Norse Myth and LotR similarities

Discussion in 'Annals of the Eldanyárë' started by e.Blackstar, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. e.Blackstar

    e.Blackstar wanderer, not lost

    I really don't know where this should go, so please move it, someone, if it's in the wrong forum.

    I was reading some information on Nordic tribes and culture, and I came across a few interesting pieces that have been put into tales by both Tolkien and Lewis. For instance, there is a wolf named Fenris, who was slain by Tyr, god of War. Fenris, is of course, also the name of Fenris Ulf, the wolf chieftain of the White Witch in Narnia. Also, the goddess Freya is said to have spent a night with the dwarves, and was paid with the ‘sacred necklace Brisingamen’. Sound familier?

    There were a few other bits that I found that I can't remember off the top of my head, but I was just wondering if anyone had found any other mythological pieces in Tolkien's works. Of course, we know that he based bits and pieces on the myths of several cultures, but until this point, I'd never noticed anything so blantant.

    Anyone else have mention?
  2. Ar-Feiniel

    Ar-Feiniel The White Lady

    My husband was reading a book on mythology and he told me that there was a god of forges and metalworking named Gimli. Sorry, but I don't remember if he was a Norse deity and I don't have the book handy to check it.
  3. Wolfshead

    Wolfshead Formerly CraigSmith

    Gimli is the Norse name for the heaven that the righteous survivors of Ragnarok would go.

    It's also a place in Canada, apparently, which was founded by Icelandic settlers.
  4. Helcaraxë

    Helcaraxë The Grinding Ice

    Many of Tolkien's names as well as some plot devices were influenced by Norse myth. Most of the dwarves' names, Frodo, etc. Some stories in the Silamillion bear remarkable similarity to some Norse myths, particularly that of Turin. I don't recall exactly what the Norse myth was called, but it was a similar story.
  5. Corvis

    Corvis Registered User

    A lot of Tolkien's world has always seemed to me very similar to many different mythologies. Didn't tolkien study or teach mythology a lot? I have always thought that the Valar and how they had watched the happenings of elves and men in the early days of middle earth are much like the Greek Gods and how they watched men in Greeek mythology.
  6. Arvedui

    Arvedui Stargazer

    For those with a particular interest, a number of Norse writings can be found at
    Both the Kalevala and the Eddas can be found there, for instance.

    Happy hunting:)
  7. Walter

    Walter Flamekeeper

    The Norse myth with a story similar to that of Turin of the Silamillion could be the Finnish Kavelala. And the hero there is called Kurvello...

    ... or so ...
  8. Walter

    Walter Flamekeeper

    Despite of what we find in Wikipedia (and other secondary or tertiary sources), we should note that á Gimlé is dative here and thus the nominative probably isn't Gimli or Gimle...
  9. Haldatyaro

    Haldatyaro Registered User

    Sweet Odin's eyeball, what a fantastic site! I have most of them in hard copy, but this will make it really easy to look up specific passages. Thanks!
  10. Walter

    Walter Flamekeeper

    ...and you don't even have to trade an eye for it... ;)
  11. elrilgalia

    elrilgalia Firstborn of Imladris

    Tolkien was a great lover of Norse mythology, and tales... Take Brunhilde and Siegfried etc..

    The Norse myth about the creation of the world, mentions that the first man, Ask and the first woman Embla, formed from two logs, first came to live in a world called Midgard.

    There is also a World Tree. Yggdrasil that towers over the world. One root in the realm of the dead, Nilfheim, and the other in the realm of the Gods, Asgard. It was here that Odin, the High God, learned the secret of the magic runes.

    (I think the tree, is much like in symbology the White tree of Gondor)

    and like Gandalf, (almost) Odin rose from the dead, and holds mankind in his care. and welcomes them into the halls of Valhalla. (perhaps the word Tolkien adjusted for the Vala)
  12. Noldor_returned

    Noldor_returned New Member

    I have started a thread similar to this...called similarities of the Valar. Basically, it talks about what Valar is most similar to what God. Yet I will write more on this topic when I have the time. Perhaps an essay...
  13. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

    In Norse mythology, the gods decide to bind the ravening wolf, Fenrir, who has escaped constraints before. Fenrir suspects that the gods have some trick that will really keep him bound, and he refuses to accede unless one of the gods will place his hand in Fenrir’s mouth. Only Tyr has the courage to do this, and when Fenrir discovers that he cannot break loose, he bites off Tyr’s hand. That story is faintly reminiscent to me of Tolkien’s tale of Beren and Carcharoth, though it is far from a perfect match.

    Tolkien’s Quenya word Ainur recalls the Æsir of the Norse, the Asura of the Hindu, and the Ahura of the Persians. I don’t know if there is a correspondence there, but The War of the Jewels essay “Quendi and Eldar”, page 399, says that the word Ainur is from the language of the Valar and their word ayanūz, which is very like the Proto-Indo-European root *əensu-. This root gives rise to the Germanic *ansu- and the Sanskrit ásuh by way of Proto-Indo-Iranian *n̩suras meaning “vital spirit” or “life.”
  14. Varokhâr

    Varokhâr Black Númenórean

    Aragorn also has some Thor-like traits in that he is the ultimate protector of Middle-earth. Also, like the Thunder-god's hammer Mjolnir, Aragorn also wields a Dwarven-forged weapon of great might and destiny (Anduril), necessary for his role and the fulfillment of such.

    Aragorn's sword also calls to mind Arthur's Excalibur.
  15. Noldor_returned

    Noldor_returned New Member

    Yeah, it was definitely handed to him by a lady in a lake;) (jk)

    I can see where you're coming from, although that might be a thin connection with Excalibur. Well, I guess there was the whole protection thing with the scabbard. But that's about it.

    That connection with Aragorn and Thor is a bit stretched as well. What, Aragorn as the ultimate protector of Middle-Earth? Please, what was Gandalf sent there for? To protect the free peoples of ME. And you're semi-wrong about Anduril. Narsil, its predecessor was made by the dwarves, but Anduril was not forged by them...the re-forging of Narsil into Anduril was at Rivendell, which was an Elvish haven...make sure you get the specifics right...I'll eat you alive over them.
  16. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

    – Dennis the Peasant​
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2006
  17. Noldor_returned

    Noldor_returned New Member

    Indeed. He would have much to say if you introduced Aragorn to him as the saviour of the world because he has a few similarities to Thor
  18. Majimaune

    Majimaune No face, no name

    I personally don't think there are that many similarities between Thor and Aragorn. I have read a few Norse stories to knoew something of what I'm soeeking about.

    Quite a few of the Valar are very similar to the Greek/Roman gods. This is discused in a thread that NR meantioned earlier.
  19. Varokhâr

    Varokhâr Black Númenórean

    I only said there were some similarities - re-read my post.

    And I'm not wrong about Anduril. I know it was re-forged by the elves in Rivendell. So sue me if I didn't please you with my post.

    What a bunch of crybabies, all offended over a little connection I drew :rolleyes:
  20. Walter

    Walter Flamekeeper

    The resemblance is close enough for even Tom Shippey to mention it....

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