Norse and Germanic mythology is overflowing with great legends and stories that have lasted right up to the present day. Among those legends was the tale of the hero Sigurd, who slew the dragon Fafnir and claimed the beast’s treasure. After slaying the dragon, Sigurd bathed in its blood, which made his skin impenetrable with the exception of a weak spot on his back. Another story is of the All Father of the Norse Gods, Odin, who sacrificed one of his eyes in order to gain wisdom. A third legend regards Tyr, the Norse God of War, who lost a hand while fighting the demon wolf Fenrir. Even though these features have been included in heroes and gods, I am thinking of making them the features and characteristics of the main villain of my spin-off fantasy trilogy.
Out of all the Greek Gods, one of my all-time favorites would be Zeus, god of the heavens and King of Mount Olympus. Zeus was the youngest of the first generation Olympians, which made him the runt of the litter. Despite his youth, Zeus was nevertheless the mightiest of the Olympians, which made him most suitable to be their ruler. When his siblings were swallowed by his Titan father Kronos, Zeus was spared by his mother Rhea and when he came of age sought to liberate his siblings and start an all-out revolt against the Titans. Under his leadership, the Gods were able to overthrow the Titans and seized control of existence for themselves. As the King of Olympus, Zeus was the father of several Gods such as Ares, Athena, Hephaestus, Apollo, Artemis and so on. Apart from his divine children, Zeus was notorious for seducing mortal women and siring demigod children with them such as Hercules and Perseus. His sister/wife Hera, being the goddess of marriage, was equally infamous for being jealous of Zeus’s affairs with mortal women and would routinely lash out at them and their demigod children. Because my new superheroes will be naming themselves after the Gods of Olympus, I am thinking naming the strongest character after Zeus.
Easily the most famous of the old gods would be the Gods of Olympus. In documentaries I have watched regarding the history and evolution of the superhero genre, I discovered that the origin of the superhero tied in to Greek Mythology. Some scholars argued that Superman is the modern version of Zeus while Batman is the modern version of Hades. Wonder Woman was a product of the Greek Gods because she was made to be as beautiful and loving as Aphrodite, wise and intelligent as Athena, strong and durable as Hercules, and fast and agile as Mercury. I am thinking of keeping with this tradition in my new superhero series with the characters naming themselves after the Gods of Olympus and the Primordial Titans.
I discovered something interesting about the mythology of my Viking ancestors. On the eve of Ragnarök, there was a brutal winter that lasted three grueling years. This winter was called the Fimbulwinter, which means “Great Winter” in Norse. It caused a massive loss of life and was followed by countless wars. After these wars were finally over, the Twilight of the Gods began and the world was remade forever. I am thinking of including a similar winter in my spin-off fantasy trilogy that will set the stage for the beginning of the story.
Permit me to let you in on a little secret. My very first crush was Cinderella. There was always something about her unbreakable hope for a better life that was contagious. Thanks to Disney, everyone knows her story. A young noblewoman who was enslaved by her stepmother and stepsisters in her own home. Then she received salvation from the intervention of her fairy godmother. She was called Cinderella because she would cover herself in soot while working near the hearth. Most people don’t know that some of the original versions of the Cinderella story were quite dark and disturbing. I read some of these versions in an English History class in college. Easily the darkest version of Cinderella was one in which she is a witch who relies on demons instead of birds and mice. She would routinely conceal her beauty by covering herself in ash and all other kinds of filth. Then she used dark magic to drive the prince mad with an obsession to find her no matter the cost. This relentless search resulted in the prince being killed by a mob.
For my spin-off fantasy trilogy, I will be drawing inspiration from some of the older versions of Cinderella for the female lead. Like Cinderella, she will be a young noblewoman who is forced to work as a servant in her own home. However, it will not be an evil stepmother and stepsisters who become her captors nor will a fairy godmother be her savior. In medieval times, it was common for captured nobles to be used as hostages to guarantee the future loyalty of their family. This character’s situation will be like that, but she will also be made a slave in her own home. As for her salvation, the fairy godmother and the prince are one and the same. I look forward to tinkering with this idea further.
One of the most iconic creatures of Norse mythology would be the World Serpent. According to legend, the World Serpent was so enormous that it could enveloped all the seas of the world. It was rumored to be the only creature that was big and powerful enough to fight Thor on even footing. As it slept in the ocean, the World Serpent would constantly bite on its own tail to hold the world together. This became one of the symbols for Ouroboros, which was seen as another way of representing infinity. Once the World Serpent let go of its own tail, Ragnarok, the dreaded Twilight of the Gods, would begin. For my spin-off fantasy trilogy, I will be featuring a colossal serpentine creature that will be based on the legend of the World Serpent. This behemoth will be the size of Titanoboa, which was the largest snake ever recorded and was big enough to feed on dinosaurs. In addition, this beast will have combined features from a black mamba, king cobra, anaconda, and rattlesnake. It is going to be the king and god of all snakes and I cannot wait to write about it!
Even though I love wolves and my pit bulls are best friends with wolf-dogs, I like the fact that wolves are often featured as villains in fantasy and folklore. In fantasy, villainous wolves included Wargs in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as well as the Gmork in The Neverending Story. In Viking folklore, there was the demon wolf known as Fenrir, who was a son of Loki that bit off the hand of the god Tyr and slew Odin, the almighty All-Father himself, during Ragnarök. For my spin-off fantasy trilogy, I am thinking of including a whole pack of demon wolves that will act of dark assassins for the dark lord of the story.