Jörmungand, the killer of Thor, the huge snake that encircles Midgard, plays a significant part in Nordic mythology. We'll tell you about this legend today!
We will go over everything you would be interested in learning about this well-known monster in this essay. We'll discuss his family, his personal history, and of course the three surviving Norse mythology about the serpent of Midgard.
Jörmungand, giant serpent son of Loki
One of the fiercest and most formidable beasts in Norse mythology was Jormungandr. The beast is sometimes referred to as the World Serpent or Midgard Serpent, and his name means "great monster."
The Serpent also has a significant role in Ragnarök, where it must battle none other than the Thunder God. But we'll go back to that in a moment.
The Origins of Jörmungand
The oldest sources of information about the Midgard Serpent are the prose and poetry of Snorri Sturlusson's Edda, which also contains information about many other gods and creatures in Norse mythology. These works, in case you didn't know, are from the thirteenth century!
The Eddic poems Völuspá and Hymiskvia, as well as the Skaldic poem Hsdrápa, serve as the primary sources of information concerning the myths involving Jormungand.
The Prose and Poetic Edda may not be the oldest sources of information on Jormungand, though. Although some of the stone sculptures are older than the 13th century, it is impossible to be certain that they represent the Serpent of Speech because of how weathered they are.
Jormungand: Thor's enemy
Jormungand was the second child of Loki and the giantess Angrboda, according to Norse mythology.
He was born without being aware of the existence of the gods, together with his siblings Hel and Fenrir. The monstrous children of Loki were quickly identified by Odin and the other gods as a menace.
Hel, a deceased girl who was half human, was sent into the Underworld, where she rose to power. The gods attempted to tame the enormous wolf Fenrir, but they were ultimately obliged to chain him.
Jormungand was held in a prison with much worse treatment. The juvenile snake was grabbed by Thor, who then hurled him into the sea that encircled Midgard.
Jormungand continued to expand. Nothing could contain the sea since it was so large.
The snake eventually grew so big that its body encircled Midgard. The big serpent was so large that it gripped its own tail to form a full circle around the sea. It engulfed the entire world of man and moved stealthily into the ocean's depths.
Under the waves, Jörmungandr won't be entirely forgotten though. He appeared in at least two stories, both of which involved Thor.
In the first, Thor came upon Skrymir, also known as Utgarda-Loki, a giant ruler. The enormous giant subjects Thor and his allies to numerous strength tests, each of which conceals a secret.
For instance, when ordered to compete against a young boy, Thor's servant is actually up against the speed of a thought. Loki competed against forest fires, which may burn across huge forested areas in a matter of minutes.
Lifting Skrymir's beloved cat served as Thor's first challenge. The powerful deity accepted the challenge without hesitation, but despite his best efforts, he could only raise one paw of the creature into the air.
The giant expressed his astonishment at Thor's might after learning the specifics of the competitions. Even carrying a fraction of the snake's enormous weight was an accomplishment; the cat had been Jormungand in disguise.
Then, while out on a fishing excursion with another giant named Hymir, Thor came across the sea serpent. The giant was surprised when the god used the entire head of an ox as bait because he had no idea what Thor was trying to catch.
Hymir screamed in terror as Jormungand's enormous head rose. Thor's companion was terrified as he looked for his massive hammer, Mjolnir.
Hymir panicked and rushed to cut the fishing line with his knife. Before Thor could strike him, Jormungand disappeared beneath the sea.
Thor was enraged. He was aware of something Hymir was unaware of namely, that the huge snake of Midgard would play a dreadful part in the forthcoming events.
Thor would make his final appearance in mythology when Jormungand did. Ragnarok will be their final encounter.
The enormous serpent dragging itself across the planet will be one of the occurrences that will immediately precede the ultimate clash of the gods. At that time, it will be so enormous that mountains will be crushed under its weight, and the tidal surges it will produce would drown entire nations.
Jormungand and his siblings would face the Aesir gods in the conflict, along with their father and other allies. Each of the most renowned giants in Norse mythology would meet one of its greatest gods, according to the Prose Edda's depiction of the conflict.
Thor, a god Jormungand had already encountered numerous times, would be his opponent.
The two would engage in ferocious combat, with each of them striking the other with great power. But in the end, Thor and his fabled hammer will triumph, and he will deliver a fatal Mjolnir blow to the World Serpent.
When Thor turns back after slaying Jormungand, he observes Fenrir gaining the upper hand on his father. He advances to assist Odin in fighting the wolf but stumbles after just nine steps.
Thor caused Jormungand's death, but in the end, he also murdered the god. Moments after the snake dies on the battlefield, his lethal poison will kill Thor.
