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Article - 'Norse Mythology 2' by Angroth

An item about Miscellanious posted on Jun 8, 2004

Blurb

The concluding part to the Norse Mythology series.

Body

A Little Background
This article is following on from the last article continuing stories of Norse mythology. This will be the last article like this about Norse mythology. Below you will find the background and small pieces of story about many of the different gods.

The Tale of Thor
Odin’s eldest son was Thor, the thunder god. His mother was most likely Frigg but was sometimes referred to as Jorth (which means Earth and Frigg was associated with Earth so this makes sense) unless it was a one night stand with some other woman!

Even for a god Thor was extremely physically powerful and large. He had flailing long hair and beard. He was known to be quick tempered but forgiving. It was fortunate his rage would pass or else you would easily end up dead. He was a very honourable god and preferred battle of raw strength rather than deceit or magic.
As you might have guessed, his mental prowess wasn’t something he could boast, like his physical abilities. Other gods would occasionally mock him for being a simple minded fellow but this only made the people love him more (farmers etc) as he was simple but powerful.

Thor was the Defender of Asgard. He protected it for the gods from their enemies. He fought many creatures including Giants. He was also the Keeper of Oaths. People would swear oaths to copies of Thor’s arm ring in his temples. They would then be responsible to Thor to keep their word.

Thor crossed the skies in his chariot pulled by two giant goat type creatures. They were called Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder. Whenever there was thunder it was the hooves of these creatures that would be the cause of the noise (it was the sound of their hooves). Thor would create and manipulate storms and thunders by blowing through his beard. Sailors were known to pray to him for protection from bad weather on their journies.

Thor had much magical equipment! His belt would double his strength when he had it buckled on and his iron gauntlets would allow him to grasp any weapon (even weapons of other gods). Thor’s most famous piece of equipment was his war hammer Mjollnir. It would always hit Thor’s target and return to his hand afterwards. Many people said that thunderbolts were caused by Thor throwing his hammer down. Mjollnir had yet more powers though, it would bring good fortune. People made small copies of it to give newborn, brides and the dead good luck.

The Tale of Balder
Balder was the son of Odin and Frigg. He was an Aesir god. He brought joy and harmony everywhere he went, everyone loved him. He was very handsome and had fair hair. He was the god of light, purity and beauty. Always kind and gentle, he was also a very wise god. His good judgement was sought for in great disputes and he was often able to reconcile enemies.

Balder was married to Nanna. Together they lived happily in their hall Breidablik located in a tranquil countryside in Asgard. Their son was Forseti, the god of justice. Unfortunately Loki’s spite and envy eventually brought the death of Balder.

The Tale of Tyr
Tyr was the bravest of all gods. He earned his reputation through his courage in dealing with Fenrir. One of his hands was torn off by Fenrir’s deadly jaws and he was sometimes later referred to as the one handed.

Tyr was known for his honour as much as his bravery. Much like Thor he would never break his word. This inevitably made him the god of law and order. People would use his name for contracts, pledges and promises. He was also the patron of the local gatherings (the Thing) where Norsemen traditionally passed laws and settled disputes.

The Tale of Loki
Loki’s actual parents were the Fire Giants Farbauti and Laufey, therefore he wasn’t actually a god at all. Nonetheless he was the lived in Aesir in Asgard and was the sworn brother and friend of Odin.

He was often to joke at things, physically he was very agile and he was handsome too. He loved adventures and so was nosy too. He was creative, fun to be with but couldn’t draw himself from gambling.

As so you can tell, he often got into trouble. He amused the other gods when he wasn’t getting on the wrong side of them. Fortunately for him he would find a way to get out of some of his troubles without getting into any danger. Heimdall was wise enough to see through Loki but the other gods would take his advice on certain matters (which wasn’t always a good thing).

