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Sauron made the One Ring to rule them all by transferring some of his essence into it as a power amplifier.

Morgoth also did this in a different way, using the whole of Arda as a Ring.

Why didn't the Valar do the same, in order to gain power to resist Morgoth and Sauron?

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  • 6
    Using 'technology' (aka The Machine, to borrow a phrase) to dominate someone is antithetical to how Tolkien viewed 'good' people acting. In-universe, Tolkien has one of his Elvish lore-masters explain in Ósanwe-kenta that if Manwë had dominated Melkor/Morgoth in such a way, he would have started down the same path that Morgoth took. Apr 1 at 3:33
  • Another question is: what advantage would they get? They successfully defeated Morgoth and Sauron wasn't a threat to them. It wasn't a question if they could beat Sauron, they were partly trying to limit the collateral damage of a direct confrontation. Apr 1 at 15:05
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    I think the misconception here is that producing these rings made Morgoth or Sauron stronger than they were originally. They weren't. They lost some of their essence, diminished themselves to gain a conduit for the rest of their power, as it were, to project their will through other means. Sauron isn't terrible and splendid with his ring because of the ring but because only united with the ring, he is in actual possession of his powers, which are terrifying and splendid as he essentially is a being of a higher order. Apr 1 at 17:36
  • The Ring did not provide unilateral control. Sauron had to first convince the Elves to take up rings of their own; the One Ring was the tool through which Sauron would exert control over the users of the other Rings. It didn't really go as planned: the Elves simply stopped using their rings the instant they perceived Sauron's use of the One.
    – chepner
    Apr 3 at 17:41
  • The resulting war was not to force control over the Elves, but to reclaim the other rings to use them on other races. That also did not go as planned: they didn't work on Dwarves, and Men were too easily controlled. Rather than using them to control other nations, the bearers became completely subservient to Sauron to the extent that they were useless as the kind of proxy rulers I suspect Sauron wanted.
    – chepner
    Apr 3 at 17:43

2 Answers 2

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Sauron's purpose with the Rings of Power was to dominate the Elves.

From The Silmarillion, in Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age:

Men he found the easiest to sway of all the peoples of the Earth; but long he sought to persuade the Elves to his service, for he knew that the Firstborn had the greater power; and he went far and wide among them, and his hue was still that of one both fair and wise.

...

In those days the smiths of Ost-in-Edhil surpassed all that they had contrived before; and they took thought, and they made Rings of Power. But Sauron guided their labours, and he was aware of all that they did; for his desire was to set a bond upon the Elves and to bring them under his vigilance.

The Valar had no need nor desire to dominate the Elves in that way, so they didn't need a One Ring equivalent.

To directly answer the body of the question, "Why didn't the Valar do the same, in order to gain power to resist Morgoth and Sauron?" the Valar were capable of resisting Morgoth and Sauron without amplifiers. The problem was when they did so directly, in The War of Wrath, much of the land was wrecked and sunk. They didn't lack focused power.

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Because Eru Iluvatar forbade it.

In the Ainulindale, "The Music of the Ainur" Tolkien writes that Iluvatar directed to Ainur to make a great music and they did, but Melkor wanted to do things his own way and started his own music in competition

and straightway discord arose about him, and many that sang nigh him grew despondent, and their thought was disturbed and their music faltered; but some began to attune their music to his rather than to the thought which they had at first. Then the discord of Melkor spread ever wider, and the melodies which had been heard before foundered in a sea of turbulent sound.

This is Melkor/Morgoth's first rebellion and, importantly, it is a selfish rebellion against Iluvatar and a domination of others' wills. As this first, so all the later.

The Valar were also tempted to dominate others' wills -- with the best of intentions of course! -- but this never went well:

Elves and Men are the Children of Iluvatar; and since they understood not fully that theme by which the Children entered into the Music, none of the Ainur dared to add anything to their fashion. For which reason the Valar are to these kindreds rather their elders and their chieftains than their masters; and if ever in their dealings with Elves and Men the Ainur have endeavoured to force them when they would not be guided, seldom has this turned to good, howsoever good the intent.

This is as close as you can get to the moral basis of Arda: Even "the Valar are to these kindreds rather their elders and their chieftains than their masters". The Great exist and are genuinely great, but this does not give them the right to dominate others.

The rebellion of Morgoth and Sauron was basically against this moral principle. Morgoth, out of a lust for personal power, and Sauron (initially at least) out of a techie's dream of a perfect, tidy, efficient world. They had their dreams and were the sort of beings who would follow those dreams no matter the cost to others. Both Morgoth and Sauron chose the path of domination.

How? Well, initially armies and the use of their own power -- the Silmarillion is full of those stories -- but Morgoth and then Sauron discovered that they could pour their essence (spirit? being? strength?) into a material object to give themselves much greater mastery over the world.

Morgoth, who was a "bitter cold immoderate" sort of guy who liked the "turmoils of the heat and the cold that had come to pass through him" wanted to dominate reality and poured his strength into Arda itself and gained power over the physical world. Sauron, who initially just wanted people to work together to build a better world (under his direction, of course) eventually poured himself into the One Ring so that with it he could "encourage" people to work together under his direction. I.e., so he could dominate the wills of others.

It is said that Sauron originally meant well, but because he chose domination as a tool, his own self became corrupted and in some respects the Second Age is the chronicle of Sauron's final corruption. Note that at the time he forged the Ring he could still appear fair and persuade people. After making and using this tool of domination to rule Middle-earth and to destroy Numenor, he permanently diminished himself and could only appear as a Dark Lord.

The Valar knew that domination -- the use of power to force Men and Elves -- had been forbidden by Iluvatar. And if they were tempted to ignore that they had what happened to Morgoth and Sauron when they forged their Rings to see.

Why would they even consider making their own?

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