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Why didn't Frodo, as Ring Bearer, see the rings on the Ringwraiths?

From: William M. Stolte

Just a note from a Lord of the Rings junkie. I really enjoy your web page. This is the first time I have found you and I've added you to my favorites.

Just one point of interest about your section on Rings. It concerns the section on who holds the Nine rings of the Ringwraiths. I want to preface this by saying that I believe Sauron holds the Nine. However, your section on this subject asks the question, "Why didn't Frodo, as Ring Bearer, see the rings on the Ringwraiths on Weathertop and at the Ford of Bruinen when he saw their swords, pale faces, their eyes, and the crowns?"..."Compare this to the fact that while in Lothlorien he was able to see Galadriel's ring, Nenya, upon her finger when Sam could not."

This question is answered by Galadriel herself in the same section when Frodo says, "I would ask one thing before we go, a thing which I often meant to ask Gandalf in Rivendell. I am permitted to wear the One Ring: why cannot I see all the others and know the thoughts of those that wear them?"
    "You have not tried,' she said. "Only thrice have you set the ring upon your finger since you knew what you possessed....Yet even so, as Ring-bearer and as one that had borne it on finger and seen that which is hidden, your sight is grown keener."
She also says earlier in the same section,
    " cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer, and one who has seen the Eye."
It was not until this point that Frodo had seen the Eye and his power had grown in strength. This is also why, in my opinion, he was never able to see Gandalf's ring. He did not perceive Gandalf's ring the entire time he was with him and he did not encounter Gandalf again until after the ring had been destroyed. It was his increased power after seeing the Eye that gave him the ability to detect the Lady's ring.

This could prove that the Ringwraiths were wearing the Rings on Weathertop without Frodo detecting them, however, held against the other proofs, it still seems logical to me that Sauron holds the Nine. It is a minor detail, but since your sight is so thorough on all other points, I just thought I would mention it.

Thanks again for your wonderful web sight. Spending time on your page tonight has prompted me to dig out my copies of the Trilogy and begin reading them again. Keep up the great work!


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