The Family Tree of Jörmungand
The Midgard snake was the second child born to Angrboda, a giantess, and Loki, the Norse deity of cunning and evil. Jormungandr can naturally be regarded as a giant since it is thought that Loki's parents were giants as well.
Hel and Fenrir the Wolf were the legendary siblings of the serpent. Fenrir is well-known for two things, whereas Hel was the monarch of Helheim, the realm of the dead. He first took Tyr, the Norse god of war, by the hand before killing Odin, the All-Father, at Ragnarök.
Overall, it would be accurate to state that Loki's children served as the forerunners of the Ragnarök.
Jörmungand and the Ragnarok
Let's now discuss the infamous Ragnarök prophecy and Jormungand's part in it.
The release of the Midgard Serpent's tail is thought to be when the Ragnarök will start. The seas will cover the entire planet as Jormungand emerges from the dark ocean depths. The Naglfar ship will be able to freely navigate the flooded area thanks to the water.
The Naglfar, which was manned by a gigantic army, was constructed from the fingernails and toenails of deceased men and women. Loki, who succeeds in breaking his chains, will take the helm of the vessel.
Fenrir the Wolf, the brother of Jormungand, will tear through the entire planet, sputtering fire from his nose and eyes, devouring everything in his path. The water, the soil, and the air will be made poisonous by the World Serpent's venom.
While the Serpent was still very young, Odin hurled Jormungand into the gloomy ocean depths out of fear that this prophecy might come true. As time went by, Jormungand expanded.
The Serpent eventually grew so big that it encircled all of Midgard while holding its tail in its mouth. The World Serpent or the Midgard Serpent is how Jormungand came to be known.
The snake of Midgard is a type of ancient emblem known as the Ouroboros. With its tail consumed, a dragon or snake forms a circle in this emblem.
The eternal cycle of life and death, or creation and destruction, is symbolized by the ouroboros. Today, the emblem may be seen on a lot of Viking jewelry.
You can see why it is not unexpected that Jormungand is sometimes referred to by the emblem of the Ouroboros.
In Norse mythology, the Serpent's purpose was to unleash Ragnarök and decimate the whole Norse universe. But there will also be a new world created once the old one is destroyed.
The Ouroboros is one of the most well-known tattoos in existence today, it should be noted.
The Giant Snake and Thor
Only three myths describe Jormungandr's conflicts with his ferocious foe, the thunder god. It's time to share these tales with you.
1. The fishing session
Two peaceful giants who lived beneath the sea, Ran and Aegir, invited the Gods to a feast at a time of peace. The Gods had to provide a cauldron big enough to brew mead for everyone in attendance. This was a serious challenge because the visitors had to be giants and gods.
The Gods were on the verge of giving up when they remembered a giant with a kettle large enough to produce mead for everyone. Hymir was the name of the giant. Thor offered to travel to the land of Jotunheim and ask Hymir to lend the cauldron because he was young and brave at the time.
Knowing Thor's renown for being ravenous, the giant was a gracious host and killed three bulls to ensure Thor had enough to eat while he was there. But once more, the appetite of Thor was underestimated.
Hymir consumed two bulls in a single dinner before realizing that the bulls he had slaughtered would not be sufficient. He informed Thor that they would go fishing tomorrow because he didn't want to slaughter any more of his cattle.
The giant instructed Thor to go collect some bait for the fishing the following morning. The youthful god came back with the heads of the last of Hymir's bulls. Hymir was furious, but he refrained from speaking out out of fear for the young God as they continued to fish on the giant's boat.
They were swiftly transported to Hymir's fishing location by Thor using his supernatural strength. The bull's head proved to be a very effective bait. Hymir was happy since he had quickly caught two whales, which made him happy. Hymir was irritated since Thor was not actually fishing but rather was simply gazing at the horizon.
The giant eventually informed Thor that they had enough food and could head back to land. However, Thor had other ideas. Rowing farther out into the ocean, he began. As Hymir's anxiety increased, he reminded Thor that they were entering Jormungandr's domain.
The god of thunder, obstinate as he was, disregarded Hymir's advice and kept rowing while keeping a close eye on the waves. The boat was finally stopped by Thor. His fabled fishing expedition was ready to start when he selected the biggest hook and attached a bull's head to it.
Later, something yanked Thor's rope so forcefully that he barely made it back to the boat. The young God quickly regained his composure and started reeling in his catch.
Hymir observed Thor pulling his prey from the river with all of his heavenly power. The giant understood that only one ocean monster had the strength to put the young God to the test. Of course it was Jormungandr. Hymir was also aware that Ragnarök would start if he allowed Thor to remove the Midgard snake from the water.
The giant was uneasy as he witnessed the titanic struggle between the powerful Thor and the undetectable sea monster. It appeared as though the young God would win out. Finally, the God of Thunder seized Mjollnir as Jormungandr's head rose from the water.
