Norse mythology stems from the North Germanic and Scandinavian beliefs of the pre-Christian era. This northernmost extension of Germanic mythology consists of various deities, beings and superheroes. They are the derivations of innumerable sources from pagan period, and include manuscripts, archeological representations, and medieval traditions. Most of the gods are- humanity protectors, relentless fighters, ravens, slayers, nature controllers, or humanity pleasers. From the ashes of the ancient worlds came a new world and the surviving gods and creatures made this a rich and abundant place.
Norse mythology has been the subject of scholars since the 17th century and the Romanticist Viking revival has re-awoke an interest in the subject matter and given it a place in the modern popular culture.
To someone who loves the parables of old mythologies, this place is the best stop. So let me share with you more about the real Norse mythology stories.
1 The Beginning From Three Brothers
Norse existed a huge void until Muspellheim (the kingdom of fire), and Nifleheim (the kingdom of ice) was formed. From the second kingdom came the ancient source Hvergelmer. The water that came from the melting ice of Nifleheim came in contact with the fire of Muspellheim and gave birth to Ymir, the first giant and the father of all giants.
The story is about the three brothers fighting against Ymir and his giants until they tear the giants’ father. God used Ymir’s bones to create the mountains, teeth to create the river gravels, skull to form the sky and the flesh to make the land.
While the new world called Midgard or Middle-earth was being created, Odin found several worms in Ymir’s flesh. God then decided to make them the inhabitants of two of the new kingdoms. The turbulent became the Dwarves, inhabiting the underworld of Svartalfheim, while the noblest became the Elves, inhabiting the Elfheim.
The three brothers also created a man and a woman, Ask and Embla. They produced the human race which inhabited Midgard. The gods also created their own adobe, called the golden land of Asgard. It was located at the top of Yggdrasil, the tree of life that supported the worlds.
2 The couple of surviving giants
There were two types of gods, Aesires or Odin and the Frigga (wife of Odin). The world of Vanaheim was created as an abode for the Aesires. Finally there was Hel, the world located in the lowest part of the tree. The dead went there after an unworthy death on a battlefield.
3 Loki, the playful god
Loki was the son of the giantess Laufey and the giant Fárbauti. He was rumored to be Thor’s brother. In reality, he was the god of war and storms and brother of Odin. He was not even considered evil.
Marvel showing Loki using magic isn’t true, as he doesn’t. The magic also attributes him capable of turning into animals.
Loki had two wives: Sygin, goddess of fidelity, and Angrboda, a giantess. From his union with Sygin came Vali and Narvi, while Angrboda gave birth to the monstrous wolf Fenrir, the colossal serpent Jormungand and the goddess of the dead and queen of Hel, Hela.
Balder was an immortal god and the son of Odin and Frigga. Loki killed him and landed in a cruel punishment. He then decided to join a huge Army formed by several races that hate the gods. He brought his monstrous sons Fenrir and Jormungand and led the forces against the gods in a battle that would cause the seas to burn; the skies turn black, and completely destroy the nine worlds, taking almost all beings that existed there.
4 Norse Creation Myths
Odin was one of the creator gods of all things. He appointed rulers and judges to regulate the men and dwarves. They met in the center of Asgard. He built twelve seats for them and a throne for him. There were two other rooms for the Gods – Gladsheim, the sanctuary of the goddesses, and Vingolf.
The dwarves possessed intelligence and human form and lived in the deepest caves. Four of them- Nordi, Sudri, Ausstri and Vestri were placed to support the sky, symbolizing the four cardinal points North, South, East and West, respectively.
Once while walking down the beach, Odin and his brothers saw two tree trunks, an ash and an alder. They were being dragged by the waves. They came from the hair of Ymir who grew into great forests. The ash created a man named Ask and the alder a beautiful woman called Embla. They lived as trees until the gods gave them mind, will and desire. Odin gave them breath and soul; Vile, the ability to think and move and Ve empowered them to speak, hear and see. From them would descend the whole human race, whose dwelling is called Midgard.
