LITERATURE

The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes

Thames & Hudson. Feb. 2017. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9780500251966. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780500773789. LIT
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Following a brief introduction discussing sources, history, and influences of Norse mythology, Larrington (medieval English literature, St. John's Coll., Univ. of Oxford; Winter Is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones) presents readers with a succinct survey of Norse gods, heroes, and their myths. Topics include myths surrounding the creation of the world and culture (e.g., the gods' creation of humankind from wood), giants vs. the Æsir in Norse mythology (e.g., the Norse gods broken oath to the giant builder), human heroes and their interactions with the gods (e.g., the hero Helgi, who loves a Valkyrie), etc. Larrington also includes illustrations, excerpts, and snippets on elements of the Norse mythological universe (such as Loki's children), modern use or interpretation of Norse mythology (including Melvin Burgess's novels and the Völsung Legend), and more.
VERDICT Concise and accessible, it successfully covers a broad range of topics. This book serves as an excellent primer on Norse mythology and is recommended for all readers interested in the subject.

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