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Thread: why doesn't sauron disapear

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Welcome Ceocan! And that is a good question! Sauron is a Maia spirit and apparently the ring does not have the invisibility effect on Maia, only on 'lesser' creatures. That's why Tom Bombadil doesn't disappear when he puts the ring on in the book, because he is Maia as well. It's reasonable to assume that if Gandalf had worn the ring, he would not have become invisible either since he too is Maia. Any other theories?
No, your idea holds water for me, Prog; I think you have got it right. Smile Smilie

Of course as this is in the movie section and Tom Bombadil wasn't, that may be confusing to the movie goers who haven't yet read the books. I guess they really ought to do the reading for even more enjoyment. Smile Smilie

[Edited on 12/8/2002 by Grondmaster]
That Maia-theory could work (if we assume that Tom Bombadil really was a Maia), but I always thought it was simply because Sauron was The Lord of The Ring, and therefor he controlled the Ring and not the other way around.

[Edited on 12/8/2002 by Alqua]
Welcome Alqua Big Smile Smilie

I agree with Alqua on this one. I assumed that Frodo and Bilbo disappeared due to their lack of control over the rings power, while Sauron dominated the ring and Tom could control it due to the fact that he seemed to know pretty much everything else Cool Smilie
I too agree with the notion that Sauron had power over the ring whilst the others (Bilbo, Frodo, Samwise, etc) didn't.
I have also always found it difficult to classify Tom Bombadill according to the known 'races', and have therefore always thought of him as being completely different to any type mentioned. Is there a reference to Tom being a Maia? It is probably the only known race that would fit, though my impression from comments that he made about himself and also that Gandalf (I think) made is that he is very different to all else.
A question: If my memory serves me correctly and Gandalf was questioned about Tom, would not Gandalf (being a Maia) know that Tom was?
Welcome Alqua and Galadhril! Big Smile Smilie I don't think there are any specific references to Tom being Maiar in any of Tolkiens writings. But then again, I haven't read all of Tolkiens writings! However, there is one thing that suggests to me that he is. The elves called Tom 'Irwain Ben-adar' which I believe means 'old without a father' which suggests demi-god like or angelic roots. Angel Smilie Since we know Tom is not Valar, that only leaves Maia. I suppose he could be something else entirely, but one would think Tolkien would have metioned such a powerful being in The Silmarillion. I guess Tom was intentionally left a mystery, but what good's a mystery without someone to wonder at it? Wink Smilie

I am no Tolkien expert though. There are other site members who are far more knowledgeable about these things than me!
Maybe the ring did make him invisible. Sauron is usualy depicted in full body armor, helmet, chainmail, the lot. Maybe he wore the armor so people could see him, because the ring made him dissapear.
But Frodo and Bilbo disappeared clothing and all.
Maybe the question should be why does the ring make Bilbo and Frodo to disappear. Does their invisibility cause them to become visible to Sauron and the wraiths?
Yes, yes it does, everybody knows that.
Kewl another What is Tom discussion Smile Smilie

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'Irwain Ben-adar' which I believe means 'old without a father' which suggests demi-god like or angelic roots. Since we know Tom is not Valar, that only leaves Maia


How do we know he isn't a Valar?

and yes putting on the ring makes you vissible for the wraithies and sauron and keeps you visible for tom
Lol! What a great discussion this is. I'll stick to the Maia theory however. It's very logical innit. Though it could just be because Sauron controls the Ring, but that leaves Tom unanswered. The Maia thing is fine with me. At least then I'll know what I am...
To remain visible while wearing the Ring, I think you need to be more powerful than the Ring itself. Sauron obviously was because he forged it, and Tom shows his power by being unaffected by it too.
Also, I don't believe the ring just had the effect of making the wearer invisible. I believe the reason they appeared invisible was because the Ring had "moved" them to another dimension bordering on the Prime Material Plane. This "Border Dimension" was the one inhabited by creatures of "negative force", eg. the Nazgul, Wraiths etc. That would explain why the wearer can see these creatures while the Ring is being worn, and why they can better detect the wearer.
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How do we know he isn't a Valar?
Because it is written that there were seven Valar and seven Valier. All of them a named and accounted for. In my opinion, Tom was one of Yavanna's Maiar.
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How do we know he isn't a Valar?
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Because it is written that there were seven Valar and seven Valier. All of them a named and accounted for. In my opinion, Tom was one of Yavanna's Maiar.

