The Value(s) of Viking Myth

Viking mythology is jarring, weird, dark, and awe-inspiring.  In putting together the syllabus for this class, I was reminded of how lively some of these Scandinavian stories are, texts that make it clear that the oft-cited assessment of 8th Century English Aethelweard chronicler was way off base.  Aethelweard famously concluded that the Vikings were “a most vile people”, a claim that seems questionable at best.  Yes, life could be hard for those inhabiting Northern Europe in the Middle Ages, and yes, there was often violence at hand – but the same was true for virtually all peoples of this era, from all global regions and cultures.  In fact, the Vikings were remarkable craftsmen and intelligent mariners, and they have left us one of the most rich and rewarding literary legacies of the “ancient” world.  Thus, I want you to somehow “enter” that world for this Blog post.  My own favorite Viking myth is probably the story of ‘Sigurd, the Volsung’, a tale so riveting that it inspired one of the most well-known literary series of all time:  J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.  Tolkien recognized the power of Viking myth, and I’m hoping you can do the same in this response.  This time around, I want to leave the subject of your response fairly open.  So, pick a particular element from one of our selections, and discuss it.  Explain how your chosen theme, character, or idea fits within the long trajectory of mythological storytelling, and also how it moves these stories forward and offers us something new and provocative.  You may even share with us what you find moving or fascinating in these stories, and why.  Even “vile people”, it seems, can tell vigorous stories that can stand the test of time – and I’ll be curious to hear your own “stories” in response.

41 thoughts on “The Value(s) of Viking Myth

  1. The story that I have chosen was the story of Thor’s stolen hammer. This was not considered an ordinary story in Viking Mythology. The story highlights how Thor must do questionable things to get his beloved hammer back. There are several themes in this story that aren’t considered normal in Viking tales. The main theme that I chose to highlight and talk about is the comedic side of this story. Throughout the story the comedic efforts of Loki’s ways are seen. This story was not a story that held a great fight but instead trickery. The story is a brief glimpse on the lighter side of Viking lifestyle. The theme of comedy goes a far away. This story shows Vikings how one of their beloved hero must do some comedic acts in order to get back what he needs the most. In order to do this Thor must dress up in a wedding dress, pretend to be a girl, and fool a thief into marrying him. This was an obvious comedic aspect in Viking lifestyle. Through this story we are shown how Vikings views comedic storytelling, what they thought was funny, and how it was displayed.

    • I agree that Thor’s Hammer is a very comedic tale and does pull away from what we are used to as the traditional Viking tale. When you consider the characters that are in this story (Thor and Loki) you may realize that the story is also different than usual when it comes to them. Thor is generally regarded as a hero but in this story we see a vulnerable side to him when he is robbed of his hammer that we don’t normally get to see. I think this tale also highlights how much of a hero Thor might not actually be, considering what he does to the thief after he gets his hammer back and everyone else around them. Loki also shows us a different side, a helpful one. He doesn’t really fit the role of “trickster” like he is commonly known as and that’s part of what makes this story so unique from most.

  2. The Viking myth that I found to be most interesting, was Beth Gellert, this myth taught a lesson that appeals to people of all kinds and evoked much emotion with worry for the child and sadness for the dog. I believe that all mythological story telling evokes some emotions no matter the story. I believe the new element was a relate able fear and sadness, this story can hit home for any person who has had an animal or child or even cares about the innocence of these beings know this story to be painful. The lesson told in this story helps it survive throughout time because of it’s relate able feature. In this story there evil being was the wolf and both the man and dog were both protecting the ones they loved and held dear. Unfortunately the dog was mistakenly blamed when he was actually protecting the child and simply the lesson here is that one must thoroughly examine the situation before making rash decisions.

