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Can the Ring think

The Dark Walker

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This properly sounds stupid but seeing the trailers have given me this thought.
One quote where Gandalf says "It (the ring)wants to be found"
Can the ring think it obviously chose Smeagol + Bilbo to find it so it could get home. In the book it even says that the ring abandoned Gollum when it was getting no-where.
Any-who just asking
 
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ReadWryt

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I believe that Gandalf was speaking figuratively. The Ring has a seductive component to it's power. It is useless without someone to wear it, and I don't, in my opinion alone mind you, believe that it has sentience per se. I think that what he meant was that, because the Ring's power lie in it being worn and used, and because once one wore the Ring one felt urges to do so again, that it "wanted" to be found in much the same way that a very comfortable chair "Wants" to be sat in.

It is interesting though that you should ask that because I began, after my second reading of the books, to think of the ring as a character unto it's self. It does seem to have some aspects that could at first blush be interpreted as "Life". It's ability to change shape and MASS for instance, make it seem almost to have a mind. I'm not certain that it's so much Mind as it is Will, if you take my meaning.
 

Ancalagon

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Well done, what a tremendous question which I suppose is sub-consciously on everyones mind as they read hte books. I always imagined the ring to be an 'emotional magnet', of Saurons. If you imagine someone trying to move a penny across a table using thought as the driver, thats how I envisaged the ring. In the same way, Sauron is ever drawing this ring back towards himself.
The ring itself, is a powerful item, though without thought or will, yet destructive and deceiving by its ability and beauty. Obviously the powers held within the ring are those very same powers Sauron himself invested in it, so what the rings does is simply present the bearer with Saurons power, which none can manipulate to their own ends. These powers consume the bearer whereby their will is bent to that of Saurons. The ring is the catalyst for it knows no different.
 

DGoeij

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I think you're both right. The Ring is one heck of a tool, but I still think it is just that, a tool. Sauron invested a lot of his power in it, wich made it potentially very powerful. But to think of it as having a mind of its own. Not based on what I've read nor on what I've felt during the reading.
The Silmarillons didn't seem to have a will of their own, but they created a tremendous havoc in Middle Earth. I think of the Ring in about the same terms. But who am I?;)
 
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Bunzy

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Good question about the ring, but i suppose everyone has thier own ideas about whether it's a conscious being or just a programmed tool.

If the ring could be conscious, would it know it was evil? And then would it attempt to be independent and use it's power for other purposes for greater good/bad? Or maybe go on holiday or something, who knows.

I think how the ring got into Bilbo's hands was just fate,along with Gollum and the other guy. The ring is a parasite, and therefore i think performs its evil ways naturally, just like a virus (i suppose).
 

Grond

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What an interesting thread made more so by the fact that Walter, DGoeij and I are having this very debate in another unrelated thread. Now we really have a place to stir up the ole thought waves. The Grondmeister is researching this very matter and won't make a definitive post until he has facts to support his hypothesis.

I will, however, make a comment concerning the chair analogy though. No chair that I know of has had a Maia invest it with an enormous portion of the physical and spiritual being. So I don't think that's a fair comparison. I wonder, if having invested so much of himself in the Ring, if it did not yearn for him, much as a magnet would be attracted, always sensing (maybe in a noncognitive way that we can't understand) its master's absence and influencing those who come in contact with it to get back to him. At least, that's my hypothesis.... now, of to the books to see if I can substantiate my thoughts with the Author's words.

And, if the Ring doesn't have a sentient presence, then why is Grond, Melkor's Mace, posting in a Tolkien Forum. Surely, if Grond has conscious thoughts, surely the One Ruling Ring would also. ;)
 

Gothmog

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Can the Ring think? To start with a straight answer to the Question. No, I do not believe that the Ring Can think.

I have posted on other threads that I feel that Sauron could use to some extent the power that he had invested in the Ring which is what allowed him to control the Nazgul and to rebuild his body when he returned to Mordor. If this is true then there would have to be some form of link between the two. It is my opinion that this link is what caused the apparent sentience of an inanimate object. What seem to be the will of the One is in fact the Will of Sauron calling the Ring to he who made it.
 

Grond

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I'mmmmm back!! And loaded with ammo. I will start off with a quote from the Silmarillion in the Valaquenta, Chapter "Of the Maiar", "...Wisest of the Maiar was Olorin..." My quotes will concern Gandalf-Mithrandir-Olorin so I wanted to qualify that he might just know of what he speaks.

