Norse imagery in Tolkien’s ME

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halfir 24/Aug/2006 at 05:13 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Having- for the last four years- suffered a surfeit of Tolkien and Christianity threads both on the Plaza and the Web, I thought it time we revisited the specific referencing that occurs in his writings to Norse imagery.

I’ll start the ball rolling by quoting from a previous post which first appeared in Rods of the Istari and later in an AL thread of aldoriana’s, - matches and similarities  -but as it is about a central Norse image- Gandalf - the ’Odinic wanderer’ {cf Letter # 107} I have no qualms about repeating it, as Gandalf is probably the best  character to start with in terms of Norse imagery.

The significance of the Post-Moria staff and Norse Mythology

Hama ’looked hard at the ash-staff on which Gandalf leaned’ (TT The King of the Golden Hall)

this is the only time the actual tree type of any staff is mentioned. (Although Frodo talks of Gandalf as an old man:

who leaned upon a thorny staff {Frodo- FOTR- The Mirror of Galadriel -my emphasis}

’Hardly a word in its 600,00 or so has been unconsidered’ (Tolkien to Milton Waldman Letter # 131)

 In general the symbolism of wood per se is constant- it possesses superhuman wisdom and knowledge.

1. To the Greeks at the time of Hesiod the Ash tree was the symbol of stability. Ash was the wood used for spear shafts and is a meatphor for the weapon itself.

2. In Scandinavian folk-lore the Ash tree becomes Yggdrasil - the World Tree. Yggdrasil gave life to the universe.It is a symbol of the indestructible continuity of the life force.

3.The Ash is sacred to Odin because of its association with Yggdrasil- the World Tree -on which he hung to gain the runes that gave him him his magical power.

4. The spear -with its Ash shaft was Odin’s principle weapon

4.The spirally carved druidical wand was made of Ash.

5. Because Ash attracts lightning ("courts the flash"), it is also a good conductor of nd (magical force)

6.In Celtic mythology, the Ash was sacred to Gwydion as a tree of enchantment, from whose twigs he made his wands. It links the three circles of existence - past, present and future - continual birth and rebirth.

7.Ash symbolizes a key to the understanding of how all things are linked and connected

And- even though I shall stand accused of ’Symbolic Silliness’ I would observe:

A.Gandalf’s Ash staff is a symbol of learning and of power -cf. the spear of Odin  - weapon and symbol of knowledge

B. Gandalf  sacrificed himself in Moria cf. Odin on Yggdrasil

C. Tolkien referred to Gandalf as ’the Odinic Wanderer’ (Letter # 107)

D. The ’Tree of Tales’ in ’On Fairy Stories’ and Yggdrasil and the squirrel that ran from the lair of the great serpent in its roots  to the Great Eagle in the top of its branches with the sacred ’riddles’ or ’tales’.

E. Gandalf as a ’servant of the Secret Fire’ (FOTR- The Bridge of Khazad Dum) - the Flame Imperishable- the creative force of the universe - and ’Yggdrasil gave life to the universe.’

F. AND most importantly of all note WHEN that ’ash-staff’ reference is given. It is given after Gandalf’s sacrifice and death in Moria and on his return

’both his wisdom and power are much greater’ (Letter # 156)

because of his sacrifice he

’was accepted, and enhanced and returned’ (ibid)

without that enhancement he could not:

’have dealt so with Theoden, nor with Saruman.’ (ibid)

The parallel with the Odinic sacrifice, enhancement and return with greater power and knowledge is irresistible!

halfir 24/Aug/2006 at 05:13 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Having- for the last four years- suffered a surfeit of Tolkien and Christianity threads both on the Plaza and the Web, I thought it time we revisited the specific referencing that occurs in his writings to Norse imagery.

I’ll start the ball rolling by quoting from a previous post which first appeared in Rods of the Istari and later in an AL thread of aldoriana’s, - matches and similarities  -but as it is about a central Norse image- Gandalf - the ’Odinic wanderer’ {cf Letter # 107} I have no qualms about repeating it, as Gandalf is probably the best  character to start with in terms of Norse imagery.

The significance of the Post-Moria staff and Norse Mythology

Hama ’looked hard at the ash-staff on which Gandalf leaned’ (TT The King of the Golden Hall)

this is the only time the actual tree type of any staff is mentioned. (Although Frodo talks of Gandalf as an old man:

who leaned upon a thorny staff {Frodo- FOTR- The Mirror of Galadriel -my emphasis}

’Hardly a word in its 600,00 or so has been unconsidered’ (Tolkien to Milton Waldman Letter # 131)

 In general the symbolism of wood per se is constant- it possesses superhuman wisdom and knowledge.

1. To the Greeks at the time of Hesiod the Ash tree was the symbol of stability. Ash was the wood used for spear shafts and is a meatphor for the weapon itself.

2. In Scandinavian folk-lore the Ash tree becomes Yggdrasil - the World Tree. Yggdrasil gave life to the universe.It is a symbol of the indestructible continuity of the life force.

3.The Ash is sacred to Odin because of its association with Yggdrasil- the World Tree -on which he hung to gain the runes that gave him him his magical power.

4. The spear -with its Ash shaft was Odin’s principle weapon

4.The spirally carved druidical wand was made of Ash.

5. Because Ash attracts lightning ("courts the flash"), it is also a good conductor of nd (magical force)

6.In Celtic mythology, the Ash was sacred to Gwydion as a tree of enchantment, from whose twigs he made his wands. It links the three circles of existence - past, present and future - continual birth and rebirth.

7.Ash symbolizes a key to the understanding of how all things are linked and connected

And- even though I shall stand accused of ’Symbolic Silliness’ I would observe:

A.Gandalf’s Ash staff is a symbol of learning and of power -cf. the spear of Odin  - weapon and symbol of knowledge

B. Gandalf  sacrificed himself in Moria cf. Odin on Yggdrasil

C. Tolkien referred to Gandalf as ’the Odinic Wanderer’ (Letter # 107)

D. The ’Tree of Tales’ in ’On Fairy Stories’ and Yggdrasil and the squirrel that ran from the lair of the great serpent in its roots  to the Great Eagle in the top of its branches with the sacred ’riddles’ or ’tales’.

E. Gandalf as a ’servant of the Secret Fire’ (FOTR- The Bridge of Khazad Dum) - the Flame Imperishable- the creative force of the universe - and ’Yggdrasil gave life to the universe.’

F. AND most importantly of all note WHEN that ’ash-staff’ reference is given. It is given after Gandalf’s sacrifice and death in Moria and on his return

’both his wisdom and power are much greater’ (Letter # 156)

because of his sacrifice he

’was accepted, and enhanced and returned’ (ibid)

without that enhancement he could not:

’have dealt so with Theoden, nor with Saruman.’ (ibid)

The parallel with the Odinic sacrifice, enhancement and return with greater power and knowledge is irresistible!

halfir 24/Aug/2006 at 06:50 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I think a perfect theme for this thread would be the words of Stephen Hart:

Tolkien’s soul was in the Lord’s keeping, but his heart -- like that of his freind C.S.Lewis - quickened to a pagan drumbeat.

It is the pagan drumbeat that I wish to explore, particularly its Norse manifestations.

{I first came across Hart’s words in the signature of my great friend Largo - with whom I - and others -  had many lengthy debates over the aspect of ’Hope’ in LOTR. Largo is no longer an active member  of the Plaza but his threads on Hopeless Courage - which were later published as an essay- are truly worth the reading:

Hopeless Courage

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive2/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=82815&PagePosition=7

 

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive2/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=97712&PagePosition=5

 

Tolkien versus Jackson: Hopelessness versus Hope

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/Archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=166865&PagePosition=6

 

halfir 24/Aug/2006 at 06:50 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I think a perfect theme for this thread would be the words of Stephen Hart:

Tolkien’s soul was in the Lord’s keeping, but his heart -- like that of his freind C.S.Lewis - quickened to a pagan drumbeat.

It is the pagan drumbeat that I wish to explore, particularly its Norse manifestations.

{I first came across Hart’s words in the signature of my great friend Largo - with whom I - and others -  had many lengthy debates over the aspect of ’Hope’ in LOTR. Largo is no longer an active member  of the Plaza but his threads on Hopeless Courage - which were later published as an essay- are truly worth the reading:

Hopeless Courage

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive2/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=82815&PagePosition=7

 

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive2/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=97712&PagePosition=5

 

Tolkien versus Jackson: Hopelessness versus Hope

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/Archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=166865&PagePosition=6

 

Maiarian Man 24/Aug/2006 at 08:18 PM
Steward of Isengard Points: 9003 Posts: 10968 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

This probably isn’t quite the direction you wanted, as it speaks simply of the ash reference in your first post, but I think it offers a perspective on how an issue as this might be looked at (at least by the end).

Ash simply is the type of tree one would consider best for making a staff out of.   The riders of Rohan also use spears made out of ash.  The OED cites (a now obsolete) definition of ash in which it simply means "spear."  For example, in Beowulf 3548: "Æscum and ecðum"  or Shakespeare: "That body, where against / My grained Ash an hundred times hath broke" (Coriolanus, iv.v.114).  This use results from the common synecdoche in Anglo-Saxon literature, by which spears made of ash are just called aesc (such that  the word “aesc” became synonymous with spear).  

The compound "ash-staff" is also listed in the OED (so it would seemingly be not an uncommon term).

And in the second definition of ash (the lumber of an ash tree), the OED refers to the "sgrete growe spere of aish" which is referred to in the prose Middle-English text Merlin (c. 1450).   An Arthurian text would be an appropriate link to Tolkien as well

So I find the connection between Gandalf’s ashen staff and Odin to be tenuous at best.  And while I think it fine to look at general symbolisms which Tolkien might have considered by specifying that the staff is made of ash, I think it rather more likely that Tolkien is actually trying to place himself behind the traditional symbols (or even with them).  Why is Gandalf’s staff made of ash?  For the same reason that Yggdrasil is an ash tree, or Odin’s spear, or a Druid’s staff, etc.  For whatever reason, the ash tree became important to the Norse and Celts (perhaps just its plentifulness and usefulness).   And thus it arises as bearing important symbolic meaning.  I don’t think that Tolkien gives Gandalf an ash-staff just because he is leading us back to these previous symbols.

Rather, we find ourselves in a world of new archetypes.  We can make no specific connection between Gandalf’s staff and some historical symbol.  That’s because Tolkien does not allegorize certain symbols.  He places us into a world from which we see the beginning of many symbols arising.  We get one small relic of the ash trees importance in Gandalf’s staff, but this can be connected to infinite significances which the ash tree now has.  This was his earliest treatment of symbols in his work.  Indeed, if we follow Shippey, Tolkien starts to write of Earendil as a figure who explains the connection between the Morningstar and Christ in Cynewulf.  In BoLT he treats the Valar not as something inspired by Norse gods, but rather as an explanation for the confusion among historical treatment of the norse gods.  (The Valar are, in imagination, the real gods from whom the Norse gods have been derived).  

Maiarian Man 24/Aug/2006 at 08:18 PM
Steward of Isengard Points: 9003 Posts: 10968 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

This probably isn’t quite the direction you wanted, as it speaks simply of the ash reference in your first post, but I think it offers a perspective on how an issue as this might be looked at (at least by the end).

Ash simply is the type of tree one would consider best for making a staff out of.   The riders of Rohan also use spears made out of ash.  The OED cites (a now obsolete) definition of ash in which it simply means "spear."  For example, in Beowulf 3548: "Æscum and ecðum"  or Shakespeare: "That body, where against / My grained Ash an hundred times hath broke" (Coriolanus, iv.v.114).  This use results from the common synecdoche in Anglo-Saxon literature, by which spears made of ash are just called aesc (such that  the word “aesc” became synonymous with spear).  

The compound "ash-staff" is also listed in the OED (so it would seemingly be not an uncommon term).

And in the second definition of ash (the lumber of an ash tree), the OED refers to the "sgrete growe spere of aish" which is referred to in the prose Middle-English text Merlin (c. 1450).   An Arthurian text would be an appropriate link to Tolkien as well

So I find the connection between Gandalf’s ashen staff and Odin to be tenuous at best.  And while I think it fine to look at general symbolisms which Tolkien might have considered by specifying that the staff is made of ash, I think it rather more likely that Tolkien is actually trying to place himself behind the traditional symbols (or even with them).  Why is Gandalf’s staff made of ash?  For the same reason that Yggdrasil is an ash tree, or Odin’s spear, or a Druid’s staff, etc.  For whatever reason, the ash tree became important to the Norse and Celts (perhaps just its plentifulness and usefulness).   And thus it arises as bearing important symbolic meaning.  I don’t think that Tolkien gives Gandalf an ash-staff just because he is leading us back to these previous symbols.

Rather, we find ourselves in a world of new archetypes.  We can make no specific connection between Gandalf’s staff and some historical symbol.  That’s because Tolkien does not allegorize certain symbols.  He places us into a world from which we see the beginning of many symbols arising.  We get one small relic of the ash trees importance in Gandalf’s staff, but this can be connected to infinite significances which the ash tree now has.  This was his earliest treatment of symbols in his work.  Indeed, if we follow Shippey, Tolkien starts to write of Earendil as a figure who explains the connection between the Morningstar and Christ in Cynewulf.  In BoLT he treats the Valar not as something inspired by Norse gods, but rather as an explanation for the confusion among historical treatment of the norse gods.  (The Valar are, in imagination, the real gods from whom the Norse gods have been derived).  

halfir 24/Aug/2006 at 09:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

So I find the connection between Gandalf’s ashen staff and Odin to be tenuous at best.

mm: Balanced and judicious as ever, but I am afraid I have to disagree- which probably doesn’t surprise you.

If ash were simply the wood of Gandalf’s staff and Gandalf had no other Odinic references, I would accept the point you make. But Gandalf is replete with Odinic references. Moreover, the ash staff that is used by Gandalf is only mentioned after his Moria death and rebirth. I am afraid I do not accept that all this is coincidental.

I believe that Tolkien deliberatley logged-in to the overarching exisitng mythology in order to confirm and give credibility to his own ’myth for England’ and while, of course, I am not suggesing that Gandalf is Odin, I am suggesting that Tolkien’s use of Norse imagery was far more explicit and deliberate than you give it credit for in your post. So I do not accept

We can make no specific connection between Gandalf’s staff and some historical symbol. 

While I totally concur with Tolkien’s own view that


To my mind it is the particular use in a particular sitaution of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider’ {Letter # 337}

(A letter in which he also wishes his academic readers would not search for sourcesX() I think that he was very well aware of the Odinic references- going so far as to call Gandalf  ’the Odinic wanderer’{Letter # 107}.

And I am not, and have never suggested that he allegorized in any way, but in order to establish any credibility for his work on the ’national mythic’ level he perforce had to utilize - as resonances- existing myth to which the English cultural tradition adhered.

halfir 24/Aug/2006 at 09:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

So I find the connection between Gandalf’s ashen staff and Odin to be tenuous at best.

mm: Balanced and judicious as ever, but I am afraid I have to disagree- which probably doesn’t surprise you.

If ash were simply the wood of Gandalf’s staff and Gandalf had no other Odinic references, I would accept the point you make. But Gandalf is replete with Odinic references. Moreover, the ash staff that is used by Gandalf is only mentioned after his Moria death and rebirth. I am afraid I do not accept that all this is coincidental.

I believe that Tolkien deliberatley logged-in to the overarching exisitng mythology in order to confirm and give credibility to his own ’myth for England’ and while, of course, I am not suggesing that Gandalf is Odin, I am suggesting that Tolkien’s use of Norse imagery was far more explicit and deliberate than you give it credit for in your post. So I do not accept

We can make no specific connection between Gandalf’s staff and some historical symbol. 

While I totally concur with Tolkien’s own view that


To my mind it is the particular use in a particular sitaution of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider’ {Letter # 337}

(A letter in which he also wishes his academic readers would not search for sourcesX() I think that he was very well aware of the Odinic references- going so far as to call Gandalf  ’the Odinic wanderer’{Letter # 107}.

And I am not, and have never suggested that he allegorized in any way, but in order to establish any credibility for his work on the ’national mythic’ level he perforce had to utilize - as resonances- existing myth to which the English cultural tradition adhered.

Bjorn 24/Aug/2006 at 10:25 PM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 1112 Posts: 499 Joined: 12/Nov/2005
Just to throw something out there, that may or may not bear any revelance: we must never forget that Gandalf was originally a creation for the Hobbit, which was heavily, and not subtly as we know, sopping with Norse fact, and ’imagery’. Though in the LotR he may have added relevance, and a more important role, he is still that heavily Norse influenced Gandalf from the Hobbit. However, halfir, you do present some interesting points. In the end, though, I have to lean towards Maiarian Man. But I believe you’re both right .
Bjorn 24/Aug/2006 at 10:25 PM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 1112 Posts: 499 Joined: 12/Nov/2005
Just to throw something out there, that may or may not bear any revelance: we must never forget that Gandalf was originally a creation for the Hobbit, which was heavily, and not subtly as we know, sopping with Norse fact, and ’imagery’. Though in the LotR he may have added relevance, and a more important role, he is still that heavily Norse influenced Gandalf from the Hobbit. However, halfir, you do present some interesting points. In the end, though, I have to lean towards Maiarian Man. But I believe you’re both right .
Weny 24/Aug/2006 at 10:26 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003

Ohh Mythology..my cup of tea..mind if I add my two cents?

I think that we can also discuss Eowyn as Valkyrie ..check this out from wikipedia

In Norse mythology the valkyries are dísir, minor female deities, who serve Odin. The valkyries’ purpose was to choose the most heroic of those who had died in battle and to carry them off to Valhalla where they became einherjar. This was necessary because Odin needed warriors to fight at his side at the preordained battle at the end of the world, Ragnarök. In Valhalla the valkyries also “serve drink and look after the tableware and drinking vessels” (Prose Edda Gylfaginning 35).

If we look at LOTR I find it interesting that Eowyn fights at the "last battle of the world" so to speak at the Fields. At the time Gandalf is leading them and if we think of Gandalf as Odin then it makes sense to me. Also the valkyrie are described as shieldmaidens at times. Eowyn is a shieldmaiden of Rohan. She also does seem to do alot of the drink serving and such..like the ceremonial cup

"The king now rose and at once Eowyn came forward bearing wine. "Ferthu Theoden hal!" she said, ’Recieve now this cup and drink in happy hour. Health be with thee at thy going and coming’ " (TTT, The King of The Golden Hall)

Especially with the Riders I think we find the Norse references.

Weny 24/Aug/2006 at 10:26 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003

Ohh Mythology..my cup of tea..mind if I add my two cents?

I think that we can also discuss Eowyn as Valkyrie ..check this out from wikipedia

In Norse mythology the valkyries are dísir, minor female deities, who serve Odin. The valkyries’ purpose was to choose the most heroic of those who had died in battle and to carry them off to Valhalla where they became einherjar. This was necessary because Odin needed warriors to fight at his side at the preordained battle at the end of the world, Ragnarök. In Valhalla the valkyries also “serve drink and look after the tableware and drinking vessels” (Prose Edda Gylfaginning 35).

If we look at LOTR I find it interesting that Eowyn fights at the "last battle of the world" so to speak at the Fields. At the time Gandalf is leading them and if we think of Gandalf as Odin then it makes sense to me. Also the valkyrie are described as shieldmaidens at times. Eowyn is a shieldmaiden of Rohan. She also does seem to do alot of the drink serving and such..like the ceremonial cup

"The king now rose and at once Eowyn came forward bearing wine. "Ferthu Theoden hal!" she said, ’Recieve now this cup and drink in happy hour. Health be with thee at thy going and coming’ " (TTT, The King of The Golden Hall)

Especially with the Riders I think we find the Norse references.

halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 01:03 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Perhaps in some ways it was a mistake to open this thread by using Gandalf’s staff- or even Gandalf at all, for the Norse resonances- indeed the specifically Odinic ones, are not solely limited to Gandalf, but encompass Sauron and Saruman too cf. Gandalf and Odin- Marjorie Burns  in Tolkien’s Legendarium Flieger & Hostetter- Greenwood Press2000.

And that perhaps is the point to emphasize, the way in which Norse resonances permeate Tolkien’s writings, not just  LOTR and The Hobbit, but virtually alll of the writings on ME.

Bjorn has rightly drawn our attention to The Hobbit  as being sopping with Norse fact, and ’imagery’. However, the genesis of Gandalf, from  a visual viewpoint is based on Joesph Madlener’s  Der Berggeist. Painted iin the 1920’s it shows an old man, bearded, hatted, and cloaked {cf. Douglas Anderson- The Annotated Hobbit  Chpter. An Unexpected party).

Tolkien described the postcard picture (of which he had a copy) as  showing:

’..a small but broad old man with a wide brimmed hat and a long cloak talking to a white fawn that is nuzzling  his upturned hands. He has a humorous but at the same time  compassionate expression- his mouth is visible and smiling, because he has a white beard but no hair on his upper lip.{cf. Hammond & Scull LOTR-Companion pp. 244-5}

Compare this with descriptions of Odin:

Odin usually appears as a graybearded man, tall and thin, with a blue-black cloak and an eyepatch or wide-brimmed hat tilted to hide his missing eye

Odin was usually depicted as a tall old man with a flowing beard and only one eye (the other he gave in exchange for wisdom); he wore a cloak and a wide-brimmed hat and carried a spear.

Of course Gandalf didn’t carry a spear- but he did use a staff:

’an old man in a batterd hat
who leaned upon a thorny staff
{Frodo- FOTR- The Mirror of Galadriel}

And note that the pre -Moria staff is ’thorny’, there is nothing ’thorny’ about ash!

Moreover, like Gandalf, Odin was a wanderer.

 

It is difficult not to see a relationship between Gandalf and Odin, particularly as Gandalf described Gandalf in terms as ‘the Odinic wanderer I think of . {cf Letter # 107}

 

But, as Marjorie Burns – and others- have observed – Odin’s character contains a very clear duality. On the one hand we have

 

 ‘ a grey-bearded  old man who carries a staff and wears a hood or a cloak (usually blue) and a wide brimmed, floppy hat’ {Gandalf and Odin}

 

and on the other:

 

Odin the Goth, the Necromancer, glutter of the crows, Lord of the Slain {Tolkien- On Fairy Stories}

 

And resonances of that  Odin are to be found in Sauron and Saruman.

 

Indeed, it has been suggested that the ‘Eye ‘ of Sauron could be compared to the one-eye of Odin; and that wolves are associated with Odin – as they are with Sauron.

 

Professor Burn’s observes:

 

‘In every case Tolkien divides Odin’s attributes along moral lines, sharing them out among Gandalf, Sauron and Saruman.

 

But Sauron and Saruman are not identical. Certain of Odin’s traits that exist in Sauron are not to be found in Saruman, and others that are manifested  in Saruman are missing in descriptions of the Dark Lord.

 

And, in contradistinction to the view suggested by mm that

 

In BoLT he treats the Valar not as something inspired by Norse gods, but rather as an explanation for the confusion among historical treatment of the norse gods.  (The Valar are, in imagination, the real gods from whom the Norse gods have been derived).   

 

Professor Burns observes:

 

‘Altogether there is , then, a good collection of  Odin –inspired  incidents and Odin- inspired  traits to be found in The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings, but those that appear in The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the twelve  volumes of the History of Middle-earth are far more obvious and far more prevalent. Right at  the beginning, in the earliest  of Tolkien’s various accounts of his creation myth , Odin plays an indisputable role. {Gandalf and Odin my emphasis}

 

halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 01:03 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Perhaps in some ways it was a mistake to open this thread by using Gandalf’s staff- or even Gandalf at all, for the Norse resonances- indeed the specifically Odinic ones, are not solely limited to Gandalf, but encompass Sauron and Saruman too cf. Gandalf and Odin- Marjorie Burns  in Tolkien’s Legendarium Flieger & Hostetter- Greenwood Press2000.

And that perhaps is the point to emphasize, the way in which Norse resonances permeate Tolkien’s writings, not just  LOTR and The Hobbit, but virtually alll of the writings on ME.

Bjorn has rightly drawn our attention to The Hobbit  as being sopping with Norse fact, and ’imagery’. However, the genesis of Gandalf, from  a visual viewpoint is based on Joesph Madlener’s  Der Berggeist. Painted iin the 1920’s it shows an old man, bearded, hatted, and cloaked {cf. Douglas Anderson- The Annotated Hobbit  Chpter. An Unexpected party).

Tolkien described the postcard picture (of which he had a copy) as  showing:

’..a small but broad old man with a wide brimmed hat and a long cloak talking to a white fawn that is nuzzling  his upturned hands. He has a humorous but at the same time  compassionate expression- his mouth is visible and smiling, because he has a white beard but no hair on his upper lip.{cf. Hammond & Scull LOTR-Companion pp. 244-5}

Compare this with descriptions of Odin:

Odin usually appears as a graybearded man, tall and thin, with a blue-black cloak and an eyepatch or wide-brimmed hat tilted to hide his missing eye

Odin was usually depicted as a tall old man with a flowing beard and only one eye (the other he gave in exchange for wisdom); he wore a cloak and a wide-brimmed hat and carried a spear.

Of course Gandalf didn’t carry a spear- but he did use a staff:

’an old man in a batterd hat
who leaned upon a thorny staff
{Frodo- FOTR- The Mirror of Galadriel}

And note that the pre -Moria staff is ’thorny’, there is nothing ’thorny’ about ash!

Moreover, like Gandalf, Odin was a wanderer.

 

It is difficult not to see a relationship between Gandalf and Odin, particularly as Gandalf described Gandalf in terms as ‘the Odinic wanderer I think of . {cf Letter # 107}

 

But, as Marjorie Burns – and others- have observed – Odin’s character contains a very clear duality. On the one hand we have

 

 ‘ a grey-bearded  old man who carries a staff and wears a hood or a cloak (usually blue) and a wide brimmed, floppy hat’ {Gandalf and Odin}

 

and on the other:

 

Odin the Goth, the Necromancer, glutter of the crows, Lord of the Slain {Tolkien- On Fairy Stories}

 

And resonances of that  Odin are to be found in Sauron and Saruman.

 

Indeed, it has been suggested that the ‘Eye ‘ of Sauron could be compared to the one-eye of Odin; and that wolves are associated with Odin – as they are with Sauron.

 

Professor Burn’s observes:

 

‘In every case Tolkien divides Odin’s attributes along moral lines, sharing them out among Gandalf, Sauron and Saruman.

 

But Sauron and Saruman are not identical. Certain of Odin’s traits that exist in Sauron are not to be found in Saruman, and others that are manifested  in Saruman are missing in descriptions of the Dark Lord.

 

And, in contradistinction to the view suggested by mm that

 

In BoLT he treats the Valar not as something inspired by Norse gods, but rather as an explanation for the confusion among historical treatment of the norse gods.  (The Valar are, in imagination, the real gods from whom the Norse gods have been derived).   

 

Professor Burns observes:

 

‘Altogether there is , then, a good collection of  Odin –inspired  incidents and Odin- inspired  traits to be found in The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings, but those that appear in The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the twelve  volumes of the History of Middle-earth are far more obvious and far more prevalent. Right at  the beginning, in the earliest  of Tolkien’s various accounts of his creation myth , Odin plays an indisputable role. {Gandalf and Odin my emphasis}

 

Ragnelle 25/Aug/2006 at 03:39 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Exelent tread, halfir.

I’d like to add to the symbolisim of the ash that the first man is created from an ash-tree, and is named Ash (Ask), though this does not refer spesificly to Odin.

I also note that the colours assosiated with Gandalf is grey, white, silver and blue. In The Hobbit he is first seen with a blue hat, and in the LotR he wears a blue and sivler mantle, at least at the end of the book. IGrey, silver and white are very simular colours - in heldartry they are seen as the same - so we might say that blue is the only colour Gandalf wears that is not conected to his name. And blue is Odin’s colour, and the colour of roalty for the Norse. I don’t know if that is because it is Odin’s colour or if blue is Odin’s colour because is it the royal colour, but I don’t think that makes much of a difference anyway. *g*

I also think we can see some traits of Sleipnir, the 8-legged horse of Odin, in Shadowfax, though it might a a bit far-fetched. But they are both the best and fastes horses and while Shadowfax probably can’t run between the different worlds (I am not sure how to explain this in English: the Norse world have different "heim"s, that is "homes" but used more in the sence on "worlds" - the world of men ("Manneheim"), of the Gods, of the Jotuns and of the dead (Helheim)) like Sleipnir could, he is the only horse that could endure the terror of the Nazgûl.

Juping around a bit, I have often wondered at Tolkien’s use of the term ’dark-elves’. The Norse "døkkálfarr" or "svatálfum" (dark or black elves) are dwarves, but Tolkien’s dark elves are elves. But in Eöl, said to be a dark elf, some of the conection to the Norse use seem to creep in. He is friendly with the dwarves and he is a smith, which is caracteristic of the Norse dwarves. The Æsir (Gods) always go to the døkkálfar, the dwarves, to have things made for them. The spear of Odin, the ring Draupnir, the ship Skidbladir, the pig Gold-Bristle, Mjöllnir, the hammer of Tor and the hair of Sif his wife are all made by the dwarves, as well as the chain binding the wolf Fenris.

Snorri tells us this of the Dark Elves:

"That which is called Álfheimr[1] is one, where dwell the peoples called Light-Elves; but the Dark-Elves dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike in appearance, but by far more unlike in nature. The Light-Elves are fairer to look upon than the sun, but the Dark-Elves are blacker than pitch." Snorri Sturluson, Edda. I’ve used the English translation found here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/pre04.htm

I am not quite sure of Eowyn as a valkyrie though, Weny. That might be because they are so firmly conected to the task of collecting dead warriors in my mind, and the fact that they are not mortal, which Eowyn certainly is *g* I would not place too much importaince on Eowyn serving drinks in conecting her to the valkyries. That the highest ranking woman served drinks in welcome or at departure is a custom not only with the Norse, but it is not conected with the valkyries waiting on the warriors in Valhall.

I also do not see the Battle of the Pellenor Fields as being very simular to Rangarök, for one the good side wins! The battle at the Black Gate has more in common, though not much. Neither is the last battle of the world, not even of the book, but Sauron would have won at the Black Gate had not the Ring been destroyed (and at such a convinient moment too). Gandalf does not lead the Battle at Pellenor, at least not the Eorlingas, and I am not quite sure if he can be said to lead at the Black Gate or not.

But my main reaon for dismissing Eowyn as a valkyrie is simply that she does not have the valkyrie feeling to me. Hard to explain, but they feel different to me. Eowyn is too much of a mortal woman to be a valkyrie.

Ragnelle 25/Aug/2006 at 03:39 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Exelent tread, halfir.

I’d like to add to the symbolisim of the ash that the first man is created from an ash-tree, and is named Ash (Ask), though this does not refer spesificly to Odin.

I also note that the colours assosiated with Gandalf is grey, white, silver and blue. In The Hobbit he is first seen with a blue hat, and in the LotR he wears a blue and sivler mantle, at least at the end of the book. IGrey, silver and white are very simular colours - in heldartry they are seen as the same - so we might say that blue is the only colour Gandalf wears that is not conected to his name. And blue is Odin’s colour, and the colour of roalty for the Norse. I don’t know if that is because it is Odin’s colour or if blue is Odin’s colour because is it the royal colour, but I don’t think that makes much of a difference anyway. *g*

I also think we can see some traits of Sleipnir, the 8-legged horse of Odin, in Shadowfax, though it might a a bit far-fetched. But they are both the best and fastes horses and while Shadowfax probably can’t run between the different worlds (I am not sure how to explain this in English: the Norse world have different "heim"s, that is "homes" but used more in the sence on "worlds" - the world of men ("Manneheim"), of the Gods, of the Jotuns and of the dead (Helheim)) like Sleipnir could, he is the only horse that could endure the terror of the Nazgûl.

Juping around a bit, I have often wondered at Tolkien’s use of the term ’dark-elves’. The Norse "døkkálfarr" or "svatálfum" (dark or black elves) are dwarves, but Tolkien’s dark elves are elves. But in Eöl, said to be a dark elf, some of the conection to the Norse use seem to creep in. He is friendly with the dwarves and he is a smith, which is caracteristic of the Norse dwarves. The Æsir (Gods) always go to the døkkálfar, the dwarves, to have things made for them. The spear of Odin, the ring Draupnir, the ship Skidbladir, the pig Gold-Bristle, Mjöllnir, the hammer of Tor and the hair of Sif his wife are all made by the dwarves, as well as the chain binding the wolf Fenris.

Snorri tells us this of the Dark Elves:

"That which is called Álfheimr[1] is one, where dwell the peoples called Light-Elves; but the Dark-Elves dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike in appearance, but by far more unlike in nature. The Light-Elves are fairer to look upon than the sun, but the Dark-Elves are blacker than pitch." Snorri Sturluson, Edda. I’ve used the English translation found here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/pre04.htm

I am not quite sure of Eowyn as a valkyrie though, Weny. That might be because they are so firmly conected to the task of collecting dead warriors in my mind, and the fact that they are not mortal, which Eowyn certainly is *g* I would not place too much importaince on Eowyn serving drinks in conecting her to the valkyries. That the highest ranking woman served drinks in welcome or at departure is a custom not only with the Norse, but it is not conected with the valkyries waiting on the warriors in Valhall.

I also do not see the Battle of the Pellenor Fields as being very simular to Rangarök, for one the good side wins! The battle at the Black Gate has more in common, though not much. Neither is the last battle of the world, not even of the book, but Sauron would have won at the Black Gate had not the Ring been destroyed (and at such a convinient moment too). Gandalf does not lead the Battle at Pellenor, at least not the Eorlingas, and I am not quite sure if he can be said to lead at the Black Gate or not.

But my main reaon for dismissing Eowyn as a valkyrie is simply that she does not have the valkyrie feeling to me. Hard to explain, but they feel different to me. Eowyn is too much of a mortal woman to be a valkyrie.

halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 05:45 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: X(The Sleipnir /Shadowfax comparison is an interesting one, even though there are substantial differences between them - not the least being the number of legs.X(

But of course Slepnir’s eight legs were not seen as a deformity but as a source of strength and added  speed.{cf. Margaret Clunies Ross- Prolonged Echoes Old Norse myths in medieval Northern Society. Chptr.Concepts and Ideologies} . Added speed is something that Shadowfax certainly has.

And, of course,both horses were grey.

Sleipnir, of course, could travel in the air, and although Shadowfax can’t do that  his imagery is not so dissimilar-as I demonstrate (albeit not by comparison with Sleipnir), in my thread:

Scedufax or the White rider: A postulation

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive2/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=8965&PagePosition=4

Excerpt:

"As one commentator has put it: "Shadowfax’s legendary speed was of vital importance fro Gandalf’s missions and it allowed him to make many just in time appearances."

 

 

And  Eomer  comments about  Shadowfax : "Were the breath of the West Wind to make a body visible, even so would it appear." (TT).

 

If you look-up ’Shadow’  in the OED  one definition of the Middle English word sceadewe means something fleeting or ephemeral. Fleet = swift, ephemeral = transitory - not staying long. Cf. Eomer’s comment on Shadowfax : "Were the breath of the West Wind to make a body visible, even so would it appear." (TT).

Also, the Old English word sceadwian ( shadow)  means to screen, to protect from attack. Compare (ROTK): "There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dinen."

And finally faxed  Middle English,  one of whose meanings  is ’long-haired star’,’’ or ’comet.’  Compare this image with Shadowfax’s speed, and his flowing mane, and his very essence."

End excerpt

And in Grimnismal - stanza 44, in a list of things that are prime in various categories, Sleipnir is included as the best of horses.{cf. Norse Mythology John Lindow main entry under Sleipnir}. And of course Shadowfax is seen as ’prince of horses’ {Theoden -TT-The King of the Golden Hall}

halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 05:45 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: X(The Sleipnir /Shadowfax comparison is an interesting one, even though there are substantial differences between them - not the least being the number of legs.X(

But of course Slepnir’s eight legs were not seen as a deformity but as a source of strength and added  speed.{cf. Margaret Clunies Ross- Prolonged Echoes Old Norse myths in medieval Northern Society. Chptr.Concepts and Ideologies} . Added speed is something that Shadowfax certainly has.

And, of course,both horses were grey.

Sleipnir, of course, could travel in the air, and although Shadowfax can’t do that  his imagery is not so dissimilar-as I demonstrate (albeit not by comparison with Sleipnir), in my thread:

Scedufax or the White rider: A postulation

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive2/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=8965&PagePosition=4

Excerpt:

"As one commentator has put it: "Shadowfax’s legendary speed was of vital importance fro Gandalf’s missions and it allowed him to make many just in time appearances."

 

 

And  Eomer  comments about  Shadowfax : "Were the breath of the West Wind to make a body visible, even so would it appear." (TT).

 

If you look-up ’Shadow’  in the OED  one definition of the Middle English word sceadewe means something fleeting or ephemeral. Fleet = swift, ephemeral = transitory - not staying long. Cf. Eomer’s comment on Shadowfax : "Were the breath of the West Wind to make a body visible, even so would it appear." (TT).

Also, the Old English word sceadwian ( shadow)  means to screen, to protect from attack. Compare (ROTK): "There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dinen."

And finally faxed  Middle English,  one of whose meanings  is ’long-haired star’,’’ or ’comet.’  Compare this image with Shadowfax’s speed, and his flowing mane, and his very essence."

End excerpt

And in Grimnismal - stanza 44, in a list of things that are prime in various categories, Sleipnir is included as the best of horses.{cf. Norse Mythology John Lindow main entry under Sleipnir}. And of course Shadowfax is seen as ’prince of horses’ {Theoden -TT-The King of the Golden Hall}

Weny 25/Aug/2006 at 05:57 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003
Ragnelle

I would not place too much importance on Eowyn serving drinks in connecting her to the valkyries. That the highest ranking woman served drinks in welcome or at departure is a custom not only with the Norse, but it is not connected with the valkyries waiting on the warriors in Valhalla. (my bold)

But aren’t we looking at the Norse imagery? Even if other cultures delved into this practice it certainly evokes the Norse, doesn’t it?

As for the serving part..Eowyn serves... the valkyrie serve..how is that not connected?

I guess I am misunderstanding what you mean..how are you saying that the two images one of Eowyn serving and the other of the valkyrie serving is not the same? or at least similar?

as for the second part what I was trying to indicate that she was there at the battle and while it may not have been the last..it certainly was big and even though she was not directly seving Gandalf the Eorlingas were there to aide him and Eowyn was there to aide much like the valkyrie were meant to aide Odin...

imagery is just that i think imagery. It does not have to be exact...all it needs to do is bring to mind the image and certainly Eowyn in the heat of battle brings to my mind a very valkyrie like figure.

I would appreciate anyone else’s input as well
Weny 25/Aug/2006 at 05:57 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003
Ragnelle

I would not place too much importance on Eowyn serving drinks in connecting her to the valkyries. That the highest ranking woman served drinks in welcome or at departure is a custom not only with the Norse, but it is not connected with the valkyries waiting on the warriors in Valhalla. (my bold)

But aren’t we looking at the Norse imagery? Even if other cultures delved into this practice it certainly evokes the Norse, doesn’t it?

As for the serving part..Eowyn serves... the valkyrie serve..how is that not connected?

I guess I am misunderstanding what you mean..how are you saying that the two images one of Eowyn serving and the other of the valkyrie serving is not the same? or at least similar?

as for the second part what I was trying to indicate that she was there at the battle and while it may not have been the last..it certainly was big and even though she was not directly seving Gandalf the Eorlingas were there to aide him and Eowyn was there to aide much like the valkyrie were meant to aide Odin...

imagery is just that i think imagery. It does not have to be exact...all it needs to do is bring to mind the image and certainly Eowyn in the heat of battle brings to my mind a very valkyrie like figure.

I would appreciate anyone else’s input as well
Ragnelle 25/Aug/2006 at 07:03 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

halfir: Shadowfax is certainly lacking some legs . I had not thought of the conection with the wind in the descriptions of Shadowfax .

Weny: It is exactly the imagery that I did not think fitted with Eowy, that is what I tried to describe as the ’feeling’. The valkyries does not normaly fight in the battles, they watches and chooses the warrors selected for Valhall. ’Val’ means the field of battle, and ’kyrie’ comes from ’kiósa’ meaning to choose. They choose the field, both in the meaning choosing which warriors are selected for Valhall, which warriors fall in the battle and which side wins the battle. Brynhild, from the story of Sigurd Fåvnesbane, was a valkyrie punished by Odin for letting the wrong side win a battle. And Eowyn in battle does not bring to me an image of a valkyrie - she participates; she does not watch and choose. I think perhaps there is a confusion between "shieldmaid" and "valkyrie". A shieldmaid ("skjoldmø" in Norwegian) is not the same as a valkyrie, though sometimes the word have been used about them. A shieldmaiden is a woman that fights, not a divine being as the valkyries are.

