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The Rings of Power

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The Forging of the Great Rings

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Eregion was a land founded by the Noldor in the eighth century of the Second Age. Their leader was Celebrimbor, the grandson of Fëanor himself, and their skill and smithwork became famous throughout Middle-Earth. In about the year 1200 of the Second Age, they began to receive emissaries from a mysterious stranger calling himself Annatar, who offered them even greater knowledge of their arts. Despite warnings from Gil-Galad and Elrond, they accepted Annatar's offer, and he came to Eregion to teach them.

For three hundred years the  - as the Jewel-smiths of Eregion were known - studied at Annatar's side, and learned the making of magical rings. In about the year 1500 of the Second Age, the first of the Rings of Power was forged. Over the following decades, with Annatar's help, the Elves made sixteen Rings of Power, each set with a gemstone. Both the Elves and Annatar had their own secret aims, though, and each forged work of their own. Celebrimbor and the Elves made Three Rings more powerful than the others, Narya, Nenya and Vilya, the Rings of Fire, Water and Air.

Unknown to the Mírdain, 'Annatar' was none other than the Dark Lord Sauron in a disguise he assumed after the Fall of Númenor. In the fires of Mount Doomin the dark land of Mordor, he forged a Ring of his own, to enslave the holders of the other Rings of Power. Filled with much of his own native power, this was the Ruling Ring, the One Ring that would make him Lord of All the Rings. But Sauron had not reckoned on the Elves forging their own Rings of Power; as he took up the One Ring for the first time, they became aware of it and saw in his heart his true means with it, and took off their own Rings to foil his ambition.

Sauron in his anger swept out of Mordor with a great army. The land of Eregion was overwhelmed and destroyed and Celebrimbor was slain. The Three Rings of the Elves had already been sent away, but the Dark Lord claimed the remaining Rings of Power. Nine of these he used to subvert nine Men to his cause; this was the origin of the Ringwraiths. Seven he gave to the Dwarves with the same purpose, though with much less succes, as the Dwarves proved resistant to their magic.

Centuries later, at the end of the Second Age, Sauron fell in the War of the Last Alliance. Isildur cut the Ring from Sauron's hand, but he was lost in the River Anduin, and the One Ring was lost with him. So the Elves could once again use the power of their Three Rings, as they did through the Third Age. At last, the One Ring was found again, and Sauron's quest to retrieve it, now he had started to regain power, resulted in the War of the Ring. Ultimately, the Ringwas destroyed in the place where Sauron had forged it nearly five thousand years earlier. With that, the remaining Rings of Power, including even the Elves' Three Rings, lost the power they had held.

 

Vilya, the Ring of Air
 
It was completed in the year 1590 of the Second Age by Celebrimbor and passed into the West with Elrond on September 29 in 3021 of the Third Age.
This Ring is also called the Ring of Sapphire and was originally given to Gil-Galad by Celebrimbor. But Gil-Galad later passed the Ring on to Elrond, his herald in the War of the Last Alliance. Vilya was used to maintain Rivendell.

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Nenya, the Ring of Water
 
It was completed in 1590 of the Second Age by Celebrimbor and after long councel given to Galadriel. She passed with it into the West at September 29 in 3021 of the Third Age.
It was also called the Ring of Adamant and was used to main Lothlórien. The Ring brought an unknown affect upon Galadriel, she started to desire to sail into the Undying Lands again.

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Narya, the Ring of Fire
 
Completed by Celebrimbor in around 1590 of the Second Age. It passed into the West on the hand of Gandalf at 29 September in 3021 of the Third Age.
It was also called the Red Ring and was possible originally worn by Gil-Galad and later passed on to Cirdan the Shipwright. Another version is that Celebrimbor immediately gave Narya to Cirdan.
When Gandalf arrived in Middle Earth, Cirdan knew immediately by whom he was sent, where he came from and to where he would eventually return. Then he gave to him Narya with the words:
 
'Take now this Ring, for your efforts and your troubles will be hard but it will support you and keep you from wearyness. For this is the Ring of Fire and with it you may inspire the courage of the ancient days in the hearts of the people and a world that is becoming cold.' 

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The Seven Rings of the Dwarf Lords
 
These were the Rings of the Rings of Power that Sauron gave to the Dwarves to seduce them to his service. The Dwarves, however, proved too hardy to be lured in this way, because their minds are hard to tame and the thoughts of their hearts are not easily seen through and they cannot bare the thought of being overruled by another. The Rings did little more than increase their native lust for gold. By the end of the Third Age, Sauron had recovered three of the Seven Rings to himself, and the other four had been consumed by Dragons.

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The Last of the Seven Rings

This Ring was the first of the Seven Dwarf Rings to be forged, and the last to be recovered by Sauron. It was originally given to King Durin III of Khazad-Dûm by the Elves of Eregion and said to be given to him by Celebrimbor himself. It remained in his line for thousands of years until it was inherited by Thrór, the King under the mountain at Erebor. It was during Thrór's reign that Smaug the Dragon descended on Erebor and drove the Dwarves into exile. Long after Erebor's destruction, Thrór passed the Ring to his son Thráin, who dwelt for many years as an exile from his ancient home. At last, Thráin set out on his own ill-fated Quest of Erebor, but he was captured by the spies of Sauron, and the Ring of Thrór was lost.

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The Nine
 
Nine Rings were given to kings of Men, which Sauron used to corrupt them by. Corrupting them was easily. They were mighty in their days, kings and sorcerors. Yet it became their doom. It seemed they had eternal life, but life became unbearable for them. Soon they all got under the influence of the One Ring and became the slaves of Sauron, forever invisible and that is how they became the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible Servants.

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Info by myself and the Encyclopedia of Arda website.