Our featured book this week is steeped in mythology, but you don’t have to be an expert to understand it. Actually, there are many types of mythology, but The Coming of the Dragon focuses on Scandinavian/Nordic mythology. Below, you’ll find a primer on some of the figures and concepts you’ll find mentioned in The Coming of the Dragon.
Primer on Scandinavian mythology
For a quick and dirty introduction to Scandinavian/Nordic mythology, the wikipedia entry for Beowulf is actually pretty useful and has some good sources.
- Thor: hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, destruction, fertility, healing and the protection of humans
- Freya: a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, witchcraft, war and death; she rules over her heavenly afterlife field Fólkvangr and there receives half of those who die in battle– the other half go to the god Odin’s hall, Valhalla (see next entry)
- Valhalla: a majestic, enormous hall ruled over by the god Odin; half of those who die in combat travel to Valhalla upon death
- Loki: Loki sometimes assists the gods and sometimes causes problems for them. Loki is a shape shifter and in separate incidents he appears in the form of a salmon, mare, seal, a fly, and possibly an elderly woman. (Random tidbit: Loki is also the name of author Maggie Stiefvater’s car.)
- Fenrir: a monstrous wolf, the son of Loki (Harry Potter fans, this name should be familiar to you!)
- Midgard serpent: a sea serpent and the middle child of Loki; he grew so big that he is able to surround the Earth and grasp his own tail. When he lets go, the world will end.
Want to learn more about mythology? To go to the source, read a translation of Beowulf, but here are a few Young Adult titles on Greek mythology to consider:
- Quicksilver by Stephanie Spinner: follows Hermes
Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner: retells the story of Helen of Troy
Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire by Julius Lester: Tells the story of Cupid and Psyche
The Secret History by Donna Tartt: Adult “modern classic” novel revolving around a recreation of a bacchanal
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan: covers Greek mythology