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filmfann's avatar

Why wasn't Sauron invisible when he wore the ring of power?

Asked by filmfann (44671points) January 9th, 2013

This is a question about the Lord of the Rings.
Before getting his hand chopped off, Sauron was wearing the ring, but was fully visible.
Why wasn’t he invisible?
If he controlled the ring, couldn’t he have been invisible and avoided death?

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14 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

1) He was proud, and would have shown himself regardless

2) He is described as after the fall of Numenour as never being able to show himself in a fair appearance again, which I would have assumed meant the Ring would never hide him

3) It makes Hobbits invisible. I do not recall that it was ever shown in the books to impact others in quiet the same way.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

It doesn’t really make the ring wearer invisible; Nazg├╗ls can still see the ring wearer.
My only guess is that only ‘weak’ creatures can be invisible (Tom Bombadil is not affected when he wears the ring in Fellowship)

hearkat's avatar

@Michael_Huntington – “weak” creatures? or meek creatures?

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Oh, I meant week creatures.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^Are you sure?

SABOTEUR's avatar

I’m inclined to agree with the “weak creatures” response. At least those creatures weaker than Sauron. He was, after all, the lord of the ring. Stands to reason he would wield power over it, not it over him.

Sauron was visible because he chose to be visible.

ragingloli's avatar

Because the Enterprise sabotaged the plasma coils which are the weak points of the cloaking device.

Seek's avatar

The Ring was created by Sauron, and he used his own power to create it. Thus, Sauron wouldn’t change at all himself by wearing the Ring, because the Ring is already part of him. It made him more powerful whilst wearing it, as he could then control the power of the Seven and the Nine (and the Three as well, I believe). Without the Ring, however, his power was significantly weakened.

The invisibility trait is cast upon to mortals who wear the Ring. It takes their form and casts it to the otherworld. Since Sauron is immortal and can already interact with both the physical and “otherworld”, no dice.

It’s interesting to note that the Ring of Power can help you rally armies, but doesn’t make you omnipotent and can’t prevent your own physical destruction. Sauron was defeated three times while wearing the Ring: By Gil-Galad, by Ar-Pharazon (the Numenorians turned his own army against him!), and by Elendil and (a different) Gil-Galad.

filmfann's avatar

Obviously I don’t know enough about this. Sauron is immortal? So, he isn’t dead following the destruction of the ring?

Seek's avatar

Sauron is a Maia – one of the Maiar: the servants of the Valar, who are in turn servants to Eru Illuvatar. He’s kind of a demi-demigod. Sauron served Melkor, who became Morgoth.

When the One Ring was destroyed, Sauron lost all of the power he had removed from himself and placed into the Ring. He is “fallen”, but not “destroyed”. There is no way for him to reclaim the power he once had, but he is not gone completely.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Wow…you should earn bonus lurve for your thorough explanations. If you don’t have a Middle-Earth blog or website, you should.

Seek's avatar


Thanks. It’s good to know a lifelong obsession could be good for something.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

As long as @Seek_Kolinahr is doing it. FYI: Gandalf and Saruman are Maiar as well.

Seek's avatar

As is Tom Bombadil.

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