100 books like The Elder Edda

By Unknown, Andy Orchard (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Elder Edda fans have personally recommended if you like The Elder Edda. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes

Thomas Williams Author Of Viking Britain

From my list on Norse mythology (from an archaeologist).

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Thomas Williams is a bestselling writer, historian, and archaeologist. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, he was a curator of the major international exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend at the British Museum in 2014 and earned his PhD at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. He wrote Viking Britain and Viking London. 

Thomas' book list on Norse mythology (from an archaeologist)

Thomas Williams Why did Thomas love this book?

There are many books that aim to provide a succinct, coherent introduction to the subject of Norse mythology. Few, however, manage to so with the clarity and authority of Professor Carolyne Larrington’s The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes. This book deals with all of the critical aspects of the mythos: from Ginnungagap (‘the howling void’) to Ragnarök (‘the doom of the gods’) by way of Yggdrasil the world-tree, the divine families (the Æsir and the Vanir) and the giants who opposed them, as well as the doings of human heroes like Sigurd the Volsung. This is an excellent introduction to the subject that includes retellings of many of the most important myths alongside illustrations and vital historical and literary context. If you are just beginning your journey into this realm of monsters and gods, there are few better places to start.

By Carolyne Larrington,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Norse Myths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who were the Norse gods - the mighty AEsyr, led by Odinn, and the mysterious Vanir? In The Norse Myths we meet this passionate and squabbling pantheon, and learn of the mythological cosmos they inhabit. Passages translated from the Old Norse bring this legendary world to life, from the myths of creation to ragnaroek, the prophesied end of the world at the hands of Loki's army of monsters and giants, and everything that comes in between: the problematic relationship between the gods and the giants, in which enmity and trickery are punctuated by marriages and seductions; the (mis) adventures of…


Book cover of The Prose Edda

Donovan Cook Author Of Odin's Betrayal

From my list on learn about the Vikings and their gods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved history, especially European history, and fell in love with the Vikings and their mythology after reading the first book of the Last Kingdom Series by Bernard Cornwell. One of the reasons I wanted to write Viking fiction is because I was keen to learn more about these amazing people who had such a large influence on European history, but had been stigmatized by the Christian religion. I really wanted to learn about who they were as a people and how they saw their world through their religion and their interactions with Christian nations around them.

Donovan's book list on learn about the Vikings and their gods

Donovan Cook Why did Donovan love this book?

This is the book to read if you want to learn about Norse mythology and the Norse gods, and is certainly one I enjoyed.

I loved reading all the different sagas, from the creation of the universe all the way to Ragnarök. This is a book I regularly revisit to find tales that I can sprinkle into my novels, and I also found it a great source just to understand the mentality of the Scandinavian people.

By Snorri Sturluson, Jesse L. Byock (translator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Prose Edda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most renowned of all works of Scandinavian literature and our most extensive source of Norse mythology

Written in Iceland a century after the close of the Viking Age, The Prose Edda tells ancient stories of the Norse creation epic and recounts the battles that follow as gods, giants, dwarves and elves struggle for survival. In prose interspersed with powerful verse, the Edda shows the gods' tragic realization that the future holds one final cataclysmic battle, Ragnarok, when the world will be destroyed. These tales have proved to be among the most influential of all myths and legends, inspiring works…


Book cover of The Viking Way: Magic and Mind in Late Iron Age Scandinavia

Lilith Saintcrow Author Of A Flame in the North

From my list on European history books for writing Western epic fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like any writer, I’m fascinated with what makes people tick and why they act the way they do. Naturally, this means I read a lot of history. I love reference reading; I love researching arcane questions for a tiny detail that will bring a character or their world to life. Creating epic fantasy is an extension of both my drives as a reader and a writer. Pouring myself into characters who inhabit different settings is a deeply satisfying exercise in both craft and empathy, and each history book has some small bit I can use to make my settings more compelling, more enjoyable for readers, and more real.

Lilith's book list on European history books for writing Western epic fantasy

Lilith Saintcrow Why did Lilith love this book?

This is a pretty dense scholarly work, but that very density makes it a cornucopia for anyone interested in how a specific historical culture regarded magic.

I appreciated that while academic, Price is never boring or needlessly obscure; he does a very good job of not only explaining the historical record but also the best guess at how it can be interpreted.

Not only did it teach me a great deal about the Vikings, but it also taught me other strategies and ways of thinking about other cultures’ magical practices, and for a fantasy writer, that’s pure gold.

By Neil Price,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Viking Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Magic, sorcery and witchcraft are among the most common themes of the great medieval Icelandic sagas and poems, the problematic yet vital sources that provide our primary textual evidence for the Viking Age that they claim to describe. Yet despite the consistency of this picture, surprisingly little archaeological or historical research has been done to explore what this may really have meant to the men and women of the time. This book examines the evidence for Old Norse sorcery, looking at its meaning and function, practice and practitioners, and the complicated constructions of gender and sexual identity with which these…


Book cover of Myths of the Pagan North: The Gods of the Norsemen

Thomas Williams Author Of Viking Britain

From my list on Norse mythology (from an archaeologist).

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Thomas Williams is a bestselling writer, historian, and archaeologist. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, he was a curator of the major international exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend at the British Museum in 2014 and earned his PhD at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. He wrote Viking Britain and Viking London. 

Thomas' book list on Norse mythology (from an archaeologist)

Thomas Williams Why did Thomas love this book?

Despite its rather misleading title, Chris Abrams’s Myths of the Pagan North is not a retelling of the Norse myths or a primer to the worlds they describe. It is instead a detailed and sustained exploration of how the myths as we know them developed, what evidence exists for the Norse mythos outside the major compendia of thirteenth-century Icelandic prose and poetry (Snorri’s Edda and the so-called Elder Edda), and what function these stories played in the societies of the Viking Age and medieval north. With chapters exploring the historical context in which the myths developed, the full range of sources that can shed light on them (including runic inscriptions, picture stones, and skaldic verse) and the relationship of the myths to the religious worldview of the pagan and Christian societies that shaped them, this is a book for those who want to go beyond the stories themselves and…

By Christopher Abram,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Myths of the Pagan North as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an engaging account of the world of the Vikings and their gods. As the Vikings began to migrate overseas as raiders or settlers in the late eighth century, there is evidence that this new way of life, centred on warfare, commerce and exploration, brought with it a warrior ethos that gradually became codified in the Viking myths, notably in the cult of Odin, the god of war, magic and poetry, and chief god in the Norse pantheon. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when most of Scandinavia had long since been converted to Christianity, form perhaps the most important…


Book cover of History of the Danes

Jackson Crawford Author Of The Wanderer's Havamal

From my list on Norse myths from direct sources.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jackson Crawford, Ph.D., taught Norse mythology at multiple universities (including UCLA, Berkeley, and Colorado) for over a decade before becoming a full-time public educator on Old Norse myth and language via his translations and Youtube channel in 2020. He is passionate about presenting the authentic, undistorted medieval stories in clear, thrilling, modern English.

Jackson's book list on Norse myths from direct sources

Jackson Crawford Why did Jackson love this book?

While Snorri wrote in his native Old Norse in Iceland, unbeknownst to him, a Danish writer remembered as Saxo the Grammarian ('Grammaticus') was writing a monumental history of the Danish kingdom in Latin. Since the old gods were held to be the ancestors of the royal families of medieval Scandinavia, Saxo spends quite a bit of time in the first nine books of 'The History of the Danes' retelling their stories. Many fans of Norse mythology who read the Eddas still never approach Saxo's work, which in fact has been mined in recent centuries for many rich details that are preserved nowhere else. Like Snorri, Saxo tries to "rationalize" the old gods into becoming misguided or deceitful human beings from the distant past, and he does a more thorough job of it, but even through this veneer, it is hard not to recognize the same characters that we know from…

By Peter Fisher, Saxo Grammaticus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History of the Danes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Text: English, Latin


Book cover of The Poetic Edda

G. Ronald Murphy Author Of Tree of Salvation: Yggdrasil and the Cross in the North

From my list on the meeting of Christianity and Germanic religions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Father G. Ronald Murphy is a priest and a professor emeritus of German at Georgetown University. In addition to numerous books on Germanic literature, he discovered the original iron cross that was brought to Maryland on the Ark and the Dove by the first settlers. He found the cross on a pallet in the University Archives, and it is now on exhibition at the Smithsonian.

G.'s book list on the meeting of Christianity and Germanic religions

G. Ronald Murphy Why did G. love this book?

The author is unknown, and though the work was copied down in the thirteenth century, it contains many elements from much earlier, especially from the creation myths. This book is the sine qua non for getting to the world of the thought of the Viking era’s mindset, its metaphors, its values in plain advice and in poetic images. It tells of the world and of what is going on in heaven and on earth. The scholar can’t do without it. If you find yourself curious about the original form of the myths and stories, or at least as near as we can get to some of them, the Poetic Edda is indispensable.

By Carolyne Larrington (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Poetic Edda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She sees, coming up a second time,
earth from the ocean, eternally green;
the waterfalls plunge, an eagle soars above them,
over the mountain hunting fish.

After the terrible conflagration of Ragnarok, the earth rises serenely again from the ocean, and life is renewed. The Poetic Edda begins with The Seeress's Prophecy which recounts the creation of the world, and looks forward to its destruction and rebirth. In this great collection of Norse-Icelandic mythological and heroic poetry, the exploits of gods and humans are related. The one-eyed Odin, red-bearded Thor, Loki the trickster, the lovely goddesses, and the giants who…


Book cover of Norse Myths: Viking Legends of Heroes and Gods

Asa Maria Bradley Author Of A Wolf's Hunger: A Sexy Fated Mates Paranormal Romance

From my list on the gods and world of Norse mythology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology steeped in Viking history, which fueled my interest in Norse mythology. For example, Uppåkra, the largest and richest Iron Age settlement in Scandinavia, is only a few miles from my childhood home. When my seventh-grade history teacher noticed my fascination with the Viking myths, he started recommending me books. Ever since, I’ve read extensively about the Norse pantheon, and its stories inspire my own writing. I’ve also taken several research trips to historical Viking settlements in Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland.

Asa's book list on the gods and world of Norse mythology

Asa Maria Bradley Why did Asa love this book?

This book I love purely for the photographs of archeological treasures and historical paintings. It’s in the format often referred to as a “coffee table book.” However, even though you may be tempted to page through it only to look at its impressive graphics and illustrations, the content is very much researched and informative. I especially like the sections on magical creatures and how Norse mythology has influenced our modern world and more current fiction.

By Martin J. Dougherty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Norse Myths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You may not think you know much about Norse mythology but you've heard of Valhalla and the Valkyrie, and of trolls and elves, and you'd certainly miss Wednesday and Thursday - named after Norse gods - if they weren't there. Norse mythology is rich in adventure and ideas about creation, death and the afterlife. And from Wagnerian operas to Lord of the Rings to Marvel's Avengers, it has had an immense influence across Western culture. Norse Myths takes a wide-ranging approach to the topic, examining the creation stories of the Norse world, the monsters and the pantheons of the deities…


Book cover of The Poetic Edda: The Heroic Poems

Tiana Warner Author Of The Valkyrie's Daughter

From my list on Norse mythology for fans of Thor.

Why am I passionate about this?

While writing my YA series based on Norse mythology, I did a ton of reading and research, and fell more in love with the mythology each day. I’ve been a huge fan of the Thor movies since the beginning, and between that and my Icelandic heritage, I find that I always gravitate to books about Norse mythology. There are a lot of viking books and TV series, but it’s a little harder to find books and shows specifically about the mythology, so I hope you find this list interesting as you dive into the nine Norse worlds and all of their gods and creatures!

Tiana's book list on Norse mythology for fans of Thor

Tiana Warner Why did Tiana love this book?

When it comes to learning about Norse mythology, you can’t beat the original source material. If you are a bit of a history nerd like me, it’s fascinating to read a translation of the original Old Norse poems. These poems can be found in a text called the Poetic Edda, which has several different translations. I like the Henry Adams Bellows translation, as well as Dr. Jackson Crawford’s. Crawford has YouTube videos that taught me a lot while I was writing my book, so that’s worth checking out, if you’re interested.

By Henry Adams Bellows,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Poetic Edda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Passed down long ago from poet to poet and singer to singer in the great oral tradition of Scandinavia, this collection of heroic sagas explores a mythical world. Incorporating legends of Norse gods and heroes, great fires and floods, superhuman warriors and doomed lovers, these dramatic poems weave vivid portraits of powerful characters caught up in passion, ambition, and destiny. Filled with gripping conceptions of the world's creation and ultimate destruction, the verses chronicle the triumphs and tragedies of a lost mythological past, where words of wisdom and beauty echoed off the steel of waving swords.
The hero poems of…


Book cover of The Wanderer's Havamal

Kendall Grey Author Of Runed

From my list on the stories and epics of Norse mythology.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fiction writer who prides herself on drowning her stories in a thick marinade of authenticity, I’m a research hound. In preparing to write my Asgard Awakening series, I leaned on my lifelong love of mythology to fuel countless hours of research about Norse cosmology, runes, myths, and gods. I now consider myself an expert on deconstructing Marvel movie plotlines, comparing their Asgardian characters to the Norse gods they’re based on, and womansplaining everything the studio did wrong to any sucker who will listen. ;-)

Kendall's book list on the stories and epics of Norse mythology

Kendall Grey Why did Kendall love this book?

This Old Norse poem was part of the collection of works included in the Poetic Edda, written around 1300 CE and collected by Snorri Sturlusson. It centers around the god Odin and includes advice for life and love, the story of Odin’s self-sacrifice on the World Tree of Yggdrasil, and eighteen spells Odin claims to know. The book provides revealing details about life in Viking times, but my favorite part is the section on spells, which include healing, manipulating metal so weapons do less damage, escape artistry, redirecting curses, calming winds, and even resurrection. Hávamál isn’t as popular as some of the other poems, but it’s worth a read for the insights into the god Odin and what makes him tick.

By Unknown, Jackson Crawford (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wanderer's Havamal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Wanderer's Havamal features Jackson Crawford's complete, carefully revised English translation of the Old Norse poem Havamal , newly annotated for this volume, together with facing original Old Norse text sourced directly from the Codex Regius manuscript. Rounding out the volume are Crawford's classic Cowboy Havamal and translations of other related texts central to understanding the character, wisdom, and mysteries of odinn (Odin). Portable and reader-friendly, it makes an ideal companion for both lovers of Old Norse mythology and those new to the wisdom of this central Eddic poem wherever they may find themselves.


Book cover of Bloodhoof

Marcel Krueger Author Of Iceland: A Literary Guide for Travellers

From my list on Iceland to read in winter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been a bookworm, and fascinated by the North—after all, I made my home here. I thrived (and still do) on stories about rain-drenched moors, ships in distress running aground in boiling seas, men with swords stumping through dark woods searching for gold and demons. So no wonder that I am fascinated by Iceland and its stories, and have returned to the island again and again. Here, literature plays a crucial role in preserving and developing culture and language equally. So as a fan of Icelandic past and present I try and spread the word about this craggy island and its literary heritage as much as I can. 

Marcel's book list on Iceland to read in winter

Marcel Krueger Why did Marcel love this book?

Poetry remains very important for Icelanders, also as an everyday practise. There are farmers in the country today who compose poetry based on the landscape of their home and the sagas that played here hundreds of years ago, and about 40% of all published books in Iceland each year are poetry collections. Gerður is a highly successful poet and playwright, and her long poem Bloodhoof is an outstanding example of how contemporary Icelandic writing is still firmly rooted in the literary heritage of the country. The poem retells the classic Norse tale of the abduction of beautiful giantess Gerdur by the god Freyr, but from the perspective of the giantess in a distinctly feminist voice.  

By Gerður Kristný, Rory McTurk (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bloodhoof as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bloodhoof is the re-casting into compulsively spare modern verse of an ancient Eddic poem - but this only begins to hint at its attractions. It is a minimalist epic telling of the abduction of Gerour Gymisdottir from a land of giants and the subsequent events culminating in her return from the court of Freyr of the 'wolf-grey eyes' with her beloved son. It is full of iron-hard rocks and ice, serpents in the breast gnawing at the harness of hope, but also wide-reaching fields of corn whispering in the breeze and a throne carved with beasts and dragons' heads. You…


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