The Norse God Balder is the son of Odin and Frigg. His wife’s name is Nanna Nepsdaughter and their son is named Forseti. His home is called Breidablik (Far shining) and is in heaven. Nothing unclean can come up there. He also owns a ship called Hringhorn, the greatest of all ships.

Snorri Sturluson describes the Norse God Balder as “being the greatest of all. Everyone loves him. He is so beautiful and fair that he glows. A flower exits that can be compared to him. It is the whitest of all flower and from it you can judge Balder’s beauty, both hair and body. He is the wisest of all the Viking Gods, well spoken of and the most gentle. But he is plagued by bad dreams that mustn’t come true.

The only story that exists about Balder is the story of his death. Balder’s horrible dreams haunted him so that he told the other gods about them. They interpreted them as foretelling the death of Balder. Since all the gods loved him so much they couldn’t bear the thought of him dying.

They decided to make arrangements to protect Balder from any harm. His mother Frigg went to all corners of the world to take oaths from everything in the world to the effect that nothing would or could harm him. Nothing on earth was to be able to harm him.

Now the Gods were more at ease knowing that Balder was protected. However, his dreams continued but Balder spoke not of it.

It now became the most popular entertainment among the Gods to throw things at Balder. They would have him stand up when they met and then attack him. Some would strike him with a sword or axe. Others would shoot arrows at him and even throw rocks. Nothing harmed him as promised and Balder’s fame grew.

One God was not happy with this however. Loki didn’t like Balder and began to really hate him. He used his abilities to turn himself into an old woman. He went to Frigg to talk to her.
The old woman asked Frigg if there really was nothing in the world that could hurt Balder. Frigg replied that only one little plant, called mistletoe, found to the west of Valhalla that wasn’t asked to make an oath since it was considered too young and small to do so.

The old woman went away and Loki returned to his shape. He went to find the plant, tore it up and headed to the field where the gods were throwing things at Balder. Not far away stood Balder’s brother Hod who was blind.

“Why aren’t you throwing things at your brother”, asked Loki. “That’s because I’m blind and also I don’t have any weapon.”, answered Hod. “That’s no excuse, here’s a stick of wood. I’ll guide your throw” said Loki. With Loki’s guidance Hod threw the mistletoe with all his might at Balder. It struck him in the chest and he fell immediately dead to the ground.

But according to the Danish medieval historian Saxo Grammaticus, Hod (Hother) did it on his own; others blame Loki though.

 

Though it has been said that the Norse Gods Baldur’s death was the only way for any of the gods to survive Ragnarok (being in Helheim made sure that Baldur and his wife Nanna were untouched by the end/death of the gods) and it is my inference that Odin had been able to forsee this part of Ragnarok and prepare for it by turning to his blood brother Loki to help protect his son Baldur.

It is also believed that most of the lore has been rewritten by Snorri and other monks to cast Loki as Satan, Baldur as “the white christ”, and Odin as Jehovah, having read Snorri’s version of the Eddas. Reading the lore that has survived knowing these things can help us ignore and rule out the changes made by these scholars to better understand the natures of the Norse gods.

In earlier stories Loki is a impish, sharp tongued, intelligent entity who enjoys a good prank, turning someone’s words back on them to benefit himself or the gods, and tricking someone out of a valued item/skill/treasure. It is only later on, after the advent of christianity that Loki’s trickster nature is interpreted as evil and he is then cast as the opposing evil to Odin and the Aesir.

It’s been noticed that Loki’s attitude towards the other gods changed to be much angrier once he was bound with the entrails of his son and left to be tormented by the venom dripping on his face. Is it any wonder he might not be as fond of the Aesir and their allies after that happened?

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