July 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
This one’s from the vaults.
Scandanavian mythological sources depict dvergar (dwarfs) as an all-male race of supernatural beings, residing in cliffs and stones, created asexually from the bones and blood of giants. Though in most instances dwarfs appear to be quite separate from other mythical races, Snorri Sturluson, in his thirteenth-century mythological manual, the Prose Edda, conflates dwarfs and “black elves,” a subcategory of beings that appears only in his writings.
Lindahl, McNamara and Lindow, Medieval Folklore
One day in a fit of mischief Loki cut off Sif’s golden hair, and Thor would have killed him if he had not found two cunning dwarfs to make new tresses of real gold for Sif, which would grow like natural hair. They also made Freyr’s wonderful ship and Odin’s great spear Gungnir. Loki then challenged two other skillful dwarfs to make three more treasures as good as these, wagering his head that they would not succeed. As they labored in the smithy the dwarf working the bellows was stung persistently by a fly, but in spite of this they succeeded in forging a marvelous boar with bristles of gold, who could run faster than any steed and light up the darkest night. They also forged the great gold ring, Draupnir, from which eight other rings dropped every ninth night. As they were making the third treasure, the fly stung the dwarf again, this time on his eyelid, and he had to raise his hand to brush it away. The third treasure was the great hammer Mjollnir, which would hit anything at which it was thrown and return to the thrower’s hand. Because of the interference of the fly, however, who was Loki in disguise, it was a little short in the handle. Nevertheless the gods held that the hammer was the best of all their treasures, and a sure weapon against their enemies, and they declared that Loki had lost his wager. He ran away, only to be caught by Thor and handed over to the dwarfs; they wanted to cut off his head, but Loki argued that they had no right to touch his neck. So in the end they contented themselves with sewing up his lips.
H.R. Ellis Davidson, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
Pity the smiths of the gods, whom the gods often betray.
The black elves of the mountains, the dvergar born of the blood and bones of the jotun, those titanic rivals of the gods themselves, who would make furious war against the Aesir and Vanir come the crack of doom itself, the battle of Ragnarok on the plain Virdgirthir. The dwarf in his mountain seems little concerned with this rivalry, however. Much as the Cyclopses of ancient greek myth were the spawn of the titans who preceded the Olympian gods, so too were the dvergar born from the corpses of the great giants who existed before the gods, Ymir and his spawn, the ancient enemies and rivals of the hosts of Asgard. And much like those cyclopses, the dvergar were the makers of the most powerful weapons of their divine clients. From Odin’s spear to Thor’s hammer, from the great boar Gullinbursti itself to the ship of Freyr, dvergar hands worked miracles even gods couldn’t match. Yet often those self-same gods lied and cheated their dwarf artificers: the repeated stinging fly lashing at the stony face of the mountain born, stinging him even to his eye, is sign enough of what trust you could place in a god’s word.
Granted, that god was Loki. Still, why should the makers be so despised?
While there are certainly similarities between, say, the dvergar and the Cyclopses (both the dvergar and the cyclopses were made by those who came before the gods, the one-eyed by the Titans, the strainers of heaven like Atlas who could hold the sky itself and the dvergar formed from the blood and bone of beings like Ymir) there is one major difference. Eventually the cyclopses became part of the divine order of Olympus, servitors of Haephestus, honored forgers of Zeus’ thunderbolts, and their brothers the Hekatonkheires were entrusted by Zeus with guarding the prison house of the Titans themselves. The dvergar, however, were neither mistreated by the giants as the cyclopses and hundred-handed were by the titans, nor were they favored by the gods. Rather, each transaction with the dvergar was in the nature of a mercantile or even mercenary character, with payment and wagers making up the exchange. To a certain degree, since the dvergar were at once the descendants of their hated enemies in a manner of speaking and also neither loyal nor disloyal, it makes sense that they should not be beloved by the Aesir and Vanir. And yet, why should Loki despise them, and seek to trick them? It could be accepted that he seeks to trick everyone at times, were it not for the fact that he had but recently relied on their genius to save his own hide from an angry Thor. Loki’s relationship with the gods is complex already… seen as a trickster figure and part of a shamanic legacy, the shadow of Odin and his rival in magic, it is nevertheless through Loki’s actions that many of the treasures and wonders of the gods are procured… the spear Gungir, the boar Gullinbursti, the ship Skipbladnr, the ring Draupnir, of course Mjollnir and even the eight-legged horse Sleipnir that bore Odin forth in battle.
