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.