Hel ~ Norse Goddess of Death ~ One of the first times this Norse Goddess of Death was mentioned was in the 13 century by Snorri Sturluson. He was an Icelandic Scholar who was responsible for recording parts of Nrose Mythology as we know it today. Hel is the daughter of infamous trickster god Loki and the giantess Angrboda (Old Norse Angrboða, “Anguish-boding”), which would also make her the sister of the wolf Fenrir and the world serpent, Jormungandr!
By noticing her other family members, you will see that she is a force to be reckoned with. Her entire family is completely dangerous and some of those family members play a big part in some of the most destructive tales of Norse Mythology. Hel being a goddess of the dead is known to be harsh and cruel, but we do not know very much about her.
Snorri described her as being a half white, and half black creature split down the middle with a terrifying and fierce look on her face. The main myth in which Hel plays a leading role is in the Death of Baldur. The shining and loved Baldur was slain by the doings of Loki. The gods sent Hermod to Hel as a delegate in hopes of bringing Baldur back to Asgard. Hel was not one to quit, nor to give up this prized possession (Baldur) so foolishly.
She informed Hermod that she would only release Baldur from the realm of the dead, only if every single being in the cosmos wept for Baldurs return. Hermod told the other gods the news, and there was one giantess who refused to weep, which we believe was most likely Loki in disguise! He was a professional shapeshifter afterall! Needless to say, Baldur never made it out of Hel.
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Hel ~ Norse Goddess of Death ~ According to the thirteenth-century Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson, Hel is the daughter of Loki and the giantess Angrboda (Old Norse Angrboða, “Anguish-boding”), and therefore the sister of the wolf Fenrjr and the world serpent, Jormungand. This makes her part of a highly dangerous and disreputable family. Hel is generally presented as being rather greedy, harsh, and cruel, or at least indifferent to the concerns of both the living and the dead. However, her personality is little-developed in what survives of most Old Norse Literature. She’s mostly mentioned only in passing. Snorri describes her appearance as being half-black, half-white, and with a perpetually grim and fierce expression on her face. The only surviving myth in which she features prominently is that of The Death of Baldur. The beloved god Baldur was helped to be slain by none other than Hel’s father, Loki, and the gods sent an emissary named Hermod to Hel in hopes of retrieving Baldur. Hermod pleaded with Hel, telling her how every living thing was in sorrow over the loss of Baldur. But Hel wouldn’t give up her prize so easily. She told Hermod – in a taunting way, we can imagine – that she would only consent to release Baldur if every last thing in the universe wept for him. Hermod and the other gods went around and got almost everything in the cosmos to weep for Baldur. Only one giantess, who was probably Loki in disguise, refused. But because of that one refusal, the terms of Hel’s offer weren’t met, and Hel kept Baldur in her cold clutches. Because of how sparsely-defined her character is, many scholars view Hel as more of a late literary personification of the grave than a goddess who was actually worshiped or appeased in her own right. Due to the lack of conclusive evidence either way, this must remain an open question. Source: Norse-mythology.org