Readers of Absorption will have noticed unusual spellings in the Norse timeline, particularly the names of two gods familiar to us all: Odin and Thor. In the book, they appear as Óthinn and Thórr, while a note at the beginning tells you how to pronounce the th for each name. It's ambiguous in English: consider THis and THing. (Or the one example I could think of where you get almost the same sound: thistle and this'll - as in this will.)

By the way, some readers will use written names as purely visual symbols, and not bother to sound them out. Others will be interested in the sounds. I've long believed this to be one of the distinctions we all make when choosing our favourite writers: if my primary mode of thought is visual, secondary tactile/somatic, and tertiary auditory, then a book giving similar emphasis to choice of words will resonate more with me than someone who perceives the world - and tells their stories - with different emphasis.

Anyway, back to Old Norse. When written, it would of course have been runic. When transcribed in modern texts, it's normally written in the modern Icelandic alphabet, which distinguishes between the soft th (as in THing), written as a sort of chopped-off phi symbol known as THORN, and the hard th (as in THis), written with the crossed-through 'd' called ETH (uppercase Ð, lowercase ð).

So Odin is in fact Óðinn, while Thor is Þórr.

Also, if anyone's read other books featuring Norse names, you might notice I've tacked an r on the end of names which is missing from the anglicized version, such as Brandr rather than Brand.

It turns out that Old Norse, like English, particularly the English of decades past, was forgiving of many different orderings of words in a sentence. The trailing (inflexion) r is a way of indicating the subject of the sentence.

So Brandr and Brand are both correct, depending on whether Brandr is taking action or something is being done to Brand. I've stuck with the first form throughout the book.

That's, er, in case you were wondering... (Or to put it another way, I have been a good boy and done lots and lots of research.)


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