View Full Version : rr in the two Eddas

Monday, May 9th, 2005, 08:57 AM
Part of a paper I just turned in --

The status of rr in the Prose and Poetic Eddas differs from one to the other. In the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson, he functions in only one role, that of (both) Thundergod and Giant-slayer. His actions as these are the primary focus of the most detailed and extended narratives in the work (Lindow 26-7), and it is clear that his exploits are more important to Snorris readership, which is educated, than are inns, the most revered and featured deity of the Poetic Edda, itself only a compilation of relatively unsophisticated poetry.

In the Poetic Edda, and aside from his role in the Vlusp, the rr one finds is almost a separate deity from the mighty serpent-slayer of the Prose Edda (Lindow 27). Here, the Thunderer comes across not only as foolish when compared with inn, as he does in the Hrbarzlj, but also as a rustic, a figure much lesser and greatly reduced in rank. Though still valuable to society, his might is no longer awe-inspiring, and when compared with the gracile, sacred might of inn, it is made to seem taken for granted. The comical portrayal of rr in the Poetic Edda is not without precedent in religion, for even the great Indra of the Rig Veda seems ridiculous at times, but the meanness of the tone and purpose is certainly far from reverent.

Which of these portrayals is accurate? Even without considering the evidence from the Icelandic sagas, historical documents, and archaeological finds, one can answer this question easily.

---Who wants to try?---