legendary saga

So since seemingly the connection between Lotor, Honerva, and Zarkon is more straightforwards than I interpreted, what I really want to know now is what’s up with Lotor’s genetics, then.

Official materiel gave offhanded reference to that some Alteans were “blessed” and had special powers, and that Allura and Alfor were both significant parties in that sense, and I have to wonder if maybe there’s something like Princess Yue’s story from ATLA going on here- maybe Lotor didn’t inherit his hair and eye colors from his parents as much as some kind of higher power intervened, either before birth or after it. Maybe being “blessed” supersedes actual genetics, so Lotor could’ve been given the genes for dark hair and either red or gold eyes but that doesn’t express itself.

I mean, white hair can come from quintessence exposure (Honerva exemplifies that) and Lotor’s vivid blue eyes match the color of the specific type of energy he’s prone to using- which is completely distinct from what Haggar and Zarkon use for the main duration of the empire.

People also point out that on Lotor’s ship, his hair seems almost reflective/iridescent in that it puts kind of a glow around his head, and in other scenes, his eye color seems very bright in contexts that don’t have a lot of ambient light, such as:

It gives him a kind of oddly ethereal look. And several people, in different directions, aired the idea that Lotor might not have been completely healthy as a child- which frankly just makes me think even more of Princess Yue because the blessing from the moon spirit that bleached out her hair also cured her of a childhood illness. And not only is Lotor associated with the blue energy- the same energy Allura used to revive the Balmera seemingly without any ill effects besides her own exhaustion- but he doesn’t look ragged or emaciated the way Honerva, Zarkon, and even Kova looked after their respective quintessence exposures.

Following spree!

Dash has been pretty boring lately so please reblog if you post

  • ACCA 13
  • Youjo Senki
  • Heathers: The Musical
  • RWBY
  • Voltron
  • Yuri!!! on ice
  • Haikyuu!!
  • Other seasonal anime
  • video games etc

Would highly prefer if you tag. Pretty edits and artwork are always welcome!

anonymous asked:

I've had a lot of instances lately where I've felt a pull towards Freyja, but I don't know a lot about her. Could you share a little bit about her to help with my research??

Sæll (eða sæl) vinur,
(Hello friend,)

Unfortunately, Freyja seems to be quite allusive in our sources, especially in the Prose Edda. Her brother Freyr gets far more direct attention in them. In the sources that I am most familiar with, here is where she appears in them (from a database post I am currently working on):

  • Freyja: Vanir, Fertility Goddess (multiple roles):
    • The Prose Edda (Faulkes trans.):
      • Gylfaginning: pages 24, 29, 30, 35, (36), and 50.
      • Skaldskarpamal: pages 59, 60, 75-8, (85), 86, 94-5, 98-9, (119), and 157.
    • The Poetic Edda:
      • Seeress’s Prophecy: stanza 26 (kenning).
      • Grimnir’s Sayings: stanza 14.
      • Loki’s Quarrel: prose; stanzas 30 and 32.
      • Thrym’s Poem: stanzas 3, 8, and 11ff.
      • Oddrun’s Lament: stanza 9.
      • The Song of Hyndla: stanza 6.
    • Heimskringla:
      • Ynglinga saga: chapter 4 and 10.
    • Fornaldarsögur:
      • Bosi and Herraud: chapter 12.
    • Íslendingasögur:
      • Egil’s Saga: chapter 79.
      • The Saga of the People of Fljotsdal: chapter 26.

That list, of course, has not yet been completed, but it should still serve you and others rather well. I will provide some information directly in this post, though, because some of these texts are less easily accessible. I will also share the bits that contain the most helpful information contained in those texts.


THE PROSE EDDA: (1.)

Snorri Sturluson does not give us a lot of detail about Freyja, but he does provide a basis for us to work with. Honestly, the Prose Edda is a bit of a condensed snapshot of Norse mythology – a slice of time and a slice of place. Without spending too long on source-related debates, here is some of the most satisfying bits of information from that text:

  • Freyja is the daughter of Njord, and the sister of Freyr.
  • Freyja, along with Freyr, is “beautiful in appearance and mighty.”
  • Freyja is “the most glorious of the Asynjur (goddesses).”
  • Her dwelling is called Folkvangar.
  • Whenever she rides to battle, she takes half of the slain. The other half goes to Odin. (This is pretty big).
  • Her hall is called Sessrumnir, and it is “large and beautiful.”
  • She travels in a chariot drawn by two cats.
  • In terms of prayer, she is the most approachable goddess.
  • She is “very fond of long songs” and it is “good to pray to her concerning love affairs.”
  • She is married to Od.
  • She has a daughter named Hnoss, who is also beautiful.
  • Od went off to travel, and Freyja weeps because he is gone, and “her tears are red gold.”
  • Freyja has many names because of her travels in search for Od: Mardoll, Horn, Gefn, and Syr.
  • Freyja owns Bringsing’s necklace.
  • Freyja was once almost married off to a giant.
  • Freyja can apparently grant people a “falcon shape.” She does this for Loki when he must go retrieve Idunn.
  • Freyja is bold. She was the only one who was brave enough to serve drinks to a giant named Hrungnir.
  • Later Snorri includes more of her names: Thrungva and Skjalf. He also mentions a second daughter named Gersemi.

THE POETIC EDDA: (2.)

The reference in the Seeress’s Prophecy is a bit vague, but worth bringing up. I have not spent a considerable amount of time carefully contemplating the verse, but it clearly has an important role in Freyja’s story. I believe most internet it as how Freyja was given as a hostage to end the war between the Æsir and Vanir, but since I am not confident enough to say that as ‘fact’, I’ll just give you the stanza itself:

“Then all the Powers went to the thrones of fate,
the sacrosanct gods, and considered this:
which people had trouble the air with treachery,
or given Od’s girl to the giant race.”

Other information regarding Freyja in the Poetic Edda:

“Folkvang is the ninth, and there Fryja fixes
allocation of seats in the hall;
half the slain she chooses every day, 
and half Odin owns.” (Grim., 14)

  • Loki calls Freyja a witch, suggesting that she dabbles with magic. The Vanir, in general, have connections with magic.
  • Loki suggests that Freyja and her brother Freyr had an affair.
  • The “falcon shape” she can grant is also referred to as a “feather-shirt.” She loans this to Loki so he can help Thor retrieve Mjolnir. It allows the bearer to fly.
  • Freyja is often the object of undesired marriages, often with giants. Yet, she is also often independent and bold enough to object them.

Freyja plays a pretty central role in the Song of Hyndla, but the information about her is not very direct. It would be best to read this poem in its entirety before drawing any conclusions about Freyja from it.


HEIMSKRINGLA: (3.)

This is another work by Snorri Sturluson, but it is treated much differently than the Gylfaginning. From a down-to-Earth perspective, Snorri retells the tale of the gods in an earthly sense. Here are some of the portions about Freyja in Ynglinga saga:

“Njord’s daughter was Freyja. She was a sacrificial priestess. She was the first to teach the Æsir black magic, which was customary among the Vanir.”

There is also this:

“Freyja kept up the sacrifices, for she was the only one of the gods left alive, and she became the best known, so that all noble women came to be called by her name, just as now the name frúvur (‘ladies’) is used. Similarly everyone was called freyja (‘mistress’) of what she possessed, and húsfreyja (‘mistress of a household’) if she is in charge of a dwelling. Freyja was rather fickle. Her husband was called Od. Her daughters were called Hnoss and Gersimi. They were very beautiful. The most precious treasures are called by their names.”


FORNALDARSÖGUR: (4.)

These are sagas about legendary heroes and kings, and a great deal of mythological material gets tied up within them. There are likely others, but I do not have copies of all of them, so I am limited to knowing only of references made in my own small collection. I would share the reference for Freyja that appears in Bosi and Herraud, but it is not very satisfying. All that is said is that there was a toast to Freyja on a wedding night, but little more. Again, there are likely a few other Fornaldarsögur that contain information about Freyja, but they are not my specialty. In time I will hunt down more.


ÍSLENDINGASÖGUR: (5.)

These sagas are a bit different from the Fornaldarsögur. They are much ore realistically toned, in that there is much less supernatural activity taking place. They are still good sources for information, though! Even in terms of mythology. There is a decent amount of information preserved in these texts about rituals and practices associated with certain figures, such as Freyja. Of course, there are problems with the sources that need to be addressed before taking certain bits of information too far, but that is not a concern until you really start to dig and contemplate the text.

  • In Egil’s Saga, a woman named Thorgerd says this: “I have had no evening meal, nor shall I do so until I go to join Freyja.” 
    • This is interesting because it suggests that a woman, at least, can choose to go to Freyja after death. Given further context, there may be a way that she suspects she might be able to make this happen, but regardless there seems to be an acceptance that Freyja has privilege over dead, and not just the half she gets that are slain in battle. Food for thought.

The information in The Saga of the People of Fljotsdal is even less fulfilling, at least when looking to learn more about Freyja herself. If you are interested in the attitudes of Icelanders in regards to conversion, then more information awaits you in the saga.


In the end, there really is not much else to be found regarding Freyja. Most of what we know comes from the Eddas, but there is information scattered around elsewhere. I have not even included archaeological materials and runestone in this situation, but that is because I am a medieval literature kind of guy. Despite the lack of information, I hope what I have shared with you turns out to be helpful in some way or another. Surly something will be of interest to you.

Otherwise, I hope for the best in your endeavors. Freyja is a rewarding subject.

Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With friendliness and respect,)
Fjörn


FOOTNOTES:

1. Snorri Sturluson, Edda, translated by Anthony Faulkes. (repr., 1987; London: J.M. Dent, 1995). Online version. All specific references are contained above, at the beginning of this post.

2. Carolyne Larrington trans., The Poetic Edda. (repr., 1996; Oxfrod: Oxford University Press, 2014). All specific references are contained above, at the beginning of this post.

3. Snorri Sturluson, Ynglinga saga, in Heimskringla, Volume I: The Beginnings to Óláfr Tryggvason, 2nd ed., translated by Alison Finlay and Anthony Faulkes. (London: University College London, 2016). All specific references are contained above, at the beginning of this post.

