One can notice all the subtle hints as to where Tolkien got his ideas for Middle Earth if one pays closer attention to some earlier works of fantasy. While Tolkien mostly disdained the fantasy written during his time and that the man himself wasn’t really that much of a fan of allegory, he mostly took his cues from a lot of stories that took place before literature became largely bowdlerized and fantasy was more or less associated with children’s stories like was the case of Fairy Tales. It was probably what pushed him to eventually write On Fairy Stories 1947, an essay and lecture about Tolkien’s views on fantasy literature.
Anyway, some of the most blatant inspirations for Tolkien’s work would include Norse Mythology, especially its many creatures and characters. For instance, a lot of his characters have some basis in the Norse pantheon with Gandalf, as stated by the author himself, to be inspired by the Norse god Odin, the king of the gods. This doesn’t even take into account that the dwarves and elves found in Middle Earth are very similar to, or are even identical, to the dwarves and elves found in the folklore of the Vikings.
Another of Tolkien’s inspirations would of course be Arthurian legend. Heck, a lot of inspirations for the idea of knights and noblemen come from this age, especially with a lot of the plots such as knights and their possible treachery and potential love interests having ulterior motives. So it isn’t much of a surprise that he wrote something like the Fall of Arthur which is now available for reading. Apparently, the book was already ready for publishing in the 1970s but was easily overtaken by other posthumous works.
Whatever the case, The Fall of Arthur will surely leave fans in that state of wonder that Tolkien envisioned as the book will present readers with a different view on Tolkien’s work. While we are all accustomed to Tolkien’s work taking place in Middle Earth, this is perhaps one his epics found in British legend and features the titular legendary king making his way to Saxon lands and then making his way back to his kingdom. Of course, given Tolkien’s love of Anglo-Saxon lore, this isn’t at all surprising and this only serves for the fans of Tolkien to demand more great works and the anticipation for Desolation of Smaug, the second installment of The Hobbit trilogy coming this December is certainly palpable.