The Wren’s Nest has a nice summary of Lord of the Rings.
‘A greedy, smaller-than-human creature finds a treasure in the depths of a river. The treasure is a ring of great power which exerts strange influences on its owners including giving them the ability to disappear but always to bring danger or death to its owners. A hero enters the fray armed with a reforged sword that had been broken. Various races of humanoid beings attempt to gain control of the ring by magic and by heroism until it is finally brought at great cost and sacrifice back to its origin where it is purified by fire. The last pursuer perishes along with the ring.’
The description is from an article by Caroline Leech and it describes Lord of… actually it describes Wagner’s Ring Cycle. And Lord of the Rings. This comes from a long line of conversations about whether Tolkien stole his story from Wagner. The answer, of course, is that both of them used myth to create their stories. They created new myths.
This isn’t surprising to anyone who knows about the Hero’s Journey. Joseph Campbell explained that all hero stories are essentially the same and many of them bear striking similarities. Tolkien and Wagner both knew the best stories are those that have been repeated over and over again. As did Shakespeare, but that’s another article…