I listened to the books (as opposed to reading them) and waited until I listened to The Hobbit before posting this question. Please forgive me if I remembered it incorrectly.

After the destruction of the One Ring, and after Galadriel travels with Frodo and company, she waves her hand as she walks away. Frodo sees a spark from her ring. What was the spark and why was Frodo the only one who saw it?

With the One Ring destroyed, the rings may have lost their power. Meaning, the rings should not be invisible and the spark was simply the sun glinting against the metal. But then everyone should have seen it.

If the rings still had some power and were still not visible, Sam, as a ring bearer, should have seen the ring as well.

I would guess in answer to my own question that the others did indeed see it, but it was only Frodo who found it significant. Or am I missing something entirely?

  • 1
    If I remember the scene correctly (don't have access to the books at the moment) while Tolkien does state that Frodo saw the flash, he doesn't state that Frodo was the only one who saw it.
    – user8719
    Jul 8, 2014 at 12:36
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    The other rings have not lost their power completely. They were forged before the One Ring was and they were forged by the elves themselves. So these rings had power even before the One Ring existed. Jul 10, 2014 at 10:10
  • @StefanUrziceanu Really? I have always grown up remembering that all the rings were forged by Sauron.
    – TylerH
    Sep 3, 2014 at 13:23
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    @TylerH The Silmarillion says that Sauron showed the elves how to forge them. And the moment he forged The One Ring and put it on, the elves could feel him taking control and they took the rings off and kept them off until he was defeated by Isildur. Sep 8, 2014 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


In 'The Mirror of Galadriel' (LotR book 2, chapter 7), Galadriel

lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light...

At this point, Frodo can see the ring

It cannot be hidden from the Ring-bearer

but Sam sees only the light

... I wondered what you were talking about. I saw a star through your finger.

Now in the scene mentioned in the question 'Many Partings' (LotR book 6, chapter 6)

... the grey-cloaked people of Lorien rode towards the mountains; and those who were going to Rivendell sat on the hill and watched, until there came out of the gathering mist a flash; and then they saw no more. Frodo knew that Galadriel had held aloft her ring in a token of farewell.

My reading of this is that everyone saw the flash, but Galadriel was some distance away so the ring was not discernible, even to Frodo. However, having seen Galadriel use her ring in a similar way in Lorien, Frodo knew what the source of the flash was.

  • So, you suggest, it was the connection in between the two events that made it significant. Interesting. But then, this was the ring using a power of sorts, and not a glint? Jul 8, 2014 at 13:09
  • @BrianTkatch --- that's certainly my reading of the passage, but I don't think it's entirely definitive. Jul 8, 2014 at 14:56
  • @pleasedeleteme - no, it's unambiguous in the books that the Three had lost their power after the destruction of the One, so it was either just a glint, or else Galadriel was using some "Elven magic" to create the flash; it was definitely not the ring because the ring had no power at that time.
    – user8719
    Aug 6, 2014 at 19:15
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    @user8719: it's a diamond set in mithril (shiny silvery metal). All it takes to make it glint is a bit of sunlight - no need to suppose any magic, Elven or otherwise.
    – Martha
    Feb 19, 2016 at 2:52

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