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Sauron and invisibility

Arathorn

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Was Sauron invisible when he wore the ring? If not, why not? If so, how was the ring cut from his hand?
 

Greenwood

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The books do not say. The presumption is that he was not or Gil-galad and Elendil could not have engaged him in combat. As to why it would not be made invisible, I suppose it is up to conjecture. Afterall, the ring did not make Tom Bombadill invisible, so it didn't have that effect on some creatures.
 

JanitorofAngmar

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Remember

Sauron is master over the ring. Not the reverse. He forged it, he put his power into it. He controls it. In my mind if he wanted to be invisible, then he would just command it to be so. As is the reverse, If he does not, he isn't.

JoA
 

Lantarion

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Hmm, I sort of agree with that. But if Sauron could have become invisible at any time he wanted to, why didn't he? Wouldn't it me even more devastating to fight your foes when they can't see you? Or would he become a part of the "wraith world", and he couldn't see all the Elves surrounding him? But if he is a Maia, wouldn't he be able to see both the Seen and the Unseen world? So many questions, so little time! :)
Welcoem to the forum, Arathorn! If you're wondering if the fact that Sauron wore the Ring over his gauntlet had anything to do with his not being invisible, then no, it didn't. It was just another foolish adition by PJ, damn him. :D
 

Arathorn

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It seems to me that their are two issues related to invisibilty:

1. JRRT wrote himself into a corner in the Hobbit. Although JRRT revised some of the originial account of the Bilbo/Gollum episode in the Hobbit, there really was no way to eliminate the ring making Bilbo invisible. As such, he was stuck with a ring that made the wearer invisible.

2. As a matter of fact, we know that the ring did make mortal wearers invisible in LOTR (not Bombadil, whatever he was). In LOTR, Gandalf questions whether Sauron was able to take shape (although Gollum in TT speaks of there being only four fingers on the Black Hand, thus leading to the conclusion that he was able to take shape). It seems that Sauron's problem was not in being invisible, but in having the power to take physical form. Thus I wonder whether in forging the ring and putting his power into the ring, Sauron surrendered some of his true self as well as his power. As such, when a mortal wore the ring, he became like Sauron's true form and lost physical shape, being unable to master or control the power of the ring. However, I was not sure if any of JRRT's writings resolved this issue.
 

pippin le qer

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is the invisibility not more or less the consequence of becoming part of Sauron's world? Bilbo hardly did, but Frode doesn't see the things and persons nearby clearly, because he is wandering through a world not ruled by light. And the denizens of that world were pretty clear to him. That's what I remember from the standing at the Bruinenford. vice versa the Nazgul couldn't use their eyesight to find Frodo in the Shire till he puts on the ring and pops up like a lightbulb in the dark world. Not the kind of invisibilty that grows in your kitchengarden I would say.
 

Grond

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I'm not sure if it's in his letters or in HoMe but JRRT does address the issue of Sauron's problems in repeatedly having to recreate his earthly form. It states that each time he was vanquished a part of his spirtual power was used in creating each subsequent physical reincarnation. After Numenor, he could never assume a shape that was deemed fair and his last incarnation at first as the Necromancer and then Sauron had taken both time and consumed another amount of his power.

As to the Ring rendering him invisible; it would not render anyone invisible who already resided in the ethereal world. That would include both Elves and Maia. (Evidence where Frodo, while wearing the Ring, sees Glorfindel as a glowing figure driving the Wraiths into the Fords of Bruinen.) It also had caused no special effects on Dwarves apparently because they were made "of the Earth" by Aule and were resistent to his inherent evil (although not immune).

I will look and see tonight where the author spells it out unless Cian beats me to the punch. Anything I can find, Cian can find better..... Anything, everything better than me!!!:)
 

Elbereth

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Perhaps the reason the ring made Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam disappear was that it was what they wanted.

The ring was a ring of power, in which the bearer could control the world as they saw fit. However, Hobbits don't desire power. Hobbits desire to be left alone, unseen from the rest of the world, so that they may live their own life as they see fit. Perhaps it was their will that made them invisible.

And possibly the reason that the ring did not effect Tom Bombadil was the mere fact that he did not desire anything at all. He just was and always will be Tom Bombadil.
 

pippin le qer

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Oh Great Elbereth,

you can drop the "perhaps"in your answer on my account, liking the clear and simpleness of it.
 

