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Emily Carlson

ENGL 3450

Guide to Norse Mythology, from D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths

March 17, 2010




Norse Cosmology

The world started in Ginungagap when embers from Muspelheim and ice crystals from Niflheim were whirling there. Ymir brought forth the jotuns here and the hornless ice cow brought forth beautiful life. The son of one of these took a beautiful jotun maiden for his wife who bore Odin, Hoenir, and Lodur. In order to create, they got rid of Ymir. His leftovers created Midgard, the earth: his brine created a sea, flesh the soil, bones the mountains, teeth boulders and stones, skull the sky. The 3 got horses to pull the sun and moon across the sky.

Gimle-high heaven

Asgard-Aesir gods

Vanaheim-Vanir gods

Alfheim-elves

Jotunheim-giants and trolls

Midgard-earth

Darkalfheim-gnomes

Hel and Niflheim-underworld

Muspelheim-world of fire
Aesir Gods and Goddesses

Odin-Spirit (18); ruler of gods and men (10); the All-father and raven god (38); wise

wanderer (72); also called Ygg (72)-the terrible one; the furious god of storm and war

Frigg-dearest of Odin’s wives (37); spun yarn (80)

Thor-god of thunder; Odin’s son (40); came when called by name

Sif-Thor’s golden-haired wife

Magni-his short son; saved Thor from Rungnir when he was 3 (119)

Modi-his son

Ull-his stepson; god of the skiers (93)

Tjalfi-his servant, made so because he cracked Thor’s goat’s leg (108), can

run faster than the wind

Balder-god of light, kindest and gentlest god (54); Odin’s son

Nanna-Balder’s loving and constant wife

Forsete-their son; constant as Nanna, just as Balder, became chief judge of

Aesir

Hod-war god; strong and blind; led raging warriors into bloody battles; Odin’s son



(77); killed Balder on accident (129)

Hermod-had great courage (134); went to Hel to seek back Balder

Heimdall-watchman of Asgard, handsome (56); Odin’s son; mothered by 9 jotun

maidens; Loki’s deadly enemy after he returned the necklace Loki stole

from Freya (86)

Bragi-god of poetry and the bards (64); Odin’s “adopted” son, from Suttung; learned

runes

Idunn-Bragi’s wife; keeper of the apples of youth



Hymir’s daughter-Tyr’s mother (122)

Tyr-war god (77); god of the sword (10); bravest of the brave (urged men to war-

77), lost his right hand to Fenris (52); Odin’s son (52); jotun; Hymir’s grandson

Grid-giantess, mothered Vidar (106)

Vidar-war god; Odin’s son (77); Thor’s ½ brother

Vali-war god; Odin’s youngest son (77); sent Hod to Hel for killing Balder (136)

Hoenir-Will; Odin’s brother (18); also called Vili in the Poetic Edda

Lodur-Warmth; Odin’s brother (18); also called Ve (sanctuary) in the Poetic Edda

Loki-Jotun-turned-Aesir; Odin’s blood brother (42)

Sigunn-Loki’s goddess wife (42)

Njord-Vanir-turned-Aesir (SEE Vanir Gods)

Skade-Njord’s wife; ski goddess (92)

Asynjer-goddesses (34)

Frigg-Odin’s wife

Nanna-Balder’s wife

Idunn-Bragi’s wife with the apples of youth

Fulla-one of Frigg’s laidies-in-waiting; carried her chest, took care of her shoes, Frigg kept

no secrets from her (80)

Gna- one of Frigg’s laidies-in-waiting; ran her errands down to earth (80)

Lin- one of Frigg’s laidies-in-waiting; protected certain people from harm (80)

Eir-the forebearing, goddess of healing (80)

Var-the true one, listened to vows made and punished broken ones (80)

Gefjon-turned sons into bulls to plow land to create Sjaelland; godess often seen in Odin’s

company, some thought she was Frigg (82)

Saga-godess often seen in Odin’s company, some thought she was Frigg (82)

Freya-goddess of love and beauty (62/84); often sad because Od disappeared; tears drops

of gold; went to Asgard from Vanaheim; (SEE Vanir Gods)

husband: Od-wanderer, dreamer

daughter: Noss-sweet, delightful

Skade-the ski-goddess (SEE Jotuns); marries Njord



Jotuns

Ymir-first; frost giant; came with a hornless ice cow; formed in Ginungagap when fire kindled a spark of life within the ice (14); created jotuns and trolls

Mimir-wise, owner of Well of Wisdom; Odin’s great friend and adviser (38)

Loki (SEE Aesir Gods)

Angerboda-Loki’s ogress wife (42)

