Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jörmungandr

In Norse mythology the world (Midgard) was encircled by the sea serpent Jörmungandr, also known as the Midgard serpent. According to the legend the serpent was one of the three children of Loki, the trickster god, and the giantess Angerboda. Odin (the leader of the gods) was disgusted by Loki's monstrous brood, but because he and Loki were blood brothers he couldn't kill them so he put them where he though they could do the least damage. He took Jörmungandr and tossed him into the sea, where he sank to the bottom and began growing. He eventually grew so large that he encircled the world and was able to bite his own tail. Supposedly when he lets go of his tail the world will end.

Over the years Thor had three encounters with Jörmungandr. At one time the serpent was disguised as a cat and it was Thor's task to lift it, which was thought to be impossible as it is so large. Somehow Thor was able to lift the cat high enough that only one foot touched the earth.
Another time he encountered it while fishing with the giant Hymir (the sea giant.) He caught the creature and would have killed it with his magic hammer (Mjolnir) except Hymir became so fearful that he cut the line and Jörmungandr sank back into the ocean.

His third encounter was at the end of the world, Ragnarök. While the other gods were fighting Fenris (one of the other sons of Loki) Thor had his hands full with Jörmungandr. He repeatedly threw his magic hammer at the creature but  it continued to hiss and spit at him. Finally he summoned all of his strength and stuck a final time killing the beast. Thor then took nine steps and fell down dead from Jörmungandrs' poison.

2 comments:

  1. "...when he lets go of his tail the world will end."

    All I can say is, 'Hold on tight Jörmungandr!' :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Who owns the rights to that tribal looking image of Jörmungandr?

    ReplyDelete

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