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Source: (consider it) Thread: The ring that inspired Tolkien?
Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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I came across this article about an ancient gold ring that Tolkien was familiar with.

It's interesting to see what may have inspired him.

Moo

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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He seems to have drawn influences from many sources, this could indeed be one.
Though, since more than one of the mythologies he sourced had the mix of power and curse, it is hard to make a definitive link.

[ 05. April 2013, 05:55: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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venbede
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# 16669

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That's plain cynical - the curse in the article is purely personal rather than cosmic, cursing whoever may have nicked the ring.

I always thought Tokien was inspired by Wagner, or at least the North myths which inspired him.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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People tend to forget that in The Hobbit The Ring was no more than a fancy MacGuffin that enabled Bilbo to do virtually everything he does in the second half of the book. It only acquired its massive significance when Tolkien was searching for a 'hook' on which to hang the proposed sequel, which of course became LOTR.

This artifact/Wagner/Norse myths/etc may have helped to inform some of the mythology that subsequently got attached to The Ring, but they weren't the initial inspiration.

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
People tend to forget that in The Hobbit The Ring was no more than a fancy MacGuffin that enabled Bilbo to do virtually everything he does in the second half of the book. It only acquired its massive significance when Tolkien was searching for a 'hook' on which to hang the proposed sequel, which of course became LOTR.

This artifact/Wagner/Norse myths/etc may have helped to inform some of the mythology that subsequently got attached to The Ring, but they weren't the initial inspiration.

This.

But people love to say stupid things, and for some reason LOTR attracts inanities like few other magnets (than religion).

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Laurelin
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# 17211

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It's easy to see why people compare Tolkien with Wagner, but Tolkien distanced himself from Wagner's work, maybe because Hitler liked Wagner and Tolkien hated 'that ruddy little ignoramus' (i.e. Hitler) and the Nazis for perverting the Northern legends he loved with their malicious racism.

There's a school of thought that LotR was written as a sort of anti-Wagner ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._R._Tolkien's_influences#Wagnerian_influences

Anyway, the good Professor had this to say on people comparing his Ring with Wagner's: "Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases." God love him. [Killing me]

I think he'd have found people linking this Roman ring with his fictional One Ring a bit silly. To be honest.

Having said that, that Roman ring is wonderful and it would be cool to see it on display at the Vyne. [Smile]

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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quote:
Originally posted by Laurelin:
Anyway, the good Professor had this to say on people comparing his Ring with Wagner's: "Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases." God love him. [Killing me]

As a thorough-going Wagnerite, I agree with him. I've never thought of Tolkien's One Ring as "cursed" anyway. It was made as an instrument of evil, and that's what it is - no actual curse required. Wagner's Ring (i.e. Alberich's Ring, made with gold that Alberich was able to steal because he renounced love) is cursed: when Wotan steals it from Alberich, Alberich prophesies the downfall of anyone who holds it.

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Nicolemr
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# 28

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Marvin has the right of it. The ring was just a plot device in The Hobbit.

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venbede
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# 16669

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quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
Marvin has the right of it. The ring was just a plot device in The Hobbit.

But having created it, it became far more than that in LOTR.

I've never worked out how Wagner's ring works: if you need to renounce love to use it, how come Siegfried can use it after his, er, meeting Brunhilde? And how come the Gods perish when it is returned to the Rheinmachen?

It's obviouslly quite different in LOTR, except it is a ring of cosmic significance.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
Adeodatus
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# 4992

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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
I've never worked out how Wagner's ring works: if you need to renounce love to use it, how come Siegfried can use it after his, er, meeting Brunhilde? And how come the Gods perish when it is returned to the Rheinmachen?

You really want to know? I could do you about 20000 words on the subject ... [Biased]

Briefly, you don't need to renounce love to use the Ring, only to steal the gold in the first place. And at that stage in the operas, love means sex: you can only get to the gold if you don't fall for the Rhinemaidens' sexual advances.

Later on, you get love re-presented as self-renunciation, which opposes the Ring, which is the embodiment of power as self-assertion. It's Brünnhilde's renunciation of her own existence that overcomes the Ring's (and Alberich's, and Hagen's) self-asserting desire for power.

Wotan has already realised that he can only be redeemed by renouncing his (and the Gods') existence, and that's why he willingly and deliberately dies in the fire at the end.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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venbede
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# 16669

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Thank you, adeodatus. That makes sense. And it is very different from how the ring works in LOTR.

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
I've never worked out how Wagner's ring works: if you need to renounce love to use it, how come Siegfried can use it after his, er, meeting Brunhilde?

You need to renounce love to use it to rule the world. The side benefits - invisibility and rapid travel so on - are automatic consequences of using the Ring, or rather the Tarnhelm and other magical devices which Mime made under Alberich's direction using the power of the Ring.

Which come to think of it is pretty much exactly how Tolkien portrays his Ring in LOTR. If you don;' know what it really is, and you don't meddle in the affairs of the Great, and you don't want to rule the world, and you are made of tough hobbittish stuff, you can use if for a long time before it starts to eat your soul.

quote:

And how come the Gods perish when it is returned to the Rheinmachen?

Because of a sudden attack of timey-wimey neo-Hegelian Gothic-Romantic deathwish-ineveitable-progress Teutonic-master-race handwaving bollocks.

OR because the last of the alliances and treaties and oaths that Wotan made to establish his rule has now been broken., The Rune-Spear is gone - Siegfried broke it himself - the Norn's weaving has unravelled, and now the price paid to the Giants is finally and irrevocably been taken back from them (Fafner was entitled to all that treasure, it was his due payment, when Wotan's grandson killed him and took it he was sort of cancelling the contract that built Valhal in the first place) so nothing now maintains the fortress and the bridge and other manifestations of Wotan's power. He didn't rule because he was some kind of demigod - he starts out as a mortal man in many of the stories that aren't in the opera - but because he did deals with all sorts of supernatural beings to give him powers under certain conditions. The conditions are broken, the deals are off, his power is gone. And also because the ring has been returned to the daughters of the Rhine returning the world from the cosmic pattern imposed on it by Wotan and Alberich and re-establishing a State of Nature from which a New World Order can emerge - one which seems to belong to the mortals. And also because Alberich and his family, the flip side of Wotan's rule, can not now regain the Ring or the other symbols of their anti-Wotan status. The same trick won't work twice (though Hagen is still wandering around trying to think up another one)

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

[ 05. April 2013, 15:50: Message edited by: ken ]

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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I keep promising myself I'll withhold further comment until a thread I was planning to start around 22 May ... [Biased]

But now look at what y'all have made me do! - I'm listening to the last scene of Götterdämmerung while I do my end-of-week paperwork!

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Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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Excuse me, but surely this ring looks nothing like Tolkein's? Without being able to put my hands on the text, I thought the latter was described as perfectly plain, with no decoration or visible inscription. And that website doesn't look wonderful to me: it contains links to, "'Gate to Hell' found in Turkey" and "Tiny 'Cthulhu' monsters discovered".

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
Marvin has the right of it. The ring was just a plot device in The Hobbit.

But having created it, it became far more than that in LOTR.
True but in his notes he lets slip that the decision to use the ring as the pivot point between the ancient world, through the Hobbit, and into LOTR, was arbitrary.

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venbede
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# 16669

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For what it's worth, long possession of the respective rings dehumanises both Fafner and Smeagol. (OK they're not technically human to begin with.)

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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Smeagol is human. He's basically a hobbit. And Tolkien was clear that hobbits are meant to be a race of very small humans.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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