A Chain of Custody: Listing the Ringbearers

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Yes, it’s the sort of thing one does in lockdown. Sitting down, and compiling a complete chain of custody for the One Ring. It’s actually a deceptively tricksy exercise: there are some curious cases of brief handling that need to be noted.

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Anyway, here is the list, from the Ring’s creation to its destruction. For the dating of the Disaster of the Gladden Fields, and Bilbo’s finding of the Ring, I am indebted to this timeline. The rest is from Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings.

The colour-coding is as follows:

  • Gold: Claimed possession of the One Ring, and wore it.
  • Purple: Claimed possession of the One Ring, but did not wear it.
  • Turquoise: Wore the One Ring, but did not claim possession of it.
  • Green: Handled the One Ring, but neither claimed it nor wore it.

My reasoning for Isildur wearing the Ring more than once? How else did he know that it turned mortals invisible prior to fleeing the Orcs?

NAME OBTAINED RING LOST RING LENGTH OF TENURE NOTES
1. Sauron S.A. c.1600

(Created)

S.A. 3441 c. 1841 years Forged the Ring. Wore the Ring at all times, including in Númenor.
2. Isildur S.A. 3441 4th October: T.A. 2 2 years Cut the Ring from Sauron’s corpse. Must have worn the Ring at least twice.
NONE 4th October: T.A. 2 T.A. 2463 2461 years Lost in Anduin after it slipped from Isildur’s finger.
3. Déagol T.A. 2463 T.A. 2463 < 1 hour Found the Ring.
4. Sméagol (Gollum) T.A. 2463 Before 1st July: T.A. 2941 478 years Killed Déagol, and seized the Ring. Wore the Ring many times.
NONE Before 1st July: T.A. 2941 1st July: T.A. 2941 Several days Lost in the tunnels of the Misty Mountains after it slipped from Gollum’s finger.
5. Bilbo Baggins 1st July: T.A. 2941 22nd September: T.A. 3001 60+ years Found the Ring. Wore the Ring many times.
6. Gandalf 22nd September: T.A. 3001 22nd September: T.A. 3001 < 2 hours Acting on Bilbo’s behalf, he handled an envelope with the Ring inside. He placed the envelope on the Bag End mantelpiece and waited for Frodo. 
7. Frodo Baggins 22nd September: T.A. 3001 13th April: T.A. 3018 16+ years Left the Ring by Bilbo. Unknown if he wore the Ring during this time.
8. Gandalf 13th April: T.A. 3018 13th April: T.A. 3018 < 1 hour Handed the Ring by Frodo. Handled the Ring, and threw it into the Bag End fire. He then removed it, and returned it to Frodo.
9. Frodo Baggins 13th April: T.A. 3018 27th September: T.A. 3018 5+ months
10. Tom Bombadil 27th September: T.A. 3018 27th September: T.A. 3018 < 1 hour Handed the Ring by Frodo. Wore the Ring once (27th September). Returned it to Frodo.
11. Frodo Baggins 27th September: T.A. 3018 20th October: T.A. 3018 < 1 month Wore the Ring thrice (27th September, 29th September, 6th October)
12. Unknown 20th October: T.A. 3018 24th October: T.A. 3018 < 5 days Took the Ring from the unconscious Frodo. Put the Ring on a new chain, and returned it to Frodo.
13. Frodo Baggins 24th October: T.A. 3018 13th March: T.A. 3019 < 5 months Wore the Ring twice (26th February)
14. Samwise Gamgee 13th March: T.A. 3019 14th March: T.A. 3019 < 2 days Took the Ring from the unconscious Frodo. Wore the Ring twice (13th-14th March), and returned it to Frodo.
15. Frodo Baggins 14th March: T.A. 3019 25th March: T.A. 3019 < 12 days Wore the Ring once (25th March)
16. Sméagol (Gollum) 25th March: T.A. 3019 25th March: T.A. 3019

(Destroyed)

< 1 hour Attacked Frodo and seized the Ring. Fell into the Crack of Doom.

One thought on “A Chain of Custody: Listing the Ringbearers

  1. Pingback: Another Chain of Custody: Possessors of the Silmarils | A Phuulish Fellow

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