    • I was going to talk about Beth Gellert as well, but figured I’d just add to what you have said knowing that you pretty much summed up what I was going to say! I agree with all you’ve said,and for some reason, I think this story will stick with me for a long time because unlike most of the myths we’ve gone over, none of them really included an animal, let alone an animal being killed for doing good. And isn’t it funny how we develop so much more emotion over someone killing a dog as opposed to someone killing another person? I think one of the reasons we are hit with such emotion and sadness like you’ve spoken of is because the dog, being an animal that is not capable of fully protecting itself, was so misunderstood and also because we don’t see a lot of friendly animals dying in mythology. Often, we don’t get too upset when a character in a story who is human and can handle of sword dies because it happens all the time and they don’t usually go to such extreme measures to save someone other than themselves.

      • I also planned to speak on Beth Gellert, so I will add to your addition! And yes, I actually agree with a lot of what you said regarding the impact of a dog’s death versus a human death in stories.I find it most interesting because the other stories we read focused on human death, usually in large quantities, some we are meant to feel sympaathy for. But even then, they are not as monumental as the death of the title dog in Beth Gellert. Human death is often used to show the flaws within the humans themselves, and its interesting that the connection doesn’t apply in this story. The death doesn’t reflect the dog’s fault, as he was thought to have committed murder, but instead STILL reflects the flaws of man, leaving the dog to be an innocent victim and mankind to be the guilty party. A story that appears at the beginning to be a tale about a vicious animal instead turns into a commentary on the viciousness of humans, and rash decisions made under assumption.

        • I was also going to talk about this myth since it caught my attention more than any of the others, so I’d like to add on to all of these comments!
          I think it is very interesting that we really do feel more sympathy when an animal dies, but I guess that makes sense because that animal is completely helpless, and he couldn’t do anything to defend himself or tell his owner that he in fact saved the baby. One of the lessons of this story is to really think before you act, because things may not always be what they seem, and once you do something there is no going back. I loved this myth and I think they chose a wonderful way to portray how we humans can make such quick assertions to those who look guilty and helpless.

          • I am also going to talk about Beth Gellert as a few have already done. I also agree with most that everyone has said. We typically don’t see animals or creatures in a positive light in these stories. Normally we see a snake being mischievous, or we see other creatures causing mayhem. But in this story, all the dog is trying to do is protect it’s masters son. But because of a misunderstanding, he ends up dead. It’s really sad actually. But I believe most of us feel this way because the dog was killed over a misunderstanding. Typically when a person dies in these tales it’s due to battle, or because they are kind of a jerk. But here, we have an animal who can’t really protect itself, being killed due to a misunderstanding, because it protected the things it cared about. All because his master jumped the gun and made an assumption…

  3. My choice is very general specifically I want to discuss the general view of vikings and their gods. Most people view vikings as a very violent and uneducated people. As we know this claim is untrue the viking brought a lot of insight to the unknown for us today. Many sea captains still use some of the ways the vikings used to navigate the seas when their equipment fails. The literature we have seen is stunngingly sophisticated and detailed. The gods of the vikings were very human and not immortal they just had some special powers but they did age and die as humans did which is a very different way to look at a god.I find this extemely interesting because the people were worshipping a very human god. Its kind of like us worshipping a superhero like superman or batman they are extremely strong and have powers but they also age and die as we do. So I wonder why did the vikings choose to portray their gods in this way? My thought is that they saw so much death and war that they couldn’t believe something could live forever.

  4. The story I chose to discuss is the story of Thor’s stolen hammer and its theme of the things we do to reclaim something that is ours. In the story the frost giant Thrym steals Thor’s hammer and wont return it unless he can marry Freya. Freya is opposed to this plan and so the gods meet to come up with a plan to dress up Thor as a bride to reclaim the hammer back. This is around where the story takes its light hearted comedic change something that is rarely seen in Viking myth, let alone in myth in general. Thor is reluctant to commit to the plan knowing that he will look funny and the other gods will take much pleasure seeing him like this and starts to think it is a trick by Loki. However Thor goes along with the plan even though he does not like it knowing it will be the only way to reclaim his hammer. This story is not only a comedic myth for the Vikings but it also taught them lessons of the lengths they must go to achieve a goal no matter the cost. wither it be death, war, or dressing up as a women it must be done.

