5 Questions About Lord Of The Rings

As much as I have enjoyed The Lord Of The Rings, both books and movies, over the years, I still find that I have unanswered questions regarding some of the scenes and even the central premise. There are just a few things that don't make sense.
Granted, there aren't nearly as many inconsistencies in the story as there are in some other epic tales I've read, like say The Holy Bible (that thing is a mess), but I still come away wondering about the following things:

1. What did Sauron want with the ring?
Yeah, I understand that Sauron forged the ring and poured all his evil power into it, but still, it's clear: in his last incarnation, the Dark Lord was nothing but a big flaming eye. An eye. What was he going to do with the ring, stick it in his eye?

2. Why did Sauron make a ring in the first place?
Okay, now imagine you are going to construct a powerful, magical item to wear in battle. You are going to pour your entire evil soul into this thing, and then wear it as you lead your evil minions into an epic war that will cover all the world. What sort of item do you make?
Do you make a little piece of jewelry, to be worn on an appendage? Seems vulnerable to amputation, doesn't it? Sticking out there just asking to be cut off every time you reach for something. Really, a ring?
No, the only sensible thing to make would be some sort of item that you could wear under your armor. Something that wouldn't come off easily. Something like, say, a pair of magic underwear.*  That's what I would do, and I'm not even a thousand year-old sorcerer. How hard is this?

*Totally not a Mormon joke.

3. Did Theoden ever look at a map?
When Aragorn suggests to King Theoden of Rohan that perhaps he should call on the neighboring kingdom of Gondor to assist in fighting off the evil armies attacking his keep, Theoden scoffs at the idea and asks, "Where was Gondor when the Westfold fell? Where was Gondor when our enemies closed in around us? Where was Gondor..."
This guy is a king? A supposedly wise man? The answer should be obvious.
Gondor was in Gondor.  Where the hell else would it be?

4. Is Elrond a dick or what?
Elrond, the Lord of the Elves, is supposed to be one of the three or four most learned and wise beings in the entirety of Middle Earth. And yet, he's either a freaking racist or just a total dick. Or both.
Again and again, he blames the race of Men (people; you know, us) for all the problems facing the world--the fact that Sauron still wields power is due to the failure of Isildur, who took the ring from the dark lord but refused to destroy it once and for all by casting it into the fires of Mt. Doom where it was made.
Yes, Isildur finds himself standing right there at the edge of the fire pit with the power to end all evil forever, but he chooses to keep the ring for himself. Yeah, that's bad.
But hey, that's just one guy. Why condemn all men? Why such disgust for an entire race over one guy's failure? Elrond never misses an opportunity to diss mankind for the next thousand years, making horrible sweeping statements, like "Men are weak." Men are weak.  The world cannot put its trust in men, he insists, for "I was there when the strength of men failed."
Yes, Elrond, you were there when Isildur, and the "strength of men," failed. In fact, you were five feet away. What did you do?  Yo, little help?  How about a tackle, maybe, or even a little shove? Too much to ask?

5. Why didn't everybody just sail to the Undying Lands in the first place?
At the end of both the movie and the book, the Elves are boarding a ship bound for the "Undying Lands." They have made a special place aboard this ship for the two hobbits, Bilbo and Frodo, who carried the burden of bearing the Ring of Power for so many years. Happy ending for everybody!

Wait, what? There's a place called The Undying Lands that's accessible by ship? You can sail there? And not die?
Okay, maybe it's one of those "Greenland" things, where somebody just gave a place a nice, pleasant sounding name to encourage settlers or tourists or something. But isn't it at least worth building your own ship and doing a little exploring across the sea? To maybe find a place where nothing dies? I mean, the Elves seem to believe in it, and they're supposed to be wise and knowledgeable. They would know, right? So why not check it out?
Or is it just for Elves, and their invited guests? That would suck. But wait--would anybody just accept that? Would we all just go, "Oh, just for Elves? Oh, okay. Never mind then. I'll just crawl over here and die, if that's okay with you."
No. I don't think it would go down that way. As long as we're already geared up for warfare, what with Sauron and all, maybe...
I sense a war brewing over The Undying Lands. Maybe we'll just put that "undying" thing to the test, what do you think? How about we manifest us some destiny, what say?  Move over Elrond, if that's your real name I got your "men are weak" shit right here.


  1. 1. Obviously he was going to rebuild his body with it's power. In fact, that's why he made the ring in the first place. He doesn't naturally have a physical body.

    2. Because the Men and the Elves and the Dwarves would never have worn magic underwear. They could only be convinced to wear vulnerable magic trinkets, just in case something bad happened and they needed to take it off without mooning their troops.
    I mean, obviously it didn't work, but that was the plan.

    3. Well, you know, Gondor is wrong no matter what they do. Intervene? They are violating sovereignty. Don't intervene? Letting innocents die. If Gondor is going to get blamed no matter what they do, they might as well take the course of action that results in the fewest dead Gondoricans.

    4. Elrond IS a huge dick. Didn't you see the sequel, where he took over the bodies of dozens of men and women and tried to kill Jesus?

    5. Because 'Taking a ship to the Undying Lands' is actually a cross between 'the pilgrimage to the Valley Dor' and 'To Serve Man.'
    It's just not all that it's cracked up to be.

  2. Valinor is called the Undying Lands because the Elves live there (and because their priority is to preserve things against change). Being there doesn't grant immortality to anyone who wasn't already an Elf; in any case a being's natural lifespan is an inherent part of their race, and extending it artificially is a Bad Idea, as Sméagol and Bilbo found out first-hand.

    As for sailing there, only the Elves are able to do so after the end of the Second Age. That's because at one point, there was a war, or almost one. Sauron tricked the Men of Númenor into trying to conquer Valinor, and as a result Eru sank Númenor into the ocean, and for good measure removed the Undying Lands from the physical world entirely. Ships can't get there unless the Valar specifically allow them, and they only let Elves (and their guests) through.

    After the fall of Númenor, Sauron's spirit was able to carry the Ring across the sea to Middle-earth, so apparently he didn't need to by corporeal to interact with it. By the time of the War of the Ring he did have a physical body again, contrary to what the movies imply.

  3. Lord Elrond, if you have read the books, actually is a decent guy. In the film adaptations, he wasn't for some reason.