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they would have slain Hodur there and then, were it not that killing was not permitted in asgard, not that loki paid any attention to that rule.

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    It's "slain Hodur there and then*" Mar 16, 2021 at 17:18
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    They did not kill Hodur because killing was forbidden in Asgard. (Even so, Loki usually ignored that rule.) Mar 16, 2021 at 17:22
  • What does "were it not that ... not that " mean ?
    – user130833
    Mar 16, 2021 at 17:30
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    The "were it" is a continuation of the subjunctive mood of "they would have". The "not that" is another clause (which Kate parenthesised, and made into a separate sentence) . Mar 16, 2021 at 17:33

1 Answer 1

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They would have

They wanted to, but did not...

slain Hodur there and then

...kill Houdur on the spot, without taking the time to discuss the matter or formally charge him or put him on trial...
(note that I usually hear the phrase as then and there not there and then)

were it not that killing was not permitted in Asgard

...but killing was not allowed...

not that Loki paid any attention to that rule.

...although Loki didn't follow the rule against killing.


As Weather Vane said, "would have... were it not that..." is a construction that explains what someone wanted or intended to do, and then describes the reason they did not do it. The second "...not that" is a separate clause altogether, describing what someone did/does despite it being against the rules or custom. Taken as a whole, this sentence tells the reader that:

  • Asgard has a rule against killing
  • People in Asgard follow this rule, even when they are angry enough that they want to kill someone without a trial
  • Loki is different from other people in Asgard, because he does not follow this rule.

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