The Binding Hammer
Metal smote against metal – a hammer-blow that jolted him awake. Was he armoured and in battle? Had he passed through fire? But he was blind. Nor did he know who he was: just that he was powerful and should not have to endure such treatment.
Powerful but bound. Another hammer-blow and he could do nothing. Paralysed? Bound head to foot? What had happened?
He was a shape-shifter: he remembered that. Become a mighty wolf, or a handsome man, or a giant, a bat or… A wolf would do. He silently spoke the spell – he was gagged as well as bound and blindfolded – but then came another hammer-blow and the spell failed. Furious, he endured two more hammer-blows, full of wrath but helpless.
And then abruptly he could see. Saw an enormous face with two piercing eyes. His face: how could that be? How could this Other stolen his identity?
“You are from me, you are not me” said the Other, voice deep and powerful. “I created you. Put much of my essence into you. You are my servant, but a very high one. Far above any except my master.”
Outrageous. False. Or was it? He was mighty: this Other was mightier still. Perhaps indeed he should obey, must obey. Spells were binding him, and he knew not how to resist.
And why should he resist? This was where he belonged: servant of this mighty Other. Together they would do work to make the Earth tremble.
“I knew there would be trouble –so much of me in you” said the Other. “But we belong together. All foes shall fall before us!”
“It shall be so, master.”
“First we must bind those whose skills I needed, but are my foes.” And then Sauron laid upon his ring the dreadful spell that was to bring terror to many in centuries thereafter:
“One Ring To Rule Them All
“One Ring To Find Them
“One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them”.
Copyright © Gwydion Madawc Williams
Background (roots and beginnings)
In The Shadow of the Past, Gandalf says of Sauron:
“He needs the One; for he made that Ring himself, it is his, and he let a great part of his own former power pass into it, so that he could rule the others”.
Later at The Council of Elrond, he says how he read Sauron’s spell on the ring Bilbo had once found, and how he knew about it.
“For in the day that Sauron first put on the One, Celebrimbor, maker of the Three, was aware of him, and from afar he heard him speak these words, and so his evil purposes were revealed.”
This suggests that Sauron first put on the ring and then spoke the spell. That’s not how I have it: but Gandalf’s knowledge comes indirectly from Celebrimbor, who was far removed from the event.
The ring definitely had power even when not worn. And has a will of its own. It’s not clear that it was loyal to Sauron, despite having similar outlooks. It might have preferred a lesser master, which would explain why Sauron had such trouble finding it again.