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Kiah 05-05-2003 07:45 PM

Thuringwethil the fell bat of Melkor, the messenger of Morgoth. Thuringwethil took the shape of a vampire it said in the Sillmarilion. [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img] What do you think Tolkien thought about vampires for his books?
Were they like the Dracula vampires? Or something else more ancient?

Afrodal Fenyar 05-06-2003 09:29 AM

They were bats. Big, nasty looking bats with big teeth and some evil spirit living inside them. But definitely not Draculas.

Scott 05-29-2003 11:23 PM

I'm sorry, but Dracula is a name, not a classification. However, it seems that Tolkien did intend his vampires to take on the contemporary traits of vampires of his time... eg. Stoker's renditions, as well as the early horror movies.
Which brings me to a question that's been annoying me for a while. Why would Tolkien, such an avid lover of mythologies and breaker of past molds, base his descriptions of vampires off of contemporary attitudes? It seems to me that the incubus/succubus legends along with the Greek lamiai legends would be more up his alley. Even the wurdalok legends from eastern europe/western asia (Russia) seem to be more of a logical choice to base Thuringwethil on. It could have been that he was drawing from some of the South American vampire legends, but I never really pegged him as having much interest in South American folklore.
Can anyone shed some light on this topic?

Finwe 05-30-2003 07:37 AM

I agree with Scott. I think that Tolkien based his vampires on the incubus/succubus legend and the Greek lamiai.

Afrodal Fenyar 05-30-2003 08:44 AM


I'm sorry, but Dracula is a name, not a classification
I know that, but I used that as a classification of those man-like vampires.

akhtene 05-30-2003 06:07 PM

Frankly, I don't recall Thuringwethil playing any important role in Silm. To my mind she's mostly needed, so that Luthien could wear her hide /or cloak/ as a disguise. And what creature is better suited for it than a human-sized bat with large leathery wings and an extremely ugly 'face'?

Oricon Ancalime 06-05-2003 11:09 AM

I always liked Thuringwethil, even though there's not a lot of information on her. Maybe it's way out there, but I always thought of her as Death- like Eru intended her to be a Grim-reaper-ish figure but she became dreadful when she went over to Sauron's side.

SharkŻ 06-05-2003 11:42 AM

There are no 'vampires' in Tolkien's work. "His [Tolkien's] vampires" is an oxymoron.
"Vampire-form" (S77) does not constitute being a Vampire, certainly not so if skin-changing is implied. Beorn is a man, not a bear.

The most likely interpretation is:
"Vampire [...]
3. Zool.
a. One or other of various bats, chiefly South American, known or popularly believed to be blood-suckers." (OED≤ on CD-Rom, vamnpire, my stress"

Bear in mind that 'vampire-form' Thuringwethil had 'iron claws' and was thus virtually a bat and not a suave Romanian. Same goes for Sauron.

[ June 05, 2003: Message edited by: SharkŻ ]

Oricon Ancalime 06-05-2003 12:54 PM

Too bad. The world can always use more suave Romanians [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Kiah 06-05-2003 03:31 PM

I wasn't thinking of exactly a suave Romanian [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] but I agree with Scott's assessment of the vampire idea. I should go brush up on South American mythology.

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