5 The fate of Thor’s hammer thief
One day Thor realized that his hammer had been stolen. The quick thought was Loki being involved. After questioning him, he suggested that the giants would surely know what happened to his weapon. He borrowed the feather suit from Freya and flew to the kingdom of the giants. Thrym, king of the giants was found holding his hammer. As ransom, Thrym asked for the hand of the goddess Freya.
Loki devised a plan. He disguised Thor as Freya and put a mask on his face. Thrym had offered a feast in honor of his wife. Thor then unmasked, grabbed his hammer and lashed out at the giants. Thrym begged for mercy but was mercilessly killed along with other giants.
6 The Legend of Sleipnir
According to Norse mythology, the wall that enclosed Asgard was destroyed during a battle between the vanios and the asios. It is cited as the reason behind the residence of the gods being unprotected before an attack of the giants. One day a builder named Blast came to Asgard, but in return he was to be given to the goddess Freya, along with the Sun and the Moon.
The gods needed help but the terms indicated by giant were abusive. However, under Loki’s terms, they thought that they would get part of the wall and wouldn’t have to face the requests of Blast. The wall had to be built in the term of three winters.
The giant accepted on the condition his stallion Svadilfari could be used in rebuilding the wall. The work proceeded much faster than imagined. Odin threatened to kill Loki if the wall was finished within the allotted time, so he thought of depriving the giant of his horse. He disguised as a young mare to trick the animal to the forest.
When Svadilfari returned, the builder was so angry that he revealed his true form as one of the worst enemies of the asios, a rock giant. Thor brandished his hammer, Mjollnir, and ended with Blast. Months later, Loki returned to Asgard and gave birth to an eight-legged horse which he gave to Odin. He called him Sleipnir. The horse could travel by sea, land and air and was faster than any man or species.
7 Story Of The Nine Worlds
The Nordic mythology divides the world into nine worlds, containing all the animate and inanimate elements of the universe. These nine worlds were:
(1) Muspellheim: Home to the giants of fire and the fiery demons. Surt, the blacksmith demon of misfortune and the most powerful in this part of the world, fought against the god of Ragnarok.
(2) Nifleheim: It is the lowest world, that of cold and darkness. In the middle of it is the Hvergelmer fountain, where the Nidhug snake dwells.
(3) Midgard or Mannaheim: It is the Middle Earth and the kingdom of men and living species. Surrounded by a great ocean, it was first inhabited by Ask and Embla, the first human pair.
(4) Asgard: It was the divine residence for the Gods existing above the Midgard. Each God has its own mansion, except Odin with three. They met there to decide the future of the nine worlds.
(5) Jotunheim: After the first defeat of giants at the hands of the Asios, the Jotunheirr was created. It was separated from Asgard by the Iving River which never froze. Thor used to travel to this place to devote himself to his favorite hobby i.e. to kill giants.
(6) Vanaheim: Above the earth was the kingdom of the vanios gods. They were great warriors who were subdued by the asios.
(7) Alheim: The world of the light elves was between Vanaheim and Jotunheim, ruled by Frey. He guarded the Skibladnir, the ship that the dwarves gave him.
(8) Svartalheim: It was the world of dark elves and evil creatures that protected the kingdom of Hel.
(9) Hel: It was the kingdom of death between Svaralheim and Niflheim, ruled by Hel. Hel was the daughter of Loki, while its entrance was guarded by a dog, Gann. Those who died of illness or old age ended in this world.
8 Odin and Mimer
Odin went to see Hel, the prophetess, and asked him to show him the fate of his son Balder. Some myths tell that Odin leaves his eye on Mimer; others relate his conversation with Mimer’s head.
It is said that the source of Mimer was situated under the root of the tree of the world, Yggdrasil. She added that it extends towards Jotunheim, and that wisdom and the spirit are hidden there. Odin one day went to see Mimer and asked him to let him drink the water from the spring. He got to drink, but had to leave one of his eyes on a pledge.
