Chapter 2 | Page 21

Senior citizens weren’t exactly revered or respected among Vikings way back when. While it was rare for someone to even make it that far in life, when they did they were sometimes ridiculed and seen as a burden. After all, if you can’t contribute, what good are you? To die in battle was seen as a much better end than to die from sickness or old age. If you didn’t die in battle, there was no chance of getting to Valhalla. People who died in just about any other fashion went to Niflheim, where Hel was. Still this is a very disappointing prospect for women and children, and given the lavish goods sometimes left behind with women like the Oseberg burial, it seems obvious they expected to go somewhere much nicer than a cold, misty, desolate land. It’s impossible to know for sure what people believed when it came to the afterlife, and different groups even within the same country often contradicted each other.

So now you understand why Coal scoffed at the idea of living to the ripe old age of forty or more.

OKAY SO it’s a new month and the TWC votes have been restarted. Vote to see something awesome! It follows with the idea of life and death since it’s a depiction of Idunn and Hel. Idunn is best known for watching the apples of immortality that all the gods eat to stave off death. Hel is Loki’s daughter and the ruler of Niflheim, which has an area that’s also named Hel. Idunn probably won’t show up in the comic, but Hel will.

Discussion (20) ¬

  1. Coal is so angsty right now xD

    Hmm.. Idunn doesn’t have the special eyes like the rest… is she different? Not very familiar with her story. Or is that just a stylistic choice of yours?

    • I actually drew this sort of outside of TMK’s storyline, so Idunn didn’t get the general gods’ eyes look just…because. XD I was mostly playing with opposites and design when I drew them, but I liked Hel’s design so much I decided to use it for the comic, though it might change a little bit. Thanks!

  2. Loki’s expression in the last panel is great. I doubt Loki is often the one surprised or confused.

    Idunn is beautiful! She reminds of the Art Nouveau style <3

    • Thank you! I love Art Nouveau, especially Alphonse Mucha. Very inspiring stuff. :3

  3. That’s kind of like the Spartans from ‘300’, where saying ‘May you live forever’ is the biggest insult they could throw at a person… if they didn’t totally kill you dead first!

    I bet more people would follow that old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” if Idunn was the spokeswoman, or spokesgoddess.

    Wasn’t there a Grimm fairytale called ‘Mother Holle’ that was based on Hel?

    • Haha! That Spartan thing is funny. Makes sense though! XD And Idunn would be the perfect spokesperson for that.

      I hadn’t heard of Mother Holle so I had to Wiki it, and it mentioned that the character was probably inspired by Hel along with other Norse goddesses. The mythology from that section of the world is so complex and interwoven, I wouldn’t doubt a lot of Norse gods inspired stories and folktales. Some of the gods are still around today, like in the days of the week, and Christianity got the name Hell from…well, Hel. It’s pretty fascinating how old stories and rituals inspire newer ones. ;)

  4. Huh. Didn’t think that Loki openly opposed the whole ‘dying in battle’ thing. Interesting, is that one of the reasons he and the other gods don’t like each other so much, along with other things?

    By the way, Loki’s design is very bad ass. :D

    • Thanks! I like his design too, though drawing those darn feathers on his cloak can drive me nuts.

      As for Loki and the other gods…well, they each have their own agenda, I guess. ;D

  5. In the Icelandic sagas it becomes clear that Freyja received all the honorable men, women, and children who didn’t die in battle, in her great hall Sesrumnir or Sessrúmnir (“Many Seats”). Further, in the Eddas there’s mention of ValFreyja leading the Valkyrjur, the Choosers of the Slain — and having first pick of half of the honorable slain. Odin had her leftovers for his Einherjiar in his hall Valholl or Valhöll. :)

    • Oh wow really? I haven’t read that anywhere, but I haven’t gotten to reading the Eddas yet (they’re on my list though). I do remember reading about Freyja getting half of the slain in battle and the other half went to Odin, and someone suggested she was more “defensive” and Odin was more “offensive.” It becomes hard to know which was really believed and who believed it with so many contradicting stories. I mean, Balder and his wife were surely honorable people, but they ended up in Hel. Unless they went there because they were gods…Haha! It gets pretty complicated!

      At the very least, in TMK Land, those who die from sickness or old age end up in Hel, honorable or not. Have to go with one thing over the other, and this has a lot of story potential. ;D Thanks for the info! I love to learn more about Norse mythology and vikings and all that good stuff.

      • I don’t know if that’s how the honorable dead were divided up, but it seems a reasonable way to think of it. Re the stories: yes, that is a huge issue, especially once we realize all we have left is what was deemed acceptable to the invading christians at that time. Who knows what the *actual* stories were like, or why Baldr ended up in Hel? :)

        Re your story: makes absolute sense to me to make a decision and stick with it. Re my comment, I wasn’t sure whether to post or not, since I didn’t want it to sound critical. Glad you enjoyed the comment regardless! ;)

        • Oh, no, I love learning more about stuff, if only so I can go look more into something and figure it out myself. I’m glad you commented! I hope you’re enjoying the comic so far too. XD Thanks!

  6. Aha! So by trying to make Coal live long and die of old age, Loki was merely trying to recruit another soul for his daughter’s realm? Can’t blame a father for watching out for his daughter, eh? ;-)

    • Haha, nope! She’s Daddy’s Little Girl. ;D

  7. Aww, Idunn won’t show up at all? : (

    And some supposed reasons for why Baldur went to Hel are that he was tricked and the fact that though he was killed by a weapon, he did not die in an actual battle.
    (Nanna burst of sorrow and so she did not die in battle either)

    I like your comic and look forward to seeing where you take the sagas of the Æsir :D

    • No, sorry to say, Idunn won’t be showing up, or not as a featured god. There are just too many gods, and I don’t want to clutter the cast with a dozen different characters. Sorry!

      I’m glad you’re liking the comic so far! Thanks! :)

  8. Heeey, I’ve been reading for a while, and figured I’d leave a comment:

    I LOVE this comic. First of all, I’m a sucker for myths, and you make the story very engaging and interesting. The art is so cute and unique, but it doesn’t sacrifice anatomical integrity or anything like that. Erm, yes! Well, I figured I’d give you a little coddle. I wish I had something to add about the stories behind the characters like everyone else, but I’m far less learned than them. xD

    -slinks back into the shadows-

    • Thanks so much Dragonair! I’m glad you commented, I love getting comments. ;3 And I’m impressed by how much stuff people know about the mythology, most probably know more than I do! I’m hoping that since the story doesn’t revolve heavily around the mythology, people who don’t know even the slightest bit about Norse myths can still enjoy it and feel for the characters. Coal, the main main character, isn’t from any myth. Loki is also a main character and, while he’s from the mythology, you don’t have to know all his stories to understand TMK (though it can add a bonus because I do refer to them just for fun now and then). If anything I hope it inspires people to go read and research the myths themselves! They’re really fascinating and fun. ;3

      Thanks again!

  9. I also really like the mythic aspect, and while I appreciate it being accessible to people like me who don’t know tons about the mythology, I also really like the usage of what you have learned, and I find the notes you make on the word meanings and mythology very interesting to read!

    • I’m glad you like my notes! I love learning about things, so I love to pass on that knowledge to other people too. Sometimes readers will comment with more information on what they know and I’ll learn even more. The vikings get a certain reputation around the world because of how the media’s portrayed them, which is normally full of fantasy and little history (like horns on their helmets). TMK isn’t the work of a scholar, and I do use creative license now and then, but I hope to keep it fairly historically accurate.