This brilliantly original and accessible guide explores how Valhalla and its Valkyries have inspired our cultural landscape, from Wagner to the Marvel Universe. Carolyne Larrington’s elegantly written retellings capture the beauty of the original myths, while also delving deeper into the history of their meanings, offering the reader an intelligent and up-to-date take on these powerful stories.
A ruggedly handsome blond man swings his huge hammer. Gaunt-faced figures with icicle crowns and frost-rimmed cheekbones march from the north through an endless winter. These strange supernatural figures might sound familiar—and also like creatures of myth and legend. Yet they haven’t stepped straight off the vellum of ancient manuscripts. Rather, these compelling characters are contemporary reimaginings of mythic figures from Old Norse mythology. All speak to our contemporary hopes and fears, bridging the gap between a vanished medieval past and a vibrant, living present. Larrington guides us on an enchanting journey through centuries of heroism, cruelty, and magic, while also exploring how these stories speak to the enduring human condition. This book is for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of Norse mythology and its cultural resonances through the centuries.
Carolyne Larrington is professor of medieval European literature at the University of Oxford. Her previous books include The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes, The Poetic Edda, and All Men Must Die: Power and Passion in Game of Thrones.