Book progress…

I’ve just now sent my line editor about 2K words for a re-edit. On June 5th I will submit the “final” manuscript to my proofreader.

I’m assuming it’ll take her about a month to make her edits.

I’ve no idea how long it will take me to go through all of her changes. Probably anywhere from two weeks to a month.

Realistically, I’m guessing the book will launch in August.

All righty…back to writing BK2!

 

Shed a Tyr for Loki

When I think of the Norse god Tyr, I can’t help but also think of Benedict, the brother of Corwin of Amber.*

When Benedict first appears in The Guns of Avalon, Corwin describes him thusly:

I fear Benedict…He is the Master of Arms for Amber. Can you conceive of a millennium? A thousand years? Several of them? Can you understand a man who, for almost every day of a lifetime like that, has spent some time dwelling with weapons, tactics, strategy?

In the Prose Edda, Snorri describes Tyr as the “bravest and most valiant and he has great power over victory in battles. There is a saying that a man is ty-valiant who surpasses other men and does not hesitate.” (This is from the Gylfaginning.)

Snorri goes on to write that…

when the Aesir were luring Fenrir so as to get the fetter Gleipnir on him, he [Fenrir] did not trust them that they would let him go until they placed Tyr’s hand in the wolf’s mouth as a pledge. When the Aesir refused to let him (Fenrir) go then he bit off the hand at the places that is now called the wolf-joint (wrist) and he [Tyr] is one-handed….

Benedict also lacks a hand.

I’m not suggesting that Benedict is Tyr. I’m just pointing out the similarities and, perhaps, the underlying influence.**

In Lokasenna 38-40 (Poetic Edda) which Snorri likely drew from, Loki mocks Tyr thusly (in Dr Jackson Crawford’s translation):

Loki: You don’t know how to settle disputes between men. I’m thinking of your right hand which Fenrir, my son, bit off.”

Tyr: I lost that hand, you lost that son. We both suffered loss. Your son isn’t doing well, either; he remains forever in chains waiting for Ragnarok.

This same passage reads thusly in the Bellows translation:

Loki spake:
38. “Be silent, Tyr! | for between two men
Friendship thou ne’er couldst fashion;
Fain would I tell | how Fenrir once
Thy right hand rent from thee.”

Tyr spake:
39. “My hand do I lack, | but Hrothvitnir thou,
And the loss brings longing to both;
Ill fares the wolf | who shall ever await
In fetters the fall of the gods.”

(Hrothvitnir = the Mighty Wolf = Fenrir)

Loki sounds kinda pissed off to me — as he does in all of the Lokasenna. After stanza 39 he goes on to further insult Tyr.

Tyr’s response in both translations, however, sounds even-handed (hah!).

All of the above is backstory and motivation for my characters — moreso for Loki because he has a POV. Tyr does not.

In the myths, Fenrir was chained because he’d grown gigantic and threatened the gods and the world — and it was prophesied that he would kill Odin when Ragnarok came. So they chained Fenrir up.

But why not just kill him?

I had to invent an answer for that in my book. Something believable.

And how did Loki feel about his kids getting cast out from Asgard by his blood-brother? (Odin also kicked Jormungand and Hel to the wayside.)

All of that’s some pretty key motivation right there. How did Angboda feel? What did she do?

Why did Loki end up getting hitched to Sigyn (his second wife)?

And since the myths can be read as Loki sticking around AFTER all this bad stuff happened to his family, then why did he stick around? And, maybe most importantly, what did he do about it?

I handled all those questions by looking deep inside a wolf’s belly.

 

 

__

Note that the above picture is from this Pinterest gallery (I don’t use Pinterest). But, props to the artist found via this search. In the Chronicles of Amber the main characters — the royals of Amber — use decks of Tarot cards to communicate and/or travel through “Shadow.”

* Wait, you haven’t read the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny? Hie thee to an online bookstore now & buy the Great Book of Amber. It’s classic fantasy.

**Overall, there’s quite a lot about Amber that is reminiscent of the Norse gods and their ongoing battle with the Jotunn. I haven’t thoroughly researched the connections, but Zelazny has reportedly said that Amber was influenced by Norse myth, Celtic myth and Arthurian legend — along with a host of other allusions to philosophy (Plato) and literature.

Etymology note (b/c it’s cool): In his dictionary, Simek writes that Tyr is the Old Scandinavian name for the Germanic god of the sky, war and council. “Tyr” simply means “god” and is cognate with Tiwaz (Proto-Germanic; also means god) and also with Dyaus (Indian), Zeus (Greek), Jupiter (Latin).

 

 

No, no. You do this, instead.

I gave Vidar’s BK2 plotline to Frigg.

All of it.

It was, dare I say it, inspired. And it only took ~7 months.

One major problem I had in BK2 was how much travel I was forcing Vidar (and others) into. Most of it was necessary for events in BK3, but much of it was forced and boring and I couldn’t see how to fix it.

Giving Vidar’s plot to Frigg did it. (So far ;).)

Here are some relatively spoiler-free specifics.

BK1 ends with Vidar in a big fight with a Jotunn warband. He’s losing and has to withdraw.

BK2 opens with Vidar in full retreat. Unbeknownst to him, the Jotunn are not chasing him. Never felt quite right, honestly, but I’d left it b/c I wanted Vidar back in Gladsheim b/c I wanted Odin to ask Vidar to investigate a murder.

That’s the bit I gave to Frigg. Sorta.

The murder is directly relevant to Frigg (and Odin). Her entire plot in BK1 is about that murder. But in BK2 her arc had been bland and mostly limited to a few scenes at the end. I knew I had to fix it, but wasn’t sure how.

So, after some thinking, I just let her do what she’d naturally want to do — choose to investigate the murder. It’s totally relevant to who she is and it makes complete sense that she would make that choice. It felt great.

But then I needed something for Vidar to do. That was simple. Let the Jotunn warband do what it wanted to do: Chase him.

But, the hersir of that warband has to ask permission from the Jotunn chief of chiefs (the Skrymir) before he can just go after Vidar. For reasons, Vafthrudnir happens to be with the Skrymir when the hersir’s request comes in.

The Skrymir and Vaft hadn’t planned on that warband pursuing Vidar. So, after a bit of foreshadow-laden debate, Vaft convinces the Skrymir that letting the warband pursue Vidar is the best choice — but only if he himself (Vafthrudnir) also goes into the proverbial bear’s den (Gladsheim).

This choice is a huge risk for Vaft and for the Jotunn’s plans. But, it works better than the old version and it fits Vaft’s character. Vaft also chooses to take Hyrrokin with him for reasons which will hopefully make sense b/c of sub-plot groundwork I laid in BK1.

So now, Vidar’s plotline makes more sense and he naturally ends up back in Gladsheim by the end of BK2 which is where I needed him for BK3.

In fact, by the end of BK2 everybody’s where I need them to be for BK3. And they’re all there much more smoothly and naturally than the convoluted mess I’d concocted before. It’s pretty darn exciting.