Norse Mythology never grows old, I don’t think it ever will. The influence of Norse Mythology and folklore is visible in the works of Neil Gaiman till date. Now he tells the tales in his own voice, I wonder just how honorable and breathtaking it must feel to grow up to be someone who re-tells the stories of his childhood and his fore father’s.
Many of us specially Nordic people grew up with these stories. Thanks to Internet people like me (an Indian) came to know about such stories. Once you have had a drop of these mythologies you must have more. Internet is not enough anymore but the libraries near you do not contain books on these mythologies and you are broke so can’t afford one either. Until one day comes when your favorite author writes a retelling of these stories and you have to purchase it.
Summary (As per GoodReads Page): Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok. 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. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge 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.
Review: You have read these stories before but the beginning of Asgard and the 9 realms brings forth another freshness, one that is long gone with your childhood. It is a bold step for Neil Gaiman to take up a project that has been told, re-told, edited and modified so much that the actual accounts are not traceable anymore. Do you know about Baldur’s resurrection? Did you know Hel agreed to let Baldur walk again if everyone in every single realm cried tears for him. But it just so happens that there is one who doesn’t.
Everything else aside, who is responsible? You just have to refer to the first image of this post. LOKI, the God of mischief.
Just when you think something will go right and have a happy ending for once, Loki appears. I love Loki, we all do. Moreover, deep down all of us have a craving for mischief and surprises. That might as well be the reason why most of us love Loki played so well by Tom Hiddleston.
However one thing eluded me till the end. The very strong hint of stories of women of Asgard. Gaiman’s re-telling had a strong sense of women in the stories. It must be for the fact that most of the original stories are lost in the past that the stories about women never developed farther than the beautiful Freya. Still, I loved the stories. It satisfied my hunger for mythologies for now.
However please don’t go to this book thinking about the old Norse Mythologies we have read till date. I saw a few of my friend’s reaction to this novel. Most people open Norse Mythology with many expectation from its author only to be disappointed that it is not what they thought. Instead, I urge you to open it with child like wonder, forget that you know any of these stories see them anew. Neil Gaiman has given it his own thoughts and lines. Wit and strength goes hand in hand in this wonderful retelling. In the end its written by a man imagining himself with his fore-fathers under the northern lights. What a beautiful sight.
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