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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Digression - Der Ring Des Niberlung

In my post titled "Fricka" I mentioned the inspiration Richard Wagner's Der Ring Des Niberlung has in my bikes' naming.  I thought a little explaination would be proper, besides the fact that I just love this peice for its musical, theatrical, and literary genius.

This opera, commonly known as the ring cycle as it is a series of 4 operas, is based on Norse and Teutonic mythology.  While J.R.R. Tolkien has been known to deny it, there are several points that point to Wagner's influence on his work The Lord of the Rings.  The most obvious being that though the ring had importance in Norse and Teutonic myths the idea of the ring of mastery, "one ring to rule them all", seems to be of Wagner's creation.

*sidenote* there is good reason to want to distance oneself from wagner.  Eventhough he was a brillant mind and had great influences on music, literature, and theatre he is known for his racisit and antisemetic writings just prior to the rise of national socialism in Germany.  Given that, I do not condone any of these actions but I question as to whether you can extend this personal critique to is artistic work (thanks to Rebecca for some interesting discussions on such issues)

J.R.R. Tolkien was influenced by Wagner's work.  The creators of Dungeons & Dragons,  Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, where heavily influenced by reading Tolkien's books.  Yes, I played and if I can find people to play with still play.  If you are interested, I will be back in July, get in touch (especially if you know a good DM). 

In 1983 Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman were teamed "Project Overlord", a novel intended to be coordinated with a trilogy of AD&D modules. They worked to plot the novel by playing the modules and hired an author to write it.  The author they hired did not work out and Weis and Hickman were so into the project that they felt they had to write it.  "Project Overlord" grew into a trilogy of novels (Dragons of Autumn TwilightDragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning, from 1984-85) and 15 linked modules, and it got a new name: Dragonlance.

The Dragonlance fantasy novels are my favorite books, especially the core storyline by Weis and Hickman.  Since the initial plot, characters, and world where layed out in the cronicles trilogy (the three books mentioned above) multiple authors have built backstories of characters briefly met and expanded upon events only mentioned in a sentence or two by the original heroes of the lance.  A whole world, Krynn, created in text.  

The series has over 100 novels now by a few dozen authors.  I have read a healthy portion of them but always come back to Weis and Hickman, and still cry everytime a particular person dies (I won't spoil it, you know it is going to happen, BUT THE WAY IT HAPPENS!).

That is the connection, that is why they chose their names as so.

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