Talk:Geri and Freki

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Good article Geri and Freki has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
January 17, 2010 Good article nominee Listed
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Shallow etymology[edit]

Gerl and Freki are most certainly meaning something more than what is attested in the article, per date of 13th of December. Freki cognates with 'Frekan' of Alvismal, where the dwarf Allvis smiths the name of fire in the six worlds. Frekan is Fire in the world of the Giants. I do not know of Geri, but find it similar to Geirr, which I believe means sharp, perhaps alluding to the sharpness of the wolf's teeths, for instant, poetically understood: in the world of giants as well, meaning more than sharp. I, as Norwegian, thus read Geri and Freki as the 'Fiercness and Sharpness' of Odin. --Xact (talk) 00:16, 13 December 2009 (UTC)


"Snorri Sturluson in the Gylfaginning indicates that it is to these wolves that Odin gives his food when in Valhalla, for he has no need of it himself, subsisting solely on mead."

A small inconsistency here. In the article about Odin it says that He drinks nothing but wine, not mead. Anyone know which one is true?

Serdan 09:27:51, 2005-08-15 (UTC)

The correct word is wine. In the original manuscripts of Gylfaginning where these wolves are mentioned, the relevant term is "vín" (wine) as opposed to "mjöð" (mead). Cerdic 12:42, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Mjöð does not merely mean what is today understood by the name of the beer-like brew. It is also implies the sacred, or cultic medicine. Source is Allvismal[1] and the story of Suttungs Mead, where it is pretty obvious. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xact (talkcontribs) 00:22, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Geri and Freki/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: GaryColemanFan (talk) 07:03, 23 November 2009 (UTC) This is a nice, short article. Since they appear to be relatively minor characters, that is understandable. A few things that came up while I was reading the article:

  • "Scholars have noted connections between Germanic wolf-warrior bands and Geri and Freki as well as Indo-European parallels between Odin and Geri and Freki and the association with wolves with the Vedic deity Rudra and the Roman god Mercury." - that's a lot of "and"s in one sentence, and it's not very clear. It seems to be drawing a three-way comparison between the bands, Geri, and Freki instead of simply between the bands and the pair of wolves.
  • "Geri and Freki are attested in the Poetic Edda; compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, in the Prose Edda; written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in the poetry of skalds." - When a list is given that includes commas and semicolons, the semicolons are supposed to go between the items in the list while the commas are used to offset the parenthetical information (I'm sure there are several dozen clearer ways to say that, but it's getting late). Anyhow, according the the MLA Handbook, this sentence should be "Geri and Freki are attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; and in the poetry of skalds."
  • "He tells Agnarr that Odin feeds Geri and Freki yet he consumes only wine." - The second "he" is unclear. Perhaps dropping it and simply saying "He tells Agnarr that Odin feeds Geri and Freki yet consumes only wine."?
  • The lead mentions an association with Mercury, but this isn't mentioned in the body of the article.

Some things I came across while seeing if the article could be expanded:

  • There is a Geri-Freki Glacier named after the wolves. This seems worth mentioning.
  • From what I've seen, the description in Snorri Sturluson's work states that the wolves eat the dead bodies on the battlefield. This also seems like it would help the article.
  • I've come across a few versions of a story in which Frey needs to speak to Geri and Freki in the language of the gods to get to the top of Odin's watchtower. This book gives the full version for free.
  • Currently, the article just states that Odin gives them food. A few sources clarify that this is food that is sacrificed to Odin.
  • This book states that the wolves are a good omen.
  • Although the text of this book isn't available, the small portion that is given states that Odin created them due to his loneliness and need for companionship (I haven't come across this information elsewhere, so I'm not sure if it's accurate).

