I just finished “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman.
I loved it.
I have always been fascinated with the Viking culture. They built a global enterprise that had no real kingdom or great city.
The Vikings were master storytellers. They used stories to conquer to the world.
My favorite character in Norse Mythology is not Odin, or Thor or Loki. It’s Loki’s daughter. Her name is Hel.
Hel rules the realm of the dead. She watches over an underworld that is neither blissful nor torturous, but seemingly an extension of what men and women would do in their “real lives.” Hel takes care of her dead. She likes them best because they treat her with respect.
What I love most about Hel is her unassuming power.
She doesn’t care to be in Valhalla, she has no desire to worship herself with the other Gods in Asgard. She needs nothing and depends on no one. But oftentimes, the Gods come to visit her (when they need her) and in the realm of the dead, Hel makes the rules.
I loved when Odin saw her for the first time. He was taken back by Hel’s appearance. She is half decrepit and half living, but she is often noted to be beautiful, sweet and polite. She has one piercing green eye and one dead eye.
Odin asks “Are you alive? or are you a corpse?”
“I am only myself, I am Hel.”