A Catalogue of Heroes

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Tanniel, May 28, 2017.

  1. Tanniel

    Tanniel Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    So, long ago on this site, I was blinded by hubris into undertaking a blog series about ideals and stereotypes of heroes through the ages. I've posted the link to new posts in the old thread as they were published, but with this one, I felt it was better with a proper thread. The previous posts were generally gracious guests posts by members of this forum, and now that has been concluded, I wanted to pile the links together and show the contributors from this forum. The series is also done with its groundwork of introducing our subject matter and doing some initial analysis, which I wanted to celebrate with a forum thread.

    The Catalogue (so far):
    Irish Edition: Overview of Irish myths and tales, by @jo zebedee
    Going Indo-European: Discussion of the primordial cauldron of our mythology, by @Peat
    Greek Gifts: The role and importance of Prometheus, by @Anti_Quated
    Norse Gods: Exactly what it says on the tin
    Archetypes for the Ages: Analysis of heroic archetypes in mythology
    Mortal Men of the North: Digging into some of the heroes of the Norse sagas

    As more blog posts are written (and should anyone feel they have a guest post in them that pertains to the matter, feel free to contact me), I'll update the list and post about it here. And thanks to everyone on the list who contributed!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  2. Tanniel

    Tanniel Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    I wrote another of these, appropriately enough while listening to the soundtrack for Vikings: Mortal Men of the North
  3. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    Thanks, Tanniel! A really interesting blog. Coincidentally, I have just finished watching the 4th series of Vikings and it was nice to read how well your comments marry with the series characterisation. By the way, could you please recommend some bibliography regarding this subject?
  4. Tanniel

    Tanniel Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    That's a very good question. The trouble is, I usually read about this subject in one of the Norse languages, for evident reasons, and so I am a little on shaky ground with English bibliography. The source material is primarily the two Eddas, the Poetic/Elder and the Prose/Younger. If you want to dig into the actual stories, those are the two to read. If you are strapped for time or need to prioritise, start with the Poetic/Elder. I have used this one myself when I translated an article once into English that quoted the Edda: Sacred Texts

    Translation seems decent, as much as my layman eye can detect. It may be a bit much to read them all, so here's a few recommendations. Grimnismol is a story about Odin, very poetic that delves into the cosmos of the Norse world, one of my favourites; it can be tough to read though, especially in this archaic English style. Thrymskvitha is my favourite story about Thor; his hammer is stolen, and to get it back, he has to dress up as a bride with Loki as his bridesmaid! Fra Dautha Sinfjotla tells the story of the first Völsunga as I touched upon them in my blog post. Reginsmol, Fafnismol, and Sigrdrifumol is about the most famous Völsunga, Sigurd Fafnersbane. It's a chaotic text in the source material though. If you can find some prose version of these stories, they'll be much easier to read, of course, and without any of the weird gaps that the source text somehow has. Unfortunately, I don't know of any such versions in English that I can recommend.

    I would recommend this website for discussions, explanations, and inclusion of source material: Viking Answer Lady

    It is an excellent source to all things related to Norse society, so there's a decent chance that whatever you're curious about, there'll be an article about it. Also with bibliography or suggestions for further reading in some cases. I have used this site myself for its list of names (for my characters), and even corresponded with the site runner to get linguistic advice.
  5. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    Thank you, @Tanniel!. I will have a look at your recommendations.

    I was afraid you were going to bring this up. All I could find about Ragnar Lodbrok’s legend was in Old Norse. If it hadn’t been for your explanation, I would still be having best guesses about his hairy-breeches...
  6. Tanniel

    Tanniel Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    The Norse matter has always been easily accessible to me, and it never occurred to me that English translations or retellings would be hard to come by, having never had the need to look further. Given the proximity of Scandinavia to England and shared heritage, I assumed it would be a big market in English too. You may sometimes find a good wikipedia article telling the gist of the story - not in the best of prose, but better than nothing. In fact, I typically raid the wikipedia articles for their illustrations when making my blog posts, because they'll be in the public domain if theyre' on wikipedia.

    I did a quick google and came across this list of books retelling the sagas: http://norse-mythology.org/the-10-best-norse-mythology-books/

    There are some different options there, some recounting various myths, some are translations of the Eddas etc. I can't vouch for them, having not read any, but you can take a look yourself.
  7. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    Thank you, Daniel! Nice list!

    I have also come across this one:


    These are historical fiction books. I'm not sure how good are these recommendations but I will explore this list along with yours while on holiday.

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