Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Bran, May 12, 2011.
what are the personalities/traits/attitudes of greek/norse gods
Research is your friend here. Even Wikipedia should say enough.
They like to intervene, only when it is fitting to them. Or so I think.
Google is also your friend. You should be able to find easy answers within the first link among the results.
i would like peoples views of them also
I view Greek gods as people with godly power. They are like children in a sand box, moving their toys wherever they want.
I would think they like to destroy everything.
Emphasis on the bold word. Many of the gods I'm aware of have unfortunately short tempers, and throw childlike tantrums when things don't go their way... Understandable, since these gods were invented as a means of understanding our active and frequently violent world.
Usually involved in political intrigue in Olympus, rather capricious, revengeful, immortal, somewhat omnipotent, promiscuous (depending on who you're talking about), jealous of the other gods, manipulative, seemingly undeserving of any kind of trust, but gracious and rewarding to those who do worship despite obstacles and negative situations. The gods are representative of the various "gifts" of nature and life--things that humans enjoy but have no clear explanation as to where they come from other than the gods.
some of them can be childish, but other are more like chess players, treating humans like pawns in their elaborate political games in the sky.
I always considered the Norse gods to be a bit more...classy than the Greek ones.
Huh, I always pictured the Greek gods with oiled skin and golden armors, whereas the Norse ones were heralded by their stench of goats, vomit and mjød.
As for their behavior, Norse myth is just as full of rivalries, jealousy, temper tantrums and drinking contests as the Greek, and there are far more similarities than differences between the two pantheons. The predominant one being that they didn't give a feck about humans.
the greek and the norse pantheons are most definitely linked. their similarities are almost numberless.
I think Norse (or Nordic) gods are usually selfish and arrogant, are open to using both guile and raw strength to conquer problems, are only loyal to their own friends and family, and pride themselves on being courageous in battle and hospitable to strangers.
I see them as less heroic and grand than the Greek pantheon.
Contrary to what some pop culture will tell you, Hades was not evil. In fact he was probably the least jerk ish of the Greek pantheon. Most myths say he only cheated on Phersephone (although he did kidnap her, but by the standards of lovers of the gods, she got of lucky) once. And he only screwed with mortals if they tried to escape with someone from the underworld or otherwise cheat him. Just something a lot of people don't remember.
I never thought of any of the Greek gods as evil. Petty maybe, vengeful for sure, but they also were fierce protectors.
Pretty much all I can think of has been said, just one moe thing I am not sure is commonly appreciated:
The Greek believed that the afterlife was BORING hence they tried to live life to the fullest. That attitude reflects in their gods as well, though they don't die, they are lively examples of what people thought they would be like if given that kind of power...
Loki of the Norse mythology was not really evil either, but he was kind of a jerk. The most evil thing he did was when he tricked Hödur into killing Baldur, but at other times, he used his trickery to help the other gods.
Greek - petty, capricious and cruel, almost to the last - but it really depends alot on which, story, which god, which version, etc.
Norse - heroic, bold, noble, dire
In Greek mythology the gods were immortal, they were very competitive, and had no evil to fight against - they were also very sexy and male gods in particular were notorious for impregnating mortal women
In Norse mythology the gods not only could die, but were doomed to die in an apocalypse called the Gotterdammerung (doom of the gods). The Aesir (Norse gods) were engaged in an epic, eternal struggle with the Jotunns (frost giants) until the end of time. They loved humans, Odin was always looking for a way to save his "children". The Aesir worked together, and didnt bicker like children.
Loki was craftyand cunning, and wicked...but he was evil. He was a Jotunn by birth and doomed to betray the Aesir, his destiny. He got progressively more evil each day, eventually conspiring to kill a god (Baldur) and then fighting in the last battle (Ragnarok) against the gods.
Norse gods classier? Lol, no, the Greek gods and myths were way more sophisticated. The Aesir were good looking and well mannered, but in terms of storytelling the Vikings betrayed their brutishness. Greek myths, even relatively pastoral ones, show alot of old world cleverness. Greek myths and Norse both value and pride intelligence and strength. Athena/Herakles, Odin/Thor.
Loki helped the gods get out of trouble usually because he was the reason for the trouble in the first place.
One example is when Loki was captured by the giant Thiazi. The giant refused to free him unless Loku turned over Idunn and her apples of eternal youth. Loki, looking out for his own neck, did so.
The norse gods were immediately worried when Idunn disappeared. They realized Loki was the one last seen with her. The truth was wrung out of him and they gave Loki an ultimatum. Get Idunn back or they were going to kill him.
So with a bit of clever shapeshifting into a falcon, Loki stole Idunn back. Thiazi, enraged, shifted into an eagle and followed. The Aesir built a huge fire. Loki flew over a wall and avoided the fire. The eagle didn't see the fire until it was too late and perished.
Loki managed to save the day, but he was the cause of the calamity.
Good vs. Evil wasn't even much of a concept to the ancient Greeks. Being the strongest, wisest, etc, were the true virtues. But Hollywood needs their villains to demonize because it makes for better popcorn sales, where as moral ambiguity just "confuses people".
I'd say that conspiring to get a god killed is pretty wicked. And then afterward he turned himself into a hag, because every creature wept to bring Baldur back except for the hag - him, out of pure spite, so yes. Loki was unambiguosly evil, it was clear.
He sired the three beasts that would help doom the gods, clear symbolism of evil.
Initially he helped the gods and went on journeys with Thor, doing some good things - but as the years went on his real badness just came out.
Although a lot of the Norse myths were only written down after the spread of Christianity across Europe, so we don't know how much of the myths were changed to reflect Christian ideas.
i dont believe in good or evil. "there is only power, and the will to use it."
Well, the Greeks/Romans believed ruthlessness was a virtue, while cruelty was not.
Its been suggested that the Irish mythos were significantly changed by Christian missionaries. Irish gods were mortal like the Aesir, and much more limited and human-like, perhaps on purpose to make them less godly.
In the case of the Norse myths you can make that argument, but I dont think Snorri Stuluson Christianized the Aesir too much, pagans were still prevalent in his day. More likely what he wrote is an accurate reflection of oral traditions. Much more likely is that the Norse conceived of their gods as warriors first, and cosmic creatures after.
As a historian and mythographer, Snorri is remarkable for proposing the theory (in the Prose Edda) that mythological gods begin as human war leaders and kings whose funeral sites develop cults (see euhemerism). As people call upon the dead war leader as they go to battle, or the dead king as they face tribal hardship, they begin to venerate the figure. Eventually, the king or warrior is remembered only as a god. He also proposed that as tribes defeat others, they explain their victory by proposing that their own gods were in battle with the gods of the others.
In addition, in the Norse creation myth, the earth is formed from the dead body of the giant Ymir, which is shockingly similar to the Hindu holy book's (Rig Veda - 1700-1100 BC) account of how the Hindu gods formed the world from the giant Purusha.
There is some scholarly analysis of the Aryan (Indo-European) link, so the migration of language and oral traditions to as far as Iceland from Asia is credible.
You are right, we may never know how much the Norse mythos have been changed, but we may also never know if they were at all.
(I love my mythology)
As for the OP, as you can see, research is required, this will quickly become a lengthy lecture.
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