Norse Mythology

This glossary of Norse Mythology gives brief descriptions of the many characters involved in the stories and legends of Norse mythology.

  • Aesir: Chief gods of Asgard.
  • Andvari: Dwarf; robbed of gold and magic ring by Loki.
  • Angerbotha (Angrbotha): Giantess; mother by Loki of Fenrir, Hel, and Midgard serpent.
  • Asgard (Asgarth): Abode of gods.
  • Ask (Aske, Askr): First man; created by Odin, Hoenir, and Lothur.
  • Asynjur: Goddesses of Asgard.
  • Atli: Second husband of Gudrun; invited Gunnar and Hogni to his court, where they were slain; slain by Gudrun.
  • Audhumia (Audhumbla): Cow that nourished Ymir; created Buri by licking ice cliff.
  • Balder (Baldr, Baldur): God of light, spring, peace, joy; son of Odin; slain by Hoth at instigation of Loki.
  • Bifrost: Rainbow bridge connecting Midgard and Asgard.
  • Bragi (Brage): God of poetry; husband of Ithunn.
  • Branstock: Great oak in hall of Volsungs; into it, Odin thrust Gram, which only Sigmund could draw forth.
  • Brynhild: Valkyrie; wakened from magic sleep by Sigurd; married Gunnar; instigated death of Sigurd; killed herself and was burned on pyre beside Sigurd.
  • Bur (Bor): Son of Buri; father of Odin, Hoenir, and Lothur.
  • Buri (Bori): Progenitor of gods; father of Bur; created by Audhumla.
  • Embla: First woman; created by Odin, Hoenir, and Lothur.
  • Fafnir: Son of Rodmar, whom he slew for gold in Otter's skin; in form of dragon, guarded gold; slain by Sigurd.
  • Fenrir: Wolf; offspring of Loki; swallows Odin at Ragnarok and is slain by Vitharr.
  • Forseti: Son of Balder.
  • Frey (Freyr): God of fertility and crops; son of Njorth; originally one of Vanir.
  • Freya (Freyja): Goddess of love and beauty; sister of Frey; originally one of Vanir.
  • Frigg (Frigga): Goddess of sky; wife of Odin.
  • Garm: Watchdog of Hel; slays, and is slain by, Tyr at Ragnarok.
  • Gimle: Home of blessed after Ragnarok.
  • Giuki: King of Nibelungs; father of Gunnar, Hogni, Guttorm, and Gudrun.
  • Glathsehim (Gladsheim): Hall of gods in Asgard.
  • Gram (meaning “Angry”): Sigmund's sword; rewelded by Regin; used by Sigurd to slay Fafnir.
  • Greyfell: Sigmund's horse; descended from Sleipnir.
  • Grimhild: Mother of Gudrun; administered magic potion to Sigurd which made him forget Brynhild.
  • Gudrun: Daughter of Giuki; wife of Sigurd; later wife of Atli and Jonakr.
  • Gunnar: Son of Giuki; in his semblance Sigurd won Brynhild for him; slain at hall of Atli.
  • Guttorm: Son of Giuki; slew Sigurd at Brynhild's request.
  • Heimdall (Heimdallr): Guardian of Asgard.
  • Hel: Goddess of dead and queen of underworld; daughter of Loki.
  • Hiordis: Wife of Sigmund; mother of Sigurd.
  • Hoenir: One of creators of Ask and Embla; son of Bur.
  • Hogni: Son of Giuki; slain at hall of Atli.
  • Hoth (Hoder, Hodur): Blind god of night and darkness; slayer of Balder at instigation of Loki.
  • Ithunn (Ithun, Iduna): Keeper of golden apples of youth; wife of Bragi.
  • Jonakr: Third husband of Gudrun.
  • Jormunrek: Slayer of Swanhild; slain by sons of Gudrun.
  • Jotunnheim (Jotunheim): Abode of giants.
  • Lif and Lifthrasir: First man and woman after Ragnarok.
  • Loki: God of evil and mischief; instigator of Balder's death.
  • Lothur (Lodur): One of creators of Ask and Embla.
  • Midgard (Midgarth): Abode of mankind; the earth.
