“Like A Broken Stained Glass Window Reassembled Without Design”: Celtic themes and inspirations in The Lord of the Rings
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In this thesis the connections between Tolkien’s work and Celtic mythology are investigated. Although Tolkien denied having been influenced by Celtic mythology, some of its themes can be identified in his work. It is shown that there is a correlation between the story of the Noldor Elves in The Silmarillion and the Irish story of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Furthermore, the connection is shown between the liminal spaces of the Irish and Welsh Otherworld and the land of Valinor, as described in Tolkien’s Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings. The links between certain characters from Lord of the Rings and Welsh Arthurian legend are investigated. These links have proven themselves to be harder to substantiate. It cannot be decided with certainty whether the characters correlate, because the similarities between them could also be explained by the heroic biography. The same is true for Tolkien’s story Beren and Lúthien, which may or may not be connected to the Welsh story Culhwch and Olwen. Finally, it is shown, that some other connections made in academic literature, between Tolkien’s work and Celtic legend are not as well-supported by facts.