Why should Loki, who would lead the giants forth at the end of the world to Ragnarok, give his eventual enemies so many gifts? Why should he use the dvergar to provide them? Why should he seem to despise them for doing what he chose them to do?
Attempts have been made to account for the eight legs of Sleipnir by likening him to the hobby horses and steeds with more than four feet that appear in carnivals and processions. A more fruitful resemblance seems to be the bier on which a dead man is carried in the funeral procession by four bearers; borne along thus, he may be described as riding a steed with eight legs. Confirmation of this is found in a funeral dirge recorded by Verrier Elwin among the Gonds in India. It contains references to Bagri Maro, the horse with eight legs, and it is clear from the song that this is the dead man’s bier. The song is sung when a distinguished Muria dies. One verse of it runs: What horse is this?/ It is the horse Bagri Maro./ What should we say of its legs? This horse has eight legs.
H.R. Ellis Davidson, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
When Odin dies on the World Ash, he speaks the following lines: I know I hung on the windswept Tree through nine days and nights. I was stuck with a spear and given to Odin, myself given to myself. Well, who caused Odin’s spear to be made? Loki. Who gave Odin his horse, the funeral bier made flesh, the horse one rides to death? Loki. Both Loki and Odin can change shapes, both Loki and Odin know the mysteries of death… for while Odin gives himself to himself, to death, ruled by Hel the dead queen, who is Hel’s father? Loki. Loki is the way into death and the maker of death itself, Loki provides the spear, the horse, and even the dark lady herself. When one looks at the long list of Loki’s offenses against the gods, it becomes harder and harder to understand why the gods should tolerate him for as long as they do… even counterbalanced by his services to them.
Half the time he only aids them in cleaning up messes he himself caused! And yet, they tolerate him anyway. And this doesn’t even address the strange relationship between Loki and Utgard-Loki, a giant who tricks Thor repeatedly… and if this weird item isn’t enough for you, we can then consider how Loki would eventually be bound beneath the earth by the Aesir and Vanir for his role in helping bring about the death of Balder and preventing his rebirth by refusing to cry for him… and this binding of Loki, complete with the snakes dripping venom in his face, is similar to a motif preserved in the Caucasus region of a giant bound to a mountain, an image similar to that of Prometheus of the greeks, bringer of fire (and Loki has often been compared/conflated with fire under its name of Logi, considered in part a god of fire) and clever titan, tricker of man and god alike. Furthermore, unlike Odin or any other god, not only does Loki serve to repeatedly trick the dvergar and in one instant even tricking a very giant engaged in the construction of Asgard’s walls (this incident, involving taking the shape of a mare and luring away the giant’s horse, not only led to the conception and birth of Odin’s horse Sleipnir, who as we have seen is death’s bier, but it also shows us again that the gods of Asgard have no smith and no mason. They do not know the secret of construction as the giants and the dvergar do… they cannot build anything) but Loki goes one step further than that: Loki himself builds the magic weapon Laevateinn, doing what no other god can do. The gods are such poor craftsmen that when the god Aegir of the oceans tells Thor to find him a cauldron to brew beer for a divine feast, they must steal it from a giant, Hymir the father of Tyr. (For those seeking a linkage between the dvergar and the cyclopses and hundred-handed ones, the lay of Hymir is fascinating for appearances of beings like Tyr’s grandmother, a beast with nine hundred heads. It also contains the tale of Thor’s pretense as Veur and his attempt to catch the Midgard Serpent while fishing, an old story in new clothes.) Not even wise Mimir, whose head whispers wisdom to Odin from its resting place in the well, whose death cause Odin to cast his spear Gungnir at the Vanir and brought about the Aesir/Vanir war which resulted in the Aesir victory and the fall of the Vanir… of the eventual absorption of the twins Freyr and Freyja into the pantheon of the gods. Not even Odin himself can make. Only those children of the Jotun, the dvergar… only the mighty Jotun themselves… and only Loki, shapeshifter, shadow of Odin, fire chosen, liar, tempter, and somehow akin to foul deceiver Utgard, only Loki can make out of the mighty gods of Asgard. Only Loki can make, only Loki can cause to be made. Why should this be? What is Loki, that he should be the spearmaker and the father of the horse, that his loins shall produce death for Asgard in the form of the Fenris Wolf and the Midgard Serpent, death for all men in the form of Hel, death and rebirth for Odin via his terrible swift eight-legged steed (the bier made flesh) and his spear, Gungnir that never misses, death for Balder and a bar for resurrection, and when freed from the earth death once again in the form of Ragnarok itself, as it shall be Loki who steers the ship that shall bring the giants across the seas to the place of final battle, Loki who leads the way to Virdgirthir, the field of final battle.
Indeed, even when the goddess Freyja trades her body to the four dwarfs Alfrigg, Dvalin, Berling and Grerr, Odin the All-Seeing in his magical throne does not see it… only Loki does. Loki is the one who tells Odin what has happened, Loki is the one who steals the necklace from Freyja’s impenetrable hall at Odin’s command. And what comes of that escapade, and that artifact of dwarf craft? You must stir up hatred. You must stir up war. Find two kings in Midgard and set them at each other’s throats; ensure that they meet only on the battlefield, each of them supported by twenty vassal kings. Odin’s price for the return of Freyja’s necklace, won by her from the dwarfs by her proficiency in the art of love, sexual creation, is a commeasurate act of death: she must bring blood and destruction, which pleases Odin as the Lord of Battles. (Here we see a possible echo of Freyja as an older goddess form, the combined goddess of love and of war, as seen in Inanna, the Morrigan, Ishtar… we have known her before, I suppose) and so again dwarf craft is turned into a means of death by Loki. I could detail Loki’s role in the return of Thor’s hammer from the giant Thrym, who like the dvergar seeks the sexual union with Freyja and is instead tricked into granting back Thor his hammer by means of Loki’s craft… but I think we see the basic outline. Odin and the Aesir have defeated and taken control of the Vanir, the gods of the earth and fertility, elf-lord Freyr and elf-lady Freyja. The dvergar and their giant creators seek union with these self-same gods… control over the riches and bounty of the earth, where the raw materials of creation sleep. They also seek dominion over Asgard, which they built, and its treasures and weapons, which they constructed, oftentimes tricked into doing so by Loki. And it is only the wiles of Loki himself and those selfsame creations, wielded by the warrior god Thor and his crafty father Odin… who often moves through Loki himself, using the trickster god to accomplish his aims… that bar the way.
What can we make of all this?
Well, for starters, the Norse mythos is one of terrible alienation. The universe entire, the world, is made of the brains and bones and blood of the slain father-Jotun Ymir, his body torn open and all things constructed out of his flesh. Constructed, in fact, is a stretch for what the process is… everything simply is Ymir. Humans are the lice that grow out of his mouldering corpse. Everything is made of Ymir, the primordial Jotun, the first being, the living ice. This is similar to Sumerian tales of Tiamat, the chaos of the ocean, made into the world once slain by Marduk, and it represents an imposition of order onto chaos. It is not a making at all, simply a reformatting. Rules are imposed on the indomitable void, the black nothing is revealed by the divine light. Ymir dies and in dying all things that are come to exist. The idea of the primordial entity of creation, that all beings, man or god or otherwise are descended from being ultimately the monsters opposed by the order that makes life possible is an old one. One notes that even sky gods like Tyr claim giantish ancestry… Thor himself is the son of the giantess Jord, she who is the Earth itself, and of Odin. Even Odin only exists because of the Jotun, the great giant ones.
Between these realms there once stretched a huge and seeming emptiness; this was Ginnungagap. The rivers that sprang from Hvergelmir streamed into the void. The yeasty venom in them thickened and congealed like slag, and the rivers turned into ice. That venom also spat out drizzle – an unending dismal hagger that, as soon as it settled, turned into rime. So it went on until all the northern part of Ginnungagap was heavy with layers of ice and hoar frost, a desolate place haunted by gusts and slithers of ice. Just as the northern part was frozen, the southern was molten and glowing, but the middle of Ginnungagap was as mild as hanging air on a summer evening. There, the warm breath drifting north from Muspell met the rime from Niflheim; it touched and played over it, and the ice began to thaw and drip. Life quickened in those drops, and they took the form of a giant. He was called Ymir. Ymir was a frost giant: he was evil from the first.
Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Norse Myths
From Ymir’s freedom the ice gave forth others, and from it came forth Audumla, the great cow whose four teats leaked rivers of milk, and as Ymir subsisted on those rivers of milk Audumla licked from the ice of Ymir a form called Buri, born also from the ice as Ymir had been. From Buri, somehow, came forth Bor, and Bor married a child of Ymir, a giantess named Bestla. So then did Bestla give Bor three sons, grandsons of great Ymir: Odin, Vili and Ve. And eventually these three sons of Bor and Bestla slew their grandfather Ymir and drowned all of creation save for the giants Bergelmir and his brood, who escaped the blood tide in a tree they carved into a boat. And into the great void Ginnungagap the three grandsons of Ymir hurled forth his savaged body and ripped a world from it: the mountains and the land they made from his sinews and his muscles and his teeth became rocks. The oceans and the lakes were his blood. All things mankind sees, lives in or among, are made of the corpse of this being, first even among the gods as well as the giants. Ymir is the very substance of the world.
This brings us around again to the dvergar, the black elves, made out of the bones and blood of giants… like the bones of Ymir that are the mountains, and the blood that is the oceans and the lakes. How do they compare to the Vanir, those gods referred to by Thrym the Frost Giant upon his stealing of Mjollnir as elves? Why do Odin and the Aesir need to dominate the Vanir, why do they need to manipulate the dvergar? Why can’t they build their own cities, after the war with the Vanir, but must make wagers with rock giants and then trick them out of their promised reward… and why should a rock giant desire Freyja as his price? Why should four dwarfs seek to possess Freyja in exchange for her glorious necklace of the Brisings? Why should Thrym seek the hand of Freyja in marriage so highly that he would trade Mjollnir itself for it, the most powerful weapon in all creation? Freyja is of the Vanir, sister to Freyr (much as Apollo the sun and Artemis the moon were siblings in Greece and possibly an echo of the twin gods lost to us now worshipped by the Germanic tribes as reported by Tacitus, the twins worshipped by the Naharvali under the name the Alcis, prayed to in forest sanctuaries by priests dressed as women) and goddess of both war and love, as we saw before when Odin caused her to cause strife and death on behalf of the Brising necklace she earned through copulation with dvergar smiths, four of them, just as Odin, Vili and Ve set the vault of the sky on the backs of four dwarfs… love and death and the rockborn entwined. Vanir and dvergar can meet in peace as well as war, love as well as hate, but not Aesir and dvergar, nor Aesir and Vanir (as their war relates to us), nor Aesir and Jotun. Always the Aesir must conquer, dominate or destroy, they can never create, coexist or build. At best, they can absorb. Indeed, they lust for Vanir fertility as much as any snarling giant or underworld dwelling dvergar. Unlike in other pantheons, like the Greek or Celtic or even Egyptian or Sumerian ones, the division between the Aesir and the Vanir never ends… Set and Horus exist, ultimately, as part of the same Ennead. Marduk is brought into acceptance with Enki and Anu. Zeus and Apollo and Dionysos all find room in the Olympians. But Odin and Freyr are always aware of their alien natures, and while they may co-exist, the myths must bend to make room… Freyr is said to be able to use Odin’s all-seeing seat, implying that the son of Nord is of equal rank to Odin himself, head of his own group of gods. And Freyja, his sister (and perhaps twin, and perhaps even feminine self, other half of his soul) is the very fertile earth, that all sides seek to possess, from Odin’s burning lust (enraged by her gift of her self to the dwarf smiths in exchange for the necklace of the Brisings) to Thrym’s calculated attempt to the rock giant mason’s straightforward deal. Those that make would have her, and those that do not seek to control her, the fertile earth, the means of making and of new life. Together, the Vanir and the dvergar are the two sides of creation, the material to be worked and the ability to work it, and Odin and his Aesir must carefully control both. And the means?
