6

Near the end of Shadow of Mordor,

Celebrimbor is shown to have stolen the ring after he assisted Sauron in the making of it. (in another answer, it was shown that Celebrimbor had nothing to do with the making of The One Ring).

My question is did Celebrimbor ever

have possession of the ring as shown at the end of SoM or is that completely fabricated as well?

  • 1
    I think you've answered your own question. Sauron's ring was forged in secret, then possessed by him continuously until it was lost. – Valorum Jan 21 '15 at 20:40
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    @Richard I think this question is asking specifically if Celebrimbor ever wielded the One Ring. The other question and answer address that the scene as presented did not occur. But this is asking if he ever did gain possession of the ring. And that's not addressed by the other post or its answers. – user1027 Jan 21 '15 at 20:51
  • @Keen thats exactly it – Premier Bromanov Jan 21 '15 at 20:55
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    @Richard Am I missing it, or is your bolded detail not in any of the answers on the dupe? – user1027 Jan 21 '15 at 21:00
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    @Keen - A technicality. It's well known that Sauron had to have the ring physically cut off him. – Valorum Jan 21 '15 at 21:18
9

It's 'fabricated' in that this isn't what happened in the books or films. In the books, Celebrimbor and Sauron (in disguise) crafted some lesser rings of power (later Sauron would give some of these rings to Men, eventually creating the Nazgul). Then on his own, Celebrimbor crafted the 3 elven rings. Later, in secret, Sauron crafted The One Ring alone.

This then started a war. The Elven rings and the lesser rings were hidden by the elves. During the war, Celebrimbor was captured by Sauron's forces and tortured to death. During the torture, he gave up the location of the lesser rings, but kept the secret of where the 3 elven rings were. During the entire war, Sauron wielded the One Ring. It was only at the end of a later war (after Celebrimbor's death), when it was cut from Sauron's finger by Isildur that the Ring passed to another, Isildur.

So no, in the books he never wielded the One Ring as in the game.

10

This is a complete fabrication.

According to the plot of the game (I haven't played it so I'm quoting from the Wikipedia article here):

Celebrimbor gradually recalls how Sauron, disguised as Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, deceived him into forging the Rings of Power. Celebrimbor ultimately assisted Sauron in forging the One Ring, but was able to steal it from him. Celebrimbor proclaimed himself the Bright Lord of Mordor and raised an army of Orcs against Sauron. However, the Ring ultimately betrayed Celebrimbor and returned to Sauron.

Also, according to the Shadow of Mordor wiki:

It is revealed later that Celebrimbor was not killed at the hands of Sauron after Saurons assault on Eregion, but instead brought to Mordor to perfect the One Ring. It is here that Celebrimbor imbues the ring with a "mind of its own". However, Celebrimbor, tempted by the power of the ring, at the last moment steals the ring, slipping into the Wraith world to escape Sauron.

Celebrimbor, corrupted by the power of the ring and determined to now conquer Mordor, builds an army to match Saurons. A war between the two progresses, until finally the two super powers meet at a large battle. Celebrimbor uses the ring to best Sauron in single combat, having nearly mastered its powers. However, at the last moment before the killing blow, the ring (having a mind of its own) slips off of Celebrimbors finger and onto Saurons. With the power of the One Ring once again, Sauron takes Celebrimbor captive.

This is at variance with the story in the books, given in full in the Galadriel and Celeborn material in Unfinished Tales:

Sauron himself departed from Eregion about the year 1500, after the Mírdain had begun the making of the Rings of Power. Now Celebrimbor was not corrupted in heart or faith, but had accepted Sauron as what he posed to be; and when at length he discovered the existence of the One Ring he revolted against Sauron ...

When Sauron learned of the repentance and revolt of Celebrimbor his disguise fell and his wrath was revealed; and gathering a great force he moved over Calenardhon (Rohan) to the invasion of Eriador in the year 1695 ...

At last the attackers broke into Eregion with ruin and devastation, and captured the chief object of Sauron's assault, the House of the Mírdain, where were their smithies and their treasures. Celebrimbor, desperate, himself withstood Sauron on the steps of the great door of the Mírdain; but he was grappled and taken captive ...

Then Celebrimbor was put to torment ...

