Sif Dragonslayer

sifThere’s a dragon terrorizing a small fishing village near the Valhalla Mountains. Because Thor is abed with wounds suffered from a recent battle with Hrungnir and his army of trolls (for more details, see our review of Thor: Dueling With Giants), the villagers reluctantly turn to Lady Sif for help.

Why they’re reluctant, we don’t know. Sif may not be the God of Thunder. Nor does she wield a mighty uru hammer. But she’s been kicking ass her whole life. As a young girl she trained with Tyr, the god of warfare. And later she fought side by side with the Warriors Three, Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg. She’s confident that she can dispatch any adversary, even a nasty fire-breathing dragon. “I have fought many foes for many decades,” she boasts, “and none have yet earned the title of ‘Killer of Sif.’”

And so, with Thor’s blessing, Sif travels to the half-burned village of Flodbjerge. By her side is a young and spunky shield maiden by the name of Hildegard. Together they plan to vanquish the troublesome dragon and kick-start the feminist movement in Asgard.

The dragon, as it turns out, isn’t much of a problem. Sif and Hilde dispatch the monster fairly swiftly. More difficult, however, is the pair’s attempt to break down the door of Aesir patriarchy. “Women are to be wooed and protected,” says a young Fandral. Even cheery Volstagg expects his wife to stay home and raise his growing brood while he chews his way across the nine homeworlds.

In Asgard, battle is important work. But Sif and Hildegard wonder: Can only men do important work? Surely not. “Are the choosers of the slain not doing important work?” asks Sif. “The Valkyrie were handpicked by Odin for that very task.”

Women are also responsible for tending the Golden Apples of Immortality. And, of course, they bear the children that replace the warriors who fall in battle. Were Asgard bereft of women, it would be an empty place indeed. “They who control our very destiny are women,” states Sif matter-of-factly.

Without a doubt, Sif is on the list of our all-time favorite female characters in the Marvel Universe – right up there with Clea, Medusa, and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. To be honest, the existence of this Sif novel absolutely blows our mind. Never in a million years did we expect to see such a thing on our shelf. It makes us feel like the universe has shifted slightly to acknowledge our measly presence.

“I am she who has done battle against the Frost Giants of Jotunheim and the minions of Surtur,” says a defiant Sif. “I have fought alongside Thor the Thunderer and Beta Ray Bill. I have faced gods and villains.” She’s too polite to mention it, but she’s also been a member of the Avengers. And she’s gone toe-to-toe with Dracula as well.

In our opinion, the character of Sif transcends category. And author Keith DeCandido agrees with us. She isn’t just a girl or a woman or a citizen of Asgard. She is the finest hero of the nine homeworlds. “I am not Thor,” she tells the skeptical villagers of Flodbjerge, “and Thor is not Sif!” The Realm Eternal is littered with the corpses of those who thought her weaker or lesser than the men around her. Truly, she possesses the heart of a warrior born.

[Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings / By Keith R.A. DeCandido / First Printing: November 2016 / ISBN: 9781772752298]

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