Norse Mythology Series Goes Far beyond Pop Culture

loki in movies differs from loki in original mythology, producer says

By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer

Vikings and Loki only scratch the surface of Norse mythology—often inaccurately. Well-intended pop culture tributes like these stumble on their way from classic mythology to the small screen. Wondrium’s Norse Mythology sets the record straight.

Viking helmet and axe on wool surface
Norse mythology occurred during the Viking Age, 793-1066 CE, when Scandinavian seafaring warriors raided and colonized areas throughout Europe, even reaching North America. Photo by Anetlanda / Shutterstock

Much like Greek mythology, Norse mythology features gods with character flaws. Jealousy, bitterness, pride, rage, and betrayal run rampant in the deities of both cultures. While those flaws make for entertaining TV shows and “popcorn flicks,” there’s far more to them than what makes it past the writers’ room. Dr. Jackson Crawford, Resident Scholar at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center of the American West, leads the charge in Wondrium’s series Norse Mythology, which gives the Norse culture its due.

Ines Perez Thompson, Wondrium producer, recalled her experience working on the series in an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview.

The Right Presenter for the Job

Norse Mythology needed a concise and knowledgeable presenter to successfully convey the material to the audience. Thompson found these traits in Dr. Crawford.

“He talks about how the myths came about, their origins, the texts that they come from, and how they’ve been viewed through history,” Thompson said. “Then he talks about each of the gods and what they represent and the view of the world as it was back then. He was a very good presenter: he spoke very clearly and concisely; he’s definitely an expert in his field; he has lots of YouTube videos, he has a really good following—it’s a topic that he’s been speaking on for a while.”

According to Thompson, Dr. Crawford also discussed how Norse mythology is used inaccurately or even dishonestly for storytelling purposes. She mentioned that he tries to stay as close to the texts as possible. In this sense, he trades a bit of flashiness for authenticity.

Expert Knowledge Made Accessible

Thompson also said that although the subject of Norse mythology may seem niche, she found over and over again while working on the series that it was easy to follow even for those unfamiliar with it.

“I didn’t know much about it,” she said. “Of course, some of these characters, like Odin and Thor, you tend to see them a lot in popular culture—but I found it very interesting to find where they did come from and how long they’ve been around. It’s pretty fascinating that so many years ago somebody was writing these stories and creating these characters that people still manage to talk about today.”

Thompson mentioned that Loki in particular is a popular character in modern culture, thanks to the Marvel Comics movies and TV show based on him, but learning about him as he was originally written into Norse mythology, like Odin, was eye-opening. Finally, the idea of gods with flaws came up and Thompson mentioned their relevance to today.

“I found that the characters are very relatable and [in] something written so long ago, you find these characters still dealing with a lot of the things that we deal with today,” she said. “Again, it’s just interesting to note that so many years ago, in such a different culture, there are some basic similarities between human beings across the ages and across cultures.”

Norse Mythology is now available to stream on Wondrium.

Edited by Angela Shoemaker, Wondrium Daily