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Other titles in the Sea of Trolls Trilogy series:

The Sea of Trolls

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The Sea of Trolls Cover

 

 

Author Q & A

Q: How did you decide on the topic for The Sea of Trolls?
A: The idea for the book actually came from the nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill." I wrote part of the novel fifteen years ago, when I still lived in Africa. It was never finished. The original had a bad-tempered cat called Grendelyn who fell into Mimir's Well while trying to catch fish.

Q: Both you and J. R. R. Tolkien have drawn inspiration from Norse mythology. What about Norse folklore makes it such a rich source text?
A: I didn't realize, until I started studying it, how important it was to American culture. Think of movies like Sergeant York or High Noon. Think of To Kill a Mockingbird or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. These are all stories about solitary heroes who would rather die than give up their ideals or individualism. The heroes come straight out of Beowulf.

Q: Have you always been interested in Norse mythology?
A: No. As a child I was immersed in Greek mythology so deeply I would dream about the Greek gods. In comparison, the Norse religion seemed crude. It wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered what a rich, complicated culture the Norsemen had.

Q: Schools today focus on ancient Greek mythology as an introduction to Western civilization. What do you think we can learn from ancient Norse mythology?
A: I have nothing against studying the Greeks. They created logical reasoning. But some of our most important ideas come from elsewhere. The Celts gave us a love of nature and a feeling that we are part of it. The Norsemen gave us a sense of individuality, a love of freedom, and a respect for courage and loyalty.

Q: What classic texts can you recommend to learn more about Norse mythology?
A: Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire's Norse Gods and Giants is a good place to start. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by H. R. Ellis Davidson is more difficult, but worth it. Look up The Prose Edda or The Elder Edda in the library. Edda is Icelandic for "epic poem."

Q: How long did you research the historical aspects of The Sea of Trolls?
A: For the entire year and a half it took me to write it.

Q: What made you decide to have the Bard take the form of a crow?
A: I originally wanted to use a raven because it was the sacred bird of Odin, but a raven was much too heavy for a twelve-year-old to carry on his shoulder.

Q: Jack comes from a Christian family, and throughout the book as he is becoming a bard, he seems to maintain a belief in the Christian god and the Isle of the Blessed. How does Jack reconcile his Christian upbringing with the fantastic things he's seen and done on his adventure?
A: Jack lived at a time when the Celtic and Norse religions were giving way to Christianity. Christianity absorbed these other cultures and kept many of their ideas. Early saints talked to animals, fought dragons, and called up fog. Saint Patrick shape-shifted himself and his friends into a herd of deer, to escape danger. Christians renamed pagan holidays and still celebrate them. The fertility festival of the goddess Oestra was changed into Easter. Yule was changed into Christmas and so forth.

Q: What similarities, if any, might you draw between The House of the Scorpion and The Sea of Trolls?
A: Offhand, I can't think of any similarities.

Q: Is the diagram of High Heaven that's illustrated at the front of the book based on folklore, or is it completely original?
A: The tree Yggdrassil, with its branches reaching to the nine worlds, is from Norse mythology, and the drawing is derived from the D'Aulaires' book. Some parts of the Norse religion seem to echo Christianity, and it's difficult to tell whether they're a more recent addition.

Q: What would you like young readers to learn from Jack?
A: I'd rather they made up their own minds about Jack.

Q: How did you discover the recipe for graffisk?
A: Ah, graffisk! It's based on gravlax, a good old Swedish dish that means, literally, "grave salmon." The Icelanders used to pig out on hákarl, or rotten Greenland shark. My favorite in this category is oogruk (seal) flippers from my Eskimo cookbook. Wrap the oogruk flippers in blubber for two weeks until the fur falls off. Then cut into small pieces and eat.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Kriskus, August 13, 2007 (view all comments by Kriskus)
this book is 1 of 2 books that i have ever read twice so it is a very interesting and exiting story. in the beginning it gives you a very good insight of the way they live. As the story goes it's as if you get pulled closer and closer into the story with more exitement and Nancy Farmer did a phenomenal job getting the info of the way the barbarians and saxons lived. I highly recommend anyone who has an interest in midieval books and books of the dark ages, because im a huge fan of world history and this book has some of the best information about their way of life even religion is added.
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(9 of 19 readers found this comment helpful)
Sciteacher, November 2, 2006 (view all comments by Sciteacher)
I have read many of Nancy Farmer's books, including:
The Eye, the Ear, and the Arm and The House of the Scorpian. Both of these books were full of rich characters and had original storylines with lots of action. The Sea of Trolls had it all! The characters were not only interesting but vividly described as well. I loved how the author weaved the Norse mythology into the story too. I would highly recommend this book - and any other Nancy Farmer book - to anyone:)
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(14 of 26 readers found this comment helpful)
angel_child, June 28, 2006 (view all comments by angel_child)
This was a good and enjoyable book. I found it quite easy to read though.
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(21 of 35 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780689867460
Author:
Farmer, Nancy
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Brothers and sisters
Subject:
Horror & Ghost Stories
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Historical
Subject:
Historical - Exploration & Discoveries
Subject:
Legends, Myths, & Fables - Norse
Subject:
Mythology, norse
Subject:
Historical / Exploration & Discovery
Subject:
Action & Adventure - General
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Trolls
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Edition Description:
B102
Publication Date:
May 23, 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Illustrations:
f-c cvr
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
9-12

