I was recently reading some Lord of the Rings/Stargate SG-1 crossover fanfiction. It is a guilty pleasure, I admit :) In this story, it was suggested by Col. O'Neill to destroy the Ring using a nuclear device. Truth be told I stopped reading at this point, as it was getting to be a little much even for me.

Obviously, this is not canonical in either universe, but it made me wonder: When Elrond said that "only in the fires of Mt. Doom may it be unmade," was he speaking literally? Or was this merely the only known active volcano in Middle Earth? In other words, was whatever magic that protected the One Ring from damage location-based or did it just make it very resistant to destructive force, and Mt. Doom just happened to be hot enough to do this? I know there is (understandably) little information about such technicalities of how magic works in Middle Earth, but I'll accept any reasonable conjecture/consensus as an answer.

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    I've always held the uncanonical view that it merely put the Ring beyond reach without destroying it.
    – John O
    Feb 14, 2013 at 22:59
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    I feel like the 'ka-woosh' from a stargate could probably destroy it...
    – NominSim
    Feb 14, 2013 at 23:08
  • In the SG universe, the could send it to that black hole.
    – Zoredache
    Feb 16, 2013 at 18:38
  • This might well be true of medievel tech and this low level of magic. In the twentieth century we had already many solutions and could indeed have hurled the ring into the sun itself. It is now the twenty-first. We would mount a decapitation attack against Sauron and all the vast armies would not matter.
    – Joshua
    Nov 10, 2015 at 20:46
  • @Joshua citation needed on being able to hurl the ring into the sun. deorbiting takes way more delta-v than one would expect, you can't just aim at the sun and fire, you gotta reduce your orbital velocity enough that your orbit will intersect with the sun. take a look at the Parker Solar Probe mission, it was launched in 2018 and is still en route, it's only gonna get within 9 solar radii of the sun and it needs to do a gravity slingshot maneuver with jupiter to even get that close.
    – user371366
    Jul 21, 2022 at 5:44

3 Answers 3


It is established that Mount Doom is the only practical possibility. LOTR I.2 (when Gandalf verifies that Frodo's ring is the Ring and tells Frodo what that means):

But there is no smith's forge in this Shire that could change it at all. Not even the anvils and furnaces of the Dwarves could do that. It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself. There is only one way: to find the Cracks of Doom in the depths of Orodruin, the Fire-mountain, and cast the Ring in there.

(Several of the Seven were destroyed by dragons.)

Ways to destroy the Ring are discussed in Rivendell (LOTR II.3). When Tom Bombadil is suggested, Gandalf states

Say rather that the Ring has no power over him. He is his own master. But he cannot alter the Ring itself, nor break its power over others.

It is not said in this discussion whether the Valar, or other powers in Valinor, may be able to destroy the Ring. Quite possibly, they could, but will not.

‘But Gandalf has revealed to us that we cannot destroy it by any craft that we here possess,’ said Elrond. ‘And they who dwell beyond the Sea would not receive it: for good or ill it belongs to Middle-earth; it is for us who still dwell here to deal with it.’

My understanding is that there is no magic in Middle-earth that is strong enough to destroy the One Ring, and there is but one natural method to destroy it which is to melt it in a volcano. The fact that the Ring was made in Mount Doom is not directly relevant: Mount Doom is the only volcano mentioned in the story (not explicitly, but “Fire-mountain” is transparent). I don't have any hard in-story or out-of-story evidence to show, however.

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    It was maybe true for medieval technology, but today we can create fires much hotter than volcanoes. If this was the only requirement, I'm pretty sure the Ring could be destroyed today in an industrial furnace or by firing it into the Sun. Even if the later one didn't destroy it, it would make it inaccessible to Sauron. Failing that, you could fire it into a black hole, there is no way the Ring would survive that.
    – vsz
    Feb 15, 2013 at 7:15
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    Only if it really is just a normal volcano. By your logic, Smaug was probably a Komodo dragon and the balrog was a hippopotamus. Described with medieval scientific perspective. This isn't a medieval legend, it's a fantasy novel.
    – Misha R
    Jan 20, 2015 at 12:57
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    @MishaRosnach No, from the perspective of European medieval legends, dragons are big flying beasts that breathe fire. They are not komodo dragons. A balrog is more specific to Tolkien but definitely not a hippopotamus or other actual animal, it's clearly a supernatural being. Volcanos, especially from a northern European background (i.e. from a region where there haven't been any active volcanos in historical times), are awe-inspiring enough on their own, they don't need to be made even more mystical.
    – user56
    Jan 20, 2015 at 13:16
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    I dunno, when the first stories about a hippo were brought back to Europe they referred to it as Behemoth. Pretty similar to a dragon, according to some interpretations of what Behemoth is. So I suppose some dragons were fire-breathing flying beasts, and some were hippos. That's the thing about fantasy though: all dragons are fire-breathing flying beasts.
    – Misha R
    Jan 20, 2015 at 14:50
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    A note on medieval technology (re @vsz 's comment) : Magma is usually between 700~1300°C; coal coking fires and coal kilns can get as high as 2000°C. This probably wasn't in Tolkien's mind when he wrote that, but certainly it isn't merely an issue of temperature.
    – zxq9
    Nov 10, 2015 at 1:36

Yes Tolkien wrote in one of his appendices that the Ring can only be destroyed from whence it came.

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    [Citation needed]. The only relevant appendix is The Tale Of Years, and that doesn't make any such reference. Feb 14, 2013 at 23:40
  • hmm, writing in one of his appendices must have taken some doing. I suppose that it was the calm and quiet that he was after. Feb 15, 2013 at 9:02
  • @coleopterist: Reminds me of a particularly bizarre short story by Harlan Ellison. Feb 15, 2013 at 15:37

When you cross the fanfiction line involving different universes you almost always face paradoxes and contradictions, so it is hard to answer a question without knowing first which universe id dominating over the other one.

In other words, we can say that if you are "importing" the One Ring in the Stargate universe, maybe the technology rules of the new universe will change the rules bound to the ring, allowing it to be destroyed by different means other than Mount Doom. After all Elrond could not know about nuclear power, so its statement was based on its knowledge.

On the other side, if you are "importing" the Stargate guys in the Lord Of The Rings universe, well they can try how hard as they will, but the One Ring will be destroyed only in Mount Doom, because if you are in the Lord Of The Rings universe you cannot explain magic with physics, and so you cannot overwhelm magic with physics.

Supposing that you are just mixing universes together, I'll stick with the "specific beats general" rule, so being the rule on the Only Ring more specific than the generic destructive power of nuclear bombs, I'd say that the One Ring must still be taken to Mount Doom to be destroyed.

Anyway, with a spaceship it looks like a lot easier.

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    What if you import both fictional universes in reality?
    – Junuxx
    Feb 15, 2013 at 10:43
  • Again you have to choose if one of the universe (reality included) have priority over the other ones, and if not, you should again fall back to the "Specific beats General" rule... :)
    – Frhay
    Feb 15, 2013 at 10:57
  • I would not want to put the One Ring on a SG-verse spaceship or any out-of-the-way planet. Imagine if a Go'auld System Lord or an Ori got their hand-equivalents on the Ring, and shudder in horror. Sep 24, 2014 at 14:49
  • A few works of fantasy that do try to involve modern tech sometimes give special status to nuclear weapons. The fire that burns both the Seen and Unseen worlds at once, or something.
    – user36551
    Dec 24, 2014 at 2:11
  • @Leushenko If there is a specification of status to merge different tech levels (or in this case a tech level with a magic level) then again the most specific rule should win... :)
    – Frhay
    Jan 7, 2015 at 13:57

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