The Lord Of The Rings - Norse Mythology

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The Lord Of The Rings - Norse Mythology

Postby OlaO » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:36 am

Hei!

I'm a student from Norway and I'm writing an essay on The Lord of The Rings. I'm wondering if some of the characters in the books/movies can me compared diractly to persons in Norse Mythologi?
If not, what do you think about it? Which characthers in "The Lord Of The Rings" do you mean can be compered to Norse Mythologi?

Best regards
Ola Skjørli Oterhals
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Re: The Lord Of The Rings - Norse Mythology

Postby Gandalf'sMother » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:23 am

OlaO wrote:Hei!

I'm a student from Norway and I'm writing an essay on The Lord of The Rings. I'm wondering if some of the characters in the books/movies can me compared diractly to persons in Norse Mythologi?
If not, what do you think about it? Which characthers in "The Lord Of The Rings" do you mean can be compered to Norse Mythologi?

Best regards
Ola Skjørli Oterhals


Just very quickly:

Dwarves: Many of whom have names that come straight from Snorri's Poetic and Prose Eddas.
Gandalf: Can be quite easily compared to Odin, or as a character in the Odinic mold.

-GM
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Postby Gungnir » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:54 am

"Gandalf" is also the name of a dwarf in the volsungsaga
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Postby Roccondil » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:40 pm

There are characteristics of Odin not only in Gandalf (and his horse, since Shadowfax = Sleipnir), but also in Saruman with his carrion birds and Sauron with his single eye.
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Postby Gandalf'sMother » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:15 am

Roccondil wrote:There are characteristics of Odin not only in Gandalf (and his horse, since Shadowfax = Sleipnir), but also in Saruman with his carrion birds and Sauron with his single eye.


Certainly. One could go on and on and on and on.

OlaO, my advice would be to reread the Eddas and the Volsungsaga (and perhaps the Heimskringla), and then reread LOTR, and make your own judgements after that.

Otherwise, you can try reading the following: http://www.amazon.com/Perilous-Realms-C ... 0802038069

-GM
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Re: The Lord Of The Rings - Norse Mythology

Postby Denethor » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:29 pm

Gandalf'sMother wrote:Dwarves: Many of whom have names that come straight from Snorri's Poetic and Prose Eddas.


Nitpick: Snorri wrote the Prose Edda, not the Poetic one.

(But, yes, pretty much all the Dwarven names come from the Voluspa. Balin is a notable exception).
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Re: The Lord Of The Rings - Norse Mythology

Postby Gandalf'sMother » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:09 pm

Denethor wrote:
Gandalf'sMother wrote:Dwarves: Many of whom have names that come straight from Snorri's Poetic and Prose Eddas.


Nitpick: Snorri wrote the Prose Edda, not the Poetic one.

(But, yes, pretty much all the Dwarven names come from the Voluspa. Balin is a notable exception).


You're right Denethor! I meant to say "Snorri's Prose Edda" and the "Poetic Edda." :)

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Postby Entmooting » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:15 pm

It is important to recognise that, although the names of the dwarves are lifted from the Völuspá, their characters most certainly are not. There is, in fact, some evidence that Tolkien modelled his dwarves on diasporic Jews.

Care must be taken when searching for analogies between Tolkien's works and his etymological resources.
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Postby Gungnir » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:00 pm

Entmooting wrote:It is important to recognise that, although the names of the dwarves are lifted from the Völuspá, their characters most certainly are not. There is, in fact, some evidence that Tolkien modelled his dwarves on diasporic Jews.

Care must be taken when searching for analogies between Tolkien's works and his etymological resources.


The only evidence I can see for the disaporic jews theory you advance is the similarity between khuzdul and semitic languages.
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Postby Entmooting » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:23 pm

In his letter to Naomi Mitchison (#176) Tolkien writes:

"I do think of the 'Dwarves' like Jews: at once native
and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country,
but with an accent due to their own private tongue...."

However, I would not pretend that to be definitive. Others have identified that the developing friendship between Gimli and Legolas was a direct rebuke to antisemitism. Tolkien himself commented on how it was with regret he found his name was not of semitic origin.
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Postby Gungnir » Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:32 am

Entmooting wrote:In his letter to Naomi Mitchison (#176) Tolkien writes:

"I do think of the 'Dwarves' like Jews: at once native
and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country,
but with an accent due to their own private tongue...."

However, I would not pretend that to be definitive. Others have identified that the developing friendship between Gimli and Legolas was a direct rebuke to antisemitism. Tolkien himself commented on how it was with regret he found his name was not of semitic origin.


His comment about not being jewish was a rebuke to publishers in Nazi Germany who asked him whether he was aryan origin...

J.R.R. Tolkien 25 July 1938 to Rutten & Loening Verlag wrote:Butif I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people


Go Tollers!!

Although in a letter to Roger Lancelyn Green in 1971 he said that his surname "is not Jewish in origin though I should consider it an origin if it were".

I think that saying that Tolkien modelled his dwarves on diasporic jews based on ONE letter is a bit of a stretch. He also compared the Numenoreans to Jews - are you also going to suggest that he modelled Numenor on the ancient hebrew nation?
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Postby Entmooting » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:49 am

I agree, gungnir, that to take one letter from Tolkien and claim that as irrefutable proof would be unwarranted. However, I don't believe I have done that. I merely state there is some evidence. I further qualify this by saying I do not find this evidence definitive.

Having said that, there are situational similarities between the diasporic Jews and the diasporic dwarves, especially pre-Hobbit. The clue is in the adjective, 'diasporic'. Before the destruction of Smaug, the dwarves are spread, far and wide, itinerant, without residence in a spiritual home. It is this aspect, allied with linguistic similarities to semitic language, that point to at least some identification with Jewish influence. For Tolkien, linguistics were of paramount importance, and I find it hard to believe that he would chose a semitic base for the dwarvish language arbitrarily.
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Postby Mithfânion » Sun May 02, 2010 5:21 am

Don't know if the op is still reading this but there is a book that is on this topic exactly, though it feeds in Celtic mythology as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Perilous-Realms-C ... 837&sr=1-2

Marjorie Burns' "Perilous Realms: Celtic And Norse in Tolkien's Middle-Earth".
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