J.R. R Tolkien’s The Hobbit describes the ring as a magic ring ofinvisibility. Gollum possesses the ring that is later taken by BilboBaggins. In the story, we get to familiarize ourselves with Gollumunderneath the Misty Mountains where he lives. He looks like aboogeyman and calls the ring his “precious”. The ring is Sauron’sring of power. Gollum is the first Hobbit to become a ring bearer. Heis a perfect example of what can happen to any Hobbit when the ringgets too much close to the mind.
Anyonewould be interested to know how the ring came into Gollum’s hands.Many years ago, Gollum (originally called Smeagol) had gone fishingalongside his friend Daegol. Daegol spotted the ring in the river bedand took it for himself. Gollum murdered his friend and took the ringfor himself. He gives the ring an automatic hold on his mind and goesto live alone in the misty mountains. However, Gollum does not keepthe ring forever.
Asthe group of the twelve dwarfs together with the hobbit travels inthe wild, Bilbo is separated from the rest. He finds himself in themisty mountains as the other men are caught up by goblins. Luckily,Gandalf saves the dwarfs and Bilbo Baggins remains trapped in thetunnels under the mountains. Here, Master Bilbo encounters Gollum,who threatens to kill him if fails to answer the riddles correctly.The Hobbit later finds the ring and discovers its power. Afterlosing the riddle game to Bilbo, Gollum went out to search for hisring. He flew into a rage when he found out that the ring wasmissing. Deducing from Bilbo’s question “What have I got in mypocket?” Gollum sensed that the Burglar had stolen his “precious”.Gollum started chasing after Bilbo through the caves withoutrealizing that Bilbo had discovered the power of the ring. Using thering, Bilbo hides from Gollum and follows him up to the tunnels exitand his life is saved. The ring also helped Bilbo to escape from thegoblins. He later joins the other group in the woods and chooses notto tell anyone about his newfound ring. Perhaps, he chooses thiscourse knowing that the ring has got magical powers (Tolkien,1966).
Theprimary power of the ring was to control the other rings of power anddomination of the users’ wills. The ring could also dominate thewills of the other beings whether they were wearing rings or not. Italso exaggerated any inherent power possessed by the owner. Anymortal wearing the ring became invisible. The ring could also extendthe life of a possessor indefinitely by preventing aging. However,the powers of the ring were limited. It lacked the power to save itsbearer from any danger or imminent death. Likewise, the Ring couldnot protect anyone from physical harm. The ring could also corruptmortals who wore it for extended time periods. People could even beturned into wraiths. However, Hobbits were more resistant to thatprocess compared to men.
Tomaster all the capabilities of the ring, the bearer needed disciplineand training of the mind as well as a strong will and great nativepower. Without such qualities, the bearer would receive very littlebenefits from the ring.
Tolkien,J. (1966). Thehobbit, or, There and back again.Boston: Houghton Mifflin.