94

As we know, the dwarves did not succumb to the seven rings as men did to the nine - it merely made them even more greedy, stubborn and wrathful:

For the Dwarves had proved untameable by this means. The only power over them that the Rings wielded was to inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things, so that if they lacked them all other good things seemed profitless, and they were filled with wrath and desire for vengeance on all who deprived them. But they were made from their beginning of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination. Though they could be slain or broken, they could not be reduced to shadows enslaved to another will; and for the same reason their lives were not affected by any Ring, to live either longer or shorter because of it.

Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, part III "Durin's Folk".

I am wondering: Which long-term effects would the One Ring have on a dwarf? From the quoted passage above, one could easily conclude that even the "One Ring to rule them all" could not dominate the will of a dwarf. If this is true, why, at the council of Elrond, do they never discuss the possibility to let the dwarves carry the ring to Mount Doom? Hobbits may have great resistance against its powers which allows Bilbo and Frodo to carry the ring for a long time before they would eventually (but surely!) succumb to it, but a dwarf might carry it without succumbing to it ever!

In other words: Just brainwash a dwarf to believe that once he destroyed the One Ring, he will get a huge heap of precious gems and metal and BOOM! you get the ultimate Ring-destroyer!

  • 13
    is the part with "greed" not also a enslavement? I think of Sauron let the dwarfs fight for him because he grants them nice things they dont have over and over again. – Fulli Sep 24 '14 at 8:21
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    when the one ring and the other rings of power makes the Dwarfs more greedy, sauron could wisper to them "hey, take this treasure of mordor, but do this for me". So he dose not relay enslave them but he can play them to do things for him. – Fulli Sep 24 '14 at 8:28
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    But to do so, he would first have to find out that the dwarf is actually carrying the ring to Mordor with the intend of destroying it (just like with the Frodo carrying the Ring). – mort Sep 24 '14 at 8:35
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    Because no dwarves volunteered. :) – Sergio Tulentsev Sep 24 '14 at 11:32
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    You're assuming the one ring would act exactly like the other rings of power, but it is completely different. It's the ring Sauron used to control the others and he placed part of his own power into it. – Jason Goemaat Sep 24 '14 at 20:45
113

I think this is the key factor:

The only power over them that the Rings wielded was to inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things

(Source as above)

As we all know, there is nothing more "precious" than the One Ring. So a dwarf would be likely to keep the One Ring for himself, and attempt to use its power to gain more gold and wealth.

Remember that in the end

even Frodo couldn't bring himself to throw the One Ring away

and hobbits are far less interested in material possessions than dwarves are.

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    I think you should add to this that the elves probably wouldn't trust a dwarf to take it. Plus that was never really argued at the Council. Frodo was the first to volunteer to take it, and no one disagreed. In fact, Elrond said "if you do not find a way, no one will". – Plutor Sep 24 '14 at 12:20
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    I found a way around this - you know that TV thing where you sit on a donkey and hold out a pole with a string and there's a carrot tied to the end so the donkey keeps walking forward because he's trying to get the carrot? Could you do that with a One Ring Dwarf, except instead of a carrot, you have a shiny golden coin tied to the end? Then you get to Mt. Doom and just throw the coin into the volcano. Yeah you lose a dwarf, but that's a far better casualty count than how things actually transpired. I'm really disappointed with the council's lack of creativity. – coburne Sep 24 '14 at 14:43
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    There are no spoiler alerts needed for a book written in the 1930's. – Thaddeus Howze Sep 24 '14 at 17:18
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    @jpmc26: I think that there might be a slight chance that coburnes comment is not meant to be taken entirely seriously. – mort Sep 24 '14 at 21:03
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    @Thaddeus Why are spoiler alerts needed? Because every person interested in fantasy out there is assumed to have read a book which predates a certain point in time? Aren't spoilers bad regardless of the age of the material being referenced? – Viktor Seifert Sep 25 '14 at 6:47
59

The Ring would have been precious to anyone, dwarf or not. We can imagine, though, that a dwarf might have fared at least as well as Frodo. The Council of Elrond, however, was not concerned with choosing the most logical person to carry the Ring. The Council considered the Ring a terrible burden (and the mission suicidal), so they would not have picked anyone to do it: they needed a volunteer. Frodo volunteered himself.

