META: What do the RACC Readers think is the best?

Arspitzer arspitzer at
Wed Jan 5 16:39:05 PST 2005

Martin Phipps wrote:
>Hmm. That's the mythology in which there's a male father figure with a
>wife who he's always cheating on and produces many offspring and
>there's also Gods of war, the ocean, love and death, right?

>Hey... wait a minute... that's the same as Greek, Roman, Egyptian,
>Babylonian and Hindu mythology. Hmm.

I think saying that Norse and Greek Myths are the same is sort of like 
saying Superman and Batman are the same because they both are white 
males, both have a cape, both wear their underwear on the outside, and 
both their third and fourth movie sucked.

In greek myths the protagonist usually is a human blessed by the gods, 
or has a god for a parent.  In norse myths the protagonist usually is 
one of gods.  There's a sort of fatalism in norse myths with all the 
gods knowing that they're doomed.  I don't think there's a twilight of 
the gods in greek mythology.  Zeus is going to live for ever.  Odin 
knows he's going to be killed by Fenrir the wolf one of these days.  
There's a tragic element for the Norse Gods.  Odin loses an eye for 
knowledge. Tyr loses a hand for binding Fenrir.  Balder is killed by his 
own brother Hod who is tricked into killing him by Loki.  Unlike the 
Bible where Good triumphs over Evil, everyone pretty much dies in the 
end of Ragnarok.  I think of all the mythologies, the norse one feels 
the most like a superhero comic which is probably why I like it better 
than the rest.

If you want to read a real good book on Norse Mythology you should check 
out The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland.  This is a really well 
done and easy to read retelling of the various stories found in the 
Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and a variety of other sources.  It's a good 
read and probably the best book on any mythology that I've encountered.

There's also a certain absurdity to Norse Myths that you just have to 
love like the fact that a cow frees the first god from ice by licking it 
out.  Or that the giant's offspring came from its armpits.  There's also 
some pretty sick and twisted stuff that's even more depraved than the 
sick and twisted stuff that happens in Greek Myths.

Arthur "That's why I read it" Spitzer

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