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Old 01-31-2003, 04:58 PM   #1
Purple Monkey
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Pipe Which Myths and Stories influenced LotR?

I think that the Irish myths are very Elf-like, especially Tir Na n'Og. Tir na n'Og would the be the equivilent of Elvenhome, I suppose; ie, it's across the Sea, land of the ever-young(the immortal), land of the brave, the beautiful. What do you think? There's obvious Greek and Norse mythological influences, but what exactly?
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Old 01-31-2003, 05:35 PM   #2
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Silmaril

A better question would be, "Which Myths and Stories Could Not Be Connected Somehow to Basic Plotlines and/or Themes That Can Be Found Within The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, and Other Tolkien Stories?" If you look within The Silmarillion, you can find many things that are reminiscent of other such religious texts and myths, such as The Bible and Greek and Roman Mythology.

Now remember, however, JRR Tolkien claimed to hate allusion, so, most likely, although he would have most certainly known that what he was referring to was related in some way to another tale, he did not do it in the hopes of having someone say, "Oh! The beginning sounds a lot like Genesis!" (That "someone" being me, of course). He wanted to create Folklore for England, so of course the ideas he would create would be much like those of the Folklore of other cultures. If you look at these other stories and myths, they parallel in many fields. Many myths are similar in concept and, of course, moral.

So, while Tolkien most likely did not go out of his way to find Mythology and Folklore to parallel Middle Earth on, yes: there are parallels to Irish Mythology, Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology, Norse Mythology, and even Biblical tales, if you look at the lands, people, and stories he created.

I probably did not have to write that much, but I hope that helps you in some way...
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Old 01-31-2003, 08:24 PM   #3
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well, i think that the valar resemble the tautha de danan from celtic or irish as you call them.

doing there own thing before men , elves and everything else came around
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Old 01-31-2003, 08:26 PM   #4
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I believe that Beowulf and other similar works had a great deal of influence on Tolkien's writing. Also the cultures that inspired his many languages had somethings to do with it as well I'm sure.
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Old 01-31-2003, 10:43 PM   #5
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Silmaril

The Kalevala has had some inspiration in Tolkiens works. Especially in The Silmarillion.
Tolkien studied the sagas in The Kalevala in his lifetime. And some of the tales in The Silmarillion resemble those in The Kalevala. For example, the story of Turin Turumbar.
Heres a Sample of Tales in the Kalevala.
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Old 02-01-2003, 12:43 AM   #6
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According to The Magical World of the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien was inspired much by Beowulf, as someone (sorry, forgot who) said. The book also says
Quote:
He also drew inspiration from legends of faraway places, like the countryside of Finland. ... Celtic mythology, which may have been based on those Norse legends, also influenced Tolkien. ... Norse mythology was the first inspiration for many of the facts about Gollum's life and personality. ... Tolkien was inspired by creatures in stories by George McDonald
That was coming from only about half the book with much left out, but I'm afraid it's too late at night for me to go much further. Goodnight!
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Old 02-01-2003, 12:45 AM   #7
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I one time read this one book all about all the connections that the LOTR had to european myths and legends. They connected it to scandinavian ones, the legends of King Arthur, and, many, many other stories.
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Old 02-01-2003, 09:29 AM   #8
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Has anyone seen the documantry on LoTR, by The Discovery channel, in which an ancient Scandanvian lanuage was said to have influenced Elvish?
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Old 02-01-2003, 09:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
ancient Scandanvian lanuage
Yeah! It's the Kalevala. I'm trying to look for a book of the whole thing (if there is such a thing.)

About the myths and legends, I'd say LotR covers a lot of myths and legends from all over Europe. Tolkien took the prevailing themes (archetypes as well) and put them into his own work.
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Old 02-01-2003, 10:57 AM   #10
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Here is a link where you can read Beowulf. I haven't the chance to read it, yet. So much to read, so little time! [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

National Geographic did a segment on Tolkien and what inspired him. It was very interesting. I believe you can buy it from their website. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
http://www.lnstar.com/literature/beowulf/index.html
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Old 02-01-2003, 11:21 AM   #11
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Sting

Is the actual documentary on the extended edition of FoTR? I'm sure I heard that somewhere...
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Old 02-01-2003, 11:47 AM   #12
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I think it is on the $80 version. I'm not sure, though.
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Old 02-01-2003, 01:16 PM   #13
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You mean the special edition one, or the special edition with Arganoth as a stand? Or are they the same?

