Writing

Loki & Idunn

I have been working hard writing a large scene over several chapters in my novel-in-progress, Ragnarok Dreaming. The scene is based on a significant section in Norse mythology recorded in The Prose Edda, called the Skaldskaparmal, where Loki is portrayed for the first time as a more malicious being. The Skaldskaparmal describes Loki’s deliberate deception of the most innocent among the gods, Idunn who is also the guardian of immortality for the Aesir. In return for his own life, Loki promises Idunn to the mightiest of the frost giants, Thrazi. When Loki deceives Idunn into following him beyond the protective lands of the Aesir, she is kidnapped by Thrazi and held as his prisoner. Although Loki’s guilt is evident, his concern grows as the Aesir begin to age rapidly without Idunn tending the tree that provides the apples and their immortality. Odin has Loki beaten for his betrayal which has the desired effect to spur Loki’s conscience. He finally agrees to helps rescue Idunn from Thrazi‘s wintry mountain fortress. In truth, the Aesir are too weakened and aged to assault the mountain fortress, Thyrheim. Loki rescues Idunn and lures Thrazi back toward Asgard where Odin and Thor have built a bonfire. In the form of a hawk, Loki easily evades Thrazi’s eagle-form but Thrazi is caught by the flames and destroyed.Loki retains some of his humanity in the Skaldskaparmal but from now on, his considerations of the Aesir are complicated, alternating more swiftly from bitter dislike to a sense of familial belonging. Loki is neither Aesir nor truly of the jotnar but is caught somewhere in-between.

In my work-in-progress, Ragnarok Dreaming, I explore Loki’s conflict where he belongs to neither the giants nor the gods; a conscious and unconscious character motivation.

Writing

Ragnarok Dreaming: Characters

During the writing my latest Fantasy novel-in-progress, Ragnarok Dreaming, I created character collages for the central characters. These are useful visual aids representing important character aspects and themes. Ragnarok Dreaming is inspired by Norse myths and incorporates aspects of Australian legends.


Loki: The shape-shifting trickster from Norse mythology, Loki is a giant from Muspelheim but bound like a brother to the god Odin, leader of the Aesir. In Ragnarok Dreaming, Loki is rescued from Ginnungagap, a timeless void, waking in female form in an Australian dreamscape of legendary beings


Odin: The god Odin is well known in any mythological inspired Fantasy novel, but in Ragnarok Dreaming, Odin plays the role of the cautious leader, always trying to prevent catastrophe and maintain the balance of order above chaos.


The Norns: the Norns are three central female figures in Norse mythology but neither gods nor giants. The norns tend Yggdrasil and maintain balance in the nine realms. In Ragnarok Dreaming, Loki suspects the norns were responsible for exiling him in the Ginnungagap.


Wahn: Although not a continuing main character through the entire novel, Wahn is inspired by the indigenous Australian legends of the Crow, a Trickster god who acts to preserve those he favours but always through own motivations. In Ragnarok Dreaming, Loki encounters Wahn whole memory returns and self-identity, shaping how Loki will react to later events in the novel.


Freya: The Vanir goddess Freya is a Vanir goddess who dwells close to the lands of Odin and other Aesir gods. Unlike the Aesir, Freya is associated with natural elements but is also the leader of the Valkyries, claiming a portion of the dead who are not favoured by Odin to form her own host of warriors. In Ragnarok Dreaming, Freya is openly hostile toward Loki and controls much more magical power than she allows Odin or the Aesir to understand. In Ragnarok Dreaming, Loki suspects Freya of scheming to undermine the Aesir.


Anjea: Although appearing only in the beginning of Ragnarok Dreaming, Anjea is inspired by the figure from some indigenous Australian legends, a being who gives life and physical form crafted from the earth. In Ragnarok Dreaming, Anjea is the responsible for finding Loki’s lost spirit amid the void of Ginnungagap and fashioning a new physical form.

Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo 2019

I’m participating another month-long writing event by the nonprofit organisation National Novel Writing Month. I began writing the draft of Ragnarok Dreaming during the November NaNoWriMo event. This April, I’m participating in CampNaNoWriMo, an virtual international writing retreat. I aim to write 10,000 words during April. You can follow my updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #CampNaNoWriMo

Writing

Ragnarok Dreaming: Latest News


Thrilled to provide an update on my current work-in-progress, Ragnarok Dreaming. The first draft for Part 1 is complete and now Part 2 underway! Weaving aspects of indigenous ancient Australian legends with Viking Age Norse myths has definitely been a challenge but with the first 1/4 of Ragnarok Dreaming now on paper, I am more motivated and keen to continue. Onward to the halfway point!

Writing

2018: Year In Review

The last 6 months have been a whirlwind of activity and excitement for me. This inaugural but semi-regular post serves as part-reflection on recent events and part-update on current, unfolding projects. Curious to know more?


Storytelling & More: The launch of this website coincided with the publication of my debut Fantasy novel Bone Arrow and my regular posts here on this blog include summaries of Amerindian, indigenous Australian and Norse folktales, legends and myths I’ve found interesting during my research. I also post regular reviews of recently read novels I’ve found stimulating.


Bone Arrow Released: In August 2018, I released the ebook version of my debut Fantasy novel, Bone Arrowwhich was inspired by Amerindian folktales and legends. On October 1, the first paperback copies of Bone Arrow were available in major online bookstores from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookDepository in the UK and Booktopia in Australia. The end of December 2018, marks the 3 months anniversary of the release of Bone Arrow. To coincide with this, I have written a series of 3 short posts sharing my reflections on the journey and my motivations behind Bone Arrow.


