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The Viking Gods

by Jean I. Young
77 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jenny

An abrupt but concise introduction to the Nordic universe and pantheon.

Plot

Pooled from the works of famous Icelandic writer Snorri Sturluson comes the condensed work of The Viking Gods, briefly charting the mythical creation of the Norse cosmos, the origin of their deities, their natures, and their lives.

Morality

The Nordic mythos is famous for its tragedy. Stories such as Baldar’s death and the fall of the gods at Ragnarök are only a few in which it seems evil gets the upper hand. Within The Viking Gods, the Nordic concept of a new each in which the righteous return to live is explained, and in general wickedness is triumphed over by good.

Spiritual Content

As a brief treatise on Norse religion, The Viking Gods is full of spiritual aspects. While the actual worship of the gods is rarely touched upon, the creation of the worlds by a single supreme being, the domination of a Nordic pantheon, and the magical properties of the deities cannot be avoided.

Violence

Giants are slain and taken apart to make the earth, people are bitten by monsters, tricked into danger, confined by magic, and sometimes killed. Save for the instance in which the trickster god has his mouth sewn shut, none is described graphically.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Mead, ale, and wine are mentioned.

Sexual Content

Gods have wives, and it is implied (particularly in the case of the trickster god) that a few have more than they ought; otherwise there is no untoward content. (Readers should be aware that the illustrations in this book, while beautifully done, portray the characters in Greco-Roman nakedness. While generally painted discreetly and without sexual import, they can nevertheless be disconcerting.)

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

While abrupt in its ending and a little choppy in verse, this was a nice little book as an introduction to Norse mythology, or to Snorri Sturluson’s more serious Edda work, from which this little book is derived. Jean I. Young’s work takes the reader easily step by step through the creation of the Nordic mythos and the levels of the worlds to the various Nordic deities and their roles.

Readers will be intrigued by the extent to which the early stories resemble the Christian narration of the world’s origin and the Edenic nature of relationship before the corruption of evil, as well as the resolution and redemption of the worlds after the end of time according to Nordic verse.

(Along with these ordered excerpts from Snorri Sturluson’s works, this edition also includes a brief biography on the Icelander, as well as a helpful index of places, people, and happenstances.)

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: adult

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