Loki, the shadow of Odin, who caused his spear to exist, who in tricking the rock giant gave Odin the eight legged steed Sleipnir that is the funeral bier personified, who gave birth to the greatest enemies of the gods… the wolf that shall devour Odin, the serpent that shall slay Thor, the holly arrow that delivered Balder to Hel’s halls, even Hel herself, all are created by Loki. Loki suggests that the gods should take the Rock Giant’s bargain, and Loki tricks the Rock Giant. Loki tricks the dwarfs into making the six treasures and foils their attempt to sever his head with a simple argument of logic. Loki makes the earth beneath man’s feel shake and Loki will guide the giants to Ragnarok. Loki travels at Thor’s side to the realm of Utgard, also named Utgard-Loki, trickster meeting trickster. Loki burns against fire itself and is not far defeated. What is Loki, son of a giant, that he should so move between giants and gods, manipulate the dvergar, spy on the vanir when even Odin cannot, sneak into the hall of Freyja and steal her great treasure? What is he, that he can make weapons, birth monsters, and help end the age of the gods?
To the extent that we accept the hypothesis that mass extinctions have recurred on a 26 to 32 million year cycle, and that these extinctions arise from the periodic occurrence of collisions with one or more comets or asteroids, we have now cleared the decks for the final theoretical confrontation: What induces showers of comets by diverting them towards the planetary region of the solar system?
Donald Goldsmith, Nemesis
There is in the legends of the Scandanavians a marvelous record of the coming of the Comet. It has been repeated generation after generation, translated into all languages, commented on, criticised, but never understood. It has been regarded as a wild unmeaning rhapsody of words, or as a premonition of some future earth catastrophe. But look at it! The very name is significant. According to Professor Anderson’s etymology of the word, it means ‘the darkness of the gods”; from regin, gods, and rokr, darkness; but it may, more properly, be derived from the Icelandic, Danish and Swedish regn, a rain, and rok, smoke or dust; and it may mean the rain of dust, for the clay came first as dust; it is described in some Indian legends as ashes.
Ignatius Donnelly, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel
Imagine a void surrounding a mass of incandescent nuclear fire, inhabited perhaps, after a fashion, by a vast, cosmic and terrible sentience coalescing out of the dust and ice swirling into the gap which had been void… at the center cooled the plasma shocked into life by the destruction of stars, blasted apart in violent explosions that sent their compressed stellar matter, no longer mere hydrogen alone but the higher elements which can only occur in the hearts of dense stars. This chain of supernovas did more than seed the frozen void with gold, iron, silicon and other materials, it also send the dust of the region to congealing like those yeasty rivers, filling the edges of the total void with roiling matter. And then crossing the void comes another will, another sentience, perhaps answering the nascent voice of the slowly congealing star burning at the center. An entity of seething chaos that crosses the plane of the newborn ball of fire, disturbs the accretion disk of dust and matter surrounding it, sets eddies to swirling into existence. The entity invades, forming itself from water vapor and dust, and as it sets itself around the edges of this newborn firepit in a huge cage of ice the words are born from the dust, given life by the brute impulse of its will as it forces itself into where it was never intended to be. This mass of chaos. This seething forment. Ymir, the lord of ice, wrenching himself into existence via the cosmic ladder expressed by the ancient Norse eons later as Yggdrasil the eternal tree, the world ash, known as the Axis Mundi, the Tree of Life by others. Ymir descends the tree into physical manifestation as though he was born from melting ice, his will terrible and demanding from the beginning, a counterpoint to the seething urge of fire that inhabited the star, Black Surt, who one day will rise red and swollen and swallow the land of the gods. And between Surt’s fires and Ymir’s ice the band of life in the nothingness of Ginnungagap forms. Burning ice, biting flame, this is how life began.
