8DoL spoilers: the famous Afterword

Otter Perry ottertee at silverwinggraphics.com
Tue Dec 28 10:28:45 EST 2004


My copy of the _Eight Days of Luke_ is the first American edition, 
published
by Greenwillow Books in 1988.

It includes an Afterword.  I have typed it out and tried to preserve the
punctuation and so on.  This does _not_ mean that I haven't made
mistakes.

If you have not read _Eight Days of Luke_, you should not read this.  So
you can stop now and not skip past the spoiler space which I have
helpfully provided.

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Afterword

	The strange people who come in search of Luke are all gods. They are 
usually
called the Norse gods, though they were once the gods of England and 
Germany
too. Anyone who has noticed who these people are will probably also 
have noticed
that each god arrives on his or her own day. For the days of the week 
are mostly
named after these gods, and in this sense they are still with us.
	The first to come is Mr Chew, on Tuesday. He is Tew, the old god of 
war or strife.
He was worshipped in the part of the country where I live and has left 
his name there
too, in places called Chew Magna and Chew Valley, but very little is 
known of him.
The main thing that _is_ known is that Tew has lost (or will losetime 
is strange
where gods are concerned) his arm trying to chain the monstrous wolf 
Fenri. Alert readers will have noticed that David’s attention is 
generally fixed on just one of Mr Chew’s arms. Gods are good at hiding 
their attributes.
	Mr Wedding, who arrives on Wednesday, is even better at hiding his 
attributes.
David does not notice that Mr Wedding has only one eye until Mr Wedding 
allows it,
which is something that comes into other, older stories too. For Mr 
Wedding is
Woden, chief of the gods, god of wisdom, warfare and cunning, sometimes 
known
as All Father, or Grim, the Hidden One. He gave his other eye to the 
Fates, or Norns,
in exchange for wisdom, which he gained by hanging for nine days on the 
great
World Tree (David encounters both the Norns and the World Tree on his 
quest).
Along with his wisdom, Woden gained two ravens (whose names are Hugin 
and
Munin) who bring him news of everything in the world, making him god of 
knowledge too, and who also go with Woden to battlefields, because 
Woden is god of slain men
as well. He used to ride an eight-legged white horse, which naturally 
appears nowadays as a white car, driven by one of his daughters, the 
Valkyries.
	Thor, who arrives on Thursday, is the god of thunder. I could not give 
his name
straightaway, because in English it is exactly that—Thunder. He was 
always a very
popular god, very strong and direct and open.
	Mr and Mrs Fry, who turn up on Friday, are the twin gods Frey and 
Freya, gods
of sex and fertility—which is why they have such an effect on everyone.
	Luke himself is Loki, god of fire and of mischief—two things that both 
gods and
people find it hard to do without. For a long time, he and Woden were 
friends and
had a good many adventures together, since Loki was even more cunning 
that
Woden. Then Loki was put in an underground prison where snakes 
continually
dripped venom on him and, in order not to be scalded by the drips, Loki 
had to hold
a bowl up to catch the venom. The worst times were when the bowl was 
full. Then
Loki’s wife, Sigyn (who is the red-haired girl who runs to meet Luke) 
had to take the bowl away to empty it, leaving him unprotected. I think 
everyone will understand
why Luke was so grateful to David for letting him out. The crime for 
which he was
being punished—which David rightly thought was a clever idea and 
difficult to do—
was the indirect killing of the god Baldur, which was indeed hard to 
do, because
every created thing except the mistletoe had promised not to hurt 
Baldur.
	Perhaps it was this crime, or perhaps it was the decree of Fate which 
not even gods can avoid, that caused Loki and Woden to be on opposite 
sides in the Final
Battle. This Battle has not happened yet. When it does, the gods will 
be killed and
the world destroyed.
	Against this day, Woden has his daughters the Valkyries collect the 
souls of
dead heroes and bring them to Valhalla, where some say the gods live 
too. This is
the hall where the young men are cheating the pinball machines. 
Valhalla really
means Hall of the Slain, and the English for it is Walsall. There is a 
Walsall in
England—an industrial suburb of Birmingham. It has so little in common 
with
Valhalla that I invented Wallsey Island instead.
	The young man in the hall with the dragon about him is Siegfried, who 
was a descendant of Woden’s and a slayer of dragons. The lady lying 
asleep in the
flames once loved Siegfried. She is Brunhilda, who was once chief of 
the Valkyries,
until she disobeyed her father Woden. He punished her by putting here 
to sleep in
the flames until a hero should wake her. Siegfried went through the 
flames and
woke her. Then he forgot about her. When Brunhilda found he did not 
love her, she went back to the flames. Some say she had Siegfried 
killed first. Some say she took
a revenge that will bring about the Final Battle in the end.

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