I know that the inscription of the rings says:

"One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,"

But my question is more about the appearance of the inscription.

The inscription of the Ring is on the outside AND on the inside. Does that mean that the inscription on the outside is the same as the inscription on the inside? Or does the outside say the first half of the "Ring-Verse" and the inside the other half?

  • 31
    It's a Möbius ring!!!
    – Rand al'Thor
    May 16, 2016 at 21:48
  • 5
    @Randal'Thor: I'm pretty sure it's Sauron's, not Möbius'. ;-)
    – DevSolar
    May 17, 2016 at 10:44
  • @DevSolar They are not mutually incompatible: it could be a Moebius ring owned by Sauron He was a specialist in topology after all.. May 17, 2016 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


In the book, it's not specified; we're just told (emphasis mine):

[Frodo] now saw fine lines, finer than the finest pen-strokes, running along the ring, outside and inside: lines of fire that seemed to form the letters of a flowing script. They shone piercingly bright, and yet remote, as if out of a great depth.

Fellowship of the Ring Book I Chapter 2: "The Shadow of the Past"

In the film, obviously they had to make a decision on this. From examining a number of shots of the Ring, it appears as though the first two lines were engraved on the outside, and the last two engraved on the inside.

For reference, this is the Ring inscription, as printed in the book:

enter image description here

In the following image (from the prologue to Fellowship), we can see the first two lines of the poem engraved on the outside:

enter image description here

And on this image from inside the volcano (erm...spoilers?) we can see the third line and the start of the fourth, on the inside of the Ring:

enter image description here

Also notable in that image is that we can see the back side of the Ring, and we don't see any writing there, where we'd expect it to be if the verse carried all the way around.

  • 1
    Thank you for the answer. Its very helpful. Since I'm planning the get the ringverse in form of a tattoo on my arm, what do you think would be the better choice ? 1. To get the "whole verse" around my arm. 2. Or to get one half on one arm and the other half on the other arm ?
    – Bananadog
    May 16, 2016 at 22:10
  • 1
    @Bananadog I don't think I've ever seen someone get half the verse on one arm and half on the other; usually people either get it all around their arm, or on two lines on one arm, or in a circular pattern. It's really up to you what you prefer May 16, 2016 at 22:14
  • 11
    @Bananadog: It's your skin, but you should consider that this is a) a (black) spell of domination, b) in a black language ("which I will not utter here"), c) both previous points are (comparatively) well-known, d) you'll get older and things you consider "cool" today won't be when you're sixty and your grand-children ask you about that tattoo of yours. Despite the pretty glyphs, it's not something I'd want to have around, let alone written permanently on my body. Some lines from the elvish poems, perhaps? Same glyphs, different meaning entirely...
    – DevSolar
    May 17, 2016 at 10:40
  • 3
    @Lan: I would say you could score even higher on the coolness scale if someone asks, "that's the ring verse?", and you go, "A Elbereth Gilthoniel, silivren penna míriel o menel aglar elenath!" -- I mean, everybody does the "Ash nazg gimbatul" stuff, right?
    – DevSolar
    May 17, 2016 at 13:23
  • 2
    If you want to follow exactly the text, you should remove a part of your arm's skin, find someone to ink the inside of this part with the second line, put it back on your arm, wait for it to heal and ink the outside. (Well, maybe a little too creepy..)
    – Emmanuel
    May 17, 2016 at 15:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.