Am i the only one who noticed this?

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Am i the only one who noticed this?

Postby MisterNazgul » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:37 am

"Nazgul" and "Nazi" both share the first three letters. Is this a coincidence, or is there a secret meaning behind this?

Also is it just me or does the battle of the five armies and the war of the ring seem to be reminiscent of the two world wars, and the fall of arnor's successor kingdoms based off the fall of the roman empire?
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Re: Am i the only one who noticed this?

Postby solicitr » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:42 am

Lots of people have noticed it, and Tolkien scornfully dismissed "historical allegory" notions. Read the Foreword to the Second Edition..

If nazg ( "ring" in Black Speech - note not naz) had any external connection, as Tolkien later observed it could, just possibly, have been unconsciously connected to the Gaelic word nasc which interestingly means both "ring" and "bond." But he didn't learn of it, to the best of his recollection, until after the LR was written.

Note that the Battle of Five Armies was, to Tolkien,only a minor skirmish; it was Peter Jackson who inflated it to World War scale.

There was one explicit connection to the fall of the Roman Empire (besides the rather apparent "Byzantine" nature of Gondor)- that was the charge of the Rohirrim at the Pelennor Fields and Theoden's death, where he consciously did have in mind the charge of the Visigoths against the Huns at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains and the death of their aged king Theodoric. But then he also had in mind the breaking of the siege of Vienna in 1689 and the charge of King Jan Sobieski and the Winged Hussars.


-------------------

Tolkien would have been well aware that "Nazi" was just an abbreviation for Nationalsozialist: National Socialist.
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Re: Am i the only one who noticed this?

Postby scirocco » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:33 pm

To play devil's advocate, though, Tolkien is well known for alleging that he never saw the connections between his invented words and real world homonyms (e.g. apparently it's pure coincidence that Avallónë has similar sound and meaning to Avalon). As solictr said, he is on record saying that he was originally unaware that nasc is Gaelic for "ring", believing that he was influenced by the sound without being directly aware of the meaning.

The Nazi Party was up their tricks in Germany by the mid-1930s and were being reported in the UK newspapers. And "Nazgul" was a relatively late usage in the LOTR text; it's not like the chapter "The Shadow of the Past" which was written well before the Second World War started. I don't think nasc or nasg can be found in any of JRRT's writings from the 1920's. So it is conceivable that the combination of news reports plus the Gaelic sound combined together in a kind of linguistic fertilizer from which "Nazgul" grew (without any direct intention on Tolkien's part).
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Re: Am i the only one who noticed this?

Postby solicitr » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:37 pm

Except that "Nazi" is pronounced "nahtzee" not "nahzee"
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Re: Am i the only one who noticed this?

Postby MisterNazgul » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:55 am

Okay so half the stuff that seems to be based off something isn't based of something actually?
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Re: Am i the only one who noticed this?

Postby Aravar » Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:59 pm

solicitr wrote:Except that "Nazi" is pronounced "nahtzee" not "nahzee"


Generally, but Churchill often used to pronounce it without the "t" sound. So it's a pronunciation that was current at the time JRRT wrote.
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Re: Am i the only one who noticed this?

Postby scirocco » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:12 pm

MisterNazgul wrote:Okay so half the stuff that seems to be based off something isn't based of something actually?

Well, all authors including Tolkien have sources and take inspiration from historical events and things that happen to them. Doesn't mean there's a one to one correspondence. Tolkien lived in a subtler age, when cut and paste was something you did with paper and glue, not a substitute for creative thought. He put it best himself in the Foreword, as solictr said:

An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience, but the ways in which a story-germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex, and attempts to define the process are at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous...


If you are looking for Tolkien's own life experience influences in Middle-earth, you would be better looking at WW1 than WW2. Quite apart from the fact that the key parts of LOTR had been written before WW2 started, during WW2 Tolkien was a middle-aged man in the relative safety of England. Whereas in WW1 he was a young man getting shot at in the trenches of the Somme and wondering if he would end up dead like his three best friends already were. I imagine that would be a formative experience.
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Re: Am i the only one who noticed this?

Postby solicitr » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:20 pm

Yes; if you want to see Tolkien definitely drawing on something in the Primary World, read his descriptions of the Dead Marshes and the Desolation of the Morannon, and of the effect of the Black Breath. That's the Somme veteran's memories coming out. But trying to make political points by tenuous sound-similarities? No.
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