Reading all the recent questions on The One Ring, I realized that I know of a similar item - the Green Lantern Ring. It also gives the wearer magical powers and more or less an identity.

Is there any information indicating whether Green Lantern Ring was somehow influenced (as far as its creation as a work of fiction) by Tolkien's Rings of Power specifically (as opposed to a more generic idea of a magic ring)?

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    Something to keep in mind is that at the time of Green Lantern's creation, Sauron's ring was simply a ring Bilbo found in The Hobbit that grants its wearer invisibility. I don't think the other Rings of Power were mentioned in The Hobbit. Lord of the Rings was first published 14 years after Green Lantern's first appearance.
    – user1027
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 15:54
  • 1
    :) I read this as "Were Hal Jordan and his Lantern Ring subject to Sauron and his One Ring?" Interesting question.... Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 2:01

1 Answer 1


While it is an interesting theory, it was actually influenced by a slightly different legendarium(s) than Tolkien's. From Green Lantern Wiki:

The first appearance of a power ring was in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940), the flagship title of comic book publisher All-American Publications, which featured the first appearance of Alan Scott.

Green Lantern's original alter ego was Alan Ladd, a play on the name Aladdin, until a conflict arose regarding the actor Alan Ladd. Creator Marty Nodell has cited Richard Wagner's opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelungen and the sight of a trainman's green railway lantern as inspirations for the combination of a magical ring and lantern. (src: Martin Nodell, Preface to The Golden Age Green Lantern Archives volume 1, 1999)

It has been claimed that another original inspiration for the Silver Age interpretation of Green Lantern was the Lensman series, a serial science fiction space opera, by E.E. "Doc" Smith, but the creators have vehemently denied this claim.

So, it was mostly the Nibelungen ring that influenced the Green Lantern ring.

As a side note, for those tempted to say "well, probably Nibelungen ring influenced Tolkien, so the 2 works are more siblings than ancestral", that is not the case. Nibelungen Wiki states:

J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings (1937-1949) shares elements with Der Ring des Nibelungen; however, Tolkien himself denied that he had been inspired by Wagner's work, saying that "Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases". (Source: Tolkien, J.R.R. (1981). "Letter 229". In Carpenter, Humphrey; Tolkien, Christopher. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-31555-7.)

  • The presumption that the Lensman series was an inspiration for the Silver Age Green Lantern and (in particular) the Green Lantern Corps comes from the fact that Julius Schwartz and several of the writers who worked at DC at that time had some SF writing credits, or a background in SF fandom. Clearly, the basic elements of GL's power set were taken from the golden age GL; the concept of the Corps, and that they all have the same superhuman abilities (granted by the Corps) is extremely similar to the basics of the Lensman books.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 18:37

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