4. If you are curious, this is the citation for the collection that I own: Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards trans., Seven Viking Romances. (London: Penguin Books, 1985).

5. Bernard Scudder trans., Egil’s Saga, in The Complete Sagas of Icelanders: Including 49 Tales, Vol. I, edited by Viðar Hreinsson, Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder, (Reykjavík: Leifur Eiríksson Publishing, 1997), 150. (Chapter 79)

historicaltimessoldier  asked:

Can you say how many sagas and eddas are there? And the name of these?

Velkominn, vinr minn!
(Welcome, my friend!)

I have done my best to list as many sagas as I could, but I am certain that I have not included them all. There are easily over 150 sagas to consider, and that is when we do not include Icelandic versions of continental romances, tales, and more.

All of the titles are in modern Icelandic, but the English translation is supplied in parentheses.


Íslendingasögur og þættir (Sagas and Tales of Icelanders):
*** A more detailed list, which includes where each of these sagas can be bought and/or read, can be found HERE or HERE. These sagas and tales are also not in alphabetical order, but rather in the same order that I have them in on the other list.

[1.] Brennu-Njáls saga (Burnt-Njal’s Saga)
[2.] Laxdæla saga (The Saga of the People of Laxardal)
[3.] Bolla þáttur (Bolli Bollason’s Tale)
[4.] Eiríks saga rauða (Eirik the Red’s Saga)
[5.] Grænlendinga saga (The Saga of the Greenlanders)
[6.] Egils saga Skallagrímssonar (Egil’s Saga)
[7.] Kormáks saga (Kormak’s Saga)
[8.] Hallfreðar saga vandræðaskálds (The Saga of Hallfred the Troublesome Poet)
[9.] Bjarnar saga Hítdælakappa (The Saga of Bjorn, Champion of the Hitardal People)
[10.] Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu (The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue)
[11.] Víga-Glúms saga (Killer-Glum’s Saga)
[12.] Ögmundar þáttur dytts (The Tale of Ogmund Bash)
[13.] Þorvalds þáttur tasalda (The Tale of Thorvald Tasaldi)
[14.] Fóstbræðra saga (The Saga of the Sword Brothers)
[15.] Þormóðar þáttur (Thormod’s Tale)
[16.] Þórarins þáttur ofsa (The Tale of Thorarin the Overbearing)
[17.] Víglundar saga (Viglund’s Saga)
[18] Arnórs þáttur jarlaskálds (The Tale of Arnor, the Poet of Earls)
[19.] Einars þáttur Skúlasonar (Einar Skulason’s Tale)
[20.] Mána þáttur skálds (The Tale of Mani the Poet)
[21.] Óttars þáttur svarta (The Tale of Ottar the Black)
[22.] Sneglu-Halla þáttur (The Tale of Sarcastic Halli)
[23.] Stúfs þáttur hinn skemmri (Stuf’s Tale)
[24.] Þórarins þáttur stuttfeldar (The Tale of Thorarin Short-Cloak)
[25.] Þorleifs þáttur jarlsskálds (The Tale of Thorleif, the Earl’s Poet)
[26.] Kumlbúa þáttur (The Tale of the Cairn-Dweller)
[27.] Bergbúa þáttur (The Tale of the Mountain-Dweller)
[28.] Stjörnu-Odda draumer (Star-Oddi’s Dream)
[29.] Þiðranda þáttur og Þórhalls (The Tale of Thidrandi and Thorhall)
[30.] Þórhalls þáttur knapps (The Tale of Thorhall Knapp)
[31.] Gísla saga Súrssonar (Gisli Surrson’s Saga)
[32.] Grettis saga (The Saga of Grettir the Strong)
[33.] Harðar saga og Hólmverja (The Saga of Hord and the People of Holm)
[34.] Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss (Bard’s Saga)
[35.] Finnboga saga ramma (The Saga of Finnbogi the Mighty)
[36.] Flóamanna saga (The Saga of the People of Floi)
