If an orc found the One Ring, would it try to use it? Or were the orcs "programmed" to turn it over to Sauron?

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    "Oooh... a shiny. Mine!"
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 22:00

2 Answers 2


In his letter 246, JRRT spoke about the likely consequences should Frodo (or any other lesser being) decide to take control of the ring.

In short, the ring will drive anyone who claims it into a state of megalomaniacal madness. They'll become obsessed with trying to dominate the world and will ultimately seek to confront Sauron himself, at which point Sauron will utterly destroy them.

An orc that discovered the ring would suffer the same fate. Their arrogance, cruelty and lack of intelligence would surely make them prime fodder for trying to use the One Ring's power. They would instantly become a petty Lord of the Ring and a prime target for the Nazgul or Sauron himself.

He needed time, much time, before he could control the Ring or (which in such a case is the same) before it could control him; before his will and arrogance could grow to a stature in which he could dominate other major hostile wills.


But if he still preserved some sanity and partly understood the significance of it, so that he refused now to go with them to Barad-dûr, they would simply have waited. Until Sauron himself came. In any case a confrontation of Frodo and Sauron would soon have taken place, if the Ring was intact. Its result was inevitable. Frodo would have been utterly overthrown: crushed to dust, or preserved in torment as a gibbering slave.

  • Thus it seems that the only being who could have possibly claimed the Ring without being "crushed to dust" might possibly have been Morgoth early in the history of Arda! Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 20:30
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    @MattGutting Possibly, given the sheer amount of power it took to deal with Morgoth, even later it would give him that little bit more oomph he would need to make a comeback. But that's wild apocalyptic speculation. Alternatively, Gandalf - being originally a being of the same order as Sauron who was sent back and further empowered by Eru himself - might have been able to claim it relatively safely (if it hadn't been far too late for that by the time Gandalf the White made his appearance). Tom Bombadil, of course, could have claimed it safely, but to do so is not in his nature.
    – Darael
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 22:07
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    @Darael, as has been mentioned elsewhere, if Gandalf had claimed the ring, he probably would have been able to defeat Sauron. However, in the process, the ring would have corrupted him, turning him into something at least as bad. Whether this counts as "claiming it safely" is a matter of opinion.
    – Mark
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 8:56
  • @mark - Yes. What Sauron fears is that a higher being will find the Ring and use its powers. Although they'll be corrupted by it, they won't be his servant.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 9:13
  • @Mark safe for him. Ish. Not safe for anybody else. Very good point.
    – Darael
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 9:20

I don't believe there is any canon explanation for this. But I also believe that the Orcs are fairly weak willed and that the ring would eventually take over the Orc. Or it would move the Orc toward bringing the One Ring to Sauron.

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