By Heather O'Donoghue
Whether it be Thor's strong hammer, the mysterious valkyries, the palatial domestic of the gods - Asgard - or starving wolves and fierce elemental giants, the Norse myths are choked with brilliant incident. this can be the 1st booklet to teach how the Norse myths have resonated from period to period: from Viking-age tales of ice and hearth to the epic poetry of Beowulf; and from Wagner's Ring to surprise Comics' robust Thor. Heather O'Donoghue considers the broader contexts of Norse mythology, together with its origins, medieval expression and reception in post-medieval societies correct as much as the current. From Asgard to Valhalla is a ebook that might intrigue and pleasure a person with an curiosity in how the Norse myths have so profoundly formed the western cultural background.
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Extra info for From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths
His wife was called Gerd, the daughter of Gymir, and from his alternative name – Yngvi, or Yngvi-Frey – the Swedish royal dynasty, the Ynglings, is named, and is descended. This is fairly straightforward legendary genealogy. But the Vanir are stranger than this. As we have seen, Snorri’s pseudo-history is a good way of incorporating the gods of Old Norse mythology into a plausible history of the Scandinavian royal house, and of allowing stories about the gods to take their place in a Christianized history.
It has been suggested that 42 GODS AND GIANTS the women (or woman with two names) who caused such chaos among the Æsir – Heid/Gullveig – were perhaps Freyja, especially given their associations with sei r. But it is not anywhere explained why or how Freyja – if it was indeed her – came to practise her magic arts among the Æsir, causing them such consternation, and indeed the great war itself. There is just the faintest shadow of that old situation characteristic of so much Old English and Old Norse literature: the woman in the enemy hall, stolen and held by a rival tribe, a little like Hild, who was abducted and found herself impossibly caught between husband and father.
What, we may ask, drives Odin to seek out more and more arcane secrets, challenging giants in their own halls, giving up one of his eyes, or risking his life by tasting death? The most compelling answer to this question belongs, strictly, in the final section of this chapter: Odin is constantly checking on the likelihood of what he most fears, which is that his precious son Baldr is fated to die, the first act in the great drama of Ragnarök, when all the gods will perish. 32 GODS AND GIANTS Odin’s role as the god of war is not much represented in Old Norse mythological narratives about the conflicts of gods and giants, even though most of the kennings applicable to war in skaldic poetry take it for granted.