Last updated: November, 21 2020 (Frimaire - Raiponce)

San Zeno church in Verona and The Lord of the Rings

I'm going to talk about Tolkien's masterpiece book, of course, and not about the sad film (but why do they always have to screw it up?).

I found no trace of Tolkien's trip to Verona. At 1919 he had been in Switzerland, then during the First World War he fought in France, but it would seem that he has never been to Italy.
It would seem ...

But the Church of Basilica of San Zeno, Verona seems to offer a intersting starting point for the creation of "The Lord of the Rings" (at least, but perhaps, who knows, for "The Hobbit" too).
If he inspired the Bard, both for "Juliet and Romeo" and for "The Two Gentlemen of Verona", it is obvious that Verona may have also inspired John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
And here you ca find the demonstration of how this Romanesque iconography should have directly inspired the greatest fantasy novel of all time.
(It's a joke of course!)

Gandalf saved by the Eagle

"And the Eagles of the Mountains went far and wide, and they saw many things: the gathering of wolves and the mustering of Orcs; and the Nine Riders going hiter and thither in the lands; and they heard news of the escape of Gollum. And they sent a messanger to bring this tidings to me.
'So it was that when summer waned, there came a night of moon, and Gwaihir the Windlord, swiftest of the Great Eagles, came unlooked-for to Orthanc; and he found me standing on the pinnacle. Then I spoke to him and he bore me away, before Saruman was aware. I was far from Isengard, ere the wolves and the orcs issued from the gate to pursue me."

(from "The Fellowship of the Ring", Book two, "The council of Elrond")

Thr Dwarf-door of Moria

"'Dwarf-doors are not made to be seen when shut,' said Gimli. 'They are invisible, and their own masters cannot find them or open them, if their secret is forgotten.'
'But this door was not made to be a secret known only by Dwarves,' said Gandalf, coming suddenly to life and turning round. 'Unless things are altogether changed, eyes that know how to look for may discover the signs.'
He walked forward to the wall. Right between the shadow of the trees there was a smooth space, and over this is passed his hands to and fro, muttering words under his breath. Then he stepped back. 'Look' he said. 'Can you see anything now?'".

(from "The Fellowship of the Ring", Book two, "A journey in the dark")

The door opening

"'I have it!' he cried. 'Of course, of course! Absurdly simple, like most riddles when you see the answer.'
Picking up his staff he stood before the rock and said in a clear voice: Mellon!
The star shone out briefly and faded again. The silently a great doorway was outlined, though not a crack or join han been visible before. Slowly it divided in the middle and swung outwards inch by inch, until both doors lay back against the wall. [...] 'Into the gateway! Up the stairs! Quick!", shouted Gandalf leaping back.
Rousing them from the horror that seemed to have rooted all but Sam to the ground where they stood, he drove them forward.

(from "The Fellowship of the Ring", Book two, "A journey in the dark")

The Balrog

Something was coming up behind them. What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of whitch was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seem to be in it and to go before it.
It came to the edge of the fire and the light faded as if a cloud had bent over it. Then with a rush it leaped across the fissure. The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streamig mane kindled, and blazed behind it.
[...] Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!", he cried and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
"A Balrog", muttered Gandalf. "Now I understand".

(from "The Fellowship of the Ring", Book two, "The bridge of Kazhad-dùm")

The horn of Boromir

"Then suddenly with a deep throated call a great horn blew, and the blasts of it smote the hills and echoed in hollows, rising in a mighty shout above the roaring of the falls.
'The horn of Boromir' , he cried. 'He is in need!' He sprang down the steps and away, leaping down the path. 'Alas! An ill fate is on me this day, and all that i do goes ammiss. Where is Sam?'.
As he ran the cries came louder, but fainter now and desperately the horn was blowing. Fierce and shrill rose the yell of the Orcs, and suddenly the hotn-calls ceased."

(from "The two towers", Book three, "The departure of Boromir")

Halbarad Dùnadan

"'But it is the realm of Théoden the King. None ride here save by his leave. Who are you? And what is your haste?'
'Halbarad Dùnadan, Ranger of the Nord I am,' cried the man. 'We seek one Aragorn son of Arathorn, and we heard he was in Roahn.'
'And you have found him also!', cried Aragorn. Gining his reins to Merry, he ran forward and embraced the newcomer. 'Halbarad!', he said. 'Of all joys this is the least expected!'".

(from "The return of the King", book five, "The passing of the Grey Company")

The Haradrim

Then Théoden was aware of him, and would not wait for his onset, but crying to Snowmane he charged headlong to greet him. Great was the clash of their meeting. But the white fury of the Nothmen burned the hotter, and more skilled was their knightwood with long spears and bitter. Fewer were they but they clove through the Southrons like a fire-bolt in a forest. Right through the press drove Théoden Thengel's son, and his spear was shivered and he threw down their chieftain. Out swept his sword, and he spurred to the standard, hewed staff and bearer; and the black serpent foundered. Then all that was left unslain of their cavalry turned and fled far away.

(from "The return of the King", book five, "The battle of the Pelennor fields")

The black ships

And lo! even as he laughed at despair he looked out again on the black ships, and he lifted up his sword to defy them.
And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great stabdard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned torwards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count.

(from "The return of the King", book five, "The battle of the Pelennor fields")