What became of the lesser Rings of Power in The Lord of the Rings? Prior to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the evil Sauron poses as a friend to the elves under the name of Annatar and manipulates the race into creating a series of powerful magic rings, before secretly crafting a master ring himself - the infamous One Ring that Frodo is tasked with destroying at the outset of the story. Initially, Sauron hopes to use these rings to enslave the elves of Middle-earth but, when the forest folk became wise to his dastardly plan, the Dark Lord turned his attentions to men and dwarves.
Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films focused largely on the fate of Sauron's ruling ring, glossing over the presence of the others in the trilogy. But while the remaining 19 rings might've lost their power when Frodo fulfilled his mission at Mount Doom, they didn't simply disappear, and actually play a significant role in the events of The Lord of the Rings.
The Elves' Three Rings
The trio of rings kept by the elves were the most powerful of the bunch (other than Sauron's, of course) and were constructed by the master smith Celebrimbor personally. After learning of Annatar's deception, the elves kept the whereabouts of these creations a secret, but the three elven rings have a prominent presence in The Lord of the Rings nevertheless. All of these trinkets gave their wearer an extended lifespan, in addition to other unique powers.
- Narya - Worn by Gandalf in secret throughout The Lord of the Rings, Narya helps the wizard inspire others against tyranny and gives him an influence over flame. After the War of the Ring is over, Gandalf is seen still wearing Narya when he leaves for the Grey Havens, although it no longer holds any power.
- Nenya - Just as Gandalf possessed Narya in secret, Galadriel was charged with bearing its sibling, Nenya. The elf used the power of Nenya to protect the forest of Lothlórien from dark influence during the Third Age, and Galadriel also took the ring with her when departing Middle-earth at the end of The Return of the King.
- Vilya - The third under-the-radar ring user among the protagonists of The Lord of the Rings is Elrond, who had wielded Vilya for centuries leading up to the events of the main trilogy. Vilya is confirmed to be the most powerful of the other rings and Elrond takes it with him on his final voyage, ensuring all three elven rings are removed from Middle-earth after Sauron is defeated.
The Dwarves' Seven Rings
After failing to completely trick the elves, Sauron dangled seven of his newly-created magic rings in front of the dwarves, who happily accepted the offering. The rings undoubtedly brought the mining specialists wealth, but also sowed the seeds of division and greed, ultimately leading to the end of the dwarves' dominance in the mountains and mineshafts of Middle-earth but, once again, none fell under Sauron's sway directly. As seen in The Hobbit, the dwarves' increased wealth attracted dragon admirers who courted the hordes of gold for their own.
It perhaps shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, then, that 4 of the 7 dwarven rings were destroyed by dragon flames. The leftover 3 were picked up by Sauron while he prepared his dramatic return shortly before the events of The Hobbit, and the villain tried to use them to buy the dwarves allegiance, but to no avail. The 3 dwarven rings remained with Sauron and were likely caught up in the destruction of Mount Doom and Barad-Dur.
The Nine Rings Of Men
While Sauron's ring scheme largely failed on Middle-earth's elves and dwarves, it worked a treat on the mortal, fallible men of the land. Nine kings used the adornments to gain power, abilities, wealth and strength and their punishment was to eventually serve Sauron as the Ringwraiths. Curiously, however, the Nazgûl are never seen or mentioned to be still wearing their rings. It's open to debate, therefore, whether the wraiths still possessed their original nine rings somewhere, or whether they were taken back by Sauron after their purpose was fulfilled and kept with the dwarven rings.
Amazon's The Lord of the Rings series is currently without a release date. More news as it arrives.