Saturday, November 14, 2015

We Three Rings

There are three elven rings, Nenya, Narya, and Vilya.  This is a bit about them, their role on the history of Middle-earth, and their keepers.

In the Second Age, Noldorian elves (great craftsmen and smiths) lived together with the dwarves of Khazad-dum.  Eager for more skill and knowledge, they took the suggestions of Sauron and per his instruction crafted the seven dwarven rings and the nine mortal rings.  Around this time as well, Sauron crafted the One Ring back in Mordor.  With the knowledge Sauron had given to him, Celebrimbor, the most talented craftsman, forged the three elven rings.

An important thing to note is first, the number of rings.  First of all, there were a ton of lesser rings, but when Khazad-dum was attacked later on, a  lot of them were lost.  But the three major elven rings were saved.  It is significant that there are three major rings.  First of all, what elven things come in threes?  The Silmarils, for starters.  Celebrimbor is actually the grandson of Feanor (through Celegorm), and gets his skill that way.  Feanor was the greatest of craftsmen ever.  He wrought the Silmarils, jewels that encased the Light of Valinor, a holy light.  He eventually got really greedy about them, so greedy in fact, that it led to his death and a lot of his people to bad ends.  Celebrimbor is related to him, though he renounced his father and his grandfather's deeds.  Celebrimbor does have his problems with greed though which are apparent if you read the appendices of The Lord of the Rings.  The second significant "three" relating to elves, are the houses.  There are three houses or groups of elves: the Teleri, Noldor, and Vanyar.  Thirdly, there were three elven kingdoms built in the First Age which fell because of the deeds of Feanor and his sons: Nargothrond, Doriath, and Gondolin.

The second thing to note is that the rings were not influenced by Sauron.  Celebrimbor used the knowledge he had gained from Sauron, but used it on his own.  Therefore these rings are not under the corruptible influence that the nine and the One have.

The three rings have names: Nenya, Narya, and Vilya.  Nenya is the ring of water, and Galadriel holds it.  Narya is the ring of air, and Elrond keeps it.  Finally, Vilya is the ring of fire.  Originally, Cirdan the shipwright had it, but he gave it secretly to Gandalf.  He gave it to him in hopes that the ring of fire would help him kindle the hearts of the people of Middle-earth to do great things against Sauron.

Rivendell and Lothlorien are kept fair and free by the power of the rings that their leaders (Elrond and Galadriel, respectively) have.  Their rings are tied up in the fate of the One Ring, however, and once it is destroyed, their rings loose their power.  Their realms are fading away and they are forced to sail into the west.

Saying forced gives it a bad connotation, but really the elves' home is in the West, that is where they are destined to go.  Elrond, Galadriel, and all of them have really just been buying their time, and now they get to go home.

Questions always welcome!

This is a parody song I made up to remember key details about the rings, to be sung to the tune of "We Three Kings" the Christmas carol.


  1. Yay! Never knew that about Gandalf though... that's pretty cool! I like your parody; very well done! :)

    1. You can find all kinds of tidbits of things like that in "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" which is the last book in "The Silmarillion". It is not as hard to read as the actual Quenta Silmarillion, and it is a great synopsis of all things War of the Ring and also has some information about how the events of "The Hobbit" connect with "The Lord of the Rings. I also got some of this information from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings", so you could look there, too.

      Oh, thanks. One day I was actually just singing "We Three Kings" but I accidentally said "rings", and then it just turned into a song :D