New Thunder Road Fan Art!

An old friend just sent me this:

ted_attack_v021 by Jeff Nadwidny

(Ted Callan fighting Surtur in Flin Flon, from a scene in Thunder Road. Art by Jeff Nadwidny.)

I knew Jeff had been working on it, and knowing his skills, I couldn’t wait to see the final image. So cool! I especially love the way Jeff decided to represent Mjölnir and how he linked the hammer to Ted’s storm cloud tattoo.

 

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Loki’s Guide to Norse Mythology: Surtur

 

Surtur.

Ruler of the fire giants of Muspelheim. He’s as much a force of nature as he is an antagonist.  He’s a walking cataclysm with a sword.

He was also a perfect choice for my big bad.

The villains of Ragnarök die (of course so do the heroes, the Norse brought us the concept of mutually assured destruction long before the Cold War did): Heimdall and Loki meet their doom together. So do Thor and Jormungandur. But the  god Freyr, who is destined to face Surtur, does so wielding only a set of antlers (note to self, never trade away your magic sword)–either he was too proud to ask for a better weapon, or his fellow gods were such giant dicks that they didn’t offer. Regardless, I don’t like his odds. And since it is unlikely that Surtur would be harmed when he set fire to the world, he was still around after the Fate of the Gods, waiting.

Surtur was the doom of the gods. But “doom” means more than just death and destruction. It is also an inevitable fate. While we’ve been programmed to believe the word has sinister connotations (personally, I blame Doctor Doom for this), it doesn’t have to. In myth–and in real life–fire is as often a force of creation as it is destruction. So then, what sort of new world will the appearance of Surtur create, and who will be caught in the storm?

Loki’s Guide to Norse Mythology: Jötnar

 

Jötnar, plural of jötunn–giants.

It may surprise folks who have only come to know me as an adult, but I was a very small child. Not only the shortest boy in my class, but the third shortest child in my grade (this was hammered home every year when we were arranged by height for school photos). If you consider a short, bookish boy in a small town, one who read about mythology instead of playing hockey, it also won’t surprise you that in a world where it felt like everyone was bigger than me, I identified giants as my boogieman monster of choice over vampires or werewolves (I wanted a dragon, and zombies weren’t a thing then).

The giants of Norse mythology are often brutish, and yes, violent, but they are far more than that. In Norse myth, our entire world was made from the bones and blood of the first jötunn, Ymir. Many jötunn, Loki included, have a gift for changing their shapes. Two such giants, chased after the sun and moon in the guise of wolves, fated to gobble them up at Ragnarök. Jötnar also found their way into the pantheon of gods (or at least into the beds of the gods).

They were seers and secret keepers. The Norns, who tended mortals’ threads of fate, were said to have jötunn blood. Odin traded an eye to drink from the well of Mimir to gain great wisdom (to which it must be remarked: wouldn’t it have been wiser to not rip out your own eye?). Even after Odin traded an eye for knowledge and hanged himself from the World Tree to gain mastery of rune magic, he still consulted jötunn seers from time to time.

Jötnar were also masters of illusion and trickery. One of my favourite stories of jötunn mischief is the story of Útgarða-Loki (or Loki of the Outyards, not to be confused with Loki-Loki) who managed to trick Thor into trying to drink the ocean, and even pulled the wool over his namesake’s eyes, matching the trickster god against fire personified in an eating contest.

Speaking of fire–and fire giants–there is Surtur who is destined to engulf the world in flames–and to pop up in Thunder Road*–but you’ll have to wait a few days to read about him.

*No spoilers, this is revealed on the back cover copy.