The Norns in Old Norse Mythology

Karen Bek-Pedersen

224 Pages, ISBN 978 1 78046 035 2     
Published by Dunedin, 2013     

The nornir or norns were a group of female supernatural beings closely related to ideas about fate in Old Norse tradition. Karen Bek-Pedersen provides a thorough understanding of the role played by norns and other beings like them in the relevant sources. Although they are well known, even to people who have only a superficial knowledge of Old Norse mythology, this is the first detailed discussion of the norns to be published amongst the literature dealing with Old Norse beliefs.

Surprisingly little has been written specifically about the norns. Although often mentioned in scholarship treating Old Norse culture, the norns are all too often dealt with in overly superficial ways. The research presented in this book goes much deeper in order to properly understand the nature and role of the norns in the Old Norse world view. The conclusions reached by the author overturn a number of stereotypical conceptions that have long dominated our understanding of these beings.

The book has a natural focus on Old Norse culture and is especially relevant to those interested in or studying Old Norse culture and tradition. However, comparative material from Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Classical traditions is also employed and the book is therefore of interest also to those with a broader interest in European mythologies.

'With The Norns in Old Norse Mythology, Karen Bek-Pedersen offers a very detailed book about nornir as well as other supernaturual female figures in Old Norse mythology. It is a high quality piece of research, especialy as regards its detailed and accurate close reading of the text sources, which will satisfy both interested beginners and specialised scholars.'
- Cosmos

Karen Bek-Pedersen lectured in Early Scandinavian Studies at the University of Aberdeen until recently where she worked at the Centre for Scandinavian Studies. She has an MA (hons) and PhD from the University of Edinburg. From 2004-2007 she worked at Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburg, teaching Danish language, Scandinavian Cultural History and Old Norse Sagas and mythology. In 2008 she worked at Aarhus Universitet, in Denmark teaching Old Norse: Eddic poetry. She has participated in de Orkney Interantional Science Festival a number of times, giving talks on Old Norse mythology.

(The text above comes from the back of the book)     

This book covers absolutely every possible facet of the Norns and discusses all ancient texts from the Eddas and Sagas that have anything to do with the Norns. This book provides a comprehensive, in-depth study of the Norns! The book is very complete, by far the best book I have read about the Norns! I can highly recommend this book to everyone!


Back to the previous page