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Nordic Gods and Heroes

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,704 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Rich selection of age-old legends concerning the gods and goddesses who dwell in Asgard, their problems with the mischievous Loki, the exploits of Odin and Thor, the story of Sigurd, the winning of Brynhild, the twilight of the gods and more. Enhanced with over 40 atmospheric illustrations by Willy Pogany.
Paperback, 282 pages
Published January 18th 1996 by Dover Publications (first published 1920)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Miriam
Neither my favorite version of Norse Mythology nor my favorite of Colum's books, but a decent introduction to the major tropes and stories of the mythos for readers with slight familiarity with the topic (for absolute beginners the groundwork may be inadequate). Some stories were told oddly out of chronological order so that a character might be mentioned in one chapter but then born in a later chapter, or an adventure begun and then the telling interrupted and finished later. This may be due to ...more
Ed Ingman
While on vacation in Wisconsin, we happened upon a horse farm that specialized in Scandinavian horses. On a whim, we stopped in and learned all about the Gotland, Icelandic, Arland, and other varieties of Scandinavian horses. We also met Icelandic goats, chickens, and ducks. At any rate, the sign of this place, called Norse Horse Park on Washington Island in Wisconsin, featured a picture of Odin riding Sleipnir, his horse. This reminded me of the Norse mythological poems that we read in German c ...more
Jeannette
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Jones
The Children of Odin: The Book of Northern Myths is exactly what the title says it is; a collection of several stories from Norse mythology. And, really, it's not that bad. I bought it at a train station because I needed something short and interesting to read. It fit those criteria, but little else.

This book is in serious need of a character list, or a family tree, or something. I'd really liked to have seen ten or twenty pages dedicated to certain characters, either in the front of back. Maybe
...more
Larissa
This book, comprised of Irish author Padraic Colum's retellings of classic Norse myths, was on the shelf in our apartment when we moved in. Having only encountered Norse mythology in the wonderful illustrated D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths, I thought it would be a good idea for me to reacquaint myself with these stories, which are referenced not infrequently in Scandinavian and Icelandic literature.

Colum's book is, as the cover claims, "very readable," although I found the choice to use a quas
...more
Cwn_annwn_13
Simplified watered down versions of stories from the Eddas. This book seems to be aimed at a late elementary or jr. high school age reader. For that target audience this is a great introduction and would probably be the best thing you could buy if you were trying to picque a young persons interest in the Norse "Myths". If your an adult there are several other books on this subject that I would recomend over this one though.
Sara
Pubblicato nel 1920 a opera di un illustre drammaturgo irlandese appassionato di folklore, è il testo più completo che ho letto finora sull’argomento. Dopo una carrellata iniziale sui principali abitanti di Asgard — con splendidi capitoli dedicati a Idunn, Sif, Loki, Freya, Frey, Hnossa e Heimdallr — si passa a una sezione sul dio “viandante”, una delle tante accezioni che connotano la figura di Odino, padre di tutti gli dèi. La terza parte è invece interamente dedicata a Loki, il signore dei tr ...more
Jared
This book provides a rather coherent set of Norse myths. The author ties the myths together so that they flow a lot better than your average compilation of random stories (which is my general impression of most mythology books).

The stories appear to have been selected to minimize contradiction. (As with any mythology, in Norse mythology there are many authors, resulting in inevitable confusion as they disagree over insignificant details like the names of the main characters.) They are also (well
...more
Steven
I talked our school district into ordering this book for my Mythology class. I certainly haven't regretted it. We spend the second quarter of the semester class studying Norse mythology. This book is very accessible, even to the students who are dumped into the elective class just because there's nowhere else to put them. The myths are told in short story format, using simple but poetic language. Sure, the names throw the kids, but otherwise my high schoolers have no trouble with it.

They definit
...more
Carolina

Antes de tudo preciso comentar com vocês minha grande surpresa com este livro: Sério eu pensei que era um livro recente, que esteja no mercado mundial apenas há alguns anos mas não, Padraic nasceu em 1881 (o.o) ou seja o livro é meio antigo já. Nada de mais, só precisava comentar isso com vocês.

