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Headscratchers / Norse Mythology

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  • Ok, so Jormungand is supposed to be a big fucking snake that is so enormous that it encircles the whole world...and it can somehow sleep in ocean? How does that work?
    • Norse Mythology Writers Have No Sense Of Scale.
    • Of course, there is always the interpretation that Jormungandr IS the Ocean.
    • For it to make sense, you have to keep in mind how the Vikings thought the world was constructed. While they did think the world was flat and knew nothing of the universe (according to Norse myths, the sky is actually solid far, far above us), as seafearers they knew perfectly well that the sea was much bigger than the land — so to them, the landmasses where people lived were just "islands" located in the middle of the enormous World Sea, which stretches out in all directions beyond everything else. Looking at the world like this, it becomes obvious that since Jormungand is so big that he encircles the world, there is literally no place for him to be but the sea; it's the only place he'll fit.
      • Also, the universe of Norse Myth have nine worlds. Jormungand may be larger than Midgard, hence being able to circle it, but he's probably not as big as the Yggdrasil. The ocean, not being earth, is probably not counted as a part of the world.
      • Actually the Norse knew that the earth was round (or at least curved).
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    • How about a quasi-scientific explanation? As animals get larger, they need less breaths per unit of time; to demonstrate this, simply compare yourself to a whale. Also, reptiles have an extremely slow metabolism, especially so for a reptile surrounded by the ice-cold waters of the deep ocean. It should be entirely possible to construct an animal's need for oxygen based on its size and metabolism, Jormungand's might be a breath every millennium or so.
    • Let's say that it's head is in the middle of the pacific ocean. From there on it's body goes east, under the Americas, over Europe and Asia or under Africa and between Asia and Oceania. From there it's body continues until it's tail meets it's head. Thus it encircles the world.
      • So basically, the Mid-Oceanic Ridge is a giant snake?

  • Ragnarok: Depending on which collection of myths you happen to be reading, they're written one of two ways: it's already happened, or it's going to happen.
    • Going to happen? Prophecy, and You Can't Fight Fate. Happened already? Well, a new world has replaced the old one, we're living in it.
      • And it is going to happen again...
      • One interpretation of this is that, yes, the world is going to end, but it already did and we're here afterwards, so life may continue even after this world ends.

  • Pronounciations: Just as a matter of curiosity, I want to know how the names in the character page are supposed to be pronounced. For example, Níðhöggr is a really badass dragon, but it's name is anglicized to Nidhogg. It bugs me that his name is pronounced in english as "Nid-hog" and gives me a very Fluffy the Terrible vibe here. Presumably, the name sounds more badass in it's native language.
    • While not an expert on Old Norse, I believe the letter eth (ð) is typically pronounced more like the 'th' in 'the' or 'father', and is occasionally translated as 'th' rather than 'd'. In addition, the name means 'dread biter', 'malice striker', or possibly 'striker in the dark'.
    • I second what above anon wrote about ð. It's hard to explain how the ö umlaut is pronounced. It doesn't sound like hog. I think the closest in English would be the sound of oe. The person saying it here takes delight in making it sound like a grunt, but basically this is how it sounds.
  • Why would the gods want humans who had died in battle to help them during Ragnarok? If someone dies in battle hasn't he, by definition, lost the fight? Wouldn't the best warriors be the ones who had survived to old age despite having been in many battles? But, as I understand it, those who die peacefully are rejected.
    • It wasn't so much that they wanted warriors that had died as they wanted particular warriors, and them dying was how they got them. Possibly they remain in whatever state they were when they died — you want to grab Grapthar the Destroyer when he's still hale and hearty and capable of destroying. There's also the idea that dying in battle proves you're willing to give everything to the fight. Plus, in the myths, the valkyries would subtly arrange things to make the chosen warriors die — so Grapthar might well have lived to the age of Cohen the Barbarian, but Odin needs him now, so that one arrow that would've grazed him is moved a liiiiiiittle to the left.
      • Also don’t believe everything you see in fiction, the idea that warriors who die of old age are rejected is not entirely true.
  • Okay, so first Frigga makes everything and everyone promise not to harm Balder, and then Hel sets the condition that everyone cry for him before he can come back to life. The only thing that didn't promise was the mistletoe, and the only one who refused to cry was (disguised) Loki. So... does that mean even the likes of Jormungand and Fenrir agreed to this? Was he just that likable?
    • You have to take the myths with a grain of salt. Remember that most of this was written in the thirteen century, where most of northern Europe was being christianize, and most of the myths were originally oral. One version of the myths written by Sax Germanicus made a century earlier tells of how Baldar fought this guy name Hrodr over her foster sister, and Hrodr had to use a magic sword named Mistiltienn in order to kill Baldr, since being a god was just simply Made Of Diamonds. Personally I believed in this version since Baldr in Edda seems like Jesus with another name.
    • I wonder whether they just hadn't gotten around to asking them yet, and they chose to blame the first person they came across who wouldn't cry. Frigga also probably didn't ask Fenrir or Jormungand to promise no harm because she figured Balder wasn't going to manage to stumble into them anyway (one was bound until Ragnarok and the other slept in the ocean).
    • They didn't necessarily need to ask Fenrir or Jormungand to not eat Baldr; teeth and muscles had already promised not to hurt him. Likewise, they didn't need to ask every single sword individually, they simply extracted a promise from steel in general.

  • Loki bargains with a dwarf, cheats, but still winds up owing the dwarf his head. The dwarf wants to decapitate him, but Loki successfully argues that his neck wasn't part of the deal. So why didn't the dwarf just remove most of Loki's head? Or scalp him or something?
    • Depending on why exactly they accepted his head as a wager, they probably didn't see any point in only partially collecting. Since the compromise was that they sewed his mouth shut, they probably were going along the lines of getting him to stop acting so damn clever all the time. They couldn't take enough of his head to really prevent that, so they didn't bother trying.
    • Or the dwarf sewed up Loki's mouth because he knew it would humiliate Loki.
    • The wager was for his whole head only. So they were not eligible to only part of his head.

  • So if earthquakes happen when Sigyn leaves to dump her bowl of acid out, does that mean that if Sigyn had, quite reasonably, decided that she'd rather not spend eternity protecting her murderer husband, we would all be stuck in a never-ending earthquake dystopia? Was that what the gods had planned on happening?
    • They probably didn't plan on it. Likely they were just so pissed off at the time that they didn't really care what happened once they got the acid drip going.


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