Norse Mythology in The Lord of the Rings: Odin, Morrigan and Their Messengers

Norse Mythology in The Lord of the Rings: Odin, Morrigan and Their Messengers

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Stories often take inspiration from multiple styles of writings, including classical texts from modern literature. This is especially important when creating a fictional culture or race to create a sense of believability and help the readers visualize how the setting and characters will appear in their minds. Stories may sometimes place an influence on how other character are represented in the author's writing. One excellent example that takes use of ancient stories to create differentiating cultures is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. His novel shows a large number of examples of inspiration taken from mythological tales and legends. He incorporates his interest such Celtic and Nordic mythology through characters who reflect figures such as Odin, the god and ruler of Asgard. The god is known for being associated with war, battle, victory, death, wisdom, magic, poetry, prophecy and the hunt. While Tolkien may have other sources of influence from other writings, his use of Norse and Celtic mythology can be seen in a number of ways; characters that heavily parallel with the god Odin as well as his ravens given a part of influence the story.

During the war of the ring Saruman used crebains, large black birds relatively a counterpart of real life crows and ravens, as spies. A flock of Crebain from Dunland first appeared when the Fellowship were traveling in Hollin and hid from them to avoid detection. Since they are seen working for Saruman, black birds are initially though as a group of creatures associated with evil and have some level of intelligence. Similarly with Odin, the Norse god has two ravens–one named Huginn and the other Muginn to serve as messengers and bring him information. One example of raven...


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...radley J. J.R.R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth. [Wilmington, Del.]: ISI, 2002. Print.
Hammond, Wayne G., and Christina Scull. The Lord of the Rings: a Reader's Companion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. Print.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. Print.
The Lord of the Rings the Motion Picture Trilogy. Dir. Peter Jackson. Perf. Elijah Wood, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving. New Line Cinema, 2004. DVD.
Wettstein, Martin. "Norse Elements in the Work of J.R.R. Tolkien (Martin Wettstein) - Academia.edu." University of Zurich, Switzerland - Academia.edu. Web. 20 June 2011. .

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