If I remember correctly, Sauron is said to have crafted three rings of power for the elf leaders, seven for the dwarf kings and nine for the human lords. The human kings were corrupted and turned into the Nazgûl, but I don't recall hearing the fate of the elves and dwarves - what happened to them?

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    If you know there are three elf-rings, you should also know who wore them. But I don't know exactly what happened to the dwarves, so +1. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 22:43

1 Answer 1



The Three Rings given to the Elves were not crafted by Sauron; although they were made using knowledge gained from him, he wasn't directly involved in their creation. Celebrimbor is the Elven-smith who made the Three. During Sauron's assault on Eregion he was captured, tortured for information on the Rings of Power, and killed:

Celebrimbor, desperate, himself withstood Sauron on the steps of the great door of the Mírdain; but he was grappled and taken captive, and the House was ransacked. There Sauron took the Nine Rings and other lesser works of the Mírdain; but the Seven and the Three he could not find. Then Celebrimbor was put to torment, and Sauron learned from him where the Seven were bestowed.


Concerning the Three Rings Sauron could learn nothing from Celebrimbor; and he had him put to death. But he guessed the truth, that the Three had been committed to Elvish guardians: and that must mean to Galadriel and Gil-galad.

Unfinished Tales Part 2: "The Second Age" Chapter IV: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"

Before this, he distributed the Three to their initial owners:

  • Galadriel was given the Ring Nenya by Celebrimbor. She ruled over Lothlórien with her husband until the end of the Third Age. After the destruction of the One Ring, Nenya and the other Three lost their power; because of this, Galadriel and Elrond had no reason to stay in Middle-earth, and they went over the Sea with Gandalf and Frodo
  • Gil-Galad was given the Rings Vilya and Narya by Celebrimbor. He was killed in the Battle of the Last Alliance, but not before he gave his Rings to other bearers:
  • Vilya was given to Elrond:

    Gil-galad gave Vilya, the Blue Ring, to Elrond, and appointed him to be his vice-regent in Eriador

    Unfinished Tales Part 2: "The Second Age" Chapter IV: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"

    He ruled over Rivendell and, as I mentioned above, passed over the Sea at the end of the Third Age

  • Narya was given to Círdan:

    [T]he Red Ring [Gil-galad] kept, until he gave it to Círdan when he set out from Lindon in the days of the Last Alliance.

    Unfinished Tales Part 2: "The Second Age" Chapter IV: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"

    He ruled over the Grey Havens, and left over the Sea at some unknown time.

  • Círdan later gave Narya to Gandalf when the Wizards arrived from over the sea. Gandalf would go on to be deeply involved in the struggle against Sauron and, when his labours were complete, finally departed over the Sea at the end of the Third Age.


There were no Rings specifically crafted for Dwarves; rather Sauron and Celebrimbor together made sixteen rings, which Sauron later gathered to himself and dispersed to Men and Dwarves.

We're only specifically told of a handful of Dwarvish Ring-bearers, all of whom had possession of the same Ring:

  • Durin III possibly received his Ring directly from Celebrimbor. His fate is unknown, except that he eventually died.
  • Durin's ring was handed down his line, father-to-son, until it ended up with Thrór, grandfather of Thorin Oakenshield. He entrusted the Ring to his son, Thráin, before wandering into Orc-occupied Moria and being beheaded by Azog:

    Thrór, now old, poor, and desperate, gave to his son Thráin the one great treasure he still possessed, the last of the Seven Rings, and then he went away with one old companion only, called Nár.


    When Thrór came to Moria the Gate was open. Nár begged him to beware, but he took no heed of him, and walked proudly in as an heir that returns. But he did not come back. Nár stayed near by for many days in hiding. One day he heard a loud shout and the blare of a horn, and a body was flung out on the steps.


    Then Nár came up, and found that it was indeed the body of Thrór, but the head was severed and lay face downwards.

    Return of the King Appendix A: "Annals of the Kings and Rulers" III "Durin's Folk"

  • In response to his father's death, Thráin led Durin's Folk to war against the Orcs of Moria. This war culminated in the Battle of Azanulbizar, which is the battle portrayed in flashbacks in the film An Unexpected Journey. He went slightly batty after this, and wandered off towards Erebor:

    It was therefore perhaps partly by the malice of the Ring that Thráin after some years became restless and discontented. The lust for gold was ever in his mind. At last, when he could endure it no longer, he turned his thoughts to Erebor, and resolved to go back there. He said nothing to Thorin of what was in his heart; but with Balin and Dwalin and a few others, he arose and said farewell and departed.

    Return of the King Appendix A: "Annals of the Kings and Rulers" III "Durin's Folk"

    It turns out that he was captured and imprisoned in Dol Guldur; Gandalf encountered him in the dungeons of the Necromancer, where he learned that Sauron had taken the ring back from him:

    'Balin will find no ring in Moria,' said Gandalf. 'Thrór gave it to Thráin his son, but not Thráin to Thorin. It was taken with torment from Thráin in the dungeons of Dol Guldur. I came too late.'

    Fellowship of the Ring Book II Chapter 2: "The Council of Elrond"

Of the other bearers we can say little, but they almost certainly died painfully. We're told in Fellowship that four of the Seven were consumed by dragons, and that Sauron had drawn the remaining three (including Thráin's ring) back to himself:

Seven the Dwarf-kings possessed, but three [Sauron] has recovered, and the others the dragons have consumed.

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

It seems doubtful that any Dwarf would have survived either fate.

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    Nice answer, but it may be worth to mention in a few words why Galadriel and Elrond gave up being the queen of their Middle-Earth kingdoms and sailed to the west, because that is connected with the rings and is part of the answer to what's happened to those elves.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 23:12
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    It seems to have become received wisdom that there was no actual difference between the human and dwarven rings. However, this is actually hard to reconcile with the published Lord of the Rings. It is known that Sauron possessed some of the rings of dwarves, and if there was no difference between them and the rings of men, he would have used them to make more Nazgul!
    – Buzz
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 23:44
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    @Buzz Relevant, though I disagree with MLPs implied conclusion that the Seven and the Nine differed in their effects. But whether or not there was any actual distinction between them, it's clear that none of them were specifically made for Dwarves or Men; they were initially meant for Elves alone, and Sauron apportioned them otherwise Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 23:55
  • @Buzz Who is to say he wasn't? Perhaps "Nazgulification" could take a while, and he had retrieved the last of the Seven only 170 years or so before LotR (although there is no mention of when the other two surviving rings were retrieved). There may have been proto-Nazgul among the Easterlings. However, there is also the possibility that Sauron required the One Ring to gain control over any new Nazgul "through" their ring until such time he could reclaim the ring from them.
    – chepner
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 13:36
  • (Note that the Nazgul first appear in S.A. 2250, at least 500 years after Sauron would have seized the remaining rings.)
    – chepner
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 13:54

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