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When The Norns Have Spoken * Anthony Winterbourne (2004)

I think I ran into this book in a note in Watkin’s How To Kill A Dragon. It is not a book that you just go out and buy. It is available secondhand, but not cheaply. The title also suggests that this book is about: “Time and Fate in Germanic Paganism” (hence the subtitle) and it is exactly for that reason that I wanted to read it. I was curious if this dissertation in the English language would bring anything new, since the subject used to be popular among German writers around the world wars, but did not get a whole lot of attention since. The good news is that Winterbourne apparently reads German and refers to several of the classic books on the subject (also see my own article).
At times I had quite a hard time to follow the author. It seems like he has a background in philosophy and frequently I have the idea that he is telling exactly the opposite of what he told before. It does not really help that several sections of the work are not too interesting. Perhaps the latter caused the former, but nonetheless I can tell you that, if you have interest in the subject, “When The Norns Have Spoken” is recommended reading. There are two red threads in the book. First, the author wants to prove that the ancient Germanic faith is a religion and not a cult without belief. Second, he poses an interesting view on the subject of fate itself, since: “The world is the way it is – irrevocably and unavoidably so – and is not changed as Fate turns, but actualized.” With this in mind, Winterbourne finds logic in the belief of fate, but not in the way we today think of fate.
Like I said, a book to read if you are interested in the subject. It is not very large, 187 pages, and it will at least bring you up to date again on contemporary investigations of the ancient faith of North-West Europe since kindred subjects also also dealt with.
2004 Fairleigh Dickinson, isbn 1611472962

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