Hampton, Bryan Adams
Einstein, Sarah; Guy, Matthew W.
College of Arts and Sciences
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
In this thesis, I argue that J.R.R. Tolkien was determined to re-write the character of the Norse god Odin as Tolkien thought he ought to have been. I argue that this desire was rooted in Tolkien’s belief of “true light”: a thing’s essential goodness which is often corrupted or disguised by evil perversion. Tolkien wanted to present Northern courage—the Norse view of fighting to the end despite certain doom—in its true light. Odin was the perfect character through which this virtue could be expressed and revised, principally through the character of Gandalf. This project is present in Tolkien’s retelling of the The Saga of the Volsungs in his poem “The New Lay of the Volsungs,” but is more fully realized in his depiction of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings.
I am deeply grateful to Dr. Bryan Hampton, my committee chair, for his patient guidance and council. He played a hugely instrumental role in bringing this thesis to its current state and provided valuable support every step of the way. I am also extremely grateful to Dr. Sarah Einstein and Dr. Matthew Guy for serving on my committee and taking time to read and comment on my work, especially in such busy and unprecedented times as these.
M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.
Mythology, Norse, in literature
Gandalf; Odin (Norse deity); Tolkien, J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel), 1892-1973--Criticism and interpretation
vi, 90 leaves
Gidney, Matthew, "Illuminating the true light of northern courage: Gandalf as J.R.R. Tolkien's revised Odin" (2021). Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.