This is my first post, bear with me if this has come up before....
I am unsure (and Tolkien is unclear) exactly how the One controls the wearers of other rings. For example, in the Third Age Sauron has lost the One but can still control the Nazgul...does this mean he holds the Nine somewhere to control them through these rings?
In that case, how did the Nine not escape his dominion when Sauron was 'slain' by Isildur, Gil-galad etc? He lost the One but if they had the Nine would they not become free of him, in the same way as the bearers of the Three in the Third Age were?
Hi JonnieA, welcome to PT!
I'm glad to find a question about LOTR that isn't about pro and contra movie/actors. But I'm afraid I'm not exactly the right person to aswer your question. I've only read LOTR twice and that's almost two years ago. Never read the Sil, but here's my try.
I think the reason why Sauron can still controle the Nazgul is because they are dead. The nine Kings were slain, wearing the rings and entered the world of shadows. I don't think anyone can escape from there. If the One Ring is destroyed, they are destroyed with it. If Frodo wouldn't have had the strenght to fight back when he was stabbed by the Mordor knive, he would have gone to that world himself, and no-one could have saved him. He would have been lost.
The bearers of the Three on the other hand are still alive when the one is destroyed. They were under Sauron's controle, but not irreversable. When the one ring is cast into the fire of Mount Doom, they are 'set free'. If they would have been in the world of shadows too, they would have been lost too.
Why the Nine didn't escape from Sauron's domination when he was slain by Gil-galad, is because the Ring survived and it is the Ring that controles the others. Had Isildur destroyed the Ring then, the Nine would have been gone too.
How this controle actually works? I don't know.
The above is only how I see things I'm not sure if it is actually correct, but someone else will help out, I'm sure.