the dictionary of norse mythology


JOTUN The Scandinavian word for giant. The giants lived in jotunheim. The first giant was ymir, formed at the beginning of time out of fire and ice, long before the first gods and humans. The first gods, odin, vili, and ve, destroyed Ymir and created the world from his body see creation. The giants were constantly at war with the gods of asgard. At the end of the world, or ragnarok, gods, giants, and monsters fought a final battle and nearly all died.Giants were generally thought of as personifica-tions of destructive forces, huge, ugly, and fierce.They had heads of stone and feet of ice. Many were known as hrimthurssar, or frost giants, and their names referred to frost, storms, snow, and ice, the scourges of northern winters. They could transform themselves into an eagle or wolf however, in many of the Norse myths they also assume shapes resem-bling those of normal people or gods.Many of the giantesses were beautiful and more than friendly to the gods. The beautiful gerda mar-ried the god frey. The giantess grid, friend of the great god odin, loaned thor weapons to defend him-self against the giant geirrod 1. hyrokkin single-handedly pushed balder's ship, hringhorni, into the sea at Balder's funeral. Thor married the giantess. jarnsaxa, who bore him two sons, modi and magni. skade, the daughter of the giant thiazzi, married the Vanir god niord.

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