(This review may contain spoilers).
Considering what I’m writing personally, it’s surprising it took me a little while to actually sit down and read the actual poems, even though I do know most of the storylines.
I thought it was good to see the different kinds of poems and also how the stanzas were shown with the different mythological figures exchanging insults in some. While I do sometimes find it more difficult to read poetry, I did think there was some really nice visual imagery in many of the poems.
I recognised the story of Brynhild and Sigurd from a movie I watched a long time ago and it was interesting to see a couple of different versions of it. There were a lot of dark moments in the poems, such as when the children are fed to their father… and I found it very hard to feel sympathetic towards Gudrun, no matter that she did lose her brothers. Then again, it seemed that violence triggered more violence and treachery worse treachery.
I thought the first poem, the prophecy, was quite an interesting one, though I was confused by the slightly different version that seemed to be shown at the end. It would have been good to see the different poems set side by side, so I could see the differences in the tones.
I liked being able to see the poem where Thor had to dress as a woman to get his hammer back and to see Loki show his intelligence in his responses to the giant. I also found Loki’s Quarrel to be a really interesting poem, especially given the references to past events and hostilities between the gods.
I found it a bit difficult to tell which events had actually happened and which were merely alluded to. I did feel that the poems, although amusing in some areas and intense to read in others, didn’t showcase as much of the personality of the Norse gods as I might have expected. There were some quite confusing moments in the poems, too, where references were made to cultural things that I found trouble following.
While it was good to have some notes in relation to the poems, I think those notes could have done with being written after the relevant poem, rather than at the back of the book, by which time, I’d forgotten my individual questions.