The Power of the Ring

by Elenna, with responses

While doing another read through of the trilogy, I have been taking notes of various phrases that strike me at the time. I am still captivated by the ‘figure robed in white’ that Sam sees as he watches Frodo call down Gollum on Mount Doom. I know I tend to harp on this scene, but it may please at least some of you to know that I am actually coming to terms with this depiction. How many years and readings has this taken? … sigh …

The power of the Ring is growing in the Ring-bearer at an alarming rate when one considers the influence and changes it is exerting over Frodo in the short time he has had possession of the Ring. Bilbo had the Ring in his possession for 60 years and yet was able to relinquish it with a little bit of coaxing from Gandalf. Gollum had the Ring in his possession for 500 years and having lost/misplaced/dropped it, felt the Ring had been stolen from him. He would hardly have given it up as easily as Bilbo. To a certain extent, their use of the Ring was similar: Bilbo to hide from certain relatives; Gollum to hide from Goblins. (Any comparison between Goblins and the Sackville-Bagginses is purely unintentional.) The difference being that Gollum apparently as often as not used the Ring to kill for food. Whereas Bilbo gained and used the Ring through trickery, Gollum gained and used the Ring through killing.

The interesting Ring-bearer is Isildur who obtained the Ring by killing in self-defense. Realizing what the Ring must be, he kept it as a type of were-geld to pay the price for the taking of the life of his father. He held the Ring for a short time. His purpose seemed to be more a sense of honor. It is interesting to note the pain he wrote of … possibly exerted by the recent separation from its maker since none of the other Ring-bearers speak of pain when wearing the Ring. As Isildur’s purpose was honorable the Ring betrayed him to seek a new ‘master’.

Déagol held the Ring for bare moments before it began to exert its pull on him. If it were a mere trinket he had just pulled from the mud/ waters, I do not think he would have fought to the death over its possession. Is this rapid pull on Déagol due to the fact that the Ring had remained without a claim on anyone for hundred’s of years? This would be my interpretation.

Sam acquired the Ring out of necessity and held the Ring for the shortest duration of time save for Déagol. He was afraid to take it and loathe to touch it. Preserving it from being taken by the enemy forced him to take the Ring into his possession. Need drove him to put it on drawing the Nazgûl and Sauron’s awareness towards the location of the Ring. Sam notices that his hearing is heightened and his height illuminated. Before he is able to return the Ring to Frodo, he is sorely tested and tempted to use the Ring himself to ‘challenge the Power’. The book provides a glimpse of the uncertainty in Sam’s mind and how he would use the Ring to conquer the Power of the Dark Lord. He realizes that all his delusions of grandeur are only a trick to entice him to use the Ring whereby he would be found. It is Sam’s plain down to earth humility that wins out. I love this passage:

In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him, firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.   

Frodo also experienced the heightening of the senses allowing him to see both the beautiful as in the ring, Nenya, worn by Galadriel and the grotesque as in the real vision of the ringwraiths. The true sight of the wraiths was only unmasked to those with the power to see them as they were; their intent being to spread terror. The ring worn by Galadriel was hidden intended to remain a secret. The growth of the power of the Ring allowed the Ring-bearer to discern the presence of both.

We do not have the same type of glimpse into the struggle Frodo endures with the Ring that we do with Sam. We know he struggles terribly in mind and body. We know the Ring is drawing on Frodo, weighing him down as it attempts to hinder his steps and cries out to its true Master. At the same time the power of the Ring is growing within Frodo. When speaking with Galadriel he was able to see her ring. Galadriel even tells Frodo “The ring gives power according to the measure of each possessor”. Frodo wants to know why he could not see all the rings and their bearers and know their thoughts. Galadriel tells him that it is because he has not tried; it would destroy him to do so.

Before you could use that power you would need to become far stronger, and to train your will to the domination of others.   

IMHO this would seem to imply the power is growing in Frodo. Is Frodo also able to steel his will against the will of the Nine as the power grows? The passage that struck me while I was reading through this time is from “The Stairs of Cirith Ungol” in The Two Towers. The army has just issued forth from Minas Morgul. The Wraith-lord is troubled sensing some other presence. Frodo feels compelled to put on the Ring.

