The Children of Odin

December 13, 2008
By Liam Burke, Portland, OR

The Children of Odin, by Padraic Colum, is a book of the old Norse myths. If you are interested in mythology of any sort, this book is essential to your library. This book, unlike others on the same topic, is much more like and actual story. The author placed the myths in chronological order, so it would seem like a book with a plot, instead of just a reference book. The story starts with Ymir, the frost giant, being born out of the great pit, Ginnungagap (don't worry if you can't pronounce the Norse) and finally ends with the epic tale of Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods.

I'll tell a bit about the Gods and their part in this book. The book's plot revolves around the Norse gods. There is Odin, the allfather. He could be thought of as the main character. Then there is his son, Thor, the god of thunder. There's Loki, who is part giant and the god of mischief. There are many others, but these three are the main ones. One thing that is very interesting about the book is that the author tells the tale of Sigurd, one very rarely found in a book of Norse myths. Sigurd was a great hero, and of the kin of Odin. A whole chapter is devoted to Sigurd and his adventures.

One of my favorite of Sigurd's adventures was when he fought the dragon, Fafnir. One day, Sigurd's mentor and wise friend, Regin the great smith, told Sigurd that to gain the renown and fame that his father, Sigmund had, he must slay the dragon Fafnir. At first, Sigurd refused this quest, although it would bring fame and riches, for the dragon had a hoard like nothing the world had ever seen before. Eventually, Sigurd decided to take on the challenge, but told Regin that he would need a great sword. So Regin forged together the broken pieces of the great sword Gram, given to Sigurd's father by Odin. I won't say how the tale ends, you'll have to read it and find out.

Another of my favorite stories in this book is Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods. This tells of the God's destruction. The Fimbul Winter had arrived; snow fell upon the nine worlds for three whole years, spring never coming. Brother killed brother, hardly anyone was left alive. The Gods knew that their time was fast approaching. Finally, down in the pits of Hel, the rusty -- red cock of Hel crew. In Jotunheim, the land of the giants, Fialar, the crimson cock crew. High up in Asgard, the realm of the Gods, the golden cock Gullinkambir crewed.

It was all downhill from there. The army of Odin and the armies of chaos and destruction met on the Field of Vidar, and fought ‘till all were dead and the world was plunged into darkness as the sun and moon were swallowed by two wolves.

The Children of Odin is an amazing story. The writing style is very interesting, and at times extremely hard to understand, because the author many times for dialogue uses Shakespearian-esque dialogue. I personally quite enjoy reading myths and legends, so this book was perfect for me. Five stars.

The author's comments:
liam rules

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This article has 2 comments.

Olaf Burke said...
on Dec. 29 2008 at 7:26 pm
why thank you, Mckenzie

macko spoony said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 5:08 am


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