As for the serving, I do not say that Eowyn serving the cup of farewel does not envoke the Norse, but it is the image of the ’husfrue’, the lady of the house, that is invoked, not that of the valkyries serving the enherjer. There is a difference between the sermoniel occations where Eowyn brings the cup of farewell and someone waiting a table.

Ragnelle 25/Aug/2006 at 07:03 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

halfir: Shadowfax is certainly lacking some legs . I had not thought of the conection with the wind in the descriptions of Shadowfax .

Weny: It is exactly the imagery that I did not think fitted with Eowy, that is what I tried to describe as the ’feeling’. The valkyries does not normaly fight in the battles, they watches and chooses the warrors selected for Valhall. ’Val’ means the field of battle, and ’kyrie’ comes from ’kiósa’ meaning to choose. They choose the field, both in the meaning choosing which warriors are selected for Valhall, which warriors fall in the battle and which side wins the battle. Brynhild, from the story of Sigurd Fåvnesbane, was a valkyrie punished by Odin for letting the wrong side win a battle. And Eowyn in battle does not bring to me an image of a valkyrie - she participates; she does not watch and choose. I think perhaps there is a confusion between "shieldmaid" and "valkyrie". A shieldmaid ("skjoldmø" in Norwegian) is not the same as a valkyrie, though sometimes the word have been used about them. A shieldmaiden is a woman that fights, not a divine being as the valkyries are.

As for the serving, I do not say that Eowyn serving the cup of farewel does not envoke the Norse, but it is the image of the ’husfrue’, the lady of the house, that is invoked, not that of the valkyries serving the enherjer. There is a difference between the sermoniel occations where Eowyn brings the cup of farewell and someone waiting a table.

halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 07:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

weny wrote: if we think of Gandalf as Odin

But we mustn’t- Gandalf is always only Gandalf. Aspects  of his personality and phsyical imagery, and his acoutrements, might have Odinic resonances, indeed in my view most certainly do, but Gandalf is not Odin.Moerover, as Marjorie Burns and others have pointed out  Tolkien ’parcels out’ the Odinic references, so that some relate to Gandalf, some to Saruman, some to Sauron. As I quoted before:

‘In every case Tolkien divides Odin’s attributes along moral lines, sharing them out among Gandalf, Sauron and Saruman.{Burns- Gandalf and Odin}

 

Or, as Richard Green put it, much earlier (1969):

 

There are two moral sides  in Middle-earth, and no place for a figure representing the extremes of both; hence it is not suprising that the Promethean and Plutonic faces of Odin become separated in Tolkien’s fiction, the former falling primarily on Gandalf, the latter on his enemy, Sauron. {William H Green The Hobbit and Other Fiction by J R R Tolkien: Their Roots in Medieval Heroic Literature and Language -1969. quoted by Burns- Gandalf and Odin- in Flieger and Hostetter- Tolkien’s Legendarium.}

 

More recent critics - myself included- would also encompass Saruman in this representation of Odinic resonances.

 

 

halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 07:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

weny wrote: if we think of Gandalf as Odin

But we mustn’t- Gandalf is always only Gandalf. Aspects  of his personality and phsyical imagery, and his acoutrements, might have Odinic resonances, indeed in my view most certainly do, but Gandalf is not Odin.Moerover, as Marjorie Burns and others have pointed out  Tolkien ’parcels out’ the Odinic references, so that some relate to Gandalf, some to Saruman, some to Sauron. As I quoted before:

‘In every case Tolkien divides Odin’s attributes along moral lines, sharing them out among Gandalf, Sauron and Saruman.{Burns- Gandalf and Odin}

 

Or, as Richard Green put it, much earlier (1969):

 

There are two moral sides  in Middle-earth, and no place for a figure representing the extremes of both; hence it is not suprising that the Promethean and Plutonic faces of Odin become separated in Tolkien’s fiction, the former falling primarily on Gandalf, the latter on his enemy, Sauron. {William H Green The Hobbit and Other Fiction by J R R Tolkien: Their Roots in Medieval Heroic Literature and Language -1969. quoted by Burns- Gandalf and Odin- in Flieger and Hostetter- Tolkien’s Legendarium.}

 

More recent critics - myself included- would also encompass Saruman in this representation of Odinic resonances.

 

 

halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 08:25 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

On 12 December 1826 George Canning, Britain’s Foreign Secretary gave a memorable speech in the House of Commons underwriting the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, and supporting the independence of the Spanish-American colonies.

In the course of that speech he uttered the immortal lines:

I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the old.

 

In opening this thread I very much wanted to call the pagan world into exsitence to redress the balance of the Christian one, in terms of the mythical references contained in Tolkien’s writings. The spate of publications from 2000 onwards- with one ot two notable exceptions, has seen an unholy convergence of Roman Catholic and Evangelical Christian writers on Tolkien’s works, presenting a very one-sided picture of the well-springs of the Master’s literary endeavors. Whether this is deliberate, or simply from ignorance of  Norse myth I do not wish to comment, but it is wrong, and the purpose of this thread is to identify those aspects of Norse mythic imagery that provided a very powerful inspiration to Tolkien’s writings.

 

In empahsizing what Stephen Hart has so aptly called ’a pagan drumbeat’ I am in no way derogating from Tolkien’s avowed Christian (Roman Catholic) religious beliefs, or ignoring their influence on his literature, but as the balance between Christian and pagan influences on Tolkien has shifted subtantially, and incorrectly  in favor of one side, I think it important to give expression to the very important Norse influence which affected him and CS Lewis- and the other Inklings- an influence which many who undergo a modern education have little or no knowledge of, because along with philology the Elder Eddas and the whole of Norse mythology is hardly in the forefront of university English departments these days, and in schools is frequently unheard of - a manifestation  of the ’chronological snobbery’ that Barfield warned Lewis against.

 

But this thread is not about  religion, and I would warn those who wish to post here that is an area I do not wish discussed. This thread is about those resonances  of Norse myth  that it can be argued have played some role in Tolkien’s writings. Not surprisingly we will not always all agree that a ’Norse’ interpretation of a partciular  aspect of Tolkien’’s writing  is a correct one. However, the purpose of this thread is to try and establish the possible range and depth of such influence, as comprehesively as possible.

 

In an ealier post, taking issue with some of the preimises that underwite the approach I have adopted in this particular thread, mm quite rightly said:we find ourselves in a world of new archetypes

 

The problem is, as with Tolkien on allegory, we both do and we don’t, for each new archetype is itself the result of some prior history, and although Tolkien does not allegorize certain symbols on occasions allegory does burst through- but not an imposed allegory - what Eladar has called elsewhere ’good allegory’.

 

In a post in

 

The Road to Middle Earth

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=203398&PagePostPosition=1

 

talking of Tolkien and allegory I observed:

 

 Quote

Perhaps the most significant comment Tolkien made on allegory is this- Letter # 109 (1947) to his publisher- Sir Stanley Unwin:

Of course, Allegory and Story converge, meeting in Truth. So the only perfectly consitent allegory is real life; and the only fully intelligible story is an allegory. And one finds, even in imperfect human ’literature’ , that the better and more closely an allegory is the more easily it can be read ’just as a story’; and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it.  But the two start out from opposite ends.  You can make the ring into an allegory of our own time, if you like: an allegory of the inevitable fate that waits for all atempts to defeat evil power by power. But that is only because all power magical or mechanical does always so work. You cannot write a story about an apparently simple magic ring without that bursting in, if you take the ring seriously, and make things happen that would happen, if such a thing existed. (my bold emphasis and underline)

n Letter # 153 (1954)Tolkien wrote to Peter Hastings:

’To conclude: having mentioned Free Will, I might say that in my myth I have used ’subcreation’  in a special way (not the same as ’subcreation’ as a term in criticism of art, though I tried to show allegorically how that might come to be taken up into creation in some plane in my ’purgatorial’ story Leaf by Niggle (Dublin Review 1945))"(my bold emphasis)

and in Letter # 241 (1962) to his aunt -Jane Neave:

’It is not realy or properly ’allegory’ so much as ’mythical’. For Niggle is meant to be a real-mixed quality person and not an ’allegory’ of any single vice or virtue. The name Parish proved convenient, for the porter’s joke, but it was not given with any intention or special significance. I once knew a gardener called Parish. (There are six Parishes in our telephone book). Of course some elements are explicable in biographical terms (so obsessively interesting to modern critics that they often value a piece of literature solely in so far as it reveals the author, and especially if that is in a discreditable light.’ (my bold emphasis)

I think in his letter to Sir Stanley Unwin Tolkien identifies what we might call  Tolkien’s ’authorial dilemma’.

a.the better and more closely an allegory is the more easily it can be read ’just as a story’;

b.and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it

c.But the two start out from opposite ends.

That is why he so strongly resisted his stories being labeled in such a way- but their very power- and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it meant that so many did and do find allegory in them.

And of course, this is understandable because the Truth -Allegory and Story converge, meeting in Truth - keeps bursting in.

Notice how , in Letter# 153 he descirbes Leaf by Niggle as being shown allegorically and then in Letter # 214 says that it is not an ’allegory’ of any single vice or virtue, and substitutes for allegory the term ’mythical’.

If Letter # 214’s definition of allegory ’any single vice or virtue’ identifies Tolkien’s aversion to that genre I think it is because he saw it as being defective in two ways: in the first it painted too simplistic a picture- it was - single - not multifaceted and diverse - and its characterization would therefore be black and white rather than shades of grey; and secondly it imposed what he called ’the purposed domination of the author’ {cf. FOTR-Foreword}, rather than allowing ’the freedom of the reader’ {ibid}.

Tolkien demonstrates a great aversion to control and power in all its forms - he sees it as unliberating and corrrosive of individual freedom and action- and in his Letters and fiticonal writings tha aversion is powerfully demonstrated- aversion to central government, aversion to imperialism, aversion to ’the Machine’ in RL and in LOTR et.al.

Given that approach it is not surprising that he did not favor an allegorical approach to writing albeit at times he perforce used it- both consciously and unconsciously.

If one reads Leaf By Niggle- even without the benefit of Shippey in either Road to Middle earth or Author of the Century (essentially a less scholarly but to me more acessible version of Road-with of course greater emphasis on LOTR than its predecessor)- one cannot but be drawn to the conclusion that this is both allegorical  and autobiographical.

If one reads Shippey-particulalrly Author - it is quite clear that much of Leaf by Niggle could as well be called ’Leaf by Tolkien’ cf. my post here:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=24&TopicID=193769&PagePosition=2&PagePostPosition=1

With regard to the autobiographical aspect which  -Tolkien admits in a private letter to his aunt - he is also ultra-sensitive:

Of course some elements are explicable in biographical terms (so obsessively interesting to modern critics that they often value a piece of literature solely in so far as it reveals the author, and especially if that is in a discreditable light

demonstrating his aversion also to the ’biographical’ approach to literature cf Letter # 329 (1971):

’investigation of an author’s biography ....is an entirely vain and false approach to his works.’

What clearly stands out - like a good deed in a naughty world- is Tolkien’s passionate desire for his creative fiction to be judged per se- on its own merits- and not be seen as a medium through which he is preaching any gospel:

’The actors {in my ficiton} are individuals -they each of course contain universals {cf the Truth that keeps bursting in} -or they could not live at all, but they do not represent them as such.’ Letter # 109

And while accepting - Letter # 163- that different readers will have a different slant on his story and characters- which he has no problem in living with- even if he does not agree with their views he makes it clear that this tolerance is:

’Always excepting, of course, any ’interpretation’ in the mode of simple allegory: that is, the particular and topical’

In his desire to ensure the freedom of his characters and stories Tolkien at times made some excessively hostile comments about allegory - which he knew- whatever he did - would at times keep bursting in because:

Allegory and Story converge, meeting in Truth

and above all else Tolkien was both a great storyteller and a dealer in Truth!

End of Quote

So we can’t just simply say ’there is no symbolism or allegory in Tolkiens writings’ but we can  say there is no imposed authorial domination.

And in posting in this thread it is important to bear these two major points in mind- the pagan drumbeat and the fact that on occasions, allegory, in Tolkien’s writings comes -bursting in.

 


halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 08:25 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

On 12 December 1826 George Canning, Britain’s Foreign Secretary gave a memorable speech in the House of Commons underwriting the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, and supporting the independence of the Spanish-American colonies.

In the course of that speech he uttered the immortal lines:

I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the old.

 

In opening this thread I very much wanted to call the pagan world into exsitence to redress the balance of the Christian one, in terms of the mythical references contained in Tolkien’s writings. The spate of publications from 2000 onwards- with one ot two notable exceptions, has seen an unholy convergence of Roman Catholic and Evangelical Christian writers on Tolkien’s works, presenting a very one-sided picture of the well-springs of the Master’s literary endeavors. Whether this is deliberate, or simply from ignorance of  Norse myth I do not wish to comment, but it is wrong, and the purpose of this thread is to identify those aspects of Norse mythic imagery that provided a very powerful inspiration to Tolkien’s writings.

 

In empahsizing what Stephen Hart has so aptly called ’a pagan drumbeat’ I am in no way derogating from Tolkien’s avowed Christian (Roman Catholic) religious beliefs, or ignoring their influence on his literature, but as the balance between Christian and pagan influences on Tolkien has shifted subtantially, and incorrectly  in favor of one side, I think it important to give expression to the very important Norse influence which affected him and CS Lewis- and the other Inklings- an influence which many who undergo a modern education have little or no knowledge of, because along with philology the Elder Eddas and the whole of Norse mythology is hardly in the forefront of university English departments these days, and in schools is frequently unheard of - a manifestation  of the ’chronological snobbery’ that Barfield warned Lewis against.

 

But this thread is not about  religion, and I would warn those who wish to post here that is an area I do not wish discussed. This thread is about those resonances  of Norse myth  that it can be argued have played some role in Tolkien’s writings. Not surprisingly we will not always all agree that a ’Norse’ interpretation of a partciular  aspect of Tolkien’’s writing  is a correct one. However, the purpose of this thread is to try and establish the possible range and depth of such influence, as comprehesively as possible.

 

In an ealier post, taking issue with some of the preimises that underwite the approach I have adopted in this particular thread, mm quite rightly said:we find ourselves in a world of new archetypes

 

The problem is, as with Tolkien on allegory, we both do and we don’t, for each new archetype is itself the result of some prior history, and although Tolkien does not allegorize certain symbols on occasions allegory does burst through- but not an imposed allegory - what Eladar has called elsewhere ’good allegory’.

 

In a post in

 

The Road to Middle Earth

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=203398&PagePostPosition=1

 

talking of Tolkien and allegory I observed:

 

 Quote

Perhaps the most significant comment Tolkien made on allegory is this- Letter # 109 (1947) to his publisher- Sir Stanley Unwin:

Of course, Allegory and Story converge, meeting in Truth. So the only perfectly consitent allegory is real life; and the only fully intelligible story is an allegory. And one finds, even in imperfect human ’literature’ , that the better and more closely an allegory is the more easily it can be read ’just as a story’; and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it.  But the two start out from opposite ends.  You can make the ring into an allegory of our own time, if you like: an allegory of the inevitable fate that waits for all atempts to defeat evil power by power. But that is only because all power magical or mechanical does always so work. You cannot write a story about an apparently simple magic ring without that bursting in, if you take the ring seriously, and make things happen that would happen, if such a thing existed. (my bold emphasis and underline)

n Letter # 153 (1954)Tolkien wrote to Peter Hastings:

’To conclude: having mentioned Free Will, I might say that in my myth I have used ’subcreation’  in a special way (not the same as ’subcreation’ as a term in criticism of art, though I tried to show allegorically how that might come to be taken up into creation in some plane in my ’purgatorial’ story Leaf by Niggle (Dublin Review 1945))"(my bold emphasis)

and in Letter # 241 (1962) to his aunt -Jane Neave:

’It is not realy or properly ’allegory’ so much as ’mythical’. For Niggle is meant to be a real-mixed quality person and not an ’allegory’ of any single vice or virtue. The name Parish proved convenient, for the porter’s joke, but it was not given with any intention or special significance. I once knew a gardener called Parish. (There are six Parishes in our telephone book). Of course some elements are explicable in biographical terms (so obsessively interesting to modern critics that they often value a piece of literature solely in so far as it reveals the author, and especially if that is in a discreditable light.’ (my bold emphasis)

I think in his letter to Sir Stanley Unwin Tolkien identifies what we might call  Tolkien’s ’authorial dilemma’.

a.the better and more closely an allegory is the more easily it can be read ’just as a story’;

b.and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it

c.But the two start out from opposite ends.

That is why he so strongly resisted his stories being labeled in such a way- but their very power- and the better and more closely woven a story is the more easily can those so minded find allegory in it meant that so many did and do find allegory in them.

And of course, this is understandable because the Truth -Allegory and Story converge, meeting in Truth - keeps bursting in.

Notice how , in Letter# 153 he descirbes Leaf by Niggle as being shown allegorically and then in Letter # 214 says that it is not an ’allegory’ of any single vice or virtue, and substitutes for allegory the term ’mythical’.

If Letter # 214’s definition of allegory ’any single vice or virtue’ identifies Tolkien’s aversion to that genre I think it is because he saw it as being defective in two ways: in the first it painted too simplistic a picture- it was - single - not multifaceted and diverse - and its characterization would therefore be black and white rather than shades of grey; and secondly it imposed what he called ’the purposed domination of the author’ {cf. FOTR-Foreword}, rather than allowing ’the freedom of the reader’ {ibid}.

Tolkien demonstrates a great aversion to control and power in all its forms - he sees it as unliberating and corrrosive of individual freedom and action- and in his Letters and fiticonal writings tha aversion is powerfully demonstrated- aversion to central government, aversion to imperialism, aversion to ’the Machine’ in RL and in LOTR et.al.

Given that approach it is not surprising that he did not favor an allegorical approach to writing albeit at times he perforce used it- both consciously and unconsciously.

If one reads Leaf By Niggle- even without the benefit of Shippey in either Road to Middle earth or Author of the Century (essentially a less scholarly but to me more acessible version of Road-with of course greater emphasis on LOTR than its predecessor)- one cannot but be drawn to the conclusion that this is both allegorical  and autobiographical.

If one reads Shippey-particulalrly Author - it is quite clear that much of Leaf by Niggle could as well be called ’Leaf by Tolkien’ cf. my post here:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=24&TopicID=193769&PagePosition=2&PagePostPosition=1

With regard to the autobiographical aspect which  -Tolkien admits in a private letter to his aunt - he is also ultra-sensitive:

Of course some elements are explicable in biographical terms (so obsessively interesting to modern critics that they often value a piece of literature solely in so far as it reveals the author, and especially if that is in a discreditable light

demonstrating his aversion also to the ’biographical’ approach to literature cf Letter # 329 (1971):

’investigation of an author’s biography ....is an entirely vain and false approach to his works.’

What clearly stands out - like a good deed in a naughty world- is Tolkien’s passionate desire for his creative fiction to be judged per se- on its own merits- and not be seen as a medium through which he is preaching any gospel:

’The actors {in my ficiton} are individuals -they each of course contain universals {cf the Truth that keeps bursting in} -or they could not live at all, but they do not represent them as such.’ Letter # 109

And while accepting - Letter # 163- that different readers will have a different slant on his story and characters- which he has no problem in living with- even if he does not agree with their views he makes it clear that this tolerance is:

’Always excepting, of course, any ’interpretation’ in the mode of simple allegory: that is, the particular and topical’

In his desire to ensure the freedom of his characters and stories Tolkien at times made some excessively hostile comments about allegory - which he knew- whatever he did - would at times keep bursting in because:

Allegory and Story converge, meeting in Truth

and above all else Tolkien was both a great storyteller and a dealer in Truth!

End of Quote

So we can’t just simply say ’there is no symbolism or allegory in Tolkiens writings’ but we can  say there is no imposed authorial domination.

And in posting in this thread it is important to bear these two major points in mind- the pagan drumbeat and the fact that on occasions, allegory, in Tolkien’s writings comes -bursting in.

 


halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 11:47 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Manwe as Odin

Lest we get a Gandalfian-Odinic myopia, let it be said that in a scribbled plot outline, that occurs nowhere else, Tolkien identified - at one point- Manwe with Woden (Odin) {cf. BOLT 2- V1 The History of Eriol or Aelfwine And The End of The Tales} This was a concept that never went any further and should be taken simply as indicative of the influence of Norse myth on Tolkien’s thinking- not as ultimately playing a significant role in either LOTR or The Silmarillion. Indeed in his introduction to this chapter CT observes, referring to the various matters contained there, on  :

’the inherent complexity and obscurity of the matter’.{ie. of the whole chapter, not just of the Manwe citation}

The actual CT comment on the Manwe/Odin  connection is as follows and occurs at citation (10):

(10)  It is then said, somewhat inconsequentially ( though the matter is  in itself of  much interest and recurs nowehere else), that Eriol told the fairies of Woden, Punor, Tiw etc. (these  being the Old English names of the Germanic gods who  in Old Scandinavian  form are Odinn, Porr, Tyr), and they identified  them with Manweg, Tulkas, and a third whose name is illegible but is not  like that of any of the great Valar.’

There are, howevere, several similarities between Odin and Manwë .

Both sit on a high seat, or throne, from which they can see over all the world. It is said that Odin and his brothers “made themselves a city in the middle of the world which is known as Asgard… In the city there is a seat called Hlidskialf, and when Odin sat in that throne he saw over all worlds and every man’s activity and understood everything he saw (Faulkes, 13).” Similarly the halls of Manwë and his spouse, Varda, “are above the everlasting snow, upon Oiolossë, the uttermost tower of Taniquetil, tallest of all the mountains upon Earth. When Manwë there ascends his throne and looks forth, if Varda is beside him, he sees further than all other eyes, through mist, and through darkness, and over the leagues of the sea” (The Silmarillion,Valaquenta).

Both Manwë and Odin employ bird companions as bearers of news. Odin’s two ravens, Hugin and Munin, “sit on his shoulders and speak into his ears all the news they see or hear (Faulkes, 33).” Analogously, Manwë sends hawks and eagles from his halls, “and their eyes could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world. Thus they brought word to him of well nigh all that passed in Arda…{The Silmarillion, Of The Beginning of Days). Both characters are also gods of poetry. Manwë is described as having “a splendour of poesy and song beyond compare (BOLT-1 The Music of the Ainur).Odin is the Norse god of poetry, and there is an entire section on The Edda devoted to thanking Odin for his poetic gifts.

{Faulkes, Anthony, tr. Snorri Sturlson’s Edda. London: Orion Publishing Group, 1998 –cf. http://rikku.as.arizona.edu/~mgraham/personal/odin.html  on which the two preceding paragraphs are based.}

And in HOME 4 The Shaping of Middle Earth The Quenta, lists of Elvish names with Old English equivalents under  Manwe we read:

Manwe is Wolcenfrea {OE wolcen ’sky’ cf. Modern English welkin

Marjorie Burns comments on this, linking it to Odin as a ’sky God.- an attribute also of Manwe:

Repeatedly, and in various ways , then, this image of a sky god is reinforced, so much so  that Tolkien’s Old English name for manwe is Wolcenfrea ’Skyruler’.

halfir 25/Aug/2006 at 11:47 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Manwe as Odin

Lest we get a Gandalfian-Odinic myopia, let it be said that in a scribbled plot outline, that occurs nowhere else, Tolkien identified - at one point- Manwe with Woden (Odin) {cf. BOLT 2- V1 The History of Eriol or Aelfwine And The End of The Tales} This was a concept that never went any further and should be taken simply as indicative of the influence of Norse myth on Tolkien’s thinking- not as ultimately playing a significant role in either LOTR or The Silmarillion. Indeed in his introduction to this chapter CT observes, referring to the various matters contained there, on  :

’the inherent complexity and obscurity of the matter’.{ie. of the whole chapter, not just of the Manwe citation}

The actual CT comment on the Manwe/Odin  connection is as follows and occurs at citation (10):

(10)  It is then said, somewhat inconsequentially ( though the matter is  in itself of  much interest and recurs nowehere else), that Eriol told the fairies of Woden, Punor, Tiw etc. (these  being the Old English names of the Germanic gods who  in Old Scandinavian  form are Odinn, Porr, Tyr), and they identified  them with Manweg, Tulkas, and a third whose name is illegible but is not  like that of any of the great Valar.’

There are, howevere, several similarities between Odin and Manwë .

Both sit on a high seat, or throne, from which they can see over all the world. It is said that Odin and his brothers “made themselves a city in the middle of the world which is known as Asgard… In the city there is a seat called Hlidskialf, and when Odin sat in that throne he saw over all worlds and every man’s activity and understood everything he saw (Faulkes, 13).” Similarly the halls of Manwë and his spouse, Varda, “are above the everlasting snow, upon Oiolossë, the uttermost tower of Taniquetil, tallest of all the mountains upon Earth. When Manwë there ascends his throne and looks forth, if Varda is beside him, he sees further than all other eyes, through mist, and through darkness, and over the leagues of the sea” (The Silmarillion,Valaquenta).

Both Manwë and Odin employ bird companions as bearers of news. Odin’s two ravens, Hugin and Munin, “sit on his shoulders and speak into his ears all the news they see or hear (Faulkes, 33).” Analogously, Manwë sends hawks and eagles from his halls, “and their eyes could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world. Thus they brought word to him of well nigh all that passed in Arda…{The Silmarillion, Of The Beginning of Days). Both characters are also gods of poetry. Manwë is described as having “a splendour of poesy and song beyond compare (BOLT-1 The Music of the Ainur).Odin is the Norse god of poetry, and there is an entire section on The Edda devoted to thanking Odin for his poetic gifts.

{Faulkes, Anthony, tr. Snorri Sturlson’s Edda. London: Orion Publishing Group, 1998 –cf. http://rikku.as.arizona.edu/~mgraham/personal/odin.html  on which the two preceding paragraphs are based.}

And in HOME 4 The Shaping of Middle Earth The Quenta, lists of Elvish names with Old English equivalents under  Manwe we read:

Manwe is Wolcenfrea {OE wolcen ’sky’ cf. Modern English welkin

Marjorie Burns comments on this, linking it to Odin as a ’sky God.- an attribute also of Manwe:

Repeatedly, and in various ways , then, this image of a sky god is reinforced, so much so  that Tolkien’s Old English name for manwe is Wolcenfrea ’Skyruler’.

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 04:54 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Sauron as Odin

 

Sauron and Saruman are not identical. Certain of Odin’s traits that exist in Sauron are not found in Saruman, and others that are manifested  in Saruman are missing in descriptions of the Dark Lord.

 

Where the disembodied Sauron – seen only as a shadow or as a single  burning eye – suggests Odin’s single eye, Saruman , like Odin, and Gandalf the Grey, is dressed in a cloak and a wide –brimmed hat. All of this works, in fact, in a strangely interwoven  and almost circular way: the more positive image of odin, the wandering Odin, is strongly suggested in Gandalf, who associates with eagles, (as Odin does), who opposes Sauron (as Odin opposes Asgard’s enemies) and who is later  linked to and confused with Saruman, when Saruman too dresses in wandering Odin guise. On the negative side we have Odin as a ruthless  battle god manifested in Sauron (of the single searching eye), who is imitated by Saruman (with his farseeing palantir) , who then presents still another negative manifestation of the battle god through his use of roaming, ravaging wolves and spying carrion crows. { Burns- Gandalf and Odin}

 

One doesn’t have to go the whole nine yards with Professor Burns in order to see that her comment:

 

 

‘In every case Tolkien divides Odin’s attributes along moral lines, sharing them out among Gandalf , Sauron, and Saruman,

 

is valid.

 

Sauron as Odin

 

  1. Sauron’s single burning eye is suggestive of Odin’s single eye. Moreover one of Odin’s names- Bayleg means ‘The Flaming or Burning Eyed’.{Having said that it must be stated Odin has over 230 names and titles!}
  2. Sauron ‘sacrifices’  power to create the One Ring, to gain total control, Odin sacrifices an eye to gain foreknowledge
  3. Sauron has a golden ring, as does Odin - Draupnir
  4. Sauron’s name of Necromancer is also a name given to Odin cf. { Tolkien - On Fairy Stories}
  5. Sauron shape-shifted, werewolf, serpent, bat. Odin is noted for his ability to change shape into animal form
  6. Both Sauron and Odin kept wolves as ‘pets’- Sauron- Draugulin- Odin  - Geri and Freki

 

 

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 04:54 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Sauron as Odin

 

Sauron and Saruman are not identical. Certain of Odin’s traits that exist in Sauron are not found in Saruman, and others that are manifested  in Saruman are missing in descriptions of the Dark Lord.

 

Where the disembodied Sauron – seen only as a shadow or as a single  burning eye – suggests Odin’s single eye, Saruman , like Odin, and Gandalf the Grey, is dressed in a cloak and a wide –brimmed hat. All of this works, in fact, in a strangely interwoven  and almost circular way: the more positive image of odin, the wandering Odin, is strongly suggested in Gandalf, who associates with eagles, (as Odin does), who opposes Sauron (as Odin opposes Asgard’s enemies) and who is later  linked to and confused with Saruman, when Saruman too dresses in wandering Odin guise. On the negative side we have Odin as a ruthless  battle god manifested in Sauron (of the single searching eye), who is imitated by Saruman (with his farseeing palantir) , who then presents still another negative manifestation of the battle god through his use of roaming, ravaging wolves and spying carrion crows. { Burns- Gandalf and Odin}

 

One doesn’t have to go the whole nine yards with Professor Burns in order to see that her comment:

 

 

‘In every case Tolkien divides Odin’s attributes along moral lines, sharing them out among Gandalf , Sauron, and Saruman,

 

is valid.

 

Sauron as Odin

 

  1. Sauron’s single burning eye is suggestive of Odin’s single eye. Moreover one of Odin’s names- Bayleg means ‘The Flaming or Burning Eyed’.{Having said that it must be stated Odin has over 230 names and titles!}
  2. Sauron ‘sacrifices’  power to create the One Ring, to gain total control, Odin sacrifices an eye to gain foreknowledge
  3. Sauron has a golden ring, as does Odin - Draupnir
  4. Sauron’s name of Necromancer is also a name given to Odin cf. { Tolkien - On Fairy Stories}
  5. Sauron shape-shifted, werewolf, serpent, bat. Odin is noted for his ability to change shape into animal form
  6. Both Sauron and Odin kept wolves as ‘pets’- Sauron- Draugulin- Odin  - Geri and Freki

 

 

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 05:17 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saruman as Odin

 

  1. Perhaps the most significant aspect of Saruman as Odin is his voice:

 

‘Saruman has powers you do not guess. Beware of his voice. {Gandalf-TT-The Voice of Saruman}

 

‘Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodius, its very sound an enchantment…it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable…For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled..none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and commands without an effort of mind and will…{ibid}

 

What secret voice from Odin fell;
When to his son he whisp’ring stood,
E’er the boy climb’d the fatal wood

 

{Poetic Edda- Cottle Translation}

 

He conversed so cleverly and smoothly , that all who heard believed him

 

{The Ynglinga Saga 6: Of Odin’s Accomplishments}

 

  1. As mentioned before , Saruman also adopts wandering Odin disguise {cf. TT- The White Rider:You certainly did not see me,’ answered Gandalf. Therefore I must guess that  you saw Saruman. Evidently we look so much alike that your desire to make an incurable dent in my hat must be excused.’ }
  2. The crebain  that Saruman uses for spying  emphasize the negative connotation that attaches to the carrion aspect  of the ravens Huginn and Muninn that serve Odin.
  3. Saruman’s use of the palantir ‘mirror’s the farsightedness of Odin ‘one eye’.

 

Of course, as I said in an earlier post, Gandalf is not Odin, anymore than Manwe, Sauron, and Saruman are, and one does not have to accept all the apparent relationships that either Professor Burns or I have suggested. However, I would argue that the sheer volume of Odinic resonance is such as to make  it very much more purposeful  than some would admit, and, more importantly, that it demonstrates the  inspirational influence Norse myth had on Tolkien.

 

But, at the end of the day , as Gloriana St. Clair observed in her paper to the Tolkien Oxford conference in 1992- Volsung Saga and Narn:

 

Seeing characters and tokens in their original settings shows the basic materials that went into Tolkien’s cauldron of story. Little went through that cauldron unchanged. At ever opportunity, Tolkien’s own imagination and creativity, modified, shaped, and sculpted element from earlier stories to fit the needs of his own tales. {my emphasis}

 

 

 

 

 

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 05:17 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saruman as Odin

 

  1. Perhaps the most significant aspect of Saruman as Odin is his voice:

 

‘Saruman has powers you do not guess. Beware of his voice. {Gandalf-TT-The Voice of Saruman}

 

‘Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodius, its very sound an enchantment…it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable…For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled..none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and commands without an effort of mind and will…{ibid}

 

What secret voice from Odin fell;
When to his son he whisp’ring stood,
E’er the boy climb’d the fatal wood

 

{Poetic Edda- Cottle Translation}

 

He conversed so cleverly and smoothly , that all who heard believed him

 

{The Ynglinga Saga 6: Of Odin’s Accomplishments}

 

  1. As mentioned before , Saruman also adopts wandering Odin disguise {cf. TT- The White Rider:You certainly did not see me,’ answered Gandalf. Therefore I must guess that  you saw Saruman. Evidently we look so much alike that your desire to make an incurable dent in my hat must be excused.’ }
  2. The crebain  that Saruman uses for spying  emphasize the negative connotation that attaches to the carrion aspect  of the ravens Huginn and Muninn that serve Odin.
  3. Saruman’s use of the palantir ‘mirror’s the farsightedness of Odin ‘one eye’.

 

Of course, as I said in an earlier post, Gandalf is not Odin, anymore than Manwe, Sauron, and Saruman are, and one does not have to accept all the apparent relationships that either Professor Burns or I have suggested. However, I would argue that the sheer volume of Odinic resonance is such as to make  it very much more purposeful  than some would admit, and, more importantly, that it demonstrates the  inspirational influence Norse myth had on Tolkien.

 

But, at the end of the day , as Gloriana St. Clair observed in her paper to the Tolkien Oxford conference in 1992- Volsung Saga and Narn:

 

Seeing characters and tokens in their original settings shows the basic materials that went into Tolkien’s cauldron of story. Little went through that cauldron unchanged. At ever opportunity, Tolkien’s own imagination and creativity, modified, shaped, and sculpted element from earlier stories to fit the needs of his own tales. {my emphasis}

 

 

 

 

 

Ragnelle 26/Aug/2006 at 10:57 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

halfir: Where in the poretic Edda can I find that quote? I found something that looks simular in Vavtrudneamàl, but in context (an in Norwegian) it does not quite support the interpetation you have given, so I wondered about it. I also have the feeling that Odin’s voice is not quite like Saruman’s. Perhaps the best way I have to describe the difference is that Saruman’s voice is powerful, while Odin’s power is at times conducted though his voice. If that makes any sense.

But that does not mean that I do not agree that the darker aspects of odin can be seen in both Saruman and Sauron. I can’t realy think of anything to add to your lists.

Ragnelle 26/Aug/2006 at 10:57 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

halfir: Where in the poretic Edda can I find that quote? I found something that looks simular in Vavtrudneamàl, but in context (an in Norwegian) it does not quite support the interpetation you have given, so I wondered about it. I also have the feeling that Odin’s voice is not quite like Saruman’s. Perhaps the best way I have to describe the difference is that Saruman’s voice is powerful, while Odin’s power is at times conducted though his voice. If that makes any sense.

But that does not mean that I do not agree that the darker aspects of odin can be seen in both Saruman and Sauron. I can’t realy think of anything to add to your lists.

marieforestbird 26/Aug/2006 at 01:23 PM
Newborn of Imladris Points: 20 Posts: 3 Joined: 25/Aug/2006
as a newbie on this site I am quite pleased to find an intelligent coversation about lotr and its imagery. my interest, altho probly way over my head in this thread , is the (to my mind) equally represented Celtic imagery in lotr-the sacred trees(ents) the elves dwelling in trees(the three tiered trees in west England) much of Irish tales. just getting into the surface here; it occurs to me that one of the reasons for the popularity of lotr is the (Jungian?) archetypes and race-memories that it evokes-or am I just pissing in the wind? the similar folk beliefs of communities all over the world fascinates me-every continent has a small race of people-every civilization has vampires and shape-shifters. I was quite pleased to discover for myself that various widely separated Native American tribes(Apache & Hupa for example) have similar little people tales. Most characteristics of thes little people were shared with the piskies of my childhood, described by my (Irish) hillbilly father. or is this turning into 2 separate threads?
marieforestbird 26/Aug/2006 at 01:23 PM
Newborn of Imladris Points: 20 Posts: 3 Joined: 25/Aug/2006
as a newbie on this site I am quite pleased to find an intelligent coversation about lotr and its imagery. my interest, altho probly way over my head in this thread , is the (to my mind) equally represented Celtic imagery in lotr-the sacred trees(ents) the elves dwelling in trees(the three tiered trees in west England) much of Irish tales. just getting into the surface here; it occurs to me that one of the reasons for the popularity of lotr is the (Jungian?) archetypes and race-memories that it evokes-or am I just pissing in the wind? the similar folk beliefs of communities all over the world fascinates me-every continent has a small race of people-every civilization has vampires and shape-shifters. I was quite pleased to discover for myself that various widely separated Native American tribes(Apache & Hupa for example) have similar little people tales. Most characteristics of thes little people were shared with the piskies of my childhood, described by my (Irish) hillbilly father. or is this turning into 2 separate threads?
halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 03:15 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: The Poetic Edda quote can be Web -accessed at:

Poetic Edda Cottle translation http://www.northvegr.org/lore/poetic3/006.php

and The Ynglinga Saga at:

The Ynglinga Saga: 6. Of Odin’s Accomplishments www.sacred-texts.com/neu/heim/02ynglga.htm

As to your comment regarding the differences between Saruman and Odin’s voices I would hasten to add that I am not asserting one hundred per cent comparisons- just looking to see what possible resonances there might be in order to put Norse myth as an influence and inspiration on Tolkien in the pole position that it should be.

marieforestbird: Welcome to the Plaza.X( There is disagreement amoong scholars as to the extent that Tolkien was influenced or inspired by Celtic myth given some dismissive comments of his on that subject. The latest detailed analysis of Celtic influence on Tolkien- Marjorie Burns - Perilous Realms {ISBN 0 8020 3806 9 paperback} argues for a much greater influence than is traditionally accepeted.

For a Jungian approach to Tolkien see:

A Jungian Interpretation of LOTR –Pia Skoggerman

 

http://www.cgjungpage.org/content/view/541/28/

 

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 03:15 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: The Poetic Edda quote can be Web -accessed at:

Poetic Edda Cottle translation http://www.northvegr.org/lore/poetic3/006.php

and The Ynglinga Saga at:

The Ynglinga Saga: 6. Of Odin’s Accomplishments www.sacred-texts.com/neu/heim/02ynglga.htm

As to your comment regarding the differences between Saruman and Odin’s voices I would hasten to add that I am not asserting one hundred per cent comparisons- just looking to see what possible resonances there might be in order to put Norse myth as an influence and inspiration on Tolkien in the pole position that it should be.

marieforestbird: Welcome to the Plaza.X( There is disagreement amoong scholars as to the extent that Tolkien was influenced or inspired by Celtic myth given some dismissive comments of his on that subject. The latest detailed analysis of Celtic influence on Tolkien- Marjorie Burns - Perilous Realms {ISBN 0 8020 3806 9 paperback} argues for a much greater influence than is traditionally accepeted.

For a Jungian approach to Tolkien see:

A Jungian Interpretation of LOTR –Pia Skoggerman

 

http://www.cgjungpage.org/content/view/541/28/

 

Ragnelle 26/Aug/2006 at 05:13 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

halfir: Thanks. I was more after the part of the Poetic Edda, as there are so many songs to read though, but your links helped me find it, and yet another translation that I have not seen  (If truth be told I don’t know that many English transaltions, I tend to keep to the Norwegian.)

Well, I did figure that a 100% comparison would not be what you looked for. Thinking of that song, Vafthruthnismol (or Vavtrudnemål), I am reminded of the riddle-game of Bilbo and Gollum, as they are about the answering of questions and riddles to test the knowledge of the other. Both games end with a question that the other can not possible know the answer to. Bilbo asking what he has in his pocket and Odin asking what he wispered in his dead son’s ear before he was burned. While I don’t propose that Bilbo has Odinic resonances, I did find the parallell fun.

And just for reference, this is the English translation of the same stanzas from the translation of Henry Adams Bellows, which was the one I knew so far. I do not know much about him, but the translation is quite close to my Norwegian translation by Ivar Mortensson-Egnund which can be hard to understand, but is close to the Norse (that’s why it is hard to understand at times).