Work-in-Progress: In early 2018, I started researching a new project based on Norse myths. Under the working title, Ragnarok Dreaming,is a contemporary Fantasy retelling aspects of Norse mythology and incorporating the landscape and legends of ancient Australia. At the end of 2018, Ragnarok Dreaming was nearly 1/4 complete.


Museum Research Visit: In June 2018, I took a brief research trip to Melbourne Museum in Australia to see an amazing exhibition on-loan from the Swedish History Museum of Viking Age artefacts. The exhibition included a reconstructed Viking Age ship, silver and gold jewellery and ornaments, swords from Viking burials, reconstructed swords using ancient Nordic forging technologies, trade items including measurement scales for transactions, Norse currencies and slave collars.


NaNoWriMo 2018: In October 2018, I combined starting the first draft for Ragnarok Dreamingwith National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) using the extra motivation to put months of planning and research into action. Aside from increasing support and awareness of creative writing, NaNoWriMo was perfect to help me overcome any uncertainties in beginning a new project.


The New Year: In 2019, I’m planning a short research pilgrimage to Sweden, Norway and Iceland to experience first-hand, the landscape and history where the Norse myths and Viking Age culture were born. I also hope to complete the first draft of my current work-in-progress, Ragnarok Dreaming.

research

Idunn: Guardian of Youth

Idunn is a Norse goddess, the guardian of a sacred fruit that provides immortality to the Aesir. There are several accounts of Idunn in the Prose Edda where she is often described as possessing child-like trust, giving her a sense of naivety. The first account of Idunn is in the Gylfaginning of the Prose Edda, where Idunn is referred to as the wife of Bragi, a god skilled in poetry and knowledge. Here, it mentions Idunn keeps the sacred fruit of the Aesir within a carved wooden box. Every day until the final battle of Ragnarok, the Aesir must eat these apples to remain youthful (although, apples arrived late to Iceland and more likely these were tree nuts, similar to Irish lore). In a later section of the Prose Edda, the Skaldskaparmal, a retelling of a legend about a bargain struck between Loki and the powerful frost giant, Thjazi. Loki promises to lure Idunn and the fruit away from Asgard. In bringing Idunn to Thjazi, the giant takes her to his fortress Thrymheim. During Idunn’s absence and, without the daily renewal of their youth, the Aesir quickly weaken and age. The Aesir question Loki over Idunn’s disappearance and Loki bargains to retrieve Idunn if Freyja gifts him the magic to change form into a falcon. After agreement, Loki flies to Thrymheim during Thjazi’s absence. Finding Idunn alone, Loki changes her into a nut before flying back to Asgard with Idunn in his talons. The Aesir see Thjazi in pursuit of Loki, the giant guised as an eagle. Quickly, the Aesir light a large fire with barely enough time for Loki to return safely into the Asgard fortress. Following closely behind Loki, Thjazi is unable to safely land and still in eagle-form, is burned by the flames and killed by the Aesir.

research

Yggdrasil & the Eddas

The texts in the Poetic Edda are considered older than those recorded in the Prose Edda. The Poetic Edda consists of ancient Norse poems, the mythologies and legends recounted in a specific style of stanzas found only in the Icelandic texts, a written version of ancient Nordic oral traditions. As such, the poems recorded in the Poetic Edda and are very different to the format in the Prose Edda.



In the Poetic Edda, Yggdrasil is a prominent and common element recounted in the various Norse myths. From one poem, the Hávamál, a tale of how Odin gained the runes. Odin hangs himself from the Yggdrasil after being speared and refuses aid from the other gods, enduring without sustenance for nine days. While Odin hangs from Yggdrasil over the Well of Urd, he observes the Norns and the working of the runes and wills the runes pass the knowledge of their working to him. Odin offers this sacrifice, placing himself between life and death with the knowledge that the runes could only be learned by someone truly desiring and of proven merit. After the ninth night hanging precariously in a state of half-death, Odin is rewarded with the knowledge of the runes and the wisdom it grants him. Another important poem, the Voluspa from the Poetic Edda, recounts the prophecy of a volva, a seeress. A volva was a practitioner of Seidr, the prophetic magic learned by the women and first taught by the goddess Freya, originally of the Vanir before joining the Aesir after the war between the two. In part of the Voluspa, Odin’s quest for knowledge is referenced again. The volva refers to how Odin became one-eyed, sacrificing his eye to the Well of Mimir in the quest for wisdom. Once the sacrifice was made, Mimir allowed Odin to drink from the well, taking from the waters the insight contained within.
Similar to the story of Odin in the Hávamál, knowledge was not considered attainable without a sacrifice. Clearly, Odin places high value on knowledge and the wisdom gained is invaluable in his ability to protect the Aesir from misfortune. In another part of the Voluspa, the volva foretells the coming battles and events leading to Ragnarok. A reference is made to Heimdallr, the watchman of the Aesir, linking the god with Jotunheim, where he will collect his horn, Gjallarhorn, to summon armies in aid of the Aesir during Ragnarok. Several arguments suggest the name Gjallarhorn is derived from Gjoll, one of the eleven rivers flowing from Jotunheim. The Well of Mimir is also located in Jotunheim and thus, the prophecy of the volva links all events leading to Ragnarok back to Yggdrasil whereby thematically, Fate connects all. Despite the un-making of the cosmos dealt by Ragnarok, Yggdrasil catches fire but endures, enabling the new cosmos to begin.