Hel

Image of Hel Death Goddess

Every land in Norse myth has its own king or queen who presided over the whole realm. Hel the goddess of death ruled the land of Helheim. Hel Death Goddess was the daughter of Loki the trickster and Angrboda Giantess, and the sister of two monstrous villains. They were respectively Jormungandr the Midgard Serpent and Wolf Fenrir the God of Destruction. Not only was Hel the queen of Helheim but she was also the queen of greed, cruelty, and harshness

Image of Hel Death Goddess, Fenrir, and Jormungandr
Hel, Fenrir, and Jormungandr

Illustration of Hel Death Goddess

 

Image of Hel and Garm
Hel and Garm

Hel appeared to be a fearsome woman whose appearance could scare the lookers off. Her face was half blue and half flesh-colored. Sometimes, Hel was depicted alongside with a black hound Garm who actually guarded the gate of Helheim and the mortal enemy of Tyr in Ragnarok.

Afraid of the dark prophecies of Ragnarok to come, Odin decided to separate three of Loki’s children and consign them to different places. While Jormungandr was cast into the ocean, Fenrir was supervised up in Asgard, Hel was sent to the underworld, the land lying under the root of Yggdrasil. Odin ordered Hel to keep an eye on the souls that died of sickness or old age. Because only such souls came to Helheim (the underworld land of Hel) while other brave human warriors who could not survive the battle came to Valhalla in Asgard with Odin.

 


Hel’s Queen Power

When we put many big figures into consideration, it seems that it was Hel who possessed the highest power. Even Odin could not rival the power of Hel. Because once the soul was in Hel’s power, no one could ever reclaim it unless Hel gave them the permission to do so. One excellent example for this was the death of Baldur. Specifically, after the unintentional attack resulting in his death, Balder went to Hel and could not come back to the living world until the end of Ragnarok. Odin sent Hermod to Hel with a view to retrieving Balder back.

However, Hel demanded that only when every creature swept for Baldur could he come back alive. The gods then went to great lengths to get everyone cry for Baldur. However, there was only one giantess, who was Loki in disguise, refused to do so. And because of this sole refusal, the gods could not fulfill the demand of Hel. Baldur must stay in Hel until the end of Ragnarok.

According to some materials, Hel Death Goddess provided many dead warriors for Loki’s army during the Ragnarok event. Her army teamed up with the Jotun from Jotunheim came to the stronghold Asgard to wage a bloody war.