Inspirations for Jordenheim 1
A series of personal experiences mixed with odd hobbies lent themselves towards my building and creating this fantasy place in my mind’s eye, that has now manifested into the game world of ‘Jordenheim’ - something that we at W.R.K.S Games are currently building and expanding upon on a daily basis.
The first element would consist of my idyllic childhood in the wilds of Sweden. I was indulged by the stories of folk tales by my mother or sisters before bedtime. Stories of Trolls that hid under bridges, or witches that came out to play during Easter, to snatch up any naughty children (it’s a Scandinavian thing, don’t ask). These whimsical tales and the sinister figures that inhabited them made a strong impression on my young mind.
Of course, the surroundings helped fuel that notion - as all kid’s heads are filled with a vivid imagination but surrounded by vast wilderness with little civilization about, one began to think they weren’t that far-fetched, but wholly possible.
In the Scandinavian forest, one feels very small in a big, alien place - like they are the foreigner and not the other way around. A place where it could be completely possible for an unfamiliar entity to just live just down the road - in a rickety cabin, or shoved deep in some dark crevice. When you lay on the grass on your side, were those murmurings you heard Dwarves, busy tinkering away - looking for their golden jackpot? There wasn’t much in in the way to make me feel otherwise.
At the age of four, my family and I moved away to a more urban setting in the Netherlands, yet the vivid memories of Sweden stayed with me and only grew stronger the further time passed - my imagination only building more of the pieces together, and creating small stories of that vast wilderness were folk fantasy and reality met over time.
Another factor that arose when moving to the Netherlands was that of my name…Thor. In Scandinavian, it was a common one but in a foreign country (and way before Chris Hemsworth’s abs lent it some guarantied mojo) it was the bane of existence in pre-school since it quite easily rhymed with a slew of simple and effective putdowns. I much more wished to change my name to Jack (based on my hero Jack Burton from “Big Trouble in Little China”) yet my father had always held the name with a certain esteem and became encouraged by his championing of it. I began to dive into its origins - first diving into Marvel’s take on the character in their comics, but then soon after, into Norse Mythology itself.
What tales have been record are a fascinating window into the old mentality of the Norse people - as they believed in the prophecy of Ragnarok, a notion that the world would come to spectacular end were all the Gods would wage war against each other and each Realm (which our earth was part of -named Midgaard) would be left barren and devastated in the aftermath - not un-similar to an annual crossover event from the pages of DC or Marvel comics, and to be honest, just as spectacular.
This philosophy made the Norse people embrace the mentality to live life to the fullest and embrace the day - there was no fear of death because it was inevitable, so make a mark while you still can. With this in mind, you can easily understand the thought process of human’s that would jump in a boat and travel for days on end - uncertain if they would find land, or that their boat would topple off the ends of the earth, to the underworld down below.
The Norse interpretation of the Gods fascinated me as well - they were wise and powerful, but not above pettiness and erratic mood swings - just like us humans.
Thor was an all-powerful, hard-drinking specimen, although about as clever as a bag full of hammers and just as unstable. His uncle Loki (nope, not his brother, like in the Marvel) was a close friend yet constant thorn in his side, and several of their adventures consisted of them seeking out a simple goal yet coming to dead end and Thor out of frustration usually ended smashing and killing a lot of things as a solution - this was a similar arc I shared, when it came to assembling Ikea furniture.
Yet one Myth figure that always fascinated me, yet got the short of the stick when it came to featured tales was Hemdallr - the God’s watchman, who sat on his perch in Valhalla and observed all Realms as an overseer. He would never interfere in other’s affairs yet he gained knowledge from all.
Also unlike other God’s, he was more admirable than most - wise, soft-spoken and generous. Of what stories that had in him a larger part (and there scarce amount), he was known to visit Midgaard and allow others to help him with acts of kindness, which he would reward in return. This solitary and quiet figure always fascinated me in terms that he was almost an outsider to the other Gods - a lone solitary figure, that in some ways related more to the human’s and their plight than the petty squabbles in Valhalla. Well, at least that was me at least filling in the gaps that his scare story left behind. Regardless, his character was one ripe for exploring and expanding, an aspect that would fit quite nicely into our Jordenheim world (hint, hint).