Suttung-son of gnome-slained couple (64); hid 3 kettles of mead

daughter: Gunnlod

son: Bragi

the mason

Tjasse-a storm jotun; disguised self as eagle (87)

daughter: Skade-ski-goddess (91)

Gymir


daughter: Gerd (97); brought light to Jotunheim; maiden with the frozen

heart


Thrym-stole Thor’s hammer (100); Thor killed him

Geirrod-one of the strongest jotuns (104); Thor killed him and his 3 giantess daughters

Utgardsloki-the strongest and slyest of the jotuns (108); lived in Utgard (115); disguised self as Skrymir-giant Thor met while traveling, slept in mitten (110)

Logi-giant in eating contest against Loki (112); wild-fire in person

Hugi-raced against Tjalfi (112); a thought

Granny Elle-wrestled against Thor (115); Old Age

Rungnir-splinters of his whetstone formed the whetstone mountains, one stuck in Thor’s head, giving headaches and therefore thunder (118)

Aegir-lord of the stormy sea (120); on friendly terms with the Aesir

Ran-Aegir’s ogress wife; wrecked ships and took their gold

9 maiden daughters-loved roaring gales, overturned ships, red-haired

Hymir-one of wildest jotuns; had large cauldron (120); grandfather to Tyr; nothing is as hard as his head (125)

wife: 9-headed hag

daughter: beautiful maiden, mother to Tyr

Hyrrokkin-ogress that moved Balder’s ship so it could go to Hel (132)


Vanir Gods

-peaceful, ruled mild winds and gentle rains (58); lived in Vanaheim

-Hoenir went to the world of the Vanir

Njord


Skade-the ski-goddess; his wife (92)

Frey-god of fertility (60); the giver of sunshine and life-giving rain (97); given

golden boar and land/sea ship from gnomes and sword; given palace in Alfheim;

Njord’s son; married a jotun maiden (96)

Gerd-his wife; Gymir’s daughter (98)

Skirnir-his faithful servant (97)

Freya-goddess of love (62); often sad because Od disappeared; tears drops of gold;

went to Asgard; Njord’s daughter (SEE Aesir Gods)

husband: Od-wanderer, dreamer

daughter: Noss-sweet, delightful


Norse Animals

hornless ice cow (14)

horses to pull sun, moon across sky (21)

Freya’s gray cats (62)

Sleipnir, the Glider (71)-Odin’s 8-legged horse, sired from Loki as the mare and the mason’s black stallion; swift
Important (In)Animate Objects

Frost Giants-he cold-hearted spirits of the mountains and glaciers (9)

Yggdrasil-the world tree, by home of Norns (31), ash tree (10); Aesir gods gather

light elves (24)

gnomes (24)

Ivaldi-his sons formed Sif’s golden hair, Gungnir, Skidbladnir for Loki (45)

Brokk and Sindri-brothers (47); made Mjolnir, Draupnir, golden boar (48)

sprites and spirits-inhabit and care for the land and sea (25)

Norns-Fays of Destiny: Urd, Verdande, Skuld (30)

Nidhogg-dragon of destruction (32); gnawed on the root of Yggdrasil on Ragnarokk (143)

Ratatosk-busybody squirrel (32)

Well of Wisdom (38)

Kvasir-the spirit of knowledge (64)

volva-a wise woman who had been long dead (128)

Nagelfar-a ghoulish ship coming from the north on Ragnarokk (144)

Surt-ruler of Muspelheim (144)

Odin

Lidskjalf-Odin’s throne (37)



Draupnir-Odin’s priceless golden arm ring (48)

Valkyries-Odin’s warrior maidens (usually daughters of goddesses) with winged helmets; flew around Midgard to choose who would die in battle and bring the dead heroes up to Asgard (73)

Berserks-the heroes (78)

Langobards-women with pretend beards Frigg helped Odin choose for war victory

(82)

Thor


Mjolnir-Thor’s magic hammer (40); the thunderbolt; broke whatever it hit, never

lost because it flew back to Thor’s hand (48); used it to kill jotuns

Gungnir-Thor’s spear that could not miss its goal; given by Loki for cutting

Sif’s hair (46)

iron mitt (40)

belt of strength (40)

billy-goat cart (108 and before)

Heimdall


Gjallarhorn-Heimdall’s trumpet-horn to warn of approaching danger to Asgard (56)

Balder


Balderblom-white flowers from Balder’s step (54)

Frey


Skidbladnir-ship with magic, could fold up or carry all Aesir, winds changed to fill its

sail (46)

Grid

magic belt, iron mitt, magic staff (106)


Places

  • Niflheim-a waste of frozen fog; pushed under the earth (12)

  • Muspelheim-a place of raging flames (12)

