Evil Women in Norse Mythology: Don't Mess With Them

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Evil Women in Norse Mythology: Don't Mess With Them

Norse mythology had many powerful female figures who could break a neck if they wanted to. In this blog post, we are to discover three evil women in Norse mythology. 

The definition of "evil" in this article extends to the readiness to harm anyone around. Under any circumstances should we make them angry. 

Hel the Queen of Death

Hel was one of the most powerful women in Norse mythology. Her power in the Nine cosmos could even rival that of the Norns who created the fate for every being in Norse cosmos. Hel had her own realm and had her own army, she did not have to listen to anyone to live on. 

Hel refused to help anyone whom she didn't like. Few sources mentioned she directly tortured the dead but anyone who came to her world had to experience the most uncomfortable nightmare. Therefore, Helheim (the land of Hel) was the least wanted afterlife in Viking belief. Actually, no one wanted to join Hel. All Viking warriors wanted to live their afterlife in Valhalla. 

Hel the Queen of Death in Norse mythology

Hel the Queen in Helheim was among the most powerful women in Norse mythology

When Baldur was killed with a mistletoe arrow by Loki, Baldur had to come to live in Helheim. Odin the Allfather and Frigg Queen of Asgard came and asked Hel to release Baldur but Hel refused to do so. The gods could do nothing but to accept the refusal of Hel. No one could ever change Hel's decision. 

Ran the Giantess of the Ocean

Ran was the wife of Aegir the giant of the ocean. Together, this couple ruled over the ocean. But they had completely different personal characteristics. While Aegir was friendly and was often mentioned with a kind giant, Ran always appeared to be a hot-tempered woman. 

In Norse mythology, Ran could kill anyone who dared to make her angry. Ran's name meant "to rob". And yes, she robbed the life of others. In some literal texts, Ran appeared to be with a net, and every time a human ship moving above the waves, she would use her net to drown and destroy the ship. 

Ran and her net

The anger of Ran caused the death of many innocent sailors

Because Viking life was deeply associated with the ocean, they were afraid of Ran and her net. Accordingly, the Vikings often made sacrifices into the ocean and lakes. They believed that by making offerings to Ran, she would not get mad whenever their ship traveled above her head. 

Angrboda She Who Brings Anguish

Angrboda was one of Loki's women. While Sigyn was the only one who stayed with Loki during his hard time, Angrboda was the one who gave birth to the most powerful children for Loki. 

The name of "Angrboda" means "The Woman who Brings Anguish". Angrboda did not appear in any important events in Norse mythology. She only appeared in the texts presenting Loki's wife and his children. 

"There was a giantess called Angrboda in Giantland [Jötunheimr]. With her Loki had three children. One was Fenrir, the second Iormungand [the Midgard serpent], the third is Hel. And when the gods realized that these three siblings were being brought up in Giantland, and when the gods traced prophecies stating that from these siblings great mischief and disaster would arise for them, then they all felt evil was to be expected from them, to begin with because of their mother’s nature, but still worse because of their father's."

The text is from Gylfaginning the first part of Prose Edda. From the text, we learn that Angrboda was the mother of Fenrir, Jormungand, and Hel. All of these children later became the triggers of Ragnarok the Doom of Gods. Although this woman only appeared once or twice in the mythology, we realised that every time her name appeared, everything became heavy and pain was approaching. 

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