I will place this nomination on hold for a week to allow for these concerns to be addressed. I have this page on my watchlist, so any replies can be left here. Best wishes, GaryColemanFan (talk) 07:03, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for taking on this review. The reason that this entry is short is because there just isn't much information out there about the duo. What you see in the "attestations" section is—as far as I understand—all there is to say attestation-wise about the wolves. After the recent Huginn and Muninn find, maybe one day we'll have material for an 'archaeological record' section. On to the review!
  1. Fixed
  2. Fixed
  3. Fixed
  4. Fixed - For some reason I had Mercury here instead of Mars!
Regarding expansion:
  1. I also encountered this and I usually handle this sort of thing in a "modern influence" section, but I have yet to come across enough to really warrant it. I think that once there's enough information for such a section then we should certainly add the glacier information.
  2. What I believe you are referring to is from a poem in the Poetic Edda that refers to wolves as the "hounds of Odin". This does not directly reference Geri and Freki, so I have currently elected to leave it out.
  3. This is not in any source material but rather an author's invention.
  4. In the source material it's just food. No more detail is provided. If there's a reputable source with some sort of theory about this, I'm interested in reading it.
  5. This is not in the source material, very likely invented or maybe culled from some sort of folk practice. If it's a folk practice involving wolves reported by a reputable source, I'm certainly interested, but it sounds pretty suspicious to me.
  6. This is not in the source material - definitely an outright invention.
It looks like you've gone the extra mile in checking up on these references and I appreciate that. Please let me know if there's anything else. :bloodofox: (talk) 07:36, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
To fulfill the requirement for breadth of coverage, I believe that all of the information and writing about Geri and Freki should be discussed, not just the original source material. Perhaps the other information about go into a "Modern influences" section or be combined somehow:
Several scholars have added interpretations of the stories of Geri and Freki, although these are not taken from the source material. Bruce Lincoln interprets the description of the "hounds of Odin" searching battlefields for corpses to refer to Geri and Freki.<ref>{{cite book|title=Death, war, and sacrifice: studies in ideology and practice|first=Bruce|last=Lincoln|pages=98-99|publisher=University of Chicago Press|date=1991|isbn=0226482006|url=}}</ref> Carole Patricia Biggam states that the wolves, along with Odin, can "fly through the air".{{cite book|title=Grey in Old English: an interdisciplinary semantic study|page=193|first=Carole Patricia|last=Biggam|url=|publisher=Runetree Press|date=1998|isbn=1898577056}}</ref> H. A. Guerber writes that the wolves are a sign of good fortune "if met by the way".<ref>{{cite book|title=Myths of the Norsemen: from the eddas and the sagas|first=H. A.|last=Guerber|isbn=0486273482|date=1992|publisher=Courier Dover Publications|page=17|url=}}</ref>
The wolves' names have also been used in other areas. In a children's story titled "How Frey Won Gerda, the Giant Maiden, and How He Lost his Magic Sword", based on Norse mythology, Frey needs to speak the "language of the gods" to Geri and Freki in order to pass to the top of Odin's watchtower.<ref>{{cite book|title=The Children of Odin|first=Padraic|last=Colum|publisher=Forgotten Books|isbn=1605067253|page=38|url=}}</ref> The names are also used by a French online art company.<ref>{{cite web|title=Boutique Non Conforme|url=|publisher=Geri et Freki Diffusion|accessdate=2009-11-25|language=French}}</ref> In the Olympic Mountains in the Northwestern United States, the Geri Freki Glacier takes its name from the wolves.<ref>{{cite book|title=Olympic Mountains: A Climbing Guide |author=Olympic Mountain Rescue|publisher=The Mountaineers Books|edition=4th|date=2006|isbn=089886206X|page=186|url=}}</ref>
Of course, it wouldn't need to be as I have it written here, but I thought it might help to see what I'm talking about rather than just having me give a vague description. What do you think? GaryColemanFan (talk) 07:00, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Regarding Bruce Lincoln's comment, let's take a look at how the Helgakviða Hundingsbana I stanza in question (13) is translated:
Benjamin Thorpe:
The warriors went to the trysting place of swords,
which they had appointed at Logafioll.
Broken was Frodi's peace between the foes:
Vidrir's hounds went about the isle slaughter-greedy.[1]
Henry Adams Bellows:
The warriors forth to the battle went,
The field they chose at Logafjoll;
Frothi's peace midst foes they broke,
Through the isle went hungrily Vithrir's hounds.[2]
Carolyne Larrington:
The chieftains go to the sword-meeting
which they'd set up at Logafell;
the peace of Frodi was torn between the enemies;
eager for slaughter on the island ran Odin's hounds.[3]
Of these three translations, Larrington and Bellows offer footnotes for this stanza. Bellows writes: "Vithrir's hounds: wolves; Vithrir is Othin, and his hounds are the wolves Freki and Geri." Larrington, who here glosses Odin's name Vithrir as simply "Odin", writes: "Odin's hounds: wolves", without mentioning Geri and Freki at all.
The reason for this is because this stanza is not literally referring to Geri and Freki but rather to, as evident to the plot of the poem, wolves on a corpse-strewn battlefield who are feeding on the flesh of the fallen. Employing "Odin's hounds" need not directly refer to Geri and Freki also to a general association Odin has with wolves. Odin has a similar association with ravens and, similarly, all mentions of Odin and ravens need not refer directly to Odin's raven companions Huginn and Muninn. Both are carrion-eating animals of the battlefield and Odin is, of course, a god closely associated with the battlefield.
Lincoln seems to be theorizing or implying that it is battlefield bodies that Odin is described as feeding Geri and Freki in Gylfaginning and Grímnismál. This isn't backed up in the material he's quoting—the Helgakviða Hundingsbana I stanza—and is therefore his theory. This is fine to bring into the article but it must be presented as what it is; Lincoln's theory. On the other hand, even if we were to ignore Lincoln altogether, I am also open to bringing the stanza into the article by way of Bellows's footnote.
Biggam seems to be referencing Odin with hunting dogs found up until very recent times in folklore in Germanic Europe and then making a jump over to equating them with Geri and Freki, but unfortunately this is not detailed in the snippet viewable to us. In any case, I think it's a bad idea to reference Biggam here until we know what Biggam is saying. For example, if Biggam were to just whimsically say that Geri and Freki can fly without further explanation then we shouldn't add it.
Guerber's old book is not a good source for Norse mythology and without knowing why Guerber makes this claim I don't think we should add it. It's very dubious. :bloodofox: (talk) 11:08, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

