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Old 01-25-2007, 03:16 PM   #41
Lalwendë
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The other link I've been pondering is whether the Trickster in Tolkien's world might be found in the figure of Melkor as he bears some remarkable similarities to Loki.

Both are renowned for their skill with lies, frauds, cheats, deceptions. Loki is the father of Fenris and Melkor is the master of Carcharoth. Another of Loki's children is of course Jormungandr the serpent/dragon and we know that Melkor bred or corrupted Dragons into being. I wonder if Sauron corresponds to Hel? Or indeed if Sauron shares some of these characteristics? However, I do think that one of the differences between Melkor and Sauron is that Melkor seems much more skilled at deception, much more rounded a fraudster. And if we consider that he was Eru's creation then this would muddy his waters and make him much more appropriate as a Trickster like Loki.
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Old 01-25-2007, 03:32 PM   #42
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I actually a short time before thought about a strange resemblance of the character of Odin to... now, what are you expecting me to say? Manwë? No, actually I thought about Sauron.
I'd better explain why, now. The resemblances which came to my mind are the following:
Odin, as many of you possibly know, has traded his eye for wisdom. He had but one eye, later then. It somehow reminds me of Sauron: losing much of his power, putting it to the Ring or losing it with his defeat. We all know that the most important symbol of Sauron in the Third Age was the Lidless eye, watching everything it could. Odin's two ravens patroling the Midgard also fit with the image of Sauron in my mind. And all those birds used as spies by the Enemy are well known (although the bird-spynet is typical for both the sides in ME). And two wolves were lying next to his throne - okay, this fits more with Melkor, but first, who knows, and second, imagining Odin in Tol-in-Gaurhoth does not look that bad.
Odin is also, and this is what brought me to this idea in the first place, a Necromancer. He was the lord of magic and leader of the dead hosts.
And if I remember correctly, Odin had something like a ring which happened to create eight more rings in some periods of time.

So, what do you think? It is relevant to think of Sauron as having some inspiration in Odin, or not?
(Note please that I am far from saying "look ye, look ye, Sauron is Odin!". I know better than well that there are thousands of characters whom Odin resembles more, and Odin certainly fits more to the "good guys" environment, and when I remember him walking in an old pilgrim's shape... I'm just pointing out these similarities to Sauron because I noticed it, that's all.)
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Old 01-25-2007, 03:48 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Lalwendë
The other link I've been pondering is whether the Trickster in Tolkien's world might be found in the figure of Melkor as he bears some remarkable similarities to Loki.
Yup. That was, actually, one of the first things (let's say, third) which I thought of when I first read the Valaquenta. But Melkor is rather a deciever, not a trickster: in this way, Loki is sort of "light version" of Melkor; but ultimately, Loki is far worse fella...
...now it came to me, what about Loki and Saruman? Now this is an idea! Because Loki was actually most of the time disguised as one friend of the other gods, so was Saruman. Melkor revealed himself quite early and with the supreme evidence brought in by Eru. But Saruman seems for me to fit more with the trickster element: all those White-council delays, and so on...
...or Wormtongue. (seems we are lessening and lessening the divine aspect of this)
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:19 PM   #44
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Good stuff, Legate! The odd thing is it's not just sauron who bears resemblances to Odin, but someone who Tolkein seems to set up as his opposite 'power', Gandalf.

Sauron shares those aspects of Odin which are darker: the one eye (though this is more of a symbol for Sauron, I don't think he's actually one-eyed); the ability to see everything in the world; blood sacrifice; the gold Ring Draupnir which spawns eight gold rings every nine days; he is master of wolves and of ravens.

Gandalf on the other hand shares those aspects of Odin which are good: he is 'sacrificed' upon Yggdrasil and returns for 'death' much stronger, much more knowledgeable; he rides the magical eight legged horse Sleipnir, the master of all horses; he wears a wide brimmed hat, has a long beard and a staff.

Tolkien in fact said of Gandalf that he was "an Odinic wanderer". I love this combination of aspects of one Norse God into two Maiar!

