JIS is now a segment for guest podcasts. It's more fun that way.
A Storm in the NorthEdit
So, about 2 months after part 1 of Norse mythology, here we are again revisiting the likes of Odin and Thor, eight legged horses and manic squirrels.
Before we start, because it's been a while, we should refresh your memories with regards to who's who in the Norse pantheon.
Odin is the god of wisdom, battle, and poetry, and ruler of the gods
Frigg is Odin's wife, goddess of the sky, marriage, and childbirth
Balder is Odin's son, a gentle and handsome god
Thor is also Odin's son, and the god of the sky and thunder, associated with the weather, crops, and warriors
Loki is the trickster figure, companion to the gods
Fenrir is a huge monstrous wolf, child of Loki
Hel goddess of the dead, child of Loki
Freyja is the goddess of love and fertility, twin of Freyr
Freyr is the god of fertility and prosperity, twin of Freyja (sooky la la god)
Heimdall guards Asgard, the home of the gods
Jormungand giant serpent
Tyr god of war, justice, and order (and who Tuesday is named after)
Tyr and FenrirEdit
Fenrir is one of Loki's abomination spawn, borne of a giantess with whom he (?Loki) lay. He's also a ridiculosly powerful wolf. Considering Loki also produced the ruler of hell and a world-encircling serpent via this one poor giantess's womb, one wonders why he didn't simply pound out a whole legion of invincible dreadnoughts with a single pants-down trip to the brothel of the realm of the giants, affectionately known as "The Hell Hole".
Well, Fenrir was a wee little cub when he was born, so the gods let him live, but soon regretted it when Fenrir hit a few thousand growth spurts when they were off doing other things like drinking and drinking and drinking.
They understand that letting Fenrir grow any further would be extremely bad news for them, so our lovable host of surprisingly incompetent and needy gods hatches a cockmamie scheme. Fenrir is posed a challenge: is he so strong that he can break the toughest chains in the land? Oh, and, uh, if he can't, they totes promise to release him from the chains. When has the father of lies lied before!?
Fenrir isn't an idiot so when they bring in the chain forged by dwarves (the only competent beings in this mythology), he asks to have the hand of a god named Tyr placed between his fangs as collateral should they renege on their promise to remove the chains. And so Tyr sacrifices his hand to secure the binding of the dread wolf. Not too miserable a loss, you don't need two hands to lift a flagon. The dwarves can probably forge you a new one anyway.
It should be noted that, by and large, the gods already understand their ultimate fate, and so all these stories take a decidedly defeatist tinge. Why did they bother tying up Fenrir if Odin knew he (? who - Fenrir) was just going to get eaten in the end anyway? The answer is basically ehhhh
Before we move on, the tale of Tyr and the missing eternity's worth of ale.
Lest you think any of the gods apart from Odin know what the hell is going on apart from that whole end of the world business, in this story, they plum run out of mead! Get your shit together, guys, you have nothing to do but drink and ocassionaly slaughter giants. A trip to the bottl'o every now and then shouldn't be that hard. If it is, send a dwarf FFS.
So they need to suck up the a sea god named Aegir. He and his wife reside in a hall beneath the waves, lit only by gleaming gold. I bet they're glad that one gold loving never learned to swim, she wouldn't have travelled up to Asgard to wax lyrical over her undying lust for gowuhld.
Thor ruins it for them by outright demanding Aegir brew them tons of ale. Angered, Aegir replies he doesn't have a cauldron large enough, and they all sort of gape at each other gormlessly. Evidently, none of them had anticipated that might be a problem. Then one-handed Tyr raises his one hand and tells them his dad, a giant, owns a cauldron five miles deep. Everyone claps (except Tyr, of course). Immediately Thor collects his goats Tanngnost Tooth Grinder, Tanngrisni Gat Tooth, and Whelvax Mewltooth Meowmers and he and Tyr ride to Tyr's dad's place (a five mile deep cauldron can't be terribly difficult to spot).
Okay, I love this sentence, it's hilarious:
"The first person they came across was Tyr's grandmother for whom he had very little love. She was a monster with nine hundred heads."
That's a lot of heads. (And Tyr's only got a single hand, what a disappointment.) Imagine giving birth to a 900 headed baby - yeaowch. Epidural? Yes please. Maybe that's where all the meade went.