But great as the pressure was, he felt no inclination now to yield to it. He knew that the Ring would only betray him, and that he had not, even if he put it on, the power to face the Morgul-king – not yet.

To me, this says the strength of the Ring is growing within Frodo; strength in the sense that Galadriel was referring to. If events had not precluded this conclusion, would the power continue to grow in the Ring-bearer to the point that he would be able to use it even as the bearers of the three Elven rings would? How would this power grow?

IMHO, I feel the power would grow by the force of the resistance that Frodo exercises against it. Each time Frodo denies the urge to give into the Ring as he suffers and struggles, I think that the strength of his power grew within him. Yet, he needed to endure to the bitter end expending ever more of his mind and body to resist the urge to either wear or claim the Ring. The physical ordeal of the quest would in itself have proven enough, yet Frodo was attacked from within as the power of the Ring fought for dominion of his heart, his mind and his soul. … Still he was able to resist until he was brought to the very brink.

Frodo flung him off and rose up quivering.
‘Down, down!’ he gasped, clutching his hand to his breast, so that beneath the cover of his leather shirt he clasped the Ring. ‘Down, you creeping thing, and out of my path! Your time is at an end. You cannot betray me or slay me now.’
Then suddenly, as before under the eaves of the Emyn Muil, Sam saw these two rivals with other vision. A crouching shape, scarcely more than the shadow of a living thing, a creature now wholly ruined and defeated, yet filled with a hideous lust and rage; and before it stood stern, untouchable now by pity, a figure robed in white, but at its breast it held a wheel of fire. Out of the fire there spoke a commanding voice.
‘Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.’ The crouching shape backed away, terror in its blinking eyes, and yet at the same time insatiable desire.
Then the vision passed and Sam saw Frodo standing, hand on breast, his breath coming in great gasps, and Gollum at his feet, resting on his knees with his wide-splayed hands upon the ground.   

I think I have finally reached the point – after years of wondering and mulling this over and over in my mind – of understanding the ‘figure robed in white’ on Orodruin. I have always understood this figure to be Frodo, but the question for me was always: “In what capacity is this Frodo?”

White is always seen as a symbolic color of light or purity. We hear of “the lady of light” versus “the Dark Lord”. Gandalf becomes “the white” when Saruman slides into “many colors”. This purity is not necessarily ‘good’ in so much as it is in a sense ‘totality’. Even Galadriel and Gandalf are referred to as being perilous. The ‘figure robed in white’ is become then more of a ‘perilous’ character as opposed to a ‘pure’ character in the sense one normally thinks of pure as being ‘innocent’.

The other aspect of the ‘figure robed in white’ that Sam sees when he looks at Frodo is the fact that the figure held a wheel of fire at its breast. It would be ridiculous to think this ‘wheel of fire’ to be anything other than the Ring. The difference here is that there is power evident from without. The commanding voice is also Frodo’s voice, but it emanates from the fire at his breast. Frodo has not claimed the Ring – not yet. He uses the power built up within himself as he has resisted the Ring to command Gollum who cowers before him. “Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast into the Fire of Doom.” Immediately following, Sam sees ‘Frodo standing, hand on breast, his breath coming in great gasps’.

I do not believe Sam was seeing things and have no doubt that Frodo appeared exactly as Sam saw him. Has Frodo used all that was in him – all the strength of his power he had been able to build up? Is this why we see Frodo strong and commanding passing rapidly into his normal persona as the need passes? Is this merely a glimpse of the power necessary to claim the Ring; for at the same time Frodo curses Gollum knowing not only that his own resolve is failing but that Gollum will attempt to take the Ring once more?

Frodo had no hope of returning from his quest. I do not believe he felt he could wield the Ring once he claimed it; yet the curse he laid on Gollum held. The curse had been spoken while Frodo was holding the Ring.

It is interesting that Tolkien should write that Frodo did not have the power to face the Morgul-king – ‘not yet’ and later, when asked, write in his letters that Frodo would be destroyed in using the Ring. The implication – at least to me – is, IMHO, that Frodo’s power would grow to a point where he could face down the Morgul-king. It seems to me that Frodo’s failure to do so results from a lack of time. That his power is increasing is evident. Those who were stronger than Frodo to begin with each turned down a chance to take the Ring – freely given by the Ring-bearer – because they knew what he did not; that the initial use of the Ring would be for good but it would ultimately turn against them. However, if one looks at the situation in a different light, one can say that Frodo’s ‘initial use of the Ring’ was for good. It was by the mercy of Ilúvatar that the Ring was removed from Frodo’s hand.

Response from Ladyhawk:

Wow! What a way to start my morning! This is an excellent musing. Thanks for sharing it.

A couple of thoughts. The figure robed in white struck this weekend as I re-read the account of Gandalf and because of your previous musings I also thought of Frodo. Could it be that the robed in white in these particular cases (Gandalf and Frodo) is a visual sign of rising to a new level of awareness, leaving behind what they once were to become what was needed to finish the final tasks?

I do agree that it was Frodo's will that was growing, just as a person's will grows the longer they resist any temptation or that insidious "tape" that would draw one down to the depths of despair.

The quote from Galadriel clearly states that Frodo could never truly wield the Ring.

Before you could use that power you would need to become far stronger, and to train your will to the domination of others.   
Sam's role as servant to Frodo was necessary to be so ingrained that he recognized the aburdity of the Ring's promises for ultimate power. Frodo's benign nature (demonstrated in his willingness to excuse Sam's overstepping of the master/servant bounds) would never allow him to truly become a weilder of the Ring, for he did not desire to dominate others. If he did develop such a will, it would destroy him, for the Frodo of the Shire would cease to exist to be replaced by a being no better than the Dark Lord.

But Frodo did not desire to dominate, so much so that he even provided a way for the destruction of the Ring should he fail. I think his command to Gollum was not in thought of destroying Gollum but in the sure knowledge that Gollum could not have the Ring or all that the Fellowship had sacrificed would be for naught.

Response from Anna Estel:

Facinating. Interesting comment on the difference in the symbolic meaning of the color white. I'd never considered it.

I also agree that given time Frodo may have come into strength enough to master the WitchKing. You comment several times about how using the ring would regardless end up destroying Frodo. And in a way, it did.

He was never the same after all this (who would be?). There are parts of who and what he was prior to the quest that are eternally altered. He's become a different person than he was, and indeed in the end is unable to continue living in the world he knew as a result.

It is an interesting point as well that we get such a detailed anaylsis of the thoughts running through Sam's head during his brief stint as Ringbearer, but never such a view for Frodo. Not even in his final struggle and loss do we get and explicit description of exactly what he is thinking and seeing and feeling. We are left to guess.

Response from Lothithil:

Excellent musing! I've always considered that particular moment, when Frodo curses Gollum and Sam sees them, as both a tool used by Prof T to demonstrate how Frodo was changing and to emphasize how Frodo and Gollum were similar.

Of course, it might also be demonstrating that Sam was being affected by the proximity of the Ring. He didn't address Frodo "Master" until they hooked up with Gollum. He refered to him as such, but he didn't call him so. Could this not also be an indication of the Ring's power over Frodo, that he didn't correct his friend and insist on being treated more equally?

Reply from Elenna:

Ladyhawk – I do see the ‘whiteness’ as symbolic of totality … that there is a new level of awareness. I like the way you put this:
“leaving behind what they once were to become what was needed to finish the final tasks.”
This is really evident in what had happened with Gandalf. Tolkien was not as clear in what was happening with Frodo other than the weight of the burden of carrying the Ring leaving us to guess and speculate.

I think I am unclear as to what you are saying about Galadriel’s quote:
“Before you could use that power you would need to become far stronger, and to train your will to the domination of others.

I don’t think that Frodo would consciously desire to ‘train [his] will to the domination of others’. I just don’t see that it was an impossible act; it was more improbable from my understanding of hobbits and Frodo in particular.

AnnaEstel, You make this comment concerning Frodo’s struggle:
even in his final struggle and loss do we get and explicit description of exactly what he is thinking and seeing and feeling. We are left to guess.”

I wonder if we would really want to have known what was running through his mind. One can only imagine the torment to break his will. One thing that I discuss with the students that I work with is the different nature to the hobbits and why a hobbit should have been the one for whom the task was appointed. They are not the lofty seekers of wisdom, they do not desire, power or wealth. They are simple ‘rounded’ individuals who lead simple lives without needing anything outside of the rudimentary elements to survive. I feel this has much to do with the reason that Sam accompanied Frodo in that when the task became unbearable for Frodo, it was Sam who was able to keep him grounded in the Shire - and, yes, I do intend the use of the pun here. It is Sam who is able to draw his master back to the earthiness of the simple things in life.

