In Norse mythology, Loki was the god of fire, trick and lie, and sworn brother of Asgardian lord god Odin, despite being much younger than him. Loki was an eccentric deity among the Aesir: he was treacherous, cunning, often talked rudely and quarreled with other deities. But he was still one of the most important deities in Norse mythology.
The role Loki played in the Ragnarök
The cause of Ragnarök: according to the legends, under the world tree Yggdrasil there was the holy spring Hvergelmir and a ferocious dragon Nidhogg. Nidhogg kept gnawing the roots of Yggdrasil, and the Ragnarök would arrive when the roots were gnawed off.
However, Ragnarök, which led to the extermination of the Aesir, was caused by Loki. He plotted the murder of Baldr, making human race face three long winters, the Fimbulwinter. During that time, strong cold wind blew from all quarters and froze the earth. The sun disappeared and thus there was no warmth in the world. The intense cold was filled with suspicions and conflicts. Wars and malice dominated the world. People all over the world slashed each other with spears or swords; blood dyed the earth red; and even the shield cracked. Hungry beasts wandered around in wilderness to seek food. People no longer tolerated, understood or helped each other; brothers fought each other; fathers and sons became enemies. Ugly competitions made people kill each other. The whole world was in chaos, and sins spread like plague. All the suppression and constraint to devil forging and curses were also gone.
Who were loki’s children’s names?
Loki and fire giantess Glod (Glöð) had two daughters: Eisa and Eimyrja. But in fact, Glod’s real husband was Logi, who accordingly was the real father of the two daughters. Logi was the son of giant Fornjot, and the personalization of fire.
Loki and female jötunn Angrboda (Angrboða) had two sons and one daughter: the wolf Fenrir, the serpent Jörmungandr and the goddess of death Hel.
Also, Loki and goddess Sigyn had two sons: Narfi and Vali.
Loki shapeshifted into a mare and had a child by celestial horse Svadilfari: the eight-foot horse Sleipnir. Another story was: Loki shapeshifted into a stallion while Svadilfari was a mare. Or the mare was not shapeshifted into by Loki, but a real mare.
Fenrir (Old Norse: “fen-dweller”) was a monstrous wolf in Norse mythology. He was the first child of Loki and jötunn Angrboda, elder brother of the world serpent Jörmungandr and the goddess of death Hel, and was deemed as “the devil monster that shaked the ground”. The deities tried three times to bind him with different chains, but only the third time they succeeded when Tyr sacrificed one of his arms. Fenrir swallowed Odin during the Ragnarök, but was soon killed by Odin’s son Vidar.
Jörmungandr (“huge monster”) was a monstrous sea serpent which encircled Midgard in Norse mythology. He was the second child of Loki and female jötunn Angrboda, brother of Fenrir and Hel. It was such a vicious and dangerous monster that Odin had to tossed him into the deep ocean that encircles Midgard. Jörmungandr was the strongest monster among the jötnar, and thus was called the “Midgard Serpent” (Miðgarðsormr). His life-long nemesis was Thor, the strongest among the deities.
During the Ragnarök, Jörmungandr resonated with the forces of evil on the land. He woke up from sleep, writhed under the ocean to make huge waves. Then he came to Asgard and formally declared war on deities. The one he engaged with was Thor, his nemesis. During the fight, Jörmungandr kept spitting venom to Thor and attacking him by all means. Knowing the strength of the vicious serpent, Thor held him off carefully and three times threw his hammer Mjölnir towards the serpent. But in all three times, Mjölnir, the hammer that never missed targets, was dodged by the serpent. Thor succeeded in hitting Jörmungandr with Mjölnir but was also poisoned by the venom. They killed one another in the end.
Hel (“Hidden”) was the goddess of death and the queen of Helheim in Norse mythology. She was the goddess that ruled senescence and diseases, the youngest child of Loki and female jötunn Angrboda, sister of Fenrir and Jörmungandr.
Among Loki’s three children, Hel was as outstanding as her brothers despite having human shape. Half of her face was as beautiful as goddesses while the other half was as ferocious as devils. Hel had been exiled to Niflheim or Helheim since her childhood. She lived in her palace named Eliudnir. And she accommodated the souls of those killed outside battlefields in her realm. Also, she had two servants, Ganglati and Ganglot. Among Loki’s children, she was the only one whose fate was not mentioned in the story of Ragnarök.
Narfi, also known as Norvi, was the child of Loki and his third wife Sigyn. He also had a brother Vali, who shared the same name as one of Odin’s sons, but they were not the same.
For Loki’s plotting of the murder of Baldr, the deities gave him a severe punishment. They tied him to a big rock, placed a viper over his head with venom constantly dripping down onto his face till the Ragnarök. The chains used to tie up Loki was made from the entrails of Narfi. Odin turned Narfi’s brother Vali into a wolf and made him bite Narfi to death. According to historical records, the father of night goddess Nott is also named Norvi. But we cannot be sure if they are the same person or just share the same name.
Vali was the god associated with revenge and gardening in Norse mythology. He was the son of Odin and the giantess Rindr, and born with the aim of revenging for the murder of Baldr.
Odin learnt from the prophecy that Baldr could not avoid the fate of being killed by his twin brother Hoder (Höðr). He continued to seek other prophecies (another story is, he sent Hermod to investigate), and learnt that he could revenge the murder of Baldr if he had a son by the giantess Rindr. Thereupon, Odin played a trick to make Rindr pregnant and give birth to Vali. Vali grew up into an adult on the day where he was born. Without cleaning and combing, he picked up a bow and an arrow, then shot Hoder to death. The Nordics saw the killing within the race as a big taboo. The newly-born and unwashed Vali could be regarded as either Odin’s family member or not, so he could kill Hoder who was undoubtedly Odin’s son. He would be the survived god when the world was reborn after the Ragnarök.
There was another Vali in Norse mythology. He was the son of Loki and Sigyn. As the chief culprit in the murder of Baldr was actually Loki, Odin turned his son Vali into a wolf, made him bite his brother Narfi to death. Odin then used the entrails of Narfi to bind Loki so as to impose punishments on him.
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