Maybe he's a Valar in disguise? I find the possibly of Tom/Goldberry being Aule/Yavanna incognito terribly romantic.

Besides, a Maiar (with the exception of Sauron) would not be strong enough to resist the power of the ring. Gandalf was one, and even he was afraid to touch the OneRing.
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To remain visible while wearing the Ring, I think you need to be more powerful than the Ring itself. Sauron obviously was because he forged it, and Tom shows his power by being unaffected by it too.


Isn't it somewhere written in LotR that Toms staying visble was the other way around, Because that the ring did NOT have power over Tom instead of Tom having power over the ring.
because if you would have power over the ring you would be able to wield it.. at least i think so..

As for Valars in diguise that would be nice Smile Smilie
or it could be valar, that weren't mentioned because they took no part in shaping middle earth but just inhabited it.
then offcourse it could be Maya or it could be protectors of the wood and river made by yavanna Just like the ents but a bit more advanced.
I've even read somewhere, someone thought it could be the representation of Illuvatar living in middle earth. beceause what would be the fun of creating middle earth and only gazing upon it from the void or where ever Eru Resided

[Edited on 16/8/2002 by Boring]
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... what would be the fun of creating middle earth and only gazing upon it from the void or where ever Eru Resided
You mean like we have to do? Personally, I consider viewing ME from afar, distant in both location and time, to be extremely fun or rather enjoyable. But then again, I'm not Eru. Big Smile Smilie
Hmmm, interesting theory. Tom is Eru. Kinda scary to think that the all powerful creator of the universe skips around the forest singing things like "ring a dong a dillo", don't you think? Could be just me I suppose. Wink Smilie
I rather like the idea, it reminds me of Tom Holt's God in "Faust among Equals" who sits about tinkering with his screwdrivers and doodads all day without a thought for what he's actually doing. Or Pratchett's creator, who creates life by dropping an egg and cress sandwich.
It's all fine with me, as long as I am something!!

No, I kinda like the Valar in disguise thingie. Always known that there's more about me then the eye can see... Big Laugh Smilie
Elf Smilie I kinda like both theories. For some reason I had it in my head that Tom was Valar, but I forgot about the Silm. Rolling Eyes Smilie And all the Valar are accounted for. However Valar in disguise is rather romantic. But I really think I that Maia really works the best. The Eru thing is very interesting though.

I hope i have not made tooo many mistakes, it is kinda difficult to type with a cat Cat Smilie resting her head on me arma while i am typing. lol Very Big Grin Smilie

I love the little smileys Angel Smilie Pixie Smilie Tigger Smilie
Here's an interesting thought for an interesting subject:
Sauron was Lord of the Ring, he created it and filled it with his power, so he could use it for whatever he wanted, but he could make himself invisible if he wanted. For lesser beings, it made them invisible: or maybe a better way of saying it is that it put the wearer into Sauron's world, the world of the Unseen. Or as Gandalf said to Frodo in Rivendell "Those who were born in the Undying Lands live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power." I think that Gandalf and Galadriel would have been able to put on the One Ring and remain visible, but not for long. It's power for evil was too great and it would have corrupted them.
Then witness Galadriel with HER Ring. True, the Three were not designed to confer invisibility on their wearers - that was a power of the corrupted Rings that Sauron helped to forge. But while Galadriel wore Nenya, no one could see IT! Only Frodo could see it: in the book when she held up her hand and the star Earendil shone on it, but Sam was right there and didn't see it at all. In the movie, she held out her hand as if to take the One Ring when Frodo offered it to her, and there was no Ring on it; then she held out that same hand again, and there it was, right on her finger. (It looked like a cheap piece of costume jewelry, but that's just my opinion.)
And then we don't see the other Rings until the end of the third movie, as they're boarding the ship at the Havens. Even then, only those of us who read the books saw them, because no mention was made of them in the dialogue. Elrond shows his as he welcomes Bilbo on board, Galadriel is wearing hers, and Gandalf shows his as he holds his staff.
Or did anyone else notice this?
I certainly noticed the Rings. But at the time, I was more interested in the staff that had been broken and suddenly remade. Very interesting.

Gandalf
About Tom Bomabdil - he cannot be Maiar, or Valar, becuase Melkor was the first of the Ainur to descend, and as we know Tom Bombadil was in the World before him.

