The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background
When you’re working with two full mythologies, there are a lot of tidbits to include that just don’t get the screen time for full explanations. There are a lot of these “Easter eggs” hidden in The Songweaver’s Vow, and I’ll have a whole pile of them to share — in March. (Yes, in March, because some of them would be spoilerific, and we don’t need to revisit exactly how I feel about spoilers, do we, hmmm?)
But here’s a snack to hold you over.
In the 2011 Marvel film Thor, Sif is dark-haired, even called out for her resemblance to Lucy Lawless. This faintly bothered me, because Sif is traditionally blonde — not just in an all Scandinavians are blond way (I’ll get to the actual genetic diversity of Viking-age populations another time, it’s fascinating), but in an it matters to the plot way.
Loki & the Gods’ Gifts
Sif was wife to Thor. Once, while Sif was sleeping, Loki crept in and shaved her famously-lovely head. (Because whenever anything sketchy goes down in Asgard, it’s worth at least checking to see if Loki’s involved.) Thor pounded on Loki until Loki promised to replace her hair with real golden hair, and then Loki went to barter with the dwarfs, who were the only ones capable of making such a marvelous piece of craftsmanship. Ivaldi and sons produced a replacement head of hair for Sif, made of real gold, and also Skíðblaðnir (an enormous ship which could fold to fit in a pocket, which would go to Freyr) and Gungnir (a spear which always hit its target, which would go to Odin).
But Loki, being fairly bad at leaving well enough alone, then went and taunted the dwarfs Brokk and Sindri that they couldn’t match the craftsmanship of what Ivaldi’s family had just done. Loki, also being fairly bad at long-term planning, bet his own head on this. So Brokk and Sindri got to work and, despite Loki’s attempts at interference by turning himself into a stinging insect, produced Gullinbursti (Freyr’s golden boar), Draupnir (Odin’s golden armring which produced more golden armrings), and Mjöllnir (Thor’s boomerang hammer).
A council of gods decided Mjöllnir was the best of all the presented works and thus Loki’s head was forfeit. (They might have been biased to such a conclusion, hard to say.) Loki tried to talk his way out, then tried to run his way out, but Thor caught him and presented him to Brokk for beheading.
Loki, however, with his tongue like an eel, protested that his head was forfeit but his neck must remain intact per their limited agreement, the earliest invocation of the pound of flesh reprieve. Brokk, furious at being denied the opportunity to kill someone who had challenged him to produce his greatest work and win the admiration of the gods, opted instead to sew Loki’s mouth shut — which, not surprisingly, offended no one but Loki.
So there’s a lot of mythological background which appears only in a few short lines in the final book:
A woman with hair of gold — real gold, Euthalia realized with awe, draping from her scalp in a beautiful and hideous mockery of hair — stretched upward to kiss Thor, and he pulled her roughly close….
“And when the dwarfs wanted my head and I fled, do you know who it was who brought me back to them? Thor. And he stood by, new gift in hand, as they pierced my lips with an awl and sewed my mouth shut.”
It may be worth noting that this story appears only in Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda and not in older material. Whether this is just because we don’t have a complete canon of older material (we don’t), or whether Sturluson put it together himself either from fragments or wholesale, we just don’t know. This is the problem when working with oral traditions and incomplete preservation.
And just in case you somehow haven’t heard, The Songweaver’s Vow releases February 21, 2017. So excited! Want to download four free chapters to preview?