  5. For this post, I thought it would be efficient if I talked about the role of tricksters as it relates to Viking Myths. As we all know without the trickster character for most of these stories, there would always be an element never fulfilled. For the Viking Myths, Loki was the main trickster character with the exception of specific stories. With the trickster there is always a sense of suspense left along with them. When a trickster is recognized, the tone of a story changes while readers are on edge anticipating the next move. The tricksters are the ones who move the entire story along. Without them, the story would lack excitement and in the end we all learn something more from a tricksters experience.

    • I honestly love trickers, and because of them Loki is my favorite myth character. Loki is always doing something that is why he is involved with the death of Baldur, he messes with Mjolnir, Loki transforms himself into a female horse, he cuts off Sif’s hair, and even ruins the feast with Odin. Tricksters keep things interesting and alive in mythology since they are always up to something. Trickers make mythology more than just stories passed on through generations, but they make the audience think, so try and figure out the entire plan.

  6. The most interesting part of Viking mythology to me would be how the stories are so incredibly blunt. The Viking tradition is unique among the mythical traditions I have ever encountered in so much as it makes a point of avoiding the lofty justifications of violence or the perfection of divine will. In a sense Viking myth comes down to a very simple world view expressed with a very developed mythical body. Violence was a common part of the Viking world and when it is described in Viking myths like the Creation, Destruction,and Rebirth of the world it is just a natural phenomena as opposed to the Greek accounts of it being a very deliberate action. The gods just end up fighting the frost giants just like the Vikings end up fighting neighboring peoples; it just happens. The gods of Viking myth are practically human since they behave similarly to regular Vikings. One could find a human like Thor among any number of Viking settlements and this similarity to humanity means that the Viking gods, unlike the Greek gods, do not have the quality of being infallible. These two elements combine to make Viking myth blunt because it makes things that people do not normally conceive as normal and makes them seem like the most natural things in the world, which leaves one in shock when the events happen without the dramatic build up they expect.

  7. The character I chose to view would be Thor the viking warrior god. In many cases he fits the stereotypical role of gods as seen in roman or Greek myths with most of his actions. He is an arrogant and constantly adventuring being who is indestructible to his enemies that he seems to fight solely for his own amusement. He is a classical example of vikings with his lust for battle and desire for glory while he strikes down those who are against him. But what makes him a truly interesting subject is the smaller things that go on during his adventures that show his true nature as a god. By that I mean for an all powerful god who is constantly fighting he himself is pretty weak, at least in comparison to the monsters he fights. His true power comes form his hammer and without it he can not fight. This is shown when his hammer is stolen and he can’t fight the trolls who have it. He then has to embarrass himself by dressing as a bride in disguise before he gets his hammer back and destroys them all. The fact that the viking’s most active and powerful god can be so easily placated and weakened simply be removing his weapon could show how they saw their own warriors. Maybe they see all warriors as something more than normal people but without those weapons and fearsome visage they are just like everyone else.

  8. When we hear stories and read about vikings and their history, violence, murder, and death are always commonalities. What is interesting in Viking myth, however, is that death was actually mourned, and murder was looked down upon. In the story of Balder’s murder by Loki, he is mourned by everyone, including Odin. Following Balder’s death comes an apocalypse in order for the Earth to start fresh. This myth defies the common stigma that follows Norse culture and tradition.

    • To expand upon this a bit, just consider what the common view of Vikings is. Most would say that Vikings were bloodthirsty, needlessly destructive, and generally uncultured barbarians. What these tales show is that the common trope is a misconception. The stories that the Vikings wrote have lots of narrative depth and emotional content compared to many other folk tales and legends springing up in Europe at this time. What many forget is that the Vikings were always surrounded by death. They lived in the frost covered north where little would grow, where the seas were restless, and where they had a constant struggle with the other forces of nature surrounding them. The fact that Vikings value every life, and every individual in their tales seems to indicate that they acknowledged their own peril, and the necessity of community to bind them together in the face of such uncertainties. Perhaps even the Viking war parties deserve some sympathy- it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that they were just seeking out new lands to replace the depleted ones and to keep their communities thriving.

