Sauron created The One Ring to gain control over the other ring-bearers, but it also amplified his power. Since it's a bad idea for anyone to claim The One Ring, wouldn't it be possible for Gandalf to create his own One Ring?
In the foreword to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien observes:
Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth.
Tolkien therefore definitely conceives of Saruman as being capable of making a Ring, and therefore Gandalf would presumably have been likewise capable.
However, what we can also take from that statement is that making a Ring is not a simple task; there is some "lore" involved, and we know from elsewhere that Saruman had made especial study of the Rings of Power, but yet Tolkien states that even he would have required knowledge found only in Mordor to complete his own work.
So, to summarise:
- Yes, but,
- It's neither quick nor easy, because,
- There is considerable "lore" involved, and,
- It requires hundreds or even thousands of years of dedicated study to get to a "Saruman-level" of "lore", and,
- Even then there will be missing knowledge which may only be found in Mordor.
- So for all practical purposes it's actually "No".
11It seems clear from the Appendices that Celebrimbor needed Sauron's help to learn to make even the lesser rings -- further evidence that it was hard. Dec 13, 2018 at 15:28
26As mentioned in my comment to the question itself. Sauron and Saruman both started out as Maiar of Aule. This could have given both of them skill/knowledge (and possibly natural talent) in crafting things like this that Gandalf might not have possessed even if he wanted to. Dec 13, 2018 at 15:31
7@suchiuomizu Gandalf was also one of the Maiar, though your point stands regardless. Dec 13, 2018 at 22:48
38@Spitemaster, Gandalf was a Maiar of Manwe (the winds), and associated with Irmo (visions and dreams) and Nienna (mercy). That produces a rather different skillset than associating with Aule (smithing, craftsmanship).– MarkDec 13, 2018 at 23:53
9The One was made to control the rings that existed at that time. There's no evidence one way or the other that a new ring couldn't be made according to a different "blueprint" to avoid control by the One.– chepnerDec 14, 2018 at 21:44
I doubt it.
Going through all the artifacts throughout the books, the knowledge of forging great magical artifacts seems to mainly originate from the Vala Aulë.
- Sauron (and Saruman) was originally a Maia of Aulë.
- The greatest craftsman through the ages, Fëanor, was a student of Aulë.
- The knowledge of making the elven rings came from Annatar/Sauron. But knowledge was likely also passed down from Fëanor, to his son Curufin, to his son Celebrimbor.
The recurring pattern in the making of almost all magical artifacts in the books, is great smithing skill.
Sauron, Fëanor and Celebrimbor were all skilled mastersmiths. The most powerful artifacts of Middle-Earth through the ages were made by these three. When it comes to the creation of magical items, craft in smithing seems to be an important skill, perhaps more so than knowledge of magic and lore.
There is no indication throughout the books that Gandalf, or anyone else but the mentioned three characters would have the ability to forge major magical artifacts like the Silmarils, the Palantíri or the Rings of Power. Even the Phial of Galadriel originates from Fëanor, as all Galadriel did was to capture the light of a Silmaril.
No elves outside the House of Fëanor attempt to make major artifacts. Neither does anyone of the other races, save for Sauron. Minor magical aritfacts like the swords Anglachel or Glamdring can evidently be made by other skilled smiths.
The necklace Nauglamír was made by dwarves - the children of Aulë and skilled smiths - but it doesn't seem to have any magical abilities beyond beauty. Similarly, dwarven items made of Mithril seem to be both beautiful and of extra-ordinary high quality, but not necessarily magical.
5There isn't really such thing as "knowledge of magic". The elves craft and smith things with great skill, and the things they make have useful properties, and men call it "magic". As far as the elves (and miar) are conerned, they're just better at making things than men are. Dec 14, 2018 at 12:39
3@OrangeDog Of course there is magic, as there are plenty of spells cast throughout the books. And if there is magic, there is knowledge of magic. As for if it is needed for crafting artifacts, we don't know. Dec 14, 2018 at 15:55
5@Amarth Doesn't the edit feature disallow one-character edits?– mtraceurDec 14, 2018 at 20:26
@Amarth Not sure what happened to my earlier comment, I didn't delete it, but yes, I'm sure about the lack of capitalization. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palant%C3%ADr Tolkien himself was quite inconsistent with Quenya transcriptions of names, but in the case of the palantír, they were pretty common when created, only becoming rare toward the end of the Third Age. So it's acceptable to capitalize, but not preferred. Dec 17, 2018 at 17:35
@Rich I doubt they were ever common, if they were made by Fëanor himself. Though it is weird that the "master stone" is on Tol Eressëa and not in Valinor, if it was made by a Noldo. I don't remember if Tolkien gave an explanation for that. Dec 17, 2018 at 18:04
The rings made by Sauron, and specifically the One Ring, did not give Sauron extra raw power, they were a method of applying his existing, innate power over men, dwarves and elves. The rings did not amplify Sauron's power, they attempted to apply it more effectively. (This did not work completely as intended on the dwarves and elves of course, and it enabled Sauron to eventually be destroyed).
Sauron put a lot of himself and his power into the rings. You could almost say the rings were a part of Sauron. The rings are 'of power' because they give the wearer some of Sauron's power.
