There is a certain bleak inevitability to the Northern way that superficially has gloominess and grimness to it. But beneath this is great joy, and endless faith in life's powers. The hands of Urd the Great hold us all, and this is a deep, loving inevitability mediated by the Gods and our gambles. Beneath the flavor of bleakness lies the hope. There are smiles hiding in hidden crevices.
Inevitability, which at first seems so bleak, is an embrace that holds one close, a level of deep being one approaches, and if a heathen, then with panache and flair.
Bleakness may just be the roar of the distant ocean singing a world-song far more profound, and thus more alien and at times more cold, more ancient, than a human tune. The great is-ness of the objects in their grandeur of old, old being, having found themselves long ago, and not at all new to world, is formidable and steep and strong, full of very deep comfort, if you can feel it. But it sings a drone, a hum, a didgeridoo so ancient it is strange, and wisdom is in part accommodating oneself to the strangeness of the world, to sing with the coldness of rocks, and dance in the bleak beyond the human pale, and there in the cold, to affirm your own human warmth, as an addition to the song.
The grimness, in the end, is just a shield, like the ice that keeps the greening earth intact in winter's grip. There is great warmth beneath the surface. There is an awesome party raging in Hel : hear the horns clink and the sounds of baritone laughter, and the honey of the dwarf's yeast upon rhythmic lips and wooed, wondering ears.
Folk foreign to this way do not imagine the simmering mirth beneath the dour, Stoic face, the endless fund of faith in life that lies beneath the grizzled grimace at a world gone cynical, that studies the bleak for signs of endless power, hints on how to become eternal. The angels, one might say, sing strange and potent surf-spells. Hear them roar.