Basic Guide to Surtr Fire Giant in Norse Myth

Compared with other gods and goddesses in Norse mythology, Surtr the giant was quite an obscure figure. But actually, he was among the first to exist in Norse cosmos. This basic guide to Surtr the giant of fire will briefly introduce him to those Viking enthusiasts.


“Surtr” name meant “Black”. This might be because he was the king of the fire land and his appearance was quite charred. The main sources about Norse mythology did not reveal anything about Surtr’s parents. It also said that this giant existed ever since the Norse cosmos existed. In Norse mythology, fire was among the elements that formed the cosmos. This pointed to the point that Surtr was quite primeval.

Surtr the giant. Basic guide to Surtr

Prophecy and Ragnarok

Odin the Allfather once had a journey to meet a powerful volva who gave him the fate of the gods. The volva who did not know she was speaking to Odin told nearly all of the upcoming things to the gods.

O’er the sea from the north | there sails a ship
With the people of Hel, | at the helm stands Loki;
After the wolf | do wild men follow,
And with them the brother | of Byleist goes.

Surt fares from the south | with the scourge of branches,
The sun of the battle-gods | shone from his sword;
The crags are sundered, | the giant-women sink,
The dead throng Hel-way, | and heaven is cloven.

Poetic Edda

The ship of Naglfar of Hel the giantess of death finally lifted itself from the underworld. The big waves came from the raising of Jormungandr. The Serpent Jormungand had been staying under the ocean and he only waited for this moment to join Ragnarok. Jormungand raised himself from the ocean for the first time and joined the army of his father Loki and brother Fenrir.

No source mentioned Hel directly took part in the battle of Ragnarok. Rather, she sent off an army of the deceased warriors on Naglfar ship to join them.

Then from the south came Surtr the king of the lava world Muspelheim. He joined battle and met his sworn enemy god Freyr which the kennings mentioned as “Beli’s bane”. Surtr had a blazing sword that never stopped blazing.

Meanwhile, Freyr god of fertility only had an antler for the combat. Freyr lost his powerful sword to his servant when asking the servant to win the hand of the beautiful giantess. Many scholars claimed that the Vanir god lost his battle because his weapon was not as powerful as that of Surtr.

On the battle of Ragnarok, Surtr easily put an end to the life of Freyr. When the Ragnarok came to an end, Surtr set the whole cosmos on fire with his blazing sword. The whole cosmos fell into darkness and everything started again.

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