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Happy Thor's Day. I'm trying out a new blog format (thanks to my new critique partner Kris Atkins for the idea). If you really liked the Thor's Day Trivia, don't despair because I will still do that occasionally.


I just finished the YA contemporary The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. I don't normally read contemporary, but I was looking for an example of third person POV with lots of "feels." Thanks to Ashley Leath for the recommendation.


I am working on a new YA fantasy with a working title of Green Eyed Monster. It's about a green-eyed girl who is extremely jealous of others. It's too new to say much else.


I participated in #SFFPit on Twitter this week (for those of you unfamiliar with the hashtag, it is a pitching event for Sci-fi and Fantasy). My 140-character pitch got one favorite from a small press and I gained quite a few followers, so it was definitely worth it.

Sif is a Norse goddess associated with the earth.  She is also Thor's wife. She belongs to the class of newer gods known as the Aesir.

There is not much known about Sif, except for an incident when Loki sneaked into her bedroom and lopped off her beautiful golden locks while she was sleeping. 

Thor was furious and threatened to smash him unless Loki managed to replace the hair. Loki asked the dwarfs to create a golden headpiece as a replacement.  The dwarfs agreed and made a long wave of fine golden strands which Loki gave to Sif.

Along with the headpiece, Loki had the dwarfs produce other gifts to appease the gods: Odin's spear, Freyr's ship Skidbladnir (that can shrink to fit in his pocket), Freyr's golden bristled boar, and the mighty hammer for Thor.

Scholars have proposed that Sif's hair may represent fields of golden wheat and that she may be associated with fertility, family, and wedlock.
Next Thor's Day: another son of Odin, Vidar

Hodur (HOH-der) is the Norse god of winter and darkness.  He is the blind son of Odin and Baldur's twin brother, therefore he belongs to the newer class of gods known as the Aesir.

The sources do not say why Hodur is blind, but scholars suspect it may simply be a representation of darkness and winter. 
In the previous post, you learned how Hodur was tricked by Loki into killing his brother by shooting him with an arrow made of mistletoe.

As a reaction to the murder, Odin fathered a son, the god of vengeance, Vali (pronounced like the English word valley).  Vali grew to adulthood in one day for the sole purpose of slaying Hodur. 

So Hodur joined Baldur in the underworld, which is ruled by the death goddess, Hel. 

Interestingly, all three of the gods in this tragic story (Baldur, Hodur, and Vali) are among the few predicted to survive Ragnarok (the end of the world).

Next Thor's Day: Sif, goddess of the earth and wife of Thor

The Norse god, Baldur (BALD-er) was so handsome, gracious, and cheerful that he actually gave off light.  Baldur is the son of Odin and Frigg, therefore he belongs to the newer class of gods known as the Aesir.

Unlike the immortal Greek gods, Norse gods could and did die. The story of Baldur's death is one of the most famous and one of the most complete in Norse mythology. Here is a condensed version:
When Baldur began to have dreams of his death, Frigg went around to every living thing in the world and secured from each of them an oath not to harm her son.
Confident in Baldur’s invincibility, the gods amused themselves by throwing weapons and any random thing they could find at Baldur and watching them bounce off of him, leaving him utterly unscathed.
Loki, who was extremely jealous of Balder because he was the only god more beautiful than himself, sensed an opportunity. He inquired of Frigg whether she had overlooked anything whatsoever in her quest to obtain oaths. She casually answered that she had thought the mistletoe to be too small and harmless a thing to bother asking for such a promise.

Loki straightaway made a spear from the mistletoe and convinced the blind god, Hodur, to throw it at Baldur. The projectile, guided by Loki's aim, pierced the god and he fell down dead.

The anguished Odin sent another one of his sons, Hermod, to the underworld to see if there was any way Baldur could be retrieved from the clutches of the death goddess, Hel.

Hermod implored the dreadful goddess to release Baldur, and after much persuasion, she replied that she would give him up, if and only if everything in the world would weep for Baldur – to prove, in other words, that he was as universally beloved as Hermod claimed.

And the whole world did indeed weep for the generous son of Odin – all, that is, except one creature: a giantess named Þökk (generally assumed to be Loki in disguise), who callously refused to perform the act that would secure Baldur’s return.

And so the bright god lay in the grave until Ragnarok (the end of the world) when he will be returned at last to the land of the living, gladdening the hearts of the creatures who fill the new world.

By the way, the engineering of Baldur's death was the final straw for Loki, but that is a story for another day.

Next Thor's Day: The blind god, Hodur

It's Thor's Day once again and that means some more trivia about the Norse pantheon.

Forseti (FOR-set-tee) is the Norse god of justice and mediation. Forseti is a grandson of Odin so he is a member of the newer class of gods known as the Aesir. 

