This quote will be part of an upcoming article:
The Lord of the Rings vs. The Ring of the Nibelung: "Both Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung are based on ancient Norse legends. Not many people are aware of this connection between the two Rings.
"Since almost everyone knows the plot of The Lord of the Rings, I will tell the story of The Ring of the Nibelung and explain the similarities and differences as they come.
"Now, before I get started, I want to make it clear that these two Rings were never meant to be identical copies of each other. Tolkien departed greatly from the original legends and Wagner added some shocking and, at times, unnecessary elements. However, both are enjoyable and both have an almost fanatical following. ....
"The story of The Ring of the Nibelung begins in the river Rhine. Three mermaids called Rhinemaidens are guarding a lump of gold. This gold is magic and if anyone melts it down into a ring, he or she will be able to rule the world.
"A dwarfish character called Alberich, from the race of the Nibelungs, steals the gold (Smeagol stole the ring after it was found in the river) and, in his lust for power (like Sauron), forges the ring. He then enslaves the other Nibelungs and begins building an army which will take over the world (similar to Saruman's army of Orcs). ...
"Meanwhile, above the clouds,
the gods are having their own share of troubles. Wotan and his wife Fricka had recently
hired two giants called Fasolt and Fafner to build a magnificent fortress called
Valhalla (Rivendell). Wotan had promised to pay them with Fricka's sister Freia,
the goddess of youth. The only problem is that Wotan hasn't talked to her about
this yet. When the giants try to carry her off, she refuses to go with them. Wotan
wants to back out of the agreement, but can't because he had written it on his great
spear (similar to the staffs of the wizards)."