The beginning of the world started with nothing, two shapeless settings. To the north was the cold Niflheim with eleven rivers and to the south was Muspell. At the edge of Muspell stans Sutr, a non god before the gods, that guards his land and will not leave his post until Ragnarök comes and the big war begins. In between Miflheim and Muspell exists a void making up the “yawning gap”, there emerged the sexless Ymir that birthed a six-headed giant from it’s legs and a male and a female from under his arm.
This short chapter describes how the world according to the Norse Mythology was created. How Odin came to be the father of all. How Odin and his brothers Ve and Vili created a world within the skull of the father of giants Ymir, clouds from his brain, mountains from his bones, oceans from his blood that ultimately drowned all the giants except one.
Incredibly succinct, the chapter manages to give an overview over Norse mythology of the creation of the world we live in today and how it will one day end. These questions are generally cornerstones in every religion and it is interesting to see how similar some of these beliefs are to Abrahamic religions.
For example, it is believed that the three brothers Odin, Vili, and Ve created a man and a woman from clay that were called Ask and Embla. Anyone else find the resemblance to Adam and Eve? Similar to Muslims, Norsemen also believe that humans were made from clay.
They also believe in a great war that will come, Ragnarök, when the Sutr with the flaming sword will leave his post in Muspell, when Floki will assemble his monstrous children to fight the gods, and the world will reach the ultimate uproar.
The stories are told rather factually and I was expecting more story telling. My expectations were very different. But that is not to say I am disappointed, Gaiman’s writing is very simple that is very appropriate for such complicated mythology.