Edit: Since this question was too broad, I'll center it specifically in Norse mythology (Eddas and Sagas) and only in episodes or motifs in the Silmarillion. Not in the general conception but just in particular episodes, for example like the ones listed below, from the Volsung Saga:

1)The hero Sigmund being trapped with his nine brothers, who are eaten one by one by a wolf each night (Beren in Tol-in-Gaurhoth). 2)The dwarf Andvari casting a curse on his treasure when they take it away (Mim cursing the Nauglamir when Hurin takes it away). 3)The hero Sigurd slaying a dragon near a river, impaling him in the belly (Turin killing Glaurung).

Is there anything else that Tolkien transformed directly from Norse myths?

closed as too broad by The Fallen, Monty129, NominSim, Kevin Jun 28 '13 at 3:44

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    Are you asking specifically about the events narrated in the Silmarillion, or about the "Middle-earth" setting in general? If the latter, please change the tags to indicate it. Also, is this Wiki link insufficient to answer your question? – BESW Jun 25 '13 at 13:02
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    Related, but of smaller scope: Creation myth that inspired The Silmarillion? – BESW Jun 25 '13 at 13:05
  • As stated, this is a list question, which are prohibited by the FAQ. – The Fallen Jun 25 '13 at 13:14
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    "the obvious relationship between the One Ring and Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung" - as Tolkien himself said: "both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases". Otherwise, his Elves are the Tuatha Dé Danann: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuatha_D%C3%A9_Danann – user8719 Jun 25 '13 at 14:09
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    You're not wrong, but nonetheless that's what Tolkien said. – user8719 Jun 25 '13 at 15:42

Tolkien was explicitly attempting to replicate the basic mythical mode of the Norse Sagas. Several of them have parallels in structure.

LOTR as an allegory for World War I or II is often academically explored. The professor himself flatly denied any allegory, but there is a strong resonance that is best described as an "unintended allegory" - that is, the allegory exists but was not intentional.

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    And though it may not be an allegory, the author's historical context was specifically (A) having fought in WWI, the supposed war to end all wars, and (B) then having to watch his sons and others fight in WWII. His milieu had its impact on subject mater and conceptions, though I do take his word that it's not an (intended) allegory. – FoxMan2099 Jun 28 '13 at 5:27
  • Indeed. Things get in our heads, and although there's no way to measure how the story MIGHT have been written if he hadn't gone through the experience, I think it's more than a little bit understandable that the story of his life to that point informed the story he wrote. – ilinamorato Jun 28 '13 at 20:33

A (very) early episode of RadioLab explores some of the similarities between Wagner and Tolkien. It's a good listen.

The episode talks about the connection to Norse mythology and the fact that Tolkien borrowed the Ring motif that Wagner added. There's not much to it past the first few minutes (other than an awesome discussion with Howard Shore about the music and motifs of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy), but the whole thing is a pretty good exploration of Ring Cycle culture and dives into the story points in particular.

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    Could you provide a summary? – System Down Jun 28 '13 at 2:46
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    Sure. Just added. – ilinamorato Jun 28 '13 at 13:24
  • I agree that the Ring motif was taken from Wagner rather than from the original myth, in which the ring was of secondary importance and had only the power to create gold. But probably Tolkien didn't want to be associated with Wagner because of his link with National Socialism and because Wagner transformed the original myth too much. – Taylor17387 Jun 28 '13 at 20:11
  • Well, yes. The major story points between Wagner and Tolkien are different enough as to be nearly unrecognizable to the casual observer (name and primary MacGuffin aside). But the underlying throughlines and narrative structure do have pretty undeniable similarities that can't really be explained away with the Norse source (say that five times fast). I agree, though; he probably did want to distance himself from Wagner for several reasons. – ilinamorato Jun 28 '13 at 20:30

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