by Adam Voight
An example of why Religion is more moral than science, engineering, philosophy or magic.
“Saruman” – Old English for “engineer”.
Of course, over the long run the difference between religion and magic is contested and variable.
This is why Odin is the sketchiest Sky Father ever. He is both Gandalf and Sauron, whom Tolkien split up into Good and Evil facets. The clue is the Nine Rings of Power given to the Ringwraiths: Odin’s Ring produced nine rings every day, and the giving of rings is typical of the lord’s gifts to his men. The phrase “Lord of the Rings” is only used once in all of Germanic lit: it refers to Beowulf, but it is so used late in the story, just before the fatal dragon episode (I cannot find it now. it mentioned during some swimming episode, perhaps in recounting his expedition against Grendel’s mom or swimming to Finnmark.)
It seems that Tolkein saw the modern era as a struggle within the soul of Europe, between the good Odin and the bad Odin. Notice that Gandalf officiates at a wedding, something that Odin would never do; the Vanir and Thor were best for this purpose.
Wagner also made Odin the crux of the conflict in the Ring cycle, by making Odin’s one lie to the Giants the tragic flaw that brought about Ragnarok. Odin in this version is more of a villain than in the Eddas, but shares the villainy with Alberich. In the Eddas, he is a good guy, but still crazy. Praying to him before a battle could bring victory, or it could bring you death with induction into the Einherjar.
(CD: Thank you. exactly.)