I am requesting a second opinion regarding whether this article should only include information attested in the original sources, or if more recent writings and theories should be mentioned. GaryColemanFan (talk) 14:25, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't think there's need for that. You don't seem to understand: I am not saying—nor have I said—that the article should include information solely from the original attestations. I am saying that some of the information you've mentioned above has problems, which I've pointed out in detail above. :bloodofox: (talk) 16:50, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Second opinion: In response to Gary's question, I believe that some recent writings and theories should be mentioned in the article, provided they're not fringe and from reliable sources of course. Wizardman Operation Big Bear 22:46, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Agreed, as long as sources are WP:RS they should be included, I understand :bloodofox:'s points re Lincoln, Biggam and Guerber. If nothing else can be be found then that is how it is. I do believe this reviewe which has been on hold for a long time should be concluded. Jezhotwells (talk) 23:32, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
    • I agree that it should be concluded. I don't feel that it meets the criteria for breadth of coverage. I am going to recuse myself from this review. If anyone would like to take it over, that would be wonderful. GaryColemanFan (talk) 23:42, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

In all respect to Bloodofox, I have added the section from Helgakviða Hundingsbana. I understand fully when he says the pair are not referenced directly - they're not. But I think the conclusion which must be drawn if Geri and Freki are not intended - namely, that all wolves should be seen as Odin's - would be just as hard to substantiate. Indeed, even if "ordinary" wolves are intended here, I think it's fairly obvious that Geri and Freki are being at least alluded to, and the listener would have made that leap intuitively. What's more, several scholars have also made that very leap, and thus we are required to at least report upon it. Now, if we could find some source specifically disavowing this passage as referring to Geri and Freki, then the situation would be very different. But, in absence of such a source, I feel that we should include the passage as an attestation. Hope I don't upset anyone by having done so without getting an 'ok' first. :/ --Aryaman (talk) 04:25, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Pickup review[edit]

As GaryColemanFan has recused himself, I will take over this review. Jezhotwells (talk) 23:51, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

I shall be reviewing this article against the Good Article criteria, following its nomination for Good Article status.

Checking against GA criteria[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
    Etymology: Lindow comments that both names are nothing more than definitive forms of adjectives Do you mean diminutive? definitive makes no sense in this context. Green tickY
I took the liberty of changing this. Hope no one minds. --Aryaman (talk) 01:15, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
  1. Theories: ... as Woden's followers they bodied forth his might, ... what does that mean? please re-write. Missed the quote marks Green tickY
    Lead: ... and similar associations with wolves among the Vedic deity Rudra and the Roman god Mars. This isn't mentioned in the article, please read WP:LEAD, the lead is to be an accurate summary of teh article. Green tickY
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    I assume good faith of all print sources.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    A reasonable use has been made of six authors from the last 100 hundred years, which appears good enough for me, considering the small amount of original sources.
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    On hold for seven days (24 January) for above issues to be fixed. Jezhotwells (talk) 00:16, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
    OK, I am happy that this article meets the GA criteria. If you can find sourcing for the Glacier name that makes a direct connection with the Norse myth then it might be a candidate for addition, but I would be wary of going too far down the popular culture route. I see no immediate need for major expansion, unless someone discovers new, previously unknown sagas. Passing as GA. Jezhotwells (talk) 14:10, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for picking this up. The "bodied forth his might" thing is a quote per Speigel. If you want to rewrite it in prose (or anyone else), you are welcome to. Rudra and Mars are covered in the last "theories" paragraph. Thank you for your additions, Varoon - I wish I had Orel's handbook! :bloodofox: (talk) 03:37, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
I just finished going over this article from top to bottom, adding any (IMHO) pertinent information, correcting anything needing correction, and making some stylistic changes to the text itself. Refs have been added for all additions, and citations have been provided. I, too, was wondering about whether or not things like the Geri-Freki glacier should be mentioned, but I don't think it's necessary for this article to pass GA review. In all, I think it deserves to be passed.
And Bloodofox: Any time you need Orel, just drop me a note! :) --Aryaman (talk) 04:46, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
    • ^ Thorpe (1907:138).
    • ^ Bellows (1923:294-294).
    • ^ Larrington (1999:116).