Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ragnarock Redux

Yesterday, I had a brief conversation with two tourists who have been stranded in New York due to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. What could be more evocative of Ragnarok than the eruption of a volcano which had been buried beneath a glacier? Ice and fire, hrímþursar and Múspellsmegir, the two elemental forces between which Iceland is sandwiched, both impinging on the lives of the children of the Twenty-First Century.

Given the relatively scant mention of the Sons of Muspell in extant Old Norse literary works, I am inclined to agree with Bertha Phillpotts' thesis that Surtur gained prominence in Norse mythology after the colonization of Iceland. At any rate, Surtur appears to be a completely different sort of supernatural being than Logi, the personification of fire (note the gorgeous illustrations at the linked site!) with which Loki engaged in an eating contest in Utgard-Loki's hall.

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