Between 800AD and 13000 AD, Norse tribes hung out in small pockets all across Europe. Being so far apart, they had a few attributes that linked them; similar hair colour, a common tongue, and an expansive mythological history. Complete with gods, goddesses, giants, elves, and warriors alike. Sounds like those guys loved a story, doesn’t it? Trouble was, back in 800AD, it was impossible to just throw on a TV, they had to get their stories elsewhere…
At TopperQ, we know you think that gossip is golden. We can see you up there on your drama llama. If you’re aching for some old school “oh-no-they-didn’t”, then look no further. Norse mythology is your number one for (ice) burns. Thing is, it’s so expansive, that if you google it, you might feel overwhelmed. So, we here at TopperQ have brought together our 3 favourite Norse gods, and just how they dallied in the drama.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s impossible to not know Thor and Loki. Portrayed in the ‘Thor’ franchise by fangirl favourite Tom Hiddleston, the mythological counterpart to this Marvel master is no less low-key than the character we love to hate.
In Norse mythology, Loki is a trickster god. He holds his status as a “god” with great ambivalence, and at many points during the great stories of the mythology acts in a selfish, narcissistic and self-preserving manner. His family also live up to his reputation, guarding the gates of Hel and eventually slaying Thor. There are moments in Norse mythology where his actions can be seen as playful and mischievous, once or twice bordering on heroic. These tales, alas, have an ultimate end of leaving his nihilistic intention uncovered.
TopperQ Ultimate Anecdote - The Death of Baldur
When the mother of beloved god Baldur, terrified by prophecies of her son’s impending death, secures a promise from everything in the world not to harm her son; Loki senses a chance for mischief. In disguise, he questions Baldur’s mother, and finds she’s missed out mistletoe. Ecstatic, he constructs a spear from mistletoe, and convinces a blind god to throw it. It’s a direct hit, and Baldur dies because of Loki’s mischievous nature.
If you’re not in the Hiddleston corner, you might be in the Hemsworth house instead. Thor, and his hammer, are synonymous with Norse mythology. In the Marvel universe they’re portrayed as brothers, but Norse mythology portrays a begrudging alliance between Loki and heroic counterpart.
Thor holds an honour-filled pride of place for Norse people, and culture. He’s the polar opposite of Loki, an ideal warrior full of honor, a god that the Norse people could aspire to. He is the defender of Asgard, the palace of the Norse gods, and his mighty hammer Mjöllnir creates great sparks of lightning. In Norse culture, thunder was the same as Thor. When it would course across the great Scandinavian sky, Norsemen believed that Thor was paying them a visit. His activity on the god plain is mirrored by activity on the human plane, and the Norse people often called upon Thor to bless their weddings, the land, and to bring warriors great strength.
TopperQ Ultimate Anecdote - Thor disguised as a Bride
Thor wakes up one day to find his hammer is gone. He searches for it, frantic, making every effort to try and retrieve it; and discovers it has fallen into the hands of the giant Þrymr. Þrymr is happy to return the hammer, asking for Thor’s wife Freya as ransom. Thor agrees, but instead dresses up himself as the bride, with Loki as a bridesmaid. This comical tale hints at Thor’s identity throughout, and eventually ends with the “newlywed” bride Thor finding the spirit to rise up, defeat the giant, and take back his hammer.
If you’re thinking that Norse gods seem all about boys and their toys, here’s a female god for you. Hel, the daughter of Loki, who rules over the Norse Underworld of the same name, where the damned souls dwell. Her name means “hidden” in Norse, no doubt a macabre reference to dead bodies being hidden in the ground.
In Norse Mythology, Hel is presented as a no-nonsense diva. She’s known for being greedy, harsh, and overly cruel, traits that are shared by her extended family. Her appearance was well known for being terrifying in nature, and sports a face that’s half black and half white. One thing was for sure, she was ruthless, relentless and highly dangerous.
TopperQ Ultimate Anecdote - The (rest of the) Death of Baldur
So, after Loki slays the beloved god Baldur, his mother Frigg asked the gods to journey down to Hel and offer the god Hel a ransom for the release of Baldur. A young son of Odin, who had long since wanted to prove his worth, takes the challenge. His name was Hermod. It took him nine nights to reach Hel, however, eventually he makes it - and on his arrival, he sees Baldur, downcast, in the seat of honour next to Hel’s throne. Upon pleading with her, Hermod convinces Hel to release Baldur on the condition that everything (even mistletoe) in the cosmos will weep for him. Thinking this a simple plan, Hermond returns to Asgard, and all of the cosmos wept - aside from Loki, disguised as the giantess Tokk, who declared “Let Hel hold what she has!”. Thus, Baldur is trapped until Ragnarok, the destruction and re-creation of all the cosmos.
Feel mighty like a Norse God? Cool. Now you’re fired up, get back to that revision. Don’t forget to download TopperQ, the new revision App. View bite-sized chunks, take practise exams, and aid yourself in ultimate exam excellence.