What spake Othin himself | in the ears of his son,
Ere in the bale-fire he burned?"
(to be found here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe05.htm)

I also have though a bit about possible resonances of Loki in Tolkien’s work, and Saruman could have something of him as well. Loki is known for his silver tounge and talking his way out of trouble, but also as the slanderer of the Gods, and the mischief-maker, who eventually end up fighting on the side of the jotuns. The voice of Saruman does, at least to me, remind Loki as much, or more, as Odin. But the crebain and the wolves, and the tower of Isengard where he watches the sky - that is Odin.

The link to the Ynglingesaga did not work, but I can easily get a copy of that.

marieforestbird: Welcome to the Plaza. I sadly don’t know that much about the Celtic Mythology, but halfir’s recomendations are usually worth checking out. I also seem to recall a tread about it in Advanced Lore, but it might have been archived. I’ll provide a link if I find one.

Ragnelle 26/Aug/2006 at 05:13 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

halfir: Thanks. I was more after the part of the Poetic Edda, as there are so many songs to read though, but your links helped me find it, and yet another translation that I have not seen  (If truth be told I don’t know that many English transaltions, I tend to keep to the Norwegian.)

Well, I did figure that a 100% comparison would not be what you looked for. Thinking of that song, Vafthruthnismol (or Vavtrudnemål), I am reminded of the riddle-game of Bilbo and Gollum, as they are about the answering of questions and riddles to test the knowledge of the other. Both games end with a question that the other can not possible know the answer to. Bilbo asking what he has in his pocket and Odin asking what he wispered in his dead son’s ear before he was burned. While I don’t propose that Bilbo has Odinic resonances, I did find the parallell fun.

And just for reference, this is the English translation of the same stanzas from the translation of Henry Adams Bellows, which was the one I knew so far. I do not know much about him, but the translation is quite close to my Norwegian translation by Ivar Mortensson-Egnund which can be hard to understand, but is close to the Norse (that’s why it is hard to understand at times).

What spake Othin himself | in the ears of his son,
Ere in the bale-fire he burned?"
(to be found here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe05.htm)

I also have though a bit about possible resonances of Loki in Tolkien’s work, and Saruman could have something of him as well. Loki is known for his silver tounge and talking his way out of trouble, but also as the slanderer of the Gods, and the mischief-maker, who eventually end up fighting on the side of the jotuns. The voice of Saruman does, at least to me, remind Loki as much, or more, as Odin. But the crebain and the wolves, and the tower of Isengard where he watches the sky - that is Odin.

The link to the Ynglingesaga did not work, but I can easily get a copy of that.

marieforestbird: Welcome to the Plaza. I sadly don’t know that much about the Celtic Mythology, but halfir’s recomendations are usually worth checking out. I also seem to recall a tread about it in Advanced Lore, but it might have been archived. I’ll provide a link if I find one.

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 05:30 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: try

www.sacred-texts.com/neu/heim/02ynglga.htm

I have amended the original post which had ’scared’ instead of ’sacred’!X(

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 05:30 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: try

www.sacred-texts.com/neu/heim/02ynglga.htm

I have amended the original post which had ’scared’ instead of ’sacred’!X(

Ragnelle 26/Aug/2006 at 05:31 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002
Ragnelle 26/Aug/2006 at 05:31 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002
halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 05:41 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

marieforestbird: With regard to Ragnelle’s reference t Plaza thread on Tolkien and Celtic mythology the following might be of interest:

Has Celtic Mythology influenced Tolkien?

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=185839&PagePosition=1

 

A Celtic Resonance? Gandalf and the Morrigan?

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=158564&PagePosition=8

 

 

Tuatha de Danaan?

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive3/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=21&TopicID=127517&PagePosition=199

Given Professor Burn’s recent work ’Perilous Realms’ I think I need to revise my own views on such influence, although I don’t go the whole nine yards with her book.

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 05:41 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

marieforestbird: With regard to Ragnelle’s reference t Plaza thread on Tolkien and Celtic mythology the following might be of interest:

Has Celtic Mythology influenced Tolkien?

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=185839&PagePosition=1

 

A Celtic Resonance? Gandalf and the Morrigan?

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=158564&PagePosition=8

 

 

Tuatha de Danaan?

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive3/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=21&TopicID=127517&PagePosition=199

Given Professor Burn’s recent work ’Perilous Realms’ I think I need to revise my own views on such influence, although I don’t go the whole nine yards with her book.

Weny 27/Aug/2006 at 10:45 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003

halfir -

"But we mustn’t- Gandalf is always only Gandalf. Aspects  of his personality and phsyical imagery, and his acoutrements, might have Odinic resonances, indeed in my view most certainly do, but Gandalf is not Odin."

Ahhh..I didn’t mean to imply that he WAS Odin..more along the lines of since he does have some Odinic traits in the spot I was speaking of, the battle I believe...that BECAUSE of his Odinic traits it lends more significance to Eowyns valkyrie like nature. Sorry if I was unclear...

Ragnelle - I will quote something that you said to halfir and pose a point...

 "Well, I did figure that a 100% comparison would not be what you looked for."

I too was not thinking there would be a 100% correlation between Eowyn and the valkyrie but I think that the idea is still there. Granted there are differences, but I think that the image Eowyn evokes is one that can be looked at in a valkyrie like nature..

I am currently working on some research but just wanted to say that first...

Weny 27/Aug/2006 at 10:45 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003

halfir -

"But we mustn’t- Gandalf is always only Gandalf. Aspects  of his personality and phsyical imagery, and his acoutrements, might have Odinic resonances, indeed in my view most certainly do, but Gandalf is not Odin."

Ahhh..I didn’t mean to imply that he WAS Odin..more along the lines of since he does have some Odinic traits in the spot I was speaking of, the battle I believe...that BECAUSE of his Odinic traits it lends more significance to Eowyns valkyrie like nature. Sorry if I was unclear...

Ragnelle - I will quote something that you said to halfir and pose a point...

 "Well, I did figure that a 100% comparison would not be what you looked for."

I too was not thinking there would be a 100% correlation between Eowyn and the valkyrie but I think that the idea is still there. Granted there are differences, but I think that the image Eowyn evokes is one that can be looked at in a valkyrie like nature..

I am currently working on some research but just wanted to say that first...

halfir 27/Aug/2006 at 05:04 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Weny: Thanks for the elucidation. I do think it important that we always stress the fact that in dealing with any resonances we believe exist in Tolkien’s writings, that is all they are, for Tolkien was always his own man (cf. Lewis’s ’Learian’ comment ’you might as well try to influence  a bandersnatch!) and everything he used- consciously or subconsciously, was refined in the crucible of his own creative genius.

Yet if we do not continue to assert the uniqueness of his ultimate creations and characterisations we run the risk of later readers of this thread claiming that it says Gandalf =Odin- when, of course, it does nothing of the sort.

As to Eowyn I am very suspicious of any Shieldmaiden - as opposed to Tolken’s ’shieldmaiden’  -or Valkyrie associations

cf. my posts in

Eowyn:Character Analysis

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=201693&PagePosition=2&PagePostPosition=1

 

- and Ragnelle has already drawn attention to our misunderstanding of the role and function of the Valkyrie.

halfir 27/Aug/2006 at 05:04 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Weny: Thanks for the elucidation. I do think it important that we always stress the fact that in dealing with any resonances we believe exist in Tolkien’s writings, that is all they are, for Tolkien was always his own man (cf. Lewis’s ’Learian’ comment ’you might as well try to influence  a bandersnatch!) and everything he used- consciously or subconsciously, was refined in the crucible of his own creative genius.

Yet if we do not continue to assert the uniqueness of his ultimate creations and characterisations we run the risk of later readers of this thread claiming that it says Gandalf =Odin- when, of course, it does nothing of the sort.

As to Eowyn I am very suspicious of any Shieldmaiden - as opposed to Tolken’s ’shieldmaiden’  -or Valkyrie associations

cf. my posts in

Eowyn:Character Analysis

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=201693&PagePosition=2&PagePostPosition=1

 

- and Ragnelle has already drawn attention to our misunderstanding of the role and function of the Valkyrie.

Weny 27/Aug/2006 at 09:26 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003

halfir - Indeed, I think you are right..we don’t want to be misinterpreted! I hope it is abundantly clear that I was indeed refering to the resonances of Odin in Gandalf at that point! I am so very used to my graduate courses where it is usually assumed that’s what you mean!

As for continuing on with the Norse imagery I found this tidbit that definately help link Tolkien to the sources if not the correlation in LOTR!

In return again I hope to send you, if I can lay my hands on it (I hope it isn’t lost), a thing I did many years ago when trying to learn the art of writing alliterative poetry: an attempt to unify the lays about the Volsolungs from the Elder Edda, written in the old eight-line fornyroisl*g stanza (Letter #295)

certainly indicates he knew the material!!

Weny 27/Aug/2006 at 09:26 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003

halfir - Indeed, I think you are right..we don’t want to be misinterpreted! I hope it is abundantly clear that I was indeed refering to the resonances of Odin in Gandalf at that point! I am so very used to my graduate courses where it is usually assumed that’s what you mean!

As for continuing on with the Norse imagery I found this tidbit that definately help link Tolkien to the sources if not the correlation in LOTR!

In return again I hope to send you, if I can lay my hands on it (I hope it isn’t lost), a thing I did many years ago when trying to learn the art of writing alliterative poetry: an attempt to unify the lays about the Volsolungs from the Elder Edda, written in the old eight-line fornyroisl*g stanza (Letter #295)

certainly indicates he knew the material!!

halfir 27/Aug/2006 at 10:37 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Odin and Aragorn

 

Fantasy is made  out of the primary World, but a good craftsman loves his material, and has a knowledge and feeling for clay, stone and wood which only the art of making can give. By the forging of Gram cold iron was revealed; by the making of Pegasus horses were ennobled; in the Trees of the Sun and Moon root and stock, flower and fruit are manifested in glory.

 

{On Fairy Stories –Recovery, Escape, Consolation-my emphasis}

 

Swords and heroes are recurrent themes in epic literature, and its associated legend and myth. Roland  of The Song of Roland had Durendal, Arthur had Excalibur, BeowulfNaeglfar, Sigmund/SigurdGram, and Aragorn- Anduril (Narsil).

 

And those swords are associated with two things; their extraction, from a stone- Arthur, or a tree- Sigmund, or their breaking, and oft-times reforging. Beowulf’s sword breaks in his slaying of Grendel’s mother, and Roland –as he is dying- tries to ensure that none will ever use Durendal- and seeks to break it.

 

However, the influence of the- All-Father – Odin, (and thus Norse mythology)  even touches upon Aragorn, for Gram is effectively  his creation and Sigmund, after using it successfully, has it broken in a battle Odin ensures he loses. Its shards  - or fragments- are re-forged  for Sigurd  (Sigmund’s son}who uses it to slay the dragon – Fafnir.

 

 

So heroes emerge when swords are extracted- Arthur and Sigmund, and when heroes’ broken swords are re-forged – Sigurd:

 

Therewith he went to his mother, and she welcomed him in seemly wise, and they talked and drank together.

Then spake Sigurd, "Have I heard aright, that King Sigmund gave thee the good sword Gram in two pieces?"

"True enough," she said.

So Sigurd said, "Deliver them into my hands, for I would have them."

She said he looked like to win great fame, and gave him the sword. Therewith went Sigurd to Regin, and bade him make a good sword thereof as he best might; Regin grew wroth thereat, but went into the smithy with the pieces of the sword, thinking well meanwhile that Sigurd pushed his head far enow into the matter of smithying. So he made a sword, and as he bore it forth from the forge, it seemed to the smiths as though fire burned along the edges thereof. Now he bade Sigurd take the sword, and said he knew not how to make a sword if this one failed. Then Sigurd smote it into the anvil, and cleft it down to the stock thereof, and neither burst the sword nor brake it. Then he praised the sword much, and thereafter went to the river with a lock of wool, and threw it up against the stream, and it fell asunder when it met the sword.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/vlsng/vlsng17.htm

 

{There are some interesting pictures of the Sigurdsristning (The Sigurd Carving) telling the story of the saga here: http://hem.bredband.net/sim1/swe/mal/sigurd/sigurd_01.html

 

 

and Aragorn.

 

Aragorn emerges as a hero-warrior and finally accepts his doom when he places the shards of Narsil before the assembled company at The Council of Elrond- and the elves re-forge them into Anduril.

 

Yet again Tolkien’s great Quest –story- resonates with the inspirational influence of the Norse myths.

halfir 27/Aug/2006 at 10:37 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Odin and Aragorn

 

Fantasy is made  out of the primary World, but a good craftsman loves his material, and has a knowledge and feeling for clay, stone and wood which only the art of making can give. By the forging of Gram cold iron was revealed; by the making of Pegasus horses were ennobled; in the Trees of the Sun and Moon root and stock, flower and fruit are manifested in glory.

 

{On Fairy Stories –Recovery, Escape, Consolation-my emphasis}

 

Swords and heroes are recurrent themes in epic literature, and its associated legend and myth. Roland  of The Song of Roland had Durendal, Arthur had Excalibur, BeowulfNaeglfar, Sigmund/SigurdGram, and Aragorn- Anduril (Narsil).

 

And those swords are associated with two things; their extraction, from a stone- Arthur, or a tree- Sigmund, or their breaking, and oft-times reforging. Beowulf’s sword breaks in his slaying of Grendel’s mother, and Roland –as he is dying- tries to ensure that none will ever use Durendal- and seeks to break it.

 

However, the influence of the- All-Father – Odin, (and thus Norse mythology)  even touches upon Aragorn, for Gram is effectively  his creation and Sigmund, after using it successfully, has it broken in a battle Odin ensures he loses. Its shards  - or fragments- are re-forged  for Sigurd  (Sigmund’s son}who uses it to slay the dragon – Fafnir.

 

 

So heroes emerge when swords are extracted- Arthur and Sigmund, and when heroes’ broken swords are re-forged – Sigurd:

 

Therewith he went to his mother, and she welcomed him in seemly wise, and they talked and drank together.

Then spake Sigurd, "Have I heard aright, that King Sigmund gave thee the good sword Gram in two pieces?"

"True enough," she said.

So Sigurd said, "Deliver them into my hands, for I would have them."

She said he looked like to win great fame, and gave him the sword. Therewith went Sigurd to Regin, and bade him make a good sword thereof as he best might; Regin grew wroth thereat, but went into the smithy with the pieces of the sword, thinking well meanwhile that Sigurd pushed his head far enow into the matter of smithying. So he made a sword, and as he bore it forth from the forge, it seemed to the smiths as though fire burned along the edges thereof. Now he bade Sigurd take the sword, and said he knew not how to make a sword if this one failed. Then Sigurd smote it into the anvil, and cleft it down to the stock thereof, and neither burst the sword nor brake it. Then he praised the sword much, and thereafter went to the river with a lock of wool, and threw it up against the stream, and it fell asunder when it met the sword.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/vlsng/vlsng17.htm

 

{There are some interesting pictures of the Sigurdsristning (The Sigurd Carving) telling the story of the saga here: http://hem.bredband.net/sim1/swe/mal/sigurd/sigurd_01.html

 

 

and Aragorn.

 

Aragorn emerges as a hero-warrior and finally accepts his doom when he places the shards of Narsil before the assembled company at The Council of Elrond- and the elves re-forge them into Anduril.

 

Yet again Tolkien’s great Quest –story- resonates with the inspirational influence of the Norse myths.

Bearamir 28/Aug/2006 at 01:10 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Ladies & Gentlemen:  This thread has been nominated for transfer to Ad Lore.  Since the thread-holder has indicated that this relocation meets with his approval...without further ado:  Prepare for Move to Ad Lore!
Bearamir 28/Aug/2006 at 01:10 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Ladies & Gentlemen:  This thread has been nominated for transfer to Ad Lore.  Since the thread-holder has indicated that this relocation meets with his approval...without further ado:  Prepare for Move to Ad Lore!
Ragnelle 28/Aug/2006 at 04:21 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Weny: I do not find that Eowyn envokes the image of the valkyries. They do not have the fame feel, the same taste. I recognize the tase of Odin in Gandalf, Saruman and Sauron though it is not a 100% correlation, but I do not recognize the valkyries in Eowyn. That was my simple reason to protest. Nothing else.

halfir: Funny that you should mention Aragorn. I though of him in conection with Odin, but I was thinking of the army of the Dead. Now there is not that many simularities between the enherjer and the Dead - the enherjer are not cursed and they do have bodies - so the conection is very slim, so I am not sure they have quite the same taste, but some comperisons are possible

One is that they are dead. Very obvious. But the dead army also shows the positive side to Odin’s role as god of the slain. At Ragnarök the dead in Helheim fights on the side of chaos, on the side of the jotuns and trolls (with the exeption of Balder), but the enherjer on the side of the Æsir (gods). So on both sides the dead fights, as in LotR. "Strange and wonderful I though it that the desighs of Mordor should be overthrown by such wraiths if fear and darkness." RotK, The Last Debate

As I have said, I am not sure how well the comparison holds, but the though struck me.

Ragnelle 28/Aug/2006 at 04:21 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Weny: I do not find that Eowyn envokes the image of the valkyries. They do not have the fame feel, the same taste. I recognize the tase of Odin in Gandalf, Saruman and Sauron though it is not a 100% correlation, but I do not recognize the valkyries in Eowyn. That was my simple reason to protest. Nothing else.

halfir: Funny that you should mention Aragorn. I though of him in conection with Odin, but I was thinking of the army of the Dead. Now there is not that many simularities between the enherjer and the Dead - the enherjer are not cursed and they do have bodies - so the conection is very slim, so I am not sure they have quite the same taste, but some comperisons are possible

One is that they are dead. Very obvious. But the dead army also shows the positive side to Odin’s role as god of the slain. At Ragnarök the dead in Helheim fights on the side of chaos, on the side of the jotuns and trolls (with the exeption of Balder), but the enherjer on the side of the Æsir (gods). So on both sides the dead fights, as in LotR. "Strange and wonderful I though it that the desighs of Mordor should be overthrown by such wraiths if fear and darkness." RotK, The Last Debate

As I have said, I am not sure how well the comparison holds, but the though struck me.

halfir 28/Aug/2006 at 04:56 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Weny: With regard to your quote from Letter #  295 The Sigmund/Sigurd stories that I quoted in my last post are from the Volsungasaga.

Ragnelle: I must admit I had not made that connection, but I would personally see it as a tenuous one, related more to Reader Applicability- than authorial intent or resonance.

halfir 28/Aug/2006 at 04:56 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Weny: With regard to your quote from Letter #  295 The Sigmund/Sigurd stories that I quoted in my last post are from the Volsungasaga.

Ragnelle: I must admit I had not made that connection, but I would personally see it as a tenuous one, related more to Reader Applicability- than authorial intent or resonance.

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 01:48 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Denethor and Norse Myth

In her paper to the Tolkien Centenary Conference- Oxford 1992 - An Overview of the Northern Influences on Tolkien’s Works - Gloria St. Clair adjudges Denethor as being:

’part of a tradition of Norse heroes who  prefer suicide to the shame of being unable to revenge the death of a son or a close friend.’

She cites in support of this thesis the Eyrrbyggja Saga, the Vatnsdale Saga, Egil’s Saga, and the saga of the Jomsvikings.

I personally am not at all comfortable with the proposition that Denethor is indeed in this tradition, although I accept some of the other parallels between him and characters in Norse myths that Ms. St. Clair gives.

If one looks at the interchange between Denethor and Gandalf in ROTK- The Pyre of Denethor-  while I accept Boromir’ s death and Faramir’s apparent death have tipped Denthor over the edge into madness, I do not see that his rationale for suicde is because he is ashamed at not being able to avenge the death of a son or close friend. (And one doubts that Denethor had too many close friends!)

Indeed when Denethor reveals the palantir to Gandalf and and cries:

’The West has failed’

we see the real reason for his despair, compunded, of course, by the belief that both his sons are  dead:

’He will not wake again’  he says of Faramir.

Moreover, in his bitter railing aginst Gandalf regarding what he sees as a plot to supplant him, he demonstrates a personal unwillingness to accept any role lesser than the one he has- which is effectively- ’king’ of Gondor:

"If doom denies this to me, then I will have naught; neither life diminished, nor love halved, nor honour abated.’

life diminishedlove halved,  honour abated.’

These  rather than the shame of being unable to revenge the death of a son or a close friend,’ are the reasons for Denethor’s suicide.

And as Gandalf observes:

’the vision of the great might of Mordor that was shown to him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew  his mind’.

I would be interested to hear Ragnelle’s views on Ms. St. Clair’s thesis.

Ms. St Clair is on safer ground, I think, when she says that:

Further, the character of Denethor also draws specifically on Njal from the Saga of Burnt Njal. Both are good-looking men with the gift of foresight. Each loses his favourite son. Both complain that their sons will not folllow their advice any longer. Both refuse to go  on without their honour while they might be saved if they chose. Both die on a blazing funeral pyre. This comparison adds dimension to the character of Denethor. The intelligent, courageous, perceptive, witty Njal is what Denethor might have been if Denethor had not come under Sauron’s influence through use of the palantir.’

But even here, I would enter a caveat. Firstly, of course, I would not accept the ’also’  having rejected her earlier proposition; secondly I do not think we can state- ’in terms’  the character of Denethor {also} draws specifically on Njal. Rather I would say, there is a close parallel between Njal and Denethor in these particular instances, which Tolkien might have drawn on.

And we should always remember his own caveat regadring such ’source analysis:

To my mind it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider’ {Letter # 337}

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 01:48 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Denethor and Norse Myth

In her paper to the Tolkien Centenary Conference- Oxford 1992 - An Overview of the Northern Influences on Tolkien’s Works - Gloria St. Clair adjudges Denethor as being:

’part of a tradition of Norse heroes who  prefer suicide to the shame of being unable to revenge the death of a son or a close friend.’

She cites in support of this thesis the Eyrrbyggja Saga, the Vatnsdale Saga, Egil’s Saga, and the saga of the Jomsvikings.

I personally am not at all comfortable with the proposition that Denethor is indeed in this tradition, although I accept some of the other parallels between him and characters in Norse myths that Ms. St. Clair gives.

If one looks at the interchange between Denethor and Gandalf in ROTK- The Pyre of Denethor-  while I accept Boromir’ s death and Faramir’s apparent death have tipped Denthor over the edge into madness, I do not see that his rationale for suicde is because he is ashamed at not being able to avenge the death of a son or close friend. (And one doubts that Denethor had too many close friends!)

Indeed when Denethor reveals the palantir to Gandalf and and cries:

’The West has failed’

we see the real reason for his despair, compunded, of course, by the belief that both his sons are  dead:

’He will not wake again’  he says of Faramir.

Moreover, in his bitter railing aginst Gandalf regarding what he sees as a plot to supplant him, he demonstrates a personal unwillingness to accept any role lesser than the one he has- which is effectively- ’king’ of Gondor:

"If doom denies this to me, then I will have naught; neither life diminished, nor love halved, nor honour abated.’

life diminishedlove halved,  honour abated.’

These  rather than the shame of being unable to revenge the death of a son or a close friend,’ are the reasons for Denethor’s suicide.

And as Gandalf observes:

’the vision of the great might of Mordor that was shown to him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew  his mind’.

I would be interested to hear Ragnelle’s views on Ms. St. Clair’s thesis.

Ms. St Clair is on safer ground, I think, when she says that:

Further, the character of Denethor also draws specifically on Njal from the Saga of Burnt Njal. Both are good-looking men with the gift of foresight. Each loses his favourite son. Both complain that their sons will not folllow their advice any longer. Both refuse to go  on without their honour while they might be saved if they chose. Both die on a blazing funeral pyre. This comparison adds dimension to the character of Denethor. The intelligent, courageous, perceptive, witty Njal is what Denethor might have been if Denethor had not come under Sauron’s influence through use of the palantir.’

But even here, I would enter a caveat. Firstly, of course, I would not accept the ’also’  having rejected her earlier proposition; secondly I do not think we can state- ’in terms’  the character of Denethor {also} draws specifically on Njal. Rather I would say, there is a close parallel between Njal and Denethor in these particular instances, which Tolkien might have drawn on.

And we should always remember his own caveat regadring such ’source analysis:

To my mind it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider’ {Letter # 337}

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 07:43 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Galadriel- The Virgin Mary or Unn the Deep-minded and Hallgerd as archetypes?

Ms. St. Clair is nothing if not bold in her identification of Tolkien’s characters with those in Norse myth! In the same paper - An Overview of the Northern Influences on Tolkien’s Works - she states:

’I believe that Tolkien had  two women  in Northern literature in his subconscious  when he created Galadriel. Between them , they account for some of her contradictions and for the unsatisfactory nature of her story.’

The two women are, of course, Unn the Deep-minded, who appears in the Laxdale Saga and the Sturlunga Saga and Hallgerd, the evil wife of Gunnar  in Njal’s Saga.

Unn is intelligent and gifted with foresight- like Galadriel. And she builds a ship in secret and escapes to Iceland. Ms. St. Clair, points out that :

’Galadriel also builds a ship and sails away. She does so without permission and thus violates  a ban against departure and is forbidden to return. {Ms. St. Clair seems to overlook Tolkien’s ’revision’ to the Galadriel story ( cf. the letter to Lord Halsbury # 353} even though earlier she has stated that CT has observed:

’the role and importance of Galadriel only emerged slowly, and that her story underwent  continual refashionings’.

However, Galadriel’s pride and her golden hair come from another source- Hallgerd. She has :

’long-silken hair that fell to her waist’

and she battles with  Njal’s wife over who will have the seat at honour at the high table, causing the death of several men as a result of her pride.

More significantly she refuses her husband- Gunnar:

’two  strands of her hair to fashion a bowstring.’

This Ms. St. Clair  states:

’must surely be an inspiration  for the dwarf Gimli’s request  for a strand of Galadriel’s hair.’

Why it could not have been an inspiration for Feanor’s similar request ( which was refused)  Ms. St. Clair does not say- indeed she doesn’t  mention Feanor at all in connection with Galadriel.

To indulge in such an attempted degree of specificity, with such limited ’evidence’ seems somewhat perverse- and in the case of the Gimli suggestion , just downright wrong.

It serves as a warning to us all that in looking at potential resonances and sources, that at the end of the day, the characters are creations of Tolkien’s, not the slavish copyings of someone else’s creativity, and that while much of Norse mythology inspired and influenced him, it did not  dominate him- anymore than his Catholicism did, when it came to his fictional writing.

Indeed Ms. St. Clair is in danger of forgetting what she wrote in another paper- Volsung Saga and Narn:

Seeing characters and tokens in their original settings shows the basic materials that went into Tolkien’s cauldron of story. Little went through that cauldron unchanged. At ever opportunity, Tolkien’s own imagination and creativity, modified, shaped, and sculpted element from earlier stories to fit the needs of his own tales. {my emphasis}

 

 

 

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 07:43 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Galadriel- The Virgin Mary or Unn the Deep-minded and Hallgerd as archetypes?

Ms. St. Clair is nothing if not bold in her identification of Tolkien’s characters with those in Norse myth! In the same paper - An Overview of the Northern Influences on Tolkien’s Works - she states:

’I believe that Tolkien had  two women  in Northern literature in his subconscious  when he created Galadriel. Between them , they account for some of her contradictions and for the unsatisfactory nature of her story.’

The two women are, of course, Unn the Deep-minded, who appears in the Laxdale Saga and the Sturlunga Saga and Hallgerd, the evil wife of Gunnar  in Njal’s Saga.

Unn is intelligent and gifted with foresight- like Galadriel. And she builds a ship in secret and escapes to Iceland. Ms. St. Clair, points out that :

’Galadriel also builds a ship and sails away. She does so without permission and thus violates  a ban against departure and is forbidden to return. {Ms. St. Clair seems to overlook Tolkien’s ’revision’ to the Galadriel story ( cf. the letter to Lord Halsbury # 353} even though earlier she has stated that CT has observed:

’the role and importance of Galadriel only emerged slowly, and that her story underwent  continual refashionings’.

However, Galadriel’s pride and her golden hair come from another source- Hallgerd. She has :

’long-silken hair that fell to her waist’

and she battles with  Njal’s wife over who will have the seat at honour at the high table, causing the death of several men as a result of her pride.

More significantly she refuses her husband- Gunnar:

’two  strands of her hair to fashion a bowstring.’

This Ms. St. Clair  states:

’must surely be an inspiration  for the dwarf Gimli’s request  for a strand of Galadriel’s hair.’

Why it could not have been an inspiration for Feanor’s similar request ( which was refused)  Ms. St. Clair does not say- indeed she doesn’t  mention Feanor at all in connection with Galadriel.

To indulge in such an attempted degree of specificity, with such limited ’evidence’ seems somewhat perverse- and in the case of the Gimli suggestion , just downright wrong.

It serves as a warning to us all that in looking at potential resonances and sources, that at the end of the day, the characters are creations of Tolkien’s, not the slavish copyings of someone else’s creativity, and that while much of Norse mythology inspired and influenced him, it did not  dominate him- anymore than his Catholicism did, when it came to his fictional writing.

Indeed Ms. St. Clair is in danger of forgetting what she wrote in another paper- Volsung Saga and Narn:

Seeing characters and tokens in their original settings shows the basic materials that went into Tolkien’s cauldron of story. Little went through that cauldron unchanged. At ever opportunity, Tolkien’s own imagination and creativity, modified, shaped, and sculpted element from earlier stories to fit the needs of his own tales. {my emphasis}

 

 

 

Thorondel 29/Aug/2006 at 02:44 PM
Archer of Imladris Points: 567 Posts: 274 Joined: 24/Sep/2003

I realize that this is a long way back in the discussion, but I think that it needs to be said. In an above post, it was stated that Shadowfax was the only horse who could withstand the terror of the Nazgul, but Glorfindel’s horse, Asfaloth, was capable of the same; he bore Frodo to the Ford of Bruien(sp?). Sorry to bring back a long dead tangent of the thread!

Thorondel 29/Aug/2006 at 02:44 PM
Archer of Imladris Points: 567 Posts: 274 Joined: 24/Sep/2003

I realize that this is a long way back in the discussion, but I think that it needs to be said. In an above post, it was stated that Shadowfax was the only horse who could withstand the terror of the Nazgul, but Glorfindel’s horse, Asfaloth, was capable of the same; he bore Frodo to the Ford of Bruien(sp?). Sorry to bring back a long dead tangent of the thread!

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 02:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Thorondel: You raise  a  fair point: ’At the top of the bank the horse halted and turned about neighing firecely’. But it also says: ’The elf-horse reared and snoretd" { FOTR-Flight to the Ford}. This is not the same as Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dinen." {my emphasis}

Moreover, Asfaloth does not have the other attributes that Shadowfax shares with Sleipnir.

And it’s Bruinen.X(

 

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 02:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Thorondel: You raise  a  fair point: ’At the top of the bank the horse halted and turned about neighing firecely’. But it also says: ’The elf-horse reared and snoretd" { FOTR-Flight to the Ford}. This is not the same as Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dinen." {my emphasis}

Moreover, Asfaloth does not have the other attributes that Shadowfax shares with Sleipnir.

And it’s Bruinen.X(

 

Weny 29/Aug/2006 at 03:04 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003
Ragnelle and halfir - It would seem that Tolkien might agree with you on the Eowyn having valkyrie like traits..

she was not really a soldier or amazon, but like many brave women was capable of great miltary gallantry at a crisis. (Letter #244)

alas I think I have satisfied myself that Eowyn does not really share valkyrie like traits...but what is knowldege if we don’t pursue avenues even if we dismiss them later? I am therefore not ashamed! I hope you learned will not mind if I continue to try and contribute here in my own way..even if it is to dismiss topics LOL
Weny 29/Aug/2006 at 03:04 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2430 Posts: 4069 Joined: 12/Jan/2003
Ragnelle and halfir - It would seem that Tolkien might agree with you on the Eowyn having valkyrie like traits..

she was not really a soldier or amazon, but like many brave women was capable of great miltary gallantry at a crisis. (Letter #244)

alas I think I have satisfied myself that Eowyn does not really share valkyrie like traits...but what is knowldege if we don’t pursue avenues even if we dismiss them later? I am therefore not ashamed! I hope you learned will not mind if I continue to try and contribute here in my own way..even if it is to dismiss topics LOL
Ragnelle 29/Aug/2006 at 03:15 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Well, halfir, I was not too sure about the conection myself so it’s not something I’ll fight very hard over. As to Ms. St. Clair’s thesis on Denethor my first reaction is rather like your own. I have not read it, so I can’t say too much about it, but Denethor does not stricke me as being overwhelmed by shame. Despair, sorrow, pride - yes, but not shame.

Now there was a shame not to revenge your relatives and friends, but it strikes me that the women were often more fierce on this than the men. Gudrun, the widdow of Sigurd, kills her own sons by Atle (Attlia the Hun) to revenge herself on him because he has killed her brothers. Often it is the women that urge the men to take revenge, calling shame upon them if they do not. Denethor has noone urging him to take revenge, and would be in a position where he could call on other to take revenge for him. Revenge is not, as far as I remeber, mentioned by anyone close to him.

I’ll have to think a bit more about Njål, but I find the Hallgjerd/Galadriel comparison unlikely when it comes to the request for a strand of hair. I agree that Feanor’s request might be more simular than Gimli’s, but even that I find pretty tenuous. Hallgjerd refuses because she wishes revenge on Gunnar for slaping her, and withouth the strand for a bowstring he will be killed. Gimli’s request owes, I think, more to the romances of chivalry than the Norse Sagas. 

Ragnelle 29/Aug/2006 at 03:15 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Well, halfir, I was not too sure about the conection myself so it’s not something I’ll fight very hard over. As to Ms. St. Clair’s thesis on Denethor my first reaction is rather like your own. I have not read it, so I can’t say too much about it, but Denethor does not stricke me as being overwhelmed by shame. Despair, sorrow, pride - yes, but not shame.

Now there was a shame not to revenge your relatives and friends, but it strikes me that the women were often more fierce on this than the men. Gudrun, the widdow of Sigurd, kills her own sons by Atle (Attlia the Hun) to revenge herself on him because he has killed her brothers. Often it is the women that urge the men to take revenge, calling shame upon them if they do not. Denethor has noone urging him to take revenge, and would be in a position where he could call on other to take revenge for him. Revenge is not, as far as I remeber, mentioned by anyone close to him.

I’ll have to think a bit more about Njål, but I find the Hallgjerd/Galadriel comparison unlikely when it comes to the request for a strand of hair. I agree that Feanor’s request might be more simular than Gimli’s, but even that I find pretty tenuous. Hallgjerd refuses because she wishes revenge on Gunnar for slaping her, and withouth the strand for a bowstring he will be killed. Gimli’s request owes, I think, more to the romances of chivalry than the Norse Sagas. 

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 03:23 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Gimli’s request owes, I think, more to the romances of chivalry than the Norse Sagas. X(

Ragnelle: That’s always been my reaction- Gawain and the Lady’s girdle (although that has other implications and connotations as well) and the Knight taking his Lady’s kerchief.

I agree that Feanor’s request might be more simular than Gimli’s, but even that I find pretty tenuousX(

Me too, and not to have even mentioned Feanor I find bizarre.

Sometimes Ms. St. Clair runs the danger of seeing too much while others see too little!

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 03:23 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Gimli’s request owes, I think, more to the romances of chivalry than the Norse Sagas. X(

Ragnelle: That’s always been my reaction- Gawain and the Lady’s girdle (although that has other implications and connotations as well) and the Knight taking his Lady’s kerchief.

I agree that Feanor’s request might be more simular than Gimli’s, but even that I find pretty tenuousX(

Me too, and not to have even mentioned Feanor I find bizarre.

Sometimes Ms. St. Clair runs the danger of seeing too much while others see too little!

Ragnelle 29/Aug/2006 at 03:26 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

I type way too slow.
Weny: Nothing to be ashamed of. Your Eowyn/valkyrie comparison was more, and better, though out than my army of the Dead/enherjer comparison

halfir: One question, I forgot in my last post. Would a comparison between Aragorn and Olav Harraldson be within the toppic of this tread? In the sagas (not the legends) he is described within the norse tradition, but a saint is hardly pagan imagery, so I’d though I’d ask what you think before offering anything.

Ragnelle 29/Aug/2006 at 03:26 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

I type way too slow.
Weny: Nothing to be ashamed of. Your Eowyn/valkyrie comparison was more, and better, though out than my army of the Dead/enherjer comparison

halfir: One question, I forgot in my last post. Would a comparison between Aragorn and Olav Harraldson be within the toppic of this tread? In the sagas (not the legends) he is described within the norse tradition, but a saint is hardly pagan imagery, so I’d though I’d ask what you think before offering anything.

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 03:33 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Ragnelle: Absolutely no problems whatsoever. I find the best threads often make some divergence from their original theme- and that such divergences normally only add to our overall understanding of the Master- which is what the Plaza is all about, so by all means introduce Olav Harraldson.X( And after all, Tolkien was a practising Christian!
halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 03:33 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Ragnelle: Absolutely no problems whatsoever. I find the best threads often make some divergence from their original theme- and that such divergences normally only add to our overall understanding of the Master- which is what the Plaza is all about, so by all means introduce Olav Harraldson.X( And after all, Tolkien was a practising Christian!
Ragnelle 29/Aug/2006 at 04:23 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002
 But you’ll have to wait a bith while I gather my thoughts.
Ragnelle 29/Aug/2006 at 04:23 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002
 But you’ll have to wait a bith while I gather my thoughts.
halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 04:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

X(

So presumably we’re going to have plenty of references to  the Heimskringla or The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway  - Saga of Olaf Haraldson  by Snorri Sturlason?

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 04:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

X(

So presumably we’re going to have plenty of references to  the Heimskringla or The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway  - Saga of Olaf Haraldson  by Snorri Sturlason?

Bearamir 29/Aug/2006 at 06:37 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Ragnelle:  I look forward to your "thoughts" once you have mustered them.
Bearamir 29/Aug/2006 at 06:37 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Ragnelle:  I look forward to your "thoughts" once you have mustered them.
Lady d`Ecthelion 30/Aug/2006 at 02:11 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Go, Eorlinga!
Looking forward with great interest!
Lady d`Ecthelion 30/Aug/2006 at 02:11 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Go, Eorlinga!
Looking forward with great interest!
Ragnelle 30/Aug/2006 at 02:18 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002
Indeed you are. But I will also try to track down again some of the lesser known sagas about him.
Ragnelle 30/Aug/2006 at 02:18 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002
Indeed you are. But I will also try to track down again some of the lesser known sagas about him.
Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 03:53 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

I don’t know if it has already been said above, but I think that Tolkien used a lot from Loki on to Sauron and Morgoth.

Loki was able to change form-just like Sauron was. He was also very closer to wolves (and under Morgoth’s reign, Sauron had a lot of werewolves under his command-especially those we see at TolSirion sending to kill Beren’s company or Huan). Loki was also known as to be the trickster among the Nordic gods.

This is about Loki:
Loki is one of the major deities in the Norse pantheon. He is a son of the giant Farbauti ("cruel striker") and the giantess Laufey. He is regarded as one of Aesir, but is on occasion their enemy. He is connected with fire and magic, and can assume many different shapes(Sauron’s abilities, Morgoth was also connected to Fire) (horse, falcon, fly). He is crafty and malicious(Sauron was once a Maia of Aule and he knew the way of craft), but is also heroic: in that aspect he can be compared with the trickster from North American myths. The ambivalent god grows progressively more unpleasent, and is directly responsible for the death of Balder, the god of light.

Loki’s mistress is the giantess Angrboda, and with her he is the father of three monsters (Morgoth had himself bred Carcaroth-Fenrir). His wife is Sigyn, who stayed loyal to him, even when the gods punished him for the death of Balder. He was chained (see Angainor) to three large boulders; one under his shoulders, one under his loins and one under his knees. A poisonous snake was placed above his head. The dripping venom that lands on him is caught by Sigyn in a bowl. But every now and then, when the bowl is filled to the brim, she has to leave him to empty it. Then the poison that falls on Loki’s face makes him twist in pain, causing earthquakes.

On the day of Ragnarok(Similliar to Dagor Dagorath-which we can also find in our Plaza Encyclopedia), Loki’s chains will break and he will lead the giants into battle against the gods. Loki is often called the Sly One, the Trickster, the Shape Changer (all these are abilities and names of Sauron also), and the Sky Traveler

According to Georges Dumézil, Loki shows a great resemblance with Syrdon, a demonic creature from Caucasian legends (I will have a research on Syrdon and soon or later I will tell you- but this would get off the Nordic mythology)

BLUE: just infoes
RED: similiarities with Sauron/Morgoth

Well, making differences between Sauron and Morgoth doesn’t really count, since they were pretty similiar in their abilities. Except for Sauron did not have the destructive mania Morgoth had, he was claiming to be His return.