Concerning the Three Rings Sauron could learn nothing from Celebrimbor; and he had him put to death ...

In black anger he turned back to battle; and bearing as a banner Celebrimbor's body hung upon a pole, shot through with Orc-arrows, he turned upon the forces of Elrond.

And in brief in the Tale of Years (Lord of the Rings Appendix B):

1600: Sauron forges the One Ring in Orodruin. He completes the Barad-dûr. Celebrimbor perceives the designs of Sauron.

1693: War of the Elves and Sauron begins. The Three Rings are hidden.

1695: Sauron's forces invade Eriador. Gil-galad sends Elrond to Eregion.

1697: Eregion laid waste. Death of Celebrimbor. The gates of Moria are shut. Elrond retreats with remnant of the Noldor and founds the refuge of Imladris.

1699: Sauron overruns Eriador.

The points of variance are:

  • Sauron made the One Ring alone, as is already established,
  • There is no indication of Sauron returning to Mordor after his victory in Eregion and capture of Celebrimbor; the texts suggest that Sauron's capture, torture and killing of Celebrimbor actually all took place in Eregion,
  • Celebrimbor is explicitly stated to have been killed,
  • Physical evidence of Celebrimbor's death was present:

    bearing as a banner Celebrimbor's body hung upon a pole, shot through with Orc-arrows

  • There is no evidence of any other battle in the texts.
Some other points to note:

  • This occurred before the founding of Rivendell, so Elrond's forces were coming from Lindon from where he was sent by Gil-galad,
  • Per the Tale of Years, Sauron's invasion of Eriador took place in SA 1695, but he didn't take Eregion until 1697, the same year in which he killed Celebrimbor and marched out with Celebrimbor's body as a banner. This establishes a very short timeline in which the events claimed by the game could have happened,
  • Slipping into the wraith world would not have enabled him to escape Sauron; Sauron as a Maia (who unlike the Istari was not constrained in any way, and also at the peak of his own powers) would have been able to see him wearing the Ring,
  • Celebrimbor would have been extremely unlikely to have mastered (or have come close to mastering) the Ring, as Letter 131 notes:

    Also so great was the Ring's power of lust, that anyone who used it became mastered by it

The physical evidence of Celebrimbor's death, together with the extremely short timescale involved (all taking place in the year 1697), count against the possibility of the events claimed by the game happening.

Finally, there is no evidence whatsoever in any of Tolkien's writing that anyone other than Sauron wore the Ring at any time between it's forging and his overthrow at the Last Alliance.

2

It seems to me that Shadow of Mordor fills in some gaps in the "official" account of Celebrimbor and the One Ring. It can be seen as consistent with cannon, if one assumes that the cannon is the recollections of eleves and men who were not aware of everything that happened.

We know that Celembrimbor was an incredibly talented elf, approaching closer to the skill of his grandfather than any of Feanor's other descendents. We know that Feanor and his brothers were capable of actively holding their own in single combat against the most powerful Vala, Morgoth - though only for a time and only in their greatest wrath. Mote importantly, we know that Feanor's creative cleverness, though not his pure magical "horesepower", outstripped that of even Aule (the Smmith of the Valar aand Sauron's master before he wwas sseduced bby Morgoth). Feanor could make more amazing things with less raw magical power than any other being in Arda.

It's thus not outrageous to imagine Feanor's greatest grandchild being powerful enough to stand up to a super-powerful Maia like Sauron. It's also not outrageous, indeed it's heavily implied in the cannon, that Sauron could not have made the Rings without Celebrimbor's help. Sauron was providing the magical horsepower, some of the basic know-know, and perhaps the original concept; but Celebrimbor was the talent. We know, for example, that the Three, the greatest of the rings below the One, we're made by Celebrimbor alone, after the 16 and without Sauron's help or knowledge.

So, the idea that Sauron sought to enslave the captured Celebrimbor and use his family as hostages to force him to help Sauron to "perfect" the ring isn't silly - indeed it's just the sort of arrogant, evil thing Sauron would do. And if you're going to modify or retrofit the One Ring, you're going to have to take your new slave back to Mount Doom to do it.