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Featured Titles
Children's » General
Children's » Historical Fiction » Europe
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General

The Sea of Trolls Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.99 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Simon Pulse - English 9780689867460 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Readers will want to sail through these nearly 500 pages to find out what happens to young Jack and his sister, Lucy, kidnapped from their homeland by a Viking crew led by Olaf One-Brow. The two then travel across the sea where Ivar the Boneless, king of the Northmen, reigns with his half-troll wife, Queen Frith. The Bard, who fled from Queen Frith and has taken refuge on the boy's small island ('Nowhere in the nine worlds is safe for me as long as she is abroad,' the Bard explains) takes in 12-year-old Jack as an apprentice. The old man manages to teach Jack some magic and some of the complex history of the Northmen and their enemies, the Jotuns or trolls, before Olaf and his men invade. The book brims with delectable details. Ivar the Boneless, for instance, 'wears a cloak made from the beards of his defeated enemies' and Queen Frith's beauty dissolves when Jack begins to sing a tribute to her ('Her features rippled and twisted like the beasts carved on the walls'). Her rage at reverting back to her troll-like appearance prompts Jack's quest to seek Mimir's Well, in the heart of Jotunheim (troll country) in order to reverse the spell and save his sister, whom Queen Frith threatens to sacrifice if her beauty is not restored. Plotting and incidental players such as dragons and giant spiders in Jotunheim take precedence over character development here. But if the relationships are not as fully fleshed out as in Farmer's previous books, fans of Viking and adventure tales will still be up late nights to discover Jack's fate. Ages 10-13." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Allusions to Beowulf, the destruction of the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, and the Norse legend of Jack and Jill offer a rich backdrop for a hugely entertaining story sure to appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings."
"Review" by , "Farmer brilliantly marries historic details about life in England, Scotland and Scandinavia in A.D. 793 with the magic of runes, trolls and bards. This story will send readers on a quest to read more about this bloody but fascinating era."
"Review" by , "[A]n engaging tale....[T]here are plenty of lighthearted moments, and the characters never seem stiff or contrived. This exciting and original fantasy will capture the hearts and imaginations of readers."
"Review" by , "[S]hould instantly be added to the list of those books which leave an indelible mark on the imagination....[A] hair-raising, spine-tingling, heart-stopping adventure which really does bear comparison to The Hobbit....[T]he best children's novel of 2004."
"Review" by , "The book is effectively sparing in its use of fantasy elements, but when Farmer pulls out all the stops — such as Jack's encounter with the three Norns — she does so with aplomb and assurance."
"Review" by , "Farmer...has outdone herself in this rich and satisfying fantasy....The characters are memorable, her images of nature are lyrical, and legend, history, horror and humor are cleverly intermingled..."
"Review" by , "The Sea of Trolls conveys, more vividly than any textbook, the vikings' storied fatalism....Hearing the Northmen talk rapturously about the glories of being slaughtered in battle, the sensitive Jack can't understand it, but the reader will."
"Review" by , "Farmer uses sensory detail to breathe reality into every segment of this book....[A] spectacular story of magical adventure."
"Review" by , "Readers captivated by slash-'em-up Viking culture will happily plunge into this celebrated author's sixth novel, but many members of Farmer's traditional audience will emerge from the experience feeling alternately dazzled and dazed."
"Synopsis" by , The three-time Newbery Honor-winning author and National Book Award recipient pens a new adventure set in A.D. 793 in the land of the Vikings, where two children are soon swept up in a quest on which they encounter a dragon, a giant spider, and trolls.
"Synopsis" by , After Jack becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.
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