And just to add to this, the runic symbol of Odin is the Valknut, three interconnected triangles, rather like the Celtic Triquestra (a symbol shared by both Pagans and Christians) and the rather eerily, co-incidentally named interconnecting triple circles, the Borromean Rings.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:27 PM   #45
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Actually you are not the only one who have spottet this resamblance between Odin and Sauron, David Day has writen about it in "Tolkien's Ring" a book I found highly facinating and was what made me like LotR for other things than just being a good story.

I for some reason also gets to think of Odin when Sauron and Finrod has their battle of verse. . .I suppose it is because Odin is the god of poetry (so is his son Brage). And indeed there was magic conected to poetry in the norse mythology, runes them self was magical.

Also the fact that he could change apearantses and even though old he was fair, but gruesome much like Sauron of the second age.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:40 PM   #46
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Thanks for mentioning Lal. . .I completely forgot how Odin seem to have been split up between Gandalf and Sauron, very interesting. I belive David Day mentions it as well.

Odin and Loke is both very complex gods and in a way very much like each other. . .yet Odin is generally precived as good and Loke as evil, which I find very interesting.

I would very muched have liked to have this kind of charachter in Tolkiens books, it would be a nice change from all the "Good guy" "Bad guy" stuff there is going on.

I am not saying that there are not charachters with both good and bad traits in tolkiens books, there are. I just would really have loved to see a complex person, that one would not know where to place. . . Is he good or is he bad?

You have hints of it in Boromir, but very simplefied and I guess one could argue that you see a bit in Thorin and Saruman as well.

oh but now I am getting off topic in my own thread. . . .
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:28 PM   #47
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Great, I was afraid that this might be taken as mindless babbling on nonsenses

Lal, I also love the idea of Gandalf&Sauron both possessing the Odinic traits! When you consider the statements like "I was the Enemy of the Enemy" (Gandalf), it is definitely fascinating. Or, let the Unfinished Tales speak:
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To the overthrow of Morgoth [Manwë] sent his herald Eönwë. To the defeat of Sauron would he not then send some lesser (but mighty) spirit of the angelic people, one coëval and equal, doubtless, with Sauron in their beginnings, but not more? Olórin was his name.
I love the part where Olórin says to Manwë and Varda that he does not want to go to Middle-Earth, because he is afraid of Sauron. You know, I always imagined Gandalf participating on the Music of Ainur (great fantasy, by the way) and Sauron being there, singing something else right beside him.

While we are at the finding of similarities... one more thing about the Sleipnir-Shadowfax case... did Tolkien state exactly in his books how many legs did Shadowfax have?

Back to Gandalf-Odin, I also remember that the scene before the Battle of Five armies when a clooked figure shows Thorin the Arkenstone, I always imagined Gandalf there as Odin...

And Rune, good idea about the battle with Finrod. Folks, I'd like to see Gandalf dueling with Sauron! Now this is something PJ could do! (Although on second thought... maybe not.)

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Originally Posted by Lalwendë
And just to add to this, the runic symbol of Odin is the Valknut, three interconnected triangles, rather like the Celtic Triquestra (a symbol shared by both Pagans and Christians) and the rather eerily, co-incidentally named interconnecting triple circles, the Borromean Rings.
Kinda scary, eh?
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Old 01-26-2007, 02:59 AM   #48
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Back to Gandalf-Odin, I also remember that the scene before the Battle of Five armies when a clooked figure shows Thorin the Arkenstone, I always imagined Gandalf there as Odin...
Of course in Norse myth, there's also the Brisingamen, the magical necklace wron by Freyja, which was forged by four Dwarves (one is called Dvalin) and which she gives to those warriors who she favours in war. It appears in the story of Beowulf, where the uncannily named Hama appears.

Another slightly random link is the Bifrost Bridge between Asgard (Aman) and Midgard (Middle-earth) which makes me think right away of Helcaraxe. But in the myths Bifrost Bridge is a rainbow, which would make it unlike Helcaraxe, but rather like the notion of the Straight Road. It makes me think of what Frodo sees as he goes that way:

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And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.
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I would very muched have liked to have this kind of charachter in Tolkiens books, it would be a nice change from all the "Good guy" "Bad guy" stuff there is going on.

