So I’ve spent some of the past six months randomly texting a former colleague and now friend with things like, “Did you know ‘Cerberus’ means ‘Spot’?” and “Let’s have a story about the time a pretty Roman threw all the chickens overboard!”
It all started because he’s a Marvel fan, and was telling me about this awesome set of films called The Avengers which feature a certain Norse Thunder God and his sneaky, trickster step-brother. And so I told him the story of the time Thor and Loki dressed up as women and then slaughtered everyone. Because that’s the sort of story that I tell at random times when someone mentions how much they love The Avengers.
And I got a look of part horror, part astonishment. “How do you know this stuff?”
(Yes, Ant, I know it wasn’t quite like that. Shush. This is my story, and I’ll tell it how I want.)
“Well, they’re all taken from Norse myths…” at which point it became clear that I read too much, and also that stories of trickery, drinking and fighting always go down well.
I admit I kinda skidded off the Norse mythology at that point because a) I left that job and it’s a bit harder to tell gory stories via text, and b) I couldn’t remember exactly who fucked over (or fucked) who at any given time and needed to look it up. So we got onto Good Solid Roman Tales Of Morality Fit For Children Of All Ages, including dear Claudius Pulcher throwing the chickens overboard and Gaius Popillius Laenas being a badass with a walking stick – which may have included the line, “Now Rome’s a pretty big bully and they could have sent in armies to lay waste, cause gnashing of teeth and wailing of wimmen and all that. They sent one little old man with a walking-stick and a few unarmed pretty-boys for the look of the thing.” What can I say, I like making fun of the Romans. They’re such a stuck-up bunch.
But in the course of my wandering, I remembered a site that I LOVE. It’s Myths Retold, and it’s amazing – and does a whole bunch of different mythology, not just Norse and Roman, and I highly recommend getting lost in it. I did point my friend at it, but I think he enjoys getting his weeks randomly interrupted with bloodshed and multiple Whatsapp messages – so hey, I’m not going to argue. I have now read up on who Freja was fucking at any given time (and for what particular piece of shiny ornamentation), but I think the next one we’re going to do is “How Loki Fucked Up Majorly, Or How He Got The Prettiest Of Pretty Boys Killed And Then Got Himself Drooled On By A Snake Until The End Of The World”, or possibly for something more light-hearted we’ll do “How Thor Created The Tides By Drinking Too Much”, which is an awesome story.
Gotta love Norse myths.