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.
Rings imbued with some kind of Functional Magic
, 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
See also Ancient Artifact
for other items that can give the wielder power. See also Magical Accessory
for other pieces of magical jewelry.
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.
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Anime & 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.
- Oku-sama 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.
- In Rozen Maiden, the rings given to mediums serve to drain their power/life force instead for the doll to use.
- In The Familiar of Zero, the villain Oliver Cromwell wears a ring that lets him hypnotize people.
- Members of the Green Lantern Corps channel the power from their central power battery through their rings (which they recharge using their lanterns). The other ring-bearing Corps/organisations (being the Red Lantern Corps, Agent Orange, the Sinestro Corps, the Blue Lantern Corps, the Indigo Tribe, the Star Sapphires, the Black Lantern Corps and the bearers of the White Lantern rings) operate in a similar fashion.
- Even before John Broome created and unveiled the Green Lantern Corps and their rings in 1959, the original character to use the name Green Lantern, Alan Scott, was using a magic ring crafted from a piece of a lantern containing the magic of an entire universe. While it functions in a fashion similar to the rings of the various Lantern Corps, it also let him distort time, teleport, turn intangible or invisible, shrink objects, and more, though it also possessed a different weakness; wood and plant matter.
- 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 CrossGen 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 CrossGen 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.
- George's shapeshifting ring in With Strings Attached.
- Keiji Sosano, The Big Bad of The Naruto Fanfic A Fathers Wrath in a Shout-Out to The Mandarin above wears eight rings on his fingers that possess power and they are said to have been worn by Jashin
- Fan fiction for The Lord of the Rings brings more ragic rings and new ring-bearers.
- In A Far Green Country, Elden's magic ring is a major mystery. When Elden wears this gold ring, he becomes invisible, and the ring whispers hints to him. Fans might wonder how this ring can exist and retain its power, ten years after The Lord of the Rings, when Frodo destroyed another gold ring of invisibility, and the other Great Rings lost their power. Nellas looks at Elden's ring in chapter 4, and more explanation comes in chapter 14.
- In Vortex, Anne the Ordinary High-School Student finds a silver ring inside her copy of The Return of the King. Wearing it takes her through a vortex to Rivendell in Middle-earth, and transforms her into an elf. Removing it returns her to Delaware and reverses the transformation. The ring also slows time in the other world, so Anne is not absent too long.
- In Soria Moria Castle, he gets a ring to let him go to his parents and return. Alas, he talks of the princesses there, and they come and take it from them.
Films — Live-Action
- Subverted in Spaceballs. Yogurt tells Lonestar it was a Magic Feather. "Forget the ring! The ring is bupkis! I found it in a Cracker Jack box! The Schwartz is in you, Lonestar! It's in you!"
- In The Sorcerer's 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. Notably, Horvath makes sure to collect the rings of defeated sorcerers (keeping them on his cane) in order to increase the power of his own magic.
- These appear from time to time in the Lone Wolf series.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Ring of Gyges, a legend or rather, a parable 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 The 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 - enough to flip a car at low levels. 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.
- 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.
- Cabaline and Tibernian wizards in The Doctrine Of Labyrinths are seriously blinged-out— the Cabalines wear an expensive ring on each finger. Despite their showy nature, the rings serve a focusing purpose for the wizards, and long use can imbue them with power of their own.
- Doctor Who
- Before the Sonic Screwdriver became the Doctor's signature item, the First Doctor used one of these, although he was wearing it as a classy accessory long before it was revealed to have any powers. He used it to supply power to the TARDIS and control Zombo the Zarbi in "The Web Planet", remove the jam that the Monk placed in the TARDIS locking system in "The Daleks' Master Plan", and to hypnotise Dodo and protect the Doctor from damage in "The War Machines". The Second Doctor was forced to discard it as it no longer fit him. In the Expanded Universe, the Seventh Doctor retrieves it and starts wearing it again, though he can no longer use it as anything except jewellery.
- The Master has one of these. He stored his life force into his ring and was brought back through it.
- Then there is the Ring of Rassilon, which makes you immortal by turning you into a statue.
- In Supernatural, each Horsemen of the Apocalypse has one. They use them to control their element (ex:War's causes people to kill each other, Famine's makes people really hungry...). But more importantly for the protagonists, they are the keys to seal Lucifer in his cage.
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Demons", the Canon has a ring that can summon lightning bolts.
