The Pattern Still Remains

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#ring

Gollum vs. Golem

Some Tolkien fans have suggested that the creature named “Gollum” in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings derives its name from the word golem. Gollum seems to be a slave to the magical ring in the same way that the golems of Jewish myth were slaves to their creators.

Sex, Drugs, Einstein, and Elves by Clifford A. Pickover, 2005.

Sphinx

Any person who is hard to understand, or who speaks in riddles is called a “sphinx.”  Since a person is sometimes hardest to understand when he doesn’t speak at all, “sphinx” has come to be applied particularly to people who speak very little. This fits in with the Greek derivation, which is from a word meaning “to bind tight.” A ring of muscle which can close an opening tightly, such as the muscle which is used to purse the lips, is called a “sphincter.”

Words from the Myths by Isaac Asimov, 1969.

Courtship and the Betrothal

Among the common people it was custom to break a piece of gold or silver to seal the betrothal pact. One half of the token was kept by the man, the other half by the woman. This practice antedated the exchange of rings, with which it is closely associated with both in purpose and in the use of precious metals as a medium.

Strange superstitions and magical practices by William Fielding, 1945.