  9. The story that I chose was the Ragnarok due to its similarities to older myths, but the expansion upon those myths. The Ragnarok is a story of death, war, and the destruction of all nine worlds which follows the story of many apocalyptic myths. The difference is with the theme, which is rebirth. After all of the gods have died along with the world Baldor is brought back to life and the world is reborn. This shows what happens after the end times, which is an uncommon occurrence in apocalyptic myths. The Egyptians for example, used rebirth with Ra being reborn from Nut every day, but even that rebirth ended and caused the end of the world. The Ragnarok is the only well known myth that explains the end of the world, and then builds upon it in a positive manner.

  10. Many believe that the vikings were barbarians, or “vile people”. Vikings didn’t really have permanent settlements. They traveled, and moved around and lived off of the land, so it seems like it would be difficult for them to create and memorize detailed and intricate stories. Despite this, the vikings have some very well thought out myths, they were able to use literary devices such as irony. For example, one of the stories that we had to read was the Death of Balder, which had some very interesting details. Balder was a god of fertility, he stood for the birth, growth, death, and rebirth of the world and went through that very process himself. This cycle is also shown in the changing of the seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In the story of Balder’s death, Loki, the god of mischief, kills Balder by stabbing him through the chest with a branch of mistletoe, which happened to be the only plant that did not take Frigg’s oath to not harm Balder. It is ironic that Balder would be killed with a branch of mistletoe, because mistletoe is a plant that thrives in the winter, which is typically known as a time of death. It is a clever detail that Balder is killed by the one thing that survives in a time death. It is these tiny, ironic, well thought out details that make viking literature so captivating. Although they were not known for their magnificent living conditions, the vikings were still an intelligent people that have had much influence of western society.

  11. To me the story I have found most interesting so far was Beth Gellert. This story can teach us many lessons. The number one lesson I think it can teach us is not to assume or draw conclusions quickly. In the story the master of the Greyhound killed his best hound in fear that he had killed his child when really he was just protecting him from a wolf. This shows us that coming to conclusions quickly without doing any research can have dire consequences and can hurt the ones that are close to us. This story really appeals to the readers emotions, especially if they are dog lovers are animal lovers. This shows that the so called “Vile people” do have a softer side and everything is not about a big bloody battle.

  12. The story of Beth Gellert is a prime example of mythological storytelling. In the myth, Prince Llewelyn had a greyhound named Gellert, given to him by his father-in-law, King John. Gellert was one of the most delightful dogs and a fierce hunter when it came to that. One day when Llewelyn called for him to come hunting he did not come, so Llewelyn went off without him. Returning home, Gellert greets Llewelyn with blood on his fangs which sparks a fear that Gellert attacked Llewelyn’s infant son. Instantly Llewelyn went searching for him only to find his crib flipped over with blood surrounding it. Clouded with emotions, Llewelyn drives his sword through Gellert’s side, assuming he killed his son. However, not long after, a cry comes out of nowhere and it is Llewelyn’s son next to the body of a dead wolf that Gellert killed, bringing an end to the tale. Because of all the relatable themes, lessons, and morals happening in the story, it makes Beth Gellert one of the better mythological stories. The main lesson or theme being taught in this mythological tale is to simply think before you act. If Llewelyn would have laid out all of the possibilities of what could have happened, Gellert could still have been alive, changing the whole entire outcome of the story. However, because he did end up killing Gellert, grief and sadness comes greatly into play, making Beth Gellert a very sad and relatable story to its audience. Because of this, it also separates itself away from other mythological myths as these kinds of emotions are hard to find in others and is why I believe the myth has survived for as long as it has.

