There are two reasons why I am so happy I finally read Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. First is the fact that I live in Norway where legends about Thor or Odin are more present than in any other country. And second, because my kids are obsessed with all the superhero and who could be a better inspiration for Marvel story if not the world of gods from Asgard.
In the retelling of Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman makes the world of gods more accessible and easier to understand, yet it gives the whole picture of the gods as wild and crazy as they could be. You might hear of Thor’s hammer or Odin the highest and oldest of the gods. But do you know that in Norwegian language days of the week comes from their names? So Tuesday comes from Tyr - son of Odin and god of war and its called in Norwegian - tirsdag. Wednesday is onsdag from Odin and torsdag from Thor, Friday - fredag is from Frigg - the queen of the gods and Odin’s wife. It’s so great to know where the names of the days of the week come from and in Norway, they obviously needed to come from their mythology.
I found in the library beautiful published book about Norse gods in Norwegian which has phenomenal pictures and it makes wonderful accomplishment to Gaiman’s stories. The book is called Norrøne Guder by Johan Egerkrans and I read it with my boys, who as I’ve mentioned are smitten with all the Hero’s characters.
The stories in the book are short and easy to read. I read twice the story of the Freya’s unusual wedding and I love that Thor has to dress up as a bride to married Thrym, lord of all the orges.
Thor banged his fist down upon the table. ‘It does not matter whether or not we like it’, he said. ‘We are gods! There is nothing that any of us gathered here would not do to get back Mjollnir, the hammer of the gods. Tell us your idea, and if it is a good idea, we will like it’.
But my totally favorite though was the story of Loki’s children. Loki was married to Sigyn and they had three children together, but Loki tends to vanish for long periods of time and Sigyn was worried although he always returns. One day when he returns from his secret voyages, he was called by Odin and requested to bring his other three children with giantess Angrboda. Odin had a dream about Loki’s children and a vision that those children will have a role to play in the world. The first child was a serpent of Midgard, second was a girl called Hell - roller of the dead and the third one was a Fenris Wolf, who has been tricked by gods and become their enemy.
It was a real pleasure to read adventures of Odin, Thor, and my favorite Loki. It is a totally different experience reading Greek Myth and Norse Myth but I am glad that I finally read them. They are funny and violent often at the same time but the whole world so fascinating that I would like to read more about the astonishing world of Norse Mythology.
Reviewer: Monika Barrera
Review rating: 3/5
Date published: February 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing, 279 pages
Genre: Myths & Fairy Tales, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy
ISBN: 978 1 4088 8681 6
Spartacus Forlag AS, 160 pages