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Sympathy for Geirröd: Privilege, Anger, and Punishment

GeirrödWhen the giant Geirröd sent a servant after a falcon he saw perching in one of his castle’s high windows, he had no idea that he was about to trap Loki. Loki, for his part, thought that he had plenty of time to flee, and was as shocked as any to find himself at the giant’s mercy. Geirröd knew that the creature he’d caught was no common bird, and when Loki refused to speak, the giant locked him up in a chest and starved him for three months, until Loki admitted his identity, at which point Geirröd realized that he had a golden opportunity: he agreed to release Loki, but first extracted an oath from the Aesir, that he would bring Thor – the greatest enemy of the giants – to Geirröd, without his hammer, and without his belt of strength. A perfect plan, until it all went wrong. (more…)

The Naivety of the Outsider Monarch

What happens when an outsider takes the throne? Sometimes, the story of the new kid, who enters a foreign environment and overcomes it through special skills, friendships, and knowledge (Neverwhere, The Harper Hall trilogy), becomes not the just a narrative about an outsider, but a story about power, privilege, and governance. The outsider monarch speaks to the insecurities everyone has when thrust out of their depth and into the spotlight, as well as to the idea that an outsider – someone excluded from the world of power and privilege – could make a difference, if they only had a chance. Stories that feature an outsider monarch are hopeful and affirming, but are they anything other than a fantasy?

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