In this series, I illuminate the individual poems of the Edda–that most famous, epic masterpiece of Icelandic literary tradition–with humour, vulgarity and modern realness. Are you reading this and thinking, “What the fuck is the Edda?” If so, you should start by reading my first recap of the Edda, chock-full of helpful context and shameless attitude. Or you can just shut up and read on.
This poem is basically the Old Norse origin story. You know, like what Genesis is to Christians, only nobody is stupid enough to take it literally these days. Aside from being the best account of pagan beliefs, it’s a legitimately beautiful poem of awesome shit like dragons, the apocalypse and a talking vulva.
Into the vulvoid
She’s not literally a talking vulva, sadly, but I want you to keep that image in your mind anyway. The poem is narrated to Óðinn, the grandpa of the Old Norse gods, by a fortune-telling lady, which is called a völva in Icelandic. As you might expect, the ‘vulva’ has seeeeen some shit (if you know what I mean) and she is all the wiser for it.
She’s like, “let’s start with the beginning of the universe.” And honey, she is not kidding. So she explains how way back when, there was nothing in existence except a gaping void, which also sounds vaginal, but isn’t. Somehow a giant dude appears, then suddenly a bunch of other shit starts existing, like the sun, vegetables and dwarves, which are clearly this vulva’s fetish, because she does not shut up about them.
The vulva flaps on, explaining that there were two groups of gods, the Æsir and the Vanir. Things were totally chill between them until they went and created humans out of driftwood. They try to burn some woman, but she survives in full Khaleesi-ness. Anyway, this starts the first war in the world (typical humans), but the gods eventually unite in peace. Óðinn is like, “Yeah, yeah, I know this story. I’m like the main character. What else ya got?”
A vulva is nothing if not ready, so she’s all, “Fine. Lemme tell you about the end of the universe.” Spoiler: they all die. Óðinn’s hottest son, Baldur, gets the kiss of death from his little brother, who shanks him with mistletoe. Then shit gets metal. There is blood and weeping, betrayal and anarchy (the bad kind), and the tree at the center of the universe quivers in fear. There are rivers of knives, beaches of corpses, a black sun, and all kinds of monsters from hell and its suburbs.
The gods are massacred by a corpse-sucking dragon, a sea monster, big-ass wolves and eagles, and giants made of both lava and ice. Fire swallows the universe. The end. Psych! It is obviously reborn and Baldur plays checkers with his murderer, happily ever after… “But wait!” concludes the vulva. “What is that corpse-sucking-dragon-shaped shadow on the horizon?”
Morals of the story:
1. Adam and Eve weren’t real, dumbass.
2. We’re all gonna die.