Tolkien and Beowulf

There are some interesting relations between The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Beowulf.

In Beowulf, the dragon is aroused from centuries of slumber by a thief who stole a cup (see here). In The Hobbit, Smaug the dragon is awakened (after long decades, though not centuries) by Bilbo the Burglar, who stole a cup.

In The Lord of the Rings, we learn that Sauron gave rings to kings of men and dwarves. In Beowulf, we learn that in Anglo-Saxon culture kings were described as “ring givers.” Presumably such rings were given to their nobles as tokens denoting their fealty to the king; if that is so, then we may be safe in concluding that Sauron’s rings were not mere gifts but signs of their recipients’ submission to his dominion.

In Beowulf, there is a character named Éomer; likewise Théoden’s nephew in The Lord of the Rings is Éomer.

Posted in Etc
2 comments on “Tolkien and Beowulf
  1. Devin Rose says:

    I didn’t know those things, but I did know that Beowulf was studied deeply by Tolkien during his life

    • aquinasetc says:

      Hi Devin,

      Yeah, I knew that he worked on Beowulf too. I think it’s interesting what sort of things found their way from the one place to the other. :-) I’m sure that there are other things I’m far too uninformed to notice, too.

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