I am reading a book about Viking mythology these days, among other books. The illustrations are not very good, they are a mix of often unrelated paintings and drawings from irrelevant sources, that could sort of look like events from Viking myths. Only a handful of the pictures are directly related to Viking tales. That said, the stories are great, as the source material is great.
I have always been fond of Viking myths, especially since my brother got this book of Viking myths for his birthday, something like twenty years ago. It had not only a great narrative (written by a certain Brian Branston), but also brilliant illustrations, little masterpieces in their own kind. You can find a bit more about the illustrator on his website, but I couldn't find any of his pictures from Gods & Heroes from Viking Mythology there. This book was not the only one or the first we had from the series, but it was my favourite.
For some reason, I always associated the stories of Viking mythology with winter and Christmas. Maybe because I first read this book from October (the time of my brother's birthday) to December. I simultaneously got in the Season's mood and into Viking lore. Maybe also, and especially, because they draw from the same imagery: snowy pine trees, cold winter nights, light and darkness,, but also share many icons now associated with Christmas. The holly and ivy for instance, which had strong meaning, throughout Pagan Europe. For the Vikings, they were linked to the death of the god Balder, who also shared a few things with Christ (innocent and deeply loved god killed, his death announcing the end of the world, etc.). There is also Odin Allfather who sacrificed himself to himself to gain wisdom. And Yggdrasil, even though it is an ash tree, has something of a cosmic-sized Christmas tree, which symbolically holds the world together, at least for a few days of celebration.
So yes, back to my reading. In the meantime, since I know I blogged a lot these last few days and people might have lost track of what I have been writing, I will kindly ask my readership to answer if they can the questions raised in this post.