One of my favourite novels
The stories of Aesir seem to be much more popular nowadays than twenty years earlier. That’s not to say they weren’t known then. Some of its recent popularity undoubtedly comes from the rise of Marvel superhero movies which, obviously, are based on the comics. The comics were a huge inspiration for Neil Gaiman. The adventures of Thor in the Marvel Universe were one of the biggest reasons for his interest in Norse mythology. And mainly because of them he has decided to write a book about it. “Norse Mythology” is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a retelling of the most important and most popular Nordic myths and stories. The stories, which may seem ancient and kind of ridiculous at times, were written in a new, more relatable way. “Relatable”, as in, more understandable for the modern audience. They are still myths at heart – but coated in a new paint. And they are no less absurd than the original tellings! The story – or, to be more precise – a collection of stories, starts from the beginning. And what could be the beginning of a divine myth? The creation of the world, of course. The first few stories tell about the first beings to live in the place we would later call “The Nine Realms”. It’s also a story of how Odin gained his position as the most revered god of ancient Nords and the truce between Aesir and Vanir. After that, the life in Asgard continues – and with that, more problems and petty incidents arise. If I had to write a very short summary, I’d say most of the stories are basically “How did Loki mess up again?”. It’s a very fun ride where we meet more gods and see their varying personalities. My favorite one has got to be the one about Thor dressing as Freya for a wedding with a giant named Thrym. It was positively hilarious! The last few chapters of the book revolve around Ragnarok – a war between gods in which every last plane of reality is prophesized to be destroyed. The book of course explains what happens then and what happens later – but I think it’s worth checking out yourself. Neil Gaiman has done something I can’t not respect – he’s broken the barrier between us, the people of today, and the ancient Nordic people. Their views of the world might have seemed absurd and alien, but when we try to understand their thoughts, it all comes to one thing: we’re human and we don’t know everything. This book makes it much easier to understand those people – and that’s why I recommend it to everyone. It’s a fantastic read that shows our world in a very different and very interesting light.