Basic Guide to Heimdall the Guardian in Norse Mythology

Starring in some of the modern comics and blockbusters, Heimdall has his reputation reached a new level. Heimdall the Guardian was one of the key figures in Norse mythology. May this Basic Guide to Heimdall the Guardian entertain you with some interesting pieces of knowledge.

Background

Like Thor, Heimdall was not completely a god. He was the son of Odin and many giantesses. Yes, many. Heimdall had nine mothers who were the sea maidens. One day, Odin was walking along the shore, he saw nine beautiful maidens playing around. Odin immediately fell for them and he decided that he would marry them all. These nine maidens were the daughters of Aegir and Ran who the giant of the ocean.

In Norse mythology, Aegir and Ran who were the grandfather and grandmother of Heimdall were the best friends of gods although gods and giants hated each other.

Back to Odin and the nine maidens, after the marriage, they had a son together and he was Heimdall. Odin came back to Asgard and the Nine Maidens stayed in the ocean. Heimdall the baby this time stayed with the mothers.

Basic guide to Heimdall the Guardian in Norse mythology
Heimdall the Guardian with his Nine Maiden Mothers

Nine maidens brought Heimdall up in their own ways. They nurtured Heimdall with the strength of the earth, the moisture of the ocean, and the heat of the sun. Heimdall seemed to get the best of this diet. He grew up to be a handsome man with incredible height and skills.

New home awaited

When Heimdall came of age, he came to Asgard.

In Norse mythology, Asgard was the house of Aesir gods. Odin shared the responsibility of protecting the realm on the shoulder of this son. Heimdall had specific skills that suited the position as a guardian.

Heimdall could see things from a long distance. He could see all things that were about to come to Asgard no matter in what directions. His hearing skill was so acute that he could hear the grass growing up in the land below. Anyone who wanted to go inside Asgard would have to ask for permission from Heimdall.

Heimdall often appeared with a sword and a powerful horn. The sword that Heimdall owned was Hofung. No one knew how the sword was made but it was unbreakable. The horn of Heimdall was named Gjallarhorn. Once Heimdall blew the horn, the sound could be heard from the Nine Worlds. Allegedly, in the days of Ragnarok, Heimdall blew the horn to wake up all the warriors informing them that Loki and his army were marching to Asgard.

Heimdall blew his horn to inform gods and warriors about the giant army in Ragnarok
Heimdall blew his horn to inform gods and warriors about the giant army in Ragnarok

Sworn Enemy of Loki the Trickster

In the myth, Loki and Heimdall hated each other.

Loki was a giant in blood – both parents were from the giant tribe. But somehow Loki managed to persuade Odin to stay in Asgard. Most of the times, Loki entered and left Asgard without saying a word with the guardian. This gradually filled Heimdall with negative feelings towards Loki. But because Odin allowed Loki to stay, Heimdall could do nothing to prevent it.

Loki who pretended to be a joke in Asgard knew everything happening in this realm of gods. He knew how much Heimdall hated him. Gradually, Loki harbored his hatred towards the guardsman. The reason why Loki hated Heimdall was not merely that Heimdall did not allow Loki to travel freely into Asgard. Loki also felt that Heimdall denied Heimdall’s origins. To be specific, according to Loki, Heimdall turned his back from his mothers’ origins by parting with those who brought him up to come to the land of revered gods. Meanwhile, Loki never hid his origins. Loki sometimes showed his pride in being a giant yet could travel in and out Asgard easily. This made hatred between the two pile up everyday.

Heimdall once promised to watch over Asgard and defend those living inside. It meant he had to protect Loki as well. This always became a topic to mock Heimdall by Loki. But because of the bonding between Odin and Loki, Heimdall did nothing to harm Loki.

The hatred between the two climaxed when Loki stole the Brisingamen necklace of Freya the goddess. This was seen as an act to tease Heimdall. Because Heimdall was responsible for watching over everything in the realm. Yet, under the eyes of Heimdall, Brisingamen disappeared without a trace. That day, Freya woke up only to realize that her favorite necklace went missing. They quickly found out Loki was the culprit. After a long battle, Heimdall managed to bring back this favorite necklace for Freya. Because of this, the strained atmosphere filled Asgard.

Death

That Heimdall wanted Loki to rid of Asgard finally became real when Loki killed Baldur son of Odin. Loki then was punished in a cave where he rested until the day of Ragnarok.

That fateful day of Ragnarok finally knocked at the door of Asgard. And it was Heimdall who first seen the army of Loki was marching into Asgard. With all his strength, he blew his horn to wake up all the warriors and inform them about the enemies.

The prophecy initially wrote about their endings. Heimdall and Loki met each other in the battle. No source mentioned how the two killed each other. When both of them fell in the battle, it was the time when the world sank into darkness and the blazing fire was set on the whole cosmos.

Achievement and Honors

  • Guardian of Asgard
  • Guardian of Bifrost Bridge (the only lane from Midgard to Asgard)

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