A Study of the History, Symbolism and Meaning of the One Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth by David Harvey

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

  • 1.1. Purpose
  • 1.2. Outline

2. How the Ring Came to Be and Its Early History

3. The History of the Ring until its finding by Bilbo

4. The Meaning of the Ring

4.1. The Nature of the Ring

4.2. The Ring and the Two Worlds

4.3. The Ring and Temptation

4.4. The Effect of the Ring

4.5. The Destruction of the Ring

  • 4.5.1. By Chance or design
  • 4.5.2. The self-destructive, self-deceiving nature of evil

4.6. Conclusion on the Ring

  • 4.6.1. Both tangible and symbolic
  • 4.6.2. a real embodiment of evil for acceptance or rejection
  • 4.6.3. a symbol of power - evil and unbridled power - harnessing the evil will
  • 4.6.4. the harnessing of evil to do "good" - the means dictates the end
  • 4.6.5. operates on a physical and a spiritual level
  • 4.6.6. is both real and symbolic typifying evil manifested by behaviour and motive and evil as an inchoate anti-moral force

5. Tolkien's Ring and Der Ring des Nibelungen

6. References and Notes

About the Author

David Harvey was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1946 and was educated at Kings Preparatory School and Kings College. In 1964 he was awarded an American Field Service Scholarship and lived in Redwood Falls Minnesota. While he was there he won the Veterans of Foreign Wars speech competition and represented Minnesota at the national finals in Washington DC. He returned to New Zealand in 1965 and graduated Bachelor of Laws in 1969 from University of Auckland. He practised law until 1988 when he was appointed a District Court Judge. In 1980 he won the TVNZ Mastermind Quiz contest with The Lord of the Rings as his specialist subject. He went on to win the International Mastermind competition with the same subject. He has had two books published - Dragon Smoke and Magic Song which is a book of childrens' stories(1984) and The Song of Middle-Earth (1985). He has also published legal articles and has written articles on Tolkien and fantasy for fanzines. He graduated Master of Jurisprudence with First Class Honours last year (1994) from the University of Waikato. He has been reading Tolkien since he was 10 and has read The Lord of the Rings in excess of 35 times. His other interests are reading, writing, drama, opera (esp Wagner), the law, photography and computers. He is married and has a daughter aged 22 who is finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Education and he has a son aged 9 who has read The Hobbit and most of the Lord of the Rings and is anxiously awaiting the Return of the King computer game from Interplay (if they ever get around to it).

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Last Update: 20 October 1995