The giant quickly cut the fishing line with his knife. Hymir's boat was nearly destroyed by the enormous waves that were produced as the Midgard Serpent retreated into the ocean's depths.
Thor tossed the behemoth into the water because he was so furious. In front of Hymir's home, the young God left his fish after rowing to shore. Then he returned to Asgard with the cauldron he had come to borrow.
2. Lifting the cat
Lifting the Cat is the name of the myth that follows and describes the encounter between Thor and Jormungand.
Once upon a time, Thor and Loki were leaving Asgard and riding on Thor's chariot. They traveled to Jotunheim, the home of the giants.
When they first arrived at Jotunheim, they passed by a big castle. There was nobody available to open the castle's locked door. Thor and Loki could easily fit past the door's bars because to its size. As they entered the castle, they discovered a room where giants were enjoying a meal.
The monarch of the castle, a giant named Utgarda-Loki (tgara-Loki in Old Norse), sat on a throne inside the chamber. He acknowledged his visitors and started making fun of their diminutive stature.
It was time for Thor to battle for the dignity of the Gods after a series of contests that Loki and other members of their group lost.
Thor attempted to pull the king's cat off the ground after failing to win a drinking competition. But even the powerful Thor was unsuccessful. Before Utgarda-Loki declared there were no more challenges for the evening, Thor lost one more competition.
The following morning, Utgarda-Loki escorted Thor and Loki out as they got ready to leave. The king revealed to them what actually occurred the previous night after leading them from the castle. He explained his deception to Loki and Thor.
The giants were concerned that Thor would continue drinking until their entire ocean was gone because one side of the drinking horn he used during the drinking contest was connected to the ocean. On the other hand, Jormungand, the serpent of the world, was really the cat that Thor attempted to raise.
Thor intended to immediately murder Utgarda-Loki because he was so humiliated and furious over being duped in that way. He turned to kill the king with his hammer, but nothing was there to stop him.
There was only a huge, empty field; there was no sign of the castle or Utgarda-Loki. And with that, Thor was duped once more.
The Ragnarök, the final conflict between the gods of Asgard and the giants of Jotunheim, saw the final encounter between Jormungand and Thor.
It has been foreseen that the Midgard Serpent will initiate the chain of events that will result in Ragnarök.
The three-year period will start with the worst winter in the history of the Nordic universe. Jormungand won't like being in the frigid, dark depths of the ocean. The snake will ultimately let go of its tail and advance with its head downward.
The nine realms will experience inconceivable earthquakes as a result of Jormungand's movement, which will eventually free Fenrir and Loki from their magical chains. After that, Loki and his kids will travel to Asgard, the home of the gods.
To eliminate all the Norse gods, Loki will lead a massive army. Fenrir the Wolf will wreak fire and havoc throughout the Norse universe in the meantime.
He will go after everything in his path, including the powerful Odin, with his jaws gaping agape. The World Serpent's dreadful venom will eventually contaminate the land, the air, and the water.
In the end, the powerful Thor will battle his way to Jormungand, his arch adversary. The struggle was impressive to watch. Thor put up a fight unlike any other and eventually killed the largest snake to ever live.
The great God could only manage nine steps before falling due to the severity of the injuries caused by Jormungand. Thor, the god of thunder, passed away after a brief period of suffering.
The large serpent Jormungand was one of Loki and Angrboda's three children, according to Scandinavian literature. When he was found, he was thrown into the sea, where he ultimately grew to include the entire planet.
In three different legends, Thor faced the big serpent. In two of them, he was able to match the strength of the enormous monster, and in a third, he came close to doing so.
But Ragnarok would be the scene of their last meeting. After Jormungand decimates a large portion of the planet by dragging his enormous form out of the water, they would engage in a one-on-one battle.
Thor killed the snake, but he could only make it nine steps before tumbling. Even though Jormungand passed away, the god he had been set against in all of his tales was quickly killed by his venom.
Numerous factors could have influenced Jormungand's growth, according to historians.
He, together with his siblings and father, are one of the interconnected monsters that are mentioned in the Ragnarok legend. It also links him to legends from all over the world about giants or monsters in prison that cause calamities like tidal surges and earthquakes.
In addition, he is a sea monster, as is customary in the majority of coastal societies throughout the world. These monsters, which stood in for the perils and enigmas of the deep, inspired fear and superstition in many civilizations.
It's possible that Jormungand's particular form was influenced by a creature that was frequently mentioned in ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures. The ouroboros, a snake that either eats or bites its own tail, has its origins in Egypt and was introduced to Europe via Greek and Roman culture.
Even if Jormungandr is a creature that represents Norse mythology, it is not totally Nordic. The global snake stands for really global customs.