    • The story of Beth Gellert has all the perfect twists and turns. I agree that the lesson is to think before you act as well. Humans are quick to jump to conclusions and act irrationally without thinking things through. As I thought of the descriptive diction the author used and knew that there was no way such a skillful dog would act so irresponsibly. I felt emotionally connected to the story as would many others because the innocent died for saving someone. A dog is said to be a man’s best friend but Prince Llewelyn obviously thought of Gellert as more of a prize than a loyal dog. This is why it was so easy for him to believe that he killed his son. The guilt that he felt once he realized that Gellert was actually protecting his child was so simple for me to understand because we all make mistakes. The emotionally connection is truly what kept this tale alive.

  13. The world “Viking” comes with positive and negative connotations; mostly negative. Without having any prior information on Vikings, one assumes they are just insane barbaric people who wear hats and kill people. However, I believe the story and background of Thor and his hammer truly illuminates the good and bad in Vikings. Thor is the god of war, a very strong and smart god. I think he is the most significant Viking because of his love and desire for battle. When his hammer, which he uses for battle and killing gets stolen, he goes crazy and fails in fighting to get it back. Although several other Viking tales involve gods who care about more than battle and winning, Thor’s tale highlights the stereotypes that come alongside with Vikings, and I think his story is a main one that should be known and stuided when it comes to learning about Viking mythology.

  14. I choose “Beth Gellert.” This may have been a very small story, but it carried a big impact on the moral of the tale. The lesson that is learned through this story is that one should not always jump to conclusions. You have to find out the whole story before you can pass judgement. A poor and innocent dog had to die for something that was not in his control. It was the recklessness of his master that became the dog’s downfall. A lot of stories are based on adults and can be read only by adults. What is great about this tale is that it is suitable for children. Meaning, this is a good lesson that must be taught throughout time. This lesson will never go away. If nobody is taught to think before they act, then there would be much bloodshed in the world.

  15. Aethelweard claims that the Vikings were a vile people but, how true could this really be? Maybe the Vikings aren’t the most lovable people ever but who could blame them? They lived in a cold harsh land that wasn’t exactly easy to settle. The Vikings are also not the most peaceful people but then again that’s not always to blame on them. They had to fight to secure their very existence and history. Maybe they are the smartest but they knew how to keep a vivid culture alive. Vivid stories such as the story of Beth Gellert were used to teach lessons to people who needed them. Beth Gellert is the story of a faithful dog that ran off during hunting. When the hunter returned home he saw blood on the dogs jaws. Thinking this to be the blood of his child he killed the dog. When he looked though there was a dead wolf next to his child’s crib. What lesson does this teach us? Don’t jump to conclusions is definitely a start.

  16. The character Loki makes for an interesting take on viking tales and how they tie in with the mythology we’ve been studying in class. Loki is a trickster god, there’s no denying it; he fits the build. He performs mischievous acts rather than being pure evil. He reacts impulsively and more often than not does not think before making a move. He does, however, seem to have a little more control over his temper as opposed to his brother, Thor. Loki brings new elements to the table of tricksters, however. He can either play a completely deceitful character who formulates revenge out of spite, or he can use his thief-like ways to help the gods. There are stories of Loki fighting alongside his brother, Thor, as well as against him. Most importantly Loki’s character reflects the “fallibility and frailty of the gods,” both as a god himself and towards other gods (Heroes and Tricksters 257). Just like in most all of the other texts we’ve read, the gods are not to be outwitted. They are the hierarchy and to mock their word is extremely disrespectful. Loki’s character more often than not seems oblivious to this idea, maybe being that he is a god himself. However as a god, the fact that he acts irrationally (at times) and mischievously seems questionable as to whether he is responsible to hold such a high status or not. It is in the stories where he’s present to lend a helping hand that make him a more admirable character. In the tale of Thor, Loki, and the farmers’ two children, Thjalfi and Roskva, they stumble upon the thresh hold of Utgard-Loki. Together they attempt to best the retainers of Utgard-Loki, competing in contests to prove they were superior in strength.

