In message <news:MPG.2ab46520b...@news.individual.net
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm
> spoke these staves:
> On Fri, 7 Sep 2012 02:47:47 -0400, Jeff Urs wrote:
[The Keepers of the Three sensing any use of the Master Ring]
>> particularly since Bilbo actually wore it in Gandalf's presence.
> I think the real explanation is story external: Bilbo's ring was
> just a little magic invisibility ring. It didn't become the One
> Ring until Tolkien started work on his "sequel".
There is little doubt that this explanation is quite correct.
Sometimes we ought, I think, accept that /The Hobbit/ and /The Lord
of the Rings/ (and even more so the stories of /The Silmarillion/
still, despite all of Tolkien's effort to correct that situation,
happen in different worlds -- in the world of /The Hobbit/, Gandalf
is a more ordinary type of (human) wizard (without any Ring of
Power), and Bilbo's Ring is merely an innocent ring of invisibility.
The idea presented in /The Lord of the Rings/ that these stories
actually happen in the same world is a pretence -- in many ways the
two are 'worlds apart'.
> Story internally, it's harder. We can say that Bilbo had no idea
> of what the ring was, except that he knew it gave invisibility.
> He had no knowledge of its potential to command, and therefore had
> no ability to try to use it for command. So the bearers of the
> Three would not have been aware of Bilbo, as they were of Sauron,
> because Bilbo's use of the Ring was essentially passive where
> Sauron's was active.
I'm sure we can device many intelligent, and even reasonably
consistent, models for explanation. Another option might be to look
at /intention/ -- what is a Ring of Domination other than a means for
transmitting your own intention forcefully? Perhaps the combination
of Sauron's personal power (which made the Master Ring so much more
powerful) and the force of his intention combined to transmit this
intention to the keepers of the Three, whereas Bilbo's and Frodo's
much smaller personal power (and much weaker will), with no intention
of dominating the three keepers made any incidental transmission of
intention so much weaker that Gandalf couldn't even pick it up at a
distance of mere feet . . .
Perhaps . . . :-)
I cannot but wonder if Tolkien wouldn't have solved the riddle in a
different way -- I am sorry that his test readers advised him to stop
his efforts to rewrite /The Hobbit/ in 1960 -- the result might not
have been /The Hobbit/ that they knew, but I think it is likely to
have become a better book, more in line with its sequel.
> But shouldn't Gandalf have seen Bilbo "on the other side" when
> Bilbo approached the campsite east of the goblin tunnels? After
> all, Bilbo should have been just as visible as Glorfindel.
Well, this much, at least, should be more explainable: if we accept
that the light is an expression of spiritual qualities (implied also
by the light in the face and eyes of the Noldor as they arrive fresh
from Valinor) that normally obscured by the visible body, then there
is no reason that Bilbo should have been particularly visible -- he
had, after all, never lived in the Blessed Realm and was definitely
not one of the might among the Firstborn :-) (even if do not accept
Rateliff's view of the 1960 Bilbo as something of a blundering fool).
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.
In this case the cause (not the 'hero') was triumphant,
because by the exercise of pity, mercy, and forgiveness of
injury, a situation was produced in which all was redressed
and disaster averted.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, /The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien/ #192