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on 18 April 2011
Sometimes it can be difficult to find information collected together in an easily accessible form regarding the Norse Gods, yet these particular deities need to be considered and studied in relation to each other. Their relationships are complex to say the least, and the intricate weaving of meaning into their forms directly from Scandinavian culture needs to be highlighted more often than it is.

In "The Gods of the Vikings" Marion Pearce has done a good job of providing this. Using the days of the week as the context and structure of the book, she examines the Norse Gods, their myths, their worship in ancient times, their meaning for the Scandinavians, and also what they mean for today's Asatru worshiper. The first section of the book looks at the days of the week themselves, providing an excellent background full of interesting information about how the days got their names, when, and where. It also touches upon subjects such as hours and calendars in the ancient world, which proved fascinating reading! Part 2, "Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Christian Worldviews" offers the reader the cultural contexts that these deities are found in, including the relationship and interplay between Pagan and Christian in that era. I was delighted to read this section, as I often find books on mythology completely ignoring the cultural contexts. Part 3 takes us through some of the eschatological and chronological ideas and beliefs held by the Norse, including Ragnarok and ideas of the beginning of the world. Again, this served to provide context, but also gives the reader an idea of how the Scandinavians viewed time and how their Gods fit into that chronological universe.

Part 4 is the main bulk of the book, and explores the myths and personalities of the Norse deities through the days of the week. Starting with Sunday and ending with Saturday, this section is full of snippets of sagas and epics and the Eddas, with descriptions of the Gods and their worship. It also details how they became linked with the days of the week, how their names have become used in modern parlance, and delves into comparisons between Norse and other mythologies. This was a great way to organize an examination of the Norse Gods, and it made "The Gods of the Vikings" into a book that was easy to pick up and enjoy a section, then put aside for a while before returning.

Finally, the Appendix looks at the bigger chronological picture: it gives us information about the Norse and Anglo-Saxon festivals of the year, and how they were originally celebrated. This section is short but interesting, and is a great start for any research into such events.

"Gods of the Vikings" has interesting information scattered throughout, and I found myself learning new things on each page. I especially found the Anglo-Saxon and Viking place names and their links to the Norse Gods of great interest. This book is a great place to start for anybody interested in studying or worshiping the Norse Gods, and is also a good source for original source materials for those who are already knowledgeable on the matter and looking to further their understanding. Illustrated throughout by artist Emily Carding, "The Gods of the Vikings" is also visually appealing, offering the reader conceptual images of the deities studied to accompany the information.

A thoroughly interesting read, easily accessible, and a great introduction to the Norse Gods and their myths.
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on 25 October 2014
This is a very full account of all the Norse myths, with comparisons between the Norse myths, the Bible stories and various Indian myths, with explanations of how the days of the week got their names. I don't much like her calling the Bible stories myths because I don't think all of them are - otherwise I'd give it five stars.
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on 4 January 2012
I have always found the ancient Norse mythology especially intriguing. They believed there were nine worlds, all closely interlinked and interdependent. When you think about this, it is not too different from the Celtic concept of the interrelation between the here and now and the Otherworld. Actions in one world affect the other, and from time to time beings--even mortals--may cross the ways between. And lovers of faerie lore will be especially intrigued to discover the Norse mythology has worlds of giants, dwarves, ogres and even mysterious light elves, though sadly there is little surviving lore on the last.

Of all the pre-Christian European mythologies, the Old Norse is special because much of the lore survived into the present. The relative isolation of the Scandinavian countries (Iceland, in particular) and the fierce devotion of the Norse to their pantheon helped the mythology resist the intrusions of fervent-to-spread Christendom.

Marion Pearce takes the reader on a tour of the Norse mythology that resembles a survey course combining elements of comparative religion classes. In the beginning of the book, the author spent some time exploring the worldviews of early medieval Norse, Christian and Anglo-Saxon persons. There was a strong focus upon the Norse and Anglo-Saxon emphasis on law, the keeping of oaths and holding to religious beliefs.

In the next part the author related the creation and world's end myths of the Norse mythology, comparing and contrasting frequently to myth cycles of Christendom, Hinduism and other major religions. I found this portion especially interesting because of the frequent diversions in which the workings of the dwarves, giants, ogres and other mythological beings were explored.

In the final section the author explored the Norse pantheon through an analysis of how each deity related to a day of the week. Tales of legends and practices, especially as relating to each day, were shared.

But my favorite part of the book was actually the appendices which covered the festival days practiced by the Norse. The discussion of May Day, summer solstice and Yule traditions and the reasons behind them were intriguing and covered such things as the Puritanical banning of May Poles and the practice of burning Yule logs. I wish the appendices had been longer. To me, this was the portion of the book I could really sink my teeth into, because I like to find ways to live the Old Ways.

All in all, the book was well researched with a lot of intriguing information on the Norse mythology. There were a couple kind of humorous errors on trivial side points, such the reference to Benjamin Franklin as a former president of the United States (a common mistake), and the book needed a solid copyediting for grammatical errors, but it is a good read with a lot to offer the student of Norse mythology or a follower of the path of Asatru.
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on 22 June 2012
This was the first book I got by this aurthor. Once I started reading I was truly enthralled, I couldn't turn the pages quick enough as the main characters sprang to life , like they were actual friends. I have now read all seven books in this series and can't wait for the next.
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on 7 July 2014
It is true that the author is not the best writer on the subject of Norse mythology, however what carried this book for me and earned it the five stars I am giving it is the passion and love the author clearly has for the subject. When reading it, its like listening to a wise friend sharing their knowledge with you around a fire. The author clearly did do a lot of research and the book is one I would recommend to people who prefer more personal, and less academic reads - both of which have value.
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on 24 June 2013
This is a very dry book which would be used a lot better as a reference book than as a book to read in one go, which is what I did.

It is split into various sections including the days of the week, beginnings and endings, Norse Gods and myths and Pagan/Saxon/Norse Festivals.

Although this book is very informative and interesting in places, I do get the feeling that this was more of a case of "fascination of the horrible" as Marion Pearce is full of adjectives like - gruesome, horrible, harsh, abhorrent, gory, repugnant, bloodthirsty, sadistic. To be fair, in our age of health & safety, most practices from the past could be referred to in that manner!

Interesting enough but not one I will be keeping.
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on 5 August 2014
Five star excellence from Marion Pearce and painstaking research into putting the book together!
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