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Is This the One Ring That Inspired Them All?

Good news, Tolkien-heads. It turns out that J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels (they’re called The Lord of the Rings. Perhaps you’ve heard of them) may actually have been inspired by a real ring that was, curiously, forgotten for ages but has recently been re-discovered. Apparently, there’s an old Roman myth about about a man cursed by the god Nodens until he returned a ring—this ring, in fact—that he stole.

That might bear only a faint resemblance to Tolkien’s epic (it’s about “Hobbits,” but these are technical terms. We don’t expect you to remember them) but, evidently, Tolkien was researching the etymology behind Nodens’ name and the myth itself just before he started brainstorming up The Hobbit. So—to borrow a phrase from the book that only die-hard fans will truly understand—is this the one ring that inspired them all? Probably so. It was recently dug up in an old corner of the Library at The Vyne in the British countryside, and is going on display at a new Tolkien exhibit where it will hopefully be safe from Gollum (a character from the book. Hard to explain it all here) …

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