To satisfy my inner geek which is giddy over the release of the upcoming movie release of "Thor" (opening May 6, for anyone who will be joining me in watching it) I wish to do do two things. One, look at this picture:
And two, talk just a tad about Norse mythology, at least the major players thereof.
Thor - Probably the greatest warrior of the gods, Thor was the god of thunder, son of Odin. He carries a hammer called mjollnir, which is so powerful that it can level mountains.
Odin - Leader of the gods, associated with wisdom war, battle, and victory. Odin had only one eye (he sacrificed one to gain the wisdom of the ages). Amongst his magical artifacts was the spear Gungnir said to cause war if it was thrown. He also had two ravens who flew around the world every day and came back to him every night to let him know what was happening in the world, and he rode an 8 legged horse, Sleipnir.
Valkyrie - Warrior women who were favored by Odin, the collected the souls of great warriors who fell in battle and brought them to Odin's hall, Valhalla. There, the men feasted and made merry, waiting until Odin called upon them for battle.
Loki - the trickster god, and caused a lot of problems, including causing the death of one of Odin's sons, Baldr. He is eventually punished for this by being bound with the entrails of one of his sons and have acid dripped on him from a poisonous snake overhead.
Freya - goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. While Odin lords over Valhalla, the part of 'heaven' where warriors go, Freya rules over a field where deserving people who are not warriors go after death.
Ragnarok - the end of all. Everything will die, including the gods. The world will be covered in water, which will eventually recede, leaving the world lush and new. At this time, new gods will be born, and in turn will create two humans who will repopulate the world.
Norse mythology, though not my favorite, is rather awesome. The vikings were a harsh people who lived in a harsh land, and their mythology certainly reflects this. Norse mythology doesn't have the carefree feeling of Greek mythology nor the elegance of Japanese mythology, but it is fascinating nonetheless. Destiny and fate are also very important within this mythology. Not even the gods can escape their fate.