(If I start the 1000th LOTR thread, do I get a prize?)
I’ve been re-reading the trilogy for the umteenth time, and I can’t figure out when it’s safe to wear the Ring, and when it’s not.
Bilbo uses the Ring occasionally for years to escape the Sackville-Bagginses, and Sauron never seems to catch on that his Ring is in use. Ditto Gollum for invisible fish-catching.
Later Frodo uses it several times, and sometimes he seems to be spotted by Sauron, taking it off his finger just before Sauron pinpoints his exact location. Other times, he seems to get away without being seen by the Eye. Or maybe I am misunderstanding this.
Sam uses the ring after Frodo is stung by Shelob, and gets away with it because he is just outside the borders of Mordor proper. When he crosses the mountain pass into Mordor, he knows he can’t use it again, or he will be seen by Sauron.
So can Sauron only detect the use of the Ring when it’s actually in Mordor, or can he sense it being used at other times, and if so, why didn’t he seek out Gollum or Bilbo?
Why the urgency of Gandalf’s warning in a letter to Frodo (in FOTR) not to use It again under any circumstances? Just the corruption factor, or fear of detection too?
I don’t understand this One Ring at all, it seems.