Team Norse or Team Greek? Rick Riordan's Battle of the Gods

ShipOfDead200The third installment of Rick Riordan's Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series released today and The Ship of the Dead is everything readers are looking for.  Magnus and his friends will face zombies, giants, and even a dragon in their quest to beat the trickster god to the final punch.  Percy Jackson is here to help, but Magnus has his own demons to battle that may be just as tricky as anything Loki can throw his way... 

Riordan has written about all manner of gods from ancient mythology, but if there were an epic battle between the Greek and the Norse, who would win?  Here's what the author has to say about the subject in this exclusive piece for the Amazon Book Review:

*Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead is an editors' picks for the Best Kids' Books of October


Who Would Win: Greek Gods or Norse Gods?

Place your bets. If there were going to be a knock-down, drag-out, take-no-prisoners grudge match between the Norse gods and the Greek gods, who would win?

Some of the face-offs are easy to call. While Aphrodite is checking her makeup and straightening her pink sequined armor, her rival goddess of love, Freya, charges in on her chariot. First, Freya’s giant cats eat the doves that pull Aphrodite’s chariot. Then the cats lunge at Aphrodite, and we have one less goddess of love.

Meanwhile, Hermes flies in at light speed on his winged shoes, ready to caduceus-bash some heads. Heimdall, guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, can see him coming from several worlds away, but Heimdall isn’t sure whether to blow his doomsday horn, draw his sword, or take a quick selfie, so Hermes knocks him off the Bifrost and sends him spiraling straight into Tartarus (or Ginnungagap; take your pick). Score one for the Greeks.

Hel rises up from her frozen land at the head of her dead army. One side of Hel’s body is rotten zombie. Then other side is beautiful woman. The enormous hound Garm at her side, she charges toward Hades, who is wearing his helmet of terror, wielding a mace of Stygian iron. The dark god sits in his chariot pulled by coal-black horses. Behind him, the dead are arrayed for battle. Hades orders his three-headed dog Cerberus to attack! Cerberus and Garm meet on the battle field, sniff each other’s’ butts, and decide to be friends. Meanwhile, the zombies in both armies recognize old acquaintances on the side other. “Einar, is that you?” “Cleomenes? How ‘ya been, dude! Haven’t seen you since Zombie-con!” The two armies begin to mix and mingle. Hades and Hel stared at either other, realize it is hopeless, and go grab some iced coffee together at Skullbuck’s while the other gods battle.

The Norse gods have one big advantage. They have more war gods than there are oars on a longboat. The Norse knew all about war. Tyr charges in, afraid of nothing. Even though he only has one hand, he makes quick work of poor Hephaestus. Despite the forge god’s strength, he hobbles slowly. His new steam-powered Celestial-bronze “Norserator” with rotating knives (patent pending) won’t start up in time. Tyr’s trusty blade hits Hephaestus right in the leather apron. Ouch!

Thor versus Ares? Please. Ares is used to being the biggest strongest bully on the field, but he sees this red-headed ogre charging toward him, thunder and lightning crackling around him like Daddy Zeus on a bad day, and the Greek war god starts shaking in his greaves. Next thing you know, Mjollnir smacks Ares right in the helmet, and Ares gets to find out what it feels like to have a two-dimensional face.

Uller moves across the battlefield, trading arrow shots with Apollo and Artemis. He is only defeated because it’s two-on-one. No fair. Frey takes on Athena, but he makes the mistake of trying a charm offense. “Hey, good-looking!” he calls out, counting on his blond locks, brilliant blue eyes, and rugged outdoorsy-iness to win her heart. But Athena is not easily charmed. She smiles, saunters up in a flirtatious way, then thrusts her spear right into Frey’s flannel-covered chest. Since he is armed only with a deer’s antler, the guy is hopelessly outmatched.

Odin versus Zeus. Now that's a tough one. Odin throws his spear Gungnir, which never misses its target. It hits Zeus right in the chest—a mortal wound! Except Zeus isn’t mortal. Odin races through the air on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, expecting his enemy to die. Zeus waits until Odin’s eyepatch is turned toward him. Then the King of Olympus hurls his lightning bolt, zapping the All-Father off his steed and sending him plummeting back to Asgard.

That brings us to the biggest Olympian advantage: the Greek gods are immortal. The Norse gods, sadly, are not. They are strong and skilled and can live for millennia, but without Idun’s apples to keep them young, they start to age. And as Baldur can tell you, Norse gods can be killed. In fact, they know that someday they will be killed, thanks to the prophecies about Ragnarok. 

That’s enough for me to give the Greek gods the advantage in a head-to-head battle, but since both godly pantheons have other enemies to worry about, it’s a good thing that sort of war will never happen. How about we just grab an iced coffee at Skullbuck’s instead?

--Rick Riordan


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