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Throughout the books we find that Elrond and Galadriel both have rings (Nenya and Vilya respectively), but then later we find that Gandalf has Narya, the final of the three rings.

We see in the books as well that Rivendell and Lothlorien have weathered much of the decay surrounding them, because of the aid of the rings. That got me thinking about the Shire, it's very much portrayed as a "standing in time" place, much like Rivendell and Lothlorien.

So is it ever mentioned, or described in any extended appendix/tale; that the preserving of the Shire is because of Narya? I know Narya was a different ring in the way that it inspired people to hope, but did it have some of the power that the other two do? Is it ever mentioned in the books anywhere that this could be the reason for the Shire's beauty and tranquillity? I know Gandalf travelled a lot, but the Shire was one of his greatest loves, so this could be transferred from Narya?

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    I don't have my books at the moment, but my understanding was that the Shire was protected by the vigilance of the Rangers, much like Bree – Jason Baker Jan 14 '15 at 16:20
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    i think its because the hobbits themselves dont interact with anyone other then to sell their pipe weed. where as all the relms of men and dwarves are constantly getting invaded by something. plus the shire is much younger and simpler then both rivendale and lothlorien. – Himarm Jan 14 '15 at 16:20
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    My understanding is that it "stood in time" because Hobbits averted adventure and did not draw attention to themselves. Additionally, Gandalf did not spend much time in the Shire at all. – Gorchestopher H Jan 14 '15 at 16:22
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    @JasonBaker The Shire and Breeland are protected by the Dunedian rangers, Aragorn's buddies. But this didn't really explain the 'timelessness' of the Shire. – FirstCape Jan 14 '15 at 16:22
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    @FirstCape - I'm not really seeing any "timelessness" like you mention. The fact that the Hobbits specifically call out timelessness as features of both Rivendell and Lórien suggests that it's actually something they're unfamiliar with. I think you may be seeing this where it doesn't actually exist by way of confirmation bias for your theory. – user8719 Jan 14 '15 at 16:26
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First of all, the Shire is explicitly stated in many places to have been protected by the Rangers; for example in the Prologue:

They forgot or ignored what little they had ever known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire. They were, in fact, sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it.

And in the Council of Elrond:

If Gondor, Boromir, has been a stalwart tower, we have played another part. Many evil things there are that your strong walls and bright swords do not stay. You know little of the lands beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom, do you say? The North would have known them little but for us. Fear would have destroyed them. But when dark things come from the houseless hills, or creep from sunless woods, they fly from us. What roads would any dare to tread, what safety would there be in quiet lands, or in the homes of simple men at night, if the Dúnedain were asleep, or were all gone into the grave?

Secondly, the timelessness of both Rivendell and Lórien is referred to as a feature that the Hobbits are unfamiliar with, to the extent that they explicitly refer to it quite often.

For evidence, see Bilbo's words in Many Meetings:

Time doesn't seem to pass here: it just is. A remarkable place altogether.

And in the Ring Goes South:

'Oh, I don't know. I can't count days in Rivendell,' said Bilbo. 'But quite long, I should think.'

And from Lothlórien:

They followed him as he stepped lightly up the grass-clad slopes. Though he walked and breathed, and about him living leaves and flowers were stirred by the same cool wind as fanned his face, Frodo felt that he was in a timeless land that did not fade or change or fall into forgetfulness. When he had gone and passed again into the outer world, still Frodo the wanderer from the Shire would walk there, upon the grass among elanor and niphredil in fair Lothlórien.

And from The Great River:

'And perhaps that was the way of it,' said Frodo. 'In that land, maybe, we were in a time that has elsewhere long gone by. It was not, I think, until Silverlode bore us back to Anduin that we returned to the time that flows through mortal lands to the Great Sea. And I don't remember any moon, either new or old, in Caras Galadhon: only stars by night and sun by day.'

The fact that this sense of timelessness is discussed among the Hobbits as though it was something unfamiliar to them confirms that it's something that the Shire doesn't have.

Finally, and most specifically, Gandalf (in Many Meetings) refers to the power in the Shire as being different to that in Rivendell:

Indeed there is a power in Rivendell to withstand the might of Mordor, for a while: and elsewhere other powers still dwell. There is power, too, of another kind in the Shire.

In summary:

  • The protection of the Shire from the outside world is already adequately explained,
  • The "timelessness" of both Rivendell and Lórien is something that the Hobbits are explicitly unfamiliar with,
  • There is no evidence of a similar effect in the Shire,
  • And so there is no evidence of or need for Narya to explain anything about the Shire.
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it also wrong that the protection was effective? Didn't Saruman take over the place for a while? It's been a long time since I read the books, though. – AlbeyAmakiir Jan 15 '15 at 6:16
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    @AlbeyAmakiir - he did but the Rangers were mostly fighting in Gondor at the time. – user8719 Jan 15 '15 at 10:00
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    This lets us hope that the Shire will not pass into the mists of time, like Rivendell and Lothlorien now will, with the One Ring being destroyed... ;-) – DevSolar Jan 15 '15 at 14:19
  • Hobbits had a dozen and a half Rings of Power of their own. Why else would all the doors be RING SHAPED. What else confused the Nazguls hunting for the Hobbits? – Oldcat Jan 17 '15 at 0:15
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    @Oldcat Yes, there is a missing line from the Ring's lore: "Eighteen for hobbit lords, hiding in burrows". Just like dwarvern rings made their wielders greedy, hobbit's rings turned them from pipe weed to stronger stuff. Ugly story, better forgotten. – Darth Hunterix Dec 7 '17 at 7:42

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