I am not saying that there are not charachters with both good and bad traits in tolkiens books, there are. I just would really have loved to see a complex person, that one would not know where to place. . . Is he good or is he bad?
I don't know. I think that almost all of the characters we see are anything but perfect. Of course we all know they are on the 'good' side from our advantage as readers, but it doesn't seem that way from the point of view of someone in Middle-earth. Would you for example, as an ordinary person in Rohan really know Eomer was innocent after your King had condemned him? Would you as an ordinary Dunlending know that Saruman was using you? If you were Sam, would you trust Frodo on Gollum? If you were one of Denethor's loyal Men would you trust Gandalf?
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Old 01-26-2007, 03:41 AM   #49
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I don't know. I think that almost all of the characters we see are anything but perfect. Of course we all know they are on the 'good' side from our advantage as readers, but it doesn't seem that way from the point of view of someone in Middle-earth. Would you for example, as an ordinary person in Rohan really know Eomer was innocent after your King had condemned him? Would you as an ordinary Dunlending know that Saruman was using you? If you were Sam, would you trust Frodo on Gollum? If you were one of Denethor's loyal Men would you trust Gandalf?
Exactly. This is one thing we still seem to forget, or to lose (like when you look and something and then, you move your sight elsewhere and you no longer remember exactly what it looked like): the Secondary world of Middle-Earth has its own reality. And this reality is very much real, because the characters are real. Yes, they are mythical, but they could live next door and they'd seem "normal" to you (well, except these strange outfits or liliputan sizes). They are all complex. So that's not what would bother me, Rune.

Back to the original topic. One more thing I now remembered about that ring of Odin. I am not sure, but wasn't it also... well... used to control the Valkyries? Which brings me to... Is there known the number of the Valkyries? But there were surely more than just nine, were they...
You know, also, the Valkyries riding wolves and flying in the skies over the battlefield , make a very good image of the Nazgul. Being Sauron/Odin's followers, I find this resemblance pretty close.
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Old 01-26-2007, 07:42 AM   #50
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I have never heard that the Ring of Odin was ment to controll the valkyries, but it did spawn 8 other rings each 9th night. Odin being a ring-lord shows how mighty he is, as said the act of giving out rings said a lot of the giver. Although it did not give Odin the kind of unbreakable power over the holders of the Rings as Sauron, it still symbolise that he hold power over these and the power is not that easily broken.

In the "Valkyrie Song" about the battle at Clontarf 12 Valkyries is spottet. . .I had never thought of the "darker" side of the valyries, But I can see how it would have been a fright full sight and one could think that the inspiriation of them would have been death-demons (Nazgul?).
If only the valkyiry did not pour mead to the warriors in Valhal. . .but then again it would not be very like Tolkien to copy charachters and that is what really facinates me. . .the way he takes part of a mythology/legend and puts it into a charachter, but always with twists and other mytsh and legends mixed into it.

I totaly agree with you Lal, a normal person would not have known. I however am not a normal person and I was speaking strictly from my point of view as a reader. I would have liked to be decieved by Tolkien, because I think he had the skills to make it convincing.
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Old 01-26-2007, 07:48 AM   #51
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If only the valkyiry did not pour mead to the warriors in Valhal. .
Anyone having read the parody "Bored of the Rings" is familiar with the nazgûls serving as waitresses in the Prancing Pony...!
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Old 01-26-2007, 07:49 AM   #52
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Actually I own that book and hav read it, but I did not remember this.
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Old 01-26-2007, 10:26 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Lalwendë
The other link I've been pondering is whether the Trickster in Tolkien's world might be found in the figure of Melkor as he bears some remarkable similarities to Loki.
Despite the similarities you point out between Loki and Melkor, the latter seems to bear a greater resemblance to the Judeo-Christian Satan; Tolkien even makes this one-to-one comparison in his Letters in a couple different places.
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Old 01-26-2007, 12:04 PM   #54
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Despite the similarities you point out between Loki and Melkor, the latter seems to bear a greater resemblance to the Judeo-Christian Satan; Tolkien even makes this one-to-one comparison in his Letters in a couple different places.
We're not saying Melkor=Loki, that's far too simplistic, we're saying that in Melkor you might find a Trickster figure, comparing him with Loki, one of the best known tricksters.

I wouldn't say any character equals any mythic or literary figure, including saying Melkor=Satan, as this reduces Tolkien's creation and Art to mere allegory. I could dump a load of points here but we're talking Norse myth so I won't divert it off on to tangents well covered elsewhere.

