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Norse Mythology (W.W. Norton), by Neil Gaiman

Jan. 17, 2017
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The final battle between the gods and the frost giants, Ragnarok, has always fascinated Neil Gaiman. In the introduction to his Norse Mythology, the British-reared fantasy writer admits he first came upon Odin and Thor in American comic books, but hooked, he dug deeper. Norse Mythology is his retelling of the old tales, casting the disorderly lore into a contemporary novella that begins as the Earth emerges from the void and ends as the gods meet their fate at Ragnarok. Those gods were, of course, the archetypes of superheroes and villains, not to mention the template for J.R.R. Tolkien and his descendants. They were recognizable human characters writ large, subject to the wisdom and folly of humanity, even unto death. What continues to fascinate Gaiman, and inform his own fiction, is the question: “Had Ragnarok happened yet? Was it still to happen?” 


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