Mythology Monday: In Which The Aesir Finally Get Sick Of Loki’s Shit

Now we shall dive back into Norse mythology, more specifically the time that Loki pissed off pretty much all of the gods.

So, to begin this tale we must start with Baldur, the son of Odin and Frigg. Now, Baldur is not only absolutely gorgeous, but extremely nice as well, so basically everyone loves him. Everyone except Loki, anyway, but we’ll get into that in a bit.

Baldur starts having dreams about some kind of horrible fate befalling him. This worries his parents a bit, so Odin disguises himself and heads on down to Helheim (aka the Norse underworld) to try and find a famous seeress so he can ask her what’s up with that.

So he gets down there, and sees a bunch of people setting up for this absolutely enormous feast. Like enough food to feed a large town. Curious, Odin finds the seeress he was looking for and asks her what’s up with all the food.

The seeress cheerfully responds, “Oh, this is a feast for Baldur. He’s gonna be coming down here real soon.” She goes on about how exactly Baldur will die, but shuts up when she realizes that she’s talking to, you know, his dad.

Having received his answer, he heads back to Asgard and delivers the bad news. Frigg, however, is like, “Nope,” and then starts seeking out literally everything in the universe to try and extract oaths that they won’t hurt her son. She does, and comes back, and all seems to be well for the moment.

Except for one small detail: thinking it too small to actually cause Baldur any harm, Frigg neglects to extract this oath from mistletoe. And Loki finds out about this. And comes up with a prank that will be hilarious to him, but exactly no one else.

So, one day, the rest of the Aesir are throwing things at Baldur, and it is apparently extremely entertaining to watch those things just bounce off of him. While this is going on, Loki approaches the blind god Hodr, who is kinda bummed that he’s missing out on the festivities.

Loki hands him a spear made of mistletoe and is like, “Here, I’ll guide your hand to where Baldur is standing and you can throw this at him.” Which he does. And it hits Baldur, who immediately drops dead.

Now, the other gods are not happy about this, partially because Baldur was well-liked, but also because his death is one of the harbingers of Ragnarok, also known as the end of the fucking world. Frigg is, naturally, extremely distraught by this turn of events, and asks if anyone would go to Hel, the goddess of the dead, and negotiate with her to get Baldur back. Another of Odin’s sons, Hermod, agrees to the task, and takes his dad’s horse (which, if you’ll recall, has eight legs for some reason) to the underworld.

It takes him about 9 days to get there, and he goes up to her throne and makes his case. Hel thinks about this for a moment, then responds, “OK, if you can get everything in the universe to mourn Baldur, you can have him back. But if one thing refuses to do this, he stays here.”

Hermod goes back and delivers the message, and everyone thinks this shouldn’t be an issue because, as mentioned before, Baldur was extremely well-liked. They send off a bunch of messengers to let the universe know of Baldur’s death, and there is much wailing and rending of garments, so things seem to be going pretty well.

At least, until they get to a giantess who’s all like, “Who the fuck cares?” Surprise, surprise, she turns out to be Loki in disguise. So Baldur ends up having to stay in Helheim.

Not surprisingly, this turns out to be the last straw for the Aesir, who grab Loki, tie him down with his son Narfi’s intestines, and leave him under a giant, poison dripping snake for all eternity (or at least until Ragnarok). His wife Sigyn, who is probably more loyal to Loki than he deserves, catches the poison in a bowl, but he still gets dripped on when she has to empty it. His pained thrashing is how the Norse explained earthquakes, by the way.

So it’s probably safe to say that this turned out to be a pretty big mistake on Loki’s part.

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