The Níðhöggr

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Níðhöggr is a one-of-a-kind dragon that exists within Norse legend. It lives below a giant ash tree, the Yggdrasil or World Tree, which binds the nine worlds of Norse mythology together. Níðhöggr is usually translated as meaning Malice Striker (sometimes as Striker in the Dark) and lives up to his name as he viciously gnaws at the root of the World Tree that keeps him trapped above Hvergelmir, a seething cauldron, in Hel (the Nordic Hel is roughly equivalent to the English Hell). If Níðhöggr chews his way through the root of the World Tree it heralds the arrival of Ragnarök and the subsequent destruction of the world. The serpent-like Níðhöggr is described in the poem Völuspá as one who ‘sucks on the corpses of the dead.’


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