Os Filhos de Odin é uma junção de vários “contos” ou histórias que envolvem Thor, Loki e outros personagens (deuses) da mitologia Nórdica. Para quem ainda não sabe, eu sou muito apaixonada pelo Loki (clar
...more
Austen
This is a wonderful collection of many of the most crucial tales of Norse mythology. As someone who is quite familiar with Norse mythology, a couple of small things bothered me (especially a few absent things, including how Odin got his horse Sleipnir). Nevertheless, Colum's rendition of the Norse tales presents a very clear and compelling journey that is excellent for those less familiar with the Norse gods and their tales. Aside from covering the creation story, Colum recounts the famous stori ...more
Matthew Colvin
Delightful. Colum is a fine storyteller, using diction that provides just the right archaic, “northern” flavor. The myths included are fairly comprehensive and detailed. Highly recommended for homeschoolers; provides the best possible subject matter for progymnasmata writing exercises. The line drawings are beautiful.

I wrote this review based on the ebook version (epub with illustrations) available free at project Gutenberg.
Andréia
Review in portuguese by blog MON PETIT POISON

Quando pedi esse livro para leitura, o fiz por dois motivos:
1 – Conheço pouco da mitologia nórdica e queria aprender/conhecer mais;
2 – Queria conhecer outros autores que misturassem aventuras com mitologia.

Afinal, hoje em dia a grande referência é o Rick Riordan com seu mundo dos deuses gregos e uma pequena série falando dos deuses egípcios, mas acredito que por mais que as aventuras sejam um pouco semelhantes, essa mistura entre História e aventura d
...more
Kaz
A great translation and coherent compilation of Norse myths for the average person or child. The myths weave seamlessly from one chapter to the next and present a wonderful overall picture of the Norse pantheon. I wouldn't be surprised if Tolkien read this to his children.
Matt
I don't have a lot of experience reading mythological books like this, but I really enjoyed the way Colum wrote these. They've got a regal sort of "spaketh" tone to them, but the story isn't hard to follow. An excellent introduction to Norse Mythology.
Portia
Colum wrote this version for all ages, so some imagination is required when reading the tales to appreciate the full effect. Still, it's quick and informative. I'll definitely refer to it in the future.
Padraic
My first introduction to Nordic mythology, if you don't count a collection of Thor comic books. The book was in my local library, the cover was old, the pages brown, the binding loose, the smell...well, obviously memorable. But something grabbed me - while sitting through a recent performance of Das Rheingold, this book floated through my head like a leitmotif. I think it was Colum - an odd Irishman and decent writer, viewing these not too geographically distant tales through the cracked looking ...more
David
Irish poet and playwright, Padraic Colum retells the stories of the gods of Asgard: Odin, Thor, Tyr, Loki and the tales leading up to the Twilight of the Gods and the final battle of Ragnarök.

I admit to enjoying this book. It brought back memories of my Swedish grandmother telling me stories of Thor and Odin as casually as she would recite from her Lutheran catechism. Here in America we honor these gods on a weekly basis. Four of our names for days of the week are named for them (Tyr, Odin, Tho
...more
Kelsey
This is a good introduction to Norse mythology. When I picked this book up, I was looking for an overview of all the stories that make up the mythology, and this met my expectations.

It read like a detailed beginning to all the myths, and the writing was good, I think. The dialogue between the characters was funny, especially Loki, but he is the god of mischief so I guess that's what you'd expect, and the other details, like the settings and what the people's clothes looked like were written well
...more
Samuel Valentino
A good introduction, but only that. The writing (by this time, although it was probably fine for when it was written) seems stilted. It got harder and harder to enjoy reading it the longer the book went on.

On the negative side, this book gives Norse mythology a story unity that it doesn't possess. On the other hand, it now has a unity that it hadn't possessed! So it reads as one long story, which can be good if that's what someone is looking for. One reason I didn't like it is that it seemed to
...more
Dougald
This work was a delightful little read. The stories were very short, which made them seem a little archaic in that character development was not always deep. There is a great deal of discussion concerning Ragnarök. However, once you arrive there in the text it is rather anti-climactic. Of course, that is not Padraic Colum's fault as he is just collecting the stories.

The best tale contained in this work is the chapter "Loki Against the Aesir.," where Loki is finally expelled from ever returning t
...more
Keegan
Great myths, great mythology. Odin all-father attempts to create a harmonious world, but Loki, a trickster, a boarder-crosser, a half breed, introduces chaos, and the stories unfold. In exploit after exploit, Loki is dazzling to watch. Characters and themes emerge in cycles, with tensions growing greater with every gyre. Eventually, all the traps Loki laid in his life culminate in Ragnarok, the twilight of the Gods, and heaven and earth crumble. But what's this? Two greater worlds emerge. Perhap ...more
Devon
Not my favourite retelling of Norse myths, but a competent one nonetheless. This was another book I preview-read for the purpose of gift-giving, and, while I found it in many places problematic, I don't think it is a terrible book.

