December 6th, 2012 - Angrboda

Well, after finally deciding on who to start with, we throw open the doors of Norse mythology; a topic I’ve wanted to cover on here for a while, actually. So on a bit of ironic start, today we’ll be talking about the Norse giantess Angrboda, “the one who brings grief”!

Angrboda, an ice giantess (Jötunn) living in a forest east of Midgard, called Ironwood, is referred to as “the one who brings grief” because she is actually the mother of the three most feared entities in Norse mythology: the wolf, Fenrir, the great snake Jormungand, and last but not least, the goddess Hel. But who was the father? I won’t turn this into an episode of Maury and just tell you that it was Loki. No lie detectors needed. But Loki is a cheater though, a real player! Loki wasn’t even married to Angrboda; he was married to the goddess Sigyn! But hey, not too surprising to hear the god of trickery is quite the back-doors man.

But enough about Loki! I have a poem for you guys that talks about Angrboda: Völuspá, from the Poetic Edda.

The giantess old in Ironwood sat,
In the east, and bore the brood of Fenrir;
Among these one in monster’s guise
Was soon to steal the sun from the sky.

There feeds he full on the flesh of the dead,
And the home of the gods he reddens with gore;
Dark grows the sun, and in summer soon
Come mighty storms: would you know yet more?

Okay so I’m not done talking about Loki yet. I’d like to wrap up the article with a sort of…interesting(?) story I read that puts a twist on the myth. According to this account, it was Loki who was the mother (similarly to how Sleipnir was born, but that’s another story) and Angrboda the father. Now how does that work? According to this story, Angrboda was burnt by the gods, like how witches were burnt at the stake, right? Well, somehow, her heart still remained, which Loki decided it was a good idea to eat, God knows why. Anyway, because of this, Loki became impregnated with the three monsters. Part of me doubts that this is true, but it’s an interesting account none the less.

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