Who is the Lord, as referred to in the title? Frodo? Sauron? Someone else? Or is it more of an abstract title, not referring to a single person, like "He who wields the One Ring"?

3 Answers 3


It's Sauron.

"Hurray!" cried Pippin, springing up. "Here is our noble cousin! Make way for Frodo, Lord of the Ring!"

"Hush!" said Gandalf from the shadows at the back of the porch. "Evil things do not come into this valley; but all the same we should not name them. The Lord of the Ring is not Frodo, but the master of the Dark Tower of Mordor, whose power is again stretching out over the world. We are sitting in a fortress. Outside it is getting dark."
The Fellowship of the Ring, chapter Many Meetings


"[E]ven if we could [hide the Ring], soon or late the Lord of the Rings would learn of its hiding place and would bend all his power towards it."
Glorfindel, in The Fellowship of the Ring, chapter The Council of Elrond

Both comments show that even while not wielding the One Ring, Sauron is still the Lord of the Rings.


The full title of the Red Book of Westmarch is:

The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King

pointing clearly to the Lord of the Rings being Sauron.

  • 3
    Really ? I thought that "Return of the king" was du to the return of Aragorn as king. I should read the books again instead of watching movies :-D
    – Luc M
    Jul 1, 2014 at 2:50
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    The Downfall of Sauron and Return of Aragorn how was that not clear? Jul 1, 2014 at 9:08
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    +1 @LucM Indeed, Aragorn is the King that returns. And who is the main entity, i.e. "lord", associated with rings of power, whose utter downfall the Red Book narrates?
    – Andres F.
    Jul 1, 2014 at 15:22
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    @Cornstalks I understand that could be the case but not within the same sentence surely, specially when the relating information clashes i.e Downfall and Return. Jul 1, 2014 at 15:34
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    Cornstalks - to me "The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King" seems perfectly clear and understandable. It is like the local folk rhyme: "Since William rose and Harold fell there have been Earls of Arundel". If there was a version "Since the duke of Normandy rose and the king fell there have been earls of Arundel" that would also be grammatical and understandable. And very similar to "The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King". So I don't see what is puzzling to you in the grammer of the title. Jun 7, 2017 at 6:12

Lord of the Rings, plural. Sauron is the only being who could have this title, because he is not just the master of the one ring, he also maintains control of the other rings of power that he had planned to slave to the one ring. The elves thwarted his plans for them, and the dwarves were resistant. But he definitely controls the nine human rings.

Really that title refers to Sauron in more ways than one. He was the one who gave the secrets of ring making to Celebrimbor. He was involved with the making of all but three of them. It's really a literal description as much as a title.

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