  17. The story that I find most fascinating is that of Thor and his stolen hammer. To me, this story was somewhat a breath of fresh air, as it allowed for some comedic relief. Thor is a very powerful, arrogant God who loves fighting others for his own enjoyment. He looks at himself as being the most powerful man out there, as he uses his hammer to cause destruction to his enemies. This story, though, exposes him as not being that almighty warrior-like god, as he basically breaks down when his hammer is stolen. Loki, the trickster in Viking myth, knows where the Hammer is, but uses his tricks to get Thor to dress up like a female. All of this shows not only that even the strongest of people have their weaknesses, but that in spite of all the seriousness involved with myth, that there are instances of humor. All of this ties in to why I find the story of Thor and his stolen hammer so fascinating in a mythological standpoint.

  18. Viking myths are generally different when it comes to plot, from other forms of myth. In the story of Thor and his stolen hammer, Thor usually all about finding the guy and just beating the snot out of his enemies had to take more of a stealthy approach. The whole point is that these myths take a different approach of similar situations, that other myths had also done. It lets the readers know that there was not just strict violence, within characters. There are differences in characters such as Loki. Loki is both a good and a bad trickster, which was not a common thing among est other mythology. Loki used his powers to trick both good and evil people. He did this being able to transform. This relates to other myths, with the point of superhuman powers.

  19. These Viking myths usually entail something exciting and vigirating. The myths about Loki decieving and tricking people are exceptionally brilliant in that they show so many different elements in a classic myth. Some show Loki as a hero in the myths, fending off evil. Others show him as a villain or a trickster, tricking many people into believing him. Viking myths always seem to be about power and war, and achieving power through war. Loki is all about power and uses his ways of deception to trick people into giving up power. He can change shape in order to distract and trick other beings into doing as he wants, it goes along with Viking myths because he is a vile and barbaric god, and does whatever it takes to get his way.

  20. Out of the Viking myths we had to read one of my favorites would have to be the one with Thor’s hammer. The themes seen throughout are determination as well as revenge. Thor has all the determination in the world to get his hammer back and even goes to the point of dressing like a female. However revenge is a key aspect because after Thor gets his hammer back he kills off everyone. Thor basically does whatever he wants to get what he wants and doesn’t mater what. This crazy event flows along with mythology because Thor demonstrates super-being powers. He resembles violence, which is often a key aspect to mythology.

  21. These viking myth have in some sort of way, a bit of humor mixed into them. It shows that not everything was about war and power. The story about Thor’s stolen hammer is one of those stories where we see this humor. We see that everyone the almighty Thor has to dress up as a bride in order to retrieve his hammer. This may have been the work of Loki however its still shows the Vikings writers have a very real sense of humor. Its humorous to see this character of Thor being stripped of all his power and might and being forced to act as a defenseless bride. This story shows us that so called “vile” people can have the capability to write time less stories with characters that bring meaning to those stories. We also see that they are capable of writing not only stories about war and battle, but also about humor and laughs.

  22. Most Norse myths contain or are mostly composed of violence. They took the warrior image and turned it into an ideal that all men in both myth and reality should strive towards. Though this didn’t reflect just the barbaric and vile side of the Scandinavian culture but the morals that they viewed as most important in men which are bravery, loyalty, and honor. These traits were displayed by the gods they worshiped and honored and by the greatest of heroes, so expectedly the Scandinavians wanted to follow suit. The gripping stories and exciting myths they tell and wrote prove that they weren’t just a belligerent group of people but also intelligent enough to respect violence in its ability to be right and wrong.