Tyr's mom says they've got to hide beneath a cauldron when Tyr's dad rolls by because he's a grump whose primary means of communication is baleful stares, not unlike my dad. Mom butters him up with a "look at them, aren't they so cute hiding underneath that support!!" Dad just shoots the support a glare and it cracks and topples, leaving only the cauldron Thor and Tyr are under intact. Talk about if looks could kill. Norse Mythology is badass.
Giant Dad has three oxen bumped and boiled for them, and Thor gobbles up two of them in a fell swoop. We love you Thor. Never change. (Thor's there under an assumed name, I don't understand why though since they still say he's an enemy to giants. Who has time for making sense when there's mead to be brewed).
Thor's a bit of a glutton so if they want more food they'll need to go rowing for fish. Um, why couldn't he have just eaten all 3 oxen?
Anyway, All I need from you is bait," said Thor.
"Help yourself from the pasture where my herd is grazing," said Giant Dad. "I've no doubt, giant killer, that you'll find a turd or two there easily enough.
IT IS ON. Thor rips off the horns of an ox named Heaven Bellower (an ox named Heaven Bellower) and karate chops it in the neck. But really, who doesn't use the cranium of an enormous ox named Heaven Bellower as bait.
Daddy Giant reels up two whales; not to be outdone, Thor reels up Jormungand, the world-encircling serpent. Suck these nuts, giant, these nuts, suck them. When they're on land, Thor lifts up the boat with the dread giant and twin whales and carries it over back to the hall. Butthurt, Daddy Giant proposes a final test of strength.
"You're a fair oarsman, certainly, but so are many others. I'd only call a man strong if he were able to smash this glass goblet."
Upon first chucking, the goblet seems indestructible, but Tyr's mom advises he chuck it at Tyr's dad's head, since "He eats so much it's almost solid."
Sure enough it cracks and Dad Giant gives up, surrendering his cauldron. Thor hoists the five mile deep cauldron on his shoulder and exits swagtastically. Well, we can't end a Thor story without slaughtering mad throngs of many-headed giants, so naturally they start chasing after him. One swing of his mighty hammer and not a one of them was spared. Hammer time indeed.
And so Thor gave the sea god Aegir a sufficiently sized cauldron to brew them all ale, and stole Aegir's pride to boot. What a great day for our favorite thunder guy. Wait, did I say this story was about Tyr? Yeah not so much in the end.
Thor and HrungnirEdit
Odin is stupid bored and jealous of Thor's actually doing things besides sitting on a throne. Thor was bashing the skulls of trolls and troll women and their wolfchildren while Odin was winning trivia contests or some shit.
So Odin comes riding into the realm of the giants with his eight-legged steed Sleipnir and bets his head against Jotunheim's strongest----a giant named Hrungnir----that Sleipnir has no equal among horses. Fool, has he never heard of Hrungnir's own GOLD MANE!? A chase ensues, and Odin lures Hrungnir inside Asgard, leading him into Valhalla to drink from Thor's old ale horns. Now drunk, Hrungnir vows to carry all of Valhalla all the way back home to Jotunheim, and, after the warriors of Valhalla jeer and laugh, he pledges to smash all of Asgard into the sea, killing everybody except Freyja and Sif (Thor's wife). God, does Freyja have intocixating giant pheremones or what? In my ideal woman, a vagina that's not microscopic helps to lend a certain allure. But then again, I don't really want a chick with a gigantic one either....gold lusting volva are also fine.
After a fashion, they grow tired of Hrungnir's boasting, so they send for Thor to come slay him something fierce. However, Hrungnir saves his neck by appealing to Thor's reputation; wouldn't be sporting to pulverize Hrungnir while he's unarmed, after all. No, they shall fight an honorable duel, both armed and ready for battle.
In their bid to off Thor, the giants of Jotunheim gather and mold clay, crafting a golem so tall its head breached the clouds, and named it Mist Calf. Ooh, "Mist Calf", I'm shaking. Are there any two less threatening things you can think of than a mist and a calf? Let's read on. Lacking any bigger hearts to power the golem and give it life, the giants settled for the heart of a mare, which makes Mist Calf a bit of a joke since it's wobbly and disoriented. When it sees Thor kill Hrungnir, it springs a leak and pees itself in terror before toppling! Guess Mist Calf was an appropriate name after all.
However, Thor didn't vanquish Thrungnir without getting a shard of the giant's whetstone lodged into his head and bleeding profusely (OUCH, how big must that spear have been, too). To make things even worse, he's pinned underneath Hrungnir's leg. None of the gods can lift it off him. Then Thor's son by a giantess arrives and makes the pantheon of the Aesir look like tools, effortlessly swinging away Hrungnir's foot. Thor goes "Not bad, son," and bequeaths Gold Mane onto him, despite Odin's objection that it should go to him.
