Norse Praise

Passion of the Great Whale Roads
How sweetly do we sing of you
Be it giant, monster, man or god
We all look to you for courage when our hearts are stolen by the dangers
That lie outside our doors
In darkest of nights we see
Thy shadow on the hills
Tall, wiry, golden strands of sunset streaming;
We feel not shallow emotions
Like hate or lust or fear
Always our hearts grow stouter and enters a glint into our eyes: 
As we sail across the Great Whale Road to lands beyond our shores
There is one we always rally under,
Victory, to me, to me!
Passion Wolves’ Bane Thunder-Bringer
Only you can laugh with Death. 
 

A little praise for my buddy, Norse style.

Why did I write that lovely steaming piece o’ pie? Because she dutifully wrote down all that I had to do for our project and I thought that mighty kind of her. Thanks, buddy!

So, has anybody actually read some real Norse myths, or praise songs? They’re actually pretty intense. For instance, instead of saying ocean like a lame-o, they’d write Great Whale Road. Pretty cool, right?

Norse myths, I would say, make the best stories. I mean, this stuff was the original fantasy and if you want to really get down to the root of all things magical, you’d best start there. Tolkien did. He drew a lot from the old myths. Elves, dwarves, and his complex system of gods, are all in Norse myths. And he writes old saga style too. Actually, if you’re a Tolkien fan, you’d probably really enjoy reading some of the classics.

For the hard-core people, I recommend the Prose Edda, which is pretty much the old myths in a pure, untainted form, as in straight from the mouth of a bard. All they did was translate.

If you’re not as intense, I bought a wonderful books of Norse myths told by Kevin Crossley-Holland, entitled, the Norse Myths. It’s pretty fantastic and leaves in all the wonderfully gritty bits that make the stories so bold.

And if you’re just starting out, I recommend the D’aulaires Book of Norse Myths. They’re toned down for younger children, but they’re quite good. I have their book of Greek myths which I’ve read about a million times. They don’t really cover up the “shocking” aspects, by they tell it in a way that makes it seem less…shocking.

Since you guys are so interested, I might as well give you one more recommendation: The Vicious Vikings by Terry Deary. Honestly, history has never been more interesting. While the author does ask you   to take some of the more rludicrous facts with a grain of salt, it’s funny, interesting and can make a kid love history like that (finger snap).

Okay. Last one. For just one myths to rule them all, you must read Beowulf. And watch the movie, too. Not the wacko half-animated thing (where pretty much the only line was “I am– BEOWULF!”) but the Danish-made one which I hear from my pops is pretty good. It’s on Netflix instant watch, folks…

Anyways, back the book. We’ve got a copy by Seamus Heaney and it’s a bi-lingual version with Old English and English side by side. It’s pretty fun to read and the writing is super intense. It’s written in a style that blurs poetry and prose. Quite fantastic.

I lied. I have one more Norse book, the Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer. It’s amazing. It’s sequels suck, but this first book is amazing. For anybody older than nine, it’s a great introduction into the world of the Norsemen. I’ll do a review on it one day and tell you exactly why I like it, but for now, take my word, it’s really good.

So guys, to wrap up all this Norse paraphilia, if you love your classic high-fantasy, you’ll love this stuff. Really. It’s the original quest, the original Rings of Power (no joke), the best dragons, and monsters, and frost giants. It’s great.

And if you like all that, go see Dreamworks’s How to Train Your Dragon on March 26th.  It looks like a fun time. (But don’t read the book.)

Keep on reading guys, and remember:

For the late sleeper, much is lost; wealth is won by the swift

–RI

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1 Comment

  1. Dude that is so cool! I’ve been praised Norse-style. I’ve been using your ipod to listen to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. sick.
    Also, you’re not answering your home phone :( When am I to come!?

    Reply

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