As they keep saying in The Sleeping Army. They have more than one, because Francesca Simon bravely did away with Christianity and gave us modern Britain with Norse gods.
She has filled her new – longer – book with Joanne Harris’s characters. Or so it seemed to her. Francesca and Joanne were on Radio 4 this week (or was it the week before?), talking about their respective Norse gods stories, and how weird it was that the ‘other one’ had used ‘her’ characters. And I’m quite grateful for that, because ‘Norse’ witch that I am, I have always had the most tremendous difficulty keeping track of who’s who and who did what. Must be that I didn’t apply myself properly at school.
So, having my recent read of Runemarks to assist me, I felt almost at home with the Sleeping Army. Or the part of it that woke up again, and their gods. They were in a dreadful state, those gods, when Freya arrived in Asgard. And she wouldn’t have, had she not had a Horrid Henry moment and blown Heimdall’s Horn in the British Museum. You just don’t do that. That woke them up. Them being siblings Alfi and Roskva and the berserker Snot. Plus Sleipnir the horse with the surplus legs.
When you’re a modern 21st century London girl, you’re not always ready to save the old gods. Especially when you’ve suddenly been transported out of your comfort zone of pizza and stuff. But true to her name Freya rises to the occasion and does great things.
I’m glad I had met the Harris gods first. They are nicer looking and smell better. This way I could adapt to quite how awful Francesca’s gods and giants and trolls were. The question is which version is the right one?
Snot of the lovely name turns out to be quite a good friend to have, despite his violent berserking tendencies. (I believe that when she came to Manchester recently Francesca said his name is actually pronounced Snote, but she couldn’t resist him being Snot. I suspect he’s neither, actually, being a bit Norse, but who cares?)
I’m looking forward to the next story about Freya. I was pretty sure Francesca had said there’d be more, but I checked just to be certain. So Tony Bradman who wrote in the Guardian might get his wish, and there could be more about Freya’s parents next time. I want more Snot.