be Aulë... he could have been a lesser one. He couldn't have been a Maia, because of course Gandalf was and the Ring still affected him....

But as for the Elves: I think that they were probably tempted about as much as mortals. I would say the main difference is that Elves have more power to do something with it, once they get the Ring. I think that they would not "fade" so much as mortals... it wouldn't wear on them, as it did on Bilbo and Gollum, because their spirits are stronger.

So... I think the difference is not so much in how much they're tempted as in what happens afterwards.

Author:  Eäryendë [ March 16th, 2008, 2:41 am ]
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I think Tom Bombadil is connected to nature and not really affected by things like the ring. But in terms of who can withstand the ring, etc... I think elves can resist it better, followed by Hobbits who don't really care for power. It affects them, of course, but not as fast as Men.

Author:  mephiston, lord of death [ May 18th, 2008, 6:11 pm ]
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Tinúviel wrote:
..I read a very interesting theory about Tom really being Eru (though I didn't agree with it, their arguments were really good) , or even Aule.

I still think he's a nature spirit of some kind, but the Aule theory sounded very good as well. Aule did not really care abuot power; he only loved making things...and giving them away. He wouldn't have cared about the power of the Ring. Also, Aule has always been the Vala who tried to interfere with the Children ; he was so impatient to see them that he made the Dwarves.

As the Vala, he would of course control nature, and as Aule..he would of course be very connected to the erth itself. The theory alo included something about Goldberry being Yavanna, since when when the Hobbits leave, they see her "like a tree" or something like that ( sorry for the no literal quotes thing, but my "The Hobbit" is in Dutch :P). And Yavanna happened to have the same description.

..Hmmm, I'll go search the link to that thing...

Anyway, I still think Tom is a nature spirit, a Maia, maybe...or something else. Maybe the spirit of Arda itself? It may sound weird, was said that Arda itself was errr * argno-literal-quotesARG* ...uhm..hurt by Morgoth? Like it actually felt that.

Haha, all this reminds me of the Gaia theory we did for Biology. Very interesting idea, though slightly creepy. ;)

It sounds as though you are proposing an almost avatarial system that the Valar follow, which, with me just doesnt seem very Vala-ish. :confused: . I mean, they sent to five Wizards to fight against evil,their full powers cloaked to an extent, and instead of going to Middle Earth and smashing Sauron themselves in their majesty, they choose an altogether quieter, less certain route.
I think, for the question fo Tom Bombadil, the same kind of answer we tend to come to when dealing with beings, Beorn being an example, who havent really been assigned a certain lot with regards to what they are by Tolkien, we just assume that they are a Maia with no real.... allegiance. That is to say, they arent linked ot a specific Vala. But at the end of the day, this is moslty my speculation, and everything which hasnt been specified by Tolkien or his literary heir, Christopher.

As for the "question" in the thread, yes, Immortals can be seduced by the lure of the Ring. The Eldar and even a wizard like Gandalf both found the allure of the ring hard to resist. Sure enough, the vast majority of Elves would hold out for longer against it, but to say they can't be tainted by it would be wrong.

My older sister has a theory that Tom is a Vala. He wouldn't necessarily have to be Aulë... he could have been a lesser one. He couldn't have been a Maia, because of course Gandalf was and the Ring still affected him....

But, I know its been a while since I last read the Sil, and I may have my wires mixed up (so Im going to answer on several points)
1) Is not the "lesser" form of a Vala not a Maiar? That is to say, the only difference between Valar and Maiar spirits lies only in their power and might.
2) Also, as far as I know, (and Ill wait for someone to correct me) but Im fairly sure that the only Valar that are around in "flesh" in Arda are those mentioned by name?
3) If we assume Tom is a Vala for one second, why would he be living in Middle Earth? I mean, not only do the Vala tend not to interfere directly in the lives of Men and Elves, but also would Tom not have the power and inclination ( being a being of Goodness) to overthrow Sauron by his power?

Author:  Sairahiniel [ May 19th, 2008, 11:23 am ]
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I think that everyone's put up some VERY good points. The fact that Bombardil is such a mystery I think is the bottom line. Tolkien did not give readers much to go upon - in the same way he did with Gorfindel and Beorn. BUT. With Bombardil he put in something which was so amazingly powerful - the fact that we is not affected by the One Ring. One would have to delve deep into all sorts or old cultures to see about the mastery point Goldberry makes. I, personally, understand that. But that's only because I've read a great deal of oriental literature.

In short - it's said that when one managed to have total mastery over his body, his mind and his conditionings, he becomes to detached that nothing can touch him.

Now the One Ring is this terribly evil thing which gets you power. To fall to it you must have pride. If anyone knows the 12th Century Golden Order or Seven deadly sins, Pride is the worse thing that can happen to you. Anyways. If Tom really HAD become his own master, then, technically, he would have literally dissolved his pride. No pride = no desire.

This is my personal take on things :P Im just throwing it out here, and no one is allowed to bit my head off for it.

Author:  Sairahiniel [ May 21st, 2008, 7:34 pm ]
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^ I think that its a mixture of what I said and what you pointed out dearest :) Tom I think is Tolkien's most abstract character and the most difficult one to comprehend

Author:  Frodo_Lives [ May 22nd, 2008, 12:30 pm ]
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What if Tom is Manwe himself? Could it be? ... I do think it could be, but everytime I make this statement to myself a lot of questions rise in me,like: Why did Tom nothing against Sauron if he IS Manwe? Why did he just see what Frodo did? ....

Author:  Aerandir [ June 11th, 2008, 6:08 am ]
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No, Tom can't be Manwë, because Manwë is more powerful than Sauron, but Elrond and Gandalf said that Tom wouldn't be able to hold out forever.

Author:  Aerandir [ June 11th, 2008, 11:28 am ]
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Tinúviel wrote:
^ Randir!! :D You ish back! :hug:

Btw, in case you hadn't guessed so already ( I guess all the Ville Valo avatars COULD have given me away :teehee:) , tis Aerlinn on a temporarily name change. :yes: Anyway...

...I think Aule is the only slightly more realistic Vala..for various reasons I mentioned in one of my posts in this thread.

But I'm not at all that sure about Tom being a Vala - or even a Maia- at all.
i read about Tom being inspired by a toy Tolkien's children had, and that he wanted to incorporate their toy in the story for them. That could explain a lot about Tom's mysterious origins. However, like everything in Tolkien's writings, this character of course evolved over time. I still things that what Saira and I concluded - about Tom being an "abstract" being is the most reasonable idea.

Lol, yeah, I guessed that it was you from the Ville Valo avatars. :P

I honestly think that Tom does count as one of the Ainur, just because he is so powerful, he was there for the making of Eä, and he could hold out against Sauron. For him to be like that, he would have to be one of the Maia or of the Valar. We know that he's not one of the Valar, since he's so absent minded and he's been in his little area for years, so he must be a powerful Maia. I would think at least as powerful as Gandalf and Saruman, so...he's got to be of the Ainur.

Author:  Ashwise [ June 30th, 2008, 9:28 pm ]
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I think it depends on the immortal wheither the ring's going to have power over them or not.

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