Norse Mythology

By: Neil Gaiman

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin's son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of a giant, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman's deft and witty prose emerge the 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.

Auuster's Takeaway

This book consists of a subset of Norse mythology that Neil Gaiman has curated into a small cohesive story. He is able to put the stories together to form a timeline that is easy to follow. The stories follow three main characters in the Norse folklore: Odin, Thor and Loki. The stories explain many things in Norse mythology: origin of the world, the different worlds in Norse mythology and the origin of some characters. My favourite story is how Loki, the trickster god, causes trouble but also brings the treasures as well. Because of a prank he played on Thor’s wife, Loki convinced dwarves to make 6 treasures for the gods.

The story ends with Ragnarok, the end of times, the final battle between gods and their enemies. Here Loki’s children, Surtur, frost giants and others ally to fight the mighty gods. It ends with the rebirth of the gods and all other worlds.

The book offers small insight to the Norse world. Some parallels can be drawn to other mythologies as well as the stories in the current portrayal of Thor.