The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson is the source of a lot of our knowledge about the lore of our Norse Ancestors. I recently started re-reading it, only this time I’m setting about to translate the names of all the places, people, and objects into English as much as possible.
When I started doing that, it opened up another dimension.
If we look at the stories as metaphors for things instead of as literal interpretations, another layer of meaning materializes. There are hints of this metaphorical interpretation in things like the story of “Utgard-Loki” in the Prose Edda. In it, Thor faces a series of challenges including draining an ale horn whose other end was in the sea, and wrestling an old woman who turned out to be old age and death personified.
Even the name “Utgard-Loki” means “Outland of Air;” evoking a wind-swept kingdom outside the realm of mortal men.
It occurs to me that all of these names had much more meaning in their original language, but I haven’t yet found a book that translates them all into English within the context of the story. I’m contemplating writing one myself.
So what do you think? Is there demand for such?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.