The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings
The Scandinavian myths form a linked chain of stories, creating a mighty, fantastical world teeming with gods and goddesses, master-smiths and magicians. Battles between gods and giants exist alongside unexpected love matches until the final days of destruction dawn, with their promise of rebirth.
Using his talents as poet, translator and author, Kevin Crossley-Holland bri...more
What We Learned from "Thor" (skip if you remember the movie)
- The universe consists of nine realms.
- The gods live in Asgard, humans live in Midgard, and the Ice Giants live in Jotunheim.
- The nine realms are connected by the roots/branches of a tree called Yggdrasill.
- Odin is the Allfather, or most powerful.
- Thor is Odin's son and the god of thunder.
- Sif is one of the warriors from the movie.
- Loki is... well, you know who he is. The most cunning villain of all time.
This is what Marvel sho ...more
The stories themselves, though, come across as short folk tales for children (no offense intended to old Snorri Sturulson and company). The one exception, the prophecy of Ragnarok, which packs an entire mythical apocalypse of universal darkness and destruction into four pages. It's worth reading, re-reading, and a little memorizing. Start with:
Read with a flagon of ale and a roaring fire (preferably seated a reindeer pelt) to truly get into the mood.
Rather than simply translate-and-annotate, Crossley-Holland has compiled these stories fro ...more
So, after reading this (for the second time), what strikes me is the innate sadness of the Norse view of the universe. The Ragnarok story seems to indicate that all creation is cyclical--the universe w ...more
In addition, the author provided excellent context for the myths by giving readers loads of background history and notes. The extra depth made for a much richer experience.
Kevin Crossley-Holland made a selection of myths, basing himself on various sagas and books written by various authors. In the large introduction he gives a detailed explanation of the Norse pantheon, the cosmology, the nine worlds, and s ...more
I came to The Penguin Book of Norse Myths as a fan of The Avengers. I thought Thor and Loki were fascinating in the movies, both as individuals and in their dynamic with each other. I picked up this book to get a better understanding of where the characters came from and how they were adapted for Marvel's universe. The answer: they're very different.
The Norse gods are not necessarily likeable characters. Thor is a ...more
A culture finds the gods it needs ... and the Norse world needed a god to justify the violence that is one of its hallmarks.
These gods, they are reflections of extremes, impulsive children with adult-like appearance that constantly organize new feats to kill boredom. After-life can only happen in Hel, and there is nothing one can do not to reach there because destiny is determined ("No man can deny Urd, even though her gifts are unearned.").
‘Fearlessness is better than a faint heart for an...more
There are all ...more
The Norse belief that only through fame in this life would your name ...more
The stories are written by the author in languag ...more
Kevin Crossley-Holland writes in his introduction of both the role of the Germanic and Norse Myths in European culture and of our available sources for them. Endnotes are provided for each myth offering a commentary on meanings and parallels which steer clear of didactici ...more
However, as a novice to the Norse religions, I found two significant takeaways. ...more
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There will be life and new life, life everywhere on earth. That was the end; and this is the beginning.”