Friday, 15 January 2016

Norse Mythology Week - The Essential Guide for the Newly-Dead Norseman

As a child, how much thought did you put into your games, your dreams, your ambitions?

As a teenager, how much thought did you put into your university application?

As an adult, how much thought did you put into where you would settle?

(Those are some pretty big questions. Wait. Are we answering those today? Are you finally going to sit down and give these things some serious -)

So why, why, why are you not putting more thought into your afterlife?

(I stand corrected.)

You're being good, you say? Charitable? Honourable? Kind? Ha! What do you think this is? Brownie camp? Your good deeds will do nothing for you. Your morality will be ignored. Your principles, laughed into Helheim. 
You should thank Thor that this handy guide to the Norse Underworld has been compiled. Odin only knows where you'd be without it.

Valhalla

This is it. The place to be. Valhalla is ruled over by Odin, the leader of the Gods so, if you want to get in, you better be ready to impress him and his valkyries. But not by winning some Britain's-Got-Talent style contest, oh no. To gain access to Valhalla, you have to die in battle. 
To be fair, Valhalla is almost always depicted as a place of constant battle, so you probably need that qualification to stay sane during your eternal rest war there.

Folkvangr

Freya's equivilant to Valhalla. Like Odin chooses the warriors who end up in Valhalla, she chooses the ones who go to Folkvangr. Not that anyone's really sure how they choose. Or what they do if they both want the same warrior. Toss a coin, maybe? 

Helheim 

Hel's domain. Where everyone else ends up. The sick. The old. The warriors who die on the operating table (you have to feel sorry for those guys). The good and the evil. All of the children. Most of the women (I'm assuming, since there's some debate as to whether women were allowed to battle or not. Armed female remains have been found, but there are many sources that say women were not viewed as warriors.) No one's really sure what happened here. It was just...Helheim.

And, to confuse you newly-dead Norsefolk further, only Snorri bothers to seperate Helheim from Valhalla so, for all we know, you could be going to Helheim no matter what.

The moral of this not-very-informative information guide? Think before you take that enemy spear in the gut - it might not be as worth it as you think.

Sources - The Poetic Edda (Snorri) and http://norse-mythology.org/concepts/death-and-the-afterlife/

...And...that's...Norse...Mythology...week..over... Holy Frigga, I am never blogging five days in a row again. 

(Lazy.)

You're one to talk. I can count the number of times you've spoken this week on my hands! 

I'd ask you which part of the underworld you thought you'd end up in, but I think that question's been rendered moot. Tell me your favourite Norse deity instead. I'm rather partial to Loki and Ran, myself.