If Saruman could make similar rings he would have used them in the same way - to attempt to control his own men and orcs.
If Gandalf made a ring or rings, he would not be any more powerful in total, as he'd have to put his own power into them. If he did make rings, the effect on a wearer would probably just be to make them like hobbits a bit more.
4You deserve more upvotes for the last paragraph alone. Otherwise, you've answered the question completely. Dec 14, 2018 at 1:33
6"Sauron put a lot of himself and his power into the rings. You could almost say the rings were a part of Sauron" - A bit like (and I will of course acknowledge the historical order of the concepts) a horcrux from Another Place .....– MikeWDec 14, 2018 at 13:49
It's rather like building your own computer. You may know the theory, but you really need a certain industrial base to support a silicon fab plant. So Gandalf might know how a Ring is made, but he can't just wish it into being. He (or anyone) needs all that supporting infrastructure that really doesn't exist in the Third Age.
The more interesting question, now that I think on it, is why Sauron didn't make more rings. Even if they're not nearly as powerful as the One Ring, they'd still be useful. He seems to have the industrial base in Mordor, and is said to still use the fires of the Sammath Naur on occasion...
2The only infrastructure needed seems to be a hot forge...? Or in case of the One Ring, Mount Doom, which does exist in the third age. What claim do you have for anything else being needed? Dec 13, 2018 at 19:25
Perhaps because Sauron lacks physical form and/or was diminished after losing the One Ring, he cannot forge new rings.– RobertFDec 15, 2018 at 2:03
There are a lot of great answers already, and I would elaborate a bit on VictimOfCircumstance's suggestion of time being an issue.
By the time the Istari (wizards) were dispatched to Middle-earth, Sauron was already extremely powerful, not to mention a master smith on the level of (if not more skilled than) Celebrimbor. For Gandalf (or Saruman for that matter) to learn the magical lore as well as the smithing skill required to forge a ring equal to the One, it would likely have taken more time than they had. This is suggested by the fact that it took Sauron quite a while to accomplish the feat, even though he had served Aulë, the great smith, before he was corrupted by the evils of Morgoth.
In addition to that, there are moral considerations. Gandalf already bore one of the 3 elven rings, and would therefore have been acutely aware of the effects of even the most benign of the rings of power. He also knew that the old adage "absolute power corrupts absolutely" was especially true when it comes to magic. He had served Manwë, and was said to be the wisest of the Maiar, while he lived in Valinor. When he was asked to be among the Istari sent to Middle-earth he did not want to go, saying that he feared Sauron and lacked the strength to challenge him. Manwë's response was that this was more reason for him to go, and Gandalf likely understood this to mean that he would need to unite the peoples of Middle-earth to accomplish his goal. He would therefore be wary of any path to success that focused on increasing his own power instead of increasing the cooperation and wisdom of the mortals he was there to help.
2This is kind of assuming that Istari, while living in Valinor, spent their time twiddling thumbs. Saruman spent several ages as a servant of Aulë - possibly longer than Sauron did, as Sauron defected to Melkor quite early. The art of forging rings isn't necessarily a Middle-Earth-specific thing. Dec 14, 2018 at 16:16
@Amarth The Istari certainly weren't idle in Valinor, just likely not actively working against Sauron until they were called by Manwe and the other Vala, at least that's how I understood it. I knew Saruman was versed in the lore, but I had forgotten he had been a servant of Aule as well. I guess a more relevant thought might be that he didn't have specific enough knowledge of the existing rings of power (at least the ones Sauron created/consulted on in Middle-earth) to create one that would hold sway over them? Dec 15, 2018 at 14:28
There are two aspects of the One Ring.
- It is a ring of power
- It Rules Them All (the 9, the 7, and the 3)
The other answers address Gandalf making a ring of power in general.
The thing that makes the One special is that it rules them all, and this is because Sauron helped the elves, dwarves, and men make their rings of power and made the One simultaneously in secret to control them. A new ring of power made much later by someone else probably could not be another "One Ring" in this respect.
4The One Ring does not rule the 3 elven rings, the poem is a bit flawed there. Their fate is linked up with the One Ring though. Dec 13, 2018 at 19:47
4@JamesHollis Celebrimbor and the other smiths of Eregion sought Sauron's expertise to create the elven rings. Something in that "formula" linked them to Sauron, and when he made the Ruling Ring he put that part of himself into its creation. Dec 14, 2018 at 1:27
9@Rich The Silmarillion states "the Three remained unsullied, for they were forged by Celebrimbor alone, and the hand of Sauron never touched them, yet they also were subject to the One". So the One did rule the Three. Amarth is wrong. Dec 14, 2018 at 10:27
2@Philbo When Sauron first wore The One, the elves immediately sensed what he was doing and removed their rings. Sauron, feeling cheated, invaded and demanded the Rings of Power "returned" to him. He got most of them, including the Seven and the Nine, but not the Three. They were unsullied in the sense that they were never part of Sauron's evil plans. But they were still made in much the same way as the other Rings of Power, and were thus subject to control by the One. Dec 14, 2018 at 14:12
2It's worth noting that the Three became powerless after the destruction of the One. There had to be a link. Dec 14, 2018 at 16:57
The Other Ring, to rule nearly all