There were 20 rings in The Lord of the Rings. Three were for the Elves. Seven went to the Dwarves. Humans got nine. I don’t know enough about JRR Tolkien’s mythological world to know why each species got an odd number, but I imagine it was a good tie-breaker in votes about which lay to sing, when to go into the west, and so on. Suffice it to say, the 19 rings avoided most disputes and, give or take the odd war, seemed to represent a broad, jewellery-based consensus. But the 20th ring, that was another story. Actually, it was the whole story. Forged in a volcano by a cross between Alice Cooper and a Victorian steam locomotive, it was the physical manifestation of absolute power. I don’t know if Tolkien’s trilogy was written in part as a metaphor about power, but as a symbol of political hubris and nemesis, the One Ring of Power is pretty solid. For starters, there’s the way everyone thinks they’ll use it for good. And then there’s the part where it corrupts everyone it touches. None ...

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