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Old legends

The "tangled and ancient legend of Sigurd and Gudrún is the primary inspiration behind Tolkien's own literature—behind his wandering heroes, his reforged sword and his looming, 'mirkwood' forests; behind his smooth-tongued dragons, his hoards of gold, his dwarves, his werewolves, his talking birds, his god-like Valinor figures and his otherworldly horse.

Fifty years after Wagner and William Morris tackled the legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, Tolkien created his verse saga. Marjorie Burns says it is dark, haunting and authentic. Tolkien's son Christopher has provided the invaluable notes.

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