What happened to the Nine Rings?

Ok, we know Sauron made them in the Second age. Sauron stole them and gave them to Nine Mortal men. They became Ringwraiths when they died.

However, at the end of the 2nd age Eru drowned Númenor, which was removed from the physical world, and destroyed Sauron’s body, with his ability to appear beautiful. Where was the one Ring then? Where were the Nine?

Then at the end of the War of the Last Alliance Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand, vanquishing Sauron, and taking the One ring for himself. However, there wasnt a tinkling as nine other rings fell.

Now, during LotR several Ringwraiths were vanquished- first by Aragorn, then by Elrond and co. No loose rings showed up.

Gandalf said “The Nine the Nazgûl keep” but in other places it is inferred Sauron had them. Where? Fingers?

I think that the general consensus is that he gave them to Men for a time, until they became dependent on the Rings and wraithified, but then collected them back as leashes to control the wraiths. Whether he needs to wear them for this or just have them in his possession is unknown.

I thought they never died. At least not till Éowyn and Merry got to work.

Their mortal bodies died. Then they became Ringwraiths were were undying- except as you say.

Well, yes, except what Gandalf said. But if Sauron held them, what happened when Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand? Where were they?

They basically became the same as Sauron and turned into disembodied spirits.

That’s what happened to the wraiths. But what happened to the bling? Did disembodied spirits carry them out of the ruin of Numenor?

(Aside: Has the possibility ever been raised that it was in that very even that the mortal bodies of the Nine Wraiths were destroyed? For comparison, Tolkien was surely aware of the calculation that Methuselah, the oldest person recorded in the Bible, perished in the Great Flood.)

I was always of the opinion that when the One Ring melted in Mount Doom, that all of the other rings cracked into pieces… possibly used in magical blacksmith craft to possibly produce slightly magical items… or cursed items.

“Yes… it’s a +1 shortsword … but holding it makes a certain part of your body fall off and turns your wife permanently into a Medusa…”

( What? You never had a DM like that…? )

The 3 Elven Rings survived as valuable trinkets at least and it seems unlikely the 9 were destroyed. They’re probably still in the ruins of Barad-dûr along with a Palantir and who knows how many other treasures.

I first read the Lord of the Rings in the 70s, and in my imagination the Rings of Men were particularly chunky and lurid, of the style favoured by TV and movie drug lords and the Zsa Zsa Gabors of the time.

I still wait expectantly for the Lord of the Bling spin-off.

Yes, I concur, and the Three became mostly powerless. However, what i want to know is between the humans becoming Ringwraiths and the Hobbits dropping the One into Mt Doom, where were the Nine Rings?

Clearly, not on the fingers of Sauron. Clearly not on the ‘fingers’ of the Ringwraiths.

The 9 and some of the 7 were kept safe in Barad-dûr. I don’t have the time or inclination to look it up, but the Good Professor did mention that somewhere.

Not really:
In The Council of Elrond , Gandalf says that the Nazgûl kept their Rings by saying “The Nine the Nazgûl keep”[3]. However in most other references, it is mentioned that Sauron had taken them. Furthermore, Frodo doesn’t see any Rings on them on Weathertop, and it is believed that if they did wear the Rings, they would have been fully invisible (including their cloaks). 1. the Nine [Sauron] has gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else they are destroyed." J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings , The Fellowship of the Ring , The Shadow of the Past
2. “You saw the Eye of him that holds the Seven and the Nine.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings , The Fellowship of the Ring , The Mirror of Galadriel


So Tolkien either said the Nazgul holds them or Sauron does. But never that they are in a 'safe place" and since Sauron is pretty old, he’d forget where the safe place was and:crazy_face:

This is pretty much saying Barad-dûr. That was his strongest stronghold and place of residence.

Also I swear this came up in one of the letters, confirming this.

When @Qadgop_the_Mercotan comes along and tells me I am wrong, I’ll own up to it. But my knowledge on Middle Earth is pretty extensive. I’ve read everything and own almost everything the Professor wrote and Christopher Tolkien edited. I’ve lived partially in Middle Earth since around 1977. :slight_smile:

Could be I havent read all the letters.

So, those rings were kept in a safe place? Even tho they granted power? Why not hand out the Nine and get more Ringwraiths then?

Conjecture from a lot of reading:
Without the One Ring, he probably couldn’t control the new holders of the 9. Same with whatever number of the 7.

Conjecture with less to support it:
The Rings already empowered the Ring Wraiths and if he tried to ensnare new men via the rings, the magic that held the Ring Wraith together would lapse.

Or, by nature the Nine Rings could only have one Ringwraith each. I’m not sure it matters, but as far as we know no rings never had more than one “wielder” at a time.

On another issue, my question is not where they were at the time of of the trilogy, but where they were in-between. Hidden away in Barad-dur maybe?

Sauron found that he couldnt control the wearers of the Seven, however.

But I like your first guess.

That’s a good question. No real way to know, but I would bet for quite a while they were hidden in Dol Guldur. (Southern Mirkwood, not too far from Lothlorien). This was the stronghold of Sauron in his Necromancer guise and of some of the Ring Wraiths.

It is just possible that the Witch King’s Ring was in Carn Dûm. (Up in Angmar)

On that note, was Saruman’s Ring left lying on the ground of the Shire when he died by Wormtongue’s hand? Did it have any powers? Did a Hobbit pocket it?

Of course. That is where Kender came from, obviously.