Good morning, Asgard! I'm Leda Skeetersøn, and today on Wake Up Asgard we bring you an exclusive interview with a very special guest. He's just written a book called Havamal: The Sayings of Odin the Wise One, which the Asgard Observer has praised as a "tour-de-force of wisdom, lore, and riveting storytelling." Here with me today is the wise one himself, our very own Odin, King of the Gods. Good morning, sir. Thanks for being with us today.
Odin: Good morning, Leda. Delighted to be here.
Leda: You must be very gratified by the critical success of your book. Were you at all surprised at the degree of excitement surrounding it?
Odin: Well, honestly, no. My subjects are a people who appreciate good poetry, storytelling, and wisdom, and my book combines all three, so I naturally expected that it would be received quite well.
Leda: Some people were surprised that with all your many jobs – King of the Gods; God of Battle, Warfare, and Victory; God of the Hunt – you had time to write a book, too. How did you manage it?
Odin: Well don't forget that I'm also the God of Wisdom and Poetry, so, in a sense, this book was just an extension of my official duties in that capacity. And I view my ongoing quest for wisdom as complementing my other roles, especially my job as king. A king must be wise to lead his people well. That's why I've made it my business to seek out wisdom whenever possible, right from the very beginning of my reign.
Leda: I'm sure people must be wondering how you acquired the wisdom in Havamal, and how they can do the same. What do you say to them?
Odin: Well, keep in mind that Havamal was a book centuries in the making. It began when I sacrificed my eye to Mimir in exchange for a drink from his wisdom well. The second part of the book, where I list some magic spells, was the product of my nine-day hang from the tree Yggdrassil, at the end of which I died and was reborn, in order to unlock the secrets of the runes. And the poetry itself was made possible by my procurement of the Kvasir mead from its prior owner. All this, combined with my eons of experience as leader of the Asgard, went into the writing of Havamal. So to those who seek wisdom, I would say: don't expect it to be easy. You must be willing to make sacrifices. And to wait a long time for it.
Leda: With all the focus on your book, some of your other roles in Asgard have disappeared from the spotlight somewhat. Beyond your great wisdom, are there any other accomplishments you're particularly proud of?
Odin: Well I'm certainly proud to have worked with my brothers to create the world from the corpse of Ymir, and to have breathed life into the trees that became Ask and Embla, the first inhabitants of Middle-Earth. I still take my obligation to the people of Middle-Earth very, very seriously. Many in Asgard don't realize that in addition to being their leader, I'm also the overseer of warfare on Middle-Earth. I decide the outcome of the battles. I also send my Valkyries to choose the bravest of the slain Vikings to populate my hall, Valhalla. I make it my business to see that they warriors are happy in Valhalla, feasting on boar and mead every night, as a reward for their bravery on Middle-Earth.
Leda: The inhabitants of Valhalla become your adopted sons, don't they?
Odin: Yes, that's right. Which means that in addition to my six Asgardian sons, I have hundreds of thousands of adopted sons, not to mention many other biological sons on Middle-Earth that are the result of my, er, wanderings.
Leda: You certainly do have a large family! Well, sir, I'm afraid that's all we have time for today. Again, thank you so much for being here.
Odin: My pleasure, Leda.
Leda: And once again, everyone, our guest's new book, Havamal: The Sayings of Odin the Wise One, comes out this Wednesday at a scriptorium near you. For Wake Up, Asgard, I'm your host, Leda Skeetersøn.