Book Review: Gods & Fighting Men

Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland - Lady Augusta Gregory

This set of Irish tales reminded me of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Barely organized; mostly miscellaneous. Several seemed to cover the same ground over and over to feel repetitive.

Some things seemed out of place like mentions of God or the Greeks. Pretty sure these are stories about events prior to Christianity came to Ireland. And the Greek presence seems even less likely.

Apparently the favorite animal to change someone into or hunt are pigs. They show up in several stories. Others like deer or hounds show up, but the pigs were notably everywhere.

I enjoyed Táin Bó Cúalnge much more.

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Book Review: Táin Bó Cúailnge

Review:

The Cattle-Raid of Cualnge (Tain Bo Cuailnge) - L. Winifred Faraday

I put out a call on Facebook for suggestions on Gaelic mythology to read. This was the top suggestion.

This strongly reminded me of Norse and Saxon epics. All account for the names of places by describing the battles undertaken there. Each is more fantastic than the next.

This one follows Cúchulainn, the Hound of Ulster. He battles against the armies of queen Medb. He can stun dozens of swans with a single throw of a stone. Or use thrown spears as stepping stones. You know… The kind of stuff one would see in an ancient China martial arts movie such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Which reminds me, there MUST be a movie about this epic, right?

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Review: Seven Viking Romances

Seven Viking Romances
Seven Viking Romances by Hermann Pálsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A couple girls gave me funny looks and asked about “Romance” in the title. So I explained this is romance as in heroic sagas of mighty warriors committing supernatural deeds. (Okay, so I glossed over these same warriors impregnating every woman in their path.) Not muscular men seducing women.

Until it was. Somewhere around 200 pages in one of the heroes uses an obvious euphemism for what is between his legs to seduce a girl. And then another euphemism on another girl. I could not believe it. Scandinavian romance novel in both senses.

The stories were amusing and fast. But then I like stuff about Odysseus, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh. And the fictional Conan.

P.S. It seems like everyone is related to someone named “Grim” though. Is that the John of Scandinavia?

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