In order to get the whetstone removed from his head, Thor sends for a wise woman, one that's the wife of one of the warriors of Valhalla. As thanks for healing his wound all night with chants and stuff, Thor surprises her with a gift: he rescued her husband from death, and he'll be arriving shortly! Well, this shocks the wise woman so much that she's struck dumb and can't finish the healing enchantment! Where's a speech pathologist when you need one? And so Thor was left with the whetstone in his head, well and truly stoned.
So when you see Thor with a helmet on, you know why.
If you think Odin let Thor show him up without striking back, think again. Under a disguise, Odin would go on to troll Thor and prevent him from crossing a sound in a memorable flyting, the Norse mythological term for yo mamma battles. While the hearts of Norsemen would have definitely lay with Thor, the champion of the peasants, it is Odin who wins through sheer dickery--much like one would expect from a champion of the highborn and prevaricators everywhere. To give you a good idea how much of a dick Odin is, well, refer back to how he got a bunch of hard working serfs to inadvertently slaughter each other with their scythes, but ALSO refer to how he started off the flyting by informing Thor that his mom was dead, and then laughed at his stupid face when he believed it. THIS IS HIS SON.
I can just imagine the batlle:
Odin: "Yo mamma so fat......."
Thor: "Um Dad, that's your wife".
Odin: "Oh shit, yeah. Well, YO mamma so loose..."
Thor: "DAD - you're saying YOUR WIFE is a slut"
Odin: "THOR - Don't talk about my wife like that!. Go to your room"
Thor: (under his breath) "What a dick"
Odin: "That's what yo mamma said - te he he"
(Yes Joey, this was inspired by the most recent Archer ep.)
Can we laugh immaturely at the name Geirrod? Yes, yes we can.
Loki is bored and flaps around using his coat of feathers to transform into a hawk. He stumbles on a Jotun feast in progess in a giant's hall, a dad and 2 daughters; Dad Giant Geirrod demands that his servant grab the hawk for a spot of entertainment. Initially, Loki has a laugh evading capture just outside of reach, but he's caught in a binding spell and taken to be fettered and trained.
Upon inspecting the hawk's eyes, Geirrod gasps: This is no hawk, but a shapeshifting impostor! Loki wastes away in a locked box for three months, stewing in his own feces, before he finally gives in and reveals his true identity. Some trickster you turned out to be, Loki. Geirrod compels him to lure Thor into a trap, lest he find the notion of getting smashed into bird pulp in agreeable one. For those at home counting, that's the SECOND time somebody's thrashed Loki and extorted him into luring a god into a trap. You know after that's happened TWICE, you'd be keen for the world to end, too. Loki convices Thor to come by telling him about Geirrod's hot daughters - the unruly giantesses Gjálp and Greip (translated into English as "Herpy" and "Derpy").
Luckily, a giantess named Grid takes an immediate liking to Thor and clues him on Geirrod's murderous scheme before he dozes off on the way to Geirrod's hall. She hands Thor a belt of strength, a pair of iron gloves, and an unbreakable staff. Thor probably hoped those wondrous items would draw attention away from the slab poking out of his skull.
Next, the two gods come across the raging river of menstrual blood, Vimur. Giantesses face that time of the month, too, you know (that's when those church sized tampons come in handy). It's one of Geirrod's daughters who's causing the river to rise while Thor and Loki wade across it, in an effort to drown them. Man, that's some cramps and a half. After this stunt, in Thor's mind, she's downgraded to maybe a 6 or 7. In any case, Thor's brain is half-wedgestone, so of course his answer to his conundrum is to hurl a boulder at her head.
When they reach Geirrod's digs, the servant leads them to what is to be their quarters: a smelly ass rotten goat shed. Thor falls asleep in his chair and dreams of his menstrual blood river ordeal, only to startle awake and discover he is indeed floating once more; the two daughters had hidden underneath the chair, lifting him up to smash against the rafters! Thor uses his unbreakable staff to destroy the beams of the ceiling and crush the two giantesses in so doing. Yes, Thor crushed 2 giantesses with his unbreakable staff.
Finally, the showdown against Geirrod, the now deaded Giantess's dad. Geirrod flings a gigantic, red hot coal at Thor, but he intercepts it with his very handy iron gloves, and returns the throw so hard it bores a hole through the column Geirrod hid behind, through his bowels, through the wall, into the far off hills. And after Thor slaughters all of Geirrod's servants for good measure, he remembers how Loki promised he was in for a duo of big bosomed barely legals. A grudge to rival all of fiction is born.