Now for the meat. The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 2, "The Shadow of the Past"... Gandalf-Mithrandir-Olorin makes all of the following quotes,

1) "A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. It may slip treacherously, but its keeper never abandons it. At most he plays with the idea of handing it on to some one else's care..."

2) "...It was not Gollum, Frodo, but the Ring itself that decided things. The Ring left him."

3)"...There was more than one power at work, Frodo. The Ring was trying to get back to its master. It had slipped from Isildur's hand and betrayed him; then when chance came it caught poor Deagol and he was murdered; and after that Gollum, and it devoured him. It could make no further use of him; he was too small and mean;and as long as it stayed with him he would never leave his deep pool again. So now, when its master was awake and once more and sending out his dark thought from Mirkwood, it abandoned Gollum. Only to be picked up by the most unlikely person imaginable; Bilbo from the Shire!" and finally

4) "Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it...."

In case no one notices, Gandalf is referring to the Ring as an entitity with some cognitive capabilities (it betrayed Isildur... inanimate objects DO NOT BETRAY!) Maybe no abilities that we can understand but abilities none the less.

There you have my argument with the source as none other than Gandalf, a goody two shoed Istari. One of "you" guys and not some evil moron such as Grond. So........ let's get started and make this thread "Rock and Roll"!!
 
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Gothmog

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The question was 'Can the Ring Think' I still feel that the answer is no. Inanimate objects Can Betray, Burglers have been 'Betrayed' by things knocked over or slipping out of their hands. Soldiers have been 'Betrayed' by tripwires, Inanimate objects can cause problems without planning or can be the extention of someone's will. I stick by my view that the will in this case was Saurons.

I agree that the Ring has abilities to care for itself and to answer the call of it's maker, these would have come from the power that Sauron put into it. So again I come back to the point that The will and the inteligence belonged to Sauron and was not part of the Ring itself.

You quote Gandalf saying that there was more than one power at work which means that at least one will was not in the Ring, but this does not mean that one must have been. I think that neither will was 'part of the make-up' of the Ring but that one was Sauron and the other was against Sauron.
 

Grond

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Gothmog... not meaning to be argumentative.. but...I am!

"A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo...", "but the Ring itself decided things. The Ring left him...", "The Ring was trying to get back to its master...", "...it caught poor Deagol...", "...it devoured him...", "...It could make no further use of him...", "...it abandoned Gollum...".

These descriptions by Gandalf sound like he's referring to a very "animate" object. How can an inanimate object decide something? I think Gandalf was speaking very literally here. I also find it hard to compare Gandalf's quotes about the ring to a burglar dropping a candlestick because the candlestick betrayed him. There is something much more sinister and real here and it definately has to do with Sauron. But did Sauron put so much of himself into the Ring as to give it an identity? Well, that's what this thread is about.
 
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Bunzy

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I agree with Gothmog. Just putting it simply, the ring can't think on it's very own. Forget about all those double-meanings that can be interpreted from some of Gandalf's quotes about the ring. Yes he speaks of the ring as though it is conscious and takes actions deliberately. Isn't he just metaphorically speaking? Using words that people are able to accomplish (betray for instance).

You could argue for ages, "metaphorically" the ring thinks, but logically it doesn't think. It hasn't got a brain. I can't think of anything that hasn't got a brain and doesn't think.
 

Grond

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Bunzy, I'll directly contradict what you've proposed by Tolkien's own works and words, from The Silmarillion, Chapter 21, Of Turin Turambar, concerning the blade Gurthang, "...And from the blade rang a cold answer:'Yea, I will drink thy blood gladly, that so I may forget the blood of Beleg my master, and the blood of Brandir slain unjustly. I will slay thee swiftly.'" But, then again, maybe the sword is speaking "metaphorically"!:rolleyes:

One last thing to prove that the portrayal of the Ring as an entity was not based solely on Gandalf's quotes. In the Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, Page 295, and I quote, "...There the Ring betrayed him and avenged its maker, for it slipped from his finger as he swam and was lost in the water." There it is again, "...betrayed... and avenged... and slipped from his finger." Sentient actions from a mere Ring. Now, we can argue all day, but it's there for you to see with your own eyes both Gandalf's words and the author's himself.:rolleyes:

Busted!:cool:
 
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Beorn

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I believe that the ring doesn't think, but the power which Sauron put into it does contemplate the best way to get back to it's maker. Like two oppisites trying to get to each other (male<>female...north<>south), the ring is trying to make it's way back to Sauron because it wants to be complete.

