Bryan's Reviews > Popular Tales from Norse Mythology

Popular Tales from Norse Mythology by George Webbe Dasent
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's review
Jun 27, 2012

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bookshelves: fiction, classic-literature, middle-grade-books, mythology, mythopoeia, recommend, to-read-again, young-adult
Read in March, 2012

As a collection of fairy tales from antiquity I think it's fantastic. I love Norse mythology. This is the stuff of trolls, witches, princesses, glass balls, knights in armor, mysterious secret passageways, and the like. Fairies tales are magical. We can't argue with a fairy tale; if 'to look into a mirror' will get us trapped inside forever, well...that's that. It won't do us any good to complain about whether or not such a thing is possible; we just mind to obey.

There are some cultural cues in the book that no longer jive with modern readers. For example, at the end of each tale the narrator concludes with, "And if [X Character] isn't [doing said punishment, or enjoying said reward], then s/he is probably there still." Sometimes this final phrase is a little odd, such as in one particular tale when the phrase comes out, "And if he hasn't died yet, well, then he's alive still." Seriously.

It's fun to read the stories; I think it's also fun to see modern interpretations of them. Jim Henson borrowed _heavily_ from this book for his popular series, "The Storyteller." For instance, "The Giant's Heart" was taken nearly straight out of it, only with a lot of changing to make the story less cruel.

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