Going now to a point I made above with Fenrir.

Fenrir (or Fenris) is a gigantic and terrible monster in the shape of a wolf (Carcharoth). He is the eldest child of Loki and the giantess Angrboda. The gods learned of a prophecy which stated that the wolf and his family would one day be responsible for the destruction of the world. They caught the wolf and locked him in a cage. Only the god of war, Tyr, dared to feed and take care of the wolf.

When he was still a pup they had nothing to fear, but when the gods saw one day how he had grown(Carcharoth also had grown so much that he had to sleep on to Morgoth’s legs), they decided to render him harmless. However, none of the gods had enough courage to face the gigantic wolf. Instead, they tried to trick him. They said the wolf was weak and could never break free when he was chained. Fenrir accepted the challenge and let the gods chain him. Unfortunately, he was so immensely strong that he managed to break the strongest fetters as if they were cobwebs.

After that, the gods saw only one alternative left: a magic chain. They ordered the dwarves to make something so strong that it could hold the wolf (hmm, magic chains euh?Oh here comes Angairon again). The result was a soft, thin ribbon: Gleipnir. It was incredibly strong, despite what its size and appearance might suggest. The ribbon was fashioned of six strange elements: the footstep of a cat; the roots of a mountain; a woman’s beard; the breath of fishes; the sinews of a bear; and a bird’s spittle.

The gods tried to trick the wolf again, only this time Fenrir was less eager to show his strength. He saw how thin the chain was, and said that was no pride in breaking such a weak chain. Eventually, though, he agreed, thinking that otherwise his strength and courage would be doubted. Suspecting treachery however, he in turn asked the gods for a token of good will: one of them had to put a hand between his jaws. The gods were not overly eager to do this, knowing what they could expect. Finally, only Tyr agreed, and the gods chained the wolf with Gleipnir. No matter how hard Fenrir struggled, he could not break free from this thin ribbon. In revenge, he bit off Tyr’s hand.(Oh, here is Carcharoth’s bite on to Beren, making him Beren the One handed, just like Tyr was)

Being very pleased with themselves, the gods carried Fenrir off and chained him to a rock (called Gioll) a mile down into the earth. They put a sword between his jaws to prevent him from biting(See below notes). On the day of Ragnarok, Fenrir will break his chains and join the giants in their battle against the gods. He will seek out Odin and devour him. Vidar, Odin’s son, will avenge his father by killing the wolf.


 

That’s what we know of Carcharoth. Son of Draugluin, he was taken as a puppy by Morgoth (I showed above his similliarities with Loki-Fenrir’s father) and was bred by Himself, being fed of flesh. He consumed on of the Silmarills by eating Beren’s hand- that made him feel pain (Don’t know about you, but that Sword stuff with Fenrir seems similliar to me)
Though at Fenrir there are seem pretty little similliarities, the events don’t cease to look familiar

For I don’t know a lot about Dagor Dagorath of who killed whom, I can’t give similliarities on the fights of Ragnarok.

I will keep on looking, taking ideas, and posting at this great post

Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 03:53 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

I don’t know if it has already been said above, but I think that Tolkien used a lot from Loki on to Sauron and Morgoth.

Loki was able to change form-just like Sauron was. He was also very closer to wolves (and under Morgoth’s reign, Sauron had a lot of werewolves under his command-especially those we see at TolSirion sending to kill Beren’s company or Huan). Loki was also known as to be the trickster among the Nordic gods.

This is about Loki:
Loki is one of the major deities in the Norse pantheon. He is a son of the giant Farbauti ("cruel striker") and the giantess Laufey. He is regarded as one of Aesir, but is on occasion their enemy. He is connected with fire and magic, and can assume many different shapes(Sauron’s abilities, Morgoth was also connected to Fire) (horse, falcon, fly). He is crafty and malicious(Sauron was once a Maia of Aule and he knew the way of craft), but is also heroic: in that aspect he can be compared with the trickster from North American myths. The ambivalent god grows progressively more unpleasent, and is directly responsible for the death of Balder, the god of light.

Loki’s mistress is the giantess Angrboda, and with her he is the father of three monsters (Morgoth had himself bred Carcaroth-Fenrir). His wife is Sigyn, who stayed loyal to him, even when the gods punished him for the death of Balder. He was chained (see Angainor) to three large boulders; one under his shoulders, one under his loins and one under his knees. A poisonous snake was placed above his head. The dripping venom that lands on him is caught by Sigyn in a bowl. But every now and then, when the bowl is filled to the brim, she has to leave him to empty it. Then the poison that falls on Loki’s face makes him twist in pain, causing earthquakes.

On the day of Ragnarok(Similliar to Dagor Dagorath-which we can also find in our Plaza Encyclopedia), Loki’s chains will break and he will lead the giants into battle against the gods. Loki is often called the Sly One, the Trickster, the Shape Changer (all these are abilities and names of Sauron also), and the Sky Traveler

According to Georges Dumézil, Loki shows a great resemblance with Syrdon, a demonic creature from Caucasian legends (I will have a research on Syrdon and soon or later I will tell you- but this would get off the Nordic mythology)

BLUE: just infoes
RED: similiarities with Sauron/Morgoth

Well, making differences between Sauron and Morgoth doesn’t really count, since they were pretty similiar in their abilities. Except for Sauron did not have the destructive mania Morgoth had, he was claiming to be His return.

Going now to a point I made above with Fenrir.

Fenrir (or Fenris) is a gigantic and terrible monster in the shape of a wolf (Carcharoth). He is the eldest child of Loki and the giantess Angrboda. The gods learned of a prophecy which stated that the wolf and his family would one day be responsible for the destruction of the world. They caught the wolf and locked him in a cage. Only the god of war, Tyr, dared to feed and take care of the wolf.

When he was still a pup they had nothing to fear, but when the gods saw one day how he had grown(Carcharoth also had grown so much that he had to sleep on to Morgoth’s legs), they decided to render him harmless. However, none of the gods had enough courage to face the gigantic wolf. Instead, they tried to trick him. They said the wolf was weak and could never break free when he was chained. Fenrir accepted the challenge and let the gods chain him. Unfortunately, he was so immensely strong that he managed to break the strongest fetters as if they were cobwebs.

After that, the gods saw only one alternative left: a magic chain. They ordered the dwarves to make something so strong that it could hold the wolf (hmm, magic chains euh?Oh here comes Angairon again). The result was a soft, thin ribbon: Gleipnir. It was incredibly strong, despite what its size and appearance might suggest. The ribbon was fashioned of six strange elements: the footstep of a cat; the roots of a mountain; a woman’s beard; the breath of fishes; the sinews of a bear; and a bird’s spittle.

The gods tried to trick the wolf again, only this time Fenrir was less eager to show his strength. He saw how thin the chain was, and said that was no pride in breaking such a weak chain. Eventually, though, he agreed, thinking that otherwise his strength and courage would be doubted. Suspecting treachery however, he in turn asked the gods for a token of good will: one of them had to put a hand between his jaws. The gods were not overly eager to do this, knowing what they could expect. Finally, only Tyr agreed, and the gods chained the wolf with Gleipnir. No matter how hard Fenrir struggled, he could not break free from this thin ribbon. In revenge, he bit off Tyr’s hand.(Oh, here is Carcharoth’s bite on to Beren, making him Beren the One handed, just like Tyr was)

Being very pleased with themselves, the gods carried Fenrir off and chained him to a rock (called Gioll) a mile down into the earth. They put a sword between his jaws to prevent him from biting(See below notes). On the day of Ragnarok, Fenrir will break his chains and join the giants in their battle against the gods. He will seek out Odin and devour him. Vidar, Odin’s son, will avenge his father by killing the wolf.


 

That’s what we know of Carcharoth. Son of Draugluin, he was taken as a puppy by Morgoth (I showed above his similliarities with Loki-Fenrir’s father) and was bred by Himself, being fed of flesh. He consumed on of the Silmarills by eating Beren’s hand- that made him feel pain (Don’t know about you, but that Sword stuff with Fenrir seems similliar to me)
Though at Fenrir there are seem pretty little similliarities, the events don’t cease to look familiar

For I don’t know a lot about Dagor Dagorath of who killed whom, I can’t give similliarities on the fights of Ragnarok.

I will keep on looking, taking ideas, and posting at this great post

Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 03:54 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
*(Don’t know about you, but that Sword stuff with Fenrir seems similliar to me with the pain of Silmarills)
Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 03:54 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
*(Don’t know about you, but that Sword stuff with Fenrir seems similliar to me with the pain of Silmarills)
halfir 30/Aug/2006 at 04:04 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

But I will also try to track down again some of the lesser known sagas about him.

That would be most interesting. For those who would like to familiarize themselves with the main saga about Olav Haraldson  - KIng and ultimately Saint ( he was canonized in 1164 by Pope Alexander 111),  you can acess the Heimskringla or The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway  - Saga of Olaf Haraldson  by Snorri Sturlason at:

http://omacl.org/Heimskringla/haraldson1.htm

halfir 30/Aug/2006 at 04:04 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

But I will also try to track down again some of the lesser known sagas about him.

That would be most interesting. For those who would like to familiarize themselves with the main saga about Olav Haraldson  - KIng and ultimately Saint ( he was canonized in 1164 by Pope Alexander 111),  you can acess the Heimskringla or The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway  - Saga of Olaf Haraldson  by Snorri Sturlason at:

http://omacl.org/Heimskringla/haraldson1.htm

Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 04:11 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

A good saga is that of Harald Hardradee, I have not been able to read it yet (Unfinished Tales came to stop me from reading it). But here you are if you wish to have a taste:
http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Hardrada.html

Soon or late I will start reading it

Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 04:11 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

A good saga is that of Harald Hardradee, I have not been able to read it yet (Unfinished Tales came to stop me from reading it). But here you are if you wish to have a taste:
http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Hardrada.html

Soon or late I will start reading it

Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 04:45 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
According to Georges Dumézil, Loki shows a great resemblance with Syrdon, a demonic creature from Caucasian legends:
A very good article, and you can find it at this site: http://www.nordic-life.org/nmh/loki.htm
I am still reading it
Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 04:45 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
According to Georges Dumézil, Loki shows a great resemblance with Syrdon, a demonic creature from Caucasian legends:
A very good article, and you can find it at this site: http://www.nordic-life.org/nmh/loki.htm
I am still reading it
halfir 30/Aug/2006 at 04:47 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Lord_Vidum: Wow! This is certainly turning into a Norsefest. Thanks for that lengthy earlier contribution, which I am sure we will need some time to digest, but you have certainly sparked some chords and demonstrated potential resonances.X(
halfir 30/Aug/2006 at 04:47 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Lord_Vidum: Wow! This is certainly turning into a Norsefest. Thanks for that lengthy earlier contribution, which I am sure we will need some time to digest, but you have certainly sparked some chords and demonstrated potential resonances.X(
Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 04:52 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
Thank you Lord Halfir, Seems the first time I hear that
Lord_Vidύm 30/Aug/2006 at 04:52 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
Thank you Lord Halfir, Seems the first time I hear that
Ragnelle 30/Aug/2006 at 10:11 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Lord_Vidúm:  It is great that you got him into the mix, he is quite importaint. Some small comments though:

Loki’s mother is usually considered to be an elf, though I have not found any positive statement as to what she is in either of the Eddas so far.

I’ve only once seen him being called a fire-god (in a not very good ensyclopedia on norse gods), and I am as a loss as to where that comes from. If you can enlighten me on this regard I’ll be greatful. I can not remeber anything in the Eddas that would conect him spesificly to fire and though there are other sources, the Eddas are the main ones. Please help me clear up this mystery.

One simularity with Melkor/Morgoth that you did not mention is that Loki is the blood-brother of Odin, and Melkor and Manwe was said to be "brethren in the thoguht of Iluvatar" (Sil, Valaquenta).

Ragnelle 30/Aug/2006 at 10:11 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Lord_Vidúm:  It is great that you got him into the mix, he is quite importaint. Some small comments though:

Loki’s mother is usually considered to be an elf, though I have not found any positive statement as to what she is in either of the Eddas so far.

I’ve only once seen him being called a fire-god (in a not very good ensyclopedia on norse gods), and I am as a loss as to where that comes from. If you can enlighten me on this regard I’ll be greatful. I can not remeber anything in the Eddas that would conect him spesificly to fire and though there are other sources, the Eddas are the main ones. Please help me clear up this mystery.

One simularity with Melkor/Morgoth that you did not mention is that Loki is the blood-brother of Odin, and Melkor and Manwe was said to be "brethren in the thoguht of Iluvatar" (Sil, Valaquenta).

Lord_Vidύm 31/Aug/2006 at 12:30 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

Regnelle, are you asking for the url of my source page? well take a look at yourself: http://www.pantheon.org/articles/b/balder.html
It is also about Balder the one I give you. Loki was pretty jealous (A characteristic of Morgoth as well) of him, so he participated in his death.

Lord_Vidύm 31/Aug/2006 at 12:30 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

Regnelle, are you asking for the url of my source page? well take a look at yourself: http://www.pantheon.org/articles/b/balder.html
It is also about Balder the one I give you. Loki was pretty jealous (A characteristic of Morgoth as well) of him, so he participated in his death.

Lord_Vidύm 31/Aug/2006 at 05:04 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

Have also a great look at this said on Balder: The others took the dead god, dressed him in crimson cloth, and placed him on a funeral pyre aboard his ship Ringhorn, which passed for the largest in the world. Beside him they lay the body of his wife Nanna, who had died of a broken heart. Balder’s horse and his treasures were also placed on the ship. The pyre was set on fire and the ship was sent to sea by the giantess Hyrrokin.

And have a look at the way Aragorn,Gimli and Legolas "said the last goodbye" to Boromir. I don’t know if the ship burrial ceremony was and in other mythologies, but I am sure it was a part in the Norse Mythologies (some leaders left this world like that, and had their wives alive on the burning ship).

Lord_Vidύm 31/Aug/2006 at 05:04 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

Have also a great look at this said on Balder: The others took the dead god, dressed him in crimson cloth, and placed him on a funeral pyre aboard his ship Ringhorn, which passed for the largest in the world. Beside him they lay the body of his wife Nanna, who had died of a broken heart. Balder’s horse and his treasures were also placed on the ship. The pyre was set on fire and the ship was sent to sea by the giantess Hyrrokin.

And have a look at the way Aragorn,Gimli and Legolas "said the last goodbye" to Boromir. I don’t know if the ship burrial ceremony was and in other mythologies, but I am sure it was a part in the Norse Mythologies (some leaders left this world like that, and had their wives alive on the burning ship).

Ragnelle 01/Sep/2006 at 09:41 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Lord_Vidúm: Thanks. Sadly it did not help me much as I could not find out where the autor of the article had his information from (I am curious about Balder’s crimson cloth as well as I do not find it mentioned in either of the Eddas), but I’l have to contact that web-site for that. I get quite picky when it comes to Norse Mythology.

Ship-burrials were not unheard of among the Vikings. There are some famous findings in Norway of shp-burrials, you can read more about it on this web-page http://www.khm.uio.no/english/viking_ship_museum/index.php, It is a presentation of the museum where the ships are keept and you can read about the findings displayed there. I’ve tried to give the link to the English pages.

Buring was not uncommon, but by no means the only way of burrial, as the finding I’ve refferd to show. Hard to find a ship that has burned . The tradition of buring the still living wife is more Hindu though. There are enough widdows of kings and powerful men in the sagas to gainsay a very wide-spread practice. Animals, and even slaves (trell) would be sacrificed to follow the dead chieftain, but it is not that much bruning alive. The wife of Njål burned with her husband, but they were in a burning house sorrounded by enemies so I don’t really think that was because of custom.

I’ve not finished with Olav and Aragorn jet halfir, but I have found a different saga, earlier than Snorri, that I’m looking at, called The legendary Olafsaga. (Den legendariske Olavssaga). I’ll probably include something from that, but I have only found it in Norwegian so I’ll have to translate any quotes I might use.

Ragnelle 01/Sep/2006 at 09:41 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Lord_Vidúm: Thanks. Sadly it did not help me much as I could not find out where the autor of the article had his information from (I am curious about Balder’s crimson cloth as well as I do not find it mentioned in either of the Eddas), but I’l have to contact that web-site for that. I get quite picky when it comes to Norse Mythology.

Ship-burrials were not unheard of among the Vikings. There are some famous findings in Norway of shp-burrials, you can read more about it on this web-page http://www.khm.uio.no/english/viking_ship_museum/index.php, It is a presentation of the museum where the ships are keept and you can read about the findings displayed there. I’ve tried to give the link to the English pages.

Buring was not uncommon, but by no means the only way of burrial, as the finding I’ve refferd to show. Hard to find a ship that has burned . The tradition of buring the still living wife is more Hindu though. There are enough widdows of kings and powerful men in the sagas to gainsay a very wide-spread practice. Animals, and even slaves (trell) would be sacrificed to follow the dead chieftain, but it is not that much bruning alive. The wife of Njål burned with her husband, but they were in a burning house sorrounded by enemies so I don’t really think that was because of custom.

I’ve not finished with Olav and Aragorn jet halfir, but I have found a different saga, earlier than Snorri, that I’m looking at, called The legendary Olafsaga. (Den legendariske Olavssaga). I’ll probably include something from that, but I have only found it in Norwegian so I’ll have to translate any quotes I might use.

halfir 01/Sep/2006 at 11:12 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: X(

Lord_Vidum: The Balder’ myth - or writings about it had enormous impact on C.SLewis Tolkien’s close friend and fellow English academic, in terms of inspiring him to delve more deeply into the concept of ’Northernness’ which so dominated both Tolkien’s and Lewis’s thinking.

He was immensely moved by Longfellow’s lines -translating Esaias Tegner’s version (1825) of Drapa:

’I heard a voice, that cried,
’Balder the Beautiful
Is dead!, is dead!"
And through the misty air
Passed like the mournful cry
Of sunward sailing cranes>

’I knew nothing about Balder,’ said Lewis, "but instantly I was uplifted  into huge regions  of northern sky, I desired with almost sickening  intensity something never to be described ( except that it is cold, spacious, svere, pale, and remote)...{ Green & Hooper C S Lewis- A Biography- Chptr Early Days}

 

halfir 01/Sep/2006 at 11:12 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: X(

Lord_Vidum: The Balder’ myth - or writings about it had enormous impact on C.SLewis Tolkien’s close friend and fellow English academic, in terms of inspiring him to delve more deeply into the concept of ’Northernness’ which so dominated both Tolkien’s and Lewis’s thinking.

He was immensely moved by Longfellow’s lines -translating Esaias Tegner’s version (1825) of Drapa:

’I heard a voice, that cried,
’Balder the Beautiful
Is dead!, is dead!"
And through the misty air
Passed like the mournful cry
Of sunward sailing cranes>

’I knew nothing about Balder,’ said Lewis, "but instantly I was uplifted  into huge regions  of northern sky, I desired with almost sickening  intensity something never to be described ( except that it is cold, spacious, svere, pale, and remote)...{ Green & Hooper C S Lewis- A Biography- Chptr Early Days}

 

Lord_Vidύm 04/Sep/2006 at 01:24 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

Ragnelle, I am sorry, I didn’t want to mess everything up. Almost everything I knew of Nordic Mythology was in that site oh dear.

Now as for the "burial ceremony" I saw that in a documentary. Well, it happened in Rus (Russia) when there were still Nordic lords there.

Lord_Vidύm 04/Sep/2006 at 01:24 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

Ragnelle, I am sorry, I didn’t want to mess everything up. Almost everything I knew of Nordic Mythology was in that site oh dear.

Now as for the "burial ceremony" I saw that in a documentary. Well, it happened in Rus (Russia) when there were still Nordic lords there.

Ragnelle 04/Sep/2006 at 04:28 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Lord_Vidúm: Don’t worry. it does not seem to be a bad site, I just would not trust it 100%, but then I would take the same view about almost anything found on the internet. And I do not expect Norse Mythology to be very well-known outside Scandinavia. I you do want to know about Norse Myths, I recomend getting to know the Eddas. halfir have given some links to transations avalible on the net, hand you might find these two useful as well:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/ for the Poetic Edda
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/ for the Prose Edda (Snorri’s Edda)

I did not say that burial sermonies never included the burning alive of the widdow, only that it was not a widespread tradition. There’s a difference there.

Again, don’t worry, you have not messed up everything. I’m just picky, at times probably too picky, when it comes to Norse Mythology. Comes with being Norwegian I guess.

Ragnelle 04/Sep/2006 at 04:28 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Lord_Vidúm: Don’t worry. it does not seem to be a bad site, I just would not trust it 100%, but then I would take the same view about almost anything found on the internet. And I do not expect Norse Mythology to be very well-known outside Scandinavia. I you do want to know about Norse Myths, I recomend getting to know the Eddas. halfir have given some links to transations avalible on the net, hand you might find these two useful as well:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/ for the Poetic Edda
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/ for the Prose Edda (Snorri’s Edda)

I did not say that burial sermonies never included the burning alive of the widdow, only that it was not a widespread tradition. There’s a difference there.

Again, don’t worry, you have not messed up everything. I’m just picky, at times probably too picky, when it comes to Norse Mythology. Comes with being Norwegian I guess.

Lord_Vidύm 05/Sep/2006 at 01:21 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

Thanks Halfir/Regnelle about the links. lovely scandinavia

Lord_Vidύm 05/Sep/2006 at 01:21 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

Thanks Halfir/Regnelle about the links. lovely scandinavia

geordie 06/Sep/2006 at 03:58 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
I have some info on Tolkien’s academic pursuits in Old Icelandic [Old Norse], if that’s of any interest to the group -

As we all know, Tolkien was elected to the Rawlinson and Bosworth Chair of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford in 1925. Or, to be precise, the election took place on July 21st 1925, and Tolkien took up the post on October 1st that year.

The subject of ’Anglo-Saxon’ is, or was at that time, a bit of a peculiar one. It could not be studied at the same depth as the Classics, simply because there is a dearth of original material to work with, compared to the ancient works in Latin and Greek. So it was necessary to also study an ’outside, cognate language’. A point made by Tolkien in his paper on reform in the Oxford English School.   Here he writes: ’The centre of the curriculum is actually Anglo-Saxon and parts of Middle-English; while the place occupied by the additional cognate language or languages is increasing, and rightly so. Among the latter Old Icelandic is naturally and deservedly the most prominent’.
’The Oxford English School’ in _The Oxford Magazine May 29th 1930]

Carpenter tells us that the terms ’Old Icelandic’ and ’Old Norse’ mean one and the same thing.

So, I feel it might be of interest to look at Tolkien’s professional interest in the subject. First, a little bit of history, from an invaluable article by Prof. J.S. Ryan, published in an ed. of _Angerthas_, the bulletin of the Norwegian Tolkien Society.


[’J.S. Ryan: The work and preferences of the Professor of Old Norse at the University of Oxford from 1925 to 1945’ in _Angerthas in English 2_: _Angerthas 31: July 1992]

As you see, Ryan has re-titled Tolkien’s professorship! The reasons being that he was writing in a Scandanavian magazine [!] - and that the thrust of his argument is that T. spent more time lecturing on Old Norse subjects than he did on Anglo-Saxon!

Ryan tells us that the Chair of Anglo-Saxon was ’pledged in the will of its founder, Richard Rawlinson, D.C.L, of St. Johns College, Oxford in 1755, and took effect in 1795. By a Statute, sanctioned by Queen Victoria in Council in 1858, the range of the Rawlinson Professor’s lectures was not to be confined to the language of the Anglo-Saxons, but was made to include also ’the history of that people, the old Low-German dialects, and the antiquities of Northern Europe’. Joseph Bosworth, D.D, who had held the chair from 1858 until his death in 1876, had bequeathed further funds [available from 1910] to augment the chairs’ stipend.

Hence the name - the Rawlinson and Bosworth Chair of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford. The first holder of the combined Chair [1916-1924] was W. A. Craigie; a man who had as much influence on Tolkien’s academic life as any of the great men of letters who’d helped him on his way. Craigie was Tolkien’s tutor in Old Icelandic [Tolkien’s special subject for his degree] - and after the war, it was Craigie who got Tolkien a job as junior lexicographer at the New English Dictionary [later to become known as the Oxford English Dictionary]. Craigie was one of the Dictionary’s editors].

Craigie was an expert in Old Icelandic, and had set a course of lectures on that language - and Tolkien followed this example, based [as far as I can tell] on the courses of lectures which he’d been giving at Leeds University , where he’d been appointed Professor of English in 1924. [see letter no. 7 - Tolkien’s application for election to the post].

In Tolkien’s first term [Michaelmas: October-Dec. 1925] , he lectured only on Old English texts, including Beowulf. But in the following terms, and then over the next several years, [Ryan lists the lectures given 1925-1931] he gave a great number of lectures on a great number of subjects. More than the statutes required; I remember he was supposed to give 36 lectures in his first year. He gave 136! He remembered ’I was an assiduous lecturer, which is why I had little time for ’original research’; I hardly published anything’. [paraphrase; from my memory of the BBC radio interview].

In his first term, the subjects he lectured on were:
Gothic [a class]
Old English Philology;
The Verse of Sweet’s Old English Anglo-Saxon Reader;
Exodus [the Old English poem];
Old Icelandic texts [a class]
and an Icelandic discussion class [’for not more than 12 students, their names to be received through their tutors’]

As an aside - one of his students was Joan Blomfield, who in 1981, [as Joan Turville-Petre] published an edition of Tolkien’s lectures on Exodus. And Tolkien ran a club among his fellow Oxford dons, called The Kolbitar, or, the Coal-biters’ - whose aim was to read through the Icelandic sagas in the original language. CS Lewis was an enthusiastic menber. When the club broke up [having read all the sagas] Lewis and Tolkien went on to found another informal group: The Inklings!

Other lecture subjects include:
Volsunga-saga;
The Heroic Poems of the Elder Edda;
The Older Runic Monuments;
Carmina Scaldica: introduction to the reading of Scaldic poetry;
Legends of the Goths;
Baldrs Draumar;
Gudhrunarkvidha en forna;
Atlakvidha;
HaensnaPoris Saga;
Havardhs Saga Halta;
Old Norse Texts [class];
The Germani;
Introduction to the ’Elder Edda’   

It is clear, from Prof. Ryan’s paper, that Tolkien’s reform of the Oxford English School syllabus was a very important one, and one based on the emphasis of the study of Old Icelandic [Old Norse] language and literature.

I hope these notes will be of interest to those whose knowledge of the subject is greater than mine.

geordie 06/Sep/2006 at 03:58 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
I have some info on Tolkien’s academic pursuits in Old Icelandic [Old Norse], if that’s of any interest to the group -

As we all know, Tolkien was elected to the Rawlinson and Bosworth Chair of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford in 1925. Or, to be precise, the election took place on July 21st 1925, and Tolkien took up the post on October 1st that year.

The subject of ’Anglo-Saxon’ is, or was at that time, a bit of a peculiar one. It could not be studied at the same depth as the Classics, simply because there is a dearth of original material to work with, compared to the ancient works in Latin and Greek. So it was necessary to also study an ’outside, cognate language’. A point made by Tolkien in his paper on reform in the Oxford English School.   Here he writes: ’The centre of the curriculum is actually Anglo-Saxon and parts of Middle-English; while the place occupied by the additional cognate language or languages is increasing, and rightly so. Among the latter Old Icelandic is naturally and deservedly the most prominent’.
’The Oxford English School’ in _The Oxford Magazine May 29th 1930]

Carpenter tells us that the terms ’Old Icelandic’ and ’Old Norse’ mean one and the same thing.

So, I feel it might be of interest to look at Tolkien’s professional interest in the subject. First, a little bit of history, from an invaluable article by Prof. J.S. Ryan, published in an ed. of _Angerthas_, the bulletin of the Norwegian Tolkien Society.


[’J.S. Ryan: The work and preferences of the Professor of Old Norse at the University of Oxford from 1925 to 1945’ in _Angerthas in English 2_: _Angerthas 31: July 1992]

As you see, Ryan has re-titled Tolkien’s professorship! The reasons being that he was writing in a Scandanavian magazine [!] - and that the thrust of his argument is that T. spent more time lecturing on Old Norse subjects than he did on Anglo-Saxon!

Ryan tells us that the Chair of Anglo-Saxon was ’pledged in the will of its founder, Richard Rawlinson, D.C.L, of St. Johns College, Oxford in 1755, and took effect in 1795. By a Statute, sanctioned by Queen Victoria in Council in 1858, the range of the Rawlinson Professor’s lectures was not to be confined to the language of the Anglo-Saxons, but was made to include also ’the history of that people, the old Low-German dialects, and the antiquities of Northern Europe’. Joseph Bosworth, D.D, who had held the chair from 1858 until his death in 1876, had bequeathed further funds [available from 1910] to augment the chairs’ stipend.

Hence the name - the Rawlinson and Bosworth Chair of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford. The first holder of the combined Chair [1916-1924] was W. A. Craigie; a man who had as much influence on Tolkien’s academic life as any of the great men of letters who’d helped him on his way. Craigie was Tolkien’s tutor in Old Icelandic [Tolkien’s special subject for his degree] - and after the war, it was Craigie who got Tolkien a job as junior lexicographer at the New English Dictionary [later to become known as the Oxford English Dictionary]. Craigie was one of the Dictionary’s editors].

Craigie was an expert in Old Icelandic, and had set a course of lectures on that language - and Tolkien followed this example, based [as far as I can tell] on the courses of lectures which he’d been giving at Leeds University , where he’d been appointed Professor of English in 1924. [see letter no. 7 - Tolkien’s application for election to the post].

In Tolkien’s first term [Michaelmas: October-Dec. 1925] , he lectured only on Old English texts, including Beowulf. But in the following terms, and then over the next several years, [Ryan lists the lectures given 1925-1931] he gave a great number of lectures on a great number of subjects. More than the statutes required; I remember he was supposed to give 36 lectures in his first year. He gave 136! He remembered ’I was an assiduous lecturer, which is why I had little time for ’original research’; I hardly published anything’. [paraphrase; from my memory of the BBC radio interview].

In his first term, the subjects he lectured on were:
Gothic [a class]
Old English Philology;
The Verse of Sweet’s Old English Anglo-Saxon Reader;
Exodus [the Old English poem];
Old Icelandic texts [a class]
and an Icelandic discussion class [’for not more than 12 students, their names to be received through their tutors’]

As an aside - one of his students was Joan Blomfield, who in 1981, [as Joan Turville-Petre] published an edition of Tolkien’s lectures on Exodus. And Tolkien ran a club among his fellow Oxford dons, called The Kolbitar, or, the Coal-biters’ - whose aim was to read through the Icelandic sagas in the original language. CS Lewis was an enthusiastic menber. When the club broke up [having read all the sagas] Lewis and Tolkien went on to found another informal group: The Inklings!

Other lecture subjects include:
Volsunga-saga;
The Heroic Poems of the Elder Edda;
The Older Runic Monuments;
Carmina Scaldica: introduction to the reading of Scaldic poetry;
Legends of the Goths;
Baldrs Draumar;
Gudhrunarkvidha en forna;
Atlakvidha;
HaensnaPoris Saga;
Havardhs Saga Halta;
Old Norse Texts [class];
The Germani;
Introduction to the ’Elder Edda’   

It is clear, from Prof. Ryan’s paper, that Tolkien’s reform of the Oxford English School syllabus was a very important one, and one based on the emphasis of the study of Old Icelandic [Old Norse] language and literature.

I hope these notes will be of interest to those whose knowledge of the subject is greater than mine.

halfir 06/Sep/2006 at 09:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

geordie: I was immensely excited by your post as it demonstrates so clearly how the philological academic aspect of the Master’s mind fed and enriched the literary and creative.

In your list of Lecture subjects you include:

Volsunga-saga;
The Heroic Poems of the Elder Edda
Introduction to the ’Elder Edda’
 

all of which have been referred to in previous posts  in this thread as inspiring and influencing his fantasy writing.

In England and Always Chptr. Defining The Lord of the Rings- Jared Lobdel observes on the:

’influence of Tolkien’s professsional life on his imaginative life’ and on Tolkien’s statement that :

’his first response on reading a medieval work was to want to write a modern work in the same tradition.’ {ibid}

Your post has demonstrated the very inter-related nature of the ’two worlds’ that coexisted in Tolklien’s mind- the acadmeic and the imaginative, and of the way in which they influenced one another.

Thanks.X(

halfir 06/Sep/2006 at 09:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

geordie: I was immensely excited by your post as it demonstrates so clearly how the philological academic aspect of the Master’s mind fed and enriched the literary and creative.

In your list of Lecture subjects you include:

Volsunga-saga;
The Heroic Poems of the Elder Edda
Introduction to the ’Elder Edda’
 

all of which have been referred to in previous posts  in this thread as inspiring and influencing his fantasy writing.

In England and Always Chptr. Defining The Lord of the Rings- Jared Lobdel observes on the:

’influence of Tolkien’s professsional life on his imaginative life’ and on Tolkien’s statement that :

’his first response on reading a medieval work was to want to write a modern work in the same tradition.’ {ibid}

Your post has demonstrated the very inter-related nature of the ’two worlds’ that coexisted in Tolklien’s mind- the acadmeic and the imaginative, and of the way in which they influenced one another.

Thanks.X(

Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 05:18 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

"The name Gandalf in the english recite is like the names of Hobbits and dwarves. There exists as a name in the ancient Scandinavian (A dwarf had it at Voluspa-one serie of Poems of Edda), that I used it for it seems to contain the word gandr,wand, especially the one that is used for magic and can be explained as "Elvish creature with (magic) wand". Gandalf was no elf, but the men he had realtions with might consider him as one, for his alliagence and friendship with the elves was renowned. Since this name is given to the North generally, we have to assume that the word Gandalf belongs to Westron, but it has been formed by types that doesn’t come from the elvish"-UT-Istari

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe17.htm

I can’t really get too many things from these, but it is just a small filling piece for the whole puzzle.

Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 05:18 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

"The name Gandalf in the english recite is like the names of Hobbits and dwarves. There exists as a name in the ancient Scandinavian (A dwarf had it at Voluspa-one serie of Poems of Edda), that I used it for it seems to contain the word gandr,wand, especially the one that is used for magic and can be explained as "Elvish creature with (magic) wand". Gandalf was no elf, but the men he had realtions with might consider him as one, for his alliagence and friendship with the elves was renowned. Since this name is given to the North generally, we have to assume that the word Gandalf belongs to Westron, but it has been formed by types that doesn’t come from the elvish"-UT-Istari

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe17.htm

I can’t really get too many things from these, but it is just a small filling piece for the whole puzzle.

Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 05:22 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
Sorry wrong linke; http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe03.htm

p7
12. Vigg and Gandalf) | Vindalf, Thrain,
Thekk and Thorin, | Thror, Vit and Lit,
Nyr and Nyrath,-- | now have I told--
Regin and Rathsvith-- | the list aright.

Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 05:22 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
Sorry wrong linke; http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe03.htm

p7
12. Vigg and Gandalf) | Vindalf, Thrain,
Thekk and Thorin, | Thror, Vit and Lit,
Nyr and Nyrath,-- | now have I told--
Regin and Rathsvith-- | the list aright.

Ragnelle 08/Sep/2006 at 02:10 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002
I just though I’ll let you know that due to RL obligations I will not be able to post anything on Aragorn and St. Olav until sometime after the 15th this month.
Ragnelle 08/Sep/2006 at 02:10 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002
I just though I’ll let you know that due to RL obligations I will not be able to post anything on Aragorn and St. Olav until sometime after the 15th this month.
Lord_Vidύm 08/Sep/2006 at 05:11 PM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
Ragnelle, OK, be back soon
Lord_Vidύm 08/Sep/2006 at 05:11 PM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004
Ragnelle, OK, be back soon
Jinniver Thynne 09/Sep/2006 at 11:24 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

Great thread, just what I’ve been looking for!

Odin - another interesting thing to think about regarding the duality of Odin, and how Tolkien used his attributes for both Gandalf and Sauron is that both are supposed to have similar ’powers’ (though I hate terming it in that way like it’s a video game!). Sets up an interesting tension therefore for the struggles that Gandalf must go through in the long years he works towards the down fall of Sauron.

A few observations too - Didn’t Odin have a magical ring which each night would produce more magical rings (of power perhaps?)? Bears a similarity to Sauron, no?

I’ve also noticed the similarity in the destinies of both Morgoth and Loki - chained until the final battle.

The other day I was thinking about Gandalf’s line in Moria:

Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things.

This is quite similar to Nidhoggr, a being which we do not know the nature of, but which gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil. Interesting given that the essence of Morgoth’s evil infuses the very fabric of Arda and is ’gnawing’ at it - and also Nidhoggr is ganwing at Yggdrasil.

Jinniver Thynne 09/Sep/2006 at 11:24 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

Great thread, just what I’ve been looking for!

Odin - another interesting thing to think about regarding the duality of Odin, and how Tolkien used his attributes for both Gandalf and Sauron is that both are supposed to have similar ’powers’ (though I hate terming it in that way like it’s a video game!). Sets up an interesting tension therefore for the struggles that Gandalf must go through in the long years he works towards the down fall of Sauron.

A few observations too - Didn’t Odin have a magical ring which each night would produce more magical rings (of power perhaps?)? Bears a similarity to Sauron, no?

I’ve also noticed the similarity in the destinies of both Morgoth and Loki - chained until the final battle.

The other day I was thinking about Gandalf’s line in Moria:

Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things.

This is quite similar to Nidhoggr, a being which we do not know the nature of, but which gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil. Interesting given that the essence of Morgoth’s evil infuses the very fabric of Arda and is ’gnawing’ at it - and also Nidhoggr is ganwing at Yggdrasil.

halfir 10/Sep/2006 at 02:19 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Didn’t Odin have a magical ring which each night would produce more magical rings

Jinniver Thynne: my post here refers:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=206422&PagePostPosition=1

Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 04:54

 

Sauron as Odin

 

3. Sauron has a golden ring, as does Odin - Draupnir

 

Draupnir was Odin’s golden arm ring. (cf. the Anglo-Saxon arm rings).It is one of the three treasures forged by the dwarf.Eitri. Every ninth night it it dripped eight rings of equal weight.

 

Odin put the magic ring on Balder’s fueral pyre and it was returned to him by Balder via Hermod. Draupnir thus had been through the  funeral fire and  the world of the dead.- and it is interesting to speculate what thoughts this might have conjured in the mind of the Master.

 

And, as Kevin Crossley -Holland observes (The Norse Myths) not I hasten to add in connection with Tolkien’s Ring:

"The ring was, however, a symbol of a close bond and Draupnir  may suggest that there was no limit to the number of people -especially warriors -and poets - who could hope for Odin’s protection. The placing of Draupnir on Balder’s pyre  cannot be without  significance. Did it invest Balder with the power of self-renewal?[my emphasis cf. Sauron’s use of the One to self-renew}

 

 

halfir 10/Sep/2006 at 02:19 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Didn’t Odin have a magical ring which each night would produce more magical rings

Jinniver Thynne: my post here refers:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=206422&PagePostPosition=1

Saturday, August 26, 2006 at 04:54

 

Sauron as Odin

 

3. Sauron has a golden ring, as does Odin - Draupnir

 

Draupnir was Odin’s golden arm ring. (cf. the Anglo-Saxon arm rings).It is one of the three treasures forged by the dwarf.Eitri. Every ninth night it it dripped eight rings of equal weight.

 

Odin put the magic ring on Balder’s fueral pyre and it was returned to him by Balder via Hermod. Draupnir thus had been through the  funeral fire and  the world of the dead.- and it is interesting to speculate what thoughts this might have conjured in the mind of the Master.

 

And, as Kevin Crossley -Holland observes (The Norse Myths) not I hasten to add in connection with Tolkien’s Ring:

"The ring was, however, a symbol of a close bond and Draupnir  may suggest that there was no limit to the number of people -especially warriors -and poets - who could hope for Odin’s protection. The placing of Draupnir on Balder’s pyre  cannot be without  significance. Did it invest Balder with the power of self-renewal?[my emphasis cf. Sauron’s use of the One to self-renew}

 

 

halfir 10/Sep/2006 at 05:53 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I think Scandinavian Paganism, to us here, is more interesting than any other....It is interesting also as the creed of our fathers; the men whose blood still runs in our veins, whom doubtless we still resemble in so many ways...let us look at it as old Thought, and try if we cannot sympathize with it somewhat. {My editing}

I came across this comment on Norse Myth while looking  through Thomas Carlyle’s works for another article. I do not know if Tolkien read Carlyle, but it seems that the Master and the great Victorian essayist had more than a little in common in their approach to these myths and their significance, and Carlyle’s words to me, seem to throw some light on the ’why’ of Tolkien’s great passion for the "Northern Air’ and the concept of the ’Virtuous Pagan’.

