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Odin is such a sentimental guy. Everyone knows that murder demands retribution, but Odin’s got class. He’ll kill someone you love, pluck out their cold dead eyes, hurl them into the night sky, and make them stars to watch over you forever.

Did I say he’s got class? I meant to say that he’s a goddamn psychopath.

The story of Thiazi and Odin is an interesting (and fairly long) one, contained within Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda (and more easily read in Kevin Crossley Holland’s The Norse Myths). The tale tells of the aging of the gods and the theft of the apples of Idunn, the fruit that gives the Gods everlasting life and one of the things that separate them from mortal men and women. The myth begins with Loki getting himself into trouble after harassing an eagle with a pole. After poking the great bird, Loki finds himself attached to it and unable to escape. It doesn’t take long for the bird to reveal that it is, in fact, the great giant Thiazi, a menace to the gods. To save his own life, Loki agrees to bring Idunn, the keeper of the apples that grant youth to the gods, as well as her store of fruit outside the walls of Asgard. The giant sets him free and Loki does as he is asked only to witness the terrifying bird abduct the beautiful young goddess and carry her off to Jotunheim, realm of the giants where Thiazi dwells.

When the gods realize what has happened, they too threaten the life of Loki who promises to make everything right if they would just spare him. Without the apples of Idunn, all the gods would age, including Loki, so there’s a bit more to his offer than selfless heroics here. In the end, Loki retrieves Idunn and her apples from Thiazi and carries her away as a great falcon, but not before Thiazi realizes and gives chase as an eagle. Seeing Loki and Idunn in trouble, the gods lay a trap, waiting for Loki to fly over the walls into Asgard. After the two are safely within the walls, they light fire to wood they’ve stacked against the wall. Thiazi, in his eagle shape, is incinerated, his wings are burnt off, and he comes crashing to the ground where the gods easily slay him.

Later, the giantess Skadi, a strong and beautiful huntress, arrives at the walls of Asgard and demands compensation for the murder of her father. This is, to my knowledge, something that actually happened in Norse culture. Murder and violence happened and the perpetrators were expected to pay for their crimes, often literally. The gods, being proper Norse figures, agree to a number of conditions including allowing Skadi to choose her husband from among the Aesir (the gods) themselves. Being tricky bastards, they obviously throw in a caveat: she must choose her husband by his feet. All the eligible male gods are lined up and veiled but for their feet and Skadi picks the man with the most beautiful extremities thinking they must belong to the totally gorgeous Balder. Unfortunately for her, the man she chooses is Njordr, a really swell guy and a fairly attractive one as well, but her heart was set on the one man the gods would never give her.

As an additional gift to help heal the damage between the giantess and the Aesir, Odin plucks her father’s eyes out and sets them in the sky to watch over her.

I’m sure the whole thing was meant to be nice, but there’s just something eerie about throwing a dead man’s eyes into the night sky.

I guess this goes to show, you don’t go messing around with Norse gods. Nothing good comes of it. You end up with a husband you don’t love and your father creepily staring down at you forever.

Girls with overbearing parents, you think your dad is annoying and weird? Try being in Skadi’s position!

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