Legends from the Ancient North: Five classics of Norse literature that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic vision in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
Legendary fantasy writer J. R. R. Tolkien spent much of his life studying, translating, and teaching the ancient tales of northern Europe at Oxford and drew on them for his own writing. These epic stories, with their wizards and knights, dragons and trolls, cursed rings and magic swords, are as fascinating today as they were thousands of year ago. Reading them brings us as close as we will ever get to the magical worlds of the Vikings and the origins of their twentieth-century counterpart: Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
Beowulf tells the epic story of the heroic Beowulf and his battles, first against the monster Grendel, who laid waste to the castle of the Danish king Hrothgar, then with Grendel’s avenging mother, and finally with a dragon that threatens to devastate his homeland.
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