That small, silver ring with the curvilinear “E” for “Elizabeth” had an interesting role to play in Season One of Poldark. Let’s take a glance back.
Ross is about to leave with the military for the Americas. He and Elizabeth have a few moments on that beautiful Cornish coastline before he departs. “You’ll forget me,” she calls to him. “Never,” he replies.
This is where we first see the ring, and where things get interesting. Ross takes the ring from Elizabeth’s hand and places it on his pinky finger (the only finger it will fit).
The action that just took place seems to break with convention (as we know it today). Ross did not give Elizabeth a ring, nor did he make a proposal of marriage. Instead, he took the ring from her hand and placed it on his own. What happened between them when that exchange took place? Did Ross take the ring as a means of possessing Elizabeth? I have this ring, therefore I have you. You belong to me and no one else. Elizabeth didn’t ask for the ring to be returned, so has a commitment just been made? Does she let him keep the ring as sort of a good luck charm, to keep and return him safely to her? She seems to care for Ross, but it feels like his attachment is stronger than hers.
Ross is camped in America and gambling with a fellow soldier. “What’s the stake?” he asks. The soldier replies, “Your ring.” Ross looks at the ring and shakes his head. It’s his connection to Elizabeth, perhaps giving him the strength and courage to stay alive and return to her.
When we next see the ring, Ross is in a coach, back in England, on his way home. When he learns of his father’s death, he decides to stop at his uncle’s home first. He interrupts the engagement dinner of Francis and Elizabeth, but manages to maintain his composure. I wonder if Elizabeth noticed Ross’s hand when he lifted his glass to toast them – her ring was still on his finger. He excuses himself, borrows a horse, goes to Nampara, and gets drunk.
The feeling of betrayal must have been overwhelming. He probably clung to that ring like a drowning person clutches a life ring. He thought she’d wait for him, but he failed to realize what happens when time passes, especially when there were so few options for women in the 18th century. “Three years is a long time,” Elizabeth explains when the two speak on her wedding day. Ross and Elizabeth go back and forth after that, questioning if there was an “understanding” and did the words that passed between on that beautiful Cornish afternoon them mean nothing? Can they remain friends? Yes. No.
Time passes, and an invitation to a ball arrives. Ross ponders whether or not to attend, wondering if Elizabeth will be there. He retrieves the ring from the floor where he threw it the night he arrived home to find Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis.
We see little of the ring after that, and not at all in Season Two. I’m pretty sure Ross still has it, aren’t you? Even after all that’s happened (marriage, children, etc.) it’s part of his past and a link to Elizabeth. Do you think that tiny, silver ring will make an appearance in Season Three?