Saturday, February 26, 2011

They should have called it the "Dwarven Cloak"

I've been reading Otto Jiricek's Northern Hero Legends and found something interesting.

Tolkien took the idea of the Eldar's cloaks making the wearer invisible (or nearly so) from Germanic legends.  But in the original German legends, it's only Dwarves who wear them. 

Of course, for the Norse and Germans, there was not much distinction between a dwarf and an elf, but anyway, originally those magical invisibility cloaks belonged to dwarves.


  1. Not quite the same thing, but I'm reminded of that odd cloak of dwarven disguise in the movie version of Howl's Moving Castle.

  2. I saw HMC in Japanese. I should re-watch it with the English dub.

  3. It's one of the better dubs, as there's rather less stunt casting going on, Billy Crystal aside.

    Howl -- who in the book is a Welshman -- is played by Christian Bale -- who is a Welshman -- only he's played with Bale's standard American accent. A missed opportunity there, perhaps!

  4. In the book of stories of Germanic/Norse myths I have somewhere, the dwarves are quite magical and are always doing things like changing themselves into fish in order to swim away, etc.
    I surmise that maybe these 'magical abilities' were put into the story by the story teller in order to explain to the reader why they didn't see dwarves everywhere.
    Perhaps we see "selective fantasy evolution" at work. The D&D world dwarves either didn't have the magical ability to hide (and thus had to learn to interact with the humans) or had better relations with the humans and thus didn't have to learn to dissapear.