Lore: The Nature of Saruman's Ring and him as a Ring-Maker

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Post by Lorient Avandi on Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:45 pm

Another lore question that came up during my class; what is the nature of Saruman's ring, and his nature as a Ring-Maker? Did Saruman make his own Ring of Power? Is it subject to the One as the others are? Hoping some of you guys may have some answers or ideas to these questions....

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Post by halfwise on Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:55 pm

For what it's worth here's one guy's take: https://middle-earth.xenite.org/what-was-sarumans-ring/  though I disagree with his assertion that Saruman's ring would have been bound to the One Ring, and everything that follows from that.

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Post by Lorient Avandi on Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:23 pm

It is quite possible, if not probable that it would be bound. The Three Elven Rings were bound to the One even though Sauron did not make them and never had contact with them.

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Post by Eldy on Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:25 pm

My assumption has always been (implicitly, as I've never put much thought into it) that Saruman's ring was not a Great Ring, and whatever powers it might have had were comparatively limited. I suppose there's not really a solid textual basis for this--although visibly wearing a largely powerless ring of his own creation and forcing others to speculate on its significance strikes me as a very Sarumanian move--but I don't think there's much evidence one way or another. Michael Martinez's argument hinges on the quote "you pulled down your own house when you destroyed mine", but I don't think that's anywhere near conclusive. He also cites Frodo's statement that Saruman "is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it", but I think that actually points away from the Great Ring interpretation. If Saruman's diminishment was due to the One Ring's destruction, he would have had no hope of finding a "cure" by the time Frodo was speaking. Though Frodo was not an expert on Ring-lore, so his statement can't be taken as authoritative regardless of its precise meaning.
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Post by halfwise on Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:39 pm

My feeling that Saruman's ring would not be bound to the One Ring is because the One was made to control a specific set of rings. I don't think he'd risk wearing something that would put him under Sauron's thumb if he ever found the One.

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Post by Eldy on Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:52 pm

That's a reasonable point. Checking "Of the Rings of Power" in The Silmarillion, we're told that the Elvish keepers of the Three "perceived that he [Sauron] would be master of them, and of all that they wrought" so long as he possessed the One Ring. Since, as Lorient notes, Sauron was not involved in the creation of the Three, I think the conclusion is that subjugation to the One was innately baked into the formula (or whatever you want to call it) for creating Great Rings. On the other hand, OTROP also notes that the Elves were able to take the Rings off as soon as Sauron put his on, so control was not instantaneous and Saruman could presumably have done the same. But on the other other hand, I'm skeptical that Saruman could have reverse-engineered the Great Ring formula in the first place, especially without being able to examine any of them.
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Post by Lorient Avandi on Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:02 pm

Halfwise: I don't think Celebrimbor intended for the Three Elf Rings to be under the influence of the One either, and yet they are. If it is indeed a Ring of Power, it could still quite possible be under the One's influence whether Saruman intended it or not.


Eldy wrote:although visibly wearing a largely powerless ring of his own creation and forcing others to speculate on its significance strikes me as a very Sarumanian move

That is an interesting perspective, and quite a believable one. It isn't outside of Saruman's character in my mind to do something just to give the appearance of power rather than actually give him power. It should also be noted that the "R" on the mention of his ring is lower-case. It is difficult to tell the exact nature of Saruman's ring however, just because it is never mentioned again and Tolkien never wrote of it again as far as I'm aware.

If Saruman was able to discover any hints of the creation of the Rings of Power, which I wouldn't put it past him as he was a great loremaster, I find it unlikely he would be able to figure out exactly what gave Sauron the ability to control the Rings with the One. So even if he was to figure out how to create his own Ring of Power, its unlikely he would've figured out how to ensure it escaped Sauron's control.

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Post by halfwise on Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:26 pm

If you make a master key, it's only good for a specific set of locks that fit the same code. I suppose you could argue that if you learned from the same pattern this master key would fit your lock as well, but if you simply learned how to make a lock it's not necessarily subject to any given master key.

I don't think we know what Tolkien's intention was, we can't assume that ANY ring would be subject to the One Ring.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:23 pm

{{ Well there is the matter of the 'lesser rings' which Gandalf tells Frodo there were many of and that they were basically test-runs, early examples of the technology, perfecting the art. I dont think Tolkien ever accounts for any of the 'lesser rings' only the Great Rings.
Is there a mention if the ring Saruman owns is adorned or not, as only the Great Rings were, the lesser rings were all plain. }}

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