Talk Icelandic To Me: A Norse Mythology Thread


#1

In the wake of Thor: Ragnarok and God of War giving Norse mythology a bit of a moment in the sun, it occurred to me that some of y’all might be interested in reading more of that particular canon (which, if you can’t tell, I very much love). The core stories of Norse myth are collected in the Poetic and Prose “Eddas,” and the poem Völuspá in particular lays out much of Norse cosmology, including the Ragnarök myth. The site I’m linking to has the full texts, but you can also find them as ebooks on Project Gutenberg, or in printed form.

I’d also love to talk about favorite adaptations (to whatever degree) of Norse myth, because I can never seem to find enough. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (the book at least, I haven’t been able to see the show yet) weaves a pretty sizable amount of it into its plot and cast, and his Sandman comics deal in a little Norse myth as well. On a very different note, the legendary designs from Pokémon X and Y are heavily based on the beings that guard Yggdrasil (the eagle, the stags, and the wyrm) and keep the tree in balance (hence the admittedly poorly-developed themes of those games). And I’m not sure if any of y’all are into YA literature, but Libba Bray’s Going Bovine features a talking lawn gnome that claims to be Baldur as a supporting character on the book’s road-trip plot.

So that’s me. Any Norse myths or adaptations you all really love? Anything that really interests you about them?


#2

I played both Banner Saga games last year and really liked how they incorporated Norse myths. They make it very much their own thing and honestly just include a lot of the symbolism and some of the more prominent figures like the world serpent. Core to the game’s story is that all of the gods are dead or have completely forsaken/disappeared from the realm (varying theories exist as to why this happened). The world-building in those games is unbelievable good. Just this bleak, snowy, unforgiving wasteland filled with hardy people trying to come to terms with what it means to live in a faithless world without the deities they had come to know and occasionally love.


#3

I wonder how big of a sales bump Neil Gaiman’s Norse mythology book got with God of War. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about it recently.


#4

the most important fact in Norse mythology is that the eagle on top of yggdrasil has a hawk living on its head and the eagle doesn’t have a name but the hawk does and it’s frankly a crime that they don’t have an odd couple sitcom based on them


#5

The Viking series by Tim Severin was really enjoyable and deals a lot with how the mythology could tie in with everyday life. As a series I’m put this as squarely historical fantasy. Also the Wolfsangel Cycle by M.D. Lachlan is a fun take on the myths if you want a more fantasy series.


#6

I just recently bought that and started reading it!


#7

I would be remiss not to bring up the Danish cartoon Valhalla which is based on Norse mythology as well and deals with a lot of the norse myths although pretty loosely, so as not to involve quite as much bloodshed. The movie center around the two mortal children Tjalfe and Røskva who get adopted by Thor after Loki, who is thors, uhhh,friend?? plays some tricks. They spend most of the movie with the Jotun child Quark who is awesome and great and just awesome.

Look at this awesome guy


#8

I got really into the Valhalla comic books when I was around 10. Quark was definitely one of the highlights of them. There was actually a Sunday strip centered around Quark, though that was not quite as impressive…

Edit: So in a weird trivia twist, Christopher Lee voiced Thor and Odin in the GERMAN version of Valhalla.


#9

Yeah, the sunday strip of Quark was one of my absolute favorites. I read damn near every single one of them and while it didn’t have more than what could be generously called a tangential relationship to norse mythology the writing was so friggin’ good and the jokes were so good that it didn’t even matter.


#10

I’ve heard good things about “Eight Days of Luke” for years. It’s a kid’s book by Dianna Wynne Jones that weaves nordic mythology and figures in. Always meant to get around to it.

Also, and this is coming from someone who like’d Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology”, I thought Ursula K. LeGuin’s review of it does a good job pointing out the weaknesses in Gaiman’s book. If anyone has suggestions on books that tackle the stories with less…boring prose/ fluff dialogue, please, recommend them to me.


#11

Ive been taking my first steps into superhero comics with Angela: Asgard’s Assassin. Which I picked up only because there’s a trans woman in it, if I’m being honest. This barely counts, probably, but it’s really good and I’d recommend it even as someone who isn’t a big comics gal.