Monday, February 13, 2012

Þrymr

In Norse mythology, Þrymr (Thrymr, Thrym; "uproar") was king of the jotnar. In one legend, he stole Mjollnir, Thor's hammer, to extort the gods into giving him Freyja as his wife. His kingdom was called Jötunheimr, but according to Hversu Noregr byggdist, it was the Swedish province Värmland, then a part of Norway. Þrymr was foiled in his scheme by the knowledge of Heimdall, the cunning of Loki, and the sheer violence of Thor. Thor, son of Odin, later killed Thrym, his sister, and all of his jotnar kin, which had been present at the wedding reception. The poem Þrymskviða gives the details of how Thor got his hammer back. Bergfinnr is a son of Thrymr, the Giant of Vermland. In Jötunheimr, the jötunn Þrymr sits on a barrow, plaiting golden collars for his female dogs, and trimming the manes of his horses. Þrymr sees Loki, and asks what could be amiss among the Æsir and the elves; why is Loki alone in Jötunheimr? Loki responds that he has bad news for both the elves and the Æsir—that Thor's hammer, Mjöllnir, is gone. Þrymr says that he has hidden Mjöllnir eight leagues beneath the earth, from which it will be retrieved, but only if Freyja is brought to him as his wife. Loki flies off, the feather cloak whistling, away from Jötunheimr and back to the court of the gods. Thor asks Loki if his efforts were successful, and that Loki should tell him while he is still in the air as "tales often escape a sitting man, and the man lying down often barks out lies." Loki states that it was indeed an effort, and also a success, for he has discovered that Þrymr has the hammer, but that it cannot be retrieved unless Freyja is brought to Þrymr as his wife. The two return to Freyja and tell her to put on a bridal head dress, as they will drive her to Jötunheimr. Freyja, indignant and angry, goes into a rage, causing all of the halls of the Æsir to tremble in her anger, and her necklace, the famed Brísingamen, falls from her. Freyja pointedly refuses.

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