Baldr

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In John Lindow’s “The Tears of the Gods; A Note on the Death of Baldr in Scandinavian Mythology,” an article published by University of Illinois Press in 2002, he explains the Myth of Baldr and represents it in a way that exemplifies the Scandinavian culture that created it. He analyses the myth in a different aspect than that of other contemporary ideas and maintains that The Baldr myth deeply roots itself in the Viking age culture by reflecting many elements occurring in the Icelandic Sagas and other written sources from that time. He relates saga age blood feud to the Baldr myth as well as argue that the myth is unlike other interpretations that claim it is a relation to the Cristian myth. His article questions the actuality of a universal weeping for Baldr throughout the worlds and reveals many aspects of the Viking age culture and how their documents are linked to the myth. The blood feud in medieval Iceland was a common means to settle disputes between families; however it seldom achieved its goal. Feuds between families and tribes would last for generations and in the end it was likely that neither side knew why they were fighting at all. In the Myth of Baldr, after Baldr’s death, Lindow notes that the gods seek revenge and a blood feud is initiated. Odin’s son Váli is to perform the task and he kills his own brother and murderer Höðr. Viking age Icelanders could consider a blood feud to be over when the other family members were dead, but the Baldr feud displays a different fate. Because of the family relation between the opposing gods, the feud can never be resolved. Thus, it requires mythological contexts to end the feud and reunite the brothers. Lindow explains that vengeance is also brought upon Loki, but ... ... middle of paper ... ...dow fails to conclude why mistletoe kills Baldr other than that it “stands on the boundary between various conceptual categories” and makes a good weapon (pg. 159). However, if we maintain the notion that Baldr is indeed the god over the powerful and life providing evergreen, then it is fitting that the mistletoe should have the strength to kill him. Mistletoe is a type of parasitic plant that kills trees and though it may seem harmless, as it did to Frigg in the myth of Baldr’s death (pg. 156), it has the power to destroy something that provided sustainability to the Germanic people. What's more, mistletoe is an evergreen itself and can likely return us to the beginning of the end. Baldr is killed by his brother who is in turn killed by another brother. So evergreen kills evergreen and takes sustainability from the people who, without it, will likely parish.

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