- The 2000 Arabian Nights mini-series incorporates one of the few adaptations of the tale of Aladdin that includes the Genie of the Ring.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, the Gem of Amarra, which made a vampire invulnerable.
- Gilli from Merlin had a magic ring that supplemented his power.
- Kamen Rider Wizard uses the Wizard Rings, which can transform him into his various forms or give him access to powers. Some of the rings require him to put the ring on someone else and put their hand on his belt scanner.
- In the pilot movie of Babylon 5, Delenn had a collection of rings in her quarters, one of which allowed her to manipulate Artificial Gravity as a weapon against G'Kar. Neither it nor any of her other rings were ever seen or spoken of again.
Myths & Religion
- Andvaranaut, the ring of the dwarf Andvari in Norse Mythology (where it is stolen by Loki, then cursed by Andvari to bring the downfall of those who possess it, then given to a dwarf king as reparation for the accidental killing of his son, then stolen by the king's son, who transformed into a dragon, and then killed by Siguršr, who gave it to Brynhildr), is probably one of the inspirations for its appearance in The Ring of the Nibelung and Lord of the Rings
- 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 Richard Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung operas and J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings saga.
- The original version of "Aladdin" features 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.
- In Germanic myth the circularity of rings represented eternity and was held in such high regard that rings were given as military decorations. Rings were expected to have magical powers and their possessors might well have mundane powers.
- There are plenty in Dungeons & Dragons. From the simple Ring of Protection +1 to the Ring of Three Wishes, and everything in-between. It's somewhat traditional to limit ring use to at most one per hand so as to prevent some smart-aleck player character from stacking up too many magical effects in the obvious fashion.
- 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).
- Naturally, The Ring of the Nibelung, a.k.a. Richard Wagner's Ring. It's actually 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. Although 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. Also Alberich is able to rule the Dwarves with the ring, it acts as The Little Detecto for gold, and it is claimed if he attacks the Gods with the ring he will defeat them.
- 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 MacGuffins 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 one).
- 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.
- 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.
- These entirely define a player's set of skills in 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 & 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.
- Minnie Mouse uses a magic ring to cast her Holy Hand Grenade spells in the Kingdom Hearts series.
- Homestuck: the White Queen and Black Queen both possess rings which transfer the powers and physical properties of all pre-entry sprite prototypings onto the body of the ring-wearer, resulting in a Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot sort of appearance and power array. It also seems to provide significant power of its own - the "Red Miles" blast it generates is enough to cause severe damage to the Battlefield and completely destroy Prospit. In the kids' session, Jack Noir claimed the Black Queen's ring as his own after he snapped and murdered her. Mass destruction ensued. In the trolls' session, he would've attempted to do the same after aiding the trolls in deposing the Black Queen, and they had to take extra care to ensure he didn't get it, culminating in throwing it into the volcano on Kanaya's planet.
- This One Ring in Nodwick. Subverted in that the ring didn't actually have any power, only a legend that implied that it had great power. Nodwick was the only person to realize that the power of This One Ring stemmed entirely from the fact that everyone incorrectly believed that the legend was true.
- In Goblins Minmax's group encounters an alternate version of themselves who come from a reality where magic rings are extremely common. Alternate Forgath has a magical staff which allows him to simultaneously use more than the standard Dungeons & Dragons two due to having his severed finger attached to it, while their Minmax wears a number of them bandolier-style, presumably to allow him to easily swap out whichever he needs.
- In Wonderella, Wonderita turns down an offer of one because it's not pink.
- Geist of Heist is a Phantom Thief with a sapient magic ring that lets him go invisible and phase through matter.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, Perrault steals one.
- In Sinfest, Tangerine believes her decoder ring to be one.
- 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.
- A very prominent example in the Belphegor animated series. Belphegor's red ring with the Tanit symbol on it, is his iconic weapon and the only one he uses. It has the ability to emit a beam of light that either knocks people unconscious or breaks through solid objects, depending on which he wants to do. A whole episode dedicated to him losing it, shows that it's actually much more powerful and dangerous, with Belphegor being the only one able to use it without problem.
- The Secret Scouts' rings in Dinosaucers.
- Stella's ring in Winx Club turns into a scepter, provides light, and teleports people.
- She Zow has the titular superheroine's Glamazon Power Ring, also counts as both a Transformation Trinket, and a Clingy MacGuffin.