The Norse Creation Myth is as Violent as You’d Expect
Every culture has their own interpretation of how the world was made. But true to their colors, the Norse creation myth is definitely the most metal one you’re likely to find out there in the wide world of literary canon. Here’s why.
The story goes that when there wasn’t much of anything else, there were only three things: Muspell (heat and fire), Nielfheim (ice and wind), and Ginnungagap, which was the void that stretched between the two. Eventually, these two extremes met each other in Ginnungagap and formed a fluid. This fluid became the primordial soup that was eventually Ymir, the first frost ogre and first living creature.
In a very metal and strange act of copulation, Ymir’s limbs somehow started conceiving children with one another. He was sleeping at the time, and like any true Viking, nap time meant sweat time. So maybe some of that fluid that created him started spawning off on its own. But anyway, these people became the frost ogres, the first race.
Life continued on like this for a couple generations, until Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve, were born. These three were the grandsons of Buri, who did not come from the line of Ymir’s limbs, but was actually spawned by the cow Audhumla, who discovered a hair in her saltlick. Buri gradually grew from the hair over a period of a couple days. He eventually married a frost giant, and his son did the same, leading to Odin and his brothers.
Now, you wouldn’t normally look to mythology for some accurate science. But Norse mythology actually gets one thing right that many other religions and mythologies forget about: you can’t create matter out of nothing. So, while Odin and his brothers wanted a world to fill with life, they couldn’t just pop one out of thin air. They had to use the things they already had.
The brothers looked around to take stock of their possessions and found one, big one that would make the perfect world: Ymir’s body.
That’s right– they straight up murdered a dude (a very big dude) to make the world. They turned his blood into the oceans and lakes (at least it didn’t become a highly sought after mead like Kvasir’s).
If you’re like, “Holy crap, that’s a lot of blood!” well, imagine then what it was like to be a frost ogre and to encounter that much fluid. Or don’t, because then you would have to imagine dying horribly.
The outpouring of Ymir’s blood during his murder was so intense, it actually drowned most of the other frost ogres, with the exception of Bergelmir and his wife. From them do all other ice giants come, and they come with a desire for vengeance against Odin and his brothers. But that’s a story for another time.
They threw Ymir’s brains into the air to become clouds and set his skull up high in the sky as the sun. In order to get it to stay in place, they used maggots from Ymir’s corpse.
Now that the world was looking much like a Cannibal Corpse album cover, Odin, Vili, and Ve made a strong fortress from Ymir’s eyebrows to protect them from the wrath of Bergelmir and his children. This place of protection, they called Midgard. They built another stronghold which they called Asgard. Odin rules from Asgard, sitting in a very high throne where he can see the whole world and understand all that he sees.
Hopefully he can understand all the blood and violence that he sees. If you ever think the world is particularly harsh or violent, just remember: our planet is a murdered giant’s corpse. Of course it’s going to be cruel.
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