In case you're not keeping up with the latest foretellings of doom, check out the video to see how the Norse have predicted the world may perish and sprout anew (without us) beginning February 22nd. Assuming we're still here, though...
Norse mythology has long had a place in Western popular culture. From comic books to major motion pictures featuring gods such as Thor, Odin, Frigga, Sif and of course Loki from this deck. A quick search for "Norse mythology in popular culture" gets you to the Wikipedia entry for a big list of Viking characters in movies, manga and literature.
The star of the deck, Odin, is the main god of the Æsir, the pantheon of Norse gods. He exchanged an eye to be able to drink from the Well of Wisdom and was the god of battle, poetry, magic, and perhaps not surprisingly, wisdom. Two of his sons, Thor and Balder, are the King of Clubs and Hearts, respectively. The King of Diamonds is Njord, a member of the Vanir race, with whom the Æsir were at war. When they were negotiating a peace treaty, Njord was selected to join the Æsir in what amounted to a hostage exchange. The Queens of each suit are wives of that suit's King and all but one of the Jacks are sons of that suit's King. Since two of Odin's sons are Kings themselves, the Jack of Spades is represented by Odin's trusted ravens Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory).
Deciding which gods to include in the deck involved studying works on Viking mythology and giving concepts and original research to my design partner to use in producing what I hope are interesting and desirable cards for the Kickstarter and collector communities!
For each suit I chose the following color combinations for the court cards costumes based on their meanings in Norse mythology:
Spades- Black and Silver: Black is potential, the basis for all and the knowledge of hidden things. Silver expresses change and the quest for knowledge. The Spades court are powerful, wise and in pursuit of knowledge.
Hearts- Red and White: Red embodies magical and protective powers as well as vigor and aggression. A sign of death. White represents purity, perfection and nobility. The Hearts court are driven by justice, emotion and piety.
Diamonds- Red and Yellow: In addition to Red, Yellow connotes earthly power, desire and lust. The Diamonds court are associated with their power over material wealth.
Clubs- Black and Green: In addition to Black, Green deals with Earth, nature and fertility. While the Queen was the protector of homes, her husband the King and their son the Jack are Gods of War.
Here are the suit markers created for this deck:
After the research, sketching and final coloring were complete, here are the court cards and a short description for each one...
Odin, the King of Spades- Odin is the Æsir's supreme deity, holding his spear Gungnir. For Odin, wine was both food and drink. This card was inspired by a work you can find at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Odin,_der_Göttervater.jpg
Frigga, the Queen of Spades- Frigga, chief of the Norse goddesses. She was Odin's wife and mother of Balder, the King of Hearts. The inspiration for this work was found at http://emg-zine.com/item.php?id=787 I tested this link at about 9:30 EST January 14 and got an SQL error. I posted the image in Update #2.
Hugin and Munin, the Jack of Spades- Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory) were Odin's Ravens, often shown perched on Odin's shoulder.They flew throughout the universe each day and told Odin what they had seen. The King of Spades' image has his crows around his throne, which prompted this image.
Balder, the King of Hearts- Balder was the god of innocence and piety, pure to the point that light literally shined from him. His wife was Nanna, the Queen of Hearts. You can see the inspiration in the project video and at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Each_arrow_overshot_his_head_by_Elmer_Boyd_Smith.jpg
Nanna, the Queen of Hearts- Nanna was Balder's wife and the mother of Forseti, the Jack of Hearts. Nanna's heart was fatally broken when she saw Balder had died and was laid upon the funeral pyre beside her husband. A statue from 1857 that prompted this work may be found at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Nanna_%281857%29_by_H._W._Bissen.jpg
Forseti, the Jack of Hearts- The Norse god of justice and conciliation; he always found a resolution to disputes. The loose inspiration for this image is at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Forseti_zu_Gericht_sitzend.jpg
Njord, the King of Diamonds- Njord commanded the winds, seas and fire, and gave supplicants wealth at sea and in "the chase." He comes from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Nj%C3%B6rd%27s_desire_of_the_Sea.jpg
Skade, the Queen of Diamonds- A Giantess, she joined the Æsir and chose Njord as her husband from among several men of whom she could only see their feet! She was given that opportunity as compensation for her father's murder. This card comes from the original which may be found at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6c/Skade_by_Saltza.jpg
Frey, the Jack of Diamonds- Stronger and more valorous than his father, Njord, Frey governed weather and agriculture and thus had prosperity, joy and peace under his control. Check out Frey's inspiration at http://emg-zine.com/item.php?id=787. As with Frigga, the Queen of Spades, I received an SQL error when I visited the site the morning of January 14. I posted the image in Update #2.
