Norse mythology includes many different gods and goddesses, some of which have become very famous and made their way into popular culture, like the gods Thor and Loki. The stories in norse mythology are so interesting, and exciting that they’ve become some of the most famous in the world, and even though there are few true believers left, you’ll have trouble finding someone who doesn’t know the stories or characters.
Creation Of The Cosmos
In norse mythology the Gods Odin and his brothers, Vili, and Ve, created the world we live in out of the body of Ymir. Ymir was a giant and the first sentient creature. Before they created the world, there were three areas in existence, Muspelheim (home of fire), Nilfheim (home of ice), and Ginnungagap (a barren abyss). Fire from Muspelheim eventually met with ice from Nilheim in Ginnungagap, when the fire melted the ice, the remaining liquid formed Ymir the giant. Ymir eventually spawned more giants, and even gods. This led to the birth of Odin and his brothers who were half god, and half giant. They killed Ymir and created the world from his corpse. The oceans came from his blood, the clouds from his brain, soil from his skin, and four dwarves held his skull above the earth creating the sky.
War Of The Gods
There were two tribes of Gods, the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir used strength, and weapons, whereas the Vanir used magic. A Vanir Goddess named Freya visited the Aesir and impressed them with her magical ability to alter destiny. They became so obsessed with her ability that they started to neglect things they believed in like honour and loyalty. They became enraged with Freya and burned her three times, but every time time they did she returned from the ashes. This assault led to war between the two tribes. The war was brutal, and long-lasting, after having endured the war for so long without a clear winner, they entered into a truce.
Loki The Trickster
Loki is a trickster god of the Aesir tribe, and likes to play pranks on people for his own amusement. Sif, the wife of Thor fell victim to one of Loki’s pranks when he cut off her hair. Thor was furious and threatened Loki in a rage. Loki managed to convince Thor to give him a chance to redeem himself by going to Svartalfheim and asking the dwarves to craft a new head of hair. The dwarves agreed to Loki’s request and crafted a new head of hair, but they also crafted two other items, including a great ship named Skidbladnir, which could be folded up and put in your pocket, and Gungnir, the greatest spear ever created. Loki couldn’t resist the urge to play another prank. He went to two different dwarves and challenged them to create three items as good as the previous creations.
He told them that he was so sure they would fail, he was willing to bet his head. They took up his offer and began forging. While they attempted to forge, Loki transformed himself into a fly and began to sabotage their work, stinging one on the hand, one on the neck, and one of them in the eye. Out of the fire they pulled a boar with golden hair who could run better than any horse even on water or in air. Next they pulled out a ring, which would create eight new rings every nine days. They also created a hammer with a short handle, name Mjolnir. Loki presented these gifts to Thor and other gods, and gained their forgiveness, however he now owed the dwarves his head. When the dwarves came to collect, he cleverly told them that he promised them his head, not his neck.
One day a great smith arrived at Asgard and offered to build an impenetrable wall around the City. The smith claimed that he could build the wall in only three seasons, however he was only willing to build it if he was given the Sun, the Moon, and could take the goddess Freya as his wife. The gods considered his request to be absurd, and were ready to turn him down, but Loki managed to convince them to agree to give him what he wanted but only if he could complete his task in one season, without anyones help, just him and his horse. The smith took this deal and started building the wall with extraordinary speed. His horse was even helping him to build, and could work twice as fast as the smith. He wasn’t far off completing his task, this is when the gods began to panic. They had sworn to give him what he wanted, and also that they wouldn’t harm him. They furiously went to Loki and ordered him to find a way to solve it. Loki, being a trickster, transformed himself into a female horse and seduced the smiths horse. Without his horse the smith failed to complete the wall in time, and the gods responded by killing him.
Binding Of Fenrir
Loki fathered three monstrous children, one of these was the Wolf Fenrir. The gods greatly feared Fenrir’s power, and so they desperately looked for a way to subdue it. At first they simply kept it in Asgard, but it grew at such an extraordinary rate that they realised they would need to find another solution. They tried to bind him with chains, and tricked the wolf into letting them put the chains on him by pretending that it was simply a test of strength. He broke every chain the gods could throw at him. Venturing down to Svartalfheim, the gods hoped the dwarves would be able to create a chain strong enough to hold him. Dwarven smiths created the chain from the sound of a cats footprints, a fishes breath, the beard of a women, a mountains roots, and the spittle of a bird. Fenrir was suspicious of this new chain being presented to him, and only agreed to wear the chain, if one god was willing to put his hand in Fenrir’s mouth as insurance. Tyr agreed to sacrifice his hand to bind the beast. Once the chain was on it couldn’t be removed. Fenrir bit off Tyr’s hand in response. Fenrir was kept bound until Ragnarok.
Valhalla or Valholl is the Viking equivalent of heaven. Valkyries would carry fighters to Valhalla who proved themselves worthy during battle. Odin wanted to used them to help him fight against Fenrir during Ragnarok. In Valhalla warriors would continuously fight each other to try and hone their skills, but they would also drink and make merry together as well. Valhalla is a large hall guarded by wolves and eagles. It’s said that half of those who die in combat go to Valhalla while the other half go to Folkvangr, a field ruled over by the goddess Freyja.
How Odin Lost His Eye
Odin wanted to drink from the well of wisdom so that he could become wiser, and gain knowledge of the future. He wouldn’t be allowed to drink from the well unless he could pay a high price to Mimir, guardian of the well. Mimir was a frost giant, and he didn’t want to give power to an enemy of the giants. Mimir was sure that Odin would refuse and leave. Odin proceeded to rip out his eye in exchange for drinking from the well. Once Odin drank from the well he could see the future, and saw that the future of humans was dire.
Thor The Transvestite
Thor woke up to discover that his hammer, Mjolnir, was missing, and after hours of relentless searching he decided that it had probably been stolen by the giants. Loki went to visit the giants to find out whether this was true. The giants admitted that it was in fact true. They claimed to have buried it underground, saying they would only return it if Freya was given to the giants as a wife for the giant Thrym. The gods at Asgard were outraged about this and refused to do it. To solve the problem Loki managed to devise a clever plan. He convinced Thor to dress up as Freya and pretend to be a women. This worked somehow, and they tricked the giants into handing over Mjolnir, which Thor then used to kill the giants.
Eventually the gods had had enough of Loki’s tricks and decided to sort him out once and for all. Loki ran to the top of a mountain, there he lived in a house with four walls and four doors, so he could watch from all angles. When the gods caught up to him he transformed himself into a salmon and tried to hide in the river. The gods weren’t fooled and managed to catch him. They took him to a cave in his human form. They threw his children into the cave as well, then turned one into a wolf, which resulted in him eating his brother. The gods turned the entrails of his dead son into chains used to bind Loki. The gods placed a snake above Loki’s head which slowly dripped poison onto him. Sigyn was Loki’s wife and she stayed with him holding a bowel to catch the poison, however she would regularly have to move once the bowel was full. When she was emptying the bowel Loki would shake uncontrollably. According to Norse mythology this is what causes earthquakes in the human world.
In Norse mythology Ragnarok is the name for the event marking the end of the world. The end of the world is a result of a great battle which the gods had been preparing for. During this battle many of the gods will die, including Thor, Loki, and Odin. After many natural disasters the world is completely submerged in water. The world eventually resurfaces, the surviving gods meet, and the world will is repopulated by two humans.