Everywhere I turn there’s a new movie, television series, video game, heavy metal bands, even costume-partygoers celebrating this ancient culture that hailed from the icy regions of Northern Europe.
Why are modern men and women of the twenty-first century so enchanted by Vikings? Perhaps it is a yearning to return to what we believe to be a simpler life, one that was in touch with nature and the elements of raw survival. Or it’s the fascination of muscled and bearded men who were too wild to be tamed. Or the glory of a warlike society, where valor, honor, and bravery were highly regarded. Possibly, it’s their reputation for brutality and slaughter and the fear they engendered on their raids. Although to be fair, the Romans, Assyrians, Mongols, Iroquois, British and all other human groups were no less brutal. Or it could be the love affair we have with their gods and goddesses and the stories they told that have been passed down to us. Their antics, their cavorting, their origin stories, and their views concerning fate and the afterlife and the finality of Ragnarok.
The Norsemen did not call themselves Vikings, and a lot of the stories have become romanticized as time went by. They get made and remade into operas, movies, novels, symphonies, plays, and video games, and the characters are invented and changed. Even a Norseman’s appearance has been creatively embellished. For example, they didn’t wear horned helmets as they were commonly depicted, and we don’t truly know how they wore their hair and beards, or whether they were as heavily tattooed as movies and popular culture now depict them. From Wagner to Marvel, everyone has their own appropriation of Norse culture, mythology, legends, and stories.
For me, I like the Norse mythology–from the world tree to the serpent surrounding the world, and stories of the various gods, goddesses, giants, dwarves, and other creatures in their pantheon. The stories and myths vary with the teller, and indeed the gods take on shapes of birds, totem animals, or even other gods as they scheme and plot for either power or entertainment. The Norse were also fatalistic, believing in norns who have woven the strands of their lives before they were born. The fatalism extended to Ragnarok, the end of the world or at least the end of most of their prominent gods. No one could stop what was foretold. It happened exactly as predicted. It was a horrible ending, and yet, some minor characters survived, but nothing is recorded or survived to our day. What happened after Ragnarok will always remain a mystery or even better, we’re free to invent our own endings or new beginnings.
I did just that with Red Hexed: Ruby where a modern-day woman in San Francisco comes face to face with a Viking in search of a berserker sword. She’s drawn into his quest to stop Ragnarok when he asks her to impersonate Hella, the goddess of death. Along the way, they get tangled up with Odin, Loki, Freya, Hella, and Surt while a shapeshifting horsefly turned cockatoo leads or misleads them while inadvertently playing matchmaker. [Check it out for 99c release week special].
Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.
Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.
She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.