Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Odin In Anderson And Gaiman

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation:

Recently, I mentioned two parallels between Poul Anderson and Neil Gaiman:

an inn between the worlds;
their treatments of two particular plays by William Shakespeare.

A third is Odin as a character in fiction. As discussed in previous posts, Anderson presents:

the original of Odin (historical fiction);
a time traveler mistaken for Odin (science fiction);
in more than one work - the god, Odin (fantasy).

On p. 91 of The Sandman: Season Of Mists (New York, 1992), Gaiman and artist Kelley Jones (I think; several artists are credited for the volume) present five panels of Odin in Gladsheim. He is named:

the lord of the Aesir;
the gallows god;
the one-eyed king of Asgard;
the lord of the gallows;
Odin, the All-Father;

Two details are unexpected but appropriate:

when Odin's ravens, Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory, are away from him, gathering intelligence from the Nine Worlds, he can neither think nor remember;
"The floor of the high hall is mud scattered with rushes." (ibid.) - like the halls of Odin's worshipers.

pp. 92-93 recount the story of Loki bound beneath the snake. Gaiman writes a new story within Norse mythology, then shows the Norse myths coexisting and interacting with others, as Anderson does in The Broken Sword.

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