Basic Guide to Jormungand Midgard Serpent in Norse Myth

Jormungand was one of the most notorious villains in Norse mythology. This was because Jormungand’s family background and his encounter with Thor God of Thunder in Ragnarok. However, from the lens of some modern scholars, Jormungand is more like a victim of fate. Here is the Basic Guide to Jormungand the Midgard Serpent.

Family Background

Jörmungandr (or Jormungand) was the middle son of Angrboda She Who Gives Sorrows. Some other siblings of Jormungand included Fenrir and Hel (these two were the other villains). Because Loki had many other love affairs, Jormungand had many other half brothers and sisters, one of whom was Sleipnir the favorite horse of Odin the Allfather.

Jormungand Midgard Serpent in Norse mythology. Basic guide to Jormungand
Jormungand the Midgard Serpent in Norse mythology. Basic guide to Jormungand.

So, Jormungand was a pure giant because his parents were all giants. One thing is, whether Loki was half god half giant or a pure giant remained a mystery. Accordingly, some modern theories state that Loki was half god and half giant and this made his children quite powerful.

The life of Loki and his children including Jormungand was not that smooth. When Jormungand was just a little snake-like creature, a god punished him into the ocean. Many sources stated that god was Odin who casted Jormungandr into the deep ocean. The ocean encirled the Midgard land of humanity. There Jormungand stayed until the day he grew up to the size that he could encirle the whole Midgard with the whole Midgard.

Nearly fished by Thor

Before the encounter in Ragnarok, Jormungand and Thor met each other two times. Basic guide to Jormungand.

The first time, Thor tried to fish Jormungand. On one day, Thor came to the house of a dwarf and the two decided to go fishing. The bait was ox head and off they went to the sea. Biting their time on the small boat, Thor finally felt the fishing rod shake a little bit. Carefully looking at the things under the sea, Thor found out it was a giant dragon-like creature. He decided to bring him up whatever it may take.

One hand, Thor tried to lift the rod. The other hand, he tried to reach the Mjolnir hammer. But the giant on the boat with Thor seemed to be scared to death. He (the giant) was afraid of Jormungand above their ship and he was more afraid because of a prophecy. In Norse mythology, the prophecy stated that once Jormungand lifted himself from the ocean, Ragnarok happened. To prevent Ragnarok, the giant cut off the fishing line releasing Jormungand back to the deep ocean.

Thor missed his chance to slay the serpent.

The second time, Thor tried to lift Jormungand up in the hall of the giant. This was a journey by Thor and Loki. They went to the land of Utgard-Loki and joined a contest with the giant. The king of Utgard-Loki dared Thor to lift a cat in the middle of the house up.

The cat was huge but Thor thought it was a piece of cake to lift up the cat. But when he tried to do so, he only lifted up a leg of the cat up. Although Thor failed to do so, he amazed people in the hall with his strength.


Not caught by Thor, Jormungand spent his time under the deep ocean. There he waited for the day of Ragnarok to come.

On that day, hearing the call of his brothers, Jormungand lifted himself from the ocean. This caused a tsunami and the huge waves lifted up the ship of dead warriors from Helheim (land of the death) up to join war against gods.

Thor fishing Jormungand was the first time the sworn enemies faced each other
Thor fishing Jormungand was the first time the sworn enemies faced each other

Jormungand joined his brother Fenrir and his father Loki to come to the gate of Asgard. There, he met Thor. This time, both of them finally met. The battle started and everything happened just like the fate wanted it to. Thor managed to kill Jormungand the Serpent. But as he walked nine steps away from Jormungand’s corpse, he was killed by the venom that Jormungand left. This first meeting also became the last time they could see each other.

Honors and Achievements

  • Midgard Serpent
  • Thor’s Sworn Enemy
  • He Whom the Gods Hate
  • The Circumscriber of the Earth
  • Sea-Wolf
  • Sea Road’s Circler
  • Brother of the Wolf
  • Brother of Death/Hel
  • Foe of the Thunder-God
  • Long Dog of the Sea

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