I was just discussing Paidric Colum’s Norse Gods and Heroes for a university class, and my professor had an interesting reading of the text. Though I didn’t see these elements when I read it, he made a pretty compelling argument that Colum (an Irish nationalist and radical) was subtly telling the myths in such a way as to present the Aesir as representing an immoral hierarchy which should be overturned. I wasn’t unfamiliar with these kinds of readings of Norse myth, though I didn’t necessarily see Colum’s presentation as supporting it at first.
I want to know what people here think about these more radical readings of hierarchies and power dynamics in Norse myth. Events that particularly interest me include:
The fact that the Aesir seem to have fired the first shots in the Aesir/Jotun war.
The fact that the Aesir seem to have fired the first shots in the Aesir/Vanir war.
The Aesir have no intention of dealing with other races fairly, as evidenced by the building of the wall.
The only way they really interact with the Jotuns is by killing their men and stealing their women.
The binding of Loki’s children seems preemptive and unfair.
Essentially, what I want to know is why I should side with the Aesir when they seem to be the equivalent of pretty much any imperial, conquering force that harms indigenous people to establish their own “order”? What makes them different from the British in Ireland or the Europeans in the Americas?
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