» Fri Jun 20, 2003 10:04 am
From letter 229 Tolkien cites some commentary by his Swedish translator Åke Ohlmarks and responds:<BR><BR><<<BR><i>The Ring is in a certain way 'der Nibelungen Ring'....</i><BR>Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases.<BR><i>.... which was originally forged by Volund the master-smith, and then by way of Vittka-Andvare passed through the hands of the mighty asar [Æsir] into the possession of Hreidmar and the dragon, after the dragon's fall coming to Sigurd the dragonslayer, after his murder by treacherous conspirators coming to the Burgundians, after their death in Atle's snake-pit coming to the Huns, then to the sons of Jonaker, to the Gothic tyrant Ermanrik, etc.</i><BR>Thank heaven for the <i>etc.</i> I began to fear that it would turn up in my pocket. Evidently Dr. 0 thinks that it is in his. But what is the point of all this? Those who know something about the Old Norse side of the 'Nibelung' traditions (mainly referred to since the name-forms used are Norse) will think this a farrago of nonsense; those who do not, will hardly be interested. But perhaps they are also meant to conclude that Dr. O also has <i>masterskap</i>. It has nothing whatsoever to do with <i>The Lord of the Rings</i>. As for Wayland Smith being a Pan-type, or being reflected both in Bombadil and in Gollum: this is sufficient example of the silly methods and nonsensical conclusions of Dr. O. He is welcome to the rubbish, but I do not see that he, as a translator, has any right to unload it here.<BR>>><BR><BR>I think Tolkien exaggerates the differences here. For one thing, both rings were gold.<BR><BR>Also, drop the Nibelungen part and look at the parallel cursed ring of Andvari in Norse legend still more emerge. There are more yet if you look at Wagner's use and development of both German and Norse traditions in his ring.<BR><BR>I think Tolkien, understandably annoyed by Ohlmark's silly inventions and inaccuracte scholarship, may have overreacted (and may not have been here thinking of Wagner's treatment of these traditions which Olhmarks does not mention).<BR><BR>Certainly in the <i>Nibelunglenlied</i> the ring is just as gold ring which Siegfried takes from Bunhilde and then gives to his own wife Kriemhild. It's only importance in the story is that this enables Kriemhild to prove to Brunhild that it was Siegfried that subdued her, not Gunther.<BR><BR>Norse writers added, it seems, a curse story to the ring and also the idea of a wand in the dragon Fafnir's hoard which could give world domination.<BR><BR>Wagner combined ring and wand.<BR><BR>Tolkien may have taken this further, perhaps unconsciously. But Tolkien's story is an entirely different kind of working out of the such motifs as are common to both Tolkien and Wagner.