I was watching the History channel the other evening and they had a show about the Norse god of thunder, Thor (fun fact I learned: this is where “Thursday” comes from). First, the re-enactment was terrible and the video quality seemed cheap. But as I think about it, I found the topic interesting. I learned in English class oh so long ago about the 3 themes in any book: man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. himself and I love when a tale has all three themes intertwined and this tale does. I was only able to watch part of it but there were two parts that really stuck with me.
First, Thor battles a god to prove how strong and worthy he is. The god presents him with three challenges – first drink from a horn and finish the drink. Thor failed. Next, lift the paw of a giant cat (looked like a Paul Bunyan-sized panther to me). Thor failed again. Finally, wrestle an old woman. Thor failed again and is humiliated. The god tells Thor he can’t possibly finish drinking from the horn because it’s from the ocean and no man can drink all the ocean. I can’t remember what the paw represented but the old lady represented old age and old age cannot be defeated. Too true…
Thor also is trying to defeat a mighty serpent that is so large, it circles the entire earth. The narrator then said how this was unique. I now realize he must have been talking about the size of the serpent because man vs. serpent is a theme throughout many mythilogical and religious stories. Adam and Eve and the serpent came to mind first and then I thought of Harry Potter. So then I was trying to figure out just how many major works had man versus serpent in them so I’m going to try to make a list out later today because for some reason, this is bugging me. Are there any works I should be sure to add to my list?
I’m currently reading two books – “A Short History of Canada” by Desmond Morton. I’ve now made it up to 17th century but when it says short, it means short. It really didn’t go into Jean Cartier and John Cabot too much (the former only had two paragraphs and the latter was mentioned in passing). I think I need to find a book that is more in depth so researching that is on my list of things to do.
The other book came from a reader suggestion – “Guadacanal Diary” by Richard Tregaskis. I’m only about 25 pages in so far and it’s excellent. I hope to have it finished this week so more to come on that but I think it might make the second shelf of books (books I love to re-read).
On that shelf is also “To Kill A Mockingbird”. This book has come up twice last week. A friend just finished reading it because he was going to see the play in Indianapolis. A co-worker mentioned she had never read it and I thought that was criminal so I lent her my copy and the movie with Gregory Peck (one of his best performances of all time). She told me it was “okay” (WHAT???) and that she fell asleep during the movie and woke up when Boo is in the house at the end (that’s one of my favorite parts). I have no idea how she fell asleep but I’m biased. This book is in my top 5 list of books of all time favorites and I probably re-read it about every 18 months or so. And the movie was just so dead on and I think that’s rare – almost always Hollywood takes such extreme liberties (I think it’s called dramatic license) with books that I’m almost always disappointed. What are some of the best movies based on books you’ve seen?