8

How could the One Ring help them? Leaving aside the evil inside the One Ring, how could the One Ring bring any help to Gondor?

It seems that one of the useful powers of the One Ring is that it could control the lesser Rings given to the Elves, Dwarves and Humans. But how could that help with their war?

14

The One could not control the Elven rings, as those were made without the help of Sauron. But even just controlling the Nazgul would confer a substantial advantage in any battle.

However, I suspect Boromir and Denethor didn't really know what the ring could do for them concretely; they knew that it had powerful magic and everyone was saying that if Sauron had it there would be no stopping him - so surely there was some way for them to use that power, for good of course? (of ourse there is a way, my precious!)

Their thinking was mainly driven by the intense desire to help their country, to restore Gondor to its former glory. The ring used that desire against them.

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    The One Ring didn't seem to control the Nazgul, they stabbed the bearer while he was wearing it. – bitmask Mar 14 '13 at 14:38
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    @bitmask: looks like a case of false advertising then. I mean, it does say "One Ring to rule them all" right on the merchandise! – Michael Borgwardt Mar 14 '13 at 15:04
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    It does control the Nazgul after a fashion, but Frodo was not capable of overpowering the will of the Ring. Probably only someone like Galadriel or Gandalf had any real hope of exerting any control over it. – horatio Mar 14 '13 at 15:34
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    @horatio OTOH, Frodo didn't really claim the ring for his own until he was in Mount Doom. Perhaps if Frodo had actually claimed the ring earlier, then he would have been used it to control, the Nazgul. - And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in in Sammath Maur the very heart of his realm, the Power in Barad-dur was shaken, and the Tower trembled from its foundation to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him in a blinding flash. Book 6 Chap 3. – Zoredache Mar 18 '13 at 3:15
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    Trembled in fear: The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him, and his Eye piercing all shadows looked across the plain to the door that he had made; and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare. Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung. Not because Frodo had the power to overcome the ring, but rather because it was so close to destruction. – horatio Mar 19 '13 at 15:01
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Boromir stirred, and Frodo looked at him.
He was fingering his great horn and frowning. At length he spoke.
'I do not understand all this,' he said. `Saruman is a traitor, but did he not have a glimpse of wisdom? Why do you speak ever of hiding and destroying? Why should we not think that the Great Ring has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of need? Wielding it the Free Lords of the Free may surely defeat the Enemy. That is what he most fears, I deem.
'The Men of Gondor are valiant, and they will never submit; but they may be beaten down. Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such power as you say. Take it and go forth to victory!' - Boromir at the Council of Elrond

So, the idea was that the powerful Lords (Elrond, or Gandalf etc...) would wield it as a weapon against Sauron.

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Boromir and his father had no idea the ring had been found before Boromir saw it. So to answer the one part of your question, his father didn't think anything about it.

As for Boromir, once he saw the ring he immediately began to covet it. At this point I doubt he thought much about the factual history of the ring and its control over men, and thought more about how much ass he could kick while protecting his borders if he could be the next Sauron.

  • I edited it to remove the incorrect information as I think it was distraction from the correct answer that was in the original second paragraph. – JMD Mar 14 '13 at 17:46
  • @JMD Something else to note is that you need to start a comment with "@<user>" to notify them that you're responded. I'm going to clean up the rest of these comments since they're now obsolete. – user1027 Mar 14 '13 at 18:12
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    I don't thnik either Boromir or Denetor cared too much about being "the next Sauron" - in both their cases it was defense of Gondor that was their priority. Otherwise this answer seems mostly correct - they certainly didn't know that the Ring had been found; the only info they had to go on was "Isildur's Bane" in the dream poem, and the actual means by which Isildur dies was certainly not well known. – user8719 Mar 14 '13 at 18:21
  • I mean "the next Sauron" as in the next all powerful dude in that area of the world. Of course, they imagine being white knights and protecting their borders, but with the power of Sauron. – JMD Mar 16 '13 at 4:56

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