What if the One Ring was never found?

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by BalrogRingDestroyer, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    Supposing that somehow, like the Simarils, it fell into the earth (say that Isildur had it, went through Moria, got ambushed by the Balrog, and accidentally fell off the bridge and fell a million feet, died, and the Ring was lost way down there in the waters, where not even the Balrog would go to go get it) so that none the free people's of the West, Isengard, or Mordor could easily get ahold of it?
     
  2. Starbrow

    Starbrow Tolkien Fan

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    I imagine that life would go on like much of the Third Age when it was thought that the Ring was lost for good.
     
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  3. Thistle Bunce

    Thistle Bunce Member

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    Laying aside all of Gandalf's comments on the desire of the Ring to make its way back to its Master, meaning that even after falling into the abyss in Moria, the Ring would have found a way out, eventually, I can only speculate that Sauron would have gone on with his plans for enslavement of all of Middle-earth. The Ring was, when it's all said and done, just a powerful tool to achieve that end, and while it was MORE powerful when on Sauron's finger, neither it, nor Sauron just vanished into nothingness when they were separated. It would have just prolonged the death throes of civilization as the Third Age knew it.

    "One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them." The three rings of the Elves would have had to continue to maintain their efforts against darkness, despair and decay for as long as they could have. (And that power is waning, as several characters note.) The seven rings of the dwarves are thought to be lost and powerless, and the nine of men would continue to power up the Nazgul. Without the possession of, and destruction of, the One Ring, the West would have suffered the attacks of Sauron and his minions to extinction, eventually.

    However, Saruman might still be in Orthanc, seeking news of the Ring, destroying the trees of Fangorn, and generally making a complete mess of things. Without the fall (and return) of Gandalf, it is improbable that anyone else would have challenged Saruman's power. And the only reason that Gandalf was in Moria was to accompany the Ringbearer as far along the path to Mordor as he could. Without the need to take the Ring to Mordor, no need for Gandalf to be in Moria at all...

    The hobbits would still be complacently bumbling about the Shire, unaware of the dangers that would have come their way, sooner or later. They were unprepared to handle a small influx of evil Men, much less a determined force of orcs or other evil critters under orders from Sauron to conquer everything in sight. Their end would have been swift, bloody, and a total surprise to them.

    I can imagine the Elves 'noping' out of Middle-earth when Sauron's troops finally beat back the protection of the three, if not before, and heading for the Grey Havens en masse. Their struggles to reach Mithlond would have been epic - much like the battles recounted in the Silmarillion, but futile in the end.

    As for the dwarves, some might have held out for years, burrowed in the Blue Mountains, or other strongholds, but even those remote and hidden locations would feel the dark hand of Sauron over time. Remember that Thorin told Bilbo that "Fathers would beg us to take their sons as apprentices, and pay us handsomely, especially in food-supplies, which we never bothered to grow or find for ourselves"
    It doesn't seem to matter how strong your defensive wall is, if the people behind it are starving to death, which is a likely outcome if an enemy manages to kill or enslave everyone who supplies food to the stronghold.

    In summary then, if the One Ring had never been found, Middle-earth would have become Sauron's playground, with all the torment and pain that entails.
     
  4. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    The "small influx of evil men" was technically an inside job. Lotho brought them in. They had repelled a goblin invasion with Bullroarer Took, had repelled the trees Old Man Willow sent at Buckland, had fought off the wolves in the Fell Winter, and even gave the Nazgul a headache with that hornblowing. It's not like they were useless.

    Plus, it seems that some like Ted Sandyman actually allied with Lotho and the Isengard thugs. Plus, we don't know how bad things got prior to Saruman showing up. If his voice was even able to make the veteran Riders of Rohan, not to mention it nearly got their king won over, to fall under his spell, then it's unlikely that the Hobbits, however brave, would have stood a chance.


    Also, it does seem ironic that Sauron would waste so much time looking for a Hobbit (unless he didn't know their power level) with his Ring when he could instead spend all that time trying to knock out Minas Tiritih so that he could go into Rohan, was was busy being puppeted by Wormtongue, and, by extension, Saruman, and then simply march across the river on that bridge (from the map, it looks like there is one.) and go into the Southfarthing.

    Of course, I guess the Hobbits lucked out in that Sauron didn't know where the Shire was, but, as you said, he technically could have won without the Ring, but, greedy fool that he was, he wanted it all.
     
