I’m one o’ those people who likes maps in books. For me it’s an essential part of losing myself in the world. But since I’m writing an urban fantasy series set in the modern world, there hasn’t been much call for maps…until now! I have a map in TRAPPED and it’s so cool! I loves it, Precious! It was drawn by the amazingly talented Priscilla Spencer and I couldn’t be happier with it. Here it is—click to embiggen:
Norse cosmology is fascinating stuff and sometimes contradictory. If you do a Google image search on Yggdrasil you will see a surprising number of variations on which realms are actually included in the Nine and where they are located. So I’m just piling on here.
For example: In some versions of the cosmos, Hel is a realm separate from Niflheim rather than a territory within Niflheim. In some versions Muspellheim is left out entirely—very odd since Muspellheim plays a key role in the end of the world. In yet other versions there is no distinction betwixt Nidavellir (land of the dwarfs) and Svartálfheim (land of the dark elves). So you could look at my map and compare it to any other one and say HEY YOU DID IT WRONG in all caps, but quite honestly, there’s no agreement that anyone has done it right. Where the sources do tend to agree are on the following points:
1) Yggrasil has three bigass roots and these are fed from three different sources on three levels or planes: The Well of Urd in Asgard (at the top), the Well of Mimir in Jötunheim (in the middle) and the Spring of Hvergelmir in Niflheim (way down there).
2) There’s an abnormally large dragon lizard thingie called Nidhogg nibbling at the root by the Spring of Hvergelmir. And there’s a buttload of rivers (in this case, eleven) flowing from the spring.
3) Also: Ratatosk! An eagle at the top! And some rather confused hinds who have somehow become arboreal and frolic amongst the branches on their hooves!
5) Five of the realms are pretty solid in terms of their location; it’s the other four that get people squabbling. The Fab Five are Asgard, Vanaheim, and Álfheim at the top, and Midgard and Jötunheim below them.
6) Jormungandr, the world serpent, circles Midgard. You can see that Priscilla got extremely clever and represented Jormungandr with the knots.
I’ve included Muspellheim as a land o’ fire to south of Niflheim, the land of ice. Hel is included as a territory of Niflheim—you can see the gates to it in the back (sometimes Niflheim is left out!); and Svartálfheim is a subterranean realm, the entrance to which also lies in Niflheim. The reason for these and other choices should become clear as you read TRAPPED and continue with the series.
If you dig maps & mythology like I do—or if you know someone else who does—you may want your own poster of this. We’ve got you covered! You can order a 12×18 poster of it directly from Priscilla! She has only ten (10) signed by both her and myself—hurry if you want one of those—and a virtually unlimited supply of posters signed only by her or unsigned.
Also: Don’t be surprised if a couple of these signed posters get donated to Worldbuilders, Patrick Rothfuss’s charity. You can win them by donating there.
Also, too: If you come to my signing for TRAPPED at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale on Sunday, Dec 2, at 2 pm, you’ll be automatically entered in a raffle to win a framed poster signed by both of us.
Hope you enjoy! Not just the map, though. The book too. :)