I think Scandinavian Paganism, to us here, is more interesting than any other. It is, for one thing, the latest; it continued in these regions of Europe till the eleventh century: eight hundred years ago the Norwegians were still worshippers of Odin. It is interesting also as the creed of our fathers; the men whose blood still runs in our veins, whom doubtless we still resemble in so many ways. Strange: they did believe that, while we believe so differently. Let us look a little at this poor Norse creed, for many reasons. We have tolerable means to do it; for there is another point of interest in these Scandinavian mythologies: that they have been preserved so well. In that strange island Iceland — burst up, the geologists say, by fire from the bottom of the sea; a wild land of barrenness and lava; swallowed many months of every year in black tempests, yet with a wild gleaming beauty in summertime; towering up there, stern and grim, in the North Ocean with its snow jokuls, roaring geysers, sulphur-pools and horrid volcanic chasms, like the waste chaotic battle-field of Frost and Fire — where of all places we least looked for Literature or written memorials, the record of these things was written down. On the seabord of this wild land is a rim of grassy country, where cattle can subsist, and men by means of them and of what the sea yields; and it seems they were poetic men these, men who had deep thoughts in them, and uttered musically their thoughts. Much would be lost, had Iceland not been burst up from the sea, not been discovered by the Northmen! The old Norse Poets were many of them natives of Iceland. Saemund, one of the early Christian Priests there, who perhaps had a lingering fondness for Paganism, collected certain of their old Pagan songs, just about becoming obsolete then — Poems or Chants of a mythic, prophetic, mostly all of a religious character: that is what Norse critics call the Elder or Poetic Edda. Edda, a word of uncertain etymology, is thought to signify Ancestress. Snorro Sturleson, an Iceland gentleman, an extremely notable personage, educated by this Saemund’s grandson, took in hand next, near a century afterwards, to put together, among several other books he wrote, a kind of Prose Synopsis of the whole Mythology; elucidated by new fragments of traditionary verse. A work constructed really with great ingenuity, native talent, what one might call unconscious art; altogether a perspicuous clear work, pleasant reading still: this is the Younger or Prose Edda. By these and the numerous other Sagas, mostly Icelandic, with the commentaries, Icelandic or not, which go on zealously in the North to this day, it is possible to gain some direct insight even yet; and see that old Norse system of Belief, as it were, face to face. Let us forget that it is erroneous Religion; let us look at it as old Thought, and try if we cannot sympathize with it somewhat. {My emphasis}

 

Thomas Carlyle: Lectures on Heroes. Lecture 1: The Hero as Divinity : .Odin: Paganism: Scandinavian Mythology

 

http://www.mcgees.net/fragments/primary%20documents/rhetorical%20theory/Carlyle%20Heroes/divinity.htm#LectureI

 

 

In his famous essay “On Fairy-stories” Tolkien wrote that “Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold.” Ludwig Tieck’s story of the young girl Mary and her encounter with the Elves is one of the very best stories of the German kunstmärchen, or “literary fairy tales.” Here the otherworldly and perilous nature of Faerie that Tolkien later described is very evident. “The Elves” was first published in volume 1 (1812) of Tieck’s three-volume Phantasus. The translation into English by Thomas Carlyle first appeared in German Romance (1827).

 

It appears in Douglas A. Anderson’s Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy although it is not clear if Tolkien had read either it, or indeed anything else either translated by or written by Carlyle.

 

If anyone has further information on the subject of Tolkien’s knowledge of Carlyle (if indeed there was such knowledge) it would be helpful if they could post in this thread.

 

 

halfir 10/Sep/2006 at 05:53 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I think Scandinavian Paganism, to us here, is more interesting than any other....It is interesting also as the creed of our fathers; the men whose blood still runs in our veins, whom doubtless we still resemble in so many ways...let us look at it as old Thought, and try if we cannot sympathize with it somewhat. {My editing}

I came across this comment on Norse Myth while looking  through Thomas Carlyle’s works for another article. I do not know if Tolkien read Carlyle, but it seems that the Master and the great Victorian essayist had more than a little in common in their approach to these myths and their significance, and Carlyle’s words to me, seem to throw some light on the ’why’ of Tolkien’s great passion for the "Northern Air’ and the concept of the ’Virtuous Pagan’.

I think Scandinavian Paganism, to us here, is more interesting than any other. It is, for one thing, the latest; it continued in these regions of Europe till the eleventh century: eight hundred years ago the Norwegians were still worshippers of Odin. It is interesting also as the creed of our fathers; the men whose blood still runs in our veins, whom doubtless we still resemble in so many ways. Strange: they did believe that, while we believe so differently. Let us look a little at this poor Norse creed, for many reasons. We have tolerable means to do it; for there is another point of interest in these Scandinavian mythologies: that they have been preserved so well. In that strange island Iceland — burst up, the geologists say, by fire from the bottom of the sea; a wild land of barrenness and lava; swallowed many months of every year in black tempests, yet with a wild gleaming beauty in summertime; towering up there, stern and grim, in the North Ocean with its snow jokuls, roaring geysers, sulphur-pools and horrid volcanic chasms, like the waste chaotic battle-field of Frost and Fire — where of all places we least looked for Literature or written memorials, the record of these things was written down. On the seabord of this wild land is a rim of grassy country, where cattle can subsist, and men by means of them and of what the sea yields; and it seems they were poetic men these, men who had deep thoughts in them, and uttered musically their thoughts. Much would be lost, had Iceland not been burst up from the sea, not been discovered by the Northmen! The old Norse Poets were many of them natives of Iceland. Saemund, one of the early Christian Priests there, who perhaps had a lingering fondness for Paganism, collected certain of their old Pagan songs, just about becoming obsolete then — Poems or Chants of a mythic, prophetic, mostly all of a religious character: that is what Norse critics call the Elder or Poetic Edda. Edda, a word of uncertain etymology, is thought to signify Ancestress. Snorro Sturleson, an Iceland gentleman, an extremely notable personage, educated by this Saemund’s grandson, took in hand next, near a century afterwards, to put together, among several other books he wrote, a kind of Prose Synopsis of the whole Mythology; elucidated by new fragments of traditionary verse. A work constructed really with great ingenuity, native talent, what one might call unconscious art; altogether a perspicuous clear work, pleasant reading still: this is the Younger or Prose Edda. By these and the numerous other Sagas, mostly Icelandic, with the commentaries, Icelandic or not, which go on zealously in the North to this day, it is possible to gain some direct insight even yet; and see that old Norse system of Belief, as it were, face to face. Let us forget that it is erroneous Religion; let us look at it as old Thought, and try if we cannot sympathize with it somewhat. {My emphasis}

 

Thomas Carlyle: Lectures on Heroes. Lecture 1: The Hero as Divinity : .Odin: Paganism: Scandinavian Mythology

 

http://www.mcgees.net/fragments/primary%20documents/rhetorical%20theory/Carlyle%20Heroes/divinity.htm#LectureI

 

 

In his famous essay “On Fairy-stories” Tolkien wrote that “Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold.” Ludwig Tieck’s story of the young girl Mary and her encounter with the Elves is one of the very best stories of the German kunstmärchen, or “literary fairy tales.” Here the otherworldly and perilous nature of Faerie that Tolkien later described is very evident. “The Elves” was first published in volume 1 (1812) of Tieck’s three-volume Phantasus. The translation into English by Thomas Carlyle first appeared in German Romance (1827).

 

It appears in Douglas A. Anderson’s Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy although it is not clear if Tolkien had read either it, or indeed anything else either translated by or written by Carlyle.

 

If anyone has further information on the subject of Tolkien’s knowledge of Carlyle (if indeed there was such knowledge) it would be helpful if they could post in this thread.

 

 

Jinniver Thynne 10/Sep/2006 at 11:47 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of fairy story - the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the large backcloths - which I could dedicate simply to: to England; to my country. It should possess the tone and quality that I desired, somewhat cool and clear, be redolent of our ’air’ (the clime and soil of the North West, meaning Britain and the hither parts of Europe: not Italy or the Aegean, still less the East), and, while possessing (if I could achieve it) the fair elusive beauty that some call Celtic (though it is rarely found in genuine ancient Celtic things),

This quote from the letter to Milton Waldman always springs to mind too, when i think about the influence of the Norse/Scandinavian myths on Tolkien. One friend has described Tolkien’s work as ’glacial’ which really rings a bell for me. We don’t always get into the heads of the characters in Tolkien’s world, but we do see how they feel through their actions and speech, which reminds me of the way the Norse myths were written - not with the ’modern’ interior monologue, but with thoughts seen thorugh reactions.

Draupnir was Odin’s golden arm ring. (cf. the Anglo-Saxon arm rings).It is one of the three treasures forged by the dwarf.Eitri. Every ninth night it it dripped eight rings of equal weight.

 

Odin put the magic ring on Balder’s fueral pyre and it was returned to him by Balder via Hermod. Draupnir thus had been through the  funeral fire and  the world of the dead.- and it is interesting to speculate what thoughts this might have conjured in the mind of the Master.

Interesting, given that The Ring was forged in fire, a special kind of fire at that, and could only be detsroyed by that same fire (whereas most metals would be destroyed by any old fire); could we call the fire of Mount Doom a ’funeral fire’, or do I go too far? ;)  The World of the Dead reference is interesting, and maybe more relevant, as the Wraiths have in effect entered the world of the dead by accepting their own rings of power.

Of course, finger rings would have been a much more useful literary device than arm rings, as I can’t see even Gollum’s sharp teeth being able to bite through a whole arm!

Jinniver Thynne 10/Sep/2006 at 11:47 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of fairy story - the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the large backcloths - which I could dedicate simply to: to England; to my country. It should possess the tone and quality that I desired, somewhat cool and clear, be redolent of our ’air’ (the clime and soil of the North West, meaning Britain and the hither parts of Europe: not Italy or the Aegean, still less the East), and, while possessing (if I could achieve it) the fair elusive beauty that some call Celtic (though it is rarely found in genuine ancient Celtic things),

This quote from the letter to Milton Waldman always springs to mind too, when i think about the influence of the Norse/Scandinavian myths on Tolkien. One friend has described Tolkien’s work as ’glacial’ which really rings a bell for me. We don’t always get into the heads of the characters in Tolkien’s world, but we do see how they feel through their actions and speech, which reminds me of the way the Norse myths were written - not with the ’modern’ interior monologue, but with thoughts seen thorugh reactions.

Draupnir was Odin’s golden arm ring. (cf. the Anglo-Saxon arm rings).It is one of the three treasures forged by the dwarf.Eitri. Every ninth night it it dripped eight rings of equal weight.

 

Odin put the magic ring on Balder’s fueral pyre and it was returned to him by Balder via Hermod. Draupnir thus had been through the  funeral fire and  the world of the dead.- and it is interesting to speculate what thoughts this might have conjured in the mind of the Master.

Interesting, given that The Ring was forged in fire, a special kind of fire at that, and could only be detsroyed by that same fire (whereas most metals would be destroyed by any old fire); could we call the fire of Mount Doom a ’funeral fire’, or do I go too far? ;)  The World of the Dead reference is interesting, and maybe more relevant, as the Wraiths have in effect entered the world of the dead by accepting their own rings of power.

Of course, finger rings would have been a much more useful literary device than arm rings, as I can’t see even Gollum’s sharp teeth being able to bite through a whole arm!

halfir 10/Sep/2006 at 04:26 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

could we call the fire of Mount Doom a ’funeral fire’, or do I go too far? ;) 

Insofar as it was a fire that destroyed the One , it is possible to use that imagery, although I personally think that is going too far as the ’funeral fire’ in myth was a very ordered ritual- which the destruction of the One in the fires of Orodruin is not.

I would also be reluctant to assert that the potental symbolic links that you and I have touched on were in Tolkien’s mind- but they may  have been. What is quite clear, however, is that Norse myth was tremendously inspirational in the creating of his ME legendarium, far more so than is credited by those who attempt to impose an exclusive  Christological interpretation on the text.

halfir 10/Sep/2006 at 04:26 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

could we call the fire of Mount Doom a ’funeral fire’, or do I go too far? ;) 

Insofar as it was a fire that destroyed the One , it is possible to use that imagery, although I personally think that is going too far as the ’funeral fire’ in myth was a very ordered ritual- which the destruction of the One in the fires of Orodruin is not.

I would also be reluctant to assert that the potental symbolic links that you and I have touched on were in Tolkien’s mind- but they may  have been. What is quite clear, however, is that Norse myth was tremendously inspirational in the creating of his ME legendarium, far more so than is credited by those who attempt to impose an exclusive  Christological interpretation on the text.

Lady d`Ecthelion 10/Sep/2006 at 09:47 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
As I mentioned before, even though I cannot contribute to this thread, I find it a most interesting read!

I remember once, in an old thread here at the Plaza, someone wrote that:
Tolkien’s fantasy world is like a picture on an eternal theme (of the Norse tradition) painted in different (his) colours.
(not quoting exact words, but closest to them as I could remember).
What I read now here seems to prove this statement.

For me personally, however, there shall always be a question unanswered: Why had Master T. decided that the ’true’ English mythological tradition has roots only in the old Norse one, hence "painted" the picture of his fantasy world following this particular "pattern", and trying to exclude the themes from the other myth/folklore/ethnos traditions, which, I am certian, have played a decisive role in forming the English aspect.

Another thing often comes to mind when I read this thread - the thought of how different the approaches can be towards one and the same idea.
Compare Tolkien’s search for the Norse/Germanic roots of the English tradition, on one hand, and on the other - the same idea being exploited by the Nazi in the middle troublesome years of the last century.
Both these approaches highlight the "Ubermensch", yet to what ends!!!
Lady d`Ecthelion 10/Sep/2006 at 09:47 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
As I mentioned before, even though I cannot contribute to this thread, I find it a most interesting read!

I remember once, in an old thread here at the Plaza, someone wrote that:
Tolkien’s fantasy world is like a picture on an eternal theme (of the Norse tradition) painted in different (his) colours.
(not quoting exact words, but closest to them as I could remember).
What I read now here seems to prove this statement.

For me personally, however, there shall always be a question unanswered: Why had Master T. decided that the ’true’ English mythological tradition has roots only in the old Norse one, hence "painted" the picture of his fantasy world following this particular "pattern", and trying to exclude the themes from the other myth/folklore/ethnos traditions, which, I am certian, have played a decisive role in forming the English aspect.

Another thing often comes to mind when I read this thread - the thought of how different the approaches can be towards one and the same idea.
Compare Tolkien’s search for the Norse/Germanic roots of the English tradition, on one hand, and on the other - the same idea being exploited by the Nazi in the middle troublesome years of the last century.
Both these approaches highlight the "Ubermensch", yet to what ends!!!
Lady d`Ecthelion 12/Sep/2006 at 09:36 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Tolkien and Conan the Barbarian

On a site I came accross an intriguing (though not confirmed) information:
Quote:
...blurb by L. Sprague de Camp:
"We sat in the garage for a couple of hours, smoking pipes, drinking beer, and talking about a variety of things. Practically anything in English literature, from Beowulf down, Tolkien had read and could talk intelligently about. He indicated that he ’rather liked’ Howard’s Conan stories"

I don’t know much about this character, so I’m interested to learn...
Do you think there’s a "Conan" in Tolkien’s ME?

Some sources,which (if I’m lucky to have the time for) shall read more closely:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Sprague_de_Camp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conan_the_Barbarian

Lady d`Ecthelion 12/Sep/2006 at 09:36 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Tolkien and Conan the Barbarian

On a site I came accross an intriguing (though not confirmed) information:
Quote:
...blurb by L. Sprague de Camp:
"We sat in the garage for a couple of hours, smoking pipes, drinking beer, and talking about a variety of things. Practically anything in English literature, from Beowulf down, Tolkien had read and could talk intelligently about. He indicated that he ’rather liked’ Howard’s Conan stories"

I don’t know much about this character, so I’m interested to learn...
Do you think there’s a "Conan" in Tolkien’s ME?

Some sources,which (if I’m lucky to have the time for) shall read more closely:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Sprague_de_Camp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conan_the_Barbarian

halfir 15/Sep/2006 at 05:12 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Do you think there’s a "Conan" in Tolkien’s ME?

Decidedly no!

J. R. R. Tolkien defines one end of heroic fantasy, Robert E. Howard defines the other. The two exist on the same genre spectrum, as it were, but still remain far removed from one another and distinct. {The Demarcation of Sword and Sorcery - Joseph A. McCulloughV http://www.blackgate.com/articles/S&S.htm}

McCullough’s essay is excellent in defining and demarcating Heroic Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery.

So there can be little argument that a great deal of separation exists between sword and sorcery and the rest of heroic fantasy when discussing the scope of the narratives. Combine this idea with the obvious gap between the protagonists that populate the genres and a clear distinction begins to develop. Sword and sorcery tells the tales of men who are free from all constraint. Their stature and skill mean they are free from the tyranny of other men. Their birth and raising free them from the morals and mores of society, and the lack of higher powers unbinds them from any concept of fate. Thus the heroes of sword and sorcery become the true representatives of free-will, and through their stories, readers are able to imagine the capabilities and the triumphs of men who are completely free to chart their own destiny. This is likely why sword and sorcery throughout the years has often appealed to a teenage crowd, who feel they are suffering from the pointless tyranny of the elders; while the rest of heroic fantasy, with its duties and obligations, has historically appealed to an older audience who are aware of the realities of such notions. Which is not to say that even old Oxford professors don’t occasionally like to escape from the world of demands into the freedom embodied by Conan the barbarian. {ibid - my emphasis and underline}

Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter (Tolkien: A Look Behind the LOTR} collaborated from 1967-1982 in extending the original Conan series of Texas author Robert Ervin Howard (1906-1936). Howard was probably the moxt influential of those who created what became to be known as ’Sword and Sorcery’- the 20th century offshoot of the 19th century ’bridging’ of Nordic saga with more modern fantasy styles.

Conan, King Kull, Solomon Kane are some of his creations. As a child I was addicted to Conan- but then I discovered Tolkien, and Sword and Sorcery- with its ultimately unrewarding lingusitic style vanished out-of-the-window as I discovered the power of Heroic Fantasy or Romantic Fantasy from the Master- one of the very few who ’had been inside language’, and who breathed that same  ’Northern Air’ which is the very essence of my own being.

halfir 15/Sep/2006 at 05:12 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Do you think there’s a "Conan" in Tolkien’s ME?

Decidedly no!

J. R. R. Tolkien defines one end of heroic fantasy, Robert E. Howard defines the other. The two exist on the same genre spectrum, as it were, but still remain far removed from one another and distinct. {The Demarcation of Sword and Sorcery - Joseph A. McCulloughV http://www.blackgate.com/articles/S&S.htm}

McCullough’s essay is excellent in defining and demarcating Heroic Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery.

So there can be little argument that a great deal of separation exists between sword and sorcery and the rest of heroic fantasy when discussing the scope of the narratives. Combine this idea with the obvious gap between the protagonists that populate the genres and a clear distinction begins to develop. Sword and sorcery tells the tales of men who are free from all constraint. Their stature and skill mean they are free from the tyranny of other men. Their birth and raising free them from the morals and mores of society, and the lack of higher powers unbinds them from any concept of fate. Thus the heroes of sword and sorcery become the true representatives of free-will, and through their stories, readers are able to imagine the capabilities and the triumphs of men who are completely free to chart their own destiny. This is likely why sword and sorcery throughout the years has often appealed to a teenage crowd, who feel they are suffering from the pointless tyranny of the elders; while the rest of heroic fantasy, with its duties and obligations, has historically appealed to an older audience who are aware of the realities of such notions. Which is not to say that even old Oxford professors don’t occasionally like to escape from the world of demands into the freedom embodied by Conan the barbarian. {ibid - my emphasis and underline}

Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter (Tolkien: A Look Behind the LOTR} collaborated from 1967-1982 in extending the original Conan series of Texas author Robert Ervin Howard (1906-1936). Howard was probably the moxt influential of those who created what became to be known as ’Sword and Sorcery’- the 20th century offshoot of the 19th century ’bridging’ of Nordic saga with more modern fantasy styles.

Conan, King Kull, Solomon Kane are some of his creations. As a child I was addicted to Conan- but then I discovered Tolkien, and Sword and Sorcery- with its ultimately unrewarding lingusitic style vanished out-of-the-window as I discovered the power of Heroic Fantasy or Romantic Fantasy from the Master- one of the very few who ’had been inside language’, and who breathed that same  ’Northern Air’ which is the very essence of my own being.

halfir 17/Sep/2006 at 04:13 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In the famous Waldman Letter - Letter # 131- Tolkien wrote:

There is The Children of Hurin, the tragic tale of Turin Turambar and his sister Niniel -of which Turin is the hero: a figure that  might be said (by people who like  that sort of thing, though it is not very useful) to be derived from  elements in Sigurd the Volsung, Oedipus, and the Finnish Kullervo.

Whether its useful or nor, Tolkien certainly did -in Narn I In Hurin (UT)-  owe a literary debt to the Volsunga Saga- the story of Sigurd.

In her essay on the relationship ( Volsunga Saga and Narn: Some Analogies) Gloriana St. Clair argues :

’’Narn’ , an Unfinished Work, shows less polish and craft than The Lord of the Rings revealing its debts to the loriginating work more clearly.’

She goes on:

’In both plots. a sister and brother are involved (Sigmund and Signy; Turin and Nieno); a highborn maiden (Brynhild  is a Valkyrie daughter of Odin’s; Finduilas an elf) loves a mortal hero; a compromise solution (Brynhild’s marriage to Gunnar; Nienor’s possible  marriage to Brandir) fiais  because the hero demonstrates hubris.

Both Turin and Sigurd exhibit the worst excesses of ofermod- pride- which Tolkien wrote about in The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth - a standard feature of several of the earlier sagas. Women with divided loyalties- another feature of the sagas, can be seen in the characters of Aerin in Narn and Signy in the Volsunga Saga.Mim the dwarf in Narn has resonances of Andvari in the Volsunga Saga , and of course the Glaurung/Fafnir  parallels have been commented on many times before.

As his story-telling powers became more developed - as St. Clair observed earlier, Tolkien’s literary debt becomes less obvious- but it is nonetheless there- as an inspiration  which went into his own Cauldron of Story from which the masterpiece of LOTR was to emerge.

 

halfir 17/Sep/2006 at 04:13 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In the famous Waldman Letter - Letter # 131- Tolkien wrote:

There is The Children of Hurin, the tragic tale of Turin Turambar and his sister Niniel -of which Turin is the hero: a figure that  might be said (by people who like  that sort of thing, though it is not very useful) to be derived from  elements in Sigurd the Volsung, Oedipus, and the Finnish Kullervo.

Whether its useful or nor, Tolkien certainly did -in Narn I In Hurin (UT)-  owe a literary debt to the Volsunga Saga- the story of Sigurd.

In her essay on the relationship ( Volsunga Saga and Narn: Some Analogies) Gloriana St. Clair argues :

’’Narn’ , an Unfinished Work, shows less polish and craft than The Lord of the Rings revealing its debts to the loriginating work more clearly.’

She goes on:

’In both plots. a sister and brother are involved (Sigmund and Signy; Turin and Nieno); a highborn maiden (Brynhild  is a Valkyrie daughter of Odin’s; Finduilas an elf) loves a mortal hero; a compromise solution (Brynhild’s marriage to Gunnar; Nienor’s possible  marriage to Brandir) fiais  because the hero demonstrates hubris.

Both Turin and Sigurd exhibit the worst excesses of ofermod- pride- which Tolkien wrote about in The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth - a standard feature of several of the earlier sagas. Women with divided loyalties- another feature of the sagas, can be seen in the characters of Aerin in Narn and Signy in the Volsunga Saga.Mim the dwarf in Narn has resonances of Andvari in the Volsunga Saga , and of course the Glaurung/Fafnir  parallels have been commented on many times before.

As his story-telling powers became more developed - as St. Clair observed earlier, Tolkien’s literary debt becomes less obvious- but it is nonetheless there- as an inspiration  which went into his own Cauldron of Story from which the masterpiece of LOTR was to emerge.

 

Kristanyann 19/Sep/2006 at 06:44 AM
Stablehand of the Mark Points: 231 Posts: 50 Joined: 13/Sep/2006

  I recently visited a replica site of a viking settlement, and the symbol’s and the and the structures were very indicative of influence on the cultures of Lord of the Rings, especially the culture of the Rohirrim. It was quite inspiring to see it right there in front of you. You can touch it. You can feel it. It is real. Deep down we all wish and feel a part of Middle Earth is alive right before us.
  It is also nice to have a textual reference as well, seeing as how I’m posting here in Advanced Lore. I’ll go back to basic lore, thank you. This was very informative.

Please, don’t take offense to this post. No hostility is in it, only bewilderment of tiny round men with hammers.

Kristanyann 19/Sep/2006 at 06:44 AM
Stablehand of the Mark Points: 231 Posts: 50 Joined: 13/Sep/2006

  I recently visited a replica site of a viking settlement, and the symbol’s and the and the structures were very indicative of influence on the cultures of Lord of the Rings, especially the culture of the Rohirrim. It was quite inspiring to see it right there in front of you. You can touch it. You can feel it. It is real. Deep down we all wish and feel a part of Middle Earth is alive right before us.
  It is also nice to have a textual reference as well, seeing as how I’m posting here in Advanced Lore. I’ll go back to basic lore, thank you. This was very informative.

Please, don’t take offense to this post. No hostility is in it, only bewilderment of tiny round men with hammers.

halfir 19/Sep/2006 at 05:02 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

You can touch it. You can feel it.

Kristanyann: As you can Tolkien’s ME when you enter the Enchanted State of his Secondary World. Your post says it all. Thanks for the contribution and welcome to the Plaza and to AL.X( Be sure to come visit here again- you’ll be most welcome.

halfir 19/Sep/2006 at 05:02 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

You can touch it. You can feel it.

Kristanyann: As you can Tolkien’s ME when you enter the Enchanted State of his Secondary World. Your post says it all. Thanks for the contribution and welcome to the Plaza and to AL.X( Be sure to come visit here again- you’ll be most welcome.

Lady d`Ecthelion 22/Sep/2006 at 09:56 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Re: Conan >> Heroic Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery

It does make sense!

I was thinking these days ... about the presence of giants in Tolkien’s tales - that is, the Valar, etc., and how one (Tolkien least, I suppose) could simply not imagine a ’genuine English mythology’ without giants. Rght?

These are queer personages - the giants! I cannot think now of a myth-cycle, especially European, that has no giants in it!

I have found >>this web-page << , where it is absolutely fantastic to follow the "classification" of giants in various mythological traditions - the Norse itself - very rich at that!!!

But it is precisely the latter which seems to "lay concerete foundations" of the ascertainment of how close Tolkien’s interpretation of the ’genuine English mythology’ was to the Old Norse myth-&-folklore tradition, I think.

Not only the Valar are ’giants’, but, let’s also look at this:

Source: Giants in Norse Mythology )
Quote:
In Germanic mythologies – of which Norse mythology, due to its extensive Icelandic sources, is the only one well recorded – the giants (jötnar in Old Norse, a cognate with ettin) are often opposed to the gods.


and also:

Source: Ents
Quote:
Etymology

The word "Ent" was taken from Anglo-Saxon, where it means "giant". (Tolkien extracted the word from the Anglo-Saxon poetry fragments ’orþanc enta geweorc’ = "work of cunning giants" and eald enta geweorc = "old work of giants", which described Roman ruins; see Orthanc).
In this sense of the word, Ents are probably the most ubiquitous of all creatures in fantasy and folklore, perhaps second only to dragons.
The word Ent as it is historically used can refer to any number of large, roughly humanoid creatures, including, but not limited to, giants, trolls, orcs, and even Grendel from the poem Beowulf.

In this meaning of the word, Ents are one of the staples of fantasy and folklore/mythology, alongside wizards, knights, princesses, and dragons, although modern English-speakers would probably not call them by their traditional name.

Along with Ettin and Old Norse Jotun, "ent" came from Common Germanic etunaz.


However,
In ’Nomenclature’ - "The LOTR - Reader’s Companion" - W.Hammond and Chr.Scull, we read the following:
Quote:
It is actaully an OE word for giant, which is thus rightly according to the system attributed to Rohan, but the Ents of this tale are not in form or character derived from Germanic mythology.

This sentence greatly puzzles me, to tell you the truth!
I’d be glad to hear some opinions and views of how you understand the distinction explicitly underlined!
Lady d`Ecthelion 22/Sep/2006 at 09:56 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Re: Conan >> Heroic Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery

It does make sense!

I was thinking these days ... about the presence of giants in Tolkien’s tales - that is, the Valar, etc., and how one (Tolkien least, I suppose) could simply not imagine a ’genuine English mythology’ without giants. Rght?

These are queer personages - the giants! I cannot think now of a myth-cycle, especially European, that has no giants in it!

I have found >>this web-page << , where it is absolutely fantastic to follow the "classification" of giants in various mythological traditions - the Norse itself - very rich at that!!!

But it is precisely the latter which seems to "lay concerete foundations" of the ascertainment of how close Tolkien’s interpretation of the ’genuine English mythology’ was to the Old Norse myth-&-folklore tradition, I think.

Not only the Valar are ’giants’, but, let’s also look at this:

Source: Giants in Norse Mythology )
Quote:
In Germanic mythologies – of which Norse mythology, due to its extensive Icelandic sources, is the only one well recorded – the giants (jötnar in Old Norse, a cognate with ettin) are often opposed to the gods.


and also:

Source: Ents
Quote:
Etymology

The word "Ent" was taken from Anglo-Saxon, where it means "giant". (Tolkien extracted the word from the Anglo-Saxon poetry fragments ’orþanc enta geweorc’ = "work of cunning giants" and eald enta geweorc = "old work of giants", which described Roman ruins; see Orthanc).
In this sense of the word, Ents are probably the most ubiquitous of all creatures in fantasy and folklore, perhaps second only to dragons.
The word Ent as it is historically used can refer to any number of large, roughly humanoid creatures, including, but not limited to, giants, trolls, orcs, and even Grendel from the poem Beowulf.

In this meaning of the word, Ents are one of the staples of fantasy and folklore/mythology, alongside wizards, knights, princesses, and dragons, although modern English-speakers would probably not call them by their traditional name.

Along with Ettin and Old Norse Jotun, "ent" came from Common Germanic etunaz.


However,
In ’Nomenclature’ - "The LOTR - Reader’s Companion" - W.Hammond and Chr.Scull, we read the following:
Quote:
It is actaully an OE word for giant, which is thus rightly according to the system attributed to Rohan, but the Ents of this tale are not in form or character derived from Germanic mythology.

This sentence greatly puzzles me, to tell you the truth!
I’d be glad to hear some opinions and views of how you understand the distinction explicitly underlined!
Ragnelle 23/Sep/2006 at 03:10 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

For one, giants are more often conected to stone - at least the jotuns are. Trolls are of course a kind of giant, though not quite the same, and they turn to stone at the touch of the sun. The jotuns live (mostly) in the mountains, not in the forest. The ents are almost trees. So there the form is very different.

The character too is different as giants can be rather haisty and are mostly decribed as a bit stupid, or at least easily outwitted. They also are shown as delighting in caos and destruction (not always, but often) and the jotuns are actually forces of caos, as opposed to the æsir that are forces of order. The ents may be slow, but they are not stupid, and they do not delight in destruction.

Ragnelle 23/Sep/2006 at 03:10 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

For one, giants are more often conected to stone - at least the jotuns are. Trolls are of course a kind of giant, though not quite the same, and they turn to stone at the touch of the sun. The jotuns live (mostly) in the mountains, not in the forest. The ents are almost trees. So there the form is very different.

The character too is different as giants can be rather haisty and are mostly decribed as a bit stupid, or at least easily outwitted. They also are shown as delighting in caos and destruction (not always, but often) and the jotuns are actually forces of caos, as opposed to the æsir that are forces of order. The ents may be slow, but they are not stupid, and they do not delight in destruction.

Lady d`Ecthelion 23/Sep/2006 at 11:00 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I see ... Although, it is correct (right? ) that the Æsir and the Vanir were giants, too, and Tolkien’s giants seem more resembling them, rather than the jotuns.

Anyway, another question here.

Are the Elves as mythical personages invented first in the Old Norse myth-folklore tradition?

Excuse me for asking so directly, without going, istead, to find the relevant info in books.... but on the other hand, the only book I think I can probably find a possible answer in (also, the only appropriate book I have available in my library ) would perhaps be "Western Mythology"-J.Campbell (I can’t now remember reading something particularly said about the Elves, so I’ll have to browse the book again).
Lady d`Ecthelion 23/Sep/2006 at 11:00 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I see ... Although, it is correct (right? ) that the Æsir and the Vanir were giants, too, and Tolkien’s giants seem more resembling them, rather than the jotuns.

Anyway, another question here.

Are the Elves as mythical personages invented first in the Old Norse myth-folklore tradition?

Excuse me for asking so directly, without going, istead, to find the relevant info in books.... but on the other hand, the only book I think I can probably find a possible answer in (also, the only appropriate book I have available in my library ) would perhaps be "Western Mythology"-J.Campbell (I can’t now remember reading something particularly said about the Elves, so I’ll have to browse the book again).
Ragnelle 24/Sep/2006 at 06:41 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Both Æsir and Vanir were gods (two different races/peoples of gods) and I would not call them giants. Jotun is more commonly translated ’giant’ in English, and they are similar to the rise which is a giant. Of course the gods could be imagined to be of gigantic propostions, but in many stories they look close enough to mortals as to be taken for normal people. In the story of Tor’s journey to Útgarda-Loki one importaint point is how big the jotuns they meet are. The first night in Jotumheimen (the land of the jotuns) they take refuge in something they think is a big house, and it turns out to be the glove of the jotun Skrymir. When they come to Utgard, the people they meet are rather big as well. At the end of the story it turns out that things have not been as they seemed, but even so the jotuns are generally described as taller/bigger than the gods.

We don’t know very much of the elves in Norse myths. They are mentioned, but not much is said about them and they don’t figure much in the stories preserved. The dark elves (Døkkalvir) come into several stories, but they are dwarves, not elves. I’m not sure which folklore was first with elves, or even if it is possible to find out, but I have the impresson that they are conected to the folklore of Northen Europe and that the tradition is strongest on the Brittish Isles.

Ragnelle 24/Sep/2006 at 06:41 AM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Both Æsir and Vanir were gods (two different races/peoples of gods) and I would not call them giants. Jotun is more commonly translated ’giant’ in English, and they are similar to the rise which is a giant. Of course the gods could be imagined to be of gigantic propostions, but in many stories they look close enough to mortals as to be taken for normal people. In the story of Tor’s journey to Útgarda-Loki one importaint point is how big the jotuns they meet are. The first night in Jotumheimen (the land of the jotuns) they take refuge in something they think is a big house, and it turns out to be the glove of the jotun Skrymir. When they come to Utgard, the people they meet are rather big as well. At the end of the story it turns out that things have not been as they seemed, but even so the jotuns are generally described as taller/bigger than the gods.

We don’t know very much of the elves in Norse myths. They are mentioned, but not much is said about them and they don’t figure much in the stories preserved. The dark elves (Døkkalvir) come into several stories, but they are dwarves, not elves. I’m not sure which folklore was first with elves, or even if it is possible to find out, but I have the impresson that they are conected to the folklore of Northen Europe and that the tradition is strongest on the Brittish Isles.

Lady d`Ecthelion 24/Sep/2006 at 09:48 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Thank you, Lady R.! You’re so helpful!
Lady d`Ecthelion 24/Sep/2006 at 09:48 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Thank you, Lady R.! You’re so helpful!
halfir 24/Sep/2006 at 11:33 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I find the whole  issue of the size of elves very confusing, in terms of which mythological stream gave them the gravitas of the size of Tolklienian elves, as opposed to the diminutive gossamer creatures of Shakespeare and Drayton and their Victorian inheritors, which Tolkien so hated.

Do Tolkien’s elves come from Norse /Germanic legend or from Celtic?

I must admit I have always seen Tolkien’s elves as being modeled on the Tuatha de Danann of Celtic myth and legend, although these were not intitially elves or fairies but Gods.They are also known as the sidhe although this relates to phase of their history in which, defeated by the Milesians, they fled underground and in time they became indistinguishable from the fairies - and thus became seen as the dimunuitive creatures that Shakespeare and Drayton wrote about.

But were there elves who were of Tolkienian stature in Norse and Germanic myth and legend? The record appears both confused and confusing, and Ragnelle observes:

We don’t know very much of the elves in Norse myths. They are mentioned, but not much is said about them and they don’t figure much in the stories preserved. The dark elves (Døkkalvir) come into several stories, but they are dwarves, not elves

 

halfir 24/Sep/2006 at 11:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I find the whole  issue of the size of elves very confusing, in terms of which mythological stream gave them the gravitas of the size of Tolklienian elves, as opposed to the diminutive gossamer creatures of Shakespeare and Drayton and their Victorian inheritors, which Tolkien so hated.

Do Tolkien’s elves come from Norse /Germanic legend or from Celtic?

I must admit I have always seen Tolkien’s elves as being modeled on the Tuatha de Danann of Celtic myth and legend, although these were not intitially elves or fairies but Gods.They are also known as the sidhe although this relates to phase of their history in which, defeated by the Milesians, they fled underground and in time they became indistinguishable from the fairies - and thus became seen as the dimunuitive creatures that Shakespeare and Drayton wrote about.

But were there elves who were of Tolkienian stature in Norse and Germanic myth and legend? The record appears both confused and confusing, and Ragnelle observes:

We don’t know very much of the elves in Norse myths. They are mentioned, but not much is said about them and they don’t figure much in the stories preserved. The dark elves (Døkkalvir) come into several stories, but they are dwarves, not elves

 

Ragnelle 25/Sep/2006 at 12:37 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

My general impression is that the elves are of Tolkienian stature in the Norse myths, at least I recognized his elves as ’normal’ when I first read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Most of my impresions of elves were at time from the Norse / later Scandinavian traditions, though the material is so sparse that it can suport most anything. I think the reason I imagined elves of human stature, is that Lauvøye - Loki’s mother, as presented to me as an elf, and that made no sense if the elves were dimunutive. I also coneted the elves to the hulder-people, which are of human stature as well.

But I do agree that the Tuatha de Danann seems more likely to be the models for Tolkien’s elves.

Ragnelle 25/Sep/2006 at 12:37 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

My general impression is that the elves are of Tolkienian stature in the Norse myths, at least I recognized his elves as ’normal’ when I first read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Most of my impresions of elves were at time from the Norse / later Scandinavian traditions, though the material is so sparse that it can suport most anything. I think the reason I imagined elves of human stature, is that Lauvøye - Loki’s mother, as presented to me as an elf, and that made no sense if the elves were dimunutive. I also coneted the elves to the hulder-people, which are of human stature as well.

But I do agree that the Tuatha de Danann seems more likely to be the models for Tolkien’s elves.

halfir 25/Sep/2006 at 07:11 PM
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X(
halfir 25/Sep/2006 at 07:11 PM
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X(
Captain Bingo 26/Sep/2006 at 10:32 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
I remember a documentary on belief in Elves in Modern Iceland & a man reported seeing a human-sized Elf crying on the edge of a building site, upset that her ’home’ was being destroyed by the builders.

Now that doesn’t prove anything about whether Elves are ’real’ or not, but what it does show is that a belief in Elves still survives in Scandinavian countries & that in folk belief down the ages they have been concieved as being human sized.

I think I’m right in saying that ’Odinism’ is an officially recognised religion in Iceland.
Captain Bingo 26/Sep/2006 at 10:32 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
I remember a documentary on belief in Elves in Modern Iceland & a man reported seeing a human-sized Elf crying on the edge of a building site, upset that her ’home’ was being destroyed by the builders.

Now that doesn’t prove anything about whether Elves are ’real’ or not, but what it does show is that a belief in Elves still survives in Scandinavian countries & that in folk belief down the ages they have been concieved as being human sized.

I think I’m right in saying that ’Odinism’ is an officially recognised religion in Iceland.
halfir 26/Sep/2006 at 04:48 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Captain Bingo:it does show is that a belief in Elves still survives in Scandinavian countries & that in folk belief down the ages they have been concieved as being human sized.

Thanks for that input. Residual belief  in modern society is indeed one way to verify the truth of the matter. Indeed , your comment spurred me to actually  using my large library of Scandinavian mythology and writings on it, rather than simply looking at it sitting on its shelves!