Forseti is one of the “younger” gods of the Norse pantheon, and it is telling that he is the son of one of the most famous murder victims in its history (Forseti's father, Baldur, was killed in a plot orchestrated by the trickster god, Loki).

Unlike the older gods, who embraced vengeance, Forseti turned to fair mediation in spite of his family history.

As a lawmaker, he approaches wrongdoing as a complex, multilayered problem that requires humane solutions based on established laws rather than lashing out emotionally.

Folk of all kinds would come to him for mediation of their problems, and it was said that no one came away dissatisfied by Forseti’s judgments.

Next Thor's Day: Forseti's father, Baldur

Happy Thor's Day from the windy city. 

Sadly this is NOT the view from my hotel, but I am staying only a few blocks away from the pier.

But on to the trivia.....

Bragi (pronounced BRA-gee) is the Norse god of poetry.  Bragi is Odin's son and a member of the newer class of gods known as the Aesir.

He has runes carved on his tongue and regales renowned heroes upon their entrance to Valhalla (a great hall in Asgard for fallen warriors).
Bragi is married to Idun (EE-dun), the goddess of spring and rejuvenation.
Idun grows the magic apples of immortality which the gods must eat to preserve their youth.
Idun and her apples were once abducted by a giant, Thiazi.  The gods began to suffer the effects of old age. They soon began to suspect that Loki was the mastermind.  The gods threatened Loki with death so he returned Idun and her apples to Asgard. 
Next Thor's Day: Forseti, the god of justice

Heimdall (pronounced HAME-doll) is the Norse god of light.  He stands guard at the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, which connects Asgard (the home of the gods) to the world of humans.  Heimdall is Odin's son and belongs to the newer class of gods known as the Aesir.

Heimdall requires less sleep than a bird and has incredibly sharp senses that allow him to see great distances even at night and to hear sounds as soft as wool growing on sheep. 

Heimdall is considered to be the father of social classes. According to legend, he traveled around the earth and stayed three nights with married couples from different social classes.

First, he visited some serfs, then some peasants, and finally a noble couple. Nine months after each visit, a child was born to each.
  • The first was a strong boy named Thrall, who became the ancestor of all serfs.
  • The second, Karl, was skilled at farm work and became the ancestor of all peasants.
  • Jarl, the last of the children, was intelligent and quick to learn the skills of hunting and combat. He became the ancestor of all warriors and nobles.
The words thrall, karl, and jarl mean serf, farmer, and nobleman in the Norse language.

Heimdall is usually pictured with his golden horn, Gjallarhorn, which he will one day use to call the other gods to Ragnarok, the final battle that will result in the destruction of gods and humans. During the battle, Heimdall will kill the trickster god, Loki, then meet his own death.
Next Thor's Day: Bragi, the god of poetry and his wife, Idun 

It's Thor's Day once again and I know I previously promised you some trivia on Heimdall, but I'm going to postpone that until next time.

Instead, check out this blog post from my agent, Ethan Vaughan. It's an entertaining account of how he came to represent my book, Wish Maiden.

And here's a LEGO Thor just because everything (LEGO) awesome!

Yes, yet another day of the week is named after a Norse god.  Tyr (pronounced TEER) is the god of courage and justice. Tyr was originally known as Tiw (rhymes with ewe) and that's why the day is pronounced Tuesday.

That makes four days of the week named after Norse gods.

FYI: The modern Saturday is named after the Roman god, Saturn, but in Norse times it was washing day (apparently some things never change).

Back to Tyr - he is one of the oldest European gods and was originally the chief god, but was later overtaken in popularity and therefore in authority by Odin.  The myth was modified so that Tyr later became Odin's son (so even though he is quite old, he belongs to the newer class of gods known as the Aesir).

As you can see from the picture above, Tyr is missing his right hand.  That's because it was bitten off by Fenrir the Wolf.

It was predicted that Fenrir (son of the trickster god, Loki) would cause trouble for the gods so they endeavored to bind the giant wolf for their own safety.  The wolf refused to allow the suspiciously innocent-looking cord to be put around him unless one of the deities put his or her hand in his mouth as a pledge of good faith.

Only Tyr was brave and honorable enough to comply with the beast’s request, and, when Fenrir found himself unable to break free of his fetters, he accordingly helped himself to the god’s hand.  (Fenrir plays a part in Ragnarok, the Norse prediction for the end of the world, but that's for another post.)
The rune that represents Tyr is one of the oldest known runes.  It has been found inscribed on swords, shields, and helmets dating back to 600 B.C.  Tyr's rune is shaped like a spear and represents victory.
Next Thor's Day: Heimdall, the watchman of the gods 
**facts sourced from Myths of the Norsemen by H.A. 

Freyr is one of the most important gods of Norse paganism.  He is associated with prosperity, fair weather, and fertility.  He is also the ruler of the Alfar (light elves).

