The Sioux nickname issue is over for the University of North Dakota, but it has left UND without a nickname and a mascot.
Last week, UND grad Lisa Monte wrote a letter to the Grand Forks Herald suggesting a new nom de game: The Frost Giants. That’s pretty clever, actually–it’s right out of Norse myth.
The downside might be that people don’t immediately recognize what a Frost Giant is. Someone asked about them on the Herald’s Facebook page, so I got out my “D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths,” an introductory guide to the subject meant for children, and tried to answer the question.
I’ve always loved the book for its beautiful illustrations, made with loving detail in colored pencil by husband-and-wife team Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire, so I thought I’d post some of the pictures here to introduce others to the D’Aulaires’ beautiful work. I really can’t recommend this book enough.
That’s a six-headed troll sprouting from Ymir’s feet, and another male and female jotun (frost giant) sprouting from his armpits.
Ymir is a bit like the Titans of Greek mythology, really. Here, Odin and his god-buddies are slaying Ymir, and after the frost giant is dead, they build the world from his body. No, seriously, he was that big, apparently. I love how the illustration shows the remnants of Ymir:
As to whether the UND teams should call themselves the Frost Giants, I’m not sure. They’re usually– but definitely not always– pictured as ugly, and they’re usually–but definitely not always– the antagonists of what we’d think of as the “normal” Norse pantheon.
However, they are also scary, intimidating and large, all traits one normally wants in a sports team.
What do you think?