Saturday, June 26, 2021

A Clumsy Bear Sighted at Amon Sûl

I was curious about this podcast. You see, I consider 20th C. fantasy have some very good meditations over Apocalypse - Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren, The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis, and obviously, Akallabêth by Tolkien. So, I clicked on it:

Amon Sûl podcast : 44, Akallabêth, All Roads are Now Bent

After the discussion of Dcn. Nicholas Kotar's fantasy, Fr Andrew gets to discuss pagan objects on Christian art. And the first item gets so wrong:

"the story of Sigurd and his killing of the dragon"

Is that a "pagan" image?

"like, this is a Norse pagan story"

Not exclusively Norse and not of itself pagan if you ask me.

"there is nothing Christian in that story"

In the German version of it, a few years after the killing of the dragon, approaching the killing of the dragon killer, his wife and the king's wife quarrel on the church steps of the cathedral in Worms.

Btw, according to Byzantine chroniclers, it seems the Burgundian kingdom in Worms was a Christian as in Nicene, not an Arian kingdom, unlike the later one in Dijon.

"like it is not a Christian story"

Clumsy bear spoke ... one of the reasons why I am worried we might be in the last days is, bear, four leopard heads, lion head and terrible fourth beast head seem to coalesce. And here we have clumsy bear - pretending Sigurd is a pagan story.

First of all, it is a human story. A man who was deft with monsters, but lost with ladies. The reason the king's wife is angry with him is, she had been touched by him, and he had on her view betrayed her. Norse version, they had been lovers, before he married the king's sister, German version, he had just helped the king by taking away her virginity so the witch could not resist his advances. Norse version too, he had been involved in handing her over to the king. N O T a good start for good relations, is it? Who pretends one has to be a pagan to believe this happened?

Second, there is a Norse and a German version, and by the German one, I don't allude to Wagner. In the Norse version, Nordic gods are very sidelined. Closest connection : the king's wife is a former valkyrie and under a kind of spell from Oden. In the German version, no Norse gods at all, she is just a pagan witch and none of her gods are named.

Third, in the Wagner version, the Norse gods to play a more significant role, but that is because in 19th C. Bavaria, successfully rebelling against a pagan god, being greater than a pagan god created you, is much less likely to land an author in prison as a theme, than successfully and nobly rebelling against and being greater than the actual real God. The Sigurd story on the staff church is obviously way before this version and has nothing to do with it.

Fourth, Puritans (the four leopard heads : Jews, Muslims, Puritan Protestants, Freemasons probably for fourth) are into rejecting it or secretly allowing it in closet settings (like lodges) as pagan. Their motivation is very alien to either Catholic or Orthodox views of things, so, if an Ortho takes this story as a pagan one, he is likely falling in the trap of being gullible to Puritans who have their own bad reasons to call it pagan. Like a clumsy bear.

"it's quite pagan"

I think we have already heard that ....

"pagan fatalism and heroism and all these things"

There is something fated about Sigurd, sure, but as there is about a victim, not as there is about a man himself bringing about the very opposite of what he wants to achieve, or if there is, the one fatal flaw is worldly ambition. If he hadn't wanted the gold, he wouldn't have killed the dragon for the hoard, if he hadn't wanted glory, he wouldn't have left Brunhilde (or later met her), he'd have stayed out of Worms. Is it nothing like a Christian theme that there is something fatal about love of the world? Of gold and glory? Doesn't it remind anyone of Thorin Oakenshield in a story of Tolkien, which the Amon Sûl pod cast would certainly consider as a Christian point?

And since when is heroism a purely pagan thing? I thought the Apocalypse said "et timidis [...] infernum"

"Timidis autem, et incredulis, et execratis, et homicidis, et fornicatoribus, et veneficis, et idolatris, et omnibus mendacibus, pars illorum erit in stagno ardenti igne et sulphure: quod est mors secunda."
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 21:8]

But perhaps his Church Slavonic version didn't have "timidis" here? Or he just missed it?

"you would have to just rewrite radically"

The story is not fiction. It may be incorrect history, but it is history. You don't re-write history just to make a better morality ... or do clumsy bears perhaps do that?

Hans Georg Lundahl
Sts John and Paul, brothers and martyrs

Romae, in monte Caelio, sanctorum Martyrum Joannis et Pauli fratrum, quorum primus erat praepositus domus, secundus primicerius Constantiae Virginis, filiae Constantini Imperatoris, et ambo postea, sub Juliano Apostata, martyrii palmam, caedente gladio, perceperunt.

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