Happy Wednesday, and welcome to the second entry in Loki’s Guide to the Petty Gods and Monsters of Norse Mythology. Wednesday, or Wotan’s Day, is the day of the week named for the Norse God, Odin.
Odin, the All-Father of the Norse Gods carries over two hundred other names, usually kennings referring to his various roles as ruler of the pantheon. Names that when translated are: God of the Hanged, or Dangler; Odin hanged himself from the world tree for mastery of rune magic. Not surprising then that he was also referred to as the God of Runes. Accompanied by the ravens Huginn and Muninn, (Thought and Memory to us) Odin was also the Raven God. As a god who liked to travel among his worshipers, he was Shaggy Cloak Wearer, Broad Hat, Host Blinder (I imagine this one is because he hid his true identity from those who sheltered him, not because he went around stealing eyes–even if Odin was walking around one eye short). Over ten of Odin’s many names refer him as a “yeller”, a “blusterer”; “roarer”, leading me to think that he wasn’t shy about making his opinion heard. He’d have to be when he shared a table with Thor or Loki.
I find Odin–and the rest of the Norse gods–to be complex–and despite all the magical trappings, very, very human. He’s a father, a son; a husband, a lover; a creator of life and a killer. Odin holds long grudges, and at the same time ignored the gods’ hatred of giants to welcome jötunn-born Loki into his hall as a blood brother (not a foster son, if all you know is the comic version).
Right now, most people’s image of Odin is likely to be Anthony Hopkins in the recent Marvel Comics movie, Thor. I liked the movie, and liked Hopkins in it, but I prefer my Odin a little less…shiny.
Odin met his end at Ragnarök, swallowed whole by Loki’s son Fenrir, along with his spear that never missed, and his eight-legged steed (another of Loki’s children). Odin and his death cast a long shadow over the Thunder Road series, but death didn’t stop Loki from showing up in Thunder Road, will it stop a god also known as Hel Blinder too?