Today’s blog post is brought to you by my hard-working intern, Erica Graphman! Take it away, Erica!
I’ve always been a huge fan of history—I actually considered majoring in it until my dad pointed out that I wouldn’t be able to make a good career out of it unless I became a teacher (not really my cup of tea). I love reading about history and especially love learning about different myths that famous cultures believed in. So, in my excitement for the return of The History Channel’s Vikings, I did a little research on the beliefs of the famous group. (I have a feeling that this season is going to involve a lot of mythology!)
The Norse and other Germanic tribes who followed the same beliefs in multiple gods called their practicing a tradition. They believed Odin, Thor, Freya, and Loki were the high gods, known as Aesir. Odin, Thor, and Frigg each have a day of the week named after them (I learned about this in my Structure of the English Language class) Woden’s day, Thor’s day, and Freya’s day (scholars debate whether Frigg and Freya are the same goddess, most think it’s likely because they share the same characteristics). These names eventually evolved to become Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Odin is the king of Asgard and he sacrificed his eye to gain knowledge. Thor is his son and the god of the sky. He can control wind, lightning, and thunder. As noted before, Frigg is Odin’s wife, and she is the goddess of love and the heavens. Women often prayed to her during childbirth. Another common Norse god is Loki, the god of mischief, who is so handsomely represented by Tom Hiddleston in Marvel’s Thor.
The Vikings believed in four different realms. The gods dwell in the realm of Asgard while humans remain in Midgard. There are two places Viking warriors can go when they die. If it is a worthy death, aka bravely in battle, they pass on to Valhalla where they feast while waiting for the end of time. If they do not die a heroic death, they must remain in Hel, which the Vikings considered the ninth world. After reading all this crazy information about the Viking gods, I must say, I’m super excited to see this season of Vikings, especially to see which warriors take their places in Valhalla and which fall to Hel. (I’m rooting for strong, female warrior Lagertha to kick butt!)