  • Midgard Serpent: Sea monster; offspring of Loki; slays, and is slain by, Thor at Ragnarok.
  • Mimir: Giant; guardian of well in Jotunnheim at root of Yggdrasill; knower of past and future.
  • Mjollnir: Magic hammer of Thor.
  • Nagifar: Ship to be used by giants in attacking Asgard at Ragnarok; built from nails of dead men.
  • Nanna: Wife of Balder.
  • Nibelungs: Dwellers in northern kingdom ruled by Giuki.
  • Niflheim (Nifelheim): Outer region of cold and darkness; abode of Hel.
  • Njorth: Father of Frey and Freya; originally one of Vanir.
  • Norns: Demigoddesses of fate: Urth (Urdur) (past), Verthandi (Verdandi) (present), Skuld (future).
  • Odin (Othin): Head of Aesir; creator of world with Vili and Ve; equivalent to Woden (Wodan, Wotan) in Teutonic mythology.
  • Otter: Son of Rodmar; slain by Loki; his skin filled with gold hoard of Andvari to appease Rodmar.
  • Ragnarok: Final destruction of present world in battle between gods and giants; some minor gods will survive, and Lif and Lifthrasir will repeople world.
  • Regin: Blacksmith; son of Rodmar; foster-father of Sigurd.
  • Rerir: King of Huns; son of Sigi.
  • Rodmar: Father of Regin, Otter, and Fafnir; demanded Otter's skin be filled with gold; slain by Fafnir, who stole gold.
  • Sif: Wife of Thor.
  • Siggeir: King of Goths; husband of Signy; he and his sons slew Volsung and his sons, except Sigmund; slain by Sigmund and Sinflotli.
  • Sigi: King of Huns; son of Odin.
  • Sigmund: Son of Volsung; brother of Signy, who bore him Sinflotli; husband of Hiordis, who bore him Sigurd.
  • Signy: Daughter of Volsung; sister of Sigmund; wife of Siggeir; mother by Sigmund of Sinflotli.
  • Sigurd: Son of Sigmund and Hiordis; wakened Brynhild from magic sleep; married Gudrun; slain by Guttorm at instigation of Brynhild.
  • Sigyn: Wife of Loki.
  • Sinflotli: Son of Sigmund and Signy.
  • Skuld: One of several Norns.
  • Sleipnir (Sleipner): Eight-legged horse of Odin.
  • Surt (Surtr): Fire demon; slays Frey at Ragnarok.
  • Svartalfaheim: Abode of dwarfs.
  • Swanhild: Daughter of Sigurd and Gudrun; slain by Jormunrek.
  • Thor: God of thunder; oldest son of Odin; equivalent to Germanic deity Donar.
  • Tyr: God of war; son of Odin; equivalent to Tiu in Teutonic mythology.
  • Ull (Ullr): Son of Sif; stepson of Thor.
  • Urth: One of several Norns.
  • Valhalla (Valhall): Great hall in Asgard where Odin received souls of heroes killed in battle.
  • Vali: Odin's son: Ragnarok survivor.
  • Valkyries: Virgins, messengers of Odin, who selected heroes to die in battle and took them to Valhalla; generally considered as nine in number.
  • Vanir: Early race of gods; three survivors, Njorth, Frey, and Freya, are associated with Aesir.
  • Ve: Brother of Odin; one of creators of world.
  • Verthandi: One of several Norns.
  • Vili: Brother of Odin; one of creators of world.
  • Vingolf: Abode of goddesses in Asgard.
  • Vitharr (Vithar): Son of Odin; survivor of Ragnarok.
  • Volsung: Descendant of Odin, and father of Signy, Sigmund; his descendants were called Volsungs.
  • Yggdrasill: Giant ash tree springing from body of Ymir and supporting universe; its roots extended to Asgard, Jotunnheim, and Niffheim.
  • Ymir (Ymer): Primeval frost giant killed by Odin, Vili, and Ve; world created from his body; also, from his body sprang Yggdrasill.

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