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Norse Mythology and the Lure of Zelda

It’s no secret I have a thing for Norse Mythology.  I think my parents must have known about it ahead of time because they gave me an odd name–Rinda– which, according to several sources, was the name of Odin’s third wife. Rin, Rind, Rinda… 

But my interest in all things Norse began way before I discovered the meaning of my name.  Ironically, my second completed manuscript was called Ian’s Curse and it was about a descendant of Vikings cursed to shape-shift into a large black cat.  (And I end up with a critique partner who is making a name for herself with her black werecats… fate is an odd monster, yes?)  But Ian’s ancestors raided an island of magic and after being at sea a little too long, were, er, overly friendly with the very powerful women who were in control on that island.  Only a few of the Norsemen survived and they escaped with a curse that made my poor Ian’s life a lonely, living hell.  I still love the hero in that book.  Love the setting of Wales, the secondary characters.  The problem with that book was the heroine.  She was TSTL.  I still think of rewriting that book, of giving Ian a more worthy heroine.  I even have a wraith-like formation of her in my mind. 

But I’ve found that my love of mythology– Greek, Roman and Norse– creeps into a lot of what I do.  I wrote a couple of contemporary romantic suspense manuscripts and recently, I went through them to see if they were at all salvageable.  In both, I used mythological references, even in my computer hacker novel.

So, on that note, let me just say, I’m having a blast incorporating Nordic magic and myth into a contemporary fantasy setting.  It’s almost eerie the way a scene will unfold and I’ll pull out a book to check my research, only to find I’ve threaded other, forgotten references in automatically.

But I have to watch myself.  I can get soooo caught up in the research.  Lately, I’ve been trying to find information on one particular reference and that can suck up too much time.

Oh, and speaking of research, fellow Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Member, David Farney, has started a new blog with all sorts of goodies if you’re into all things Icelandic.  Storm of the North.   Hmm… wonder if he could help me with that obscure reference…

Anyway, my only other time suck issue lately has been… playing Zelda’s Ocarina of Time with my son.  Yes, I’ve completed the game.  Several times…  but I know where to load up on fairies now and how each boss moves… 

What does this have to do with Norse Mythology?  Quite a bit, in fact.  I once visited a message board (major geek admission here) where a few gamers were discussing the mythology used in creating the world of Zelda.  In fact, they were complaining that it used too much of the old world creatures and lore, that it needed original ideas.  To me, spotting a mythological reference was a kick.  (Did the same thing while watching O Brother, Where Art Thou–drove my husband batty.)

Does that mean I don’t have any original ideas?  Nah.  That just means I like taking familiar concepts and twisting them to fit my own worlds.  Good fun, that is. 😉

14 Comments

  1. October 24, 2008    

    Ocarina of Time is probably the best Zelda game ever. Have you played the sequel Majora’s Mask? I own it but couldn’t get into it as much.

  2. October 24, 2008    

    Have to confess, I gave up on Majora’s Mask. Going back in time every few days annoyed me to DEATH. Plus, there was this fish boss with hundreds of little fishy bosses… it made me angry, so I stopped playing. LOL!

    My son has the newest Zelda, but I’ve been afraid to play it. I could get sucked in and not get my book finished in a timely manner. It’s going to be my reward, I think, for finishing.

    With Ocarina of Time, I’ve played so much, I can just jump on for an hour or so.

  3. October 24, 2008    

    Rinda – “I gave up on Majora’s Mask. Going back in time every few days annoyed me to DEATH” I felt the exact same way. I don’t have Nintendo Wii, so I haven’t played the new one yet. Maybe someday.

  4. October 24, 2008    

    We don’t have a Wii–I think the game is Twilight Princess and it either has to be on his Nin 64 or the XBox we have. I’m too lazy to leave my writing chair to look. heh heh

  5. October 25, 2008    

    It’s not on the XBox. Blasphemy! 🙂 Just kidding.

    So you have the Gamecube version. Very cool. I could pick up that version. Though, as you say, I would not get any writing done.

    OK, I’m done filling your comments with videogame discussion. Sorry!

  6. October 25, 2008    

    LOL, I don’t mind. It’s a nice break of topic. Too much politics for me lately. I think it might be the Gamecube. At one time, I wouldn’t have made such an error… not gaming off the PC much these days. No, not gaming much at all these days. Not even my beloved Age of Empires or Starcraft/ Broodwar… and I’m SO tempted to try out WOW–but afraid. Very afraid.

  7. October 25, 2008    

    My husband and kids play Zelda. And my daughter loves that game the most.

    You might like Runemarks by Joanne Harris.

  8. October 25, 2008    

    Spotting the mythology links made Oh Brother so much fun, and who better for Cyclops than John Goodman, not to mention the sirens. Loved it. Off the Mythology subject but did you see August Rush? Oliver Twist with Robin Williams as Fagin plus music. Carol

  9. davidfarney davidfarney
    October 25, 2008    

    Thanks for the mention, Rinda! Lay that the obscure reference on me and I’ll try to help. If I don’t know the answer, I can probably recommend some resources. And I totally suffer from the same Norse research thing; I can’t ever just scan, I get caught up the myth and read the whole thing. And then another. But it’s all good — as you said, the myths get into the old brain-blender and find their way out later in a hundred different guises.

  10. bella bella
    October 28, 2008    

    i love zelda. sadley i havent played it in a very, VERY long time 🙁 but its diffently a fave, as is mortel combat (uh, i know thats way old too – giggle ).

    Rinda, your blog is great! im so glad I wandered over to it. 🙂

  11. October 28, 2008    

    Aw, old games. Let list a few favs. Metal Gear, Starcraft/Broodwar, Dungeon Keeper… I hardly play any of them these days. But my son asks me to play Ocarina of Time with him whenever he’s feeling mom has spent too much time writing.

    Glad you wandered here, too. 🙂

  12. October 28, 2008    

    I meant “Let me list” in that last comment.

  13. October 15, 2009    

    Hi Rinda,

    Nice to finally encounter another author who likes to dabble in Norse Mythology. I discovered my love for all things Vikingy 4 years ago now when I made the biggest discovery ever which is the fantastic Jorvik Festival held in York each year to celebrate its Viking heritage, ironically the place I was born in so it might derive from that.
    Have you heard of the author Joanne Harris? She’s written a book called Runemarks for kids (and adults I may add as it’s one of my favourite books) which is completely based in and around norse mythology. If you haven’t read it I reccomend you do, your children might like it too.
    Speaking of whom I have actually written a short story centering around the character of a Valkyrie in modern day York and how times have changed their methods for collecting souls. I entered into a Runemarks Fan Fiction competition that Joanne ran early this year. Now I didn’t win a main prize but I did get an honourable mention. You can find more about this little claim to fame in my blog.
    Do have a look I would love to know what you think of my work.

  14. October 15, 2009    

    Several people have suggested Runemarks and I do plan to read them. I try to stay away from Norse fiction when I’m in the midst of writing it. I probably worry too much about using other people’s ideas. 😉

    Oh, if you like reading about Valkyries-I’ve heard great things about Norse Code. I haven’t read it for the same reason I mentioned, but I’m looking forward to it once my trilogy is done. And good luck with your writing!

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