Useless fact: a moon of Saturn that was discovered in 2006 was named after one of those nubile yet well endowed giantesses, Greip. Ironic, as it's only a pissy 6km across. Could have chosen a name of one of the plethora of elves and dwarves in Norse mythology for that one, astronomy guys. It also seems that Geirröd is depicted in the sky as the constellation Böotes. His realm is the region behind the Milky Way between the constellations Scorpio and Gemini. You can see these constellations from the Southern Hemisphere too in winter.
OK, time for some animal action. Enough with the giants and dwarves - furries, your time has come (so to speak).
This is a story about a boy called "Otter".
Otter was the son of Hreidmar and brother of Fafnir (Fafnir was a dwarf with one powerful arm, probs from masturbating), and another, non-mattering brother.
So, let's learn a little more about this father of Otter, Hreidmar. Let's see.....aw crap, are you kidding? I guess I spoke to soon. Funnily enough, Hreidmar was a greedy king of the....wait for it.....can you guess? DWARVES. *sigh* Dwarves are the makers and shakers of Norse mythology, honestly.
Here's another quiz for you. "Otter" had the ability to transform himself into...
a) a quagga
b) a yowie
c) a beaver
d) an otter
Ems: (drumroll................). Yes, surprise surprise, Otter had the ability to transform himself into an...... otter. And for all of those who wanted beaver, well, here it is. I am all the beaver you're getting. Soz. Buy a phone card and tell someone who cares.
Personally, if I had the power to shape shift, I'd pick Heaven Bellower.
Joey: Loki, seeing how beautiful Otter's floofy hide was, killed and skinned Otter (you are so beautiful, I feel the need to kill and skin you.....Loki may have just been the inspiration for Buffalo Bill...IT PUTS THE LOTION ON ITS.....fur.....). Alternatively, hunter culture.
Anyway, Loki wrapped the Otter's hide over his shoulders, fur wrap style. When Odin, Hoenir and Loki came to Hreidmar's house, Hreidmar immediately realised that Loki had killed his son. It was one of THOSE days. Being a little pissed off, Hreidmar tied the three gods up. The idea here is that the laws of early Germanic culture allowed you to absolve your sin of murder by paying back whatever the murdered person was worth, and every individual was appraised appropriately. Otherwise it would just degenerate into a blood feud spanning generations.
Ems: So Hreidmar don't go all revenge arse crazy over the top mental on Loki for killing his son, he just gets some rope and ties him up. Sure, you can stay rational in that situation. Um Hreidmar, methinks you get "tying up". Just sayin'......
Well, how do you think Fafnir got such a huge arm? Kink chains certainly didn't hurt.
Ems: So daddy Hreidmar tells them that he will only be nice to two other gods, if Loki can pay a ransom for the gods' freedom. Seems that Loki stole the treasure from some dwarf (who.....*elongated sigh*...had a magical ability to change himself into a salmon).
Hey, at least this isn't British mythology where the salmons are omniscient.
It's a cursed ring that visits death upon those who would possess it.
Anyway......when Daddy Hreidmar saw the treasure, his greed made him forgot about the grief over the loss of his son. Fafnir killed his father and seized the treasure for himself. Eventually he got so greedy he turned into a dragon with virulent poison breath to protect his hoard from his other brother.
Joey: Moral of the story? NEVER EVER trust ANYTHING that looks kinda like a beaver.
So, let's note that is in fact the THIRD TIME Loki has had to go through this. At least this time he wasn't trapped as a bird inside a cramped box for three months.
Loki's Flyting and Imprisonment
If I were Loki, I'd want to let off some steam, too. Basically, Lokasenna revolves entirely around Loki talking shit about everyone to their faces during a banquet. It's wonderful.
It all starts when Loki gets a little jealous of the praises heaped on one of the servants of their host, the sea god dude who made them all ale, and kills him out of spite. Everybody goes WTF and tells Loki to GTFO, and then they return to their carousing--lest you think the rest of the pantheon had anything close to tact. In order to return to the table, Loki invokes some oath Odin made that they all treat each other with respect and make space for each other to sit and feast. From there on, Loki acts like a dick and insinuates all the guys are cowards and all the goddesses are sexually loose. The exchanges between Odin and Loki are particularly vitriolic. It's only when Thor stops by and threatens to knock Loki's head off with a sound hammer whack that he leaves, but not before making sure everybody knows that he takes only Thor seriously.
