By Always Narnian
Authors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien had quite a few things in common—both loved mythology, were Oxford scholars, were members of a writing and literary group named the Inklings, and wrote highly popular fantasy adventures. Though Tolkien’s and Lewis’ works are of a completely different scale, have you ever noticed the similarities that reside in Lewis’ Narnia series and Tolkien’s world of Middle-Earth?
Though Tolkien has a complex system of names, both of people and places, Lewis remains rather simple in his world of Narnia. Tolkien was elaborate, creating family genealogies and having several names for one location in Middle-Earth. However, this does not mean Lewis did not create names, for he did. In fact, there are resemblances between some names that appear in Narnia and Middle-Earth. For example, Lewis’ land of Ettinsmoor and Tolkien’s Ettenmoors, the town of Bree in Middle-Earth and the Horse Bree in Narnia. Middle-Earth has a river Lune (also spelled Lhûn) like that of King Lune of Archenland. Family names are also a shared idea of Lewis and Tolkien. For example, in Archenland, brothers’ names are similar such as: Cor and Corin, Dar and Darrin, Cole and Colin. In Middle-Earth, families often have names that sound alike. These are used in different cases such as father and son (Arathorn and Aragorn), brother and sister (Éomer and Éowyn), and brothers (Boromir and Faramir). The two authors also shared the concept of naming swords, such as Aragorn’s sword, Andúril, and Peter’s sword, Rhindon.
In the land of Middle-Earth reside tree-like people named the Ents, whereas, in Narnia, Lewis uses the spirits of the trees from Greek Mythology called dryads. In both stories, the trees seem to be feared. In Prince Caspian, the trees are awakened and join in the battle against Miraz, and in The Two Towers the Ents invade the fortress at Isengard, destroying the evil works of the Wizard Saruman.
- Mirror of Galadriel and the Hermit’s Pool
There is an almost surprising similarity in the stories of The Horse and His Boy and The Fellowship of the Ring. In each story there is a type of magic pool, or mirror, that can see things in the world beyond. The mirror belonging to the Lady Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring can see things that may or may not happen, as well as things that have happened or are happening presently. The Hermit’s pool in The Horse and His Boy can see things that are happening the moment you look into the pool. The Hermit watches the Battle at Anvard through this pool. Though both Frodo and Sam look into Galadriel’s mirror and see images plainly, Aravis and the two horses in the Narnia book can only see vague movements within the water of the Hermit’s Pool.
- Tirian’s and the Ents’ Marching Songs
In The Last Battle, Tirian, King of Narnia, hums a marching song that goes like this: “Ho, rumble, rumble, rumble, Rumble drum belabored.” The Ents of The Two Towers have an amusingly alike marching song of their own: “We come, we come with roll of drum: ta-runda runda runda rom!”
- Nimrodel and Swanwhite
Nimrodel of Middle-Earth and Swanwhite of Narnia were both ladies of great beauty. Swanwhite, Queen of Narnia, was so fair that whenever she looked into a pool her face could be seen within the water for a year and a day. Legolas tells the story of Nimrodel, an elf of striking beauty, in The Fellowship of the Ring after Frodo had heard a voice in the waterfall. It was the sound of Nimrodel singing, a great marvel that could be heard sometimes when the wind blew, though many years had passed away.
- Boromir’s and Susan’s Horns
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan Pevensie is given a very unique gift— a horn that can call for help, no matter where the horn blower is at the time. This horn plays an important role in Prince Caspian, calling the Pevensie children back to Narnia. The horn of Boromir works in much the same way, as Faramir says of it: “That horn the eldest son of our house has borne for many generations; and it is said that if it be blown at need anywhere within the bounds of Gondor, as the realm was of old, its voice will not pass unheeded.”
- Gondor and Tashbaan
Tashbaan, an impressive city in Lewis’ novel, is greatly akin to Tolkien’s kingdom of Minas Tirith. The two large cities are both built upon hills, their cities’ streets one above the other, climbing to the top where their most important edifices stand: The Temple of Tash and the Citadel of Minas Tirith. Shasta, the hero of The Horse and His Boy, beholds Tashbaan in this way: “…when at last the sun rose out of the sea and the great silver-plated dome of the temple flashed back its light, he was almost dazzled.” Pippin, the Hobbit, sees Minas Tirith in much the same way: “…suddenly the sun climbed over the eastern shadow and sent forth a shaft that smote the face of the City. Then Pippin cried aloud, for the Tower of Ecthelion, standing high within the topmost wall, shone out against the sky, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver…”
The parallelisms in Tolkien’s and Lewis’ novels possibly go unnoticed, seeing as Middle-Earth and Narnia are deemed very different realms. However, as seen above, the Authors shared common interests and incorporated very similar wordings and events into their classic stories. From stone giants to magic rings, you may continue to find fascinating commonalities as you explore the pages of these two beloved worlds.
Have you already noticed any additional similarities? Comment below, we’d love to hear them!