Lothithil - You state concerning the figure robed in white:
“I've always considered that particular moment, when Frodo curses Gollum and Sam sees them, as both a tool used by Prof T to demonstrate how Frodo was changing and to emphasize how Frodo and Gollum were similar.”
I’m sorry, but I disagree with you here. IMHO, I don’t feel that in this instance Frodo is very similar to Gollum at all. I see Frodo in a far superior state to that of Gollum. Here Frodo is truly a perilous being and Gollum cowers from him in terror.

I don’t think Frodo insists on being called master; for one thing because I don’t think he was arrogant and demanding even though there is the class differentiation; but also Frodo knows that he is dependent on Sam for his every need as the Ring drains him of his strength.

I would like to thank you all as you try to help me deal with my problem with ‘the figure robed in white’. I have more on this mulling about in my brain and have to admit I may not be easily swayed from my thoughts on it. Thank you for your help.

But I need to go back to my original musing here. As I stated the lines that really jumped out at me were the lines from The Two Towers:
“But great as the pressure was, he felt no inclination now to yield to it. He
knew that the Ring would only betray him, and that he had not, even if he put it
on, the power to face the Morgul-king – not yet.”

Now believe it or not, as I am trying to respond to your wonderful responses, a new question has just popped into my mind concerning these lines. It sounds (reads) to me as if Frodo has a knowledge of the growth of the power of the Ring within him. Does anyone else see this in this light?

Response from Ladyhawk:

We agree. Sorry, I wasn't clear. In fact, I started another thought about Sam and then came back to this. Galadriel tells Frodo what he must do to wield the power of the Ring: Be willing to dominate others. From the very beginning, Frodo is shown to be an individual who has no desire to control others in any way shape or form. He goes so far as to try to leave the Shire alone, despite Gandalf advising him to take those he can trust. In the movie, it seems happenstance that Merry and Pippin tag along, but as we know in the book, they insist. He wanted to go alone but does not demand they stay behind, allowing them to choose for themselves: A plan completely contradictory to the Ring's. His very nature made it impossible to wield the Ring, but it also enabled him to resist the Ring.

As to whether Frodo is aware of his own strength against the Ring. I think he did realize but what did it matter when he was growing weaker physically.

Reply from Elenna:

I feel there was a greater plan at work all along even to the inclusion of Merry and Pippin accompanying Frodo. Initially it was to have been to Rivendell. Even in the books when they basically beg to be included on the quest, the mind of Elrond would have denied them their desire. It is Gandalf who finally speaks up for them saying:
"Nor do any of us see clearly. It is true that if these hobbits understood the danger, they would not dare to go. But they would still wish to go, or wish that they dared, and be shamed and unhappy. I think, Elrond, that in this matter it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom.”   

Gandalf, who later regrets sending Frodo, more from his emotional attachment than from the hope that any of them really could have put in the quest, at this moment when the members of the Fellowship are being filled, speaks up on behalf of the hobbits. Why? What would place this in his mind that friendship should rule over wisdom? IMHO, it is the greater force at work here. Think of the tasks that Merry and Pippin each undertake for the future of Middle-Earth. That Merry should join with Éowyn in the slaying of the Witch-king and that Pippin should save Faramir to preserve the line of the Stewards were no small tasks.

And yet there was that niggling, lying, gnawing Ring working in Frodo even as the Morgul blade had sought his heart so the Ring was seeking his soul. I think this is part of the deception that the Ring was working in him and that is: that should he take the Ring, to claim it for his own, that he would have the power to wield it. Here too, IMHO, is where the mercy of Ilúvatar comes in.

Response from Goldberry:

I’ve sometimes wondered about Tolkien’s ideas about why the Ring is evil - Was it his intent to say that having Power itself automatically corrupts, and anyone who possesses Unlimited Power will eventually lose their morals, and force their will on everyone else? Is Frodo’s gradual succumbing to the Ring a sign that he is thinking about all the things he could do with unlimited power?

