The world of fantasy is filled with tropes. From dragons to dwarves and wands, fans of the genre know exactly what to expect.
But did you know these tropes are rooted in real-world history? Well, we do. That’s why we’re walking you through our survey of five mythology-based fantasy tropes.
The world of Norse mythology features a lot of gods. Over the course of Viking history, numerous deities have populated the annals of the Norse imagination.
And while some of these mythical figures (like Odin, Thor, or Loki) have managed to hold on to their fame long after their worshippers had persished, not of all of them have been so lucky. Sadly, the stories of many other Norse gods have either been forgotten or lost to time, keeping the tales of their heroic exploits from becoming as famous as they rightly deserve to be.
But that’s why we’re here! Because…
The world of Norse mythology ends in fire and fury. When Ragnarok comes around, the gods will die. Their world will burn. And when everything is said and done, the universe will begin anew.
The story of Ragnarok is a tale of rebirth. It is a myth about the end of the world, but also about the ways in which it will endure. For it would be the destruction of the old that would make way for the new.
But the story of Ragnarok was more than just an allegory about rebirth.
It was also a myth about the reckoning…
The tales of Norse mythology feature many fantastical creatures. Among the most recognizable is a race of giants called the Jötnar. These monsters hail from a land named Jötunheim, which is one of the nine realms associated with the world of Norse mythology.
Like so many elements of Norse mythology, the Jötnar are ambiguous at heart. Because Norse religion was mostly based around an oral tradition rather than a written one, relatively little source material has been passed down to us by the ancient Vikings. …
All gods inspire.
Some do so with noble feats of wisdom and great feats of strength: imposing a sense of grandeur over the humans that worship them. These gods are above and beyond the violence, pettiness, and deceit that governs the mortal world. Some gods, in this sense of the word, are better than us. Not only do they inspire: they impress.
Others simply fascinate. Loki, for instance, is a liar. He is a cheat. He acts in a manner befitting his title as the Norse God of Lies. …
The Norse gods are terrible people. Really, they are.
Just think about it like this: if the guys from Marvel (in movies like The Avengers and Thor: Ragnarok) have shown that the Norse gods are poor family members, it’s Neil Gaiman that takes this up a notch. As far as the English fantasy writer is concerned, Odin and his friends aren’t “just” horrible partners and siblings. They aren’t even just bad rulers. In truth, they are full-on terrible people.
In Gaiman’s book Norse Mythology, the author makes this point crystal clear. And it’s not just the usual black sheep Loki…
If there’s one lesson to be learned from reading The Mighty Thor comics, it’s that the Norse gods are horrible family members.
And it’s not just Thor’s terrible brother Loki that’s the problem. If having the God of Lies as an adopted brother already sounds bad enough for you, keep in mind that things can be much worse. As in, having your overbearing father being in charge of the entire universe.
Just take a look at Young Thor’s Lament. In this Marvel Comics book by Jason Aaron, Tony Moore, and John Rauch, Thor is given an origin story revolving around…
Koen is an historian with a knack for writing. At Pinkerness, he deals with the Norse pantheon. He loves all the gods equally.