While we don't have as much info about Norse myths as we might have about other cultures, it's still a lot to put into your brain. It's natural to have a few questions. The Internet sure does.
We looked at some of the most commonly asked questions about Norse mythology and have decided to provide some answers. Read on to find out more!
This is a pretty easy one to answer. I'll give you a second to guess.
Did you guess Thor? WRONG! It's Odin. Thor is the strongest, without a doubt. But the All-father has access to magic and wisdom that could destroy Thor. Not that he would ever want to do that.
This one is a little less cut and dry. It would seem that Mjolnir, Thor's hammer is the most powerful. But Gungir, Odin's spear, is also powerful. We don't have a for sure answer. so it's fair to say that this one is a tie.
It depends on who you are and what you accomplish in life, like in many religions around the world.
Helgafjell - for the normies: The holy mountain is the afterlife for your average folk. Psychics could see into that area and found it not scary, but just a nice scene with a warm hearth, drinking and talking.
Helheim - the place of darkness and horror: Hel is the realm that belongs to Hel, Loki's daughter. The images of Hel influenced Medieval Christianity. It's for those who die of old age. It's more admirable to die as a warrior, and some old warriors would cut themselves before they died to trick Hel into sending them elsewhere.
Valhalla - for the warriors: Valhalla is an actual hall in Asgard where warriors can go, but only if they die in battle. Old warriors who die peacefully in their beds have no place in Valhalla.
Folkvangr - for the special warriors: Freya gets to pick out the warriors that she likes most and brings them to the beautiful fields of Folkvangr. About half of the warriors are taken by Freya.
Debatable. Some depictions show his left, some show is right. All that is important is that there was a very important sacrifice. It is a symbol of something far greater-- as we talked about in this article. The sacrifice of the mundane to gain the divine.
Some, more new-age scholars even think that he plucked out his third eye!
They aren't! Sorry, Marvel. While Thor is the son of Odin, Loki isn't related to either of them. His parents are the ice giants, Farbuti and Laufey, neither of whom are related to the Asgardians.
Marvel, of course, shows Loki as an adopted son of Odin, so at least they made an exception of that. And although Loki is technically a giant, he is usually treated and referred to as a god. There are quite a few giants who are also considered gods, so this isn't super unusual, but one wonders what makes them a god? I imagine it's the amount of power they bear, and the amount of facetime in tales. Loki gets a lot of the latter.
Kind of a weird question, right? Heimdall has NINE mothers, thanks to Snorri Snurlson's words in the Prose Edda. These nine women are all sisters.
"Offspring of nine mothers am I, of nine sisters am I the son."
Their names are Gialp, Greip, Eistia, Angeia, Ulfrun, Eyrgiafa, Imd, Atla, and Jarnsaxa. But he has no father-- like Jesus Christ, he was conceived by 'origin divine.'
Invasion. The two cultures existed at relatively the same time, so they had relatively the same resources. But the Celts held warm southern lands, good for growing food, and the Norse wanted those lands. So over the course of hundreds of years, they repeatedly invaded, mingled with, and even assimilated into Norse culture. You can see a fine example of this in the video game, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, which we reviewed.
While both gods are heads of their respective pantheons, my bet would be on Odin if we are talking about the two going into battle together. Zeus has dominion over lightning and thunder. But Odin is vastly more clever. And we know both the Greek and Norse cultures valued cleverness over strength.
But Odin is also susceptible to things that Zeus isn't-- old age, for instance. And Norse gods die far more often than Greek gods. Only one Greek god is spoken of as dead-- and that was Chronos, who was killed by Zeus.
Norse gods aren't infallible. They can be killed! There are a couple of different ways:
Old Age: Elli the giantess is old age in disguise, and she is able to beat Thor in wrestling. Wait, gods can die of old age? Yep-- remember Idunn, Bragi's wife? She grows golden apples, which are given to the gods to keep them hale and young.
Mistletoe: No, mistletoe won't kill all gods. It just killed Baldr, but there were special circumstances surrounding this. His mother, Frigg, made every plant, animal, and person promise not to hurt her beautiful son.
Ragnarok: Many Norse gods will die in Ragnarok, all from various, violent causes. Odin will be eaten by Fenrir; Skoll and Hati will catch Sol and her brother; Tyr and the wolf Garm will kill one another; Freyr will be disarmed and killed by Surtr; Thor and Jormundandr will kill one another; Heimdall and Loki will also kill each other, although Loki will survive longer. Lesser gods Bragi, Ve, Hel, Brunhilde, the valkyrie, Meili, and Njord will also all meet their fates during Ragnarok.
What question do you still crave the answer for? Let us know in the comments below, and maybe we'll do an article on it!
Want to blow the horn for Ragnarok? Check out our badass XL Viking Gjallarhorn! They're a thing of real beauty-- and YES, they do actually make noise!
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