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It began with the forging of the Great Rings. Three were given to the Elves, immortal, wisest, and fairest of all beings. Seven to the Dwarf lords, great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls. And Nine. Nine Rings were gifted to the race of Men, who above all else, desire power. For within these Rings was bound the strength and will to govern each race.
Galadriel, The Lord of the Rings.

Rings imbued with some kind of Functional Magic or Phlebotinum, giving them powers usually to a supernatural degree.

These rings can have many uses, for good or evil. They can be for commoners or royalty. They can be extremely fancy or deceptively simple. They can be passed down as an heirloom, or found in a Cracker Jack box.

Either way, these rings are of great use to whoever holds them, assuming they are safe to use, if you don't care for the cost, and if it allows you to use it. Don't be surprised if you have trouble getting it off.

Unrelated to Rings of Death, which are more like hoops. Though distinct, may overlap with Amplifier Artifact if the ring also enhances already possessed powers.

Compare Mask of Power, Tricked-Out Gloves, Crystal Skull.

Despite the name, Green Lantern Ring is not actually a Sub-Trope of this. The Trope Namer for that trope, however, is an example of this one.

Examples of Ring of Power include:


Anime and Manga

  • The Rose Seals in Revolutionary Girl Utena were not inherently powerful, but they did grant the ability to duel for the power to revolutionize the world.
  • Shamal's Klarwind in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Rings that possess powerful healing magic, highly advanced sensors that can detect things that even Mid-Childa's military radars couldn't, some teleportation and communication capabilities, and energy strings that can restrain a target when she needs to join the battle.
  • Words Worth: Maria's ring which she uses to channel and enhance her power. While it doesn't have a name, it's a family heirloom that once belonged her mother. So it has sentimental value as well as magic enhacing ability.
  • The ring that Evangeline gives Negi in Mahou Sensei Negima as a gift from master to student, which serves as a more compact Magic Wand compared to his Simple Staff, letting him cast spells with his hands free.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, small Philosopher's Stones are sometimes set into rings and used to provide a significant boost to an Alchemist's natural skills.
  • The Mafia Rings in Katekyo Hitman Reborn allow one to produce a Dying Will Flame for various uses, whether coating a weapon in flames, or opening a Box Weapon. A better example is the Trinisette, or 7^3, which is the twenty-one most powerful rings in the world, the Vongola Rings, the Mare Rings, and the Arcobaleno Pacifiers. The Trinisette serve as somewhat of a McGuffin during the Future Arc, where Byakuran plans to collect all twenty-one to destroy the world and remake it in his image.
  • Kamichama Karin has the "kamika rings", rings that channel the powers of the Greek gods.
  • Okusama wa Mahou Shoujo has the manager's ring, which in the series belongs to Ureshiko, and makes her far stronger than any other Magical Girl in the series. A large part of the plot revolves around the throne shift from her to Cruje, which involves handing the ring over to her.

Comics

  • The Green Lantern Corps' source of superpowers.
    • Also the Sinestro Corps, The Orange Lanterns, the Blue Lanterns...
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes' flight rings.
  • The comic book superhero The Fly used to get his powers by rubbing a magic ring.
  • In the Superboy comics, Lana Lang was given a ring by an alien that allowed her to become the superheroine Insect Queen. She later became an honorary member of The Legion Of Super-Heroes.
  • Much of the threat potential of Iron Man villain Mandarin comes from the ten rings he wields, each with its own specific built-in superpower.
  • In the Valiant Universe, alien armors such as the XO Man-O-War are summoned and controlled by special rings.
  • Diamond Jack, from Slam Bang Comics, had a ring that gave him several superpowers including super strength, invulnerability and the ability to create anything he could imagine.
  • Peter Ward became the superhero the Scarab by rubbing a mystical ring.
  • Wonder Man, a character from Fox Comics, got his powers, which included super strength, from a magical ring.
  • Craig Carter, from Wham Comics, had a ring that could summon mythological figures.
  • Atom Blake, from Wow Comics, received a magical ring that granted wishes.
  • Echo, who appeared in Yankee Comics and The Weekender, had a ring that allowed him to shoot beams from his eyes.
  • Thesson, Son of the Gods, got his superpowers from a ring.
  • In the Cross Gen series Way of the Rat, there are several magical rings that grant their bearers mastery over certain types of weapons. The protagonist Boon Sai Hong is the destined bearer of the Ring of Staffs, making him a consummate master of fighting with staves. Boon briefly wore the Ring of Blades after defeating its previous owner Bhuto Khan but eventually passed it on to Silken Ghost. Before the series was cancelled due to Cross Gen going bankrupt, a third ring was introduced, the Ring of Fists.
  • Marvel's young superhero Freedom Ring possesses a ring with a shard of a Cosmic Cube in it, allowing him to manipulate reality in a radius of 15 feet around himself. The skrull superhero Crusader inherits it after Freedom Ring's death.

