Hel





Hel was the Norse* goddess of the dead, daughter of the trickster god Loki and the giantess Angrboda. Shortly after her birth, Hel was cast out of Asgard, home of the gods, by Odin*. He sent her to Niflheim, the underworld, and made her queen of all who died from old age or sickness. Warriors who fell in combat did not become her subjects but went instead to the hall called Valhalla to live with Odin. In early Norse mythology, Hel was also the name of the world of the dead.

trickster mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples underworld land of the dead

Sources describe the goddess as a half-flesh-colored and half-black monster. She lived in a castle called Eljudner and ate her meals with a dish named Hunger and a knife called Famine. She was attended by two servants, Ganglati and Ganglot, who moved so slowly that they appeared to be standing still. Hell, the English word for the underworld, comes from the Norse word Hel.

See also Loki ; Norse Mythology ; Odin ; Valhalla .



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