Odin obtained the knowledge of the certainty of the arrival of the Ragnarok. With the eye of Odin, the sun and the sunset were measured. The dawn was sinking in the ocean to search for the secrets of the abyss, and when the dawn colored the sky, the source of Mimer acquired a golden dye.
The end of the world, or Ragnarok, means “the fate of the gods”. Its arrival was preceded by the icy and snowy winter, called Fimbulvetr. After three consecutive winters in a row the sun could not stop the frost. The world was in a battle where brothers killed each other.
The wolves pursued the chariots of the Sun and the Moon finally caught up with them and gulped down them. Stars rushed from the sky and the earth suffered great tremors. The tremors forced the collapse of the mountains on Midgard.
The account of the end of the world is described in another series of misfortunes.
The Fenris wolf will be set free from its chains and its mouth will fire until it touches the sky and the earth. The earth will be flooded. The serpent of Midgard will stir in anger and spit venom. The sky will be torn, and the sons of Muspellheim will ride on horseback. Loki will arrive to the plain of Vigrid. Heimdall will rise and after honking thrice, will awaken all the gods. Odin will ride to the bridge of Mimir and ask his advice. Yggdrasil, the ash tree of the world will then tremble, leaving everyone afraid.
Valhall’s armies and warriors will ride to the plain. Odin will have his helmet, his golden armor, and his Gungnir spear, but the Fenris wolf will attack him. Thor will not be able to help him as he will have to face the Midgard snake. Frey will fight against Sutur, but he will die for not having the sword that gave Skirnir to him. The dog Garm, the most feared monster, will fight against Tyr and both will die.
Thor will give the death blow to the Midgard snake and then go back nine steps and die in its venom. The wolf will swallow Odin, killing the father of all. Vidar will step on Fenris’s jaw with his shoe and it will break when he pulls the upper jaw. Loki will fight with Heimdall and the two will die. Sutur will throw fire on the nine worlds.
But not everything will die. Vidar and Vali will survive, as the fire of Sutur does not harm them. These two gods will dwell in the same place where Asgard was before. Balder and Horder will come from Hel and find in the golden squares in grass that once belonged to the asios.
There will be two men in a forest called Hoddmimir-Lif and Leifthrasir. They will be the parents of a descendant that will inhabit all the worlds.
10 Thor going against the Midgard Snake
The gods decided to enjoy at Aeger’s house. They faced shortage of beer since the cauldron was small. Thor was then asked to find a large one, but he couldn’t get it anywhere. Tyr gave the idea of moving east of the Elivagar River, near the borders of the sky. Hymer, Thor’s father, inhabited a mile deep boiler. Tyr accompanied him to help.
Thor disguised as a boy and travelled to Hymer’s place along with Tyr. Upon arriving, Tyr found his 900- foot giant grandmother, and his beautiful mother. She offered them drinks and advised them to hide from Hymer as he was very cruel to strangers.
Hymer’s wife indicated him that his son was home, accompanied by the enemy of the giants. Despite the enmity, the giant killed his three oxen to offer them a meal.
Thor noticed Hymer preparing his fishing boots and asking the enemy to accompany him. The giant replied no, but later on Thor went to the herd and took out the best Hymer bull. He cut off his head and returned to the boat. They left and rowed till Hymer exclaimed that if they did not stop Thor, they would be in danger by the Midgard snake.
Thor tricked the snake which was caught from the hook. He threw so hard that his feet pierced the ship and reached the bottom of the sea. From that moment, Thor and the serpent fought while this one threw to him seas of venom. Hymer caught a knife when Thor wielded his hammer and cut the rope so that the serpent flooded in the sea again.
In a second show of strength, Thor was asked to break his glass. Thor threw it against the columns but it did not break. His friend advised him to throw it in Hymer’s front because it was harder than any glass. Thor did so and the glass broke, surprisingly leaving the forehead of the giant intact.
Thor took the boiler, placed it on his shoulder and massacred all the giants. They went back to Aeger’s house, provided drinks to the gods, and celebrated his feast.