  • Ginungagap-a gaping pit between the two (N and M) where crackling embers and crystals of ice whirled (12)

  • Jotunheim-icebound wilderness where jotuns and trolls live (20)

  • Midgard-earth; made from Ymir’s body out from the sea his dead fluids created (21)

  • Vanaheim-world of the Vanir gods who rule over rain and soft winds (21)

  • Alfheim-world of the light elves, high in the air (24)

  • Asgard-home of the Aesir gods; separated from earth by a rainbow bridge (27)

  • Ida-heavenly green field in Asgard (36)

  • Valhalla-Odin’s guesthouse for dead heroes (73), to fight for Odin in final battle

  • Fyn-Odin’s favorite island (now in Denmark) (82)

  • Sjaelland-island Gefjon created (where Copenhagen is) (83)

  • Barre-the sacred barley patch (in Jotunheim?) (98)

  • Vigrid-the greatest field in the world, 100 miles long and wide, battlefield for gods and giants (144)


Famous Couples

Ask (Ash) and Embla (Alder)-first man and woman (27)

Odin and Frigg

Thor and Sif

Loki and Sigunn

Loki and Angerboda

Children (50): Midgard’s Serpent; Hel-ruled over dead, had hound named

Garm; Fenris-the wolf

Balder and Nanna

Bragi and Idunn

Freya and Od

Njord and Skade

Frey and Gerd
Loki’s Antics


  • Cut Sif’s golden hair (44)

  • Bet his head that Sindri couldn’t make wonderful things, but tricked his way into keeping his head (49)

  • Telling the Aesir to let the mason build Asgard’s stone wall alone and in one winter in turn for Freya, the sun, ane the moon (68)

  • Turned self into fly to steal Freya’s necklace; turned into seal to get away with it in his mouth (84)

  • Tricked Idunn so that Tjasse captured her (89)

  • Tied himself to a billy goat to make Skade laugh and choose a husband (92)

  • Helped Thor get his hammer back fromThrym, dressed as woman to do so (102)

  • Turned himself into a falcon and promised to do what Geirrod wanted (104), bringing Thor to him without weapons; Thor prevailed with Grid’s magic

  • Had Hod kill Balder with mistletoe (129)

  • Steered Nagelfar on Ragnarokk (144)


Important Shapeshifters

Loki


Gullveig-witch from Vanaheim; lusted for gold; Heimdall let her into Asgard (56)

Odin


Suttung

Heimdall


Tjasse
Ragnarokk

Ragnarokk-the day when the Aesir gods and the monsters of the mountains and glaciers destroyed each other (10); the day of reckoning when the destiny of the gods would be decided, either they won over the forces of destruction or would be destroyed; no more kindness in the world (140); a fight: the Aesir against the jotuns, trolls, ghosts and monsters; Norns no longer made the thread of life (143)



  • Fenris ate Odin

  • Vidar killed Fenris

  • Thor killed and was killed by Midgard’s Serpent

  • Loki and Heimdall killed each other

  • Tyr and Garm killed each other

  • Surt killed Frey

the Aesir and Asgard were destroyed; only Ida remained

Balder, Hod came back from Hel and joined with Magni, Modi, Vidar, Vali, Hoenir to find the golden chessmen and had nothing to do but to sit and play.

Sun, moon, and stars swallowed, earth destroyed; new ones come to be
New World (152)

out of the grove of Hodmimir stepped:

Lif-Life

Lifthrasir-Stubborn Will to Live

prayed to God Almighty, not Aesir gods, who will gather all good souls in:

Gimle-the paradise that gleamed like a jewel in the sky, far above anything else (heaven)


Nine Worlds (10)

dead


fire

gnomes


men giants

elves


Vanir gods

Aesir gods

world with the roof of glittering stars, where all good souls would one day meet

Odin’s (All-father) Children (33)

Thor-wife: Sif; sons: Magni and Modi (40)

Balder-wife: Nanna; son: Forsete (54); mother: Frigg (128)

Hod


Tyr-mother: Hymir’s daughter (122)

Heimdall


Bragi-wife: Idunn (66)

Hermod


Vidar-mother: Grid (106)

Vali


wife: Frigg + had children by others as well

Some Interesting Notes

Tuesday-Tyr’s Day

Wednesday-Odin’s

Thursday-Thor’s

Friday-Freya’s
Poetic Edda-collection of old Norse verse, about 10th and 11th centuries

Prose Edda-collection of myths and fanciful tales, by Snorri Sturluson, about 1200 ad


Laws of Hospitality VERY important
Tread down the path to your friend’s house and don’t let it grow over with weeds.

-Odin, D’Aularires’ Book of Norse Myths, p. 28


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