Why on (Middle-)earth was Isildur allowed to keep the One Ring?

Long ago, Sauron wreaked havoc upon Middle-earth. After Celebrimbor first created his rings of power, Sauron forged his own – intent on domination. He took Celebrimbor’s rings and used them to seduce nine kings of men to his side and to attempt to corrupt seven dwarven lords. Laying waste to Eregion, he pursued Elrond, who established Rivendell as a stronghold and shelter.

His war of domination was only thwarted by the power of Numenor.

Unable to defeat Numenor, he seduced it, stirring up war between the Dunedain of Numenor and the Valar. The breaking of the world and the downfall of Numenor was the result. Only Elendil and some of his people survived, establishing Arnor and Gondor.

Enraged by the survival of Elendil and his sons, Sauron assaulted Gondor, destroying Minas Ithil and setting off the war of the Last Alliance. It was a battle he proved unable to win. Elendil and Gil-galad formed the Last Alliance of elves and men. They lay siege for seven long years outside Barad-dur’s black gates. Both Elendil and Gil-galad perished in the final battle; Isildur cut the ring from Sauron’s black hand. Victory was nigh.

But what happened? Having defeated Sauron, and being right at the Ring of Doom, why did they ultimately fail and not destroy the One Ring?

Why did Isildur choose to keep the ring? Was weregild simply an excuse? A rationalisation? Was a more insidious influence already at work?

History shows that the elves were less susceptible to Sauron’s influence. Was it an accident that the ring went to a man rather than an elf?

And why did the elves give in so easily to Isildur’s desire to keep the ring? Does this validate or provide the cause of the division between men and elves? What would have happened if Elrond and Cirdan had tried to force the ring from Isildur? And would they have been justified in doing so?

Join us in the Hall of Fire on Sunday September 4 at 2:00pm EDT as we discuss the decisions made by Elrond and Cirdan at the end of the Last Alliance of men and elves, and the beginning of the Third Age.

Time and date:
Sunday September 4

2.00pm EDT
1.00pm CDT
12.00pm MDT
11.00am PDT

7:00pm UK
8:00pm Central Europe

4.00am (Monday) Brisbane
4.00am (Monday) Sydney
6.00am (Monday) Wellington

Chats usually last 45 mins to an hour, and are very newbie friendly. Simply drop in and join the conversation!


Chat happens on #thehalloffire on irc.theonering.net – the TORn IRC server. You can connect instantly via our java chat client that works inside your web browser (find it here! ) or choose to install a dedicated chat program such as mIRC on your computer.

To find out more about using mIRC to connect to TORn IRC server, check out these instructions.

Upcoming topics:

Sun September 4 – Elrond, Cirdan and Isildur at the Ring of Doom
Sat September 10 – Silmarillion Ch 12
Sun September 18 – Silmarillion Ch 12

Got a topic? Let us know your idea!

If you have a burning desire to discuss something in Hall of Fire, drop us a line with your topic at halloffire@theonering.net. If we like it, we’ll probably give it a run in the coming weeks – you might even get to guest moderate the session!

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