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Who is the Lord, as referred to in the title? Frodo? Sauron? Someone else? Or is it more of an abstract title, not referring to a single person, like "He who wields the One Ring"?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 108 down vote accepted

It's Sauron.

"Hurray!" cried Pippin, springing up. "Here is our noble cousin! Make way for Frodo, Lord of the Ring!"

"Hush!" said Gandalf from the shadows at the back of the porch. "Evil things do not come into this valley; but all the same we should not name them. The Lord of the Ring is not Frodo, but the master of the Dark Tower of Mordor, whose power is again stretching out over the world. We are sitting in a fortress. Outside it is getting dark."
The Fellowship of the Ring, chapter Many Meetings


"[E]ven if we could [hide the Ring], soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it."
Glorfindel, in The Fellowship of the Ring, chapter The Council of Elrond

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The full title of the Red Book of Westmarch is:

The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King

pointing clearly to the Lord of the Rings being Sauron.

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Really ? I thought that "Return of the king" was du to the return of Aragorn as king. I should read the books again instead of watching movies :-D –  Luc M Jul 1 '14 at 2:50
I agree with Luc M. Actually I have no idea, how this title made yourself sure, that Sauron is the Lord of the Rings? :] –  trejder Jul 1 '14 at 6:20
The Downfall of Sauron and Return of Aragorn how was that not clear? –  Simon Jul 1 '14 at 9:08
+1 @LucM Indeed, Aragorn is the King that returns. And who is the main entity, i.e. "lord", associated with rings of power, whose utter downfall the Red Book narrates? –  Andres F. Jul 1 '14 at 15:22
@Cornstalks I understand that could be the case but not within the same sentence surely, specially when the relating information clashes i.e Downfall and Return. –  Simon Jul 1 '14 at 15:34

The Lord of the Rings is whoever claims and then masters the One ring. So abstractly the One ring is the lord of the rings. By the end of the Epic Frodo claims the ring but he does not master it, it is still Saurons as it possesses a lot of his power.

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Except it's Lord of the Rings, plural. Pretty sure it refers to Sauron, who mastered all the rings. –  Kevin Jun 30 '14 at 14:04
@Kevin That's what I mean, the one ring controls the other rings so whoever masters that ring is the lord of all the rings. Perhaps I did not explain it well. –  Simon Jun 30 '14 at 14:24
None of the others had any particular interest in ruling the other rings; they might have been able to if they cared to try, but that was largely secondary. –  Kevin Jun 30 '14 at 14:36
@Kevin Fair point –  Simon Jun 30 '14 at 14:46
Agreed, it says 'one ring to rule them all'. Abstractly the One ring is the lord of the rings. –  mohacs Jun 30 '14 at 23:05

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