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Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman
Rating: 8/10
Last Read: Feb 2017

Quick Summary: While I vaguely know the characters and events in the Norse mythology, I actually hadn't read any of the stories themselves. I was quite surprised to see that Neil Gaiman had taken a stab at rewriting some of the myths.  His retelling of the stories had me laughing regularly (unless I was cursing Loki for more of his dangerous antics).  I'm always in search of some good light reading before bed.  And I love mythology - the stories and the characters contain important insights and lessons to learn from.  The only disappointing part is that I was able to finish this book in two sittings!

My Highlights

Some norns give people good lives, and others give us hard lives, or short lives, or twisted lives. They will shape your fate, there at Urd’s well. --loc 233

“One drink from the water of your well, Uncle Mimir,” said Odin. “That is all I ask for.” Mimir shook his head. Nobody drank from the well but Mimir himself. He said nothing: seldom do those who are silent make mistakes. --loc 241

Hoenir was tall and good-looking, and he looked like a king. When Mimir was with him to advise him, Hoenir also spoke like a king and made wise decisions. But when Mimir was not with him, Hoenir seemed unable to come to a decision, and the Vanir soon tired of this. They took their revenge, not on Hoenir but on Mimir: they cut off Mimir’s head and sent it to Odin. Odin was not angry. He rubbed Mimir’s head with certain herbs to prevent it from rotting, and he chanted charms and incantations over it, for he did not wish Mimir’s knowledge to be lost. Soon enough Mimir opened his eyes and spoke to him. Mimir’s advice was good, as it was always good. --loc 255

“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.” --loc 274

It’s called Mjollnir, the lightning-maker. First of all, it’s unbreakable—doesn’t matter how hard you hit something with it, the hammer will always be undamaged.” Thor looked interested. He had already broken a great many weapons over the years, normally by hitting things with them. “If you throw the hammer, it will never miss what you throw it at.” Thor looked even more interested. He had lost a number of otherwise excellent weapons by throwing them at things that irritated him and missing, and he had watched too many weapons he had thrown disappear into the distance, never to be seen again. “No matter how hard or how far you throw it, it will always return to your hand.” Thor was now actually smiling. And the thunder god did not often smile. --loc 402

“I . . . will ransom my head,” said Loki. “I have treasures I can give you.” “Eitri and I already have all the treasure we need,” said Brokk. “We make treasures. No, Loki. I want your head.” --loc 422

“You are fools,” she said. “Especially you, Loki, because you think yourself clever.” --loc 482

“Loki son of Laufey,” said Odin, “this is the result of your poor counsel.” “And it was as bad as all your other advice,” said Balder. Loki shot him a resentful glance. “We need the builder to lose his wager,” said Odin. “Without violating the oath. He must fail.” “I don’t know what you expect me to do about it,” said Loki. “I do not expect anything from you,” said Odin. “But if this builder succeeds in finishing his wall by the end of tomorrow, then your death will be painful, and long, and a bad and shameful death at that.” --loc 569

The wolf cub ate its meat raw, but it spoke as a man would speak, in the language of men and the gods, and it was proud. The little beast was called Fenrir. --loc 700

“You lie, All-father. You lie in the way that some folk breathe. --loc 767

“Fair enough,” said Thor. “What’s the price?” “Freya’s hand in marriage.” “He just wants her hand?” asked Thor hopefully. She had two hands, after all, and might be persuaded to give up one of them without too much of an argument. Tyr had, after all. “All of her,” said Loki. “He wants to marry her.” --loc 852

Do you wonder where poetry comes from? Where we get the songs we sing and the tales we tell? Do you ever ask yourself how it is that some people can dream great, wise, beautiful dreams and pass those dreams on as poetry to the world, to be sung and retold as long as the sun rises and sets, as long as the moon will wax and wane? Have you ever wondered why some people make beautiful songs and poems and tales, and some of us do not? It is a long story, and it does no credit to anyone: there is murder in it, and trickery, lies and foolishness, seduction and pursuit. Listen.
--loc 972

No one, then or now, wanted to drink the mead that came out of Odin’s ass. But whenever you hear bad poets declaiming their bad poetry, filled with foolish similes and ugly rhymes, you will know which of the meads they have tasted. --loc 1246

It is not the end. There is no end. It is simply the end of the old times, Loki, and the beginning of the new times. Rebirth always follows death. --loc 2415

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