The Gospel of Loki

The Gospel of Loki

by Joanne M. Harris


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781481449465
Publisher: Gallery / Saga Press
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Series: Gospel of Loki Series , #1
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 485,980
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Joanne Harris (MBE) was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied modern and mediaeval languages at Cambridge and is the author of Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. Since then, she has written several more novels, two collections of short stories, and three cookbooks. Her books are now published in more than fifty countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and has been a judge for the Whitbread Prize, the Orange Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, and the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science. She works from a shed in her garden and lives with her husband and daughter in a little wood in Yorkshire.

Read an Excerpt

The Gospel of Loki

  • LESSON 1

    Fire and Ice

    Never trust a ruminant.

    — Lokabrenna

    All of us came from fire and ice. Chaos and Order. Light and dark. In the beginning — or back in the day — there was fire coming out of a hole in the ice, bringing disruption, turmoil, and change. Change isn’t always comfortable, but it is a fact of life. And that’s where life as we know it began, as the fires of World Below pierced the ice of World Above.

    Before that, there were no Middle Worlds. No gods, no Folk, no wildlife. There was only Order and Chaos then, pure and uncorrupted.

    But neither Order nor Chaos is very hospitable. Perfect Order is immovable — frozen, unchanging, and sterile. Total Chaos is uncontrolled — volatile and destructive. The middle ground — basically, lukewarm water — created the perfect environment for another kind of life to emerge among the frozen Wilderlands and volcanoes erupting under the ice.

    The Authorized Version goes like this, supported by the Oracle. From the meeting of Order and Chaos there came a giant being called Ymir, the father of the Ice Folk, and a cow, Audhumla, which licked at the salt that was in the ice and brought out the first man, Buri. From this I think we can all conclude that the cow was the primary instigator of everything that followed — War, Tribulation, the End of the Worlds. Lesson One: Never trust a ruminant.

    Now the sons of Buri and those of Ymir hated each other from the start, and it didn’t take long for them to go to war. Buri’s three grandsons, the sons of Bór — their names were Odin, Vili, and Ve — finally killed old Ymir and made the Middle Worlds from what was left of him: the rocks from his bones, the earth from his flesh, the rivers from his steaming blood. His skull became the Firmament; his brains, the clouds; his eyebrows, the division between Inland and the Outlands.

    Of course, there’s no way of proving this — let’s face it — rather unlikely hypothesis. All of the possible witnesses have disappeared, except for Odin, the Old Man, the only survivor of that war, architect and chronicler of what we now call the Elder Age and, as it happens, the only one (except for me) to have heard the fateful prophecy, delivered to him by Mimir’s Head when the Worlds were fresh and new.

    Call me cynical if you like. But it all sounds a bit too convenient. The Authorized Version of events leaves out a number of details, which Creationists seem content to ignore. I personally have my doubts — not least about the giant cow — although even now you have to beware of how you express these sentiments. At one time, even to suggest that Odin’s account of things might have been metaphorical instead of literal would have resulted in cries of heresy and a good deal of personal discomfort for Yours Truly, which is why, even then, I was always careful to keep my scepticism to myself.

    But that’s how religions and histories make their way into the world, not through battles and conquests, but through poems and kennings and songs, passed through generations and written down by scholars and scribes. And that’s how, five hundred years later or so, a new religion with its new god came to supplant us — not through war, but through books and stories and words.

    After all, words are what remain when all the deeds have been done. Words can shatter faith, start a war, change the course of history. A story can make your heart beat faster, topple walls, scale mountains — Hey, a story can even raise the dead. And that’s why the King of Stories ended up being King of the gods, because writing history and making history are only the breadth of a page apart.

    Not that there was much of that when Odin was fighting the Ice Folk. There were no runes to write with then, and nothing but rock to write upon. But metaphor or otherwise, this is as much as I believe: that the world came into being through Change, which is the servant of Chaos, and only through Change has it endured. Much like Your Humble Narrator, in fact, adapting to suit the circumstance.

    The snow hare changes its coat to white to go unseen in winter. The ash tree drops its leaves in the fall, better to survive the cold. All of life does the same — even gods — turning their coats to suit the turning seasons of the world. There should be a name for that kind of thing — in fact, it should be one of my names. Let’s call it Revolution.

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    The Gospel of Loki 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    A great story of revenge and fate. Worth the money.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I love the idea of Loki as the narrator, and the little references to modern things make for an entertaining read.
    Lyesmith More than 1 year ago
    As wonderful a retelling of traditional Norse myth as Ender's Shadow is of Ender's Game. The final scene is one of the most deliciously blasphemous pieces of lit I've read in years.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Fun, fresh take on norse mythology
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    An excellent retelling of the myths with a new perspective. A great read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago