The last few years have seen a surge of interest in Norse mythology in popular culture and the old legends have managed to find themselves influencing books, games, films, and television shows. But how have old legends managed to influence popular culture so much? Let’s take a look.
Film and Television
There have been dozens of films and television shows loosely based on Norse mythology or media that have offered a modern or unique twist on the classic legends. Arguably, one of the most recent and biggest takes on Nose mythology comes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe of which Thor, Loki, Odin, Asgard, and many other aspects of past mythological tales are based on.
These films, although not exactly accurate, are based on Marvel’s Thor comics and have acted as many people’s first introduction to Norse mythology, including English author Neil Gaiman who later went on to pen Norse mythological-inspired book American Gods.
However, there are plenty of other films and television shows which have been influenced or inspired by Norse mythology, including TV show Vikings which follows Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok, The 13th Warrior which loosely retells the story of Beowulf, and Valhalla Rising which follows Norse warrior One-Eye and a boy as they travel through North America.
Video and Casino Games
Over the last few years, there’s also been a rise in the number of games based on Norse mythology. There have been three major video games both based on Norse mythology; Sony PlayStation’s God Of War, Microsoft’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and finally Control. God Of War, in particular, is inspired by classic Norse tales as it features references to Loki, Jörmungandr the Midgard Serpent, and it sees players travel via Yggdrasil to several of the nine Norse worlds as Ragnorok approaches.
There have also been dozens of popular Norse mythology-themed online casino games, including Microgaming Thunderstruck titles which include special features based on Norse gods, Play’n GO’s Troll Hunters slot, NetEnt’s Hall Of Gods slot which includes references to classic mythology, and there are dozens of others, all of which can be played at casino sister sites in the UK.
We’ve already mentioned Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, adapted into a TV show of the same name, which sees the modern gods of technology and the world take on the gods of major religions and past mythology.
However, Norse mythology’s influence can also be found in George R. R. Martin’s acclaimed Game Of Thrones series with callbacks to Norse tales through White Walkers (Ice Giants), Direwolves (Wolves which appeared greatly in Norse mythology), and Ravens which acted as the familiars of god Odin.
There are plenty of other books inspired by old Norse tales including Joanne M. Harris’ Runemarks in which the protagonist is called on by a stranger known as One-Eye, and even many of the Witcher books borrow elements from Norse mythology too.
You can see just how much Norse mythology has influenced popular culture now and there’s no denying its popularity now. While most of the media touched on above do not offer authentic or accurate adaptations of the original mythological tales, they are a great form of entertainment and can act as a wonderful introduction to the wider myths not yet adapted or told.