How come Gandalf didn't know Bilbo had the One Ring?

It’s explicitly stated that when Sauron forged the One Ring and put it on, the elves who bore the Three immediately detected it and knew they had been deceived and so took off their rings immediately to avoid coming under Sauron’s control. So how come Gandalf, who bore the Ring of Fire, didn’t know it when Bilbo wore the One Ring?

Maybe because Bilbo, not knowing how to use the ring (the invisiblity being more of a side effect), hadn’t “activated” it the way Sauron had.

Gandalf is not an elf. Tolken never mentioned that Gandalf knew what was going on when Sauron put on the ring, so why would he when Bilbo did so?

So why didn’t Elrond or Galadriel know?

I like my theory better.

In reality, the author of “The Hobbit” hadn’t yet conceived of “one ring to rule them all, one ring to find them” but this isn’t really a plot hole anyway.

The elves caught on when Sauron switched on the finding and ruling functions, creating a ring network. As an unintended, this revealed him to the bearers of the elven rings (which were made using some of his techniques, but not by him).

Bilbo never attempted to use the ring to find or rule the others, so he never “switched on” this network (not that he even could have). Gandalf and the elves had no idea of the ring’s whereabouts in all the centuries Gollum had it either, so there’s no inconsistency there.

Also, Mordor had long been wired for 802.11n, while the Shire was still limping along on 802.11b. Gollum’s cave in the Misty Mountains, needless to say, could barely handle ethernet speeds*. So it’s all a question of bandwidth…TRM

*the MiddleEarlthLink corporation still being in its infancy.

Bilbo did not have the willpower to energize the One Ring sufficiently to allow anyone to know it had been found. In addition, Bilbo did not try to use the Ring to control anyone, so the wearers of the Three would not have known anyone had the Ring on. Notice that the Nine didn’t even know to home in on it until Gollum spilled the beans, so to speak, in Mordor.

Now, had it been the case that Bilbo and Frodo had taken to wearing the Ring for long periods of time, this might have changed. But they both seem to have used it sparingly.

I just figured the Ring was dormant because Sauron had not yet gained enough power to be a strong force of evil (not enough minions at first). Then, as the years went by and Sauron gained in strength, the Ring became once more a target for him. After all the Nazgul weren’t looking for it when Gollum had it. Also, the Ring wanted to be reunited with its master.

What I’ve always wondered about it why the other wizards don’t bother to show up for THE Battle for Middle Earth. Damned Radagast–can’t count on him for anything but eagles…

Why would you expect him to know that?

Gandalf was not an expert in ring-lore by any means. He had to go to Minas Tirith to research it when he became suspicious. There were other magic rings in Middle-earth; more than just the nineteen we know about, I suspect, as Gandalf used the word many to describe the quantity, at a point when he already knew the disposition of most of them. He described the lesser essays in ring-craft as being dangerous for mortals, so I suspect he always knew that such rings involved taking a wearer partly into the Unseen World, which meant any man or hobbit who donned one would become invisibe; thus, the mere fact that Bilbo’s ring made him invisible did not indicate that it was one of the great rings. In fact, he may have incorrectly concluded that the invisibility meant this wasn’t Sauron’s ring, as Sauron was visible while wearing it.

Gandalf was not omniscient, as I said. Elrond knew more about healing than he did, for instance; Saruman had more ringlore. I expect Gandalf had a great deal more woodcraft and practical, mundane knowledge than either of them.

A Tolkien Ring network, to be precise.

I think they all should have been clued in when they discovered that the built in compass would only point towards Mordor.

One does not simply log into Mordor.

:smack: Think of the millions of dollars spent on R&D for this joke.

You’re a member of Congress aren’t you. :slight_smile:

You will die slowly for that.

Well played, sir!

If you think logging into Mordor is hard, try logging out!

First of all, 3+7+9+1 = 20, not 19. Second, while it may be true that even lesser rings would entail some connection to the Unseen World, Gandalf did know that only a true Great Ring would go so far as to make its wearer invisible. You’re correct, though, that Gandalf was not particularly an expert on Ringlore, that being Saruman’s specialty. Gandalf’s specialty, to the extent he had one, seemed to be primarily in the peoples and people of Middle-Earth themselves.

I always thought that it wasn’t the One Ring that the other ringbearers detected - it was the spell that Sauron cast upon creating it. Once he spoke the words, “Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul”, the Elves felt the power of the spell and removed their rings.

Thus, the Ring itself didn’t radiate that warning after the spell was cast.

It sure is. I was unconsciously counting the Bilbo’s ring out of the mix, but obviously that was an error.

How would he know this? He was not an expert in ring lore, as you agree elsewhere in your post–certainly not at the time of There And Back Again. I don’t think he saw any need to master that discipline at that time, because he trusted Saruman to handle that.

By the way–just out of idle curiosity–why did you delete my screen name when you quoted me? I’m not objecting, nor am I offended; I just don’t see the point. It seems to add a needless step to the reply process

You do. You totally do.

Well at least try ‘Admin’ and ‘Admin’ first.