The conceit of the story is that these are the tales - the history - left to the children of the gods after Ragnarok. Using that as a vehicle to bring the reader from the creation of the world to the Doom of the Gods works pretty well, though it gives the gods (and th
...more
Meagan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Magdalena
Why I liked it:
-It's a clear narration of the Norse myths. I love anything norse, so this book was meant to be a favorite of mine.
-It is neatly arranged into small chapters that focus on a certain event or a certain god/hero.
-Gorgeous illustrations and chapter headings.
-The language is easy to follow and has an old fairytale tone to it. Also, it's told in a linear way, except for the very first chapter, which starts from Ragnarök.
-Even if you forget what a certain word is, the writer reminds y
...more
Dakota
Oct 04, 2013 Dakota rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Dakota by: Myself
The author's purpose of writing this book is to entertain peoples on the wonders of Norse Mythology. Although he did not create the stories depicted in this book he did his own renditions of these classic tales. When he was writing this book he did not directly state his purpose. This is not some book that you just see on the Top Grossing list. You have to know or have an interest in this mythology. Padraic stayed on task when it came to writing about each story. The stories from beginning to en ...more
logankstewart
I grew up a fan of Greek mythology, amazed by the esoteric worldviews of long ago. This love crossed over into a few other cultures—Egyptian and Roman mostly—but nothing compared to Greek. As I grew up I began looking to related things: fairy tales, urban legends, and folklore. I loved the language and mood these stories had, and to this day I still enjoy reading these kinds of things. When a friend suggested I read the free Kindle book The Children of Odin I dismissed it, chiefly because it was ...more
VeeDawn
I loved this book. The Northern Myths are so amazingly good. The summary said it well:
"Here are the matchless tales of All-Father Odin, who crosses the Rainbow Bridge to walk among men in Midgard and sacrifices his right eye to drink from the Well of Wisdom; of Thor, whose mighty hammer defends Asgard; of Loki, whose mischievous cunning leads him to treachery against the gods; of giants, dragons, dwarfs and Valkyries; and of the terrible last battle that destroyed their world."
Conrado
Un libro de fácil lectura que ordena, resume, da coherencia y adapta los mitos nórdicos desde la creación del mundo antiguo (los dioses, etc) hasta el final de aquél (Ragnarok) y el surgimiento del nuestro; conteniendo, por tanto, la historia de la primera parte del "Cantar de los nibelungos" y del ciclo del anillo de Wagner, pemitiéndonos ver el trasfondo mitológico que tales no cuentan, pese a ser necesarios para su correcto entendimiento.
Por supuesto, dado que —como dije— se dio coherencia a
...more
Lindsay
This book is pretty stinking awesome. But that is too generic to say honestly. From a literary standpoint, it's best compared to (though certainly not above) the works of J.R.R Tolkien. In fact, I wonder if Tolkien was influenced by some of these norse myths. Similar to the style of the Simarillian though the chapters are a little shorter and more fast paces---think of a mythology anthology of short stories. Tragic in the sense that you know the fate of everyone from the introduction (one of tho ...more
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What is your favorite beast or god in the story? 2 8 Feb 06, 2013 01:14PM  
  • Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas
  • D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths
  • Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
  • Viking Tales (Yesterday's Classics)
  • Celtic Myths and Legends
  • Heimskringla: or, The Lives of the Norse Kings
  • The Norse Myths
  • Asgard Stories: Tales from Norse Mythology
  • The Saga of the Volsungs
  • Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs
  • Popular Tales from the Norse
  • The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy
  • From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths
  • The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Loki: Nine Naughty Tales of the Trickster
  • Norse Mythology: The Myths & Legends of the Nordic Gods (Mythology Library)
  • Norwegian Folktales (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
  • Essential Asatru: Walking the Path of Norse Paganism
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Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Celtic Revival. (Source)
More about Padraic Colum...
The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles The King of Ireland's Son The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy A Treasury of Irish Folklore Great Myths of the World

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“He was Loki, a being who only half belonged to the Gods; his father was the Wind Giant.” 0 likes
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