Back to the Norse stuff anyway!

The other influence, drawn from the Eddas, a huge favourite with Tolkien, was that at Ragnarok, Loki will come down from the North with Hel and her subjects to fight in the last battle, as Melkor will do at the end of Ea. Like Loki, he too is an outcast because of the trouble he has caused: Melkor is cast into the Void by his Valar kin and Loki is chained to a rock.

Then there's also that intense pleasure that Melkor takes in sheer destruction. When he finds he cannot set up his own Ea or be a rival to Eru he just sets about smashing the place up - very Trickster-ish. He's quite a chaotic figure too, outside the 'rules' as far as he can get.
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Old 01-26-2007, 12:46 PM   #55
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Despite the similarities you point out between Loki and Melkor, the latter seems to bear a greater resemblance to the Judeo-Christian Satan; Tolkien even makes this one-to-one comparison in his Letters in a couple different places.
Possibly. My own feeling is that (as I've been discussing in the Akallabeth thread) we effectively have a dualistic myth in the Legendarium, Eru playing so irrelevant a part in the actual events. Gibbon has a nice account of Zoroastrianism which resonates quite strongly with the Legendarium:

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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.

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.
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Old 01-26-2007, 01:00 PM   #56
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I wouldn't say any character equals any mythic or literary figure, including saying Melkor=Satan, as this reduces Tolkien's creation and Art to mere allegory.
Exactly. Tolkien would be turning in his grave and I would be very... displeased hearing anyone saying "Gandalf is Odin! Melkor is Satan! Saruman is Loki! Sauron is Gwa-bo-uhuru of the Shomgosh tribe of central Africa!" Heck, in my country, we have even a sculpture of ancient Slavic god Radegast. He has nothing in common with Radagast the Brown. Purely coincidential. There is beer named after him.

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Originally Posted by Lalwendë
The other influence, drawn from the Eddas, a huge favourite with Tolkien, was that at Ragnarok, Loki will come down from the North with Hel and her subjects to fight in the last battle, as Melkor will do at the end of Ea. Like Loki, he too is an outcast because of the trouble he has caused: Melkor is cast into the Void by his Valar kin and Loki is chained to a rock..
I was waiting when someone is going to say this. The inspiration in Ragnarok is quite obvious (although we might argue that there could be also an inspiration in Armageddon, but this is not our topic now. After all, "Last battle" is very much common stuff). I am not very familiar with the things concerning Dagor Dagorath, but wasn't there in some version that Manwë's son should come to battle with Morgoth? (Referring to Vidar son of Odin.)
Although, with the Chaining of Melkor - especially during the first time, before the exile of Noldor - I always associated it with binding of Fenrir.
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Old 01-26-2007, 01:25 PM   #57
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Radagast beer? Now that's cool!

It's odd how just about all mythologies have an end times story and are finite; some with endless re-makings but with finite existences within that. Even odder is how the Universe itself according to the latest theory is finite in terms of Time; if I knew where to find some text I'd quote something about this but its mind-bending stuff - maybe one of our scientists knows where to find something? Incidentally, technology based on the silicon chip is also finite.

But I'm meandering again...

It says something in UT about Angainor, the chain forged to bind Melkor:

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"Behold, Aulë now gathered six metals, copper, silver, tin, lead, iron and gold, and taking a portion of each made with his magic a seventh which he named therefore tilkal, and this had all the properties of the six and many of its own. Its colour was bright green or red in varying lights and it could not be broken, and Aulë alone could forge it. Therefter he forged a mighty chain, making it of all seven metals welded with spells to a substance of uttermost hardness and brightness and smoothness...":
Loki is bound with the innards of his son Narfi, but Fenris the wolf (son of Loki) is bound with a chain, slender yet stronger than iron and made from the sound of a cat's footfall, a woman's beard, the roots of a mountain, the sinew of a bear, breath of a fish and spittle of a bird.

So Aule uses six metals to make Angainor, like the six things used to make Gleipnir which binds Fenris. Interestingly, Aule makes a seventh element to create Angainor which has all the properties of the other elements - just as Melkor shares in all the attributes of his kin.
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Old 01-26-2007, 03:28 PM   #58
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There are a lot of interesting thoughts on this thread. Like others, I've always seen something of a parallel between Melkor's chaining and the chainings of Loki and Fenrir in Norse mythology.

