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Author Topic: Tolkien's inspiration?  (Read 2825 times)

Offline Elfy

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Tolkien's inspiration?
« on: August 01, 2015, 01:36:57 AM »
I was watching a thing on the History of Britain today and apparently a Brother Gundulf (later Bishop of Rochester) designed The White Tower. It seems too coincidental for the good Professor not to have drawn some inspiration for the name of his famous wizard.
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Offline YordanZh

Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2015, 09:36:17 AM »
Oh, it's not just that. Plenty of the names are taken directly from Norse mythology, especially for the dwarves in Hobbit and some other characters.

Offline ArcaneArtsVelho

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Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2015, 09:57:08 AM »
On the other hand, it's really easy to get influenced by the things you know (even if you don't intentionally draw inspiration from them).
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Offline YordanZh

Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2015, 10:03:44 AM »
Oh, yeah, I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's perfectly normal, especially in the situation that he was in - one of the first men to write these types of books. It's cool and interesting, that's all. :)

Offline JMack

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Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2015, 12:27:52 PM »
I once owned the book A Guide to the Languages of Middle Earth. It detailed all the sources for names, etc.

But the white tower biz with Gundulf is new to me. Very cool.
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Offline Lejays17

Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2015, 02:58:01 PM »
Yup, he was a french monk that William Conqueror employed to design the White Tower.  I was watching the show, Elfy was swooning over the fantastic things they were saying on the internet about his footy team, but that bit caught his ears.

Entirly possible that it was a name "in passing" that stuck with him, a bit of fun coincidence.
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2015, 03:14:06 PM »
I was watching a thing on the History of Britain today and apparently a Brother Gundulf (later Bishop of Rochester) designed The White Tower. It seems too coincidental for the good Professor not to have drawn some inspiration for the name of his famous wizard.

Yeah.  He built a tower next door to the house I grew up in.  Confused me when I read the books!
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2015, 12:55:57 AM »
It wasn't just the name, but the reference to the White Tower that kind of made me make the connection.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline DDRRead

Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2015, 09:46:16 AM »
Yup, he was a french monk that William Conqueror employed to design the White Tower. 

According to one of his Biographers (Humphrey Carpenter) Tolkien once refused to eat french cuisine at a faculty dinner on the grounds that the Norman conquest had ended Anglo-Saxon England. If that is true it's doubtful he'd name one of his best character after a Norman. I say if it's true, because I've heard that's been disputed, but haven't read any of the more recent Biographies.

Offline DDRRead

Re: Tolkien's inspiration?
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2015, 01:37:41 PM »
Just found this while looking for Norse names for a character . . .

Quote
GANDÁLFR: Old Norse name composed of the elements gandr " staff, wand" or "fiend, monster" and álfr "elf," hence "fiendish elf" or "wand elf." In mythology, this is the name of a dwarf.

. . . as Tolkien studied and taught Old Norse this is a more likely inspiration.