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Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13th L Day

I don't have a lot of time to screw around today either, I have wasted a bunch of time today, so, that's on me. It's 11:28 right now and I am trying to make a midnight deadline.

L is for Loki, dude, we really have to start with a tough one here, eh? Loki is the blood brother of Odin and the frequent traveling companion of Thor. He's not really one of the Aesir, but not really a Jötunn either, given his companions. Almost all of the Norse myths start with Loki either screwing something up just for the sheer chaotic joy of it, or because he got forced to do it by some more powerful Jötunn or Odin. He almost always fixes things, and makes the Aesir come out much further ahead, right up until the end of the cycle when he sets in motion the events that lead to Ragnarök. Loki was never worshiped by the Norsemen, but he is integral to their entire cycle of myths. Some think of him as a Norse Satan figure, some simply as a Trickster. I fall on the side of Trickster myself, since the entire Ragnarök end theme may have been a late addition to the corpus of Norse lore accreted to it by exposure to Christianity. Loki is interesting though, because he can change shape and gender, knows a fair bit of magic and is the father of Jörmungand, Fenrir and Hel, and the mother of Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse.

L is for Loot, we can't really talk about Vikings without talking about the loot. That's what the raiding was, at least initially, for. Loot comes in many forms, but the best kind is small and valuable, gold, silver, gems and jewelry, the kind of stuff any D&D player is intimately familiar with, weapons, art objects, tools, food stuffs, raw materials, livestock and slaves also rank pretty high on the list.

L is for Law, you'd think with the outlaw biker image that the Norsemen have that Law wouldn't be mentioned at all, but it actually ranks pretty high on the list of Norse things to know and respect. In parts of the Norse world they had Law Speakers that were expected to memorize the law and recite it, usually annually. Enforcement of the law was a little trickier, but the Norse were actually a pretty litigious people, as was alluded to when I wrote about Forseti.

L is for Ljósálfr or "Light Elf", the Elves that are ruled over by the God Frey. They are, more or less, good elves.

L is for Longship, the stereotypical Viking raiding vessel.

L is for Líf and Lífthrasir, the two humans that survive Ragnarök.