It's true that there are many differences between Melkor and Loki; most importantly, Melkor is more explicitly evil than Loki, who is more of an amoral trickster. But I think that if one looks at the Book of Lost Tales mythology, one finds in 'Melko' a much closer similarity to Loki. Melko is there presented, at least at the outset, not as being explicitly the enemy of the Valar. Compare the accounts of the destruction of the Lamps in the Lost Tales and in the later Silmarillion. In the Silmarillion, the Valar make the Lamps after fighting a war with Melkor; Melkor later returns to Arda and destroys the Lamps. In the Lost Tales, Melkor works together with the Valar to make the Lamps - his part is to fashion the pillars on which the Lamps will stand. But he secretly fashions them out of ice, which then melts, destroying the Lamps. This earlier story strikes me as exactly the sort of mischief that Loki would engage in.

A small correction - I believe that when Lalwende says:
Quote:
It says something in UT about Angainor, the chain forged to bind Melkor
. . . she means BoLT (the Lost Tales) not UT (Unfinished Tales). Which fact reinforces the comparison between Norse myth and, specifically, the earliest incarnation of Tolkien's Legendarium.
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Old 01-26-2007, 03:35 PM   #59
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil
There are a lot of interesting thoughts on this thread. Like others, I've always seen something of a parallel between Melkor's chaining and the chainings of Loki and Fenrir in Norse mythology.

It's true that there are many differences between Melkor and Loki; most importantly, Melkor is more explicitly evil than Loki, who is more of an amoral trickster. But I think that if one looks at the Book of Lost Tales mythology, one finds in 'Melko' a much closer similarity to Loki. Melko is there presented, at least at the outset, not as being explicitly the enemy of the Valar. Compare the accounts of the destruction of the Lamps in the Lost Tales and in the later Silmarillion. In the Silmarillion, the Valar make the Lamps after fighting a war with Melkor; Melkor later returns to Arda and destroys the Lamps. In the Lost Tales, Melkor works together with the Valar to make the Lamps - his part is to fashion the pillars on which the Lamps will stand. But he secretly fashions them out of ice, which then melts, destroying the Lamps. This earlier story strikes me as exactly the sort of mischief that Loki would engage in.

A small correction - I believe that when Lalwende says:


. . . she means BoLT (the Lost Tales) not UT (Unfinished Tales). Which fact reinforces the comparison between Norse myth and, specifically, the earliest incarnation of Tolkien's Legendarium.
Correct sir! I just looked for the quote online to save me getting up and going to the bookshelf - serves me right for being idle.

I've a couple of interesting books knocking about here that might turn up some more goodies too. One of the things I've been noticing a lot lately is links in language - Tolkien has pulled elements of the language from Norse mythology into his own languages and naming in particular. One odd one is a link between Golfimbul and Fimbulwinter - though quite what an Orc who inspires the game of Golf has to do with the endless triple winter that presages Ragnarok I'm not sure.
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Old 01-27-2007, 03:39 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
One of the things I've been noticing a lot lately is links in language - Tolkien has pulled elements of the language from Norse mythology into his own languages and naming in particular. One odd one is a link between Golfimbul and Fimbulwinter - though quite what an Orc who inspires the game of Golf has to do with the endless triple winter that presages Ragnarok I'm not sure.
Not speaking, of course, of the Dwarves' (and Gandalf's) names: Dvalin, Bombur, Fíli, Kíli, Dori, Ori, as well as Thrór, Thráin, Fundin, the Moria-victims Lóni and Náli and many others are mentioned in Völuspá (in feeling that it is needed to be fair to the names which were not used in the Hobbit and LotR, I included the names Bívor, Bávor, Lit, Vit, Víli, Dúvi and Frosti to make a company of Dwarves in my M-E RPG adventure story).

