Norse Mythology

The Mighty Gods of the Vikings...


Norse Ruler God

Also known as Gangleri, Odinn, Othinn, Vak, Valtam

Picture of the Norse Ruler God Odin from our Norse mythology image library. Illustration by Chas Saunders.

All-knowing Allfather of the Gods and Lord of Asgard

The Norse Biggy. Odin is King of Asgard, Ruler of the Aesir and the Lord of War, Death and Knowledge.

To travel the world without being recognized, he wears a huge wide-brimmed hat. He also — thanks to Loki — rides an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir into battle. All he needs is a six-shooter and a sheriff’s badge to be able to stand in for John Wayne in True Grit. His biggest fans include the Berserkers, which should give you some idea.

He’s also very hot on Knowledge and Military Intelligence, having two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who fly around the world every day bringing up-to-date reports.

Odin himself has only one eye, having traded the other one for a sip from Mimir’s Well of Wisdom during his visit to the great World Tree Yggdrasil. Consequently he’s full of knowledge, while his missing eye is hidden in an unknown location care of Mimir the Talking Head. The eye enabled Mimir to focus on far-distant events, allowing Odin the ability to always see far ahead.

To become the Top Wise Guy, Odin put himself through some incredibly rigorous ordeals. The Well of Wisdom lies under the second root of Yggdrasil, which allows the Dew of Knowledge to seep into it. So Odin stabbed himself with his own spear and hung himself on the tree for nine days and nights. He was then allowed a peep, and saw magic runes appear on rocks beneath him.

With a superhuman effort he struggled to lift them, which must have been quite an acrobatic feat. Running his eye over the mystic symbols, he was instantly freed of all encumbrances; restored and rejuvenated with everlasting vigor enabling him to drop lightly to the ground.

His ordeal accomplished, Odin was at last able to take a well-deserved swig from Mimir’s well, making him well-wise as well as wise. It was even tastier than his usual tipple Kvas, the Mead of Inspiration, a special brew made from the blood of Kvasir.

If you think a wise one-eyed Norse cowboy on an eight-legged horse would be easy to recognize, this ain’t necessarily so for Odin is a shape-changer, and his range of disguises