- For other uses see: Barahir (disambiguation)
The Ring of Barahir was an ornate silver ring given to Barahir by the Elven Lord Finrod Felagund, in reward for saving his life in Dagor Bragollach. It was a sign of eternal friendship between Finrod and the House of Barahir and it became an heirloom of his kin.
The ring was described as the likeness of two serpents intertwined with eyes made of green jewels. This was the symbol of the House of Finarfin. The serpents met beneath a crown of golden flowers that one upheld and one devoured. The jewels at least were crafted in Valinor and sometimes seemed to burn with green fire.
(…)green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.” (Silmarillion)
Tolkien described the ring in verse in the Lay of Leithian:"Proud are the words, and all there turned
to see the jewels green that burned
in Beren’s ring. These Gnomes had set
as eyes of serpents twined that met
beneath a golden crown of flowers,
that one upholds and one devours:
the badge that Finrod made of yore
and Felagund his son now bore."
- " There King Finrod Felagund, hastening from the south, was cut off from his people and surrounded with small company in the Fen of Serech; and he would have been slain or taken, but Barahir came up with the bravest of his men and rescued him, and made a wall of spears about him; and they cut their way out of the battle with great loss. Thus Felagund escaped, and returned to his deep fortress of Nargothrond; but he swore an oath of abiding friendship and aid en every need to Barahir and all his kin, and in token of his vow he gave to Barahir his ring."
- —The Silmarillion, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin
Barahir's hand and ring were taken by the orcs that killed him, but were retrieved by his son Beren when he avenged his father. Beren laid the hand to rest with his father's remains, but kept and wore the ring.
The ring was passed from Beren in direct line to Dior, then his daughter Elwing and her son Elros, who brought it to Númenor during the Second Age. It was an heirloom of the kings of Númenor until Tar-Elendil gave the ring to his eldest daughter Silmariën, who was not allowed to succeed him on the throne. She in turn gave the ring to her son Valandil, first Lord of Andúnië. It was handed down to succeeding Lords of Andúnië to the last one, Elendil.
In the Third Age the ring was again passed in direct line from Elendil, to Isildur, to the Kings of Arnor, and then Kings of Arthedain. The last King of Arthedain, Arvedui, gave the ring to the Lossoth of Forochel; thankful for the help he received from them. It was later ransomed from the Snowmen by the Dúnedain of the North, after which it was kept safe at Rivendell.Eventually, it was given by Elrond to Aragorn, son of Arathorn, when he was told of his true name and lineage, together with the shards of Narsil. In the year 2980 of the Third Age, in Lórien Aragorn gave the ring to Arwen Undómiel, and thus they were betrothed.
Nothing is said of the fate of the ring in the Fourth Age, but it was most likely either again passed to the Kings of Gondor and Arnor, descendants of Aragorn and Arwen, or it went with Arwen to her grave in Cerin Amroth.
While the Ring of Barahir posseses no known magic or power, it is notable as possibly the oldest crafted object in Middle Earth. Lasting through the War of the Ring but having been crafted during the First Age, the Ring of Barahir is thousands of years older than any of the Rings of Power. It may also predates the creation of the Palantiri, whose point of origin is not clearly known.
In Peter Jackson's movie versions of the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn wore the Ring of Barahir. In the extended DVD edition of these movies, Saruman was able to identify him through that ring.