And Golfimbul is not an Orc, he's a mere goblin! But you are right about the similarity... there seems to be an inspiration... Actually, what's the name (in English) of the mountain from where Golfimbul comes, according to Hobbit? Does it not have something in common with Norse mythology? (I am just guessing, since in Czech the word is obviously replaced.)
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Old 01-27-2007, 04:09 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc

And Golfimbul is not an Orc, he's a mere goblin! But you are right about the similarity... there seems to be an inspiration... Actually, what's the name (in English) of the mountain from where Golfimbul comes, according to Hobbit? Does it not have something in common with Norse mythology? (I am just guessing, since in Czech the word is obviously replaced.)
Golfimbul comes from Mount Gram. (Gram is also the name of Helm Hammerhand's father & of the sword which Sigurd uses to slay Fafnir).

On 'Golfimbul'. Gol is the name of one of the Valkyries & means 'screaming'. Fimbul means 'great', so the name may be translated 'great screaming'.... Other Valkyrie names seem to link to the Nazgul too - Skogul (“Raging”), Hlok (“Shrieking”)

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Old 01-27-2007, 05:43 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
Golfimbul comes from Mount Gram. (Gram is also the name of Helm Hammerhand's father & of the sword which Sigurd uses to slay Fafnir).
Ah, I thought it to be something like that. Gram was also some mythic king, wasn't it? (I mean, in here, not in M-E) Maybe the name of Helm's father is derived more likely from it than from the sword's name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
On 'Golfimbul'. Gol is the name of one of the Valkyries & means 'screaming'. Fimbul means 'great', so the name may be translated 'great screaming'.... Other Valkyrie names seem to link to the Nazgul too - Skogul (“Raging”), Hlok (“Shrieking”)
Interesting. This is however, the only case when an orc (eee... goblin) is named in this way. Or do the names "Azog" or "Bolg" have any referrences to them? (speaking just of "the Hobbit" names, in LotR, it seems to be a really different cup of tea)
And the second part speaks for what I said earlier, that the Nazgul seem indeed to have hints of Valkyries in them. Maybe it was not intentional from Tolkien, but it seems like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil
In the Lost Tales, Melkor works together with the Valar to make the Lamps - his part is to fashion the pillars on which the Lamps will stand. But he secretly fashions them out of ice, which then melts, destroying the Lamps. This earlier story strikes me as exactly the sort of mischief that Loki would engage in.
Not just "sort of", this is obviously Loki's "guest appearance" here. If anywhere, here the inspiration with Loki's character is obvious. Possibly this version was later rejected also because the final portrait of Melkor is less "Lokish" and resembles more the mentioned Satan.
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Old 01-27-2007, 05:25 PM   #63
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Just a bit of info

Saxo Grammaticus writes about King Gram in "Gesta Danorum", he was joint king with his father King Skjold, which is one of the most known of the legendary kings.

I don't think Gram has been of any inspiration to Tolkien, though. . .he was a mighty warrior, he fell in battle with the Norweigains who were assisted by the saxon. . . .(but I doubt he ever existed)
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:21 AM   #64
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Feeling very sleepy as ever this afternoon I had a poke round in me files and had a read of the Voluspa.

So, I've spotted some more interesting bits and pieces following on from the discussions about Turin and Ragnarok.

Mim:
Quote:
I know where Othin's | eye is hidden,
Deep in the wide-famed | well of Mimir;
Mead from the pledge | of Othin each mom
Does Mimir drink: | would you know yet more?
This whole business of Odin giving up an eye in return for knowledge of his fate is most interesting in comparison to the symbolism of Sauron's 'eye', especially if you set it against the idea that aspects of Odin come to the surface in both Gandalf and Sauron (Gandalf of course being the name of a dwarf in Voluspa).

Eru is also known as the Allfather, uncannily similar to a title here:
Quote:
On it there pours | from Valfather's pledge
A mighty stream: | would you know yet more?
Course we also have the Gods being referred to as the Holy Ones, much as the Ainur are referred to in The Sil. The Sun is male and the Moon female.

The following excerpt about the early days of creation is rather nice too. Ymir the giant and the Gods live in what seems to be a Void of some kind, at least it is similar to the 'place' (if you can assign it a temporal, spatial kind of definition) in which Eru and his Ainur dwelt. Plus we also have Mithgarth, or Middle-earth, one of the nine worlds, the world of Men; I can imagine a young Tolkien being stirred by first reading of Middengeard and then rifling through texts to see if he could find other references, much as we rifle through texts to find things which appear in his work.

