In the Hobbit story at the battle of five armies, a stone hit Bilbo in head and he faints away while wearing the One Ring. Since he was wearing the ring all the time during the battle, he remained invisible, until he woke up(and the battle was over).

Now, I wonder what would've happened if the strike would've killed Bilbo instead? Would he and the One Ring remain invisible or would they turn visible? What is the difference between fainting and sleeping and passing away?

2 Answers 2


In this answer it is indicated that the ring's effects are built on the characteristics of the wearer. So Bilbo's invisibility is an enhancement of his native traits/powers. If a more powerful entity were to wear the ring they would get powers proportional to their native strengths.

Given that the ring's powers seem to be tied to the living essence of the wearer, I would assume that if the wearer were to die the ring's effects would end. In other words, Bilbo would become visible.

Furthermore, I know of no evidence that the ring has effects on non-living things so once Bilbo ceased to be a living thing he would cease to be affected by the ring.

  • What if you were really really boring to start with? Would you just become really really really incredibly boring?
    – Daft
    Dec 19, 2014 at 15:42
  • "So Bilbo's invisibility is an enhancement of his native traits/powers. If a more powerful entity were to wear the ring they would get powers proportional to their native strengths." You are aware the Ring gave Isildur invisibility too? The invisibility came from being drawn part way into the spirit world, not an enhancement of natural power. Dec 27, 2014 at 1:12
  • I remember reading that the ring made people "invisible" merely as a side effect of its use by mortals. ALong the lines that because the Maiar do not inherently exist in the physical realm, the invisible area that Frodo enters and the wraiths now exist in, is where Sauron "dwells", being dragged there is just because that's where Saurons essence is at its strongest. Do you have any references to its effects being based on the wearer? Mar 10, 2015 at 17:02
  • @ChrisMorris You're right wrt invisibility (though a shadow visible at height of sun). But a stronger will would allow more control with the Ring. And remember what Gandalf says: Bilbo survives with so little hurt because he began ownership with Pity. In HoME he tells Bingo that Bilbo might have even be made a wraith at once (though this doesn't add up as to why Dígol* wasn't made a wraith it's still said - just thought of that in the act of typing). Maybe not precisely what you're after but it sort of is. Frodo also would have more success as time comes on but ultimately he would be killed.
    – Pryftan
    Aug 8, 2017 at 0:13
  • @ChrisMorris *Originally it was Dígol himself who became Gollum. Later on it'd be Déagol and Sméagol would be his friend/relative who murders Déagol for the Ring, steals it, then becomes Gollum.
    – Pryftan
    Aug 8, 2017 at 0:14

Given of what we know of the One Ring, if the wearer dies, the Ring tries to find the next possible passenger and hitches a ride. It did this again and again, tempting people to carry and/or use it, in an effort to find a powerful host and/or return to Sauron in Mordor.

  • In the event of Bilbo's demise it is likely the Ring would have become visible again after a time being dead or it would have eventually fallen off his decaying finger if he hadn't. The ring seemed to have a sort of malevolent intelligence trying to attract Sauron's minions to it.

  • It is likely the One Ring tried to escape Gollum but all of his years of owning the ring had broken his mind and he hid away from people rather than going to them. Once his mind was broken he wore it and used it only to attack potential prey.

  • Why the ring never tried to escape earlier during the centuries it was held by Gollum is a subject of debate. Perhaps Sauron's defeat after the loss of the ring in those early years meant he wasn't able to search for it like he does after Bilbo finds it.

  • It is possible the Ring may have have engineered Bilbo's fall to Gollum in an effort to be found and escape, though there is no way to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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