Elanor2

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Hi Elbereth,

Unfortunately, the hobbits were not the only ones that used the One ring and became invisible. Isildur did too. Remember that the ring betrayed him by slyding out of his finger in the river and making him visible to the attacking orcs.

I think that the invisibility was a kind of trick of the ring. After Sauron lost it to Isildur, I have the feeling that the ring took inmediate steps to protect itself from destruction by making itself useful. Invisibility is a great thing if you live in a dangerous world, since it gives you some protection. That way, people that were in danger (and who isn't, anyway) would become attached to the ring and that would make the ring take some hold of you.

On the other hand, and as everything that the One Ring does, it is not without a double edge. Invisibility is a kind of sneaky way to solve things. People that live honest lives have no need to hide. Having a ring that makes you invisible could make you also develop some "not so honest" ideas, like sneaking and spying, as Gollum did before he was expelled from his family, or avoid unpleasant members of your family, like Bilbo did. And these things make the ring take hold of you as well.

Finally, looking at what happened to Isildur in the Anduin and to Frodo in Weathertop, I am inclined to think that the whole invisiblity thing was definitively the ring's manipulation of the current owner.

Galadriel, Elrond and Gandalf were not invisible, and the Nazgul were wraiths, so they do not count any more. Does anyone know for sure if the other rings made you invisible as well of if that was a trick of the One ring?

Regards. Elanor2
 

Grond

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Gandalf explains to Frodo while they're in Rivendell that the Ring actually takes the wearer into the world of spirits. He tells Frodo that is the reason he seems to disappear but in fact, is simply in another plane, the spiritual one. That plane is where the Wraiths features are visible and where the Elves' true spirits are seen as well. Remember how Glorfindel was described at the Fords as being a bright light. Frodo could see both the Wraiths and the true and bright spirit of Glorfindel at the Fords.

It doesn't make the elves or Sauron invisible as they already live in both worlds unlike Man and Hobbits.
 

pippin le qer

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sounds a lot like what I said, only less vaguely, problaly because Grond's copy of LoTR isn't beneath a pile of other books I desperaly need to sort out. I didn't see the book in ten year, must have been a good one cause I remember so much of it.
 

Brent

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Gronds last post seems to neatly sum up my opinion. Sauron is already in the wraith world, the bit that spills over into ours will always be seen cos it has nowhere to go. Mortals shift over into the wraith world.
 

earlofdoncaster

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In my opinion no because a being of Sauron's immense power,even more enhanced by the ring would not be able to conceal himself. It is somewhat like the passage in Unfinished Tales explaining Sauron's plans in the earlier days of the war explaining that although the nazgul were his most reliable servants, such was their power and terror that they could be noticed even when unclad. And as Glorfindel revealed, the eldar have power over the invisible as well. Since Sauron doesn't need to be invisible in mordor, and in great battles against the eldar there is no point being invisible, as his power would be felt by the eldar, being invisible doesn't really help him. Perhaps this is why Tolkien neglected to ponder upon his subject
 

Arda

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Well this is for sure, at least at the time that Isiudur cut the ring from his finger he wasn't invisible. I can't remember which book it was in but it said somewhere that he was like the other beings directly conected under the valar, for example Aule. Before he made the ring he was capable of being invisible, but as it tells us in the Simillarion once he made the ring and put it on he took an evil fear striking shape. I'm only making an educated guess but he probably either wasn't able to be invisible while wearing the ring or he in his mind was beyond the thought of defeated. That's what I can come up with from what I know.
 

Aglarband

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Grond said:
Gandalf explains to Frodo while they're in Rivendell that the Ring actually takes the wearer into the world of spirits. He tells Frodo that is the reason he seems to disappear but in fact, is simply in another plane, the spiritual one. That plane is where the Wraiths features are visible and where the Elves' true spirits are seen as well. Remember how Glorfindel was described at the Fords as being a bright light. Frodo could see both the Wraiths and the true and bright spirit of Glorfindel at the Fords.

It doesn't make the elves or Sauron invisible as they already live in both worlds unlike Man and Hobbits.
WAIT a second! This means that Bombadil HAS to be a Maiar, since he didn't disapear, and he was NOT an Elf! Haha! Mystery solved if this statement is true!
 

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