Thor, the King of Clubs- After Odin, Thor was the main Æsir god.He guarded humans and their work from the Giants (forces of nature). He could make his hammer Mjollnir any size he wanted, throw it to strike his enemy, and have it return to his hand.The image consulted for this card may be found at http://emg-zine.com/item.php?id=787 I received the same SQL error as with the other emg-zine.com links and posted the image as part of Update #2.
Sif, the Queen of Clubs- Thor's wife, known for her beauty and golden hair created by Dwarves. Sif was seen as the protector of homes. This image comes from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a6/Sif_from_Swedish_Edda_translation.jpg
Modi, the Jack of Clubs- According to mythology.wikia.com/wiki/Modi, Modi was "the god of battle wrath and served as the patrons for berserkers of Norse legends.The berserkers looked to him prior to battle so as to successfully go into the trance...during which they would kill all in their way, friend or foe." I didn't find any historic art for Modi, so I gave my design teammate an idea of him and he produced this very nice piece.
Loki, the Joker- Known as "The Trickster" to many westerners, Loki was crafty and malicious and operated with two faces, ultimately the Æsir's enemy. The "two face" concept is quite interesting and my brother Curt gave me a great idea I'm working through with my teammates. The loose inspiration for the mask comes from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Processed_SAM_loki.jpg
The Card Back
Norse and Norse-related art provided great inspiration for the card back. The circle in the centers of each half depicts Odin riding on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, the fastest horse in the world. The design down the sides is a gravestone carving from Bibury, Gloucestershire, England found in Northvegr.org's posting of T.D. Kendrick's 1930 book A History of the Vikings.
Here's a better look at the gravestone carving:
In keeping with the Viking theme, the red card back is the same shade of red as Denmark's national flag!
The Tuck Box
The man is Odin in his typical non-battle guise as an old man with a dusty blue cloak and spear. Odin's full image is available as an art card or print as an add-on. The original work on which Odin is based may be found at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Georg_von_Rosen_-_Oden_som_vandringsman%2C_1886_%28Odin%2C_the_Wanderer%29.jpg
Here are the Ace-Ten of each suit!
Withdrawn! I will be launching the red deck as a separate project :)
Additional Decks (Blue from the beginning, Red after that deck is unlocked)- $11
Art Cards (12 court cards plus 2 Loki Jokers and the Odin art card)- $7. Several of the art cards are in the video, for your reference.
Individual Prints (Look for Project Updates!)- 5"x7"- $3, 10"x14"-$15
Uncut Sheets unlocked for Blue at $10,000, Red at $17,000!- $25
Plus, a crossover promotion! See Update 5 for details.
Please let me know of any suggested add-ons you would like for me to consider.
Risks and challenges
Artwork- The artwork is complete and test decks from the printer for the unbranded decks have been received. The artwork has not been approved by USPCC, so it is possible there could be delays or re-design if we work with USPCC.
Fulfillment- Some projects have experienced production and delivery delays, but my printer for the unbranded decks has been reliable so far and I am not aware of any issues with them. USPCC is consistently reliable to the best of my knowledge and keeps project owners updated on progress. I am a one-person fulfillment house; I promise to work as quickly as I can to get your rewards to you in quality packaging.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (43 days)