Post by John W Kennedy Post by Steve Morrison Post by Stan Brown
It?s easy to draw one-to-one lines between Wagner?s ring and Tolkien?s
ring, too. (It was the matter of my 12th-grade English term paper.)
And of a section of the FAQ of the Rings, too. (URL below.)
There have been whole books written about Wagnerian influence on
Tolkien. I recommend /Wagner and Tolkien: Mythmakers/ by Renee Vink.
It compiles so many parallels between /LotR/ and /Der Ring/ as to
leave me completely convinced that there was serious influence there--
even after allowing for common sources, which this book carefully
Perhaps I should remark that I graduated from high school in 1966.
Lin Carter treated the subject in his book a few years later.
Well, you and Carter certainly have priority, then.
I've been rereading the Vink book, and it makes one interesting
point: when Tolkien made his oft-quoted "both rings were round, and
there the resemblance ceases" remark, he wasn't talking about Wagner
at all! Here is the remark in context:
/The Ring is in a certain way 'der Nibelungen Ring'. . . ./
Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases.
/. . . . which was originally forged by Volund the master-smith, and
then by way of Vittka-Andvare passed through the hands of the mighty
asar [Æsir] into the possession of Hreidmar and the dragon, after the
dragon's fall coming to Sigurd the dragonslayer, after his murder by
treacherous conspirators coming to the Burgundians, after their death
in Atle's snake-pit coming to the Huns, then to the sons of Jonaker,
to the Gothic tyrant Ermanrik, etc./
Thank heaven for the /etc/. I began to fear that it would turn up in
my pocket. Evidently Dr. O thinks that it is in his. But what is the
point of all this? Those who know something about the Old Norse side
of the 'Nibelung' traditions (mainly referred to since the name-forms
used are Norse) will think this a farrago of nonsense; those who do
not, will hardly be interested.
As Tolkien points out, Ohlmarks's reference was to the Norse legends
rather than to Wagner's /Ring/.