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History Lesson

J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical inspirations

J.R.R. Tolkien, the mastermind behind the enchanting world of Middle Earth, was not just a fiction writer but a philologist deeply invested in the study of language, history, and literature. His profound knowledge of Old English and Old Viking texts, coupled with his expertise in Nordic languages and mythology, served as a rich tapestry from which he wove the tales of orcs, elves, goblins, and other fantastical beings. While Tolkien's creations were not direct replicas of ancient sagas or epics, they were inspired by themes and narratives he encountered in his scholarly pursuits. For instance, the parallels between the Old English poem "Beowulf" and Tolkien's "The Hobbit" are evident in the tale of a thief pilfering a cup from a dragon's hoard, leading to the dragon's fiery retaliation on a nearby village.

It's essential to note that Tolkien's inspirations were not mere carbon copies but adaptations. He borrowed themes and motifs, molding them to fit his unique narratives. A prime example is the character of Gandalf. While some readers draw parallels between Gandalf and the Norse god Odin, a closer examination reveals distinct differences in their characters and intentions. Both might share the archetype of an old, wise, bearded wizard, but their motivations and actions diverge significantly. Odin, in Norse mythology, often dispensed advice that led to the hero's glory followed by their demise, all to serve his selfish desire to evade his prophesized fate at Ragnarök. In contrast, Gandalf, a "Maiar" or a lesser angel in Tolkien's lore, acted with the intention of aiding the inhabitants of Middle Earth, often employing trickery that harmed no one.

Tolkien's genius also lay in his ability to craft entirely new beings, such as the Hobbits. These diminutive halflings, characterized by their leathery soles, furry feet, and immense courage, were Tolkien's ode to rustic English culture. He once remarked, "I am a Hobbit in all but size," highlighting his deep connection to these characters. The Shire, the Hobbits' homeland, was a reflection of the idyllic English countryside from Tolkien's childhood memories. While Tolkien's world was deeply rooted in various sources, from Nordic myths to his personal experiences and beliefs, it stood as a unique and unparalleled realm in the annals of fantasy literature.

Joselyn

Quiz WriterJoselyn

Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.

Did you know?

Where dragons come from?

Did you know that dragons are one of the oldest mythical creatures described? They're commonly shown as four-legged reptilian beasts with wings that can breathe fire. They were described this way by Greeks, depicted as flying serpents with venomous or fiery breath. However, they can be traced back much further in history.

Some of the earliest known records of dragons come from Mesopotamia, often called the cradle of civilization. Dating back to the late 2nd millennium BC, depictions of giant mythological snakes and other creatures resembling dragons are described in the Epic of Creation. Around the same time during the Shang dynasty in China, images of traditional Eastern dragons began to appear.

Today, dragons can be seen in all sorts of media, from movies to novels, as major characters. Despite being an image almost as ancient as civilization itself, they still haven't lost their sense of intrigue that attracts so many people to them.

How to Play?

Our personality quizzes are set up a little differently than your basic trivia quiz, but you’ve probably seen their kind around. Rather than having to choose the right answer from a list of multiple choice options, in this case, there is no “right answer”! (Two plus two will always be four, but every Golden Girls character is equally awesome.)

So, stop stressing. Just click on the answer that suits you best, and enjoy the ride. These quizzes are just for fun but who knows – you might just learn something about yourself along the way!

About Heywise

Get knOwledgeable! Heywise is where entertainment and trivia meet, like a turducken of fun. Anytime. Anywhere. Since 2017, Heywise has been a leader of quizzes on the web, on mobile devices, and across social media.

We explore a broad range of topics – from sports to history, language to pop culture, personality to health. Our quizzes motivate readers to test their knowledge and learn new and exciting facts.

We’re inspired by food and unique destinations around the globe. We love movies and TV shows, but most of all we love having the opportunity to share these passions with you.

Have you ever wondered what color represents your personality? Do you know which Hogwarts House you belong to? Are you a Pessimist or an Optimist? Our unique personality quizzes will help you find out! We want to share the knowledge of all things awesome with you.

We’re the best quiz site on the internet. That might be our opinion, but it’s pure fact that we get up in the morning expressly to share awesome, eye-opening knowledge with you. So, come get your brain pumping.

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