No one answered. The noon-bell rang. Still no one spoke. Frodo glanced at all the faces, but they were not turned to him. All the Council sat with downcast eyes, as if in deep thought. A great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice. 'I will take the Ring,' he said, 'though I do not know the way.'

Additionally, Gandalf believed that Frodo was meant, or ordained, to have the Ring, that there was some divine agency behind Frodo having the Ring, and as such it would be folly to imagine they could choose a better bearer.

Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker, and you therefore were meant to bear it.

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    I voted for this answer but it really answers the question that should have been asked. My answer deals with the question as asked - pointing out that it is essentially a non sequitur. Also, Sergio Tulentsev's comment in the question is saying the same thing as this answer. – user23715 Sep 24 '14 at 20:35
  • Well, it's how I read it. :) I think this question is really more than one question. Thanks! – Shamshiel Sep 25 '14 at 4:08
  • Elves and Dwarves tend to have some antagonism going back centuries. I think Elrond and Co were just a tad racist. =) – Jamin Grey Oct 9 '16 at 1:30
17

While Royal Canadian Bandit is on to something in his highly approved answer above...

The quote with the question is from a discussion of the 7 Rings of Power given to the Dwarven Lords - NOT a description of what the One Ring would do to them.

There is no reason to believe that the One Ring would be any less effective at corrupting a Dwarf than it was Hobbits.

In fact there is good reason to believe the One Ring can corrupt anyone - Dwarves included. The Council of Elrond shows this quite well. Peter J, in his film, highlights the contention engendered by the One Ring in all those present.

No one was immune except Tom Bombadil, and for that very reason Tom was not a good candidate to bear the One Ring; he was immune because he cared not for power in any guise.

Also, I'll point out that the One Ring ocrrupted everyone differently - cf Sam's vision of Gardening Greatness or Galadriel's vision of being Queen of the World ("beautiful and terrible as the dawn... all shall love me and despair..."), etc.

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    Q: "Why not let a dwarf carry the One Ring to Mount Doom, since their will cannot be dominated by the rings of power?" Well because the Q is wrong - Dwarves can be dominated by the One Ring. – user23715 Sep 24 '14 at 19:51
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    Interesting point, but it's very speculative. The corrupting effect of the One Ring is not necessarily different. The quoted passage says dwarves' lifespans are not affected by "any ring", which I read as including the One. At the Council of Elrond when Gandalf explains why he believes Frodo has the One, he says it must be a great Ring of Power because it gave long life, but the other rings have all been accounted for -- again implying the effects on the bearer are no different, at least so far as Gandalf knows. – Royal Canadian Bandit Sep 25 '14 at 9:39
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    @DevSolar: That's my point. Nobody knows one way or the other. From the limited information we have, it appears the best guess by Gandalf (and Frodo, in his capacity as author of the Appendices) is that the One Ring would not have a different corrupting effect than the lesser rings. – Royal Canadian Bandit Sep 25 '14 at 15:41
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    @Royal Canadian Bandit - Except that it did! The Council of Elrond proving the case. No one was even carrying, let alone wearing, the One Ring and yet the council devolved into viscous petty bickering. Dwarves included! – user23715 Sep 25 '14 at 16:19
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    @user23715: Only in the movie. In the books there's simply a long silence. That said, the One Ring offered the deceit of supreme power. Sam wanted gardens, Gollum wanted fish, Galadriel wanted to be loved and adored; the Ring made them imagine they had supreme power to set things as they will. (In reality, of course, the Ring only offered the very strong capability of dominating people, if you were capable; not actually supreme power.) Probably a dwarf would simply imagine being a great and wealthy dwarf-lord, without ever fading. – Shamshiel Sep 25 '14 at 22:08
15

Dwarves are vulnerable, but in a different way

I feel surprised by your interpretation of those passages as dwarves having some sort of immunity from the corruption of the rings. They quite explicitly state that dwarves were corrupted by wearing the rings and list the effects of this corruption. The only immunity claimed is the resistance from being personally enslaved by Sauron in the same manner as human ringwraiths.