--

If the ring could be conscious, would it know it was evil? And then would it attempt to be independent and use it's power for other purposes for greater good/bad? Or maybe go on holiday or something, who knows.
I'd say no and no. If you were brought up from the first day of your life being told that Tolkien was the best writer in the world, that he created a place, that he made the framework for all fantasies since his, and you were given his books to read, would you think that he is the best writer in the world? Of course. You would have no idea of what to compare against. You would be so rigidly attached to the idea (read "fact" :D) that Tolkien is the greatest writer of all time because you would never be taught anything else. The ring was never given any idea that it was evil...Sauron, and therefore the ring, would probably believe that it was good, and that the peoples allied with the Fellowship were bad.
I don't think Sauron would be stupid enough to give the ring the power to make decisions. Once you have the power to make decisions and you are exposed to the world and understand the world, you become an individual. As an individual, you can do whatever you like, and I doubt Sauron would want that, as peoples allied with the Fellowship would show the ring all the grief that Sauron was causing and sway the ring's "mind." This would seperate Sauron's powers into good and evil, which would not be good.

If you followed that, I congratulate you!
 
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ReadWryt

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You see? This is why I said that I thought that it didn't so much think as have a will. Obviously the Ring is Animate. It changes shape and mass for goodness sake! But as a Plant can change it's orientation over the course of the day to catch the optimal sunlight, so too does the Ring leave Gollum...IMHO anyways.
 

The Dark Walker

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O.k badly worded question I admit but does the ring actually choose to go where it goes with thought out plans or does it just react to it's masters needs like an animal?
 
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Bunzy

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Darn you Dark Walker. You won't close the thread after all this debating! We're not getting anywhere and you keep asking vague questions that everyone interprets differently.
:mad:
 

Grond

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RadWryt, to me, there is such a thin line between "think" and "will" as to be indistinguishable. And verbs such as "betrayed" and "avenged" seem to indicate some higher thought process. So where does "will" begin and "thought processes" end?

The clincher, to me, is a quote by Gandalf, I previously cited in this very thread which goes, "...It was not Gollum, Frodo, but the Ring itself that decided things. The Ring left him." There it is, "decided". Decided seems a little strong word for just having a "will". I would think one would have to think to make a decision. (But of course, I never do, but you know what I'm driving at here.)

Besides, ReadWryt, a plant changes its orientation to catch the sun, as you say; but, when was the last time you saw it influence someone to dig it up and take it to Florida for a better climate? May have happened but I don't think so.

I will, humbly, bow out of this thread. I have fought the noble fight and humbly put forth my best opinions, supported by the book with quotes and narrative. Alas, it appears that it is an opinion few others share and I also appear to be unsuccessful in changing any minds. :eek:

So....... No! the darn ring cannot think! For Chris' sakes its only a hunk of stinkin' metal.:D :) ;) :p
 
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Ancalagon

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Ok Dark Walker,

You have heard a number of viewpoints from a collective of varied contributors. I think everyone has a valid arguement based on the wording of your original question. I, Grond, Gothmog and RW amonst others have stated our belief on the matter........Now what's yours?
 

Lantarion

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ahem.. If I may cut in before DW..

I think that when Sauron created the Ring, he put a very large part of his soul, will, might, spirit and magic in it. This might mean that Sauron inadvertently 'controlled' the Ring. He was a very powerful Maia, and certainly had ways of 'roving his Eye' around his kingdom and elsewhere. Even though he might not have seen Isildur hiding from the Orcs, he had just lost the Ring and was straining all his will to 'tap into' it, and send it back to him. So the closest thing to this was slipping off Isildur's finger. But then it passed out of Sauron's knowledge completely, and although he still searched for it fervently, the Ring was responding by looking for a new 'master', who it (ie. Sauron's will) could control and make deliver itself to Sauron. So perhaps the Ring's power was in more than invisibility, and it had a magical mind of its own; I don't know. Many things do point to that, like how it corrupts, betrays or helps its wearer. I think it does have some kind of malign, evil conciousness of its own, which is partially controlled by Sauron.
 
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Bunzy

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Yes DW. Why don't you give us your opnion on your question(s)? And please, for the love of God the almighty, and the virgin Mary END this thread once and for all.

You could then start another argument about Hobbits or something.
 

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