Thor’s Day Alert #3: Mischief and a Fast Start
Happy Thor’s Day!
Last week I talked about how Thor’s hammer was created. While the story of the treasures of the Norse gods is one of my favorites, it is so for exactly the opposite reason its subject suggests. The best part about this story is more than my delight with incredible weapons like Mjöllnir or Gungnir (Odin’s spear). It’s not just about magical ships (collapsible to fit in the pocket) or gilded flying boars, all forged by dwarves.
No, the best part is mischief and a fast start. These are hallmarks of Norse myth. Readers are not besieged by backstory, they are dumped right in. In the case of this story about the magical forging of the weapons, it’s launched when Loki cuts off the golden tresses of Thor’s beautiful wife, Sif.
We’re never told why Loki does such a thing. Could he have really thought anyone but him would think it a hilarious practical joke? But the reasons don’t matter; by story’s end, we know Loki is a prankster. And we perhaps sense that one of the problems with immortality and being a god is a stalking sort of boredom.
Lucky us! When things get slow in Asgard — where the Norse gods live — we can count on Loki to stir things up.
Further, by the end of this story of the forging of magical treasures, we’ve come to know many of Norse myth’s main players. Even if we were complete strangers to the gods before, and though the story is short, at its conclusion we feel a curious mix of intrigue and familiarity with the likes of Loki, Thor, Sif, Frey, and Odin.
I’ll probably post the story of the treasures of the gods in full next week, on Thor’s Day Alert #4. But I hope you’ll stop by Storm of the North blog before then – I’m thinking about actually writing about my own writing, and how Norse myth influenced it.