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Norse Mythology Neil Gaiman long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok In Norse Mythology Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon Odin the highest of the high wise daring and cunning; Thor Odin’s son incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulatorGaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities dwarfs and giants Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions making these long ago myths breathe pungent life again ”The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place with long long winter nights and endless summer days myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods although they respected and feared them As best we can tell the gods of Asgard came from Germany spread into Scandinavia and then out into the parts of the world dominated by the Vikings In English the gods have left their names in our days of the week You can find Tyr the one handed Odin’s son Odin Thor and Frig the ueen of the gods in respectively Tuesday Wednesday Thursday and Friday”Christianity very nearly drove the old gods of the Northmen from the face of the Earth There was something so tangible about the pagan gods They had personalities fallacies and a sense of humor that didn’t always bode well for their human worshippers If we learned that Loki in particular had taken an interest in our troubles we felt trepidation than relief His cunning intelligence was often used for creating mayhem than it was providing solutions to dire problems He was the gasoline that turned a smoldering warm ash heap into a raging forest fire Loki made enemies of everyone which was why he had to live in a house with four doors facing each direction He was the instigator of much of the troubles the gods found themselves facing but he was also the one who always brilliantly conceived a plan that saved them from those troubles Was Loki of an asset or a liability? You will have to decide that for yourself I do know that finding out he was not on the side of the gods in the final battle Ragnarok made me tremble with concern for the gods Who didn’t want Thor on their side? He wasn’t the brightness bulb in a chandelier but once he entered a fight one side breathed a sigh of relief and the other side started fleeing for their lives His magic belt Megingjord doubled his strength but it was his hammer Mjollnir that made Giants Trolls and other gods tremble The great recently departed Stan Lee mined the Old Norse tales heavily for his writing These Norse gods were superheroes long before the term ever existed What would we give up to have all the wisdom of the world? Odin gave up an eye He even plucked it from his head with his own fingers He was the god of the gods and according to legend the father of us all ”Because he was the father of the gods and because he breathed the breath of life into our grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents Whether we are gods or mortals Odin is the father of us all”How about this for creepy? The Death Ship Naglfar was made from the untrimmed fingernails of the dead A friend of mine was once moved into a different office where he worked He kept finding fingernail clippings in drawers in between stacks of paper under the desk legs wedged behind the computer speakers snagged in the carpet fibers Every time he would clean a new section of his office he would find piles of fingernail clippings to sweep up This was all very creepy for him but when I told him that the man those clippings belonged to had recently died he nearly came out of his skin Suddenly those annoying nail clippings became eerie reminders of mortality Speaking of mortality ”When the gods felt age beginning to touch them to frost their hair or ache their joints then they would go to Idunn She would open her box and allow the god or goddess to eat a single apple As they ate it their youth and power would return to them Without Idunn’s apples the gods would scarcely be gods” I don’t know about the rest of you but I could use a bite of those Golden Apples I’m not even greedy; just a nibble would be great Even the mighty Thor could be temporarily flummoxed ”There was a giantess in the kitchen cutting up onions as big as boulders and cabbages the size of boats Thor could not help staring the old woman had nine hundred heads each head uglier and terrifying than the last He took a step backward” If you were fighting a monster like this where would you start and where would you end? The stories that Neil Gaiman gathered together here were based on what little was left of the pagan stories of the Norse gods Fortunately a 13th century Icelandic saga writer named Snorri Sturluson recorded these tales in his book Prose Edda Neil Gaiman retold them with his entertaining and illuminating prose Check out the life of Snorri Sturluson when you get the chance He might have written about heroes of old but his life was eually fascinating to read about What stories we have were the tip of the iceberg of the stories that were originally told Wouldn’t it be great if of them were found? The Norse gods were mere shadows of what they were in the past This was a wonderful introduction to Norse Mythology If you know very little about the old gods this would be a great place to start If you have some idea of the Norse legends you would certainly benefit from reading them in Gaiman’s engaging style I even found myself chuckling at several pointsthat Loki kills me every time If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at Gaiman is without a doubt one of the most multi talented writers alive today I don’t say this out of a sense of personal bias but with a degree of objectivity Not only does he write fantastic comics intelligent children’s stories and detailed novels about the nature of godhood even if I didn’t personally enjoy them all he also has adapted Norse mythology and re written