by Martin J Dougherty
The stories of Thor, Odin and Loki are familiar to most of us. Many people know that the Norse gods fought against giants and were ultimately betrayed by Loki the trickster. The end of the world and the death of the gods in a grim battle called Ragnarok has also found its way into popular culture. Ideas taken from Norse mythology are frequently found in modern fantasy and science fiction – such as elves, dwarfs and undead warriors rising from an unquiet grave, for example. Norse mythology is rich in adventure and ideas about creation, death and the afterlife.
Norse Myths takes a wide-ranging approach, examining the creation stories of the Norse world, the monsters and the pantheons of the deities, including such figures as Heimdall, Freya and Baldr. It looks at the sagas and the Prose and Poetic Eddas, which tell of real and imagined people, featuring both heroic tales and humorous escapades. The book also examines how Norse myths were interpreted in a Christianized Europe and how their motifs influenced medieval German writers and, in turn, were used in the modern world in very different ways, by the likes of composer Richard Wagner and in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Illustrated with 180 color and black & white artworks and illustrations, Norse Myths is an engaging and highly informative exploration of a rich mythology that still resounds today. 224 pages. Hardcover.
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