Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Ununnilium: Was the inspired part Aragorn's backstory?

Seth The story centres around a treasure horde with one item that controls it, a gold ring with an evil curse that brings misfortune on its owner. Possession of the ring means you are the rightful owner of the horde (Ie. One ring of power). There was also a sword that signified you were the king of Xanten that was shattered when the kingdom fell. It was reforged by Sigurd when he needed to kill the dragon and thus regained the throne. There were other things as well, the ring wraiths were based loosely on the guardians of the horde, who were incidentally a race of ghostly warriors (Oath breakers anyone).

He took a lot of inspiration from it, its acknowledged in a few sources and if you know the story in its entirety its pretty obvious. (Edit: What’s happened to my typing today)

Robert: Tolkien denied any connection, and there's no evidence of one in his copious notes. Tolkien's sources and the sources of Sigurd probably have a common origin, but that's not the same as Tolkien being directly inspired by the German myth - Sigurd and Lo TR are literary cousins, not parent and child.

Also, I'm pretty sure there's no solid evidence dating any of the German myths back before the 1st century BC, when they first came into contact with Rome, if only because the proto-Germans didn't have writing. While the myths are doubtless older, any statement of how much older would seem to be pure guesswork, so we shouldn't confidently say this particular myth is older than Moses.

Seth: If he wasn't inspired directly by them id say it was Cryptomnesia (Subconsious plagiarism) the similarities are too great. My language professor was certain that Tolken who had studied Norse mythology would have been aware of this and everything ive seen since has backed him up. The similarities are too great to say LOTR is completely original.(JRR was a professor of Anglo-Saxon history and language, if anyone would know these myths and well it would be him) You can deny Ronald duck is based on Donald all you like but who are you kidding?

As for aging i'll throw that to the air, no-one knows how old these myths are or how many are simply made up in the last few centuries.

Edit: The concept of the "ring of power" itself is also present in Plato's Republic and in the story of Gyges' ring (a story often compared to the Book of Job). Many, however, believe Tolkien's most likely source was the Norse tale of Sigurd the Volsung. Some locations and characters were inspired by Tolkien's childhood in Sarehole (then a Worcestershire village, now part of Birmingham) and Birmingham.

From Wikipedia LOTR article

{Robert: Norse<>German. JRRT was inspired by Anglo-Saxon and Norse sources, which in turn derive from earlier myths at a time when Proto-Germanic was one language. Sigurd derives from the same myths, making it a cousin of Lo TR, not a source.

If Tolkien had been inspired by Sigurd directly, that connection would be plain in his drafts of Lo TR. Since he never expected them to be published, he had no reason to hide the connection there, yet there is no sign of direct inspiration.

Wikipedia may say there is, but it isn't exactly authoritative. that passage was probably contributed by someone who had read the same old rumours as you, rumours Tolkien explicitly denied. In the absence of firm evidence that he lied, we should believe him, not accuse him of plagiarism.

Note that the Silmarillion is partly inspired by Finnish mythology, just as Quenya is by the Finnish language, but the people pushing a Sigurd connection rarely mention this, suggesting an agenda other than an unbiased search for Tolkien's sources.

Seth That edit works since its likly to cause less drama. Incidentaly i didnt accuse him of plagiarism i said Cryptomnesia which means something very different.

Looney Toons: Not if you used the word "plagiarism" to help define it. Which you did.
Looney Toons: "(even older than the story of Moses)" -- Um, no. Moses and the events surrounding his life are believed to have been somewhere between the 13th to the 16th centuries BCE (see this Wikipedia page). On the other hand, the Norse myths came about somewhere around 2500 years later. The Eddas were written down in the 13th century CE, but are generally accepted to have been formalized several centuries before that -- approximately 800 to 1000 CE. Unless you're running your clocks and calendars backwards, that's nowhere near before Moses. Hell, the Germanic/Norse tribes didn't even exist during the time of Moses.

Robert: The first written accounts of Moses date to somewhere between 1000BC and 800BC, well after his lifespan. The story of the Bullrushes could therefore have originated anywhere between 1600 BC and 800 BC. We can't be more precise than that.

The Eddas were formalised when you say, but there are stories, clearly closely related, in other Germanic cultures. We can't be certain, but it seems likely that the proto-Germans had earlier versions of the Eddas, with the same basic plot, arguably pushing its age back another few centuries, which still leaves it several centuries short of Moses.

Accurately dating the origin of oral traditions is difficult, even for experts. For our purposes, it's probably enough to say when the first written use of the trope was, citing a minimum age but not a maximum.

Looney Toons: The point is, we're still talking about centuries of difference here. There's no way you can push even proto-Germanics back far enough to argue that their myths predate the Mosaic stories.

Etherjammer: Is there a similar trope relating to the story of Oedipus, who was cast away by his parents because they thought (correctly, as it happens) that he would be their ruin?

Trope name is misspelled... it should be "bulrushes" with one 'l'.