[37.] Kjalnesinga saga (The Saga of the People of Kjalarnes)
[38.] Jökuls þáttur Búasonar (Jokul Buason’s Tale)
[39.] Gull-Þóris saga (Gold-Thorir’s Saga)
[40.] Þórðar saga hreðu (The Saga of Thord Menace)
[41.] Króka-Refs saga (The Saga of Ref the Sly)
[42.] Gunnars saga Keldugnúpsfífls (The Saga of Gunnar, the Fool of Keldugnup)
[43.] Gísls þáttur Illugasonar (Gisl Illugason’s Tale)
[44.] Gull-Ásu-Þórðar þáttur (The Tale of Gold-Asa’s Thord)
[45.] Hrafns þáttur Guðrúnarsonar (Hrafn Gudrunarson’s Tale)
[46.] Orms þáttur Stórólfssonar (Orm Storolfsson’s Tale)
[47.] Þorgríms þáttur Hallasonar (Thorgrim Hallason’s Tale)
[48.] Eyrbyggja saga (The Saga of the People of Eyri)
[49.] Halldórs þáttur Snorrasonar hinn fyrri (The Tale of Halldor Snorrason I)
[50.] Halldórs þáttur Snorrasonar hinn síðari (The Tale of Halldor Snorrason II)
[51.] Ölkofra saga (Olkofri’s Saga)
[52.] Hænsna-Þóris saga (Hen-Thorir’s Saga)
[53.] Hrafnkels saga Freysgoða (The Saga of Hrafnkel Frey’s Godi)
[54.] Bandamanna saga (The Saga of the Confederates)
[55.] Odds þáttur Ófeigssonar (Odd Ofeigsson’s Tale)
[56.] Hávarðar saga Ísfirðings (The Saga of Havard of Isafjord)
[57.] Vatnsdæla saga (The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal)
[58.] Heiðarvíga saga (The Saga of the Slayings on the Heath)
[59.] Valla-Ljóts saga (Valla-Ljot’s Saga)
[60.] Svarfdæla saga (The Saga of the People of Svarfadardal)
[61.] Ljósvetninga saga (The Saga of the People of Ljosavatn)
[62.] Reykdæla saga og Víga-Skútu (The Saga of the People of Rekjadal and of Killer-Skuta)
[63.] Þorsteins saga Hvíta (The Saga of Thorstein the White)
[64.] Vopnfirðinga saga (The Saga of the People of Vopnafjord)
[65.] Þorsteins þáttur stangarhöggs (The Tale of Thorstein Staff-Struck)
[66.] Þorsteins þáttur uxafóts (The Tale of Thorstein Bull’s-Leg)
[67.] Droplaugarsona saga (The Saga of Droplaug’s Sons)
[68.] Fljótsdæla saga (The Saga of the People of Fljotsdal)
[69.] Gunnars þáttur Þiðrandabana (The Tale of Gunnar, the Slayer of Thidrandi)
[70.] Brandkrossa þáttur (Brandkrossi’s Tale)
[71.] Þorsteins saga Síðu-Hallssonar (Thorstein Sidu-Hallsson’s Saga)
[72.] Þorsteins þáttur Síðu-Hallssonar (Thorstein Sidu-Hallsson’s Tale)
[73.] Draumur Þorsteins Síðu-Hallssonar (Thorstein Sidu-Hallsson’s Dream)
[74.] Egils þáttur Síðu-Hallssonar (Egil Sidu-Hallsson’s Tale)
[75.] Hrómundar þáttur halta (The Tale of Hromund the Lame)
[76.] Svaða þáttur og Arnórs kerlingarnefs (The Tale of Svadi and Arnor Crone’s-Nose)
[77.] Þorvalds þáttur víðförla (The Tale of Thorvald the Far-Travelled)
[78.] Þorsteins saga tjaldstæðings (The Tale of Thorstein Tent-Pitcher)
[79.] Grænlendinga þáttur (The Tale of the Greenlanders)
[80.] Auðunar þáttur vestfirska (The Tale of Audun from the West Fjords)
[81.] Brands þáttur örva (The Tale of Brand the Generous)
[82.] Hreiðars þáttur (Hreidar’s Tale)
[83.] Íslendings þáttur sögufróða (The Tale of the Story-Wise Icelander)
[84.] Ívars þáttur Ingimundarsonar (Ivar Ingimundarson’s Tale)
[85.] Þórarins þáttur Nefjólfssonar (Thorarin Nefjolfsson’s Tale)
[86.] Þorsteins þáttur Austfirðings (The Tale of Thorstein from the East Fjords)
[87.] Þorsteins þáttur forvitna (The Tale of Thorstein the Curious)
[88.] Þáttur Þorsteins skelks (The Tale of Thorstein Shiver)
[89.] Þorvarðar þáttur krákunefs (The Tale of Thorvard Crow’s-Beak)

