One Ring

“The One Ring, also called the Ruling Ring and Isildur’s Bane, is a central plot element in J. R. R. Tolkien‘s The Lord of the Rings (1954–55). It first appeared in the earlier story The Hobbit (1937) as a magic ring that grants the wearer invisibility. Tolkien changed it into a malevolent Ring of Power and re-wrote parts of The Hobbit to fit in with the expanded narrative. The Lord of the Rings describes the hobbit Frodo Baggins‘s quest to destroy the Ring. Critics have compared the story with the ring-based plot of Richard Wagner‘s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen; Tolkien denied any connection, but at the least, both men drew on the same mythology. … Tolkien rejected the idea that the story was an allegory, saying that applicability to situations such as the Second World War and the atomic bomb was a matter for readers. Other parallels have been drawn with the Ring of Gyges in Plato‘s Republic, which conferred invisibility, though there is no suggestion that Tolkien borrowed from the story. The One Ring was forged by the Dark Lord Sauron during the Second Age to gain dominion over the free peoples of Middle-earth. … Creating the Ring simultaneously strengthened and weakened Sauron. With the Ring, he could control the power of all the other Rings, and thus he was significantly more powerful after its creation than before; but by binding his power within the Ring, Sauron became dependent on it. The Ring seemed to be made simply of gold, but it was completely impervious to damage, even to dragon fire (unlike other rings). …

One ring to rule them all,
one ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them.  …”

A Weapon With a Will of Its Own: How Tolkien Wrote the One Ring as a Character

The shepherd Gyges finds the magic ring, setting up a moral dilemma. Ferrara, 16th century.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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