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BOOK REVIEW – NEIL GAIMAN – ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS 2008 Bloomsbury. A delightful novella by the author of Stardust and the Sandman graphic novels. Odd was written specially for the annual World Book Day events.

 

Odd, is an unlucky Viking child, who is crippled following an accident while chopping trees. His father had drowned trying to rescue a donkey that had fallen off a longship some time before.

 

One year, the spring fails to arrive, and winter goes on indefinitely. Odd runs away from home to try to find out why. He has no idea what to do, and mainly visits places associated with his family. His mother had been abducted from Scotland, and misses her home.

 

Odd makes an unusual alliance with three animals, a bear, a fox and an eagle.  It soon becomes apparent that the talking beasts are actually the Norse gods, Loki, Odin & Thor who have been cast into exile by the Frost Giants who have taken over Asgaard.

 

Odd leads the god’s home over a magical rainbow bridge, and heads to ask the Frost Giants to go home.  There is in fact only one giant, who is acting from stubborn pride and some love of the Goddess Freya, despite her tendency to nag. Odd appeals to the giant’s nostalgia for his own home, and the giant leaves.  The goddess Freya restores the animal-imprisoned gods to their natural forms, and helps partly heal Odd’s leg for him, but the healing is not complete, and when Odd returns home he is a man, not a child. On reunion with his mother, he promises to take her home to Scotland, knowing she misses her home too.

 

A lovely story about how adventure and conquest makes us yearn for things as they once were, and how change makes us merely want to change things back, and complete what was abandoned before.

 

 

Copyright. Arthur Chappell                                  

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