  23. To say that any culture of people only consists of “a most vile people” is a rather bold and, frankly, biased statement. The Vikings may have been a warlike and violent people, but to call them vile is an insult. The Vikings were just as cultured as any other peoples, with skills and tales that made them utterly unique. A good example of this can be found in The Death of Balder. The first immediate difference shown in this myth that separates it from most other cultures is that Balder, a god, dies. For most other cultures, the gods are depicted as being immortal, undying, and non-aging beings. For Vikings, their gods, ironically enough, are quite human. This quality makes them more relateable to the Vikings, the gods being more vulnerable to man’s problems and pains. The Death of Balder also explains the changing of the seasons for the Vikings. Balder’s death brings about death and destruction across the world, like the winter when all the plants and vegetation die. Then Balder is resurrected with this new earth, like when the plants and vegetation come back to life in the spring. So, to call the Vikings “a most vile people” is a rather ignorant statement. They may have indeed been a violent warrior culture, but they were still a culture nonetheless.

  24. For this blog post i am choosing to talk about Thor’s stolen hammer. The theme of the story is the that if we love something enough we could accomplish great things to get them back. In this story the Frost Giants steal Thor’s hammer until Thor marries the daughter of one of Frost Giants.The Gods come up with something comical due to the fact that the giants daughter doesn’t want to be wed. They plan to dress Thor like the bride to steal his hammer back. Now usually there is no comedy in any of these plays. The viking myths are different as we can see.

  25. For this prompt i am going to choose to look into and explain how a character fits into the long trajectory of mythological storytelling, more specifically Loki. Loki fits in with the mythological storytelling aspect of tricksters, because that is who he is. He is a thief and a deceiver, just as every trickster is. Unlike most tricksters who usually only cause conflict for the other characters though, Loki can sometimes be helpful and take on a positive role, as it said in our reading. This and being an all over the place kind of character is something new that Loki offers us readers. He is unpredictable and we never know what he is going to do next.This keeps the stories moving because we the readers will always be on the edge of our seats wondering what he is thinking and what he is planning on doing. This brings about a sense of thrill to the stories that it seems only Loki the trickster god can give us.

  26. My favorite Viking tales are the ones about Ragnarok. This is purely because of global warming. Each year we seem to be thrown into a longer period of winter, my friends and I have joked that we are getting closer to Ragnarok each year. That we were soon to experience Fimbulwinter, The Great Winter.
    Ragnarok is a classic destruction myth. It was foretold that eventually in the future that this was how the world would end. Could their future be our present day?

  27. For my Viking myth I chose to talk about Yggdrasil and the three Norns. First I was drawn to the idea of a sacred tree. Even in present day you can find movies where a tree is the center of all life. This is true in Viking mythology of the Yggdrasil. This tree connects all three realms of beings. First there is Asgard, which is the first root of the tree, and this root descends to where the Gods live. Second is the root called Jotunheim, this is the root goes to earth and humans. Third is the root that goes to the underworld called Niflheim. I thought this was similar to movies like Avatar where the belief that the control for all life was centered in one tree. Moreover I was drawn to the belief that three Norns lived under such a tree and what their roles were in this myth. The three Norns were actually representation of the past, present, and future. Their jobs were to create a thread of fate for children that are born. This ironically is similar to the three characters in Disney’s Hercules. I found this myth most influential because it’s ideas have found themselves in works I’ve seen in present day, thus these ideas are very powerful and meaningful.

  28. Vikings are seen by many as barbarians and “vile”. In all honesty, I was one of that majority for most of my life because I simply went off of what others said and how I saw Vikings portrayed in the media. However, after reading the stories written by the Vikings, it can be clearly seen that they were intelligent and emotional people. Vikings mourned death and punished murder. They also were fairly skilled merchants and seafaring people. I specifically found the story of Beth Gellert to be the most interesting, despite its minimal length. Beth Gellert teaches a very important life lesson that be easily understood by all people. People can easily understand the fear of losing one’s child and the rage that enacts. They can also feel the guilt of their actions and readily realize the consequences (for the most part). All myths evoke emotions, just as all stories in general do, and that is why reading and studying literature can be so fascinating. Beth Gellert evokes sadness, anxiety, and guilt in the reader. The lessons learned through this Viking myth will always appeal to the masses because it is a very relatable story and fairly easy to comprehend. Humanity is a very real thing in Viking myths rather than the Greeks where supernatural occurrences and immortality are stressed. The myth of Beth Gellert portrays the Vikings in a better light- a not-so-vile light.

  29. I feel that after reading these mythical stories I realized that although they held their gods in high regard they made them more relatable for a reason. They made them able to have a sense of humor able to die and able to be tricked. In short they made them very human like. I think that they made their gods this way because they did not want to go over the top and create something that people would have a hard time believing in. They made them relatable by adding facts of every day human life such as the ability of Loki to play funny and not so funny jokes on his brother Thor. They also went against the normality of making the gods invincible such as Zeus. After all that is what makes us human. The Norse even created a way for their gods to die. It is called Ragnarok and is also the destruction and creation of a new world. That is why Norse mythology is so relatable and easy to understand.

  30. I picked Thor’s hammer for my selection. The theme for my selection was revenge. It is simply described as Thor doing whatever he can to get his hammer back. The giant who stole it was going to pay for what he did to Thor. Although it was a little excessive, Thor eventually gets his hammer back in due time. In the real world, it might not be completely great to do whatever you can to get revenge, but it is slightly accurate in the effect that people try their hardest to get whatever they lost back. Thor did dress like a woman, but it was to get his hammer back. I think the lengths he went to were slightly ridiculous because due to the fact that he did dress like a woman, it was funny but extensive. Personally, I would not do that, but others might to retrieve a lost item or items.

  31. I’m not sure if I am taking away from this what you would like but I wanted to analyze a modern adaptation of a Viking myth using some key elements that you mentioned in the original prompt. How To Train your Dragon is a Disney movie that depicts the life styles of the Vikings. Although the movie starts off highlighting the violent aspects of the Viking people, brutally slaying dragons for sport the movie develops to display the softer side of Viking nature. Like you said in the prompt Vikings are really intelligent craft s men, in the movie we can clearly see the genius of the character Hiccup as he invents and imagines new things. He does so much as make a field journal of the dragons he encounters, makes detailed maps, and even invents a contraption that acts as a dragons wing allowing it to fly again with his assistance. In conclusion the modern adaptation of Viking myth How To Train your dragon explores not only the violent nature of the original Vikings but also their developing skills and intelligence.

  32. Vikings have always fascinated me, due to their “violent” nature, as they are usually described. Thor is one of my favorite movie/ comic book characters, and it was exciting reading the true legend associated with him. The whole story of Thor is interesting, because it’s almost as if the hero himself must re-learn discipline and humanity from scratch. It’s humorous to see such a powerful character stripped of the objects that make him powerful. Thor is an incredible character in the fact that he makes such a turn around from devious, to being worthy of being a powerful ruler. It’s an interesting way to transfer from Celtic myth to Viking myths and legends. Thor was interesting to read about, because I was not aware that it was a myth from Viking culture.

  33. The story that touched me the most out of all the Viking Myths was the story of Beth Gellert. The ending was so gripping that it caused me to re-read the story, which honestly does not happen very often when I read text. The moral theme was so simple, do not make hasty judgments in sight of a bad situation. Prince Llewelyn killed his favorite hound after making the hasty generalization that the blood in the nursery was that of his son. Grief immediately struck the Prince when he discovered that the blood had come from a wolf who tried to eat his son. In turn, the Prince gave Gellert the hound a proper burial. This myth is very relatable throughout the ages because it shows the reoccurring theme of the death of an innocent life, or a life that did not need to be taken. The relationship between Gellert and the prince may also connect to the dog being “man’s best friend”. Because in the end Gellert was the Prince’s best friend because he saved the life of his son from the wolf. It also highlights the loyalty that Gellert has for his master by risking his own life to protect his son’s.

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