In her excellent study of Norse myth the distinguished Norse scholar Margaret Clunies Ross writes {Prolonged Echoes Old Norse Myths in medieval Northern society Vol1: the myths}:

’I argued at the beginning of this discussion of the attribute of spatial location as a criterion for classsifying classes of being in Norse myth that it produced two groups, gods, humans, and elves on the one hand,and giants and dwarves on the other.’ { Chptr 2:  The Old Norse Cultural Code:Concepts and Ideologies -my emphasis}.

and

’The location of Alfheimr: the world of the elves, is not clear, though the closeness of the elves’ interests to those of the gods is suggested by formulae in eddic poetry that link the two groups; cf. Volsupa 48, Prymskvioa 7’ {ibid. Footnote 11}

The parallel between the closeness of the elves ’interests to those of the gods in Norse myth and in Tolkien’s ME legendarium is  also an interesting one to contemplate.

I would welcome Ragnelle’s thoughts both on Alfheimr and on the point of the closeness of the elves interests to those of the gods and its Tolkienian parallel.

halfir 26/Sep/2006 at 04:48 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Captain Bingo:it does show is that a belief in Elves still survives in Scandinavian countries & that in folk belief down the ages they have been concieved as being human sized.

Thanks for that input. Residual belief  in modern society is indeed one way to verify the truth of the matter. Indeed , your comment spurred me to actually  using my large library of Scandinavian mythology and writings on it, rather than simply looking at it sitting on its shelves!

In her excellent study of Norse myth the distinguished Norse scholar Margaret Clunies Ross writes {Prolonged Echoes Old Norse Myths in medieval Northern society Vol1: the myths}:

’I argued at the beginning of this discussion of the attribute of spatial location as a criterion for classsifying classes of being in Norse myth that it produced two groups, gods, humans, and elves on the one hand,and giants and dwarves on the other.’ { Chptr 2:  The Old Norse Cultural Code:Concepts and Ideologies -my emphasis}.

and

’The location of Alfheimr: the world of the elves, is not clear, though the closeness of the elves’ interests to those of the gods is suggested by formulae in eddic poetry that link the two groups; cf. Volsupa 48, Prymskvioa 7’ {ibid. Footnote 11}

The parallel between the closeness of the elves ’interests to those of the gods in Norse myth and in Tolkien’s ME legendarium is  also an interesting one to contemplate.

I would welcome Ragnelle’s thoughts both on Alfheimr and on the point of the closeness of the elves interests to those of the gods and its Tolkienian parallel.

Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Sep/2006 at 08:49 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
And while the ’Elves’ theme continues, I would like to "throw" in yet another question.

Where in Tolkien’s Legendarium is the Norse Valhalla - O.N. Valhöll, "Hall of the slain?

Is this the place known as Halls of Mandos (not very likely, is it ), or is it the Halls of Makar and his fierce sister Meassё (BoLT-I)?
(Actually, Tolkien abandoned those two characters in the later writings, hence - their "abode", too.)
Or ... it yet could be the Halls of Tulkas.

What do you think?
Of course, there are obvious differences between each of the above suggested variants of such "halls" and Tolkien’s interpretation, but we couldn’t have expected the same, could’ve we?
Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Sep/2006 at 08:49 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
And while the ’Elves’ theme continues, I would like to "throw" in yet another question.

Where in Tolkien’s Legendarium is the Norse Valhalla - O.N. Valhöll, "Hall of the slain?

Is this the place known as Halls of Mandos (not very likely, is it ), or is it the Halls of Makar and his fierce sister Meassё (BoLT-I)?
(Actually, Tolkien abandoned those two characters in the later writings, hence - their "abode", too.)
Or ... it yet could be the Halls of Tulkas.

What do you think?
Of course, there are obvious differences between each of the above suggested variants of such "halls" and Tolkien’s interpretation, but we couldn’t have expected the same, could’ve we?
halfir 26/Sep/2006 at 09:28 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Aldoriana:The dangers of a thread such as this is that we pursue resonances and parallels too far. I do not for one minute believe that Tolkien necessarilly  was inspired by every aspect of Norse myth that he read about.

He created in that amazing mind of his his own Cauldron of Story and many things went into it. What came out of the process of transmutation that is the ME legendarium is his, although aspected at times with the overarching mythical constructs that he had taken from RL myth. But to seek a one- to -one parallell in all things is, I think both wrong and dangerous, and I personally do not see anything in the ME Legendarium that compares with Valholl -the Hall of the Slain, which is most extensively dealt with in the Gylfaginning.

There is no concept in ME that all who fall in battle are the adopted sons of Eru, or of any of the Valar, a concept that is a cornersone of Valholl where all who bravely  fall in battle are the adopted sons of Odin.

Moreover there is no resonance of another aspect of Valholl, that it houses the warrior dead and exempts them from the mortality to which all humans are subject , because they are needed for the defence of the Gods at Ragnarok.

Indeed human mortality is a gift in Tolkien’s eyes- though misunderstoof by many - and there is no esacpe from mortality, such as Valholl offers slain warriors. Indeed the ultimate fate of men is something we read little or nothing of in the ME legendarium.

halfir 26/Sep/2006 at 09:28 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Aldoriana:The dangers of a thread such as this is that we pursue resonances and parallels too far. I do not for one minute believe that Tolkien necessarilly  was inspired by every aspect of Norse myth that he read about.

He created in that amazing mind of his his own Cauldron of Story and many things went into it. What came out of the process of transmutation that is the ME legendarium is his, although aspected at times with the overarching mythical constructs that he had taken from RL myth. But to seek a one- to -one parallell in all things is, I think both wrong and dangerous, and I personally do not see anything in the ME Legendarium that compares with Valholl -the Hall of the Slain, which is most extensively dealt with in the Gylfaginning.

There is no concept in ME that all who fall in battle are the adopted sons of Eru, or of any of the Valar, a concept that is a cornersone of Valholl where all who bravely  fall in battle are the adopted sons of Odin.

Moreover there is no resonance of another aspect of Valholl, that it houses the warrior dead and exempts them from the mortality to which all humans are subject , because they are needed for the defence of the Gods at Ragnarok.

Indeed human mortality is a gift in Tolkien’s eyes- though misunderstoof by many - and there is no esacpe from mortality, such as Valholl offers slain warriors. Indeed the ultimate fate of men is something we read little or nothing of in the ME legendarium.

halfir 26/Sep/2006 at 10:36 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle wrote: Most of my impresions of elves were at time from the Norse / later Scandinavian traditions, though the material is so sparse that it can suport most anything

The paucity of information surrounding the Norse concept of elves that Ragnelle referred to is a point made by several other specialist on Norse mythology.

John Lindow- a professor at Berkely, California,specializing in Scandinavian medieval studies and folklore, in Norse Mythology comments:

’The formula ’aesir and elves’ is a commonplace in eddic poetry...despite this ...however..little concrete is known about them {Chapter 3 Deities, Themes , And Concepts}. Only two are actually named Volund and Dain, and the former’s smithying identifies him closer with the dwarves- albeit that he is prince of the alfar {Volundarkvida} and the latter’s name- Dain  {Havamal} appears more frequently as a dwarf name.

In Gylfaginning Snorri Struluison distinguishes between light elves and dark elves:

’The light elves are fairer than the sun in appearance, but the dark-elves are blacker than pitch.’

But as Snorri also says that the dwarves live in Svartalfaheim - World of the black elves- it is unclear if he intended a distinction between dwarves and black elves.

Ari Óðinssen in a note in his translation identifies a  different world for both light and black elves:

 

"Nine worlds are Asgarth, home of the Aesir, 
Ljossalfheimr, home of the ljossalfar, or ’light’ elves, 
Mithgarth, ’middle-ground’ home of mankind, 
Vanaheimr, home of the Vanir, in this manuscript referred to by the Anglo-Saxon term Wanes, 
Jotunheimr, home of the Jotnar, or ’giants’, 
Muspellheimr, firey region, home of Surt, 
Svartalfheimr, home of the svartalfar, or ’dark’ elves, 
Niflheimr, bitter cold region, 
Helgardhr, home of Hela and the newly dead
" {my emphasis}

 

And a web site - Swain Wodening Canote http://www.ealdriht.org/cosmo1.html gives these definitions of those worlds:

 

Alfheimr/ *Ælfham

Alfheimr is the home of the elves and was given as a gift to the god Fréa for his first tooth. It was thought of as a place of great beauty, as were its inhabitants. Many believe it lies near Ágarðr.

Svartálfheimr/*Sweartælfham

Svartálfheimr is the home of the Svartálfar, the black elves. Their identity is unclear though a few believe them the same as the Dokkálfar or "dark elves." Still others hold they are the dwarves of Norse mythology. It is thought of as a subterranean region and folk tales suggest it can be accessed through caves in Midgarðr.

So as Ragnelle has already warned us, the picture regarding elves in Norse myth is very unclear.

halfir 26/Sep/2006 at 10:36 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle wrote: Most of my impresions of elves were at time from the Norse / later Scandinavian traditions, though the material is so sparse that it can suport most anything

The paucity of information surrounding the Norse concept of elves that Ragnelle referred to is a point made by several other specialist on Norse mythology.

John Lindow- a professor at Berkely, California,specializing in Scandinavian medieval studies and folklore, in Norse Mythology comments:

’The formula ’aesir and elves’ is a commonplace in eddic poetry...despite this ...however..little concrete is known about them {Chapter 3 Deities, Themes , And Concepts}. Only two are actually named Volund and Dain, and the former’s smithying identifies him closer with the dwarves- albeit that he is prince of the alfar {Volundarkvida} and the latter’s name- Dain  {Havamal} appears more frequently as a dwarf name.

In Gylfaginning Snorri Struluison distinguishes between light elves and dark elves:

’The light elves are fairer than the sun in appearance, but the dark-elves are blacker than pitch.’

But as Snorri also says that the dwarves live in Svartalfaheim - World of the black elves- it is unclear if he intended a distinction between dwarves and black elves.

Ari Óðinssen in a note in his translation identifies a  different world for both light and black elves:

 

"Nine worlds are Asgarth, home of the Aesir, 
Ljossalfheimr, home of the ljossalfar, or ’light’ elves, 
Mithgarth, ’middle-ground’ home of mankind, 
Vanaheimr, home of the Vanir, in this manuscript referred to by the Anglo-Saxon term Wanes, 
Jotunheimr, home of the Jotnar, or ’giants’, 
Muspellheimr, firey region, home of Surt, 
Svartalfheimr, home of the svartalfar, or ’dark’ elves, 
Niflheimr, bitter cold region, 
Helgardhr, home of Hela and the newly dead
" {my emphasis}

 

And a web site - Swain Wodening Canote http://www.ealdriht.org/cosmo1.html gives these definitions of those worlds:

 

Alfheimr/ *Ælfham

Alfheimr is the home of the elves and was given as a gift to the god Fréa for his first tooth. It was thought of as a place of great beauty, as were its inhabitants. Many believe it lies near Ágarðr.

Svartálfheimr/*Sweartælfham

Svartálfheimr is the home of the Svartálfar, the black elves. Their identity is unclear though a few believe them the same as the Dokkálfar or "dark elves." Still others hold they are the dwarves of Norse mythology. It is thought of as a subterranean region and folk tales suggest it can be accessed through caves in Midgarðr.

So as Ragnelle has already warned us, the picture regarding elves in Norse myth is very unclear.

Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Sep/2006 at 10:45 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Aldoriana:The dangers of a thread such as this is that we pursue resonances and parallels too far.
...
But to seek a one- to -one parallell in all things is, I think both wrong and dangerous,...


No. I do not have this in mind, either! Of course, I do not tend to seek a ’one-to-one’ parallel for sure! I was just asking of whether there might be a parallel / similarity between Odin’s Valhalla and Tolkien’s Valar’s Halls.

Quote:
I do not for one minute believe that Tolkien necessarilly was inspired by every aspect of Norse myth that he read about.

He created in that amazing mind of his his own Cauldron of Story and many things went into it. What came out of the process of transmutation that is the ME legendarium is his, although aspected at times with the overarching mythical constructs that he had taken from RL myth.


I could not agree more! This is what makes his writings uniquie, isn’t it!
Quote:
... and I personally do not see naything in the ME Legendarium that compares with Valholl -the Hall of the Slain, which is most extensively dealt with in the Gylfaginning.

There is no concept in ME that all who fall in battle are the adopted sons of Eru, or of any of the Valar, a concept that is a cornersone of Valholl where all who bravely fall in battle are the adopted sons of Odin.

Moreover there is no resonance of another aspect of Valholl, that it houses the warrior dead and exempts them from the mortality to which all humans are subject , because they are needed for the defence of the Gods at Ragnarok.

Indeed human mortality is a gift in Tolkien’s eyes- though misunderstoof by many - and there is no esacpe from mortality, such as Valholl offers slain warriors. Indeed the ultimate fate of men is something we read little or nothing of in the ME legendarium.




Yet, the Valhalla, Ragnarok etc. - myths, mostly originating from, and being mostly "located" in Noerthern+Scandinavian Europe, did have its historically explained spreading and impact in the British Isles, too. Hence - onto the English mythological tradition, I believe ... which Master T. wished to revive. Even though I would not expect to find ’one-to-one’ parallels between his "soup" and that of the ON-myths, we can’t deny the similarities. Right?
Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Sep/2006 at 10:45 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Aldoriana:The dangers of a thread such as this is that we pursue resonances and parallels too far.
...
But to seek a one- to -one parallell in all things is, I think both wrong and dangerous,...


No. I do not have this in mind, either! Of course, I do not tend to seek a ’one-to-one’ parallel for sure! I was just asking of whether there might be a parallel / similarity between Odin’s Valhalla and Tolkien’s Valar’s Halls.

Quote:
I do not for one minute believe that Tolkien necessarilly was inspired by every aspect of Norse myth that he read about.

He created in that amazing mind of his his own Cauldron of Story and many things went into it. What came out of the process of transmutation that is the ME legendarium is his, although aspected at times with the overarching mythical constructs that he had taken from RL myth.


I could not agree more! This is what makes his writings uniquie, isn’t it!
Quote:
... and I personally do not see naything in the ME Legendarium that compares with Valholl -the Hall of the Slain, which is most extensively dealt with in the Gylfaginning.

There is no concept in ME that all who fall in battle are the adopted sons of Eru, or of any of the Valar, a concept that is a cornersone of Valholl where all who bravely fall in battle are the adopted sons of Odin.

Moreover there is no resonance of another aspect of Valholl, that it houses the warrior dead and exempts them from the mortality to which all humans are subject , because they are needed for the defence of the Gods at Ragnarok.

Indeed human mortality is a gift in Tolkien’s eyes- though misunderstoof by many - and there is no esacpe from mortality, such as Valholl offers slain warriors. Indeed the ultimate fate of men is something we read little or nothing of in the ME legendarium.




Yet, the Valhalla, Ragnarok etc. - myths, mostly originating from, and being mostly "located" in Noerthern+Scandinavian Europe, did have its historically explained spreading and impact in the British Isles, too. Hence - onto the English mythological tradition, I believe ... which Master T. wished to revive. Even though I would not expect to find ’one-to-one’ parallels between his "soup" and that of the ON-myths, we can’t deny the similarities. Right?
halfir 27/Sep/2006 at 04:00 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

aldoriana:There are some similarities, clearly, or there would be no way for his myth to fit into the larger mythic tradition. But he ultimately ’jettisoned’ the idea of a ’myth for England’- (which was never his phrase anyway) as is clear from Letter # 131:

’my crest has long since fallen’

and the approach that is contained in BOLT 1 disappears in the later development of the Legendarium.

 

halfir 27/Sep/2006 at 04:00 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

aldoriana:There are some similarities, clearly, or there would be no way for his myth to fit into the larger mythic tradition. But he ultimately ’jettisoned’ the idea of a ’myth for England’- (which was never his phrase anyway) as is clear from Letter # 131:

’my crest has long since fallen’

and the approach that is contained in BOLT 1 disappears in the later development of the Legendarium.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 27/Sep/2006 at 08:05 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
"and the approach that is contained in BOLT 1 disappears in the later development of the Legendarium"

Alas!
BTW, does this fact mean that he withdrew his mythological cycle away from the Old Norse mythical tradition?
Is Tolkien’s fantasy world closer to the world of Odin and Loki, or to that of Beowulf?
Lady d`Ecthelion 27/Sep/2006 at 08:05 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
"and the approach that is contained in BOLT 1 disappears in the later development of the Legendarium"

Alas!
BTW, does this fact mean that he withdrew his mythological cycle away from the Old Norse mythical tradition?
Is Tolkien’s fantasy world closer to the world of Odin and Loki, or to that of Beowulf?
halfir 27/Sep/2006 at 10:52 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

does this fact mean that he withdrew his mythological cycle away from the Old Norse mythical tradition?

Is Tolkien’s fantasy world closer to the world of Odin and Loki, or to that of Beowulf?

My answer to your first question would be that in his own Cauldron of Story he transmuted the inspiration that he derived from Norse Mythology into his own brand of ’gold’ and created what we know as the ME legendarium, leaving enough identifiable resonances of some of his sources to allow him to be part of a larger mythic tradition.

As to the second question I would have said -neither - ME is a distillation of  his own into which many things went -including Odin and Loki and Beowulf. What is clear is that both pagan and Christian are encompassed in his masterful creation of the ME Legendarium, a point some commenatators seem incapable of grasping.

Stephen Hart -in a phrase I quote frequently- says it thus:

Tolkien’s soul was in the Lord’s keeping, but his heart - quickened to a pagan drumbeat.

Or, as Marjorie Burns concludes in her latest work Perilous Realms, which explores the influence of Norse and Celtic myth on Tolkien’s writings:

’Tolkien, finally, is a pessimist and optimist both. There is no in between. He is a Christian  believer whose  answer lies  in a ’beyond’ (a beyond that  may as well be thought  as westward over the sea). At the same time- on this plane- Tolkien is very much a Norseman and adheres to a Norseman’s creed. His messsage then, is a double one. It speaks of doom and inevitable battle and it speaks of eternal peace.’

halfir 27/Sep/2006 at 10:52 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

does this fact mean that he withdrew his mythological cycle away from the Old Norse mythical tradition?

Is Tolkien’s fantasy world closer to the world of Odin and Loki, or to that of Beowulf?

My answer to your first question would be that in his own Cauldron of Story he transmuted the inspiration that he derived from Norse Mythology into his own brand of ’gold’ and created what we know as the ME legendarium, leaving enough identifiable resonances of some of his sources to allow him to be part of a larger mythic tradition.

As to the second question I would have said -neither - ME is a distillation of  his own into which many things went -including Odin and Loki and Beowulf. What is clear is that both pagan and Christian are encompassed in his masterful creation of the ME Legendarium, a point some commenatators seem incapable of grasping.

Stephen Hart -in a phrase I quote frequently- says it thus:

Tolkien’s soul was in the Lord’s keeping, but his heart - quickened to a pagan drumbeat.

Or, as Marjorie Burns concludes in her latest work Perilous Realms, which explores the influence of Norse and Celtic myth on Tolkien’s writings:

’Tolkien, finally, is a pessimist and optimist both. There is no in between. He is a Christian  believer whose  answer lies  in a ’beyond’ (a beyond that  may as well be thought  as westward over the sea). At the same time- on this plane- Tolkien is very much a Norseman and adheres to a Norseman’s creed. His messsage then, is a double one. It speaks of doom and inevitable battle and it speaks of eternal peace.’

Ragnelle 30/Sep/2006 at 12:46 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

There is little enough left to say, halfir, on elves in the Norse Mythology. I would hold the svartálfar and the dokkálfar to be dwarves, the names seem to be interchangeble and basicly means the same thing: dark or black elves (dark and black is often uses as synonyms in modern Norwegian, and I think the same goes for Old Norwegain, that is Norse). In Skaldkaparmal Snorri uses Black Elves for dwarves; in the story explaining why gold is called Sif’s hair, Loki promises to get the black elves to make Sif hair of gold after he has cut of her hair. Then he goes to the dwarves, the sons of Ivalde, and they make the hair. But the terms are rather confusing.

Elves do seem to be conected with the gods, at least they are spoken of together. From Thrymskvitha:

Thrym spake:
6. "How fare the gods, | how fare the elves?
Why comst thou alone | to the giants’ land?"

Loki spake:
"III fare the gods, | ill fare the elves!
Hast thou hidden | Hlorrithi’s hammer?"
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe11.htm

This conection seem to be somewhat simular to the relationship between the Valar and the Elves in Tolkien, close enough to be recogizeble at least. One grat difference, of course, is that Tolkien mostly write about the doings of the Elves, and the Norse Myths are about the doings of the Gods (and human heros). It is as if the recorders of the Norse Myths (those that have survived) were not interested in the Elves, whether that was typical of the Norse peoples or not.

Ragnelle 30/Sep/2006 at 12:46 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

There is little enough left to say, halfir, on elves in the Norse Mythology. I would hold the svartálfar and the dokkálfar to be dwarves, the names seem to be interchangeble and basicly means the same thing: dark or black elves (dark and black is often uses as synonyms in modern Norwegian, and I think the same goes for Old Norwegain, that is Norse). In Skaldkaparmal Snorri uses Black Elves for dwarves; in the story explaining why gold is called Sif’s hair, Loki promises to get the black elves to make Sif hair of gold after he has cut of her hair. Then he goes to the dwarves, the sons of Ivalde, and they make the hair. But the terms are rather confusing.

Elves do seem to be conected with the gods, at least they are spoken of together. From Thrymskvitha:

Thrym spake:
6. "How fare the gods, | how fare the elves?
Why comst thou alone | to the giants’ land?"

Loki spake:
"III fare the gods, | ill fare the elves!
Hast thou hidden | Hlorrithi’s hammer?"
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/poe11.htm

This conection seem to be somewhat simular to the relationship between the Valar and the Elves in Tolkien, close enough to be recogizeble at least. One grat difference, of course, is that Tolkien mostly write about the doings of the Elves, and the Norse Myths are about the doings of the Gods (and human heros). It is as if the recorders of the Norse Myths (those that have survived) were not interested in the Elves, whether that was typical of the Norse peoples or not.

halfir 30/Sep/2006 at 03:40 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

It is as if the recorders of the Norse Myths (those that have survived) were not interested in the Elves, whether that was typical of the Norse peoples or not.X(

Ragnelle: Thanks - at least it is helpful to know there is so little else to know.X( I must say all the primary and secondary sourcesI have just leave one drawing a blank. I think it is to celtic myth we need to turn for any further information on Tolkien’s conception of elves.

In he recent book on the influence of Celtic and Norse myth on Tolkien- Periolous realsm- Majorie Burns observes of Tolkien’s elves:

’his immoprtal Elves (who, in fact,  can die) are born again, like certain privileged  figures from Celtic belief.’{Chpt 1 Two Norths and Their English Blend}

halfir 30/Sep/2006 at 03:40 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

It is as if the recorders of the Norse Myths (those that have survived) were not interested in the Elves, whether that was typical of the Norse peoples or not.X(

Ragnelle: Thanks - at least it is helpful to know there is so little else to know.X( I must say all the primary and secondary sourcesI have just leave one drawing a blank. I think it is to celtic myth we need to turn for any further information on Tolkien’s conception of elves.

In he recent book on the influence of Celtic and Norse myth on Tolkien- Periolous realsm- Majorie Burns observes of Tolkien’s elves:

’his immoprtal Elves (who, in fact,  can die) are born again, like certain privileged  figures from Celtic belief.’{Chpt 1 Two Norths and Their English Blend}

halfir 03/Oct/2006 at 04:01 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In an earlier post Friday, September 15, 2006 at 17:12 I quoted Thomas Carlyl’e words on ’northernness":

I think Scandinavian Paganism, to us here, is more interesting than any other....It is interesting also as the creed of our fathers; the men whose blood still runs in our veins, whom doubtless we still resemble in so many ways...let us look at it as old Thought, and try if we cannot sympathize with it somewhat

Such sentiments were very much in oppositon  to the earlier work of Mathew Arnold On The Study of Celtic Literarture (1867) and very much put a ’stamp’ on writers who were both precursors of Tolkien- such as William  Morris- and  contemporaries - such as E.R. Eddison - whom Tolkien had heard read some of his own {Eddisson’s} works in Lewis’s room in Magadalen- and whom he described as:

’the greatest and most convincing  wirter of ’invented worlds’ that I have ever read. {Letter # 199}

William Morris- on whom Tolkien had modeled much of his pre-1937 writing and language- saw the Volsung Saga as being:

’to our race what the Tale of Troy was to the Greeks’ {Preface to The Story of the Volsungs}

a view that Tolkien confirmed  in On Fairy Stories when he wrote:

’best of all  the nameless North of Sigurd of the Volsungs, and the prince of all dragons’

In a draft note to his work- Styrbiorn the Strong E.H. Eddison (better known for  for The Worm Orouborus and Mistress of Mistresses} wrote what could easily pass for a comment of Tolkien’s- or indeed Lewis’s:

’The spirit of the North, to inheritance of which I believe...our own country  largely owes her greatness, is embodied  in its purest form in the prose  epic, the Icelandis sagas of the classical age."{Quoted in  Burns- Perilous Realms Notes to pp. 18-20 Note  19}

So in terms of being influenced and inspired by Norse Myth Tolkien was both following in the footsteps of some very influential predecessors and in the company of some very senior  contemporaries.

halfir 03/Oct/2006 at 04:01 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In an earlier post Friday, September 15, 2006 at 17:12 I quoted Thomas Carlyl’e words on ’northernness":

I think Scandinavian Paganism, to us here, is more interesting than any other....It is interesting also as the creed of our fathers; the men whose blood still runs in our veins, whom doubtless we still resemble in so many ways...let us look at it as old Thought, and try if we cannot sympathize with it somewhat

Such sentiments were very much in oppositon  to the earlier work of Mathew Arnold On The Study of Celtic Literarture (1867) and very much put a ’stamp’ on writers who were both precursors of Tolkien- such as William  Morris- and  contemporaries - such as E.R. Eddison - whom Tolkien had heard read some of his own {Eddisson’s} works in Lewis’s room in Magadalen- and whom he described as:

’the greatest and most convincing  wirter of ’invented worlds’ that I have ever read. {Letter # 199}

William Morris- on whom Tolkien had modeled much of his pre-1937 writing and language- saw the Volsung Saga as being:

’to our race what the Tale of Troy was to the Greeks’ {Preface to The Story of the Volsungs}

a view that Tolkien confirmed  in On Fairy Stories when he wrote:

’best of all  the nameless North of Sigurd of the Volsungs, and the prince of all dragons’

In a draft note to his work- Styrbiorn the Strong E.H. Eddison (better known for  for The Worm Orouborus and Mistress of Mistresses} wrote what could easily pass for a comment of Tolkien’s- or indeed Lewis’s:

’The spirit of the North, to inheritance of which I believe...our own country  largely owes her greatness, is embodied  in its purest form in the prose  epic, the Icelandis sagas of the classical age."{Quoted in  Burns- Perilous Realms Notes to pp. 18-20 Note  19}

So in terms of being influenced and inspired by Norse Myth Tolkien was both following in the footsteps of some very influential predecessors and in the company of some very senior  contemporaries.

Gotrek Benthand 05/Nov/2006 at 08:02 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Not to be a pugnacious punk but......

It would seem, given the nature of Tolkien’s studies, his Christianity, and the recurring Seminal themes in LOTR that the mythological basis is actually Anglo-Saxon Literature, or Norse myth seen through the Anglo-Saxon lens: The hobbits would never have been Norse heroes on account of their stature & character, the warrior-power of the ring is eventually rejected by Boromir, and the highest thing is, in the end simple hobbit sense/virtue.

Norse mythology only finds its way into LOTR after it has been Christianzed and Anglicanized. As in Anglo Saxxonicus + ized   
Gotrek Benthand 05/Nov/2006 at 08:02 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Not to be a pugnacious punk but......

It would seem, given the nature of Tolkien’s studies, his Christianity, and the recurring Seminal themes in LOTR that the mythological basis is actually Anglo-Saxon Literature, or Norse myth seen through the Anglo-Saxon lens: The hobbits would never have been Norse heroes on account of their stature & character, the warrior-power of the ring is eventually rejected by Boromir, and the highest thing is, in the end simple hobbit sense/virtue.

Norse mythology only finds its way into LOTR after it has been Christianzed and Anglicanized. As in Anglo Saxxonicus + ized   
Captain Bingo 06/Nov/2006 at 12:13 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

Hobbits as heroes; elevation of the humble, the ’insignificant’ innocent who wins through & defeats the wicked Ogre? How many fairy tales do you want listing?

In other words, I’m not sure we need to bring Christianity into this.....

Clearly the ’mythology’ Tolkien is drawing on in LotR is his own invented one in The Sil (which existed in a coherent form before LotR was begun). If Norse, Saxon or even Christian ’symbols’ crept in it was only to the extent that they could be incorporated into the story without challenge or contradiction to the existing Legendarium .  The Balrog Gandalf faces in Moria is not Surtr - though Surtr may have gone into the original conception way back in 1917 (as did many other things). By the time of the writing of LotR Balrogs are Balrogs & nothing else.

(Controversial as ever....)

Captain Bingo 06/Nov/2006 at 12:13 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

Hobbits as heroes; elevation of the humble, the ’insignificant’ innocent who wins through & defeats the wicked Ogre? How many fairy tales do you want listing?

In other words, I’m not sure we need to bring Christianity into this.....

Clearly the ’mythology’ Tolkien is drawing on in LotR is his own invented one in The Sil (which existed in a coherent form before LotR was begun). If Norse, Saxon or even Christian ’symbols’ crept in it was only to the extent that they could be incorporated into the story without challenge or contradiction to the existing Legendarium .  The Balrog Gandalf faces in Moria is not Surtr - though Surtr may have gone into the original conception way back in 1917 (as did many other things). By the time of the writing of LotR Balrogs are Balrogs & nothing else.

(Controversial as ever....)

halfir 06/Nov/2006 at 12:29 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I have always liked Stephen Hart’s comment on Tolkien and Lewsis:

Tolkien’s soul was in the Lord’s keeping, but his heart -- like that of his friend C. S. Lewis-- quickened to a pagan drumbeat,

for it seems to me to focus on the very complex realtionship the two had with ’the Old West’ the pre- Chrsitian world of the ’honorable pagan’.

I do not subscribe to the idea that Tolkien’s Norse mythology was Christianized and Anglicanized-  that is a myth invented by the likes of Pearce and Birzer to fit their own agendas. I think such a thesis demonstrates an acute lack of understanding of the very complex feelings Tolkien particularly held towards the ’Old West’ and to the  ’Northern Air’ that was the ’oxygen’ of those myths, and it also does a disservice to his philological genius.

halfir 06/Nov/2006 at 12:29 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I have always liked Stephen Hart’s comment on Tolkien and Lewsis:

Tolkien’s soul was in the Lord’s keeping, but his heart -- like that of his friend C. S. Lewis-- quickened to a pagan drumbeat,

for it seems to me to focus on the very complex realtionship the two had with ’the Old West’ the pre- Chrsitian world of the ’honorable pagan’.

I do not subscribe to the idea that Tolkien’s Norse mythology was Christianized and Anglicanized-  that is a myth invented by the likes of Pearce and Birzer to fit their own agendas. I think such a thesis demonstrates an acute lack of understanding of the very complex feelings Tolkien particularly held towards the ’Old West’ and to the  ’Northern Air’ that was the ’oxygen’ of those myths, and it also does a disservice to his philological genius.

Gotrek Benthand 06/Nov/2006 at 08:42 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Yet it cannot be denied that Tolkien did not follow the "pagan drumbeat", in that the "good guys" act in an acutely non-Norse way. That is my points concerning:

The Hobbits
   &
Boromir

still stands.

Tolkien’s world was not pagan in that:

Eru is the one God, the first principle, the maker of the "great music"

The heroes do not worship pagan virtue, but instead draw focus away from self towards sacrifice. Tolkien good-guys do not practice "sorcery", nor do they fight for their own glory, but instead for the good of all.

In these ways Norse myth is irreconcilable with LOTR, while Anglo-Saxon myth post christianization utilizes all of these themes.Possibly "blandishing" pagan myth with Christianity, though I do not view it this way.

I am pointing out that the Sil and LOTR reject pagan themes, while promoting Christian ones.

Aragorn is like unto Anglo-Saxon Kings.

He is not like unto a Norse raider.

Halfir: Would Tolkien philogy be besmirched if he drew on Anglo-Saxon and Christian myth? How could you possibly claim that LOTR failed to draw heavily on AngloSaxon/ Christian sentiment.

I will prove this with text Instead of summarizing )

’Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor,to order the hour of your death,’ answered Gandalf. ’And only the the heathen kings under the domination of the Dark Power ,did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair murdering their kin to ease their own death.’-Rotk J.R.R. Tolkien

Gandalf and Tolkien are rejecting the pagan heroic sacrifice, as selfish and uncharitable. The good Kings were King-Priests of Eru. The bad ones served Sauron. Tolkien is basically smacking pagan nonsense in the face!

I mean that softly of course, your pagan structures may not be nonsense!
Gotrek Benthand 06/Nov/2006 at 08:42 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Yet it cannot be denied that Tolkien did not follow the "pagan drumbeat", in that the "good guys" act in an acutely non-Norse way. That is my points concerning:

The Hobbits
   &
Boromir

still stands.

Tolkien’s world was not pagan in that:

Eru is the one God, the first principle, the maker of the "great music"

The heroes do not worship pagan virtue, but instead draw focus away from self towards sacrifice. Tolkien good-guys do not practice "sorcery", nor do they fight for their own glory, but instead for the good of all.

In these ways Norse myth is irreconcilable with LOTR, while Anglo-Saxon myth post christianization utilizes all of these themes.Possibly "blandishing" pagan myth with Christianity, though I do not view it this way.

I am pointing out that the Sil and LOTR reject pagan themes, while promoting Christian ones.

Aragorn is like unto Anglo-Saxon Kings.

He is not like unto a Norse raider.

Halfir: Would Tolkien philogy be besmirched if he drew on Anglo-Saxon and Christian myth? How could you possibly claim that LOTR failed to draw heavily on AngloSaxon/ Christian sentiment.

I will prove this with text Instead of summarizing )

’Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor,to order the hour of your death,’ answered Gandalf. ’And only the the heathen kings under the domination of the Dark Power ,did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair murdering their kin to ease their own death.’-Rotk J.R.R. Tolkien

Gandalf and Tolkien are rejecting the pagan heroic sacrifice, as selfish and uncharitable. The good Kings were King-Priests of Eru. The bad ones served Sauron. Tolkien is basically smacking pagan nonsense in the face!

I mean that softly of course, your pagan structures may not be nonsense!
Captain Bingo 06/Nov/2006 at 10:14 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Hmm

Eru plays little part in the Legendarium, other than starting things off & intervening in Numenor. The focus is on the Valar. Beowulf sacrifices himself for his people, & he is hardly a ’Christian’ king. I don’t see anything specifically ’Christian’ entering into the Legendarium apart from Finrod’s statement that the Elves believe that at some point Eru will enter into the world - & Tolkien expressed his discomfort with this as it was too close to Christianity. What we do find in the Legendarium is a kind of ’universal’ morality, not a Christian one.

Tolkien is certainly not ’smacking pagan nonsense in the face’. Have you read ’The Monsters & the Critics’? Your point seems to be that Tolkien was contemptuous of Norse myth, which I don’t think stands up given the amount of time & effort (not to mention love) he dedicated to its study.

Captain Bingo 06/Nov/2006 at 10:14 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Hmm

Eru plays little part in the Legendarium, other than starting things off & intervening in Numenor. The focus is on the Valar. Beowulf sacrifices himself for his people, & he is hardly a ’Christian’ king. I don’t see anything specifically ’Christian’ entering into the Legendarium apart from Finrod’s statement that the Elves believe that at some point Eru will enter into the world - & Tolkien expressed his discomfort with this as it was too close to Christianity. What we do find in the Legendarium is a kind of ’universal’ morality, not a Christian one.

Tolkien is certainly not ’smacking pagan nonsense in the face’. Have you read ’The Monsters & the Critics’? Your point seems to be that Tolkien was contemptuous of Norse myth, which I don’t think stands up given the amount of time & effort (not to mention love) he dedicated to its study.

Gotrek Benthand 06/Nov/2006 at 01:28 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
I am not claiming Tolkien contemptuous of Norse Myth. Only that his norse mythic elements were tempered with Christian qualities and virtues.

Actually since Beowulf popped up around 1100 AD, it was probably written by a Christian, and not only that the Christian virtue might have been later added. The morality you take for universal is not such, it is what Western Moralists take to be common morality existing outside of Christianity.

Did you read through my examples? Or Gandalf’s clear discalimers about "heathens". These would not exist within Norse society from whence the "pyre" came you know. The King burned along with the relatives/servants thing is being specifically bashed by Tolkien here!!!
Gotrek Benthand 06/Nov/2006 at 01:28 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
I am not claiming Tolkien contemptuous of Norse Myth. Only that his norse mythic elements were tempered with Christian qualities and virtues.

Actually since Beowulf popped up around 1100 AD, it was probably written by a Christian, and not only that the Christian virtue might have been later added. The morality you take for universal is not such, it is what Western Moralists take to be common morality existing outside of Christianity.

Did you read through my examples? Or Gandalf’s clear discalimers about "heathens". These would not exist within Norse society from whence the "pyre" came you know. The King burned along with the relatives/servants thing is being specifically bashed by Tolkien here!!!
halfir 06/Nov/2006 at 01:52 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I would point out that this thread deals with Norse Imagery in Tolkien’s ME. While I am content to allow some digression around that main theme- as I am in any thread started by me  - such as that currently expemplified in the posts of GB and Captain Bingo, and indeed myself, on Tolkien’s treatment and approach to Norse Myth, I am not willing to permit the thread to be blown off-course but such debate.

I suggest that GB  starts his own thread regarding his particular (and in my opinion erroneous) view of how Tolkien viewed Norse myth if he wishes to pursue the subject in any great detail.

As for Beowulf ’popping up around 1100 AD’ the matter of the poem’s dating is still the subject of bitter dispute among Beowulf scholars, with dates ranging from  700 AD to 1000 AD. Nor is the probability that the manuscript version that is extant was probably the work of a Christian writer as straightforward as that statement seems to apply,:

e.g. God’s glory as a creator is extolled in the poem, but nowhere are we told of God’s grace. Instead, there are tributes, despairing but firm, to fate, hardly a Christian power. Though the beliefs of the writer of Beowulf doubtless were Christian, his poetic sympathies pragmatically seem to reside in the heroic past.”

 {Harold Bloom}

And a single line from Gandalf on Denethor’s suicide attempt  is hardly a credible basis for suggesting that Tolkien was ’bashing paganism’  -which he wasn’t!

halfir 06/Nov/2006 at 01:52 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I would point out that this thread deals with Norse Imagery in Tolkien’s ME. While I am content to allow some digression around that main theme- as I am in any thread started by me  - such as that currently expemplified in the posts of GB and Captain Bingo, and indeed myself, on Tolkien’s treatment and approach to Norse Myth, I am not willing to permit the thread to be blown off-course but such debate.

I suggest that GB  starts his own thread regarding his particular (and in my opinion erroneous) view of how Tolkien viewed Norse myth if he wishes to pursue the subject in any great detail.

As for Beowulf ’popping up around 1100 AD’ the matter of the poem’s dating is still the subject of bitter dispute among Beowulf scholars, with dates ranging from  700 AD to 1000 AD. Nor is the probability that the manuscript version that is extant was probably the work of a Christian writer as straightforward as that statement seems to apply,:

e.g. God’s glory as a creator is extolled in the poem, but nowhere are we told of God’s grace. Instead, there are tributes, despairing but firm, to fate, hardly a Christian power. Though the beliefs of the writer of Beowulf doubtless were Christian, his poetic sympathies pragmatically seem to reside in the heroic past.”

 {Harold Bloom}

And a single line from Gandalf on Denethor’s suicide attempt  is hardly a credible basis for suggesting that Tolkien was ’bashing paganism’  -which he wasn’t!

Gotrek Benthand 06/Nov/2006 at 08:09 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Err..... So associating pagan virtue and practice with with the "Dark Power" is not attacking such virtue as wrong???

Good idea on the Anglo-Saxon front(Posting a new topic), though forming a cogent post will take much time and research.

I am not contemptuous of norse myth , I merely wish to pull on the thread of where Norse myth diverges from Tolkienic myth, with the contact zone the instances where Tolkien specifically denies the normal workigns of Norse myth. If anything Norse myht reflects Christianity. take Odin on the World tree learning his runes!!

If you do not wish me to pull on the aforementioned thread Halfir, please tell me, I will acced to your discretion in this matter.    
Gotrek Benthand 06/Nov/2006 at 08:09 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Err..... So associating pagan virtue and practice with with the "Dark Power" is not attacking such virtue as wrong???

