Since I began blogging in November of 2013, I’ve written at least 25,000 words about the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Most of those posts have been part of a long series devoted to analyzing the way various characters interact with the One Ring. Over the last year, I’ve looked at Isildur and Gollum, and I am working on Bilbo this year.
My basic reading of the One Ring, for purposes of this series, is that it is more than a mere appendage of Sauron or an intelligent artifact. It’s a character in its own right. I’ve identified passages which clearly demonstrate that:
- It has a will of its own. Its primary motivation is to return to its master, but it delights in betrayal and in instigating conflict between other characters – especially murderous conflict.
- It seems prescient at times, or at the very least, has a limited ability to see what’s going on in its immediate vicinity.
- Although it has no power of locomotion, it is able to manipulate its own weight and size, and to attract the attention of living creatures through a sort of empathic communication.
It is not necessary to read the Ring as a fully-formed character, but I think the texts – especially The Lord of the Rings, more than support that reading. The interactions between the Ring and the other characters are the key to understanding how good and evil function in Middle Earth. In fact, I like this reading so much, I might just write about the One Ring for the Great Villain Blogathon next year.
What you think? Is the Ring a character, or am I pushing the interpretation too far for the sake of some nerdy fun?
If you’re on the hunt for great Tolkien-related internet content, you might want to check out Sweating to Mordor, A Tolkienist’s Perspective, The Leather Library, and Middle Earth News. I follow them all and check in with them as often as I can. And do stop back by on April 23 to read what I have to say about the good professor himself.
- Tolkien: A History of the Third Age in Bullet Points (sourcererblog.wordpress.com)
- Lord of the Rings: Tempted Mortals (sourcererblog.wordpress.com)
- 10 Memorable Fantasy Books and Series: Top Ten Tuesday (sourcererblog.wordpress.com)