Or is it something inherent in the One Ring itself – like a virus that gets into the mind and cuts off the real person? Is the Ring an animate being that somehow robs the one who wears it of his soul? Why it is that some can avoid the temptation and others not?

The Ring had no effect on Tom Bombadil. Was this because he has everything he wants in life, and the idea of power was meaningless to him? Or maybe he is more powerful that the Ring? Faramir (book) and Sam also seem to be very resistant to the temptation of the Ring. Is this because they also don’t seem to care about having power in their daily lives?

Then there’s Gollum, who seems to be in love with the Ring, but never tries to use its power to control other beings – why doesn’t Gollum ever try to assert himself as a King or another Sauron? All he seems to want to do with it is to take it to an underground cave, and put it on to be invisible – to catch food. To me, he almost seemed like the best (safest) Ringbearer of all of them.

Response from Lindorie:

The Ring is an animate being, of a sort. Gandalf tells us that the Ring abandoned Gollum...allowed itself to be lost and then found by Bilbo. Until that point, Gollum had indeed been the safest Ringbearer, but the Ring had become aware of the increasing power of its Master and needed to return to him. It could not stay with Gollum any longer.

Tolkien says in his letters that: so great was the Ring's power of lust, that anyone who used it became mastered by it; it was beyond the strength of any will to injure it, cast it away, or neglect it.

I don't think that Sam or Faramir were as effected by the Ring because of the time they were in contact with it. Sam did notice feelings of wanting the Ring when he wore it, but was able to surpress those feelings and determined to not wear the Ring any more. Fortunately he did not need to. I am afraid that if he had had to carry the burden any longer than he did, even simple Samwise would have succumbed. Remember, Frodo actually carried that Ring physically for nearly six months and had been subtly influenced by its proximity for some 17 years previous. Sam had only had six months of being in its close proximity and a day or so as its keeper.

Faramir was able to deny the Ring most nobly, but how long would that have gone on. If Faramir had gone to Rivendell instead of Boromir, he too would have been influenced by the Ring. Not so spectacularly, perhaps, as his brother, but he would have been influenced, as would they all. The Ring would have chosen one of them to break, to enable it to get closer to its Master. If not Boromir, then perhaps it would have been Pippin, Merry, or Gimli. It WOULD have done something to force Frodo to get it closer to Mordor. he's a hard one to figure because we don't know just what he was. Even a Maia could be influenced by the Ring. Gandalf feared that it would take him, if he held it, but we don't know if Bombadil was a Maia. Would he have been influenced...we really don't know. Gandalf and the Elves speculated that he would not. It seemed that he was not effected by it when he held it in his house, but again, length of time and proximity. He was only near the Ring for a day or two at most and in its posession for a very short period of time. What would have happened if he became a keeper of the Ring, we really have no idea. It may, in fact, have had devastating influence upon him. Thankfully we did not have to find out.

Again, Tolkien himself said that it would master ANYONE. The One Ring was definitely a character more than a thing in its ability to control others.

Just did a little more reading and found this interesting passage from Tolkien's Letters regarding what might have happeened if Frodo had claimed and kept the Ring and Gollum was destroyed. When leaving Sammath Naur, Frodo would have encountered the eight remaining Ringwraiths and...

The situation as between Frodo with the Ring and the Eight might be compared to that of a small brave man armed with a devastating weapon, faced by eight savage warriors of great strength and agility armed with poisoned blades. The man's weakness was that he did not know how to use his weapon yet; and he was by tempermant and training averse to violence. Their weakeness was that the man's weapon was a thing that filled them with fear as an object of terror in their religious cult, by which they had been conditioned to treat one who weilded it with servility. I think they would have shown 'servility'. They would have greeted Frodo as 'Lord'. With fair speeches they would have induced him to leave the Sammath Naur--for instance 'to look upon his new kingdom and behold afar with his new sight the abode of power that he must now claim and turn to his own purposes'. Once outside the chamber while he was gazing some of them would have destroyed the entrance. Frodo would by then probably have been already too enmeshed in great plans of reformed rule--like, but far greater and wider than the vision that tempted Sam (III 177) -- to heed this. But if he still preserved some sanity and partly understood the significance of it, so that he refused now to go with them to Barad-dur, they would simply have waited. Until Sauron himself came. In any case a confrontation of Frodo and Sauron would soon have taken place, if the Ring was intact. Its result was inevitable. Frodo would have been utterly overthrown: crushed to dust, or preserved in torment as a gibbering slave. Sauron would not have feared the Ring! It was his own and under his will. Even from afar he had an effect upon it, to make it work for its return to himself. In his actual presence none but very few of equal stature could have hoped to withold it from him.

