The last few years have been great for fans of Norse mythology. With AAA titles like God of War and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, players have been able to get a look at the great north's culture and myths in a whole new way. However, it seems that it isn't just the blockbuster titles that have taken inspiration from the Viking way of life. The new hit indie game, Valheim, has set players loose in a Norse realm and forces them to survive the harsh landscape. Monsters, mysterious figures, and treacherous weather keep players on their toes as they become familiar with the landscape and creatures of this new world.
Norse mythology refers to the Scandinavian beliefs and framework of the Viking Age, which ran from around 700 AD to 1000 AD. In Norse mythology, all of the universe was created by the giants. From the body of their only parent Ymir, Odin and his brothers crafted the world. The first humans were created by these gods from two tree trunks, and a fence was built around them to keep them safe from giants. Norse mythology has a lot of chaos and the idea of limitless potential, with the gods even finding a use for the body of their dead parent. Chaos is also apparent in Valheim's world, as every player's decisions will be impacted by a variety of factors out of their control.
One of the most apparent characters in Valheim is the raven Hugin that accompanies the player throughout the game, as they experience new things in the realm. The raven draws from its own seemingly endless knowledge of the world to teach the players how to craft, to build, and to venture forth safely. The significance of the raven in Norse myth is that the bird is often mentioned as a messenger or symbol of knowledge and experience, sometimes at the side of Odin. It's not a far-fetched possibility that these birds could serve as messengers of the god Odin as you go on your path.
Speaking of the leader of the Aesir gods, some fans have noticed a cloaked figure around Valheim. With one eye peeking out at the player from beneath a hood, some believe this to be the one-eyed god Odin. It has been said that when he walks among humans he is seen as an old traveler with a walking stick. Odin lost his eye in his search for knowledge, making him the most popular single-eyed god and most likely choice for that shadowy figure.
Another example of Odin imagery is the one-eyed man-shaped Ward that protects players' buildings from being destroyed without anyone noticing. Additionally, once players have progressed far enough they may be able to see another god, Thor, in the sky during a storm.
Another common Norse symbol is the world tree, known as Yggdrasil, which serves as the foundation to the entire universe. Three roots extend out into Niflheim, Jotunheim, and Asgard. A fourth extends into "Valheim," the made up realm where Valheim takes place. This humongous tree limb can be seen in the sky from anywhere on the map, providing life and light into the realm. Players can look up anywhere they see an open sky and take in the beauty of that branch that pierces the realm.
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