Fornaldarsögur Norðurlanda (Sagas of the Ancient Age — Legendary Sagas):

[90.] Af Upplendinga konungum (About the Upplander kings)
[91.] Áns saga bogsveigis (The Aaga of An the Bow-Bender)
[92.] Ásmundar saga kappabana (The saga of Asmund the Champion-Killer)
[93.] Bósa saga ok Herrauðs (The Saga of Bosi and Herraud)
[94.] Egils saga einhenda ok Ásmundar berserkjabana (The Story of Egil One-Hand and Asmund Berserkers-Slayer)
[95.] Frá Fornjóti ok hans ættmönnum (Of Fornjot and His Kinsmen)
[96.] Friðþjófs saga ins frækna (Frithiof’s Saga)
[97.] Gautreks saga (Gautrek’s Saga)
[98.] Gríms saga loðinkinna (The Saga of Grim Shaggy-Cheek)
[99.] Göngu-Hrólfs saga (Gongu-Hrolf’s Saga)
[100.] Hálfdanar saga Brönufóstra (The Saga of Halfdan, Bran’s Foster-Son)
[101.] Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar (The Saga of Halfdan Eysteinsson)
[102.] Hálfs saga og Hálfsrekka (The Saga of Half and His Heroes)
[103.] Helga þáttr Þórissonar (The Tale of Helgi Thorisson)
[104.] Hervarar saga og Heiðreks (The Saga of Hervar and Heidrek)
[105.] Hjálmþés saga ok Ölvis (The Saga of Hjalmthes and Olvis)
[106.] Hrólfs saga Gautrekssonar (The Saga of Hrolf Gautreksson)
[107.] Hrólfs saga kraka ok kappa hans (The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki and his Champions)
[108.] Hrómundar saga Gripssonar (The Saga of Hromund Gripsson)
[109.] Illuga saga Gríðarfóstra (The Saga of Illugi, Grid’s Foster-Son)
[110.] Ketils saga hængs (Ketil’s Saga)
[111.] Norna-Gests þáttur (The Tale of Norna-Gest)
[112.] Ragnars saga loðbrókar (The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok)
[113.] Sturlaugs saga starfsama (Sturlaug’s Saga)
[114.] Sögubrot af nokkrum fornkonungum í Dana ok Svíaveldi (Fragment of a Saga about Certain Ancient Kings)
[115.] Sörla saga sterka (The Saga of Sorli the Strong)
[116.] Sörla þáttur eða Héðins saga ok Högna (The Tale of Sorli, or the Saga of Hedin and Hogni)
[117.] Tóka þáttur Tókasonar (The Tale of Toka Tokason)
[118.] Völsunga saga (Saga of the Volsungs)
[119.] Yngvars saga víðförla (The Saga of Yngvar the Far-travelled)
[120.] Þáttur af Ragnars sonum (The Tale of Ragnar’s Sons)
[121.] Þorsteins saga Víkingssonar (The Saga of Thorstein Vikingsson)
[122.] Þorsteins þáttr bæjarmagns (The Tale of Thorstein House-Power)
[123.] Örvar-Odds saga (Arrow-Odd’s Saga)

HeimskringlaKonungasögur (The Sagas of the Kings of Norway):
*** All of these can be read online for free at the following links: Heimskringla vol. I, vol. II, and vol. III.

[124.] Ynglinga saga (Saga of the Ynglings)
[125.] Hálfdanar saga svarta (The Saga of Halfdan the Black)
[126.] Haraldar saga hárfagra (The Saga of King Harald Fair-Hair)
[127.] Hákonar saga Aðalsteinsfóstra (The Saga of King Harkon, Athalstein’s Foster-Son)
[128.] Haralds saga gráfeldar (The Saga of King Harald Greycloak)
[129.] Ólafs saga Tryggvasonar (The Saga of King Olaf Tryggvason)
[130.] Ólafs saga helga (The Saga of Saint Olaf)
[131.] Magnúss saga góða (The Saga of King Magnus the Good)
[132.] Haralds saga Sigurðarsonar (The Saga of King Harald Sigurdsson)
[133.] Ólafs saga kyrra (The Saga of King Olaf the Gentle)
[134.] Magnúss saga berfætts (The Saga of King Magnus Barefoot)
[135.] Magnússona saga (The Saga of Magnus’ Sons)
[136.] Magnúss saga blinda og Haralds gilla (The Saga of Magnus the Blind and Harald Gilli)
[137.] Saga Inga konungs og bræðra hans (The Saga of King Ingi and his Brothers)
[138.] Hákonar saga herðibreiðs (The Saga of King Hakon the Broad-shouldered)
[139.] Magnúss saga Erlingssonar (The Saga of King Magnus Erlingsson)

Biskupasögur (Sagas of Bishops):

[140.] Hungrvaka (The History of the First Five Bishops of Skálholt)
[141.] Þorláks saga helga (The Saga of Saint Thorlak)
[142.] Páls saga biskups (The Saga of Bishop Pal)
[143.] Árna saga biskups (The Saga of Bishop Arni)
[144.] Ísleifs þáttr biskups (The Saga of Bishop Isleif)
[145.] Jóns þáttr Halldórssonar (The Tale of Jon Halldorsson)
[146.] Jóns saga helga (The Saga of Saint Jon)
[147.] Guðmundar saga biskups (The Saga of Bishop Gudmund)
[148.] Lárentíus saga (The Saga of Bishop Laurentius Kalfsson)

Other Sagas and ‘Collections’:

[149+.] Sturlunga saga (Contains various sagas concerning thirteenth-century Iceland)
[150+.] Heilagra manna sögur (A genre of sagas about over 100 saints, but not only Icelandic saints — much of this material comes from Latin texts)
[151+.] Riddarasögur (A genre of sagas concerning knights and romances, but not only Icelandic or Norse tales — many are just translated tales from elsewhere)
[152.] Jómsvíkinga saga (Saga of the Jomsvikings)
[153.] Íslendingabók (The Book of the Icelanders)
[154.] Kristni saga (The Saga of Christ)

Eddas:

[155.] Prose Edda
[156.] Poetic Edda
[157+.] Other Old Norse Poems: It is also worth mentioning a collection of Old Norse, non-skaldic poems by Lee M. hollander, which includes sixteen poems relating to mythological and heroic material. This is no ‘Edda’, but it is relatable.
[158.] Uppsala Edda: Do not let this confuse you, for it is really just an academic version of the Prose Edda, in a sense (I believe). Regardless, it is worth mentioning for the sake of reading options and educational resources. You may read it online for free HERE.