Loki is chased by the gods, and caught after an unsuccessful attempt at disguising himself as a salmon--if I recall correctly, they use a net to catch him. Far from a salmon of wisdom, he. The entrails of his son Nari are used to bind him to three rocks above which Skaði places a serpent to drip venom on him. Loki's wife Sigyn remains by his side with a bowl to catch the venom; however, whenever she leaves to empty the bowl, venom falls on Loki, causing him to writhe in agony; this writhing was said to be the cause of earthquakes.
But don't worry, I'm sure Nari's death was quick and painless, he was only just ravened by his brother who was transformed into a wolf for the express purpose of tearing him apart.
Odin's hate-on must have made The World Tree Yggdrasill look like a baby's nub.
- Brothers will fight
- and kill each other,
- sisters' children
- will defile kinship.
- It is harsh in the world,
- whoredom rife
- —an axe age, a sword age
- —shields are riven—
- a wind age, a wolf age—
- before the world goes headlong.
- No man will have
- mercy on another.
Ragnarok may seem over-the-top, what with the world-sized serpent breathing venom into the sky, but it in fact closely mirrors our trajectory. Just as the actions of gods and giants will eventually submerge the nine realms in water, so too will our own actions--a fate that we did foresee and could have avoided, but didn't. Also, I'm blaming Jormungand for all that C02.
Yes, Ragnarok is a series of future events, including a great battle that kills off of a number of really important/huge figures in Norse mythology. It will be preceded by Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters. Three such winters will follow each other with no summers in between. Various natural disasters will occur, and the world gets submerged in water. Supposedly, after all this, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and returning gods will meet, and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors who hid inside Yggdrasil while all this mayhem was going on around them. Hmm, the whole world under water two people and a tree thing sounds familiar. Just sayin'.
According to a volva, the onset of Ragnarok will be heralded by three roosters' crowing. One crimson cock is in a forest in Jotunheim, a soot-red one is raising the dead in Hel, and a golden one is calling to the gods in Asgard. Those roosters would have been St. Peter's worst nightmare if he wasn't busy skinning Jormungand through his digestive tract and shitting out mounds of gold coins to decorate his home inside Leviathan (ST. PETER WAS HARDCORE).
Everything is in turmoil. Fathers kill sons and mothers seduce them. The sun and moon will be ripped out and chewed up by the enormous wolves that have been chasing them all this time, and the stars too will clatter away. Hraesvelgr, the giant eagle whose wings are the source of all wind, will set loose Naglfar, the ship made of the nails of the dead, which in turn will ferry the beings that will do battle against the gods--the fire giants of Muspellheim. Loki, now free, is intent on wreaking revenge with his Hel army of undead. These evil dead will clash blades with the vast host of Valhalla, strong 800 by 540 proud warriors. At some point, all parties involved will stop for a brief moment to pose for the covers to every headbangers album.
The gods then do battle with the invaders: Odin is swallowed whole and alive fighting the wolf Fenrir, causing his wife Frigg her second great sorrow (the first being the death of her son, the god Baldr). Fenrir's maw was so huge it pressed against the sky, and would gaped even wider had there been more room. Is that shit not the most metal thing you've ever heard?
The god Freyr fights Surtr's burning blade and loses, as he gave away his own nifty autonomous floating sword. Odin's son Víðarr avenges his father by rending the wolf Fenrir's jaws apart and stabbing it in the heart with his spear, thus killing it. He used a special divine boot that was made of the "strips and bits of leather pared off the heels and toes of new shoes since time began, and all the leftovers thrown away as gifts for the gods." Loki and Heimdall kill each other. The serpent Jörmungandr opens its gaping maw, yawning widely in the air, and is met in combat by Thor. Thor, also a son of Odin and described here as protector of the earth, furiously fights the serpent, defeating it, but Thor is only able to take nine steps afterward before collapsing. After this, people flee their homes, and the sun becomes black while the earth sinks into the sea, the stars vanish, steam rises, and flames touch the heavens. The world becomes a rather unpleasant sauna, and then an unpleasant hot spring as the earth sinks under the sea.
Then it's all the boring stuff about how the world will renew itself, yadda yadda cyclical yadda yadda. A bunch of gods remain alive, Balder and Hod return to life for some reason, and the two people who hid in the tree fuck and have babies. THE END FOREVER except for the next episode