Who Were the Sons of Odin in Norse Mythology?
Who is Odin?
Odin is often referred to as the Allfather by those who follow the Norse tradition of religious worship. Odin is the leader of the Aesir gods of the northern tradition, the Aesir are often considered sky gods associated with the element of air/wind. As leader of the Aesir and guardian of creation, he is considered a wise god who defends order from the forces of chaos. Odin often walks the earth looking for greater knowledge and understanding as he is thirsty to learn all he can.
The Allfather with his brothers Vili and Ve, created the human race from the same slain giant that they created this world from.
Odin is wisdom and he is fated to die at Ragnorok with many of the other gods who make up his tribe. Until then, he recruits fallen warriors who he deems worthy to fight against the legions of Hel and Surtr at the end of time. Odin is attributed as having many children with many different women. Some are human, while others are born with Jotuns(giants of elemental origin) or other gods. He is very much a god in the same mould as Zeus in the Greek mythology. Both of these gods have a well documented love of women. Maybe being the chief sky god has a positive effect on your libido.
Odin's most famous son is the thunder god, Thor. Thor is the champion of mankind and watches over the welfare of Midgard. Thor's mother was a giantess and Thor spends a lot of his time trying to destroy giants or at least best them in any physical challenge. Thor is destined to die at Ragnorak, but he will be survived by his two sons and his daughter. Thor is brave, noble and honourable. Thor will do what is right at the time and will do so in the best interests of all.
In some of his quests within the Norse sagas, he is accompanied in his adventures by the trickster god, Loki. These two gods have a mutual level of respect but are on occasional beings that fall out with one another with major consequences for everyone else.
The modern version of Thor as depicted in both comics and in the big screen blockbusters is false. Much of his look, personality and personal interactions are stretched incredibly thin. In the Norse Mythology, he is married to the Goddess of the Harvest Sif. Thor differs greatly from his father Odin, by not pursuing as many intimate relationships with mortal women.
The Mighty Thor
Baldur, Hodur and Vidar.
In Norse mythology, Odin is also blessed with twin sons called Baldur and Hoor/Hodur. Baldur is the god of light, whilst his brother Hodur was a god who was born blind. Hodur/Hoor takes on the mantle of the god of night/darkness and is favoured less than his twin. Baldur is a much loved god in heathen worship and in the sagas, Loki becomes extremely jealous of his popularity.
Loki engineers Baldur's death by finding the one natural object in the realms which did not promise to never harm him. Loki found out that mistletoe did not make the promise as it was deemed by the higher gods to be too young to warrant being asked. Loki fashioned a dart from the plant and got Baldur's twin brother to throw it towards him during one of Asgard's many feasts. Baldur died instantly, after he had been struck by the missile and as a consequence, he was went straight to Helheim to dwell among the dead.
To add further insult to the loss suffered by both Odin and his wife Frigga. Baldur's wife Nanna died of a broken heart and joined her husband in the realm of Helheim. The anger of Odin was spread among Hoor and Loki. Hodur was killed by his half brother Vidar, who was grown to full age by Odin to act as the executioner of another of the Allfather's children. Vidar was a god with a thirst for vengeance and he violently sent Hodur to the realm of Helheim to rest among other murderers.
Loki was heavily punished for his devious actions, his own child was killed and his entrails were used to secure Loki to a rock. Once there, Loki had to endure the acidic venom of a serpent dripping onto his torso until Ragnorak. Only then, would Loki be allowed to walk the nine realms freely.
Hermond and Bragi.
Hermond the swift is also another child of Odin and he is the god responsible for sending messages between the nine realms. When Baldur is killed, Hermond is dispatched to Helheim in a desperate attempt to try to get Baldur back from the realm of the dead. Hermond is the only god to have set foot in Helheim in living form and returned. Hermond is the equivalent of the gods Hermes/Mercury.
Odin also has another son and he was born to the giantess Gunloo. He is called Bragi. Bragi is the god of poetry and he was conceived during Odin's attempts to get back his treasured mead of inspiration. Bragi is the husband of the goddess Idunna. Bragi is effectively the storyteller of the northern gods and in Germanic traditions poets were highly regarded for their ability to weave words into destiny and to keep the tribe together.
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The sagas point to a number of other gods who may also be the offspring of Odin but the ones I have covered are universally recognised as his family. There are also tales of offspring with Human maidens, but these children do not compare with the stories of Zeus and his demigods.
Although in Dark Age warfare, many kings and nobles would boost of their bloodlines link to Odin, the Allfather. The Saxon house that the Queen of the United Kingdom belongs too, is said to have Odin as its founding father due to her German ancestry. Whether or not this is true, is subject to endless debate.
The problem we have is that a lot of the knowledge has been lost over time and it is a history that is unfortunately missing. It is something of a mystery that I cannot see us solving anytime soon.
Other Hubs by the Same Author.
- Exploring the Gods of the Norse Tradition: Part One
The gods from the old religions of Europe have very little relevance to many in the modern world. Some may still attempt to follow the old ways but Christianity managed to erode a lot of the power and ritual of the many beliefs that went before them.
- Exploring the Gods of the Norse Tradition: Part Two
This article carries on from the stories as told in the first part of 'Exploring the Gods of the Norse Tradition.'
- The Viking Moral Code.
The moral code of the Viking warrior, dictated how he behaved on and off the battlefield. A true warrior valued his honour and morals as much as he valued his victories over his foes.
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Does Odin's parental style seem very cold?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Andrew Stewart