Not quite sure what all this big deal is about Tom though. We KNOW what he is - JRR specifically states that he is an enigma. I suppose we could all speculate which race he is most similar to but at the end of the day he doesn't fit into any of them - because JRR didn't want him to.
It is entirely possible that Tom Bombadil was a Maia at least, but also possible that he's one of those things that were still in the freedom of Iluvatars' thought. But at least consider this:
Melkor was about the second to last to descend to Arda, in a form greater and more terrible than any other Vala to challenge them for the mastery of the world. The last was Tulkas. The Valar's first home was the Isle of Almaren, but it was destroyed when Melkor toppled the great Lamps, so the Valar departed into the West to make a new home. It's at least possible that Tom Bombadil stayed behind as his own master, just as Ungoliant left the service of Melkor to be mistress of her own lust.
Hmm not quite sure about this. Melkor was the first of the Ainur (Valar AND Maiar) to descend as we know. Tom Bombadil was in Arda before Melkor. Seems to be impossible for Bombadil to be an Ainur.
It states in the Silmarillion that Melkor looked down on the world that the Valar wrought and desire for it filled his heart, and saw that the other Valar had taken visible forms to dwell therein. Then he himself took visible form of greater power and majesty than any of the other Valar, but because of his mood his form was dark and terrible, and he descended like a mountain into the sea.
Of course, I could be wrong. Smile Smilie
I believe you are refering to the time after Melkor had to flee from Tulkas. Originally there was nothing in Arda and Melkor debated with Manwe saying 'This is my kingdom and I name it unto myself'. Then began the time where the Valar created and Melkor destroyed, until Tulkas, last of the Valar to descend, drove Melkor out of Arda and stole from him the Mastery of the Earth. Then Melkor gathered to him spirits out of the many places of Ea, the Universe, of which Arda is only a small part, and "Looked down in envy of the Valar" etc
But Melkor was the first to descend in the beginning.
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and he descended like a mountain into the sea.

Talk about missing one's mark.

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But Melkor was the first to descend in the beginning.

Only according to the Elven loremasters of Valinor who wrote the History of the Quendi, and who obviously had never heard of Mr Bombadil and his lascivious Lady.
No doubt in my mind that TB is Maia and Goldberry as well.

The more interesting question is; what is it about being a Maia that makes the Ring not effect Tom, whereas the Istari were effected.

In Tolkien's letters he kind of comically says that basically Tom if from another adventure and has no interest in these matters at hand. The Istari had their minds set to a specific task that was relevant to Men.
If you want a really good read on the Tom Bombadil subject, visit this thread... The most 'famous' one on PT... Was Tom Bombadil Important to

It isn't important wether Sauron is a Maia or something else, he made a ring to be more powerful, he was clearly  aware of the fact that any one, beside him, who puts the ring on would dissapear.

Ive given this a lot of thought over the years. In my mind The Ring was a kind of Horcrux, for those Potter Fans out there. Sauron, when wearing The Ring, was at full power, when he was not, a large percentage of his power was held within The Ring with the remainder embodied within his evil form. In this weakend state I guess he, although still obviously powerful, was unable to utilise the full gamit of his Maian power.

Re Bombadil's reaction to The One Ring or as he states, This Trinket, I think is due to the way The Ring works. It feeds on the wearers want of domination of others. Bombodil doesn't fathom domination, its totally useless to him, he is a spirit of nature and only cares for his realm. To him power and wealth mean absolutely nothing. So therefore The Ring holds no power more than a normal gold ring.

Gandalf and Galadriel both feared the effect The Ring would eventually have on them. They knew that Sauron's trick with the ring is to work on greed, and even the purist of us has a tiny amount of greed, which eventually The Ring would find and prey upon.

Both Gandalf and Galadriel state that if they had The Ring, they would wish to do good. But through them The Ring would over take them. It probably would not have instantly turned them evil and it may have taken centuries but why risk it. I think the film Gandalf seemed more scared of The Ring than Book Gandalf. Infact from memory I think he does touch The Ring as he discovers its true identity with Frodo in Bag End.

Of course all of this could be very wrong and I guess we will never know. This is the genius of JRRT and his writing style.

Brego your point of view has left me thinking about it.