Good idea on the Anglo-Saxon front(Posting a new topic), though forming a cogent post will take much time and research.

I am not contemptuous of norse myth , I merely wish to pull on the thread of where Norse myth diverges from Tolkienic myth, with the contact zone the instances where Tolkien specifically denies the normal workigns of Norse myth. If anything Norse myht reflects Christianity. take Odin on the World tree learning his runes!!

If you do not wish me to pull on the aforementioned thread Halfir, please tell me, I will acced to your discretion in this matter.    
halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 12:21 AM
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If anything Norse myth reflects Christianity. take Odin on the World tree learning his runes!!

If anything Christian myth reflects pre-Christian cults such as that of Mithra, and those of Isis and Osiris!X(

And I am afraid you are guilty of taking  words out of context. Gandalf attacking the suicidal practices of the Heathen Kings in the context of Denethor’s despairing preparation for suicide is condemning not the noble pagan, but despair. Indeed, one of the major aspects of Norse pagan belief is that of heroism in the face of obvious death, a very lack of despair.

I didn’t quote Howard Bloom by chance, I quoted him because in a  strange way his comment on the Beowulf poet is remarkably close to Tolkien’s own view of heroism in the pagan world.

Though the beliefs of the writer of Beowulf doubtless were Christian, his poetic sympathies pragmatically seem to reside in the heroic past.”

And that heroic past was pagan!

And I would prefer that this thread stayed on the subject of Norse resonances in Tolkien’s ME. That is what it is about. By all means use any examples it offers to pursue your particular view of supposed divergence between Tolkien’s ME myth and Norse myth, but I would prefer that it be carried out in a separate thread, so as not to obfuscate the purpose of this one.X(

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 12:21 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

If anything Norse myth reflects Christianity. take Odin on the World tree learning his runes!!

If anything Christian myth reflects pre-Christian cults such as that of Mithra, and those of Isis and Osiris!X(

And I am afraid you are guilty of taking  words out of context. Gandalf attacking the suicidal practices of the Heathen Kings in the context of Denethor’s despairing preparation for suicide is condemning not the noble pagan, but despair. Indeed, one of the major aspects of Norse pagan belief is that of heroism in the face of obvious death, a very lack of despair.

I didn’t quote Howard Bloom by chance, I quoted him because in a  strange way his comment on the Beowulf poet is remarkably close to Tolkien’s own view of heroism in the pagan world.

Though the beliefs of the writer of Beowulf doubtless were Christian, his poetic sympathies pragmatically seem to reside in the heroic past.”

And that heroic past was pagan!

And I would prefer that this thread stayed on the subject of Norse resonances in Tolkien’s ME. That is what it is about. By all means use any examples it offers to pursue your particular view of supposed divergence between Tolkien’s ME myth and Norse myth, but I would prefer that it be carried out in a separate thread, so as not to obfuscate the purpose of this one.X(

Captain Bingo 07/Nov/2006 at 12:29 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

Just to add to Halfir’s point re ’inspirations’ behind Christianity, here’s Gibbon on Zoroastrianism (Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 8)

The great and fundamental article of the system was the celebrated doctrine of the two principles; a bold and injudicious attempt of Eastern philosophy to reconcile the existence of moral and physical evil with the attributes of a beneficent Creator and Governor of the world. The first and original Being, in whom, or by whom, the universe exists, is denominated in the writings of Zoroaster, Time without bounds; but it must be confessed that this infinite substance seems rather a metaphysical abstraction of the mind than a real object endowed with self-consciousness, or possessed of moral perfections. From either the blind or the intelligent operation of this infinite Time, which bears but too near an affinity with the Chaos of the Greeks, the two secondary but active principles of the universe were from all eternity produced, Ormusd and Ahriman, each of them possessed of the powers of creation, but each disposed, by his invariable nature, to exercise them with different designs. The principle of good is eternally absorbed in light: the principle of evil eternally buried in darkness. The wise benevolence of Ormusd formed man capable of virtue, and abundantly provided his fair habitation with the materials of happiness. By his vigilant providence, the motion of the planets, the order of the seasons, and the temperate mixture of the elements are preserved. But the malice of Ahriman has long since pierced Ormusd’s egg; or, in other words, has violated the harmony of his works. Since that fatal eruption, the most minute particles of good and evil are intimately intermingled and agitated together, the rankest poisons spring up amidst the most salutary plants; deluges, earthquakes, and conflagrations attest the conflict of Nature; and the little world of man is perpetually shaken by vice and misfortune. Whilst the rest of human kind are led away captives in the chains of their infernal enemy, the faithful Persian alone reserves his religious adoration for his friend and protector Ormusd, and fights under his banner of light, in the full confidence that he shall, in the last day, share the glory of his triumph. At that decisive period the enlightened wisdom of goodness will render the power of Ormusd superior to the furious malice of his rival. Ahriman and his followers, disarmed and subdued, will sink into their native darkness; and virtue will maintain the eternal peace and harmony of the universe.

The theology of Zoroaster was darkly comprehended by foreigners, and even by the far greater number of his disciples; but the most careless observers were struck with the philosophic simplicity of the Persian worship. “That people,” says Herodotus, “rejects the use of temples, of altars, and of statues, and smiles at the folly of those nations, who imagine that the gods are sprung from, or bear any affinity with, the human nature. The tops of the highest mountains are the places chosen for sacrifices. Hymns and prayers are the principal worship; the Supreme God who fills the wide circle of heaven, is the object to whom they are addressed.” Yet, at the same time, in the true spirit of a polytheist, he accuses them of adoring Earth, Water, Fire, the Winds, and the Sun and Moon. But the Persians of every age have denied the charge, and explained the equivocal conduct which might appear to give a colour to it. The elements, and more particularly Fire, Light, and the Sun, whom they called Mithra, were the objects of their religious reverence, because they considered them as the purest symbols, the noblest productions, and the most powerful agents of the Divine Power and Nature.18

Every mode of religion, to make a deep and lasting impression on the human mind, must exercise our obedience by enjoining practices of devotion, for which we can assign no reason; and must acquire our esteem, by inculcating moral duties analogous to the dictates of our own hearts. The religion of Zoroaster was abundantly provided with the former, and possessed a sufficient portion of the latter. At the age of puberty the faithful Persian was invested with a mysterious girdle, the badge of the divine protection; and from that moment all the actions of his life, even the most indifferent or the most necessary, were sanctified by their peculiar prayers, ejaculations, or genuflexions; the omission of which, under any circumstances, was a grievous sin, not inferior in guilt to the violation of the moral duties. The moral duties, however, of justice, mercy, liberality, &c., were in their turn required of the disciple of Zoroaster, who wished to escape the persecution of Ahriman, and to live with Ormusd in a blissful eternity, where the degree of felicity will be exactly proportioned to the degree of virtue and piety.

Captain Bingo 07/Nov/2006 at 12:29 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

Just to add to Halfir’s point re ’inspirations’ behind Christianity, here’s Gibbon on Zoroastrianism (Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 8)

The great and fundamental article of the system was the celebrated doctrine of the two principles; a bold and injudicious attempt of Eastern philosophy to reconcile the existence of moral and physical evil with the attributes of a beneficent Creator and Governor of the world. The first and original Being, in whom, or by whom, the universe exists, is denominated in the writings of Zoroaster, Time without bounds; but it must be confessed that this infinite substance seems rather a metaphysical abstraction of the mind than a real object endowed with self-consciousness, or possessed of moral perfections. From either the blind or the intelligent operation of this infinite Time, which bears but too near an affinity with the Chaos of the Greeks, the two secondary but active principles of the universe were from all eternity produced, Ormusd and Ahriman, each of them possessed of the powers of creation, but each disposed, by his invariable nature, to exercise them with different designs. The principle of good is eternally absorbed in light: the principle of evil eternally buried in darkness. The wise benevolence of Ormusd formed man capable of virtue, and abundantly provided his fair habitation with the materials of happiness. By his vigilant providence, the motion of the planets, the order of the seasons, and the temperate mixture of the elements are preserved. But the malice of Ahriman has long since pierced Ormusd’s egg; or, in other words, has violated the harmony of his works. Since that fatal eruption, the most minute particles of good and evil are intimately intermingled and agitated together, the rankest poisons spring up amidst the most salutary plants; deluges, earthquakes, and conflagrations attest the conflict of Nature; and the little world of man is perpetually shaken by vice and misfortune. Whilst the rest of human kind are led away captives in the chains of their infernal enemy, the faithful Persian alone reserves his religious adoration for his friend and protector Ormusd, and fights under his banner of light, in the full confidence that he shall, in the last day, share the glory of his triumph. At that decisive period the enlightened wisdom of goodness will render the power of Ormusd superior to the furious malice of his rival. Ahriman and his followers, disarmed and subdued, will sink into their native darkness; and virtue will maintain the eternal peace and harmony of the universe.

The theology of Zoroaster was darkly comprehended by foreigners, and even by the far greater number of his disciples; but the most careless observers were struck with the philosophic simplicity of the Persian worship. “That people,” says Herodotus, “rejects the use of temples, of altars, and of statues, and smiles at the folly of those nations, who imagine that the gods are sprung from, or bear any affinity with, the human nature. The tops of the highest mountains are the places chosen for sacrifices. Hymns and prayers are the principal worship; the Supreme God who fills the wide circle of heaven, is the object to whom they are addressed.” Yet, at the same time, in the true spirit of a polytheist, he accuses them of adoring Earth, Water, Fire, the Winds, and the Sun and Moon. But the Persians of every age have denied the charge, and explained the equivocal conduct which might appear to give a colour to it. The elements, and more particularly Fire, Light, and the Sun, whom they called Mithra, were the objects of their religious reverence, because they considered them as the purest symbols, the noblest productions, and the most powerful agents of the Divine Power and Nature.18

Every mode of religion, to make a deep and lasting impression on the human mind, must exercise our obedience by enjoining practices of devotion, for which we can assign no reason; and must acquire our esteem, by inculcating moral duties analogous to the dictates of our own hearts. The religion of Zoroaster was abundantly provided with the former, and possessed a sufficient portion of the latter. At the age of puberty the faithful Persian was invested with a mysterious girdle, the badge of the divine protection; and from that moment all the actions of his life, even the most indifferent or the most necessary, were sanctified by their peculiar prayers, ejaculations, or genuflexions; the omission of which, under any circumstances, was a grievous sin, not inferior in guilt to the violation of the moral duties. The moral duties, however, of justice, mercy, liberality, &c., were in their turn required of the disciple of Zoroaster, who wished to escape the persecution of Ahriman, and to live with Ormusd in a blissful eternity, where the degree of felicity will be exactly proportioned to the degree of virtue and piety.

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 12:38 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Captain Bingo: It’s a great pity the Decline and Fall is now considered ’unreadable’ because of size, even in its most digested form. Apart from the majesty of his language, I still find Gibbon an amazingly perceptive writer, and I can say that as one undergarduate who actually did labor through the entire work.However, unlike Winston Churchill I cannot say ’I rode triumphantly through it from end to end’, for me it was more like a Labor of Hercules.X(
halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 12:38 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Captain Bingo: It’s a great pity the Decline and Fall is now considered ’unreadable’ because of size, even in its most digested form. Apart from the majesty of his language, I still find Gibbon an amazingly perceptive writer, and I can say that as one undergarduate who actually did labor through the entire work.However, unlike Winston Churchill I cannot say ’I rode triumphantly through it from end to end’, for me it was more like a Labor of Hercules.X(
Jinniver Thynne 07/Nov/2006 at 05:30 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

halfir - Gandalf attacking the suicidal practices of the Heathen Kings in the context of Denethor’s despairing preparation for suicide is condemning not the noble pagan, but despair. Indeed, one of the major aspects of Norse pagan belief is that of heroism in the face of obvious death, a very lack of despair.

Yes! And there is a clear example in the text of where Tolkien shows heroism in the face of certain destruction to be incredibly noble - in the Rohirrim. They do not baulk when faced with a terrible enemy and an almost certain death, they do what must be done, and afterwards look forward to feasting with their ancestors (note, not with Eru!). There are more - just one is Aragorn’s decision to ride to the Black Gate which is to all intents and purposes a suicide mission; they may have hope that their actions will hold off the forces of Mordor from Frodo, but they don’t reserve hope for their own survival, that is entirely unhoped for or expected.

Jinniver Thynne 07/Nov/2006 at 05:30 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

halfir - Gandalf attacking the suicidal practices of the Heathen Kings in the context of Denethor’s despairing preparation for suicide is condemning not the noble pagan, but despair. Indeed, one of the major aspects of Norse pagan belief is that of heroism in the face of obvious death, a very lack of despair.

Yes! And there is a clear example in the text of where Tolkien shows heroism in the face of certain destruction to be incredibly noble - in the Rohirrim. They do not baulk when faced with a terrible enemy and an almost certain death, they do what must be done, and afterwards look forward to feasting with their ancestors (note, not with Eru!). There are more - just one is Aragorn’s decision to ride to the Black Gate which is to all intents and purposes a suicide mission; they may have hope that their actions will hold off the forces of Mordor from Frodo, but they don’t reserve hope for their own survival, that is entirely unhoped for or expected.

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 06:11 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

JT: And there is a clear example in the text of where Tolkien shows heroism in the face of certain destruction to be incredibly noble - in the Rohirrim.X(

And - in his anlaysis of ofermod  in The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth  castigates vainglorious chivalry or pride, in the same was the A-S writer’s did. He knew his pagan world very well indeed- and he admired it.

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 06:11 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

JT: And there is a clear example in the text of where Tolkien shows heroism in the face of certain destruction to be incredibly noble - in the Rohirrim.X(

And - in his anlaysis of ofermod  in The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth  castigates vainglorious chivalry or pride, in the same was the A-S writer’s did. He knew his pagan world very well indeed- and he admired it.

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 06:12 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Now, returning, if I may to our main theme:X(

Another link possible  between Tolkien’s ME and Norse myths comes in the form of an Icelandic saga which gives us a glimpse of the healing power of elves as seen in Norse mythology- albeit somewhat ‘darker’ than in ME:

The Life and Death of Cormac the Skald ("Kormak’s Saga"), originally written in Icelandic sometime between 1250 - 1300 A.D., although parts may be based on a now lost 12th century saga,  has this to say about the healing powers of elves :

"A hill there is," answered she, "not far away from here, where elves have their haunt. Now get you the bull that Cormac killed, and redden the outer side of the hill with its blood, and make a feast for the elves with its flesh. Then thou wilt be healed." {My bold emphasis}

 

http://omacl.org/Cormac/

 

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 06:12 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Now, returning, if I may to our main theme:X(

Another link possible  between Tolkien’s ME and Norse myths comes in the form of an Icelandic saga which gives us a glimpse of the healing power of elves as seen in Norse mythology- albeit somewhat ‘darker’ than in ME:

The Life and Death of Cormac the Skald ("Kormak’s Saga"), originally written in Icelandic sometime between 1250 - 1300 A.D., although parts may be based on a now lost 12th century saga,  has this to say about the healing powers of elves :

"A hill there is," answered she, "not far away from here, where elves have their haunt. Now get you the bull that Cormac killed, and redden the outer side of the hill with its blood, and make a feast for the elves with its flesh. Then thou wilt be healed." {My bold emphasis}

 

http://omacl.org/Cormac/

 

Gotrek Benthand 07/Nov/2006 at 09:56 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Gibbons makes my head hurt, I have not yet decided if his high horse is a magisterial throne, or a bombastic balcony.
Gotrek Benthand 07/Nov/2006 at 09:56 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Gibbons makes my head hurt, I have not yet decided if his high horse is a magisterial throne, or a bombastic balcony.
Captain Bingo 07/Nov/2006 at 11:00 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Gotrek BenthandGibbons makes my head hurt, I have not yet decided if his high horse is a magisterial throne, or a bombastic balcony

Well, that certainly answers the point....

And isn’t Gibbons part of the Western Canon?
Captain Bingo 07/Nov/2006 at 11:00 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Gotrek BenthandGibbons makes my head hurt, I have not yet decided if his high horse is a magisterial throne, or a bombastic balcony

Well, that certainly answers the point....

And isn’t Gibbons part of the Western Canon?
Captain Bingo 07/Nov/2006 at 11:01 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

And what the **** is a ’bombastic balcony’ btw?

<Nessa Edit:  Please do not use profanity, even mild profanity, in your posts.  On this Plaza (and especially in this thread) we are expected to be able to discuss items without resorting to language of that kind>

Captain Bingo 07/Nov/2006 at 11:01 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

And what the **** is a ’bombastic balcony’ btw?

<Nessa Edit:  Please do not use profanity, even mild profanity, in your posts.  On this Plaza (and especially in this thread) we are expected to be able to discuss items without resorting to language of that kind>

Jinniver Thynne 07/Nov/2006 at 11:30 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

halfir - that’s the second time I’ve heard the word ofermod in as many days, and I confess its a word I have not heard before, so I’ve been looking it up. It makes a lot of sense when you view Tolkien’s characters against ’ofermod’. Though I wouldn’t say this applied to the Rohirrim or Gondorians in general. However, it could be said to apply to other LotR characters, such as Sam when he is breifly Ring-bearer and has delusions of grandeur. Ofermod is, if anyone else is wondering:

The word ofermod which appears in "Maldon" (describing Beortnoth’s state of mind when allowing the Vikings free passage) has, since Tolkien, become open to interpretation. The Old English noun ’mod’ is usually translated ’spirit’ and, when unqualified, is usually read as a positive trait. Tolkien’s interpretation of the qualifying ’ofer-’ is central, however. He argues that the word in fact suggests excess, and thus presents a serious indictment of Beortnoth’s character. Apparently, Tolkien was preoccupied also with defining the limitations of heroism. His translation of ofermod clearly implies a distinction between the bold and the foolhardy, high spirit and excessive spirit.

That’s quoted from the following essay: http://valarguild.org/varda/Tolkien/encyc/papers/dreamlord/stages/ofermod.htm

Apologies for the messy font - couldn’t get it to correct its size.

Jinniver Thynne 07/Nov/2006 at 11:30 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

halfir - that’s the second time I’ve heard the word ofermod in as many days, and I confess its a word I have not heard before, so I’ve been looking it up. It makes a lot of sense when you view Tolkien’s characters against ’ofermod’. Though I wouldn’t say this applied to the Rohirrim or Gondorians in general. However, it could be said to apply to other LotR characters, such as Sam when he is breifly Ring-bearer and has delusions of grandeur. Ofermod is, if anyone else is wondering:

The word ofermod which appears in "Maldon" (describing Beortnoth’s state of mind when allowing the Vikings free passage) has, since Tolkien, become open to interpretation. The Old English noun ’mod’ is usually translated ’spirit’ and, when unqualified, is usually read as a positive trait. Tolkien’s interpretation of the qualifying ’ofer-’ is central, however. He argues that the word in fact suggests excess, and thus presents a serious indictment of Beortnoth’s character. Apparently, Tolkien was preoccupied also with defining the limitations of heroism. His translation of ofermod clearly implies a distinction between the bold and the foolhardy, high spirit and excessive spirit.

That’s quoted from the following essay: http://valarguild.org/varda/Tolkien/encyc/papers/dreamlord/stages/ofermod.htm

Apologies for the messy font - couldn’t get it to correct its size.

Gotrek Benthand 07/Nov/2006 at 11:35 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Well lookee here. Either he his mode of discourse is majestic,( I chose magisterial over other synonyms because of the connotational baggage inherent to it) Or it is wordy without actually saying much.

"One summer he went roving about the British Isles and there he fell in with a man named Asmund Ashenside, who also was a great champion and had worsted many vikings and men of war." TLDCS- W.G. Collingwood translator

Do any of Tolkien’s heroes go roving like Vikings? That is roving,looting, killing, and generally raping a land? Was this the ideal of the Norse, or merely the worst parts of their culture seen through the lens of the poor native peoples being despoiled?

Gotrek Benthand 07/Nov/2006 at 11:35 AM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Well lookee here. Either he his mode of discourse is majestic,( I chose magisterial over other synonyms because of the connotational baggage inherent to it) Or it is wordy without actually saying much.

"One summer he went roving about the British Isles and there he fell in with a man named Asmund Ashenside, who also was a great champion and had worsted many vikings and men of war." TLDCS- W.G. Collingwood translator

Do any of Tolkien’s heroes go roving like Vikings? That is roving,looting, killing, and generally raping a land? Was this the ideal of the Norse, or merely the worst parts of their culture seen through the lens of the poor native peoples being despoiled?

Captain Bingo 07/Nov/2006 at 12:13 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Nessa Sorry. Have to say that in the UK ’H***’ is as innocent as ’Heck’. I suppose its that old thing about ’Two cultures divided by the same language’.

I’ll try & remember that ’English’ English is not the first language of most people on this forum.

That said, I suspect ’****’ probably gives a worse impression of what I said than ’H***’ does.

In short, point taken.
Captain Bingo 07/Nov/2006 at 12:13 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Nessa Sorry. Have to say that in the UK ’H***’ is as innocent as ’Heck’. I suppose its that old thing about ’Two cultures divided by the same language’.

I’ll try & remember that ’English’ English is not the first language of most people on this forum.

That said, I suspect ’****’ probably gives a worse impression of what I said than ’H***’ does.

In short, point taken.
Jinniver Thynne 07/Nov/2006 at 02:23 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

GB - Do any of Tolkien’s heroes go roving like Vikings? That is roving,looting, killing, and generally raping a land? Was this the ideal of the Norse, or merely the worst parts of their culture seen through the lens of the poor native peoples being despoiled?

Well of that raping ’n’ pillaging stuff that the say the Vikings loved so much isn’t the truth. Of course they did their share of looting (especially of those Saxon monasteries on the North East coast of England, which in retrospect must have been a risky place to set up such places!), but they were no worse than other invading forces, and were possibly less intrusive than the Normans. To put the Vikings into perspective, there is evidence that the Anglo-Saxons could also be pretty brutal and even resorted to useing apartheid when the first came to England. A lot of nasty events and behaviours are often attributed to invading forces (this happens throughout history, look at what some of the Germans claimed the Russians got up to when they liberated Berlin in 1945); half of it is gossip, the rest possibly propaganda.

Jinniver Thynne 07/Nov/2006 at 02:23 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

GB - Do any of Tolkien’s heroes go roving like Vikings? That is roving,looting, killing, and generally raping a land? Was this the ideal of the Norse, or merely the worst parts of their culture seen through the lens of the poor native peoples being despoiled?

Well of that raping ’n’ pillaging stuff that the say the Vikings loved so much isn’t the truth. Of course they did their share of looting (especially of those Saxon monasteries on the North East coast of England, which in retrospect must have been a risky place to set up such places!), but they were no worse than other invading forces, and were possibly less intrusive than the Normans. To put the Vikings into perspective, there is evidence that the Anglo-Saxons could also be pretty brutal and even resorted to useing apartheid when the first came to England. A lot of nasty events and behaviours are often attributed to invading forces (this happens throughout history, look at what some of the Germans claimed the Russians got up to when they liberated Berlin in 1945); half of it is gossip, the rest possibly propaganda.

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 03:03 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ladies and Gentleman: I am now going to insist that this thread returns to track. I will ask Bear to delete any post which does not have relevance to the main theme, and I would ask those posting to respect the intregrity of this thread.

GB: Have you really read Gibbons decline and fall- as in the complete edition? I amazed and in awe if you have. And the ’raping and pillaging’ image of Vikings  is more appropriate for Hollywood’s ’The Vikings’ than a sober assessment of the contribution of the Norse cultures to Europe, which in England led to the glories of the Common Law system.

JT: I and mairian man have written some lengthy observations on ofermod in my unfinished archived AL thread  on Denethor, which you might find worthwhile reading:

Tainted with mere politics

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=56813&PagePosition=5

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 03:03 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ladies and Gentleman: I am now going to insist that this thread returns to track. I will ask Bear to delete any post which does not have relevance to the main theme, and I would ask those posting to respect the intregrity of this thread.

GB: Have you really read Gibbons decline and fall- as in the complete edition? I amazed and in awe if you have. And the ’raping and pillaging’ image of Vikings  is more appropriate for Hollywood’s ’The Vikings’ than a sober assessment of the contribution of the Norse cultures to Europe, which in England led to the glories of the Common Law system.

JT: I and mairian man have written some lengthy observations on ofermod in my unfinished archived AL thread  on Denethor, which you might find worthwhile reading:

Tainted with mere politics

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=56813&PagePosition=5

Gotrek Benthand 07/Nov/2006 at 03:07 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Errr.... Several histories(Bede, Alfred,Alcwin,et cetera..), and terrified accounts of whole cities being sacked are propaganda? Paris was sacked by Norse Raiders "a-Viking" Man!!!

(This is off topic though man, please answer my Norse question, that is " how did Norse culture impact Lotr with regards to the "violent" roving life-style?")
Gotrek Benthand 07/Nov/2006 at 03:07 PM
Gardener of the Shire Points: 6 Posts: 593 Joined: 29/Oct/2002
Errr.... Several histories(Bede, Alfred,Alcwin,et cetera..), and terrified accounts of whole cities being sacked are propaganda? Paris was sacked by Norse Raiders "a-Viking" Man!!!

(This is off topic though man, please answer my Norse question, that is " how did Norse culture impact Lotr with regards to the "violent" roving life-style?")
halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 03:12 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

 how did Norse culture impact Lotr with regards to the "violent" roving life-style?")

This has absolutely nothing to do with this thread. If you want to ask  and have answered questions such as these open another thread. I am getting very tired of your irrelevant posts here.

Bede, Alfred,Alcwin,et cetera

And learn to distinguish between historical propaganda and history. As the great Dutch historian Pieter Geyl wrote in his seminal work on Napoleon-For and Against:

If you want to understand history first study the historian

or look at Inventing the Middle Ages:The Lives, Works, and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century by Norman F. Cantor which has interesting chapters -inter alia- on Tolkien and Lewis.

Moreover, any history that deals with the military aspects of an invading culture is hardly going to provide a balanced picture of the socio-political elements of that culture, its institutions etc.. I doubt if those experiencing the rampages of the British Army in the American Revolutionary War would have given very sympathetic accounts of British culture, annd I have first-hand knowledge of how many educated Vietnamese view the role of America in the Vitenamese War !

And as Jinniver Thynne observed- the barbarity was universal, not limited to the Viking invaders.

As Norman Davies one of England’s leading historians observes in his seminal work The Isles-A History:

The Christian Anglo-Saxons could be every bit as barbaric as the Northmen’- a view he points out that was shared by Charles Dickens in his Child’s History of England where - commenting on the massacre of St. Brice’s Day in 1002, Dickens observed:

"And now, a terrible deed was done in England , the like of which was never done on English ground before or since. On the thirteenth of November, in pursuance of secretinstructions sent by the king over the whole country, the inhabitants of every town and city armed, and murdeerd all the Danes who were their neighbours. Young and old, baies and soldiers, men and women, every Dane was killed".

What did you say about the poor terrified citizens  of Paris and the  Vikings?

And Davies goes on to observe:

{In general historical record} The place for Vikings is on the open sea, on exposed coasts and islands, and in distant foreign countries. They are rarely  presented as an integral  part of the English (or Scottish or Irish) life. Both geographically and culturally they remain aliens and outsiders. Young British  readers are  invited to identify with the native victims of Viking piracy, and sometimes with Viking warriors, but not with Scandinavian migrants  attempting to build a new life in the Isles or with Scandinavian rulers confronting their Anglo- Saxon opponents. To all intents and purposes the Vikings were  considered to be pagan brutes, and as such unworthy of further attention’.

Davies - not surprisingly, does not share the crass and unhistorical viewpoint expressed in the final sentence!

However, this is not a further discussion for this thread, which quite explicityl is intended- as the head note states:Norse Imagery in Tolkien’s ME.

 

halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 03:12 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

 how did Norse culture impact Lotr with regards to the "violent" roving life-style?")

This has absolutely nothing to do with this thread. If you want to ask  and have answered questions such as these open another thread. I am getting very tired of your irrelevant posts here.

Bede, Alfred,Alcwin,et cetera

And learn to distinguish between historical propaganda and history. As the great Dutch historian Pieter Geyl wrote in his seminal work on Napoleon-For and Against:

If you want to understand history first study the historian

or look at Inventing the Middle Ages:The Lives, Works, and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century by Norman F. Cantor which has interesting chapters -inter alia- on Tolkien and Lewis.

Moreover, any history that deals with the military aspects of an invading culture is hardly going to provide a balanced picture of the socio-political elements of that culture, its institutions etc.. I doubt if those experiencing the rampages of the British Army in the American Revolutionary War would have given very sympathetic accounts of British culture, annd I have first-hand knowledge of how many educated Vietnamese view the role of America in the Vitenamese War !

And as Jinniver Thynne observed- the barbarity was universal, not limited to the Viking invaders.

As Norman Davies one of England’s leading historians observes in his seminal work The Isles-A History:

The Christian Anglo-Saxons could be every bit as barbaric as the Northmen’- a view he points out that was shared by Charles Dickens in his Child’s History of England where - commenting on the massacre of St. Brice’s Day in 1002, Dickens observed:

"And now, a terrible deed was done in England , the like of which was never done on English ground before or since. On the thirteenth of November, in pursuance of secretinstructions sent by the king over the whole country, the inhabitants of every town and city armed, and murdeerd all the Danes who were their neighbours. Young and old, baies and soldiers, men and women, every Dane was killed".

What did you say about the poor terrified citizens  of Paris and the  Vikings?

And Davies goes on to observe:

{In general historical record} The place for Vikings is on the open sea, on exposed coasts and islands, and in distant foreign countries. They are rarely  presented as an integral  part of the English (or Scottish or Irish) life. Both geographically and culturally they remain aliens and outsiders. Young British  readers are  invited to identify with the native victims of Viking piracy, and sometimes with Viking warriors, but not with Scandinavian migrants  attempting to build a new life in the Isles or with Scandinavian rulers confronting their Anglo- Saxon opponents. To all intents and purposes the Vikings were  considered to be pagan brutes, and as such unworthy of further attention’.

Davies - not surprisingly, does not share the crass and unhistorical viewpoint expressed in the final sentence!

However, this is not a further discussion for this thread, which quite explicityl is intended- as the head note states:Norse Imagery in Tolkien’s ME.

 

Captain Bingo 08/Nov/2006 at 01:10 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

Now its been a while since I read through tis thread so forgive me if this has been mentioned already, but it interested me:

Gibbon’s note 21 to Ch 10:

The Ostro and Visi, the Eastern and Western Goths, obtained those denominations from their original seats in Scandinavia. In all their future marches and settlements they preserved, with their names, the same relative situation. When they first departed from Sweden, the infant colony was contained in three vessels. The third being a heavy sailer lagged behind, and the crew, which afterwards swelled into a nation, received from that circumstance the appellation of Gepidæ or Loiterers. Jornandes, c. 17.

Captain Bingo 08/Nov/2006 at 01:10 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

Now its been a while since I read through tis thread so forgive me if this has been mentioned already, but it interested me:

Gibbon’s note 21 to Ch 10:

The Ostro and Visi, the Eastern and Western Goths, obtained those denominations from their original seats in Scandinavia. In all their future marches and settlements they preserved, with their names, the same relative situation. When they first departed from Sweden, the infant colony was contained in three vessels. The third being a heavy sailer lagged behind, and the crew, which afterwards swelled into a nation, received from that circumstance the appellation of Gepidæ or Loiterers. Jornandes, c. 17.

halfir 08/Nov/2006 at 03:15 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Captain Bingo:  No, I am afraid my literary and historical sources had not lighted upon the great child of the Enlightenment, but it’s interesting to see that so voluminous is his knowledge ( and he is a classic example of  a discriminating user of primary sources) that he even manages appropriatelyX( to appear in this thread!
halfir 08/Nov/2006 at 03:15 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Captain Bingo:  No, I am afraid my literary and historical sources had not lighted upon the great child of the Enlightenment, but it’s interesting to see that so voluminous is his knowledge ( and he is a classic example of  a discriminating user of primary sources) that he even manages appropriatelyX( to appear in this thread!
Captain Bingo 08/Nov/2006 at 04:45 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

You may find this interesting too - from Ch. 10:

It was by arms of a very different nature that Gallienus endeavoured to protect Italy from the fury of the Germans. He espoused Pipa, the daughter of a king of the Marcomanni, a Suevic tribe, which was often confounded with the Alemanni in their wars and conquests.To the father, as the price of his alliance, he granted an ample settlement in Pannonia. The native charms of unpolished beauty seem to have fixed the daughter in the affections of the inconstant emperor, and the bands of policy were more firmly connected by those of love. But the haughty prejudice of Rome still refused the name of marriage to the profane mixture of a citizen and a barbarian; and has stigmatised the German princess with the opprobrious title of concubine of Gallienus.

Captain Bingo 08/Nov/2006 at 04:45 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006

You may find this interesting too - from Ch. 10:

It was by arms of a very different nature that Gallienus endeavoured to protect Italy from the fury of the Germans. He espoused Pipa, the daughter of a king of the Marcomanni, a Suevic tribe, which was often confounded with the Alemanni in their wars and conquests.To the father, as the price of his alliance, he granted an ample settlement in Pannonia. The native charms of unpolished beauty seem to have fixed the daughter in the affections of the inconstant emperor, and the bands of policy were more firmly connected by those of love. But the haughty prejudice of Rome still refused the name of marriage to the profane mixture of a citizen and a barbarian; and has stigmatised the German princess with the opprobrious title of concubine of Gallienus.

Jinniver Thynne 08/Nov/2006 at 01:06 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

Just one example of how the Vikings were most definitely not just brutal invaders (and indeed of how the Iintegrated and settled and eventually spawned millions of descendants of which i am one) is the Manx government, the Tynwald, the oldest continuously extant parliament in the world. The word Tynwald descends from thing - and is seen today in the names of various Scandinavian parliaments and in place names such as Thingwall and Dingwall. I note how close the name Thuringwethil is to this word. But its also interesting to compare the Tynwald which meets in the outdoors with the Muster of the Rohirim which takes place on the Firienfeld.

Rohan appears to have no parliament so it cannot form a direct comparison to the Tynwald, but the Mustering does link to something else introduced by the Danes - the wapentake. The wapentake was a grouping of local warriors/soldiers which would fall under the leadership of a Riding (a word still in use to describe parts of Yorkshire today) - this is strikingly similar to the Rohirric system of Marches.

It might be a link more to history than to mythology, but hopefully that adds a little something on how Tolkien uses Norse imagery?

Jinniver Thynne 08/Nov/2006 at 01:06 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 994 Posts: 424 Joined: 28/Jan/2006

Just one example of how the Vikings were most definitely not just brutal invaders (and indeed of how the Iintegrated and settled and eventually spawned millions of descendants of which i am one) is the Manx government, the Tynwald, the oldest continuously extant parliament in the world. The word Tynwald descends from thing - and is seen today in the names of various Scandinavian parliaments and in place names such as Thingwall and Dingwall. I note how close the name Thuringwethil is to this word. But its also interesting to compare the Tynwald which meets in the outdoors with the Muster of the Rohirim which takes place on the Firienfeld.

Rohan appears to have no parliament so it cannot form a direct comparison to the Tynwald, but the Mustering does link to something else introduced by the Danes - the wapentake. The wapentake was a grouping of local warriors/soldiers which would fall under the leadership of a Riding (a word still in use to describe parts of Yorkshire today) - this is strikingly similar to the Rohirric system of Marches.

It might be a link more to history than to mythology, but hopefully that adds a little something on how Tolkien uses Norse imagery?

Captain Bingo 11/Nov/2006 at 06:35 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Not exactly Norse mythology, but something I found in Gibbon. Asclepiodotus leads a fleet against Allectus, who had usurped control of Britain:

Asclepiodotus had no sooner disembarked the Imperial troops than he set fire to his ships; and, as the expedition proved fortunate, his heroic conduct was universally admired.

Now, I don’t know if this was typical behaviour in the ancient world, or a one off on the part of Asclepiodotus. Either way it seems to echo Feanor’s action. I’m informed by geordie that Tolkien gave an edition of Gibbon to Michael, though whether he read the work himself I’m unsure. whatever, it seems Feanor’s action had at least one historical precedent (or do I mean set at least one historical precedent )
Captain Bingo 11/Nov/2006 at 06:35 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 1573 Posts: 957 Joined: 31/Jan/2006
Not exactly Norse mythology, but something I found in Gibbon. Asclepiodotus leads a fleet against Allectus, who had usurped control of Britain:

Asclepiodotus had no sooner disembarked the Imperial troops than he set fire to his ships; and, as the expedition proved fortunate, his heroic conduct was universally admired.

Now, I don’t know if this was typical behaviour in the ancient world, or a one off on the part of Asclepiodotus. Either way it seems to echo Feanor’s action. I’m informed by geordie that Tolkien gave an edition of Gibbon to Michael, though whether he read the work himself I’m unsure. whatever, it seems Feanor’s action had at least one historical precedent (or do I mean set at least one historical precedent )
geordie 11/Nov/2006 at 01:48 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Jinniver - Tolkien uses the word ’weapontake’ three times in LotR [according to my Blackwelder’s Tolkien Thesaurus. PCs - who needs ’em?]

Once in The Passing of the Grey Company; and twice in The Muster of Rohan.

BTW - Capn’ - did’nt Duke William the Bastard set fire to his ships after the Normans landed at Pevensey? For the same reason as Feanor; I think [could be dead wrong here, of course].


geordie 11/Nov/2006 at 01:48 PM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Jinniver - Tolkien uses the word ’weapontake’ three times in LotR [according to my Blackwelder’s Tolkien Thesaurus. PCs - who needs ’em?]

Once in The Passing of the Grey Company; and twice in The Muster of Rohan.

BTW - Capn’ - did’nt Duke William the Bastard set fire to his ships after the Normans landed at Pevensey? For the same reason as Feanor; I think [could be dead wrong here, of course].


halfir 11/Nov/2006 at 03:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

did’nt Duke William the Bastard set fire to his ships after the Normans landed at Pevensey

Historians differ on whether this happened or not. The three primary sources  frequently quoted with resepct to what we might neutrally term ’decommissioning’ of the Norman ships are:

 

Battle Abbey Chronicle - the ships were burned

 

The Carmen De Hastingae Proelio of Guy Bishop of Amiens -  the ships were surrounded with earthworks

 

Wace-Roman de Rou - the ships were  dismantled and pierced

 

(Wace - a Jersey poet is not accepted by as reliable by a number of historians).

 

 

 

halfir 11/Nov/2006 at 03:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

did’nt Duke William the Bastard set fire to his ships after the Normans landed at Pevensey

Historians differ on whether this happened or not. The three primary sources  frequently quoted with resepct to what we might neutrally term ’decommissioning’ of the Norman ships are:

 

Battle Abbey Chronicle - the ships were burned

 

The Carmen De Hastingae Proelio of Guy Bishop of Amiens -  the ships were surrounded with earthworks

 

Wace-Roman de Rou - the ships were  dismantled and pierced

 

(Wace - a Jersey poet is not accepted by as reliable by a number of historians).

 

 

 

halfir 11/Nov/2006 at 07:09 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Grima Wormtongue

Tolkien was very well-versed in Icelandic Saga. He was also very well-versed in the writings of William Morris whose style he imitated in some of his earlier writings, {cf my thread:

Tolkien and William Morris

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/Archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=186383&PagePosition=2}

and  of whose contribution both to commentary on and translation of Icelandic saga he would have been well aware.

In the Sagas of Eirik the Red  we find the Gunnlaugs Saga Ormstungu" [Gunnlaug Wormtongue -Gunnlaug serpent tongue],a short saga about Gunnlaug Wormtongue’s ill-fated love for Helga the Fair, of which Morris wrote:

The shorter story of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue is of much the same quality, but the passion of love plays an important part in it cf.

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/morris/works/tmp/iceland.htm

 

It seems more than likely that the tale, or more specifically the name, either in the original or in the Morris translation and commentary, provided yet another ingredient that went into Tolkien’s great ’Cauldron of Story’ that became LOTR.

 

Gunnlaug was an actual warrior and poet and his love for Helga was very different in RL to the lascivious side-looks and lust that are demonstrated by Grima Wormtongue in LOTR, again attesting to Tolkien’s own comment that:

 

’it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider. {Letter # 337}

And indeed , this is doubly the case here, for, if Tolkien’s imagination was sparked by the saga itself or the Morris translation, his own philological genius comes into play regarding Grima Wormtongue- as John Tinkler  demonstrates in his essay Old English in Rohan {Tolkien and the Critics -edt. Isaacs and Lombardo Notre Dame University Press 1968}.

Wormtongue, is called Grima, son of Galmod (old English grima ’mask or specter’ and galmod ’licentious).