it with his modern stylish flair He really is a talented man; he is capable of that rare rare thing of being able to write fiction that is worthy of literary criticism but is also ridiculously popular and well just plain cool He has many years of writing ahead of him I hope And I don’t think it is too far a thing to suggest that he may win the noble prize for literature in his lifetime He has contributed much to the arts and this work here shows he has much to give I think he really deserves it So here he has retold some already excellent stories In doing so he makes them approachable and perhaps even engaging for a reader today I do like old poetry though not everyone does I think this can be taken as either an introduction to such works or simply as it is at face value And it really is what it says on the cover it’s a whole bunch or Norse stories about some familiar faces We have Odin conniving and powerful We have Thor strong and honourable And we have Loki cunning and ingenious with his own complex intentions They do battle with each other with the elements and a whole host of nasties But not before Gaiman takes the time to provide you with guided tour of Yggdrasil and the nine worlds that take root from her He clearly establishes the confounds of this mythology before he even begins The collection ends with the most appropriate tale of them all Ragnarok the final destiny of the gods It spends the entirety of the collection building up to it “Until now I have told you of things that have happened in the past things that happened a long time ago Now I shall tell you of the days to come”Thus we witness the end of time The gods fight in one final glorious battle Loki naturally does not fight with the gods of Asgard Instead he leads the armies of the dead against them Many of the gods will die and the pattern will begin anew as their offspring pick up the weapons of their slain forbears; ultimately taking on their mantels The cycle continues as Gaiman captures the heart of Norse mythology here What I also noticed is how these tales have affected his other works Sure the characters are different; yes the setting is warped into something else but you can clearly see how writing this and researching this has oozed out into his other projects This ideas of rejuvenation is repeated in the Sandman series for example Gaiman also narrates his personal journey in the introduction; this book has been a long time coming this topic has clearly helped to propel much of his writing and it really is worth hearing aboutYou can connect with me on social media via My Linktree I've always loved mythology folktales and legends They are the original fairy tales of humanity and given the timeless fairytale uality to Gaiman's writing it seemed to follow that he would be the perfect writer for a book of Norse mythology He is In fact Gaiman seems born to write or rewrite mythsNorse mythology is actually one I've always been less familiar with I know Greek Roman and Egyptian fairly well and some Indian as well but my knowledge of Norse mythology kind of ends at Odin Loki Thor and Thor's hammer And even then I don't know much about what they all did To me this book was very interesting and informative as well as a compelling pageturnerGaiman recreates Norse myths in his signature style with a bit of humour a whole bunch of complex characters and a big serving of charm He makes the stories feel modern and fresh yet still timeless You feel like you're reading about millennia old gods but it's very accessible to today's readerNorse Mythology is told in short stories Some of the chapters are very short only a page or two long and others are slightly longer I liked how easy it was to dip in and out of I could go read some of my other books between stories and return to this without a problem I know ease of reading should not be a top priority but it is great to find a book that makes experiencing its stories as easy and non demanding as possibleIt is fast paced and action packed but what shines through most of all is how all these stories tie into important aspects of the real world as stories about gods tend to do This is a fascinating portrait of a time and a people who really truly believed in Odin and Loki and their many escapades It's funny it's eye opening and it's very enjoyable Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube Definitely short but imminently readable This is one of the best straight mythology books I've read when it comes to pure enjoyment I say this fully aware that I'm a Gaiman fanboy and yet I still mean it Don't look for fiction here Rather look for the source material and a clear understanding of the Norse mythos as far as we have it So much has been lost and then there's a ton of fragments Alas But what we do have is uite coolMy personal favorite was the story of Baldur's murder and the attempt to raise him up from Hel's domain Hel even agrees graciously to let him come back from the dead as long as not a single person on any level of the World Tree refuses to weep for the man Baldur is a sweet man that makes the flowers grow for goodness sake and it was a very close race but you know how these things goWe all know that LOKI is the reason we can't have nice things Forget children I blame Loki I love the fact that wits and brawn are held in eual esteem but I sure wish there was a lot stories about the women There's plenty of hints Just lost fragments however It's a shameStill what we've got is enough to whet anyone's appetite and I even think this is a perfectly appropriate text for young ones too I definitely plan on reading it to my kid once she holds still long enough for it It'll be a nice companion to the The Kalevala and some Greek stuff too Go Fenrir I'd really love to see Cthulhu go up against him

  • Paperback
  • 301 pages
  • Norse Mythology
  • Neil Gaiman
  • English
  • 06 July 2015

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