Perhaps Maias can bear the ring because as they are pure for nature, the ring cannot dominate them and make its will. Through corrupted beings or with weak ones (middle earth born beings), the ring can change them in horrible dictators, only to bring chaos and darkness to whole middle earth. I have to think more about that, great thread by the way!

I think Sauron himself made the ring so that he himself wouln't dissapear. Sauron ruled by fear. So putting on the ring and marching into battle invisibly has less effect on his enemy than seeing a powerful and fearsome being marching towards them.

Maybe the question should be why does the ring make Bilbo and Frodo to disappear. Does their invisibility cause them to become visible to Sauron and the wraiths?

This is a good question. Yes, after putting the Ring on they can be visible for the wraiths (and basically all the spirits) but why they have to dissapear from the material world? Does the fact they are living creatures limits their presence to one of the worlds at time - material or immaterial? Wouldn't it mean that the Ringwraiths (being neither dead nor alive) should be visible in both world or none of them? Or am I just overthinking it? ;p

I think Sauron himself made the ring so that he himself wouln't dissapear. Sauron ruled by fear. So putting on the ring and marching into battle invisibly has less effect on his enemy than seeing a powerful and fearsome being marching towards them.

I totally agree with this.

Isn't it somewhere written in LotR that Toms staying visible was the other way around, Because that the ring did NOT have power over Tom instead of Tom having power over the ring.

I also see it that way. Can't remember if it was clearly stated in some of the books or not.

Assuming that Tom is a Maia spirit (which I was never convinced about) and it's not affecting him, even if Sauron also is Maia - maybe the Ring didn't affect him because of its limited powers? Sauron made the Ring - against specific powers, focused on specific weakness of his enemies, and trying to create it respectively to the conditions for using it. Maybe he wasn't aware of Tom's presence of Arda? Maybe he had no idea that such a creature exists. we know that Tom was already there, but it's not like Tom was an active participant of the events related to Sauron. Or Morgoth even. Sauron could be aware of him but never saw him as a treat, or be totally unaware of his presence (especially considering his focus on Men and Elves as as a main enemies).

As Maia, like Elves, inhabit both worlds and the Nazgul, although human started off inhabiting the physical world and had their spirit sucked into the ethereal world as they became the undead but alive via their rings. I'd have to say that perhaps only mortals became invisible while wearing The One Ring. The Dwarves however remained part of the mortal world while wearing their rings, so perhaps the fact that they were not initially made by Eru had some effect on them.

I think the proof of this is what Frodo see's while wearing The One Ring at the ford at the entrance to Imladris. He can see the Nazgul as they really are, wasted spririt wraiths. He can see Glorfindal as a shining powerful light, but can't see Aragon. Aragorn is invisible in this other world because he is truly mortal. Invisible, as Frodo is while wearing the ring to every one in the Mortal World.

That makes sense, Brego.

I'd have to say that perhaps only mortals became invisible while wearing The One Ring. (...)

The Dwarves however remained part of the mortal world while wearing their rings, so perhaps the fact that they were not initially made by Eru had some effect on them.

That might be the stupidest question possible here, but aren't the Dwarves mortal? Yes, I know that seven Fathers of the Dwarves were believed to be reincarnating but as far as I remember it was suggested that the Dwarves believe in it, not that it is a fact.

Yes Indis, the Dwarves are Mortal, or at least not Immortal.  Tolkien isn't really clear on this point, or at least leave us pondering on a number of points regarding the Dwarf mysteries.

You are correct Indis, and in my opinion Tolkien is clear enough that Dwarves in general are not immortal: for example, in a note associated with the making of the Appendices JRRT wrote that the average age of Dwarves [who did not meet with a violent death] was around 250.

Christopher Tolkien then notes that in the genealogical table the life span of all the kings of Durin's folk from Thrain I to Nain II varied only between 247 and 256 years, and no Dwarf in the table exceeded that, save Borin [261] and Dwalin, who lived to the vast age of 340 [while the first Durin lived very long of course]

And with respect to the return of the Fathers, this is noted as Dwarvish lore [the Dwarves themselves adding this], and in one late note Tolkien will refer to Legolas again, due to his close friendship with a Dwarvish source in Gimli of course, where he writes...

'... Indeed most of the references to Dwarvish history in Elvish records are marked with 'so said Legolas'.

JRRT, Last Writings, Author's note, note 21