I recall there being a line somewhere that Odin would drink no wine without Loki - in other words, there will always be a touch of chaos in all ordered events.
And while Tolkien espoused to dislike allegory, and claimed that he did not use it in his writings, the rather universal plot device of the rise of the industrial revolution/specter of war vs. the pastoral life of the common person runs thickly through the myth/sagas he drew from (even if unconsciously, as they were the field of his studies), and did parallel the world events at the time he wrote the bulk of LOTR/Hobbit/Silmarillian, as WW2 was gearing up (and with the memories of WW1).
It is actually one of the reasons that Tolkien can be considered a classic. There are some very universal truths/myths that can be pulled from it, by more than one generation.
[QUOTE=Lewis;1021245]What I hadn't known was that Odin was one of the roots. Pre-eminently a god of strife, lord of the slain, father of the valkyrjur, cultic god of berserkers & shape-shifters, untrustworthy & a breaker of promises. Imagine him coming down the chimney![/QUOTE]
Lol, according to some movements of over-the-top Christians, there are definitely more than one source for that. Like satan (who is associated with the color red, because 'santa' is an allegram for 'satan', and because of the Isaiah 14:12-14, where satan says he will come from the side of the north and ascent upon the heaves), Thor (who's goats share their German names with two of santas reindeer), Dumbledore (because all magic is eeevul, oh noes!), Gandalf (I have nothing on this) and a rather unpleasant pre-cursor to St. Nicholaus who ran around with a demon accomplish who today share an awful likeness with santas little elves... In essence, Santa Claus is evil. Hide yo children, everybody.
But going back OT, Tolkien did indeed take quite a lot of inspiration from the old heathen stuff. Like the name 'gandalf' for example, that originally belonged to a dwarf. You'll find quite a few of the dwarven names in there too - alos belonging to dwarves, though xD