Sauron is able to detect Frodo when he puts on the One Ring at the Prancing Pony.

But when Frodo puts on the ring (for about the same amount of time) in order to escape from Boromir, Sauron does not appear to be alerted, otherwise he'd have sent the Ringwraiths over. Why is this the case?

  • 7
    Looks to me like a whole bunch of this question body is missing..
    – Gnemlock
    Nov 5, 2017 at 6:44
  • How do you know he wasn't alerted? And maybe he did send the wraiths, we just didn't see it on-screen perhaps?
    – Möoz
    Nov 5, 2017 at 21:00
  • 1
    Because It Didn't Happen That Way In The Books.
    – Shamshiel
    Nov 5, 2017 at 23:51
  • @Gnemlock Do you have any content blockers in use? I had Screen Time blocking YouTube and faced a similar problem.
    – Righter
    Dec 4, 2021 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


The key point here is that Sauron or Ringwraiths can always detect Frodo when he puts on the Ring -- evil calls to evil, and Sauron & the Ringwraiths are intimately tied to the Ring. But they can't do it instantly. This gives him time to react. So what happens on Amon Hen after he escapes Boromir?

In the book, Sauron very nearly does detect Frodo. Frodo puts on the ring, escapes Boromir, and goes to the top of a hill called Amon Hen. He sees visions of warfare and of Barad-Dur. Then...

And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep. He knew that it had become aware of his gaze. A fierce eager will was there. It leaped towards him; almost like a finger he felt it, searching for him. Very soon it would nail him down, know just exactly where he was. Amon Lhaw it touched. It glanced upon Tol Brandir -- he threw himself from the seat, crouching, covering his head with his grey hood..

He heard himself crying out: Never, never! Or was it: Verily I come, I come to you? He could not tell. Then as a flash from some other point of power there came to his mind another thought: Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!

The two powers strove in him. For a moment, perfectly balanced between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye: free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so.

So what happened is that putting on the Ring made him vulnerable to Sauron finding him, but not instantly. Per above, that's the key point, here, and in Bree and elsewhere. He has some amount of time to come to his senses.

In this case, atop Amon Hen, turns out the Voice -- Gandalf! -- is basically magically fighting Sauron to give Frodo enough time to snap out of it and take the Ring off.

How do we know it's Gandalf? Because later, when he meets up with Aragorn, Gandalf tells Aragorn about it:

Very nearly it was revealed to the Enemy, but it escaped. I had some part in that: for I sat in a high place, and I strove with the Dark Tower; and the Shadow passed. Then I was weary, very weary; and I walked long in dark thought.

I think that in the movie they elided this Amon Hen episode a bit, so it's not as clear.

  • 1
    Yup, very good answer. Another thing to take into account is that even in the movie, though they did not explicitly show Sauron searching for Frodo like it says in your quote, Frodo is nearly found by him in both Bree and Amon Hen. Both times, he initially sees foggy images of the people around him when he puts the Ring on, but as Sauron comes to know this and comes to search for him, everything gets blanked out by the great eye. And it took a lot longer at Amon Hen, when Sauron wasn't too sure of Frodo's location. The filling of Frodo's vision by the Eye can be construed as Sauron finding him
    – ASH-Aisyah
    Dec 2, 2017 at 18:56
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    Another point is that Sauron did not expect the Ringbearer to carry the Ring deliberately toward Mordor. He expected the Ringbearer to turn up at Gondor, the only place where the One Ring could be used militarily against him. But he didn't know what route the Ringbearer would take, or why. In essence, he spent a lot of time looking in the wrong direction. Dec 4, 2021 at 15:49

Because at the Prancing Poiny the Ringwraiths are almost right there, relatively speaking, and Sauron knows that Frodo is somewhere in the area, presumably dedicating his time to examining it carefully for him (most likely with his Palantir).

In the other Frodo's location is unknown to Sauron and the Ringwraiths probably aren't in the surrounding area.

The Ring clearly makes Frodo extremely obvious to them, but they can still miss something extremely obvious if they aren't looking in the right place.

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