I want to share this information with you, with the kind permission from the author of "Song of the Vikings" Nancy Marie Brown.
"Bifur, Bafur, Bombor, Nori, Ori, Oin, and … Gandalf! These were all names from The Hobbit. What were J.R.R. Tolkien’s wizard and his dwarves doing in medieval Iceland?"… and Nancy continues….
"The wizard Gandalf, for example, is an “Odinic wanderer” (in Tolkien’s words)—like the old man with a broad-brimmed hat and a staff who wanders the nine worlds in Snorri’s tales and sits by King Olaf’s bedside keeping him up late with his wondrous stories.
Besides the wizard, Icelandic literature inspired Tolkien’s dwarves and elves, dragon, shapeshifter, warrior women, riders, giant eagles, and trolls, not to mention his wargs, barrow-wights, magic swords, and the cursed ring of power.
Even the landscape of Tolkien’s Middle-earth (except for the very-English Shire) is Icelandic. Although Tolkien never visited Iceland, he read author and arts-and-crafts designer William Morris’s journals of his travels there in the 1870s. The hobbit Bilbo Baggins’s ride to “the last homely house” of Rivendell, for example, matches one of William Morris’s horseback excursions in Iceland point-for-point.
Finally, Tolkien was enchanted by saga style. Like Snorri Sturluson, Tolkien knew the worth of glamour—in its first meaning of enchantment or deceit. By “fantasy” Tolkien meant “a quality of strangeness and wonder” that frees things and people from “the drab blur or triteness of familiarity.” The Hobbit does all that—thanks to its Icelandic roots.
When Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of The Hobbit is released this December 14, Icelanders and people of Icelandic descent can take pride in the fact that their literature is still central to our modern world. New Zealand may be the movie’s setting, but Iceland is its soul.
Read more on Nancys blog: