The 10 Best Books on Norse Mythology (And Everything About It)

Norse mythology is a popular source of inspiration for fiction because it's so deeply rich. Learn all about it with these books.
The 10 Best Books on Norse Mythology (And Everything About It)

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While Norse mythology may be centuries old, more people are discovering the depths of this fascinating subject with every passing day—and maybe you're one of them.

Norse mythology has a lot of representation in fictional works like movies, TV shows, and novels. However, it's really interesting even apart from those adaptations and retellings, and there's so much historical goodness to explore in Norse traditions.

Whether you're new and want to dip into mythological tales or you're already a knowledgeable enthusiast who wants to know more, this list of books on Norse culture was crafted for you!

Here are our picks for the best books on Norse mythology that'll teach you all about it and help you navigate the subject's various facets, from magic to religion, from society to traditions.

10. The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes

The Norse Myths is a fantastic book by Carolyne Larrington that's a true must-have for anyone who's passionate about Norse mythology. This work includes a thorough depiction of the Norse pantheon and the various mythological tales that relate to each god.

It also relates Norse mythology to contemporary media culture, reflecting on how the Norse religious tradition and its mythological knowledge was used and implemented by famed authors like J. R. R. Tolkien and George R. R. Martin.

9. The Viking Way: Magic and Mind in Late Iron Age Scandinavia

Norse mythology is often connected to magic, sorcery, and witchcraft, but there aren't many accessible resources that explore how these connections actually developed and how these traditions were carried out in ancient times.

The Viking Way by Neil Price aims to answer these questions as it dives into the evidence of Old Norse sorcery, its meaning, its function, and its impact on ancient societies.

This is an excellent book for anyone who's already a bit Norse-savvy and wants to learn more in-depth knowledge on the matter.

8. Nordic Tales: Folktales From Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark

Sometimes, reading the original folktales is the best way to approach new folklore from around the world. For Norse mythology, Nordic Tales is a solid option, a precious resource to keep in your pocket while venturing into mysterious Nordic lands.

This book contains a collection of 16 traditional tales of Nordic folklore. Translated from the oral tradition by 19th century folklorists, these tales present an original view of Norse mythology and its teachings.

7. A Dictionary of Northern Mythology

This comprehensive work on Northern Mythology is broader than just Norse mythology—incorporating Goths, Angles, Saxons, and more—but it's still a great resource to take in.

The oral traditions of these tribes were contaminated by Romans and Christians, making their original folklore mysterious and partial.

Thankfully, several scholars have dedicated their lives to merging the gaps and shedding light on myths, stories, and more, to better understand Norse culture and keep it alive in contemporary times.

6. Women in the Viking Age

Naturally, Norse mythology is often associated with Vikings—and when we think of Vikings, we usually think of strong, bearded men who are armed with swords, shields, and horned helms.

And while that isn't incorrect, it is somewhat reductive. Viking society was more complex than how it's usually portrayed in media. In fact, did you know that Viking society held women in high regard?

Women in the Viking Age investigates clues from archaeology, runic inscriptions, and other sources to provide an overview of this widely underresearched aspect of Viking culture.

5. Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths

Song of the Vikings focuses on the life and person of Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic chieftain, politician, historian, and storyteller. His work was crucial for bringing the Norse tradition to Western literature, inspiring several modern writers to turn folklore into fiction.

Deeply embedded in the medieval tradition, Song of the Vikings is a fundamental resource for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the fascinating roots and world of Norse mythology.

4. Waking the Dragons: Norse Myth, Runes, and Magic

What's the relationship between myth, magic, man, and literature that's all connected by the symbol of the dragon? How is the dragon so deeply tied to Scandinavian culture and Norse mythology?

Through the story of the World Tree (Yggdrasil), we get to know all of this and much more. Norse mythology is a complex web of concepts and secrets, which are unveiled in Waking the Dragons.

3. The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion

The Viking Spirit is a wonderful introductory book to Norse mythology. Written by Daniel McCoy, it conveys all the knowledge we have about Vikings, presented in a simple and direct writing style.

It combines history with mythology and folklore, tackling the subject of Vikings and Viking society from a variety of angles, giving you more than enough meat to chew on without being overwhelming.

If you're new to the field of Norse mythology and want an insightful book that'll simplify it for you, this is the one.

2. The Poetic Edda

The Poetic Edda is a wonderful book that mixes nonfiction with poetry and folklore. It's a collection of Old Norse mythical and heroic poems, and it's one of the most comprehensive and valuable sources of knowledge on Norse mythology.

Even though the English translation (by Carolyne Larrington) can't perfectly match the mysteries and nuances of the original language, it's as close to perfect as it can get.

1. Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia

Myth and Religion of the North is a comprehensive overview of Scandinavia's pre-Christian religion.

This book is widely known within academia as one of the most complete sources on Norse mythology, with special attention to the religious aspects of pre-Christian tribes living in the area.

We're featuring this book in the number one spot on this list because it's the most academic-oriented of all the works we've recommended. Be forewarned: it's very dense and it's far from an easy read, but if you can get through it, it's extremely insightful.