Film

  • Subverted in Spaceballs. Yogurt tells Lonestar it was a Magic Feather.
  • In The Sorcerers Apprentice, the title character and his mentor use them to focus their magical powers (something which the fabled Prime Merlinean can supposedly do without). Despite the mentor's insistence, however, rings are not the only form of foci sorcerers can use: amongst the villains, Horvath uses a cane, Abigail Williams uses a pendant in the shape of a pentagram, and Sun Lok uses a belt buckle.

Game Books

  • These appear from time to time in the Lone Wolf series. Vonotar the Traitor wears a Power Ring during his final battle with Lone Wolf. In Dawn of the Dragons, a Ring of Power crafted by Naar himself gives a lowly bandit prince the power to match Grandmaster Lone Wolf (a near demigod at this point in the series) in a fight. During the Magnakai series, Lone Wolf himself can acquire the Grey Crystal Ring and/or the Psychic Ring. Both rings enhance Lone Wolf's Psychic Powers and protect him from especially nasty psychic attacks.

Literature

  • The Ring of Gyges, a legend told by Plato in book II of The Republic: It made its wearer invisible, but also corrupted its finder Gyges, as he could not resist the temptation to abuse its power. A contender to be the Trope Maker for all rings of power.
  • The One Ring created by Sauron, as well as the other nineteen rings forged by the Elves of Eregion, are all referred to as the Rings of Power in Lord of the Rings.
    • There were many more Rings of Power than the twenty made famous in the rhyme, but these were Lesser Rings, "mere essays in the craft;" the twenty of the rhyme were Great Rings.
    • When Tolkien rewrote The Hobbit to fit with Lord of the Rings, one of things he changed is calling the One Ring a "ring of power".
  • Not exactly a power, but: the genie in the Arabian Nights that's the "slave of the ring" (and its owner).
    • King Solomon's ring, which is unattainable but people try to snatch it off his body anyway. (According to legend, this ring is engraved with a holy seal and can control demons ... or other things.)
  • Massha, in Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series, was at the start, a self-described "gimmick magician"; she exclusively used magic rings, bracelets and other baubles. Later she apprenticed herself to Skeeve in order to learn how to really do magic.
  • In the Chivalric Romance King Horn -- and the Child Ballad Hind Horn -- Horn is given a magical ring by the princess, who tells him it will change color if he is losing her. This allows him to arrive back in time to prevent her being forced to marry.
  • Harry Dresden has a charmed ring that stores up kinetic energy every time he moves his arm, which he can release at will as a Megaton Punch. It doesn't seem to have an upper limit to just how much it can store, and it's knocked more than one supernatural nasty on its ass.
    • He started off with one, but as the series progressed and the villains became more powerful, Harry got a whole bunch and now wears them all at the same time.
      • To clarify: The original force ring he wears can flip a car (as in lift car off ground, flip 180 degrees, and slam down) when fully charged. After the war with the Red Court started, Dresden modifies the design so that he now has a ring made of three bands of metal, each one capable of storing the original amount of power. And he has one for each finger, which gives him enough power to send a total of 24 CARS FLYING AT ONCE.
      • That said, it would take a TON of build up to gain enough power to do that.
  • In the Carolingian cycle there is a ring that protects the wearer against magic spells and if the owner puts the ring into their mouth, the person becomes invisible.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Phoenix on the Sword", a once-powerful sorcerer laments the loss of his.

 My old-time peers and rivals would stare indeed could they see Thoth-amon of the Ring serving as the slave of an outlander, and an outlaw at that; and aiding in the petty ambitions of barons and kings!"

"You laid your trust in magic and mummery," answered Ascalante carelessly. "I trust my wits and my sword."

"Wits and swords are as straws against the wisdom of the Darkness," growled the Stygian, his dark eyes flickering with menacing lights and shadows. "Had I not lost the Ring, our positions might be reversed."

    • He ultimately gets the Ring back, and proceeds to use it to call down a demon of Set to destroy his tormentor and everyone with him. Conan eventually has to kill it with a phoenix marked sword.
    • The Star of Khorala in "Shadows in Zamboula"
  • In The Magician's Nephew, the Prequel to The Chronicles of Narnia, rings are used as teleportation devices between universes. Specifically, one color ring transports you to the Wood Between The Worlds, while another color allows you to travel from the Wood into a universe.
  • Not exactly a Ring of Power, but the Dragon Ring in Septimus Heap fits perfectly.


Live Action TV


Mythology

  • Ancient Hebrew legends spoke of how King Solomon was able to control demons with a magic ring, using it to control even the King of Demons Asmodeus. Often cited as the inspiration for both Wagner's Ring opera and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga.
  • The original version of Aladdin featured two genies, one being the Genie of the Lamp, the other the Genie of the Ring. When the villain steals both the lamp, Aladdin's wife and palace, Aladdin uses the magic ring to summon its Genie to help him get them back.