 

halfir 11/Nov/2006 at 07:09 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Grima Wormtongue

Tolkien was very well-versed in Icelandic Saga. He was also very well-versed in the writings of William Morris whose style he imitated in some of his earlier writings, {cf my thread:

Tolkien and William Morris

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/Archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=186383&PagePosition=2}

and  of whose contribution both to commentary on and translation of Icelandic saga he would have been well aware.

In the Sagas of Eirik the Red  we find the Gunnlaugs Saga Ormstungu" [Gunnlaug Wormtongue -Gunnlaug serpent tongue],a short saga about Gunnlaug Wormtongue’s ill-fated love for Helga the Fair, of which Morris wrote:

The shorter story of Gunnlaug the Worm-Tongue is of much the same quality, but the passion of love plays an important part in it cf.

 

http://www.marxists.org/archive/morris/works/tmp/iceland.htm

 

It seems more than likely that the tale, or more specifically the name, either in the original or in the Morris translation and commentary, provided yet another ingredient that went into Tolkien’s great ’Cauldron of Story’ that became LOTR.

 

Gunnlaug was an actual warrior and poet and his love for Helga was very different in RL to the lascivious side-looks and lust that are demonstrated by Grima Wormtongue in LOTR, again attesting to Tolkien’s own comment that:

 

’it is the particular use in a particular situation of any motive, whether invented, deliberately borrowed, or unconsciously remembered that is the most interesting thing to consider. {Letter # 337}

And indeed , this is doubly the case here, for, if Tolkien’s imagination was sparked by the saga itself or the Morris translation, his own philological genius comes into play regarding Grima Wormtongue- as John Tinkler  demonstrates in his essay Old English in Rohan {Tolkien and the Critics -edt. Isaacs and Lombardo Notre Dame University Press 1968}.

Wormtongue, is called Grima, son of Galmod (old English grima ’mask or specter’ and galmod ’licentious).

 

Ragnelle 12/Nov/2006 at 12:20 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

A few quick comments:

I do not know if Tolkien knew or though of this as well, but in Norway (and to the best of my knowledge the rest of Scandinavia) the wod ’grime’ means ’halter’ and probably comes from grima, or is at least related. A fitting name for one that would tame and lead the Horse-lords.

I’d also like to cation that when the word ’viking’ is used in norse writing it does not mean ’Scandinavian’, but rather something like ’pirat’ or ’robber’. You could ’dra i viking’ (go vikinging ??) for a shorter or longer amount of time, though that did not nessereraly imply plundering all the time. I get the impression that more often than not these kind of vikings were more mercenaries (sp?) than robbers, though many mercenaries probably were robbers as well... Anyway ’Scandinavian’ and ’Viking’ is not nesserearly synonyms in the older sources. (sorry about that of-topic diverson, I will return to the toppic now.)

In conection to Tolkiens use of "weapontake" I’ve like to mention the Red Arrow. To me that eccoes the ’hærpil’ - ’the arrow of war’ I think is a possible translation, sorry; I do not know the propper English words - that would be sendt around to warn about an upcomming conflict; usually it summoned allies.

halfiir: I have not forgotten Aragorn and Olav Harraldson, but I have gotten an repetative strain ingury (sp?) and can’t write any lengthy posts at the moment. I will get back to them though.

Ragnelle 12/Nov/2006 at 12:20 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

A few quick comments:

I do not know if Tolkien knew or though of this as well, but in Norway (and to the best of my knowledge the rest of Scandinavia) the wod ’grime’ means ’halter’ and probably comes from grima, or is at least related. A fitting name for one that would tame and lead the Horse-lords.

I’d also like to cation that when the word ’viking’ is used in norse writing it does not mean ’Scandinavian’, but rather something like ’pirat’ or ’robber’. You could ’dra i viking’ (go vikinging ??) for a shorter or longer amount of time, though that did not nessereraly imply plundering all the time. I get the impression that more often than not these kind of vikings were more mercenaries (sp?) than robbers, though many mercenaries probably were robbers as well... Anyway ’Scandinavian’ and ’Viking’ is not nesserearly synonyms in the older sources. (sorry about that of-topic diverson, I will return to the toppic now.)

In conection to Tolkiens use of "weapontake" I’ve like to mention the Red Arrow. To me that eccoes the ’hærpil’ - ’the arrow of war’ I think is a possible translation, sorry; I do not know the propper English words - that would be sendt around to warn about an upcomming conflict; usually it summoned allies.

halfiir: I have not forgotten Aragorn and Olav Harraldson, but I have gotten an repetative strain ingury (sp?) and can’t write any lengthy posts at the moment. I will get back to them though.

Kirinki54 12/Nov/2006 at 01:54 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Ragnelle wrote: I do not know if Tolkien knew or though of this as well, but in Norway (and to the best of my knowledge the rest of Scandinavia) the wod ’grime’ means ’halter’ and probably comes from grima, or is at least related. A fitting name for one that would tame and lead the Horse-lords.

Neighbour, we do have it in Sweden in the form of “grimma”. Apart from your interpretation, I would like to add that Wormstongue himself was in the reigns of Saruman so to speak; it could have a double meaning.

In conection to Tolkiens use of "weapontake" I’ve like to mention the Red Arrow. To me that eccoes the ’hærpil’ - ’the arrow of war’ I think is a possible translation, sorry; I do not know the propper English words - that would be sendt around to warn about an upcomming conflict; usually it summoned allies.

The word “härpil” was known here also, though more often was used “budkavle” (‘message stick’): a stick of wood with a burnt end. This token was sent around (often secretly) in order to alert and/or to arouse people. To break the chain could be very dangerous and result in vengeance. (The term is still used figuratively for assembling people for a certain action.)
Kirinki54 12/Nov/2006 at 01:54 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Ragnelle wrote: I do not know if Tolkien knew or though of this as well, but in Norway (and to the best of my knowledge the rest of Scandinavia) the wod ’grime’ means ’halter’ and probably comes from grima, or is at least related. A fitting name for one that would tame and lead the Horse-lords.

Neighbour, we do have it in Sweden in the form of “grimma”. Apart from your interpretation, I would like to add that Wormstongue himself was in the reigns of Saruman so to speak; it could have a double meaning.

In conection to Tolkiens use of "weapontake" I’ve like to mention the Red Arrow. To me that eccoes the ’hærpil’ - ’the arrow of war’ I think is a possible translation, sorry; I do not know the propper English words - that would be sendt around to warn about an upcomming conflict; usually it summoned allies.

The word “härpil” was known here also, though more often was used “budkavle” (‘message stick’): a stick of wood with a burnt end. This token was sent around (often secretly) in order to alert and/or to arouse people. To break the chain could be very dangerous and result in vengeance. (The term is still used figuratively for assembling people for a certain action.)
halfir 12/Nov/2006 at 03:29 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: Sorry to hear of the sprain injury - hope it clears up soon.X( Thanks for the input, Kirinki 54 too.What your two posts denote to me is that Tolkien knw every well the ’luggage’ i.e. word history that his choice of Grima Wormtongue carried, demonstarting just how deeply the Norse sagas and languages had infiltrated his psyche.

A fitting name for one that would tame and lead the Horse-lords

Wormstongue himself was in the reigns of Saruman so to speak; it could have a double meaning.

Tolkien loved punning, word assocaition, and verbal play, and it could well be that these two aspects you quote had not escaped his eagle philological eye.

The problem is that many current writers on Tolkien have but a suerficial understanding of that deep philological knowledge he brought to his creative writing, and thus pass it off simply on a ’religious’ level.

halfir 12/Nov/2006 at 03:29 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: Sorry to hear of the sprain injury - hope it clears up soon.X( Thanks for the input, Kirinki 54 too.What your two posts denote to me is that Tolkien knw every well the ’luggage’ i.e. word history that his choice of Grima Wormtongue carried, demonstarting just how deeply the Norse sagas and languages had infiltrated his psyche.

A fitting name for one that would tame and lead the Horse-lords

Wormstongue himself was in the reigns of Saruman so to speak; it could have a double meaning.

Tolkien loved punning, word assocaition, and verbal play, and it could well be that these two aspects you quote had not escaped his eagle philological eye.

The problem is that many current writers on Tolkien have but a suerficial understanding of that deep philological knowledge he brought to his creative writing, and thus pass it off simply on a ’religious’ level.

halfir 12/Nov/2006 at 03:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: So sorry to hear of your  strain injury, I hope it clears up soon.X(Thanks to you and Kirinki 54 for giving us even further additions to Tolkien’s amazing philological knowledge. It would not surprise me at all if, with regard to:

the word ’grime’ means ’halter’ and probably comes from grima, or is at least related. A fitting name for one that would tame and lead the Horse-lords

and

Wormstongue himself was in the reins of Saruman so to speak; it could have a double meaning.

Tolkien, the lover of puns, verbal play, and word riddles, was well aware of the ’luggage’- word history- carried by the name Grima Wormtongue.

The Master’s word hoard would equal any dragon hoard of old!

halfir 12/Nov/2006 at 03:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ragnelle: So sorry to hear of your  strain injury, I hope it clears up soon.X(Thanks to you and Kirinki 54 for giving us even further additions to Tolkien’s amazing philological knowledge. It would not surpise me at all if, with regard to:

the wod ’grime’ means ’halter’ and probably comes from grima, or is at least related. A fitting name for one that would tame and lead the Horse-lords

and

Wormstongue himself was in the reigns of Saruman so to speak; it could have a double meaning.

Tolkien, the lover of puns, verbal play, and word riddles, was well aware of the ’luggage’- word history- carried by the name Grima Wormtongue.

The Master’s word hoard would equal any dragon hoard of old!

halfir 13/Dec/2006 at 09:01 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Just a note to say ’thank you’ to the Admins for the return of this thread. I have uncovered a lot more fascinating information in terms of Norse imagery and resonance in Tolkien’s writings including an extraordinary comparison regarding Frodo and fertility gods, which I will return to later! Watch this space!
Nenarye 14/Dec/2006 at 12:00 PM
Defender of Imladris Points: 839 Posts: 376 Joined: 08/Oct/2006
Frodo and fertility gods? Huh?

Looking forward to what you cook up.
halfir 14/Dec/2006 at 03:40 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Nenarye: Aha! My ’teaser’ has worked. X(I’ll give those following this thread a clue- but won’t be revealing the "Frodo/fertility gods’ info for some time yet. The clue , for those who like detective stories is,.E. O.G.Turville-Petre.
halfir 14/Dec/2006 at 05:30 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Sexy It Isn’t !

In her exhaustive analysis of the Northern Litertature and LOTR-Tolkien’s Cauldon, on which this thread heavily relies both for fact and for saga references, Gloriana St. Clair observes that one of the fundamental aspects of the Norse sagas is their constant action.

Commenting on The Saga of King Heidrek - a work edited by CT- Ms. St. Clair observes:

’duels, berserk-fury, battles, viking expeditions, barrow descent, beheading, fratricide, exile, murder, suicide, revenge, and war, all keep the reader from boredom. Action and adventure predominate in The Lord of the Rings too. There, land and sea journeys, barrow descent, storms, raids, escapes of horseback, mountain climbing, caving, fire, battles, wars , suicide, and attacks by monsters are numerosu.’

She then make an observation that I would like us to consider:

’Lack of any emphasis on love or sex is almost a corollary to that much adventure. Even sagas such as Kormack’s Saga and Gunnlaug’s Saga  that are primarily love stories, emphasize neither sex nor sentiment. ........Similarly, although The Lord of the Rings ends with a triple marriage (Aragorn and Arwen; Faramir and Eowyn; and Sam and Rosie {halfir note: See how the ’magic’ number ’3’ appears yet again!) sex and romance are not explored.’{my bold emphasis}

While I do not go the whole nine yards with those last few words I think that Ms. St. Clair makes a valid point regarding the template that Tolkien used to define his work. Moreover, if we add to this Jared Lobdel’s claim that Tolkien is an archetypical ’Edwardian’ writer in terms of the construction of his masterpiece, it might give us thought to consider that the lack of a heavily overt emphasis on love and sex that we find in LOTR is much more the product of the archetypes that Tolkien used to craft his work- the sagas and -perhaps- Edwardian adventure stories (his fascination with Rider-Haggard’s ’She’ is personally recorded in the Letters), than the social environment  and time in which he lived - a point often emphasised by feminist critics of LOTR.

Nenarye 14/Dec/2006 at 07:17 PM
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It would seem, on the surface, that Tolkien derived just as much, or more, of sex and love in his stories, or the lack thereof, from the socitey and time in which he lived in, than Edwardian adventure stoires, or the template(s) he used. (Norse stories? Edwardian stories? Can someone make a little more clear, his template?) When you put it this way halfir, and include quotes and other evidence to support this, I suppose that you can better see how he might of developed more of his stories from the "template(s)" than the society in which he lived.

Still I think that Tolkien did derive certain aspects from the time and society in which he lived, (which is still fairly obvious, considering that he lived and wrote in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s etc. I don’t think I need to explain why this is significant) and combined them with the template(s) he was using.
Lady d`Ecthelion 14/Dec/2006 at 10:16 PM
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Quote:
’duels, berserk-fury, battles, viking expeditions, barrow descent, beheading, fratricide, exile, murder, suicide, revenge, and war, all keep the reader from boredom. Action and adventure predominate in The Lord of the Rings too. There, land and sea journeys, barrow descent, storms, raids, escapes of horseback, mountain climbing, caving, fire, battles, wars , suicide, and attacks by monsters are numerosu.’

... Who would have time for love, sex and sentiment with all these adventures at hand?

I am not acquinted so well with the N-EU - literature, and for me it’s exciting to read what you all are posting in this thread.
But as far as the last topic is concerned.... I’m thinking...

Wouldn’t it be a right thing to say that even if Tolkien’s sagas are, too, full of action and adventures - following the tradition of the Norse sagas, most of them start because of love/sentiment.
And again keeping the tradition, such "love-caused quests/adventures" would normally end with hugs, kisses and marriage.
halfir 15/Dec/2006 at 05:13 PM
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Aldoriana: A refreshing way of looking at the topic and one I personally see as having merit.X( I’m glad you’re enjoying the thread.

Nenarye: Ben Jonson wrote of Shakespeare:

’He was not of an age but for all time’

Inherent in that comment is the view that a great writer is not circumscribed by his/her age and its mores- but transcends them, as well as reflecting them.

While I do not put Tolkien on a par with Shakespeare I do think his epic work  of LOTR transcends the time in which it was written, and that the attitudes expressed are very much a conscious decision on  the author’s behalf,  to craft his work -in part - in the continuum of the ’saga masters".

For further comments on the significance of the ’Edwardian archetype’ see my threads:

The Influence of She on Tolkien

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=158743&PagePosition=1

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=190225&PagePosition=4&PagePostPosition=1

 

 

Ankala Teaweed 15/Dec/2006 at 05:30 PM
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On Aldoriana’s last point, there is the fact that the love of Arwen and hopes for a future together was a motivating factor in Aragorn’s many years of sacrifice and hardship in preparation for his trial in what became the War of the Ring.

What these critics miss is that love is present in Tolkien’s works, yet by today’s standards the emotions being expressed are understated.

And, while it is a good thing that the societal taboos of sex have been eroded, that doesn’t mean that literature requires sex to be judged worthy.

halfir 15/Dec/2006 at 05:33 PM
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X(
Nenarye 15/Dec/2006 at 07:14 PM
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halfir - Although I do agree with you, surely some aspects of his work cam from the era he lived in?

halfir 15/Dec/2006 at 07:51 PM
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Inherent in that comment is the view that a great writer is not circumscribed by his/her age and its mores- but transcends them, as well as reflecting them. X(

Nenarye 15/Dec/2006 at 10:04 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Friday, December 15, 2006

Inherent in that comment is the view that a great writer is not circumscribed by his/her age and its mores- but transcends them, as well as reflecting them. <IMG style="CURSOR: hand" onclick="AddSmileyIcon(’forum_images/smiley16.gif&rsquo" alt=X( src="http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/forum_images/smiley16.gif" border=0>



Ok. Got you, didn’t quite read it close enough...
halfir 15/Dec/2006 at 11:31 PM
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X(
Captain Bingo 17/Dec/2006 at 11:14 AM
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Not Norse myth, but more from Mr Gibbon. There was a thread some time back on the significance of the belts given by Galadriel to Boromir, Merry & Pippin, but I think it has been archived. Whatever, hoping its not too far off topic, here it is:

"To secure his throne and the public tranquillity from these formidable servants, Constantine resolved to divide the military from the civil administration; and to establish, as a permanent and professional distinction, a practice which had been adopted only as an occasional expedient. The supreme jurisdiction exercised by the Prætorian prefects over the armies of the empire was transferred to the two masters general whom he instituted, the one for the cavalry, the other for the infantry; and, though each of these illustrious officers was more peculiarly responsible for the discipline of those troops which were under his immediate inspection, they both indifferently commanded in the field the several bodies, whether of horse or foot, which were united in the same army. Their number was soon doubled by the division of the East and West; and, as separate generals of the same rank and title were appointed on the four important frontiers of the Rhine, of the Upper and the Lower Danube, and of the Euphrates, the defence of the Roman empire was at length committed to eight masters general of the cavalry and infantry. Under their orders, thirty-five military commanders were stationed in the provinces: three in Britain, six in Gaul, one in Spain, one in Italy, five on the Upper, and four on the Lower Danube; in Asia eight, three in Egypt, and four in Africa. The titles of counts, and dukes, by which they were properly distinguished, have obtained in modern languages so very different a sense that the use of them may occasion some surprise. But it should be recollected that the second of those appellations is only a corruption of the Latin word which was indiscriminately applied to any military chief. All these provincial generals were therefore dukes; but no more than ten among them were dignified with the rank of counts or companions, a title of honour, or rather of favour, which had been recently invented in the court of Constantine A gold belt was the ensign which distinguished the office of the counts and dukes; and besides their pay, they received a liberal allowance, sufficient to maintain one hundred and ninety servants, and one hundred and fifty-eight horses."

halfir 17/Dec/2006 at 05:52 PM
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Captain Bingo:

Boromir’s Gift

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive5/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=24&TopicID=208262&PagePosition=1&PagePostPosition=1

 

Regarding the belt given to Boromir, as per my fical post in the thread you referred to, I think I actually go with Max Luthi’s comment, as i posted before:

 

"As Max Luthi the great folklorist scholar once wrote:

’Everything external , not just in literature but also in reality, can be or become a symbol. It, is, however, still itself as well, not only  in reality but also in literature. {my bold emphasis}

Or, as Gertrude Stein might have put it:

"a belt, is a belt, is a belt’.X(

Kirinki54 18/Dec/2006 at 03:09 PM
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halfir, you certainly made me curious! As I am travelling I cannot do any real research, but I was wondering if perhaps you allude to something connected to Freyr and the Fróða-friðr? There seems to be a strong link between these, and Freyr was indeed one of the fertility gods (of the Vanir pantheon). Tom Shippey have suggested (but I will not go into his reasoning here) that the name of Frodo was chosen to resemble Fróða (or Froda in AS) because of his gradual pacifism. One could apply the Froda-peace to the situation after the One had been destroyed, when prosperity grew in Middle-earth, and it is easy to see that fertility was strong in the Shire after the scouring. But perhaps you have something different in mind? I do not know whether J. E. Turville-Petre wrote something on the Froda-peace.

Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Dec/2006 at 09:08 PM
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And speaking about belts, what about Melian’s girdle ? What similar phenomenon is there in the Norse myths and sagas ... if any?
Just curious.
halfir 19/Dec/2006 at 02:10 AM
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what about Melian’s girdle

Aldoriana: Indeed- and we also have the girdle given to Sir Gawain by The Lady, in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. And of course the Norse myths did have a ’belt’, or girdle’ of sorts in the arm rings worn by their chieftans and senior warriors.

I’ll certainkly retun to this topic after further research.

Legolas the elf 19/Dec/2006 at 11:35 AM
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hi im new to this thread and my take on the norse imagery in lotr is very evident.   The axes some of the riders of rohan were useing were norse style riding axes.Also, in rohan spears were the main weapons talked about in return of the king, one of the main weapons of the norse were spears. the swords weren’t at all like norse sword though. and, the norse were big on riding horses into battle. The armor of rohan is almost the exact type that the norse wore, the helms were anglo saxon type helms(those of rohan were anyhow),an the chain mail armor was of the norse appearance.The shields i have no comment on they just looked like normal shields.And unlike gondor the horses of  the mark are an asortment of breed and color,whereas gondor’s where mostly brown.this holds wieght because the norse didn’t use just one certain breed or color of horse, they used all different breeds and colors.Also the banners of rohan were green.Alot of the norse banners green and grey.
halfir 20/Dec/2006 at 04:57 PM
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I would be interested to know just on what you base the comments you make regarding the supposed similarity between the weaponry of the Rohirrim and that of the Norse armies.

You state that the norse were big on riding horses into battle yet virtually all contemporary records relating to Norse armies, and that of later historians, states that when fighting on land Norse armies typically fought as foot infantry.

You also make no mention of bows, which were an important part of the armoury of any Norse army.

More importantly the Rohirric culture revolved around horses, neither Norse nor Anglo-Saxon culture entailed a horse-based culture. Indeed, in Letter # 131 the Rohirrim  are referred to as ’Homeric’ horsemen.

 

Legolas the elf 21/Dec/2006 at 10:27 AM
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The norse fought not mainly on horse back but on horseback nontheless

Beregond Abell 21/Dec/2006 at 01:15 PM
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Halfir: if you look up the old buildings of the norse, you will see that there is many horses in the wood work. and the rohirrim were great bowmen on horse back and on foot. they may not have been referred to as the "Horse men" but they did ride on horse back. and by the buildings with horses in the wood work you can see that they liked horses.
halfir 21/Dec/2006 at 03:12 PM
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I am afraid both you and Legolas the Elf place an emphasis on Norse armies and horses which did not exist historically.
Ankala Teaweed 21/Dec/2006 at 08:32 PM
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halfir! Some of us are still waiting with bated breath for your teased promise of more to follow on Frodo and fertility gods from the Norse mythos?
Lady d`Ecthelion 21/Dec/2006 at 09:29 PM
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Legolas the elf, and Beregond Abell, perhaps it will be interesting for you to read the thread : >>> Stereotypes - Rohirrim <<<
You might find quite a lot of information there on the issue which obviously interests you.
Now, even though erroneous, I’m afraid, that your opinions are about the Rohirrim, the issue you are putting now on the table - weapons, military practices etc, have little to nothing to do (IMO) with Norse myths/sagas, that might have received their reflection into Tolkien’s "mirror" fantasy world.... that is unless you develop the idea of horses as an element of the mythologies of both - the real historical peoples and that of the fictional people in Tolkien’s books.
So, let’s better hear what our Norsemen Plaza fellows have to tell us.

* * *

Ann Kalagon, I hope you have noticed a post by Kirinki right on the previous page?
Quote:
halfir, you certainly made me curious! As I am travelling I cannot do any real research, but I was wondering if perhaps you allude to something connected to Freyr and the Fróða-friðr? There seems to be a strong link between these, and Freyr was indeed one of the fertility gods (of the Vanir pantheon). Tom Shippey have suggested (but I will not go into his reasoning here) that the name of Frodo was chosen to resemble Fróða (or Froda in AS) because of his gradual pacifism. One could apply the Froda-peace to the situation after the One had been destroyed, when prosperity grew in Middle-earth, and it is easy to see that fertility was strong in the Shire after the scouring. But perhaps you have something different in mind? I do not know whether J. E. Turville-Petre wrote something on the Froda-peace.


It’s indeed an intriguing topic!
halfir 21/Dec/2006 at 11:16 PM
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Aldoriana: What a magnificent thread. I don’t quite know how I missed it before, but I did. X( Let me just post here your conclusions:

The widely accepted opinion that Tolkien’s Rohirrim are a 100% equalling fictional image of the Anglo-Saxons, is
not true!

Tolkien’s Rohirrim are a fictional image of a developed nation formed out of numerous tribes, mostly Germanic, that inhabitted Northern and Western Europe from around the last few centuries BC to and throughout the large period of the 1-st millennium AD.

While your thread quite exhaustively covers the topic, if you haven’t already done so, you might like to look at Michael Martinez’s observations here:

http://www.ebookbroadcast.com/ebooks/parma_endorion.pdf.

And with your reference I think we can finish this digression regarding the Rohirrim and Norse/AS imagery.

AK: It’s amazing how that little word ’fertility’ gets people interested.X(

Kalevala 22/Dec/2006 at 12:25 PM
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Lord Vidùm, I am refering to the 1st page of this topic, about when you analysed the myth 7 : Locki’s children and the binding of Fenrir . I am going to add someting about it bu it’s nothing compared to what you wrote, but anyway. You did not mention that the Gods sent Skirnir to ask hundred of Dwarves to create this unbreakable chain, among these Dwarves were Nar, Nain, Niping, Dain, Bifur, Bafur, Bombur and Nori. Remind you of anything in the Hobbit?
Kirinki54 22/Dec/2006 at 02:25 PM
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halfir: AK: It’s amazing how that little word ’fertility’ gets people interested.

Not to mention that little name of Frodo.

Ankala Teaweed 22/Dec/2006 at 03:13 PM
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halfir!        May the silver of your tongue never tarnish, my friend!

Thank you, Aldoriana. I had missed Kirinki’s post which also makes the connection between peace and fertility, which is very real (examples include not only the "baby boomers" but also the fact that more pregnancies prevented or ended in times of war or desperation).

halfir 23/Dec/2006 at 06:47 PM
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In an earlier post- regarding my ’teaser’ comment about Frodo and fertility, Kirinki 54 wrote:

halfir, you certainly made me curious! As I am travelling I cannot do any real research, but I was wondering if perhaps you allude to something connected to Freyr and the Fróða-friðr? There seems to be a strong link between these, and Freyr was indeed one of the fertility gods (of the Vanir pantheon). Tom Shippey have suggested (but I will not go into his reasoning here) that the name of Frodo was chosen to resemble Fróða (or Froda in AS) because of his gradual pacifism. One could apply the Froda-peace to the situation after the One had been destroyed, when prosperity grew in Middle-earth, and it is easy to see that fertility was strong in the Shire after the scouring. But perhaps you have something different in mind? I do not know whether J. E. Turville-Petre wrote something on the Froda-peace.

 

Shippey’s latest comments on the Froda-peace are to be found in the revised edition of The Road to ME {Harper Collins 2005 ISBN 0 261 10275 3 - Chapter 6 When All Our Fathers Worshipped Stocks and Stones} in his six-page discussion on Frodo’s name. Whether or not his conclusion- which is effectively captured by Tolkien’s comment on Bewoulf :

 

’large symbolism is near the surface, but...does not break through and become allegory’

 

is appropriate in the context of the derivation -or implication- of Frodo’s name, is debateable, but - as ever- he presents a compelling case. As Kirinki 54 observes the name of Frodo was chosen to resemble Fróða (or Froda in AS) because of his gradual pacifism.

 

Froda/{AS}Frothi{ON} according to Saxo Grammaticus and Snorri Sturluson was a Norse king who ruled at the time of Christ, so well, that his reign became known as the Froth-frith-the ’peace of Frotha’.

 

Shippey suggests that Frodo’s gradual pacifism and the ’peace ’ that reigns in the Shire after his return, has a resonance of this Norse myth- and hence the name Frodo carries also the ’luggage’ associated with this name and what it meant to Tolkien, and LOTR- which Shippey says Tolkien saw as:

 

’a mediation between pagan myth and  Christian truth {.’The Road to ME Harper Collins 2005 ISBN 0 261 10275 3 - Chapter 6 When All Our Fathers Worshipped Stocks and Stones}

 

 

Shippey seems to have arrived independently at a similar conclusion to that of EOG Turville-Petre not

J. E. Turville-Petre (his wife) as I mistakenly wote in earlier posts (now corrected), as there is no mention of EOG Turville-Petre’s essay The Cult of Freyr in the Evening of Paganism  in either Author of the Century or the revised Road to ME,(nor in the 1982 original version).

 

 

halfir 23/Dec/2006 at 08:30 PM
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Frodo and the Fertility Gods

Like all good teasers, my reference to EOG Turville-Petre’s essay in the context of the LOTR Frodo was the truth, but not the whole truth, as the esay in question was written in 1935 and of course LOTR was not published until 1954. So Turville-Petre was commenting on the name ’Frodo’ not in the context of LOTR but of Norse myth.

However- and this is the ’kicker’- E O G Turville-Petre read English at Oxford (1931-4 ) and completed  a B.Litt under Tolkien’s supervision. {Hammond & Scull JRRTolkien-Comapnion and Guide Vol2 Reader’s Guide p.1064.)

Turville-Petre was appointed the  first  Vigfusson Reader in Ancient Icelandic Literature and Antiquities at Oxford University in 1941, gaining the title of Professor in 1953. {ibid}

While not a member of the Inklings he had, quite clearly, a close geographical and educational relationship with the author of LOTR.

In 1935 Turville-Petre published an essay in the Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society -The Cult of Freyr in the Evening of Paganism.{111, vi, 1935 317-22 quoted in Glorian St. Clair- Tolkien’s Cauldron}

Ms. St. Clair comments:

’Much critical comment has been generated  about Frodo already. His name has been asociated with King Frothi of the Heimskirngla, with Frodo in Domesday Book, with Froda in Beowulf, with Anglo Saxon frod, ’wise’,and with Old Norse frothi, ’wise’.However, in "The Cult of Freyr in the Evening of Paganism’, E O G Turville-Petre compares the legendary King Frothi in Saxo {Saxo Grammaticus} with the Swedish god Freyr. While ’the Peace of Frothi’ was during the reign of Augustus Caesar around the time of Christ’s birth, in Sweden this same period of peace  and plenty is attributed to Freyr. The Flateviarbok summarizes the situation: ’The great peace which prevailed in Sweden in his day was attributed {i.e. by the Swedes} to Freyr, but the Danes attributed it to King Frothi who ruled over Denmark, and they called it ’Frothi’s Peace.’ Turville-Peter considers the name ’Frothi’ or ’Frodo’. The adjective frothr meaning ’wise’ existed, and at the same time another adjective ’frothr’ meaning ’filled with generative power", ’fertile, and ’fruitful’ was also in use. This theory clarifies the use  of the adjective  in the Skirnismal where Freyr is twice called einn frothi , a surprising  name for a fertility god if ’frothr’ can only mean ’wise’. The alternative interpretation of frothr as fruitful is more appropriate  for a fertility god.

The significance of relating Freyr to Frodo is that  if gives Frodo an added dimesnion, that of fertility. This aspect of frodo’s nature explains why his gardener accompanies him everywhere and why during Frodo’s term as mayor, the Shire  blossoms as it never has before.{Ms.St. Clar is in error here, as Frodo was only Deputy Mayor, and  that  until such time as Will Whitfoot was suffcienctly recoverd to take the job on again}.At the end of Faramir’s  interview with Frodo  at Henneth Annun, Faramir comments on Frodo’s courage  to take the Ring and not use it. Reflecting on the values of the Shire , Faramir declares  that ’there  must  gardeners be in high honour.’ Frodo agrees but fears that all is not well in his homeland. Then in a bit  of subtle foresight, Faramir mentions  that all  people grow weary, even in their  gardens and bids Frodo good night. Frodo himself will  weary of the Shire and  sail to the Grey Havens for solace. Faramir’s wisdom is dual: he  recalls Bilbo and Frodo’s assent to adventure and their subsequent  need to leave their old home.

Linking Frodo to the corn god places him in the company of Beowulf and other heroes who have fertility aspects. Like them, Frodo suffers and finally sacrifices huimself to save the world from the sterility  of Mordor{the ’blood’ of the  ’king’ re-fertilizes the land"}. The corn  god with his sacrifice and its subsequent  generative power is a cornerstone  of mythology and folk lore. To attach  Frodo to this ancient archetype is to place him in  high company indeed. Thus, looking at possible antecedents aids the reader’s understanding of The Lord of the Rings as a contribution to a tradition of mythopoeic literature.

I am not sure I go the whole nine yard with either Shippey of Ms. St. Clair regarding what inspired Tolkien to come -up with the name of ’Frodo’. One is minded of his own comment, quoted by Shippey, from Beowulf:

’large symbolism is near the surface..but does not break through to become allegory"

To me , the genius of Tolkien is that that which inspired him, did not dominate him, even though it resonated to a greater or lesser extent. This, I think, is the case with Frodo. While there are ’flavors’ of that which Shippey, Turville-Petre, and St. Clair have described in Frodo’s character presentation in LOTR- the cunning  pen of Tolkien does not give us an overt imposition of them, but a recondite one. Indeed, one could argue that Tolkien dilutes the direct corn -god/Norse myth  aspect by having Sam in the forefront of the  re-burgeoning of the Shire.

As St. Clair herself says:

Recitng a single story form Northern literature does not explain the inspiration for The Lord of the Rings.’

 

 

Maiarian Man 23/Dec/2006 at 09:51 PM
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Indeed, one could argue that Tolkien dilutes the direct corn -god/Norse myth aspect by having Sam in the forefront of the re-burgeoning of the Shire.

I would say that it shows there is no real connection at all. Sam is somewhat of a simpleton by nature and a gardener by profession. He is the one who received the special gift from Galadriel specifically meant to help something special grow in the Shire. We have two possibilities. Tolkien decided that since Frodo was connected to Frothi, he would have the Shire be especially fertile after his return (or perhaps, Tolkien decided to rename Bingo Frodo because he knew the story would end with a connection to fertility of some sort). Or else Tolkien decided that since Sam was now the head of the Shire, and he had always been a gardener, concerned with the simpler, fertile aspects of life (or because he had been given the Mallorn seed by Galadriel), the reconstruction of the Shire would be characterized by fertility. (Or perhaps third: the fertility of the Shire has little to do with teh characters involved, but is a quaint end for a society suddenly involved in a long and tragic story).

Ms. St. Clair also overlooks a more direct, internal explanation of Faramir’s comments in the Shire. Faramir, by way of his comment about gardeners, might be realizing the connection between a concern for fertility and Frodo. But I think the simpler explanation is that Samwise happens to be sitting nearby, and Sam is of course a gardener who is helping to save the world. Faramir in no way insinuates that he thinks Frodo is a gardener (indeed, he insinuates the opposite). And I assume he would be a little surprised to learn that gardening is Sam’s trade: oh the irony.

It’s one thing to be interested about why Tolkien chose the name Frodo. But it is another, potentially destructive thing to interpret the story as if Frodo’s name is a key left for us to unlock secrets. I don’t think we really learn anything about the dwarves from knowing the source of their names (not even Balin, which is truly unique from the other names in its Arthurian origins), nor from knowing Gandalf’s source, for that matter. I imagine that Tolkien probably did think about the germanic heritage involved in the name Frodo (perhaps very seriously), but I see no reason to think he chose the name for these reasons. He might just as well have liked the way it "Frodo Baggins" rolled off the tongue (which is my view, along with the idea that "Frodo" in part because of its origin, is a much more fitting name than Bingo for the hero of a story like LotR).

Indeed, I don’t see how the end of the story is supposed to make us think about a connection between fertility and Frodo. A connection between fertility and Sam, I can see that. But Frodo is wasting away. He has no family, no kids. He does nothing to promote the growth of the Shire besides helping restore its order (I think the job is still too big for the other Hobbits. Despite their growth in the quest, despite their becoming knights of Gondor and the Mark, only Frodo has really become absorbed into the world of world-changing affairs. Frodo is looked at to command the fight against the Ruffians, and it is Frodo whsen the powers of the Sherrifs--St. Clair makes a major error in calling him Mayor, given that he does nothing even as deputy mayor. After this, the restoring of everyday life, the beautifying of what had been damaged and all of the gardening, fertility stuff was left up to the other Hobbits--particularly Sam, as its right up his alley).

The Shire is no longer for Frodo at this point. Why suppose that he has anything to do with its newfound fertility, or that this newfound fertility tells us anything about him?
halfir 23/Dec/2006 at 10:13 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
mm: X(I tend to empathize much more with your approach to the naming of Frodo than with St. Clair and indeed Shippey. One feels that what we are seeing here is an excessive use of ’applicability’ in which the particular expertise of the commenatorrs on Tolkien- they are both distinguished scholars specializing in the AS and medieval periods of literature- has overriden what the text is actually telling us- at any level of interpretation.
Kirinki54 26/Dec/2006 at 06:04 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

halfir & Maiarian Man, I can also agree with certain scepticism on part even of Shippey and other highly qualified researchers, if they propose ready-made answers instead of propositions. I think Shippey often comes close to crossing this line because of his obvious advantages as a ‘Tolkien sage’; being a philologist working in fields and environments so close to Tolkien´s. Surely he if anyone can deduce what a fellow philologist meant? The problem by assuming this stance (which I do not really suggest that Shippey does, but for the sake of argument this crude simplification) is that Tolkien was not just a philologist but also a writer/artist. In any of these roles he was rather unique; in the combination he was unique to the point of being unfathomable.

 

halfir wrote:

I am not sure I go the whole nine yard with either Shippey of Ms. St. Clair regarding what inspired Tolkien to come -up with the name of ’Frodo’. One is minded of his own comment, quoted by Shippey, from Beowulf:

’large symbolism is near the surface..but does not break through to become allegory"

To me , the genius of Tolkien is that that which inspired him, did not dominate him, even though it resonated to a greater or lesser extent.

True, and I would be very surprised if that symbolism was ever intended to break through – but that does not stop these themes (that Tolkien surely knew just about everything about) from being an important source of inspiration – and reader´s applicability is allowed. And thank god for that; without it all fiction would be meaningless to the reader!

 

MM, a healthy dose of care is thus in order, and I can sympathize with much in your post. However,

 

Indeed, I don’t see how the end of the story is supposed to make us think about a connection between fertility and Frodo. A connection between fertility and Sam, I can see that. But Frodo is wasting away. He has no family, no kids. He does nothing to promote the growth of the Shire besides helping restore its order

 

regarding this I would suggest that the connection between Frodo and fertility does not need to be overt and obvious, and that it would be much more Tolkien not to be. The visible component is naturally Galadriel´s Gift – but what if there is a more subtle component; the continuing pining away of Frodo… This is a mere suggestion, and might as well be rubbish.

Maiarian Man 26/Dec/2006 at 11:05 AM
Steward of Isengard Points: 9003 Posts: 10968 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Kiriniki - Part of my point is not only that there is no overt connection between Frodo and fertility at the story’s end, but that any connection is impossible because it goes against the characteristics Tolkien is applying to Frodo at the end. If anything, it is not that our hero is one who produces fertility, but rather that our hero saves the world at a great personal cost: namely, that he will have no place or role in the future growth of the world. He couldn’t save the world without sacrificing his place in the world. Certainly, without Frodo there would be no more gardens in the Shire, for Sauron would rule all of Middle-earth. But in destroying Sauron, Frodo has lost the capability of being a gardener (literally and metaphorically). He has saved the Shire, even Middele-earth, but not for himself.

From the point of the destruction of the Ring (or perhaps the freeing of the Shire from Sharkey), Frodo has no more say where the world goes. At the best, he will sit back and watch, maybe be asked for advice but never really feel involved. Or best for Frodo, he will find some escape from the world which he has saved for others, but lost for himself (and he does, via the passage into the West). He has provided the possibility of a future, but what course the future takes is in the hands of others. He saves, but in doing so, he loses the ability to restore.
Kirinki54 26/Dec/2006 at 01:45 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

MM, you might well be right. What also struck me in your last post is that your passages might also be applied to the Elves (the Eldar) – though naturally for slightly different reasons and perhaps with less finality. But they are done and they go. Giving up the powers of the Three and their gardens, they now have to leave for the West, not to take part of the fates of Middle-earth anymore.

halfir 26/Dec/2006 at 06:09 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In re-reading mm’s fiirst post I was struck by the comment about the renaming of Frodo. The ’Frothi Connection’ -if I may borrow from Robert Luldum!X( would make more sense to me if Tolkien had from day one named his chief hobbit protagonist Frdo, but he didn’t. Moreover, the article on which St. Clair has based much of her reasoning was published in 1935 by an ex student of Tolkien’s, who was thus very likely to have been au fait with it, or perhaps even have perused it in draft. Be that as it may, I find the evidence of a ’Frothi connection’ to be weaker in the context of the original name for Frodo and the  publication date of the Turville-Petre article.

While I accept neither of those points are absolute inhibitors to the Frodo/Frothi theory I think, given the other points raised, that both St. Clair and Shippey are victims of their own academic expertise, which they are assuming as explanation for what Tolkien wrote, given that he is the product of a similar academic background. That however, is only part of the equation.

Ragnelle 28/Dec/2006 at 01:11 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

I’ve always seen Faramir’s comment on gardeners to be directet at Sam, as Sam just told him that he was a gardener and also just revealed the Ring.