Moreover, the One Ring's "mind of its own" seems to be a unique feature among the Rings - yet also just the sort of subtle booby trap one can imagine an enslaved Celebrimbor might slip into the improvements and modifications made under Sauron's supervision - "So, you bear so much of your maker's nature, let's give you a will of your own and see how Sauron enjoys being "served" by an intelligence as duplicitous and ambitious as his own!"

Celebrimbor's theft of the ring and his brief campaign to become a rival Lord of Mordor ("the Bright Lord") then actually makes sense. Celembrimbor seems to have been the descendent of Feanor who least resembled his grandfather in pride, arrogance and vulnerability to corruption - but he was still a descendent of Feanor. The game depicts him taking the ring in a sudden move and slipping into the wraith world as a way to get momentary concealment from Sauron in his surprise and rage - that makes sense. And Sauron would have been surprised - after all, he held Celbrimbor's wife and children as hostages. But Celebrimbor was seduced by the Ring, as so many were after him. I also see Celebrimbor's use of the Ring to creat an orc rebellion within Mordor as relatively brief, a matter of a few months, definitely no more than a year. If it was that brief (but metioric, due to the power of the Ring), it's not surprising no one outside of Mordor knew of it - it was just a brief but brutal war among orcs that occured while Sauron was regrouping back in Mordor after sacking Eriador.

The rebellion also makes sense from the perspective of the Ring. It now has a will of its own and a personality very similar to its Master's. And here is Celebrimbor, an elf, a lesser being than its Maia master and thus presumably easier to influence and control, who has just demonstrated that, despite his lesser raw power, he's actually cleverer and more skilled than Sauron. Why would the ring not side with Celebrimbor? But as much as the Ring might resent and be jealous of its master, in the end it could not bring itself to help Celebrimbor destroy Sauron. In the end, it slipped off Celebrimbor's finger at the crucial moment (as it would later do to Isuldur) and returned to Sauron. And thus began the destructive, dysfunctional relationship between Sauron and his Ring that plays out over the millenia. Frankly, they deserved each other.

1

Celebrimbor never had possession of the One. It was made in secret by Sauron and worn by him until his defeat by the Last Alliance of Men and Elves.

It was then recovered by Isildur who kept hold of it for a few years. Upon being ambushed by a pack of orcs, the Ring abandoned Isildur as he attempted to flee across the Anduin. Isildur was slain and the Ring was lost to time.

Over two thousand years later it was discovered by Déagol who was almost immediately murdered by Sméagol. Sméagol then kept possession of it for nearly 500 years. The Ring once again abandoned its carrier and fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins and eventually was passed on to Frodo Baggins. Samwise Gamgee also carried the Ring for a short period of time before relinquishing it back to Frodo.

At no point in it's history was it ever carried by Celebrimbor or any Elf for that matter.

1

Shadow of Mordor did completely invent these events. As far as we know, in "actual" recorded history, Sauron put on the One Ring, the Elves were aware of him, and Sauron invaded Eregion and killed Celebrimbor.

In Shadow of Mordor, Sauron (as Annatar) is present at the making of the Rings, and he still forges the One Ring himself. However, the One Ring "blazes like a beacon", and the Elves are immediately aware of what Sauron has done. Where it departs from recorded history is that when Sauron invades Eregion, he captures Celebrimbor, brings him to Mordor, and forces him to improve the One Ring - which he does so by using his powers, and the Ring, to dominate Celebrimbor's mind - and then Celebrimbor seizes the Ring and flees.

However, Celebrimbor never seems to leave Mordor, and instead uses the Ring to rally Orcs to his cause. He fails, Sauron takes the Ring from him, and kills him.

The pretense of Tolkien's works are that they are a translation of a written history. Nobody would have ever known what happened to Celebrimbor in the events of Shadow of Mordor, since no Man or Elf was around to witness it. The events are handwavy plausible, but they did not occur in the books and Tolkien did not conceive of them.

In general, Shadow Of Mordor actually did a surprisingly good job of staying true to the events of the book. The events of the game are entirely "fabricated", none of them occurred in anything Tolkien wrote (in terms of the main narrative and backstory), but for the most part, most of it could have plausibly occurred in-universe. There are certainly a few issues (nobody would have lived in Mordor at that time, Outcast or not, for example), but by-and-large it does a decent job - the writers clearly read a lot of backstory and HoME.

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