Opera

  • The Ring of the Nibelung, in Wagner's operas, is something of a subversion. It supposedly makes its wearer the master of the world, but none of the characters we see wearing it are anything of the sort. All though one interpretation of the ending is that Valhalla burns because Brunnhilde uses the Ring to punish the Gods for their long series of betrayals and malfeasances.
    • Although, let's be fair, the gods had it a long time coming, and, everyone being gods, they could have easily stopped it if they felt like cleaning up their collective acts. An alternative reading of the characters is that Odin was actively suicidal and giddily steering his pantheon to self-destruction they entire time, a perfectly Viking sort of attitude to have. It's not like he didn't willingly pluck out his own eye and hand it to the Norns in exchange for advance knowledge of it via the Runes anyway.

Tabletop Games

  • There are plenty in Dungeons and Dragons. From the simple Ring of Protection 1 to the Ring of Three Wishes, and everything in-between.
  • Apart from the pictured Aladdin's Ring, Magic: The Gathering has many, many other rings that give a boost, including the Game Breaker Sol Ring, which is a powerful Mana source.
  • Finding, making and reproducing magical rings are usually the most basic sorts of economic sustenance for the Obrimos of Mage: The Awakening, and every supplement has on average at least a handful of new magic rings to incorporate into play.
    • Because imbued artifacts can hang precast spells without counting against the character's spell limit, having as many magic rings as possible is usually the most common gamebreaker. It's made even easier to abuse because, unlike the magic rings of Dungeons and Dragons, you can wear as many as you like, as long as you can fit them on a finger (or reasonable appendage... yes, magic cockrings are quite possible and a common solution to magical espionage).

Video Games

  • Just pick a fantasy RPG. Any fantasy RPG.
  • Diablo II has an ring with an unintended side use: The Stone of Jordan, in addition to being a powerful unique item, also functioned as currency in online play due to the general worthlessness of gold beyond a certain point.
  • There's an old, relatively unknown RPG (made by Naughty Dog, before they got famous!) named, literally, Rings of Power. The plot is about getting the titular Mc Guffins from several different evildoers.
  • Runescape has various enchanted rings with diverse effects, some give recoil damage if you are hit, help in skills, teleport you or turn you to stone. The Charos ring makes you a Charm Person.
  • Magic rings were the method Link used to improve his armor in The Legend of Zelda.
    • They return in the Oracle games, with a large variety of them with different effects.
  • Dracula's ring is an artifact with different powers in a couple Castlevania games (first appearing in the second).
  • Nethack, Angband, and it's variants has a whole slew of rings that a character can wear to obtain various powers and resistances.
  • Roland can become engaged to witches (and gain many of their powers) by taking power from their Unity Rings in Luminous Arc 2
  • The Elder Scrolls series has plenty of these rings, but one in Oblivion is so useful that almost everyone will use it (assuming they can find it first). It has a 50% Resist Magic and a 35% Reflect Spell enchantment, meaning it halves damage that most characters take from magic-based attacks (and has an additional 35% chance to reflect it back at the enemy!). Ironically enough, this particular ring is called the Mundane Ring.
    • It's also possible to make custom rings that are VERY useful. I have no clue how many of these my character has.
      • For instance: One can increase their character's strength by 10, in a game where max base strength is 100. Doesn't seem like too much, until you see that it lets you carry 50 pounds more gear, and hit harder in melee. (So, it's better than enchanting with "feather")
      • Unless you're looking for a fast character, due to the way the game calculates the load. Strength allows you to carry more, Feather makes you faster by making the load lighter. Both are represented by increasing the maximum carrying capacity though.
  • zOMG!
  • Dragon Age has more than a few rings that offer a variety of bonuses. The Lifegiver is probably the most powerful ring in Origins and provides bonuses that can either make a Squishy Wizard not so squishy or a tank character Nigh Invulnerable. Certain rings even come in sets such as the Dusk and Dawn rings. Awakening has no less than four sets of rings, three of which can only be equipped by mages.
  • In Breath of Fire II, Nina and Bleu use rings as weapons to shoot blasts of magic.
  • Atsuki Saijo from Lux-Pain wears a ring known as Gawain which he can use to read the memories and feelings of the people around him. It's also an incredibly Loyal Phlebotinum, meaning anyone who is considered unworthy will die by excruciating holy pain if they try to wear it.
  • Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura has the usual assortment of magical rings found in RPGs, but it also includes the Charged Ring, a technological gadget that increases Dexterity.


Webcomics


Western Animation

  • The rings in Captain Planet given to the Planeteers.
  • Hanna-Barbera cartoon Shazzan. When Chuck and Nancy put their two halves of a magical ring together and say "Shazzan!", the title genie appears.
  • Dean's hallucination sequence in The Venture Bros featured an actual Ring of Power of ill defined abilities.
  • One cartoon starring an AU version of The Thing without the Fantastic Four used this trope to turn The Thing into a Henshin Hero. The premise was that some bizarre incident reverted pilot Benjamin Grimm into a gangly teenager again that the other characters called "Benji". The incident also gave him the power to turn into The Thing after putting the two halves of his "Thing Ring" together.
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