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  5. Thistle Bunce

    Thistle Bunce Member

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    Point well taken about the evil men being an inside job, but without the opportunity for Gandalf to assume the 'white' and depose Saruman, Saruman would just have continued to corrupt the Shire while remaining comfortably holed up in Orthanc, which would still be operating at full steam. Whether it would have been Sauron's orcs or Saruman's that eventually trashed the Shire is indeterminable, but surely, even the boldest hobbit would not have stood much of a chance against them. Frankly, I would think that Saruman's Uruk-hai would have been more likely to achieve the Scouring of the Shire, for true, as they were better equipped to travel (being resistant to the damage that sunlight caused other orcs), Saruman knew EXACTLY where the Shire was, and the 'inside men' would be more apt to assist the forces of Saruman, rather than Sauron's guys. They knew where things were in the Shire, who lived in what locations, where food was stored, etc. Yes, hobbits are as stubborn as old roots and as brave as they need to be, but the sight of 500 or so howling Uruk-hai streaming over the fields would have made even the most stalwart hobbit quake in his imaginary boots.

    As far as Sauron being greedy and wanting it all - absolutely. That was his master plan ever since his Master, Morgoth, was cast out. Forging the Ring of Power, then 'implanting' some of his own power within the One Ring was key to his takeover. By controlling the One, he also believed that he would control the 3/7/9 and thereby lord it over the main 'non-evil' races extant on Middle-earth (Elves, Dwarves and Men). He didn't fully consider, or realize, that the Rings of the Elves would not be responsive to his demands, and indeed, those rings worked against his dark ends, to the extent that they could, from a position of secrecy. However, his success with the ensnaring of Men with the 9 was unquestioned. For whatever reason, Sauron felt that he NEEDED the One Ring, perhaps believing that only by possessing it could he overcome the power of the Elven 3? (Pure speculation on my part, but there had to be SOME reason this 'trinket' was so important to him).

    Of course, this is the same Sauron who somehow managed to leave a clear (if rugged) path open to the one and only place where that Ring could be destroyed...so his decision making has to be considered somewhat suspect :D
     
  6. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    While looking through The Treason of Isengard for something else, I came across this speech by Elrond, from the fifth version of 'The Council of Elrond' that I thought might be of interest:

    'The Ring must be sent to the Fire. All else is but postponement of our task. In the One Ring is hidden much of the ancient power of Sauron before it was first broken. Even though he has not regained it, that power still lives. . .As long as the Ring remains on land or in the sea, he will not be overcome. He will have hope; and he will grow, and all men will be turned to him; and the fear lest the Ring come into his hand again will weigh on all hearts, and war will never cease'. (P. 154)

    I'll add that it seems odd that it is Glorfindel, in the final text, who recommends throwing it in the Sea; you'd think one of such wisdom and experience (two lives worth!) would recognize the foolishness of such a course.
     
  7. Aramarien

    Aramarien New Member

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    If the One Ring was never found, Smaug, most likely, would not have been defeated. Using the ring, Bilbo was able to see Smaug's weak point. Also, Bilbo used the ring to save the dwarves from the spiders, so they may or may not have survived. Bilbo most likely would have perished in The Battle of the Five Armies. He was overlooked because he was wearing the ring. (of course, we could go back to the dwarves being caught in the Goblin's Cave. Gandalf saved them, but would Bilbo be utterly lost? Would Gollum even be there if HE didn't have the ring?) In the Unfinished Tales, there is a discussion by Gandalf that he felt that the dragon could be used by Sauron which would have had widespread destruction. Gandalf said, "there would be no Queen in Minas Tirith.....all for a chance meeting in Bree....." (meeting of Thorin and Gandalf)

    If Bilbo did survive the journey and made it back home, he would still have adopted Frodo, most likely, but of course, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin would have stayed in the Shire, unless Frodo traveled with Bilbo to see the elves in Rivendell.

    Otherwise, I agree with the other posters that Sauron would still be growing his power and working to gain control of Middle Earth. Saruman would be still trying to gain control for his own means, but the sheer numbers that Sauron had would ultimately defeat him.

    The pockets that the elves had created, Rivendell and Lothlorien, would not stand for long, the Shire would be taken over, Rohan and Minas Tirith would be utterly defeated. Even if the Ents would arise, there wouldn't be enough of them, although the Huorns could give some orcs a run for their money. The eagles would most likely stay in their eyries.

    Ultimately, Sauron would take control of ME.
     

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