A comparative study of Tolkien and Wagner

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is considered to be the greatest work of art ever written and has taken opera to new heights. It consists of four operas: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Gotterdämmerung — an opera mini-series.

The Ring Cycle is based on Ancient German and Norse mythology. Das Rheingold begins with the creation of the world and Gotterdammerung ends with the destruction of the gods. It includes gods, goddesses, Rhinemaidens, Valkyries, dwarfs, a dragon, a gold ring, a magic sword, a magic Tarnhelm, magic fire, and much more. It also includes greed, love, incest, punishment, betrayal and murder. It is an extraordinary work of art, taking opera to a new level.

Originally published in the accredited fantasy journal Mythlore (which specialises in work on Tolkien, the following paper acts as a comparative analysis of both Wagner and Tolkien’s “Ring Cycles”. Link to the original article here:


“Using this generic plot outline as a framework, I comment at each stage on the similarities and differences between the two versions with a view to suggesting that an important part of what Tolkien was trying to do in The Lord of the Rings was indeed to offer a correction of (and possibly a corrective to) Wagner’s tetralogy.”  –  Dr Jamie McGregor

Daniel Mirante is a painter, historian, scholar, teacher and writer.

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