Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Seidh II

"There was a man called Orm the Strong..."
-Poul Anderson, The Broken Sword (London, 1977), I, p. 15.

"There was a man named Orm the Strong..."
-SM Stirling, The Sword Of The Lady (New York, 2009), Chapter Seventeen, p. 501.

A heroic fantasy novel on Earth Real becomes a chanted ancestral epic in the Emberverse. There are two versions of the text. I have a copy of the revised text whereas the Emberversers remember the original words.

Impressive Seidh (clairvoyance):

the repetition of  "'...Would you know more?'" (Stirling, p. 511) is from Voluspa;

"'The sword he seeks is more potent than Tyrfing...'" (p. 514) (see also here and here);

Mathilda intends to attend but not participate but instead questions Odin who manifests through the medium;

when, later, the enemy of mankind is identified as Loki (p. 521), this name is used because it fits with the local mythology.

Do Wiccans go to the Summerland and Asatruar to Valhalla? I am all for a "many mansions" approach to the hereafter.


S.M. Stirling said...

I consulted heavily with Diana Paxson -- an early member of the SCA, and both a scholar of Norse mythology and a practioner of Asatru -- for the Norrheim setting. In fact, the seeress -is- a tuckerized version of Diana.

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
Is Diana's clairvoyance as accurate as that in the novel?

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

And I have wondered how modern day "worshipers" of the Scandinavian gods handle the matter of human sacrifices to their gods in the past? Of course I don't think any of them, today, want to practice what is in law called "ritual murder." But the way they seem to ignore that does look like a weak point to me.

And I can't help wondering, absent the presence of disapproving Christians, might some devotees of the Eddaic gods relapse into practicing human sacrifices? After all, that was an approved rite in the past and some later devotees could argue their gods desired human sacrifices.

Truth to say, I find many modern day "revivals" of paganism rather implausibly "nice," because the actual pagan religions of the past were often so grim. Whether they like it or not, I have to conclude "neo-pagans" were deeply influenced by Christianity.