It should have said "did not hold sway". The mythology greatly emphasizes the fact that the gods are as bound as we are to fate.
Yeah, that was me. Sorry if I sounded confrontational/overly critical. It is a nice piece.
I look at the history of the landbase and I see much conquering, claiming, and controlling of the land done by those same peoples.
Not entirely true. One group of Norse, the vikings, were about on par with the other cultures of the time in regards to violence, but not even they conquered land as a rule.
The Norse traveled to the far east, and to north america, as far south as egypt, and had a beneficial relationship with the Sami tribes to the north (who lived like indiginous american tribes, and later suffered similar problems), with no evidence of attempted conquest.
The dichotomy you see is likely the interference/oversimplification of later scholars. Loki is one of the Aesir...a mischievous god, both boon and bane to the gods. Their relationship with him later sours, pitting him against them.
In all of this, there is no black and white. Gods and giants intermingle, work together, and coexist in many cases.
That Gods have replaced the thing they represent is something to think about, but they originated as a way to explain a phenomenon.
Thunder was Thor riding across the sky, lightning was his silver hammer flying, the tides came to be when he visited the hall of a giant who challenged him, among other things, to a drinking contest...in which the ocean was connected to Thors drinking horn. Sheet lighting is Freyja's agricultural contribution, testing the rye with flint and steel. This came from the distinction between distant and relatively harmless sheet lighting, vs dangerous bolts. Thors weapon of war vs Freyja's tool of peace.
This is the origin of religion/mythology itself....to explain the world.
Its a very complex mythology, and only Freyr, and to a lesser extent Freyja, were associated with agriculture.
The only real problem I had was that it is unfair to call them farming gods, when only two held that association, and then only among other things. Anything beyond that is me getting carried away, or a "by the way" aside.
I would like to note that I do not claim to follow this belief... I have a great deal of trouble believing in gods of anything. Spirits within everything is more comfortable for me. It is something I have a great deal of interest in, however, and the mythology resonates with me very much.
PS: (another BTW aside) the ancient Finns spoke of "Brother Moon" as noted in the Kalevala. This region has many parallels with the Norse, but more in touch with nature and animism. Though both are shamanic, ancient Sami and Suomi were far more so.