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Strange and disturbing stories we think we know.
on 14 April 1998
Adult retelling of stories we think we know from the surviving original sources. Reading Crossley-Holland's book is like reading the real Grimm's Fairy Tales -- they are much stranger and more disturbing than you remember from the kiddie show about Thor and his hammer. The Aesir are a doomed race of flawed, violent, sometimes cruel but ultimately heroic gods. Odin is not always a benevolent father, but also is obsessed with knowledge and willing to kill, deceive and suffer intensely to get it. Freya is not only a war-goddess but a kind of personification of sex. The stories cover the building of Asgard, an ur-War between the Aesir and the ultimately allied Vanes, struggles between the gods and the Frost Giants, the mischief and ultimately evil of Loki, and an array of malevolent dwarves and monsters with names like Niddhog (the worm that gnaws the root of the world-tree Yggdrasil, Fenris the wolf of the end of the world. Incidentally, Tolkien got many of the names of his characters from the sources. Highly recommended.