I mentioned it a few times throughout the list, but a reasonable handful of these texts can be found to read for free online at the Viking Society for Northern Research. I highly recommend paying them a visit, for there is a great deal of freely accessible, academically reliable information to be read there.

For now, that is all that I can confidently rummage up for you. It is not the best list, not by any means, but it will give you quite a bit of material to consider. I plan to do with all these sagas what I have done for the Sagas and Tales of Icelanders, which is to locate where each saga can be found for reading in English (if available). Such projects take time, especially when I am working alone, but they will be done regardless. For now, I truly hope this list will suffice.

Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With friendliness and respect,)
– Fjorn


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SAGAS AND TALES OF ICELANDERS

anonymous asked:

hi! I'm a follower of the asatro and I identify as genderqueer. I wondered if you know anything about a third gender/transgender/intersex in old norse/asatro/norse paganism or the like? I'm desperately trying to find something I can relate to and thought I'd ask you. thanks!

Velkomin(n), vinur minn,
(Welcome, my friend,)

There are several examples in Norse mythology in which gender boundaries are disregarded; the gods were often quite fluid about their genders, both literally and ‘socially’ (assuming the gods had their own social norms to live by). It all depended on the situation, really. Loki is arguably the most famous for this. In fact, Odin’s steed, Sleipnir, was Loki’s child — but he wasn’t the father, he was the mother. To summarize that story briefly (before directly quoting the relevant part), there was a builder from Giantland who came, and Loki made a deal with him that the gods did not like. To make things right, he had to make the builder forfeit the payment for succeeding in his task. And so it goes:

“And the same evening, when the builder drove out for stone with his stallion Svadilfæri, there ran out of a certain wood a mare up to the stallion and neighed at it (such a flirt). And when the stallion realized what kind of horse it was, it went frantic and tore apart the tackle and ran towards the mare, and she went away to the wood and the builder after them, trying to catch the stallion, and these horses ran around all night and the building work was held up for that night. […] But Loki had had such dealings with Svadilfæri (Snorri is being polite — they had sex) that somewhat later he (Loki) gave birth to a foal. It was grey and had eight legs, and this is the best horse among gods and men.”(1)

Yet, it is not just Loki who disregards gender boundaries. Odin himself disregards them, but more so in the sense of socially constructed gender expectations (at least from my knowledge and experience). There is a form of magic known as seiðr, but it was regarded as a feminine practice. So much so that any man practicing it was charged with ergi (another similar term is argr), which was usually considered a very serious insult (for a man). More on that another time, perhaps (this post has already gotten very long, so a separate ask about the attitudes of ‘actual’ society may be more wise than cramming it all here). Even in the realm of the gods, though, this term still weighed against men who took part in feminine activities. Odin, regarded as a male figure, was no exception to this. This is mentioned in Ynglinga saga, from Heimskringla:

“Óðinn knew, and practised himself, the art which is accompanied by greatest power, called seiðr, and from it he could predict the fates of men and things that had not yet happened, and also cause men death or disaster or disease, and also take wit or strength from some and give it to others. But this magic, when it is practised, is accompanied by such great perversion that it was not considered without shame for a man to perform it, and the skill was taught to the goddesses.”(2)


I actually stumbled upon an article about Valkyries and Shield-maidens as a third gender while looking for resources to answer your question with. Here are a few excerpts from it, though please do bear with me, for I am going to include quite a bit of direct quotes (I think that you, and others, will find them to be very fascinating). Besides, I cannot be sure how many of you have access to these academic articles, let alone have the resources to locate them, so I want to make sure I can give you all a good taste of the work:

“Most scholarship on valkyries and shield-maidens categorizes them as women, as kinds of warrior women who are connected to other, rare warrior women, such as the maiden king (meykongr) and to other women who, in exceptional circumstances, take up arms to fight (Andersson 1980; Damico 1984; Jesch [1991] 2010; Larrington 1992b; Præstergaard Andersen 2002; Quinn 2006, 2007). These discussions of valkyries and shield-maidens tend to insert them into a binary of masculine and feminine, wherein they sit somewhat uneasily in the feminine category. Yet, as other scholarship on Old Norse gender and sex has shown, the situation for all persons, not just valkyries, is much more complicated. The boundaries between masculine and feminine are not always rigid, at least insofar as women can take on masculine characteristics and receive approval, even if that approval was limited. Valkyries and shield-maidens, like the strong women of the sagas, are met with admiration, though not as paragons of femininity. As this article argues, these figures are best understood as a third gender—a hybrid of masculine and feminine characteristics that were dominant during the time period explored.”(3)

“In eddic poetry, shield-maidens are similarly denizens of battle. Whereas valkyries seem divine or, at the very least, semi-divine, the shield-maidens are human and have human parents and human lineages. However, they also have supernatural abilities, such as being able to ride over the sea and through the air. These beings take a special interest in human men—the heroes of the narrative—for whom, like the valkyries, they intercede in battle, but only to protect their heroes and aid them. Shield-maidens engage in sexual relationships with their heroes and most marry them; after that, they cease to be shield-maidens and become only feminine. The description here derives from the scant information available in the sources; there are not many examples of shield-maidens in the literature. One example is Sváva, who, like the other shield-maidens of the heroic poems of the Edda, is armored and carries weapons. Her helmet dominates the description of her as she rides among an accompanying troop of shield-maidens: “a white maiden under a helmet” (Helgakviða Hjǫrvarðssonar [hereafter HHv], stanza 28, in Neckel 1983). Another example is Sigrún, a major character in two Helgi poems. Also described as helmeted, she and her band carry spears and wear blood-spattered byrnies, which are a sort of mail coat (Helgakviða Hundingsbana [hereafter HH] 1, stanza 15, in Neckel 1983). Valkyries and shield-maidens are similar in that both wear armor and carry weapons, act in battle to determine the fate of men, and are unmarried women. Shield- maidens are different in that they marry human men, which results in a change of status.”(4)

Valkyries and Shield-maidens as feminine:

“Aside from this linguistic categorization as female, valkyries and shield- maidens have a number of other attributes that are part of medieval Icelandic culture’s hegemonic constructions of femininity. Perhaps one of the most ‘traditional’ feminine activities of the valkyrie is her work in Valhǫll, serving men drinks. At the same time that Snorri describes the valkyries’ functions in battle, he writes that they “serve drink and look after the tableware and drinking vessels” (30). An example of this work is found in Snorra Edda, in which the goddess Freyja is the only one who dares to bring a drink to the giant Hrungnir, whom no other is brave enough to serve (Edda: Skáldskaparmál, in Faulkes 1998, 20). Human women similarly serve drinks to the men in the hall. As the keeper of food-stores and the manager of the household, women of the highest rank in Iceland were closely associated with food and its distribution. By serving men, they enacted that association and their subordinate position to the men they served. By depicting valkyries in this feminine role, the texts are able to have their cake and eat it too—the warrior woman is domesticated in Odin’s ‘beer-hall.’”(5)

Valkyries and Shield-maidens as masculine:

“At the same time, valkyries and shield-maidens embody masculinity: they wear men’s clothing and act in ways understood by medieval Icelandic culture to be masculine. It is significant that they clothe themselves as men not simply by wearing “the pants,” but by putting on the garb and carrying the tools that mark the most admired sort of man—the warrior. The helmets and other armor together are common elements in their appearance and important aspects of the valkyrie’s masculinity. Sigrún and her troop’s blood-spattered byrnies (noted above) are quite striking. The byrnie (or brynie) also figures importantly in the story of Brynhild, who was the most famous of all of these warrior women. The word itself is one part of her compound name: Brynie-hild (brynie-battle).

This armor-wearing valkyrie is not simply named for armor, but her armor becomes part of her. […] In sum, the removal of the byrnie is the removal of one of the valkyrie’s most important masculine attributes. In the version in Vǫlsunga saga, the removal of the mail coat marks the end of her time in the third gender. As that story progresses, and a different version of the same narrative in Snorra Edda, Brynhild soon ceases to be a valkyrie and enters the feminine gender.”(6)

And a bit of her conclusion:

“The myths and legendary sagas of medieval Iceland that are retold and recorded offer up both the possibility of the third gender, in the form of the unmarried valkyrie, and the stories of the effects of marriage on members of that gender. In the stories of Brynhild, Sváva, and Sigrún, one gets a sense of the life of any married woman of the time, though, more accurately, their stories most closely represent the life of a woman with few family members or other relationships. These myths and sagas have also provided a reservoir of depictions that have fed later cultural products up to the present day. With the exception of Wagner’s Brünnhilde—the unmarried warrior woman—the valkyries of the third gender are most influential. Though often altered through the modern retellings of Norse myth, the contemporary valkyrie is still recognizable as such.”(7)

Was this how contemporary society (Norse society) understood the valkyries and shield-maidens? Perhaps not. We must take care to not impose our hopes and experiences onto the past. Yet, it seems likely that they at least understood such concepts — at least that of homosexuality and the difficulty for humans to remain in their socially constructed gender-box for behavior. Such people have always existed; it is not some modern invention nor a fashionable modern trend. The Norse did have terms that denoted a failure to comply with their gender’s expectations, after all, such as ergi and argr.


Now, there is far more than that to explore in mythology, but I do believe that I have shared enough examples to show you that there are most definitely things that you can relate to. I would also like to recommend a few other knowledgable people who could help guide you even further on your quest (for I am far from an expert on these matters). You may already know of them, but here are my suggestions (of which there are plenty of others, by the way): @edderkopper​ (as well as @lokeanwelcomingcommittee​), @answersfromvanaheim​, @hyacinth-halcyon, and even @theasatrucommunity or the many who are listed with @valkyriesquad. Again, there are many others who can lend a hand and share information with you. They will likely stumble upon this post (or so I can hope), so be on the look out for any helpful reblogs and replies.

Regardless, there is much more that I could still ramble on about, but this post is already long enough (perhaps too long for some to bother reading). I had a lot that I wanted to say about ergi/argr, and the attitudes of gender-bending in Old Norse society (law codes, family sagas, etc. — non-mythological sources), but that would be best for a separate ask (because it would also be a fairly long post — could you imagine the length of this post with both of those discussions?! My oh my). If you would like to hear more about that (or if anyone else reading this would like to), please send me an ask about it, and I will happily respond. It may take me a bit to get around to answering it (I still have 11 other questions to answer), but I never refuse a guest to my hall, especially when they seek knowledge!

I hope my words have helped, friend.

Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With friendliness and respect,)
Fjörn


ENDNOTES:
1. Snorri Sturluson, Edda, translated by Anthony Faulkes (repr., 1987; London: Everyman, 1995), 36. [Online Edition (Free)]
2. Snorri Sturluson, Ynglinga saga, from Heimskringla, Volume I: the Beginnings to Óláfr Tryggvason (Second Edition), translated by Alison Finaly and Anthony Faulkes (London: Viking Society for Northern Research — University College London, 2016), 11.
3. Kathleen M. Self, “The Valkyrie’s Gender: Old Norse Shield-Maidens and Valkyries as a Third Gender,” Feminist Formations, Volume 26, Issue 1, Spring 2014, 144.
4. Ibid., 148.
5. Ibid., 150.
6. Ibid., 152.
7. Ibid., 167.


NOTE: Here is a read you may be interested in. It is about homosexuality in the Viking Age, but it still has some relatable elements. The source seems credible enough, so I do recommend it if you are interested: Gunnora Hallakarva:
The Vikings and Homosexuality.


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(A table of contents is available. It will be kept updated throughout the series, and I will reblog it upon completion of the series. This series will remain open for additional posts.)

Part 24: Sagas and the Family

The saga has an exceptionally interesting history beginning in medieval times. Specifically, sagas were a form of Icelandic literature which disregarded the type of narrative in favor of its origin. This, of course, meant that it could be applied to a thousand pieces of literature, but often got stuck on biographies of saints, histories, Norse retellings of French romances, and even factual records of Scandinavian and Icelandic history through the 14th century. Sagas became “bedtime stories” read aloud as a form of the traditional storytelling, expanding the genre out to include legendary figures. These medieval narratives were traditionally classified into three types: Kings’ sagas, legendary sagas, and sagas of Icelanders.

These days, “saga” has come to refer to historical and legendary tales outside of solely Icelandic history, all the way out to some historical fiction pieces where the author has tried to reconstruct the past. The most common type of saga is the Family Saga, which is a very distinctive genre that tells multi-generational stories. Family sagas take place over extended periods of time; they are usually quite large volumes of literature, with the story spanning several decades and multiple generations. Often they are set in such a way as to showcase the historical time period, and the changing technology, values, and lifestyles that went with some time periods (such as the Industrial Revolution, the World Wars, etc.) and how these vast changes in condensed time period impacted the generations living through them.

There are a couple of sub-genres within this sub-genre, including:

  • Aga Saga: Referring to the AGA cooking oven of the 1930′s UK, and often following families of that time period.
  • Historical Saga: Generally characterized by a higher-than-usual level of factual information, these sagas tend to follow a family through times prior to 1950.
  • Pulp Saga: Typical family sagas illustrate more character interactions with a time period, but a pulp saga details characters dealing with more drama of internal events impacting the family: sex, murder, family backstabbing (of the verbal kind).
  • Contemporary Saga: Detailing the routines and drama of a modern family, perhaps the author’s own fictionalized account of their family (though this tact is rather dangerous, so fictionalize your family at your own risk).

Just as I discussed in Part 8 about dystopian literature being a part of the over-arching label of speculative fiction, sagas–specifically family sagas–are considered to be under the umbrella of commercial fiction, which is different than “mainstream” fiction and includes women’s fiction, chick lit, and some suspense, thrillers, and adventures. When looking for an agent or publisher, look for those that mention either this commercial fiction label or family sagas specifically. Otherwise, you’re probably safe looking at historical fiction publishers, if those don’t seem to fit the bill.

Next up: Science Fiction!

This Will Be A Day Long Remembered

This one is from the very first scene ever shot for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and it took place on June 26, 1997 at Leavesden Studios in England.

With this, Lucas could first take advantage of the new digital equipment that had arrived for Episode I. The new technology was capable of exceptionally deep focus, which enabled them to keep both actors/characters in focus, despite their differing distances from the camera.

The result was a memorable shot, showing both Darth Sidious and Darth Maul conspiring on Coruscant. While the audience looks directly at the public and devilish Face of Evil (Maul), the truly evil Mastermind (Sidious) stands by - a pale and cryptic figure, hidden in darkness, almost nondescript.

Digital filmmaking provided production with a lot of benefits, vastly exceeding mere Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). As seen, it was used from Day 1 as a valuable tool to create many magnificent and iconic Images for the legendary Star Wars Saga.