[ February 01, 2003: Message edited by: Inderjit Sanghera ]
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Old 02-01-2003, 01:51 PM   #14
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Sorry, I'm not sure which it is. I bought the $30 special edition. You could probably look it up at Amazon and see which one it's in. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-01-2003, 03:43 PM   #15
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Sting

i have a mythology book, and in the norse section it has the elves and dwarves, which is where tolkien got his elves and dwarves from, and a page on rings of power- which kinda makes it obvious where lotr comes from

i also once found a map of the norse realms, and midgard, or middle earth, was our earth

i think it was mostly norse, with a bunch of other stuff thrown in
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Old 02-01-2003, 08:39 PM   #16
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A good article.

edit: Iargwath, thanks for the link to the Kalevala.

[ February 01, 2003: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 06-28-2009, 07:02 PM   #17
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Can't seem to find the best place to put this, and in lieu of creating another thread, figured I'd work within this one.

Recently I got to attend 'scout' camp with my son. We spent a few days in the wilderness, sleeping in a tent, lighting fires and whittling. There were also scheduled activities, and other campers as well. The best times were when he and I walked through the woods alone, and also when he would still take and hold my hand, as some of you know (and as a country song puts it) "It won't be like this for long."

Of course, me being who I am, I was able to find something to get worked up about. This year, the theme for the camp was, I guess, King Arthur or fantasy or people who dressed as if in a Renaissance fair, wearing funny clothes, carrying chunks of iron that were supposed to be swords, and speaking with 'British' accents that sounded none too real (an aside: my astute son wondered if people back in the day sounded anything like the camp staff - he too was annoyed).

But we played along. Along with Arthur (who looked a lot more like a Friar than a King) was Lady Guinevere, and of course Merlin, and playing the part of the bad guy (but none too bad as the kids had to sleep at night) was...

Mor... Mor... All I was able to hear was Mor...something.

Mordred? Morgana? What?

The last night, to my horror, I learned what the 'something' was.

Morgoth!

Yes, that's right. Morgoth was the evil wizard. Not only was this a bit of a mixing of fantasy worlds, I thought that Morgoth was a tad underrepresented. He...He was the equal of Arthur? But it got worse. Morgoth was actually Red Riding Hood. Some big dude had to wear some silly red ill-fitting cape and hood, and mask his face with some stockings. Humiliating as this was for the Lord of Arda (pending), he was then taken by surprise by Guinevere, who came up behind him with a sword and took Excalibur from his hand...hmmm...now where have I seen something like that before?

"What's this? A Vala taken by surprise?"

Then again, Arthur was monologuing, and after a day of hiking an swimming and play and more hiking, I too was a bit stunned by the syllogizing.

And completely astounding to the kids, and mostly unintelligeable, was something earlier about a creature called a jabberwock.

I now have one more thing to fix in my son's brain.
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:26 PM   #18
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Just read him some text about Morgoth from Silmarillion. Also read him some version of King Arthur. It should help him realize how this camp insulted two great stories.
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:03 PM   #19
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And completely astounding to the kids, and mostly unintelligeable, was something earlier about a creature called a jabberwock.
If the jabberwock was quoted as saying "Nevermore", I'd expect the camp leaders to be post-modern deconstructionists of the most notorious ilk. Or, since this was a wilderness camp, perhaps I should say, "elk."
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:18 AM   #20
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T'was mimsy and the borogroves.....

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And completely astounding to the kids, and mostly unintelligeable, was something earlier about a creature called a jabberwock.

I now have one more thing to fix in my son's brain.
I'd just run with it... like the bored history teacher convinced his students never listened who would slip in the odd gem about how Henry VIII invented the sport of hammer throwing while making a rabbit hutch for his daughter... after all seeing how Hollywood treats even relatively recent history you have a lot of tide to hold back
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:25 AM   #21
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I'd just run with it... like the bored history teacher convinced his students never listened who would slip in the odd gem about how Henry VIII invented the sport of hammer throwing while making a rabbit hutch for his daughter...
The kids soon realized that nothing 'fun' was about to happen when one of the staff started speaking, and so they quickly tuned the speakers out. Merlin, doing magic tricks to show that the power of Morgoth was all illusion, was talking as well, and so was tuned out. My son, catching a brief glance towards the wizard, lit up when it dawned on him that this wasn't just more blather and that there were some cool tricks being performed.

Poor Merlin, when finished, said to the scouts, "Thank you for your indifference." They just walked away, probably not even hearing what he said.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:31 AM   #22
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It sounds like a tough gig....
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:54 PM   #23
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Tolkien included a lot of the mythology of Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, and probably some of the surrounding countries. However, the only mythology that I know relatively well is the greek one. I find that Tulkas is very similar to Ares, the god of war - although Tulkas is still very different, he has a bit of Ares in him.

And don't you think that Beren's story is similar to Herculese's? Both are sent by kings on a hopeless quest to get rid of them...
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