When it comes to Norse Mythology I’ve always felt that I know a good few of the stories but I wasn’t as familiar with the basics. How did there come to be Nine Realms for example? Who was Odin and where did he come from?
When the opportunity arose to read ‘History Brought Alive’s Norse Mythology’ for free I thought it would be a great opportunity to strengthen those basics and further my understanding. It’s a very short book, just under 100 pages and promises to cover lots of different aspects of the colourful tales of Norse Folklore. I’m not quite sure which age group this is aimed at but I think it falls somewhere between an almost encyclopaedia-esque, dip in and out format and loose storytelling to tie it together and help it to flow.
Starting at the beginning we are introduced to the creation and establishment of the Norse Gods, the Nine Realms and the geography of the mythology. This is well done, if a bit dry, and explains in a textbook fashion how it all came to be. The Gods are covered in more detail later on as are the historical sources that informed this book.
The book covers some of the more popular traditions as well as looking at a selection of myths and examining how they have influenced popular culture through films and video games, amongst other forms of media. This was a little dated though as it referenced Game of Thrones and suggested the final series was still to come although it aired in early 2019 and this version of the book was published in July 2021.
Once I finished it I did feel that I understood the basics more, but it felt more like a short text book than a book that brought the stories to life – for example I didn’t really feel as though I got an insight into what life was like for the everyday person during these times outside the prescriptive worship & tradition; the clothes they wore, their daily life. There were also quite a few typos and words missing which was quite annoying but which has hopefully been picked up in later editions.
In summary, it’s a short, informative, almost text-book style book and from it you get a good basic understanding of the foundations of Norse Mythology and its impact and popularity in modern culture. I received a copy of this book for free, and this is my voluntary review.