In Norse mythology, Odin the Allfather was not the most powerful figure. Instead, this title belonged to some women. Among them was Hel the Queen of Death who could even reject Odin’s request without fear. This blog post is a very basic guide to Hel the Queen in Norse mythology.
Hel was the only daughter of Loki the Trickster in Norse myth. Yes, by far, Hel is the only one that the scholars recognize as the daughter of Loki. Hel or Hella was also a sister of Fenrir who killed Odin and sister of Jormungandr who killed Thor.
When Hel was only a child, she was banished into the underworld meanwhile Fenrir was dragged into Asgard with gods and Jormungand into the ocean. Deep down under the roots of Yggdrasil the Great Tree of Life, Hel grew up to be one of the most powerful female figures in Norse myth.
Sources did not mention how she got her power after all. What we knew from the texts was that when Hel grew up, she ruled over the land of the deceased. Of course, in the Viking belief, no one wanted to meet Hel because people who came to Helheim (land of Hel) dying because of old age or sickness. The Viking only wanted to die a warrior death.
In Norse myth, Hel did not appear many times. Two times that made me vividly remember the name of Hel was when she rejected Odin’s begging to let go of Baldur Odin’s son. At that time, Loki indirectly killed Baldur with an arrow. Baldur as the fate wanted him to do had to go to Helheim. Odin was in pain when encountering his only prince passed away. He sent his messenger to Helheim asking Hel to release Baldur. But all Hel did was to reject Odin. Might this be the reason because Odin once separated Hel’s family.
In Ragnarok, Hel did not take the main role like Fenrir and her father. But she did support her family to fight against gods.
When Jormungand lifted himself up from the ocean, Hella used the huge waves to send off her deceased army ship. The ship was Naglfar which was made from nails. No sources ever mention Hel appeared in Ragnarok. And it was alleged that Hel lived through the days of Ragnarok and carried on her ruling over the deceased world.