Loki was especially good at manipulating his form and appearing as a large array of different creatures. He could become any animal at will. He turned into a Giantess to trick everyone and cause Balder’s eventual death. He shape shifted into a mare to get out of trouble over a bargain he and the gods made with a stranger. At one point he also turned into a fly to cause some mischief.

The more time that passed, the more the gods realised Loki to be less of a handsome joker and more of an unstable, deceit ridden god. Eventually the gods mocked Loki and believed he deserved any trouble he ever got into, they took sides against him. After they did this Loki grew much more bitter and evil until finally one day his spiteful tricks killed Balder and triggered Ragnarok (Doom of the gods).

Loki had a wife named Sigyn. Despite how he was she loved him and was very faithful. Even after Balder’s death she stayed by his side. Sigyn had two sons with Loki, Vali and Narvi. However, Loki’s sons didn’t last long because after Balder’s death the gods turned Vali into a psychotic wolf who then in turn tore his brother Narvi and himself into pieces. They then used Narvi’s entrails to bind Loki for his punishment.

The Tale of Njord
Njord was likely the most important of the Vanir gds, and the chief of fertility. He was the god of sea and was vital to the seafaring Vikings. He ruled the waves and the winds, provided fish for the fishermen and calm winds for sea traders.He lived in a hall by the sea called Noatun.

He married a the Giantess Skadi. She was a great huntress and had travelled miles on her snow shoes in winter with her bow and arrow. However, the marriage was not a success. Skadi hated the sea and loved the mountains. Njord could not live without the smell of sea and wasn’t very keen of mountains, hence the marriage did not work.

The Tale of Aegir
Aegir and his wife Ran were also sea gods. Together they lived on the sea bed and had a total of nine daughters. Their daughters would move the waves. Much like the sea they lived in, their personalities would change from nice and pleasant to violent and destructive.

They needed subjects for their kingdom so those who would fall overboard or sank in a ship would be netted and dragged down to the ocean floor. Aegir and Ran would entertain them here in their great hall which had the treasure of shipwrecks everywhere.

The Tale of Heimdall
Heimdall was said to be the son of nine maidens. It is possible that these nine maidens were Aegir and Ran’s nine daughters. He was very strange however, his senses were supernatural. He cold hear the grass grow and see someone moving a hundred miles away. He was abnormally strong and needed little sleep.

Because of his special abilities he was made the watchman of the gods. He guarded Bifrost (bridge between Asgard and Midgard). He challenged any strangers and warned the gods of their approach. He had the horn Gjall which he blew in warning. It was kept by the Fountain of Mimir. It would later sound through all nine worlds at Ragnarok. Heimdall was Loki’s implacable enemy, they would always be fighting. Heimdall rode a gold maned stallion called Gulltop.

The Tale of Freyja
The most famous of all goddesses was Freyja. She was a Vanir, daughter of Njord. She had a brother who was called Freyr. It was said that their mother was Njord’s sister (oh yeah). Her symbol was the boar, as was her brothers. Sometimes Freyja was referred to as Syr. She told prophecies and could foretell the future of any newborn baby.

Freyja was the goddess of love and beauty. She had been married to Od. For unknown reasons, he had left her and disappeared. She mourned for him and each of her tear drops were golden.

She liked to have lovers who were gods and humans. She would never love a giant, no matter how much they wooed her. She too loved beautiful objects. She could be so obsessed that one time she spent the night with some dwarves in return for the great necklace named Brisingamen, that they had made.

As a punishment for Brisingamen, Odin crowned Freyja a goddess of death. She presided over battles and caused wars between the kings on Earth. She would fly over the battlefield in her chariot pulled by two large feline creatures. After death, half of the bravest warriors would accompany Freyja at her hall Sessrumnir in Asgard.

Like all Vanir, Freyja too was a fertility goddess. She brought prosperity by granting good harvests and successful fishing. She took special care of women who having babies or getting married and made sure many healthy babies were born, human and animal.

And there, you have the main figures in Norse Mythology.