  • Freyr is the son of Njord and his twin sister is Freya (thus he also belongs to the older class of gods known as the Vanir).
  • The sword he carries is a magical sword that can fight on its own.
  • The dwarfs gave him a golden-bristled boar.  The radiant bristles are considered symbolic either of the solar rays or of golden grain because the boar taught mankind how to plow.
Freyr also possessed a magical ship named Skidbladnir.  This vessel was so elastic that it was large enough to transport the gods, yet could also be folded up like a napkin and carried in one's pocket.
This small bronze statuette of Freyr is from the Viking era.  He is sitting cross-legged and holding his long beard.  From this angle, his arm is obscuring his rather large phallus (he is a fertility god).
He is also wearing a typical conical Viking helmet.  Most people think that Vikings wore helmets like this:
However according to the History Channel's website, the popular image of the strapping Viking in a horned helmet dates back to the 1800s, when Scandinavian artists included the horned headgear in their portrayals of the raiders.....and an enduring stereotype was born.

Next Thor's Day: Tyr, the one-handed god of courage

**facts sourced from Myths of the Norsemen by H.A. Guerber

Njord (pronounced NYORD) is the god of the sea and wind.

Njord belongs to the Vanir (an older class of Norse gods associated with wisdom and fertility) and is father to the goddess Freya and her twin brother, Freyr. 

Njord is a very handsome god, in the prime of his life, clad in a short green tunic with a crown of shells and seaweed upon his head.

  • Njord was the personification of summer because he extended his protection over commerce and fishing, which could only be pursued during the short summer months.
  • Njord lived in a palace near the seashore where he stilled the terrible tempests stirred up by Aegir, god of the deep sea.
  • Njord is one of the few gods who will survive Ragnarok (the predicted Norse end of the world).
  • As all aquatic plants belonged to Njord, the marine sponge was known in the north as "Njord's glove."

Next Thor's Day: Njord's son, Freyr

**facts sourced from Myths of the Norsemen by H.A. Guerber

Last weekend I saw the movie, Divergent.  This movie is based on the book of the same name by Veronica Roth.  If you haven't heard of this book and/or movie, then you've probably been living under a rock...on Mars.

The Book (description from Amazon): One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

The Movie:   The film left out a few key scenes and minimized roles of some supporting characters (for time reasons I'm sure), but it was fairly true to the book.  I thought the casting was good, although I did take a very minor issue with Theo James.  Don't get me wrong, he was very easy on the eyes and convincing as Four, he just seemed a bit too old for Shailene Woodley.  
It is set in a futuristic Chicago that doesn't have any water surrounding it so that was interesting to see.  I have an issue with heights, so there were quite a few scenes that made my palms sweat (especially having recently visited the Hancock Tower and knowing just how high it is at the top).
The first half of the movie was riveting, but the second half dragged a bit. I thought the book did a better job with the climax and conveyed a sense of real danger, whereas it felt like the last half of the movie was just prepping you for the sequel.

My hubby graciously accompanied me.  He had not read the book.  I could tell by the look on his face that he took issue with something.  Turns out it had nothing to do with the movie itself, he just didn't buy the premise. I've heard this from a few other friends also which is why I recommend reading the book first.  If you like the book, then you'll like the movie.

P.S. A friend was once asked to describe me in one sentence.  He said that I was Jack Nicholson's character from A Few Good Men when he says, "You can't handle the truth!"  So as much as I would like to be Dauntless, I'm obviously Candor :)

Also the previews at Divergent made me very excited for The Maze Runner movie which stars Dylan O'Brien from Teen Wolf.

Freya is the goddess of love and war.  She was the most beautiful and best beloved of all the goddesses.  Freya wore a falcon cloak which enabled her to fly through the air as a bird.

Freya belongs to the class of Norse gods known as the Vanir.  The Vanir are older gods associated with wisdom and fertility.  The Aesir defeated the Vanir in a great war, but some Vanir were allowed to live in Asgard (home of the Aesir) when peace was obtained.

Freya sometimes rides in a chariot pulled by cats.

Freya had a weakness for beautiful jewels.  The story tells that she had intimate relations with four dwarfs in order to obtain a golden necklace they had created.  The necklace was named Brisingamen.  You can see it depicted in this ornament from the Viking era:

  • Freya is the personification of the earth and as such, she married Odur, the symbol of the summer sun. 
  • Freya's tears turn into gold when they touch the earth and they turn into amber when they touch the ocean.
  • The prettiest plants and flowers in the north were called Freya's hair or Freya's eye dew, while the butterfly was called Freya's hen.

I named one of my cats Freya because she is beautiful and demands nothing less than worship.
She laughs at lowly humans.

Next Thor's Day: Freya's father, Njord, the god of the sea

**facts sourced from Myths of the Norsemen by H.A. Guerber

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