Quote:
Of old was the age | when Ymir lived;
Sea nor cool waves | nor sand there were;
Earth had not been, | nor heaven above,
But a yawning gap, | and grass nowhere.

Then Bur's sons lifted | the level land,
Mithgarth the mighty | there they made;
The sun from the south | warmed the stones of earth,
And green was the ground | with growing leeks.
Now on a side note, completely un-Tolkien related - I find it interesting that Mistletoe is singled out not to harm Baldr and thus must ahve been significant to the ancient Norse, and the ancient British also revered the plant!

Some intriguing word correspondences:
Brimir - Boromir?
Nastrond - Nargothrond?

Then there is Fenris/fenrir who bites off Tyr's hand, rather like Carcaroth bites off Beren's hand.

With all of this to be found and yet more, how disappointing it is that Tolkien did not write of his own Ragnarok?
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:32 AM   #65
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I am a bit confused. . .What do you mean by?

Quote:
I find it interesting that Mistletoe is singled out not to harm Baldr and thus must ahve been significant to the ancient Norse, and the ancient British also revered the plant!
Balder's mother Frigg makes every plant swear not to harm Balder(Baldr) and the only one that does not do so is the Mistletoe. Later Loke(Loki) tricks Balder's blind brother Høder to shoot an arrow of mistletoe after Balder and it kills him.

The way I read what you write is that the Mistletoe was the one that did not harm Balder, but I belive that is just due to my lesser english skills.

anyways what you wrote about the Mistletoe having a certain significanse got me thinking and I did a quic search in my books. It seems to have been a special plant, but I don't know why. It is also mentioned in Völuspá and again it is connected to death and in several nordic legends you will find swords named Misteltoe. . .


Quote:
Course we also have the Gods being referred to as the Holy Ones, much as the Ainur are referred to in The Sil.
Just out of couriousity, where did you spot this?


Is there any unfinished writtings about the war of wrath? I always find that a bit disapointing when I read the Sil and I got to think about it when you mentioned what a pity it was that Tolkien did not make his own Ragnarok.

If I may ask one un-Tolkien question. . .Does anyone know what happened to Vile and Ve, the brothers of Odin? This is something that has pussled me ever since I was a small child and I have never found the answer. They seem to simply disapear after having created the world.
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:17 AM   #66
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With all of this to be found and yet more, how disappointing it is that Tolkien did not write of his own Ragnarok?
But he did - just not very extensively.

A connection with Norse mythology that I've been giving some thought to lately (as I'm currently reading the Poetic Edda) is the Turin-Sigurd parallel. Tolkien said that the 'Narn' was his version of the tale of Kullervo (from the Kalevala) - but I think that the narrative has as many, or perhaps more, similarities to the story of Sigurd and Fafnir.
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Old 04-28-2007, 08:21 AM   #67
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Now on a side note, completely un-Tolkien related - I find it interesting that Mistletoe is singled out not to harm Baldr and thus must ahve been significant to the ancient Norse, and the ancient British also revered the plant!
So significant across Europe that Robert Graves effectively wrote a whole book about it- check out The White Goddess. Most of it's actually a load of cobblers, but it's a fascinating read. And of course Frazer concluded that his Golden Bough at Nemi was mistletoe.

It's not hard to see why this odd little plant was accorded mystical significance, suspended between heaven and earth, being, in effect, neither fish nor flesh, neither wet nor dry- and its berries certainly call to mind semen, obviously freighted with meaning.
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:12 AM   #68
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And once again, bombariffic chooses to reveal himself unlooked for and unexpected, probably not for long.

I think that Tolkien's Norse inheritence is mostly philological (language-based). As well as the dwarf names from Voluspa mentioned above, Frodo is clearly drawn from Old Norse Fróði, "the wise / the virile", drawn from Saxo Grammaticus, a common name for mythological Kings of Denmark.

Perhaps more interesting is "Saruman", a compound from the old english "Searu" and "Monn". The interesting thing about this name is that it reflects his character: "Searu" means both "skill" but also "deceit". ("monn" is "man".)

Similarly, "Smeagol" in Old English means "thoughtful" - perhaps suggesting the side of the character that can still control his mind.


