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In the Lord of the Rings, the One Ring corrupts the people near it, and it seems to have a stronger effect on anyone who sees it or touches it. Sauron and the Ring Wraiths also seem to be able to sense the One Ring when someone wears it.

Once the Council of Elrond decided to destroy it, why did they not take additional steps to help their people resist the temptation of the ring?

Put the ring into a small lockbox. Or, better yet, solidify molten metal around it. Do something so that the One Ring cannot be worn, seen, or touched without great difficulty. You can still cast the container into the Crack of Doom, and the ring would be destroyed along with it.

There are clear literary reasons for the lack of such preparations, but if there are in-story reasons not to take any such steps, I would like to know.

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I don't know about the books, but in the films the ring was able to change size at will and whisper to anyone who touched it. It may be that containing the ring like you describe isn't possible? – James Long Jan 12 at 18:14
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I think the literary reasons are one and the same; can you expand on that? Often mentioned is "the strength of men" and that it has failed. Nothing will avail you except your own perseverance. Locked in a box, Boromir might have away-ed with it, to deal with the packaging in secret, in due time. It must be dealt with in the open. Secrets, lies, obfuscation; these are the things that lead to the dark side. – Mazura Jan 12 at 18:50
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"In story" is irrelevant for two reasons. (1) Because JRR Tolkien wasn't a D&D playing munchkin, (2) nor was he an engineer (he was a philologist). . – KorvinStarmast Jan 12 at 20:16
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@KorvinStarmast Couldn't the same be said for all storytellers and their stories? This entire Stack is meant to be answered with in-story/in-universe answers. – Todd Wilcox Jan 12 at 20:34
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@ToddWilcox Fair point. I think my inner point was that since Tolkien never asked and answered that question himself, which he did for a lot of other elements behind the tale, the question is as well out of context, like "Why didn't Einstein invent a space travel method?" – KorvinStarmast Jan 12 at 20:43
up vote 99 down vote accepted

It would possibly have had a negative effect on the bearer if they could not see it.

I tried locking it up, but I found I couldn’t rest without it in my pocket. I don’t know why. And I don’t seem able to make up my mind.’ A long expected party

Here we see Bilbo getting anxious because the ring is locked (presumably in just a chest)

It also would not have altered the ring's malevolent hold over the bearer's mind, as Gandalf says to Denethor

Denethor; yet if you had received this thing, it would have overthrown you. Were it buried beneath the roots of Mindolluin, still it would burn your mind away, as the darkness grows, and the yet worse things follow that soon shall come upon us.’ The Siege of Gondor

In addition, (credit to user void_ptr) the bearer of the ring would have struggled to accept such an attack on the ring.

Frodo is unwilling to hand the ring on its chain to Gandalf and is distressed by it being heated in his fire.

‘Well then, look!’ To Frodo’s astonishment and distress the wizard threw it suddenly into the middle of a glowing corner of the fire. Shadow of the Past

This is a similar reaction to early words of Isildur.

and maybe were the gold made hot again, the writing would be refreshed. But for my part I will risk no hurt to this thing: of all the works of Sauron the only fair. It is precious to me, though I buy it with great pain. The Council of Elrond

In short, it wouldn't have done much good and would have risked destabilising the bearer even more so.

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To add to this (I'm only speculating though), the ring would likely have resisted encasing it in molten metal, etc. - to the point where no one would have actually been able to do that. From what I remember (don't have quotes handy), it was incredibly hard to even try to harm the ring - even with something which would have done no harm to it at all. The ring appeared utterly beautiful and precious to everyone. – void_ptr Jan 12 at 21:29
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The Ring also expanded or shrank in order to fit the bearer. In Isuldur's case, it expanded in order to fall from the finger of the bearer. It may have had additional capabilities that would have resisted encasing, as hinted at by @void_ptr . – Leatherwing Jan 13 at 15:18
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An even better question might be, what exactly does putting the ring on one's finger do? E.g., how is this different from holding the ring in one's hand? Or perhaps even putting it on some other appendage? – void_ptr Jan 13 at 19:37
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@void_ptr I hope you're thinking of toes! – ATB Jan 13 at 19:38
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They sent Frodo to destroy the ring, when he could not even stand to let it be sealed away. Now that's a hopeless scenario (which good fiction demands, of course). – Keen Jan 14 at 8:07

I think everyone has touched nicely on the problems. Even buried in a hunk of metal, there were going to be people who would worry and obsess over the thing. Mind experiment: Imagine the paranoia of the bearer of the hunk-embedded Ring, when others start walking around with THEIR hunks of metal claiming that the One Ring was inside. Eventually, the ring's hold on its victims would force someone to break the hunk of metal-- just to see if the Ring was still there!

Once you accept the literary concept of the One Ring bearing a terrible spell, bending the minds of its victims, it pretty much limits what anyone other than Tom Bombadil (or other resistant entities) can do with it.

The reason Elrond and Gandalf and Galadriel wanted to destroy (and not "hide") the Ring is they could sense the threat it held, even to them-- the threat it could EVENTUALLY seduce them into believing they could do good with it. This threat shuts off any attempt to hide it, move it, bury it, encase it or whatever. Because someone would know where it is. And, at the very elemental level, its former Master and his servants could always sense it and would be forever seeking it.

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Also the fact that destroying the ring was the only way to win. Sauron had an army that was going to destroy mankind whether he retrieved the ring or not. Hide the ring? Lose. Sauron gets the ring? Double lose. Destroy it? Win. – Premier Bromanov Jan 12 at 22:37
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@PremierBromanov True, though I'm pretty sure that throwing it into Mt. Doom will be equally effective, even if it is encased in a little metal. – Patrick M Jan 13 at 5:37
    
@PatrickM well then its a logistical problem, and thats a can of worms im gonna avoid lol – Premier Bromanov Jan 13 at 15:18
    
c.f. the Frog and Toad children's story about the cookies. The only real solution was for the cookies to be utterly consumed. – labyrinth Jan 13 at 23:54
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The OP wasn't suggesting hiding it instead of destroying it. The suggestion was to help resist temptation while carrying it to be destroyed. This answer seems to be answering a different question than the one asked. – Peter Cordes Jan 14 at 16:53

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