The "One Ring" seemed capable of changing its size, which is why Frodo wore it on a chain around his neck - to keep from accidentally losing it in the same way it was lost to Gollum.

The Ring seems to have a desire to get back to its master and Frodo is told not to wear the ring, because it would allow Sauron to find him. Reading here - putting on the ring doesn't make him easier to find, and there are at least 6 times where he puts the ring on, but it remains that there is a danger in wearing the ring, which is in the ring's benefit.

Sam, with the ring within Mordor says:

He’d spot me and cow me, before I could so much as shout out. He’d spot me, pretty quick, if I put the Ring on now, in Mordor.

Why doesn't the ring attempt to constrict itself onto Frodo (or anybody), so that they are more easily corrupted and its master can more easily find it?

For an incredible amount of information on the nature of the ring, see here

  • 5
    The ring's perception and ability to think and act may not be total. Also its largely a metaphor for power, and it allows the wearer to surrender that power if they have the will to overpower the ring, ie the lust for power. Jan 20, 2016 at 21:08
  • Where did you get the idea the One Ring has the power to make itself impossible to remove? The ring is a literary device that works as an externalization of Sauron's power and a corrupting influence for the party of adventurers. You are interpreting its powers way too literally.
    – Andres F.
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:39
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    @AndresF. To be fair to the OP the ring is described as being able to shrink and grow at will.
    – user46509
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:42
  • 3
    And it repeatedly does so in attempts to get closer to its master. Had it inspired conflict against Sam near Mordor (by not being able to be removed), it would be difficult to say that it would have gotten into the volcano. Also, can't find the quote but Sam seems to suspect that putting the ring on within Mordor would allow Sauron to find them, presumably due to proximity, though I realize Sam isn't the most trustworthy source on that. Jan 20, 2016 at 22:06
  • Here's where I read it "He’d spot me and cow me, before I could so much as shout out. He’d spot me, pretty quick, if I put the Ring on now, in Mordor." Jan 20, 2016 at 22:18

3 Answers 3


The ring doesn't seem to act until it wants to leave someone, and even then it has no control over where it goes or who picks it up.1

It boils down to the fact that it doesn't appear to have the ability to actually do much harm to its bearer, beyond driving them, and those around them, mad.

The additional weight of the ring while being carried is purely psychological, it doesn't affect someone who isn't carrying the ring.

As Frodo clung upon his back, arms loosely about his neck, legs clasped firmly under his arms, Sam staggered to his feet; and then to his amazement he felt the burden light. He had feared that he would have barely strength to lift his master alone, and beyond that he had expected to share in the dreadful dragging weight of the accursed Ring. But it was not so. Whether because Frodo was so worn by his long pains, wound of knife, and venomous sting, and sorrow, fear, and homeless wandering, or because some gift of final strength was given to him, Sam lifted Frodo with no more difficulty than if he were carrying a hobbit-child pig-a-back in some romp on the lawns or hayfields of the Shire.

The Lord of the Rings | Mount Doom

1. The film seems to show the ring bouncing away from Gollum but this isn't supported in the text.

  • "It boils down to the fact that it doesn't appear to have the ability to actually do much harm to its bearer, beyond driving them, and those around them, mad." Well, that's a relief! (Good answer, though.)
    – Mark Olson
    Feb 15 at 21:30

The relationship between the bearer and the ring is a partnership, with the ring attempting to become the dominant partner.As the ring becomes more powerful the closer it gets to Mordor so it takes more effort to resist it, which is why Sam's help is so important.

  • Does the ring really get more powerful in proximity Mordor? From where do we get that idea? Also, I've never thought of the ring as a partnership - the ring itself has conceptually seemed to me like an internal Grima Wormtongue in terms of manipulation. Nothing like a partnership. And from the wearer's perspective, I imagine they viewed it more like themselves always in control, and any nagging thought about the ring as a living being was probably self-dismissed as a fancy of their own imagination - that's my unverified perception.
    – Jamin Grey
    Jul 11, 2016 at 1:39

Treachery is the nature of evil. Therefore the ring can never bind itself to a single bearer it can only betray. Isildur and Gollum were betrayed by it when they lost it. Bilbo was forced by Gandalf which means he was the only host to part with it peacefully. Deagol was killed by family and Frodo had Sam steal it from him and Gollum was pushed over the edge-literally. Only a host body of greater evil than Sauron would persuade the ring to bind itself to the bearer. The ring could betray Sauron for the ring is more powerful than he. Sauron's soul is in the ring naturally it will seak a stronger newer body to inhabit.

  • 1
    Any citations to support this? May 4, 2016 at 18:31

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