He goes on to say that of all the others, only Gandalf would have had a chance to defeat Sauron if in posession of the Ring and facing Sauron and says:

If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring; for him it would have been destroyed, taken from him for ever. But the Ring and all its works would have endured. It would have been the master in the end.

Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained 'righteous', but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for 'good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great)

[the draft ends here. In the margin Tolkien wrote: 'Thus while Sauron multiplied [illegible word] evil. he left "good" clearly distinguishable from it. Gandalf would have made good detestable and seem evil.']

Oooh creepy!!

Response from Ladyhawk:

How terribly sad and frightening. It would have broken Frodo. I seem to remember that somewhere in Tolkien's letters he mentions that he believes Frodo would have come to himself, even without Gollum, and thrown himself in to destroy the Ring.

Response from Rogorn:

About the quote from LOTR: ‘But great as the pressure was, he felt no inclination now to yield to it. He knew that the Ring would only betray him, and that he had not, even if he put it on, the power to face the Morgul-king – not yet.’

For those who think Frodo would have mastered the Nazgul, in Tolkien’s letters there is one about an ‘alternate ending’, featuring a face-off between Frodo and the Ringwraiths. It is quite long, and deals with several points. Check it if you can, I think it answers several of your points [letter 246 if you have the book]. Lindorie has already posted one bit, and I would like to add another:

‘The Ringwraiths were naturally fully instructed, and in no way deceived as to the real lordship of the Ring. The wearer would not be invisible to them, but the reverse; and the more vulnerable to their weapons. But the situation was now different to that under Weathertop, where Frodo acted merely in fear and wished only to use (in vain) the Ring's subsidiary power of conferring invisibility. He had grown since then. Would they have been immune from its power if he claimed it as an instrument of command and domination? Not wholly. I do not think they could have attacked him with violence, nor laid hold upon him or taken him captive; they would have obeyed or feigned to obey any minor commands of his that did not interfere with their errand – laid upon them by Sauron, who still through their nine rings (which he held) had primary control of their wills. That errand was to remove Frodo from the Crack.’

About the figure robed in white, I think it’s Sam’s vision, he didn’t actually saw it. This is a fantasy tale, but I don’t think Frodo ‘magically’ changed into a figure robed in white, anymore than Sam actually changed into a Mighty Gardener – he didn’t SAW it, he had that VISION. Notice that the perspective of the narration changes from the neutral omniscient narrator to Sam’s point of view. It doesn’t say ‘Frodo changed into a figure robed in white, which Sam saw’, but ‘Sam saw these two rivals with another VISION.’

Besides, this would fit with the way the Red Book of the Westmarch was [supposed to be] written, by Frodo with addenda from others. This would be a point in which Sam would have to have told Frodo want he was seeing while he was talking to Gollum, so that Frodo could write it down. Otherwise, how would Frodo know how Sam saw him?

This doesn’t detract from your view on the ordeal Frodo was going through, though.

About when you say: ‘I don’t feel that in this instance Frodo is very similar to Gollum at all. I see Frodo in a far superior state to that of Gollum.’ Tolkien says that Sauron’s deceit ‘leads the small to a Gollum, and the great to a Ringwraith.’ Frodo would be somewhere between both, I suppose.

About: ‘It sounds (reads) to me as if Frodo has a knowledge of the growth of the power of the Ring within him. Does anyone else see this in this light?’ Tolkien says: ‘Frodo had become a considerable person, but of a special kind: in spiritual enlargement rather than in increase of physical or mental power; his will was much stronger than it had been, but so far it had been exercised in resisting not using the Ring and with the object of destroying it. He needed time, much time, before he could control the Ring or (which in such a case is the same) before it could control him; before his will and arrogance could grow to a stature in which he could dominate other major hostile wills. Even so for a long time his acts and commands would still have to seem 'good' to him, to be for the benefit of others beside himself.’