What would a mighty dwarf do with the ring?

"inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things" would imply being overly protective of the most precioussss thing; destroying it or giving it away would be unimaginable.

"They were filled with wrath and desire for vengeance on all who deprived them" implies that someone who would want to take the ring from them and/or destroy it would be treated as enemies; and paranoid suspicions of such acts would be likely.

In short, the described effects of the Seven dwarven rings match the observed effects of the One ring on such characters as Boromir and Gollum. It does not sound like a description of resistance to corruption, far from it.

8

The council of the ring's plan was a large diplomatic ordeal. Trying to keep it hidden forever in Rivendell would not work in the long run. The elves and dwarfs wouldn't accept either side to take it. Humans have a bad track record of being manipulated by rings. Gandolf didn't want to take ownership for fear that he'd turn evil and replace Sauron. So Frodo, who had more right of 'ownership' on the ring than any, took the task of ringbearer.

There wasn't much discussion of who was least susceptible to the ring's power. As it was a given, that anyone would be in danger of being manipulated, and the ring would do whatever it could to return to its owner.

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    +1 for pointing out the political repercussions. Elves and Dwarves have a deep-rooted bitterness against each other, and it does seem unlikely either an Elf or a Dwarf could have carried the Ring without dissension from the other group. – Unsigned Sep 25 '14 at 21:35
3

Aside from moderators nitpicking how the question is worded, it's a valid one.

A dwarf would have been the better choice on the surface, but it would not have been good literature. Tolkien's view of his hobbits was that they were Englishmen. They are reluctant heroes without ego, everyday folk who will rise to any occasion when forced into extraordinary circumstances. See Frodo, the least likely of all heroes. Tolkein felt that even the smallest of us can effect the fate of all.

Aside from that, dwarven pride would have overmastered any dwarven ringbearer.

-2
  1. dwarves love gold so they would NOT want to destroy anything gold - let alone the ring.
  2. dwarves in their greed woud not care that the ring(s) are a threat to others so long as they - the dwarves are not affected by them!
  3. the ring would make the hobbits live longer bringing a measure of security to the ring as opposed to dwarves whose lives would not shorten or lengthen because of the ring and they would have to pass the ring over to another dwarve more times as they grow old. probability say the more times you have to pass it on to another dwarve once you grow old the higher the chance that it will get lost if the bearer is careless etc. the dwarf is greedy and wants more and MORE gold. the ring does not affect the dwarve but it will STILL affect others EVEN though it is worn by a dwarve. so the dwarve like suaron will say, "ok, it is not affecting me but i can use it to AFFECT/RULE others!. since I love GOLD and i am super GREEDY, i will make all my slaves and tell them to dig more GOLD for me!"
  4. i could go on and on as to why dwarves would not be such a good candiadte. i hope that helps you sir!
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    ...and #3 is something you just made up to add to the Tolkien canon, is it? – Lexible Sep 24 '14 at 15:00
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    Point #1 is excellent. All the others seem highly speculative. – Valorum Sep 25 '14 at 16:58
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    Gimli tries (ineffectually) to destroy the ring at the Council of Elrond, so point 1 doesn't hold water. – Matthew Piziak Sep 25 '14 at 18:37
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    @MatthewPiziak That only happened on the movie. On the book, Gimli wasn't present on the council, and the present dwarves wouldn't be as rude as interrupting Elrond, let alone trying to destroy the Ring without his consent. Also, they aren't stupid, and they understand that there must be a reason the Ring hasn't been destroyed yet. Simple minded dwarves are a Jackson's simplification, nothing more. – Flamma Sep 26 '14 at 11:13
  • Whoops! Sorry about that. The movies and books have blended together in my mind a bit by now. It might be time for a rereading. – Matthew Piziak Sep 26 '14 at 17:18

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