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From the Thorsdrapa to the Marvel Thor and Avengers movies, Odin, the dark and mysterious lord of Valhalla, looms over all of the ancient tales of the Vikings. With his brothers, he formed the world from the body of a giant and then went on to seek greater wisdom by sacrificing himself on a tree and trading one of his eyes with a witch. With this vast wisdom, he sits upon his throne, peering into the nine worlds, seeking anything that might threaten his people. He rides over the battles of mortal men, deciding who shall live and die, and collecting worthy souls to come and feast in his hall until the war at the end of time. This book retells the greatest of Odin's stories, and then places those stories within their historical and mythological context. It follows the figure of Odin through the centuries, showing how different times and cultures reinterpreted him, and explores the reasons why he remains such a popular figure today.
This is an accessible, meticulously researched introduction to the oral tradition passed down since the Viking Age. Based on the oldest texts, Vikings Myths and Sagas is authentically interpreted and retold by a highly-acclaimed storyteller. A wide range of information is provided brings to life the most significant Viking Age stories. From the true accounts of their discovery of North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus, to the myths and legends that pushed the Vikings to the ends of the Earth. The text is written with the consultation of leading Icelandic academics. Complete with detailed notes, a comprehensive glossary, and an assortment of authentic proverbs, poems, riddles, and spells no other source so thoroughly goes into Norse history. Read the important myths from the mighty gods who dominated Viking pagan worship, like Thor the giant slayer and the mysterious, one-eyed Odin. Be shocked by the earth-shaking treachery of the trickster Loki, and discover the secret of eternal youth. Learn how they believed the world was created, and how it is predicted to end. Iconic Viking women are introduced and profiled. From Aud the Deep Minded, one-time queen who set up a Utopian community, to Melkorka, the abducted princess who brought dignity to slavery. Admire legendary female role models such as the goddess Frigg, who persuaded the whole of creation to weep with her and Gudrun who single-handedly destroyed the mightiest king in Europe. The mystery behind ancient Viking Age carvings are also explained. Myths such as Thor fishing up the World Serpent, Sigurd slaying a dragon, Odin riding an 8-legged horse, Gunnar condemned to death in a snake-pit, and many other extraordinary stories.
*Includes pictures of important places and historic illustrations and art depicting Odin and other important Norse figures. *Explains the historical origins of the god, the mythological tales about him, and the religious evolution of Odin. *Includes a Bibliography for further reading. A one-eyed old man, with a gray cloak and a wide-brimmed hat leaning on a staff. A wanderer who appears when least expected, bringing triumph or doom. The god of prophecy, poetry and fate. A shapechanger. A sorcerer. The god Odin cuts a dramatic figure in Norse mythology and is still a part of the popular imagination. He is the inspiration for figures like J.R.R. Tolkien's Gandalf the Grey, and he still appears in modern literature as varied as Marvel Comics and Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods (2001). Alongside his son Thor, Odin is one of the best known Norse gods, and it's often easy to forget that he was once at the heart of a pantheon devoutly worshiped by millions of Europeans in the Middle Ages. Odin has numerous names and titles (over 200 by one account), but his best known title is "The All-Father," the co-creator of Earth ("Midgard"), humanity and all of the creatures that inhabitant this world. He is also, importantly, the god of prophecy, ecstasy, and poetry, all roles that were closely connected in the Norse world. Odin was a god of life and death as well, and was famous for taking the souls of warriors who died in combat back to his realm of Valhalla. This role was tied to his position as a god of war, a position that does not perhaps seem obvious to a modern reader for a god of knowledge and wisdom. However, Odin was the king of the gods and the master of Asgard; therefore, in the Norse understanding, one of his crucial tasks was the defense of that realm through military might if necessary. His living followers would call upon him in battle, and he was said to have taken champions and even led human armies to triumph. It is useful to compare Odin to two other prominent deities: Thor and Zeus. Thor, Odin's son, was a fellow Norse war god, and Zeus was a fellow king god. Yet in both cases, Odin differs greatly from these gods. He was more enigmatic, and his power is more indirect and subtle. Odin was a god of mysteries, of discovering hidden knowledge, and while he was mighty in battle, the stories where he shines are those where takes unassuming forms and gets others to divulge information that might not otherwise give. This differs from the other two gods' temperamental natures and their pride. Odin was always a god that plotted many steps ahead, was willing to make extreme short-term sacrifices to further his plans, and continuously worked to bend the nature of his fate. This book explores the figure of Odin, including his origins, the stories told about him, the way he was worshiped and what fragments and memories of him have survived into the modern era. Along with pictures and a bibliography, you will learn about Odin like you never have before, in no time at all.
Known by many names and with a wide array of characteristics Odin is a God who many people believe is just as active in the world today as he was a thousand years ago and more. A god of poetry he inspires us to create. A god of magic he teaches us to find our own power. A god of wisdom he challenges us to learn all we can. In this book you will find some of Odin's stories and history as well as anecdotes of what it can be like to honor him in the modern world.
Before time as we know it began, gods and goddesses lived in the city of Asgard. Odin All Father crossed the Rainbow Bridge to walk among men in Midgard. Thor defended Asgard with his mighty hammer. Mischievous Loki was constantly getting into trouble with the other gods, and dragons and giants walked free. This collection of Norse sagas retold by author Padraic Colum gives us a sense of that magical time when the world was filled with powers and wonders we can hardly imagine.
'A terrific, detailed introduction of these wonderful stories and the pantheon of characters in them . . . their writing is vivid and lively . . . a great addition to any library.' Rosi Hollinbeck, San Francisco Book Review 'With recent volumes, such as Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology and J.R.R. Tolkien's posthumously published The Legend of Sigurd & GudrĂșn, appealing more to readers strictly interested in creative takes on classic Norse tales, this title attracts new readers by offering solid retellings and contextual information that serve as a valuable introduction to this rich tradition.' Library Journal While the main focus of the book is on telling the stories, some scene-setting is provided at the beginning and each chapter also contains a section of commentary to explain what is going on and its significance. The Norse myths have gained widespread attention in the English-speaking world, partly through a Scandinavian diaspora, especially in the USA) and partly through a great interest in the myths and legends which lie behind Viking activity. Tolkien's 'Middle Earth', too, as seen in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films is heavily indebted to Germanic/Norse mythology. The Whittock's book fills a gap in the market between academic publications and the interest-generating (but confusing) products of Hollywood and comic-culture. This is an accessible book, which both provides a retelling of these dramatic stories and also sets them in context so that their place within the Viking world can be understood. The book explores Norse myths (stories, usually religious, which explain origins, why things are as they are, the nature of the spiritual) and legends (stories which attempt to explain historical events and which may involve historical characters but which are told in a non-historical way and which often include supernatural events).
Simple, dramatic tales of gods and goddesses who dwell in Asgard: exploits of Odin and Thor, winning of Brynhild, twilight of the gods, more. Over 40 illustrations.

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