More because I haven't posted in a few days than for any other reason, I am going to blog about my theories on the Helm of Awe. It is an item that Sigurd, the Volsung, took from Fafnir after he killed him. Most scholars translate it as a 'helmet' but it is also a rune that Viking sailors used to tattoo themselves with for protection. Although, most of the information you will find on the internet is what could be called 'speculative' rather than being 'academic', there is a book by Terisa Green called The Tattoo Encyclopedia in which Green, an archeologist, shows the tattoo as being of ancient origins.
Perhaps it is translated as a 'helmet' because Sigurd's German counterpart Siegfried has a 'tarnkappe' which is normally translated as a 'cloak of invisibility' in spite of the fact that 'kappe' can also be translated as 'helm'. When Siegfried is wrestling Brunhilde, it seems to me that a head covering would stay on better than a cloak. Even more so, when Siegfried is trying to win Brunhilde for Gunther and is throwing things and trying to make it appear as though it is Gunther doing it. This would be harder to accomplish swathed in a cloak.
We are expected to suspend disbelief but, if there is a way to translate these words that aren't so contrary to logic, why not use them. Are scholars saying that people in the 12th century were any less logical than ourselves?
Sigurd did not seem to have the covering that made him invincible like Siegfried but I question that. If he acquired this rune from the dragon, then he did possess invincibility, he just didn't use it.
image of the aegishjalmr courtesy of Scandinavian Wikipedia