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Grey Council
Winter

Odin[Footnote 1] is first mentioned in White Night, as Donar Vadderung, the head and CEO of Monoc Securities; he later appears in person in Changes. He is also known as Kringle and Santa Claus.[Footnote 2]

DescriptionEdit

Odin is a god/high ranking Winter fae, who assumes various mantles according to the time of the year and his contingent situation, wielding different powers and incurring different obligations.[1][2]

In the seriesEdit

He often acts as a consultant to Harry Dresden, providing advice and information the latter needs.[1][2]

Word of JimEdit

According to Jim Butcher he is kind, the spirit of generosity in a time of bleakness. Jim also said that Santa Claus is the Winter King and goes by other names and the Erlking is the Summer King, though he is not to any court. He added that it's more accurate to say that Kringle is "a" Winter King, rather than "the" Winter King -- that the Kings are aligned with or related to the Summer or Winter, but not parts of those Courts.[3] Additionally, the kings' characters are opposite to the court to which they associated. Kringle is kindly which is opposite to the Winter Court and the Erlking is not so friendly. (No mention of Santa Claus being a Wyldfae.)[4]

QuotesEdit

Donar Vadderung
They say you can know a man by his enemies, Dresden.
[He smiled, and laughter lurked beneath his next words, never quite surfacing]
Donar Vadderung
You defy beings that should cow you into silence. You resist forces that are inevitable for no more reason than that you believe they should be resisted. You bow your head to neither demons nor angels, and you put yourself in harm’s way to defend those who cannot defend themselves.
[He nodded slowly]
Donar Vadderung
I think I like you.
— Dresden meeting Vadderung for the first time.[5]
Dresden
Wait. You’re going hunting?
[I pointed at the Erlking]
Dresden
With him? You?
[Kringle let out another guffaw and rested his hands on his belly while he did it]
Kringle
Why wouldn’t I?
Dresden
Dude. Dude. You’re…freaking Santa Claus.
Kringle
Not until after Halloween. Enough is enough. I’m drawing a line.
Dresden
Hah, but I’m kinda not joking here.
[[Kringle] grunted, and the smile faded from his features]
Kringle
Lad, let me tell you something here and now. None of us is what we once were. Everyone has a history. Everyone comes from somewhere. Each moves toward a destination. And in a lifetime as long as mine, the road can run far and take strange windings — something I judge you know something about.
— Dresden meeting Kringle for the first time, unaware that Kringle is Odin.[6]
Kringle
It was Halloween, Dresden. You put on a mask for a time. That’s all.
[He looked directly at me]
Kringle
Many, many mantles are worn — or discarded — on Halloween night, wizard.
Dresden
You mean masks?
Kringle
Masks, mantles, what’s the difference?
— Dresden and Kringle, talking about how Dresden took command of the Wild Hunt.[1]

SpeculationEdit

In Cold Days, Kringle states that he wasn't always known as Santa Claus and that it was a relatively new change, and that he participated in hunts with The Erlking. His position in The Wildhunt is later confirmed, when his hunter's mask was pulled away to reveal Kringle as one of its leaders. At the closing of Cold Days Kringle turns to Dresden and winks, briefly showing the visage of Odin. He makes a statement in regard to Mantles and Masks as an explanation.

Throughout Cold Days, the mantles of the Knights, Ladies, Queens and Mothers are all mantles of power that when used slowly erode their host's sense of self, eventually blurring the lines between the bearer of the mantle and the mantle itself, often making the motivations of the bearer of the mantle identical to that of the essence of the mantle itself. That said, much has also been said of the power of free will for those mortals and entities of deep conviction to retain their individual aspects of self. At the close of Cold Days, Mab admits that she was once mortal and could make choices. It could be argued that her inability to act against Maeve was an extension of Mab's separation from the mantle of Queen. Donar Vadderung/Odin/Kringle etc. hints that a mantle and masks have very little functional difference in regard to the heart or motivations of the entity itself, and by his very existence suggests that mantles, masks, and aliases can be assumed, taken up, or discarded based on choice. Who Donar Vadderung really is most likely a mystery. One could argue that the Odin alias might not be the base entity but rather just another mask or mantle. Who or whatever the entity truly is might be described more effectively by their motivations. As such, the being appears to work in mysterious ways, seems to care for mortals enough to get involved, and is an advocate for free will. One thing remains fairly clear, the entity that is known as Donar Vadderung, is adept at taking up, and setting aside mantles of power and may be an example of an entity that uses his mantles as tools rather than the mantle using "Him". This might mean that entities not defined as "mortal" can use elements of free will, or that this entity is in fact mortal. Perhaps the example of Donar Vadderung may serve as an element of hope that those who have to deal with the influence of a mantle of power may retain their free will. 

A less optimistic alternative may be that the influence of the mantle depends on how powerful it is relative to its host - Odin was a god at one time (and is still worshipped by a small number of modern pagans, albeit probably with different rites) and so the mantle of Winter King may have less purchase on him than it might on a lesser entity like a fae or a mortal.

Historically - based on known dark ages cults - it would also make sense for at least some lycanthropes to serve him under one of his guises.

In mythologyEdit

In mythology, Santa Claus is believed to be based on the merging of the myths of Saint Nicholas of Myra[Footnote 3] and the legends of the Norse God Odin.[Footnote 4][Footnote 5]

NotesEdit

  1. Odin - wikipedia
  2. Santa Claus - wikipedia
  3. Saint Nicholas of Myra - wikipedia
  4. Norse mythology - wikipedia
  5. Old Norse religion - wikipedia

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cold Days, ch. 53
  2. 2.0 2.1 Skin Game, ch. 44
  3. Interview on Reddit
  4. [1]Jim Butcher Dragon-Con Q&A @6:30 of youtube video
  5. Changes, ch. 21
  6. Cold Days, ch. 5

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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