There are so many parallels to Old Norse and Old English myths, and I don't have time to go on. However, one that people may like to check out is the Old Norse short story Þiðranda þáttr. Þiðrandi is attacked by nine mysterious black riders (in this context, representing the failing heathen religion). These riders are driven away by nine white riders from the south, (symbolic of Christianity). Aside from the obvious parallels to the ringwraiths and The White Rider, the idea of a changing world order is particularly poignant in both works.

Keep up the good work.

Hey dol! Merry dol! I'm off.

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Old 05-09-2007, 12:23 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by tom bombariffic

Similarly, "Smeagol" in Old English means "thoughtful" -

No, it derives from smygen "to delve, burrow, creep into:" the same root from which JRRT also derived Smaug and Smial.
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:25 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc


I was waiting when someone is going to say this. The inspiration in Ragnarok is quite obvious (although we might argue that there could be also an inspiration in Armageddon, but this is not our topic now. After all, "Last battle" is very much common stuff). I am not very familiar with the things concerning Dagor Dagorath, but wasn't there in some version that Manwë's son should come to battle with Morgoth? (Referring to Vidar son of Odin.)
Although, with the Chaining of Melkor - especially during the first time, before the exile of Noldor - I always associated it with binding of Fenrir.

Well, yes but.... at Ragnarok, the good guys lose.
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:07 PM   #71
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No, it derives from smygen "to delve, burrow, creep into:" the same root from which JRRT also derived Smaug and Smial.
I'm sorry, I was slightly wrong, but I still don't think that you're right. What I should have said is that Smeagol comes from the Old English verb 'smeagan' - to think, ponder, or examine. This makes more sense for Gollum than 'to delve, burrow, creep', as after all Smeagol is what he was called before he retreated to the mountains.

The verb you are thinking of is the Old Norse verb 'smjúga', the past tense of which is 'smaug' - "he crept". This is presumably where the dragon's name came from.


As far as your next post goes, you're right to point that out, although perhaps it would be more accurate to say 'everybody loses'; the two sides destroy each other and the world ends. Although Baldr then comes back from hel at the dawn of a new world, so there is still some presence of the gods there.

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Old 05-09-2007, 11:42 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hickli
Well, yes but.... at Ragnarok, the good guys lose.
well, the world is destroyed, but that does not mean that the good guys looses. . .

As I remember it Balder (Baldr or Baldur) will survive together with another god an create a new world. This is kind of absurd as Balder is actually alreadt dead, but hey who cares?!
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:38 AM   #73
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I'm sorry, I was slightly wrong, but I still don't think that you're right. What I should have said is that Smeagol comes from the Old English verb 'smeagan' - to think, ponder, or examine. This makes more sense for Gollum than 'to delve, burrow, creep', as after all Smeagol is what he was called before he retreated to the mountains.

The verb you are thinking of is the Old Norse verb 'smjúga', the past tense of which is 'smaug' - "he crept". This is presumably where the dragon's name came from.
"Smial (or smile) 'burrow' is a likely form for a descendant of smygel, and represents well the relationship of Hobbit tran to R[ohirric] trahan. Smeagol and Deagol are equivalents made up in the same way for the names Trahald 'burrowing, worming in', and Nahald 'secret' in the Northern tongues." --Appendix F.II "On Translation."

Remember, even before the Ring, Smeagol "was interested in roots and beginnings," "burrowed under trees," and "tunnelled into green mounds."

Smaug is "the past tense of the primitive Germanic verb Smugan, to squeeze through a hole: a low philological jest." --Letter no. 25
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Old 05-10-2007, 05:52 PM   #74
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Fair enough I suppose, if Tolkien said that about Smeagol, the linguistic approach has lead me astray. Interesting though, that the name he came up with sounds less like the word he derived it from than another word, which he would certianly have been aware of.

smugan is the Anglo Saxon rendition of the ON smjúga, so we're really arguing the same point on that one.

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Old 05-22-2007, 07:01 PM   #75
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Silmaril

I have a thread in a different Tolkien Study Site that gpes nto comparisons with Different Mytholoiges to Tolkiens. I have only done 2 (Norse and Christian), and am working on Greek similariites. Just thouht you might want to know.
Here

If you want to comment on it, feel free to do so in this thread (with the permission of the thread starter, mind you. Thread starter: Please OK that. You don't have to, but please do.)
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