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Norse Mythology Review


Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.

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 manipulator.

Gaiman 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. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.

Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods 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.

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I’ve always been interested in different types of mythology. The schools I went to put so much emphasis on Greek mythology and we never talked about anything else, other than a bit of Roman mythology. So, I was pretty excited to see a Norse Mythology book and, because of that, it was one of the few books I’ve ever pre-ordered in my life.

Norse Mythology was not disappointing, not disappointing at all. There’s an introduction, an introduction to the gods/goddesses, and there’s a glossary in the back (which I found out once I finished) that is helpful if you forget who someone is. So if you get lost, I suggest the glossary.

Anyways, Norse Mythology is just a bunch of short stories put together. Each short story explains why we have something, like earthquakes or why we have certain stars. The characters were interesting as well, I particularly liked Loki (for the majority of the short stories). Rarely do I laugh while reading but Loki had me laughing to myself. He was so funny/mischievous that it really made the book better for me. My favorite quote from Norse Mythology was when Thor was talking about Loki

“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time” (52).

It was funny to my because I could see Thor (from Marvel) saying that about Loki in the movie.

Another one of the characters I liked was Freya. She didn’t let the gods do with her whatever they wanted. She was a tough girl who didn’t let things happen, she made them go out there and fix their own problems instead of using her. I really liked her.

Overall, Norse Mythology was very enjoyable. Each of the short stories were interesting and full of interesting characters as well. The only read I gave it a 4/5 was because of the writing. It was basically, this happened, that happened, and this is why we have that. I’m not sure if that’s how Neil Gaiman usually writes or if it’s different from his other works.


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