How many times did Ymir’s twitchings, the interface of an entity who exists across many realms at once, disturb the cloud of ice wrapped around the fire at the heart of the void? How many times did clouds of ice and rock plummet into the fires of Muspell, and on their way into the death spiral sometimes strike one of the worlds drifting along in the void? Out of Ymir’s own flesh and bones and blood… for the cosmic dust that congealed into the worlds themselves was all these things, the matter of the being seeking to be born… these worlds came to be, and out of the shuddering of the ice came death and life, life and death on one world in particular. Perhaps a shard enfused with more of the ice-born titan being crashed into the small blue world, bringing with it the urge to organize, to become… Audumla, the ‘cow’ who licks forth life, the urge to create more and more complex entities. And life arose, swelling and growing across the surface of the world, only to be drowned and slain by the gore of Ymir itself, new fragments from the ice shell that fell again and again, as the continents twitched and skipped across the planet’s surface, as the world itself burned in its center in an imitation of Muspell and froze along the poles as the will of Ymir infected it. And the giant beings walked the surface of the world and were slain and new giants rose and were slain. Fragments of the colossal Ymir mind, given form by Audumla, would in time arise as separate beings with minds and wills of their own, who would make war with each other and be slain from above by the ice that falls, the fire that seethes… and those beings descended from the Ymir mind use the process of life itself as a tool and a technology, making real the colossal tree Yggdrasil (perhaps a biocomputer of some kind) and the well at its roots, Mimir, the source of wisdom. The direct descendants of Ymir are alien entities housed in flesh, fragmented essences of the enormous intruder into our reality seeking houses and tenements of flesh to inhabit, life to become… they seek to dominate the solar system and perhaps even use it as raw materials to build a final, colossal body for Ymir itself to inhabit, harnessing all life and the worlds as parts and the furious seething heart of the void as an engine, a furnace, a creation forge. They are opposed, ironically enough, by their own creations, their descendants bred out of the life that they brought into existence… the Aesir who inherit the Ymirian drive for dominance yet resist their ultimate fate as parts to the giant-built engine, the Vanir who are the essence of life itself, the world and all things in it, who must be controlled and dominated by the Ymir born if their aims are to be met, and even the false life of entities like the dvergar, the black elves who mirror oppose the Vanir in their very nature, the personifications of creation, inspiration from outside, technology given form and will yet not the ability to care who they build for. The Vanir are the growing plants and the rich earth, the dvergar the urge to shape, prune, mold, and craft, and the Aesir are the rebellious host of the intelligent, given minds by the splintering of the Ymir entity into many facets yet unwilling to rejoin him in his prison of ice, his frozen existence, which they see as death and the nine worlds themselves as born out of his death, rather than as the means of his birth, even as they themselves seek to die in order to learn more of the darkest wisdom, to wrench runes out of the void, a sacrifice of life for eternal life and in the process becoming more and more like the destroyer who seeks to live. And Loki?
Loki is the cost of the interface between the higher realm, the very incarnate language of the infinite exchange with a limited mind. The self can only interact with the higher self of the extraplanar through self-sacrifice, creating a void within oneself to match the void the worlds hang in… and the dark voice of that void colliding with the self is Loki. It is Loki who makes it possible to build and Loki who births monsters, Loki who tells lie and cunning tales, Loki who makes the treasures of the gods and who will one day turn on the gods as well. Loki lives in every mind, every will that seeks the infinite: Loki is the dark guardian of death and the dead who allows one to breach them, and the infinite. If Yggdrasil is seen as the biocomputer generated in higher dimensions by the existence of all life, then Loki is the avatar one who can interface with that vast and cosmic machine and climb the limbs must create in himself and in the extradimensional branches at the same time: Odin’s Loki is not Utgard’s Loki, yet both have a Loki, a void that is a reflection of all of one’s possiblities, both ill and benign. Loki can cause the making of a great hammer or an arrow that can kill the unkillable god. You can bind your Loki in chains and it will still break free. It is the potential that sleeps in the breast, be it the giant king or the Father of the Gods. In the end, it will be an unchecked Loki that helps destroy us all, an unchecked Loki and the creations it brought into being. Witness his actions: his mischief taunts and destroys all, be they Jotun or Aesir, Vanir or dvergar or human. No one is safe without Loki, and yet Loki can be the staunchest of allies as well as the most daunting of foes.
You could play with the details of this as you like. Ymir could just as easily be a vast crashed starship and the dvergar robots intended to reconstruct it, the Jotun descendants of the original crew, Mimir’s well the original interface program with the Ymir’s synthetic organic computer, Yggdrasil, the Aesir the hybrid offspring of humans and aliens, the Vanir humans who fought back against alien expansion, and Loki a computer program intended to allow the Aesir to access Mimir’s well and the dvergar for constuction of alien weaponry to combat the Jotun and their kin which develops sentience and even sympathizes with the Jotun’s goal to destroy the Aesir, enslave the Vanir and conquer the earth. There are many ways to understand the mischief god, the only maker of the Aesir, son of the giants, shadow of Odin, father of monsters, Loki the changing god, and I suspect he wouldn’t have it any other way.