What if Saruman had gotten the ring?

It’s probably been done already, and if so I apologize, but:

If Saruman had gotten his greedy li’l mitts on the one ring, would he have been able to set himself up as a new dark lord (or however they call themselves)? If I’m not mistaken, he is Vanyar? And they are similar to, if slightly less powerful than, the Maiar?

If he would have been strong enough to control the ring, what would have happened to Sauron?


Saruman was Maia like Sauron. The Vanyar were one of the tribes/families of the elves. They were basically the teacher’s pet ones who lived closest to the Valar and did not trouble themselves (except once) with the problems of Middle-Earth.

My understanding of the crushingly unavoidable fate which is the history of Middle Earth says that the One Ring belongs to Sauron and no other. Anybody else who bore it (non-stop) would eventually be drawn to him, where he would get the Ring back.

Saruman would have made a tasty little morsel for Sauron.

Saruman knew good and well what would happen when he tried holding Gandalf. Sarumaon told Gandalf that a new power was rising and noone could srand and therefore they should join that power. Saruman used the seeing stones(palintir) to keep up with Sauron, as did Boromir’s Father (name slips me now)

Sarumaon would be no more than a snivinling fool of Sauron

What about Galadrial? She seems to have seriously pondered what she might do if she got hold of the Ring, and she was only an Elf, not a Maiar like Saruman. Did she think she could have avoided being drawn to Sauron if she did seize the Ring?

Gandalf feared the power the ring would give him. He did not fear Sauron, but rather was forbidden to contest with him directly. Since Sauruman was once justly revered as “among the great”, by such as Elrond, and even Gandalf, it seems that he might well have been able to use the ring against Sauron successfully.

That success would be the usual bitter victory, though, because first the new wielder of the ring would need to build his own power, and learn the mastery of the ring. By the time that happened, little would be left but the ruins of the world in the aftermath of Sauron’s great war to regain the ring. He still had the nine, and perhaps some of the seven. Nazgul were formidable opponants, under the right circumstances. What about orcs, or trolls wielding the rings taken from the dwarves?

Ar Pharazon the Golden defeated Sauron, before he lost the ring, and he was just a Numenorean. (OK, just a Numenorean with the largest army and navy in all of history.) Chief among the powers of the ring that were feared by the White Council was the fact that if Sauron put it on now, all that had been done by the Wise using the three rings would be revealed to him, as would their minds, if they did not take off the rings. Gil Galad, and the last alliance also defeated Sauron, without the help of the Maiar, as well. Had Isuldur done the wise thing, and pitched that sucker in the crack of doom, that would have been it. So, it seems Sauron is not invincible, even with the ring, much less against it.


And this kind of begs the question - What had been done with the three? I never really understood how they fit into the picture - I presume the nine gave to their bearers some ability, but ultimately corrupted them and turned them into the nazgul, which I guess was their purpose. But what was the purpose of the three? I would have thought that they would have been used against Sauron if at all possible while he didn’t have the one…

Maybe I missed something.

Not true. Tolkein himself said that it would have been a difficult battle, and might have gone either way, but that One of the true great powers could have dedfeated Sauron by using the Ring. The Ring merely corrupted you, it did not control you.

The Three

Not true. Tolkein himself said that it would have been a difficult battle, and might have gone either way, but that One of the true great powers could have dedfeated Sauron by using the Ring. The Ring merely corrupted you, it did not control you.

The Three were used against Sauron, but indirectly. They could not fight him, since it was under Sauron’s power they were made, but they did distract him - Sauron was concentrating his sight and attantion upon Rivendell and Lothlorien. It was never explained how, but the Elves found a way to block Sauron’s sight from their Rings. Gandalf had the last one, though Im not sure anyone but Cirdan, Himself, and Elrond and Galadriel knew it.

The three, which Celebrimbor made, were not made to gain dominion over others. Their power was in preserving and healing the hurts done to the earth, and to those who were harmed by evil. Although they did oppose the will of Sauron, while he did not have the one, they were still subject to his will, if he regained it, and all that had been done with them would be revealed.

In the appendices it mentions the three assaults on Lorien, during the final days of the struggle. That was a major concern for Sauron, and one of the reasons he felt constrained to hurry his stroke to gain mastery of the world without the ring. Hidden realms of elves in the past had undone the plans of Morgoth himself, and Sauron was not likely to let such a thing go unchallenged.

I think people project a kind of loaded weapon mentality onto the rings which is misleading. These are not some sort of machine gun, or beam weapon that is just leveled at the enemy, by anyone who happens to wear them. The power they have is to give stature to the wearer in the minds of others, and to enhance the emotional strength of the wearer, in the manner desired by their maker. The one, and the nine created fearful dominance, fraught with majesty, and terror. The three created majesty of a different sort, and magnified the loyalty of those who already were loyal, rather than coercing by fear. Courage to ones fellows, hope in adversity, and comfort to the suffering were the powers enhanced by the three.


If any being who had the power to use the Ring to its full potential had gotten ahold of it, that being would have been able to easily take on Sauron. Remember, the greater part of Sauron’s strength was poured into the ring. A capable bearer would have all that power, plus whatever native power he or she had to begin with. It may have taken a while to learn to use the Ring to its full potential, and Sauron would surely have put everything he had behind trying to get it back, but it’d be iffy, and he certainly couldn’t use the Nazgul or other ring-empowered creatures against the weilder of the One.

Now, consider Saruman. He’s of the same order of beings as Sauron, so he certainly has enough power to effectively use the ring. Heck, the great among the Elves, or even Aragorn, were considered very credible threats by Sauron. When he saw Aragorn marching on the Black Gate, he was afraid. Furthermore, Saruman knows more about ring-lore than any other being in Middle Earth at the time, save only Sauron himself, and he had already made himself a minor ring, so he would learn how to use it quickly. And he’s got a considerable stronghold and force of arms with which to hold off Sauron’s forces until he can learn to use it.