Norse Mythology: details and inspiration in SnK
Okay, I’ll say it straight away: I’m hardly a Norse Mythology expert ( so, if you are, please pitch in and feel free to add/correct! ). However, I’ve noticed a larger number of points of contact ( do you say that in english?? ) between Norse Mythology and snk than I had initially suspected, especially after chapter 92 and Zeke's
mighty bellow Titan scream, and this makes me curious? Clearly, Isayama-sensei knows his norse mythology quite well.
So, to date:
- We all already know that Ymir was the name of the first Titan in Norse Mythology, but the name also means “ Scream ” in ancient norse. Some of the Shifters ( like Annie, Zeke, and possibly Eren ) have varying degrees of control over the mindless Titans through their screams.
- Norse Ymir is usually portrayed as male in most depictions, but he was in fact an ermaphrodite; Mindless Titans in SnK are usually mistaken as having male bodies regardless of their original gender, when in fact they’re devoid of physical gender characteristics: no breasts, no nipples, no reproductive organs ( except for beards, for some reason ).
- In Old Norse, the term used for the Titans, Jotnar, meant “ the Devourers ”. What do the Snk Titans do, again?
- After killing Ymir, Odin and his brothers Víli and Vé dismembered them, and from their body they built the nine worlds, all connected through the branches of the World Tree Yggdrasil. After Ymir Fritz/Krista Lenz’s death, the Nine Titan Shifters were created from her “ soul ”, and all of the people who descended from them were connected through the invisible “ Paths ” of the Eldians.
- Odin had a great Wall built around Asgard to protect it from the Titans. You know who built the Wall? A Titan. ( and his stallion, with whom good ol’ Loki had the horse Sleipnir, but that’s a story for another time ). Oh, and Odin also built a fence around Midgard, for the same reason. Does that remind you of anything?
First King Reiss, I’m looking at you ( except that the old bastard built a wall around Paradis to keep the Titans fenced in, not the other way around, but, same intent, same result ).
- And then of course, there is Castle Utgard, where Loki and Thor took shelter once together with Thor’s human companions, and the Titans that lived there disguised as humans tested them to prod for weaknesses, and realized that everything they’d heard about Thor’s might was real, and decided that it would be too dangerous to cross paths with them again. In Snk, Castle Utgard is where the Beast Titan, actually a human “ in disguise ” tested the SC for weaknesses, and… he was not impressed, it seems. So he decided to attack them when they crossed paths again at Shiganshina. It was not a good idea. Nice inversion there.
- Oh, and of course there are the constant references to the
Big Ass Trees Titan Trees, for some reason! Not only did Isayama literally show us a a plant surrounded by smaller buds when Grandpa Ackerman was talking about the Eldians and the minor bloodlines, but wherever we have a Titan, aehm, “ titan-ing ” ( I’m not sure how else to put it ), small trees suddenly sprout from the ground, like here:
Another reference to Yggdrasil, perhaps?
- And what about the constantly changing fate of the Old Norse? In Norse Mythology, three Titan maidens, called the Norns, carved the fate of every living being at the base of Yggdrasil’s trunk; however, when dew fell from the tips of the leaves of the great tree into the wells wrom which it sprang, the Wells of Urd, Mimir and Hvelgelmir, the Norns rewrote and reshaped the destinies of the living beings, as it is inscribed at the base of the tree. Apparently, the dew represents every living being’s actions, decisions and thoughts, changing their paths in life and retroactively influencing their Past ( the Norn Urda ), defining their Present ( the Norn Verdandi ) and Weaving their Future ( the Norn Skuld ). A reference for the “ history repeats “ theory, perhaps? No, but seriously, I think each person’s decisions and their ability to influence the future on a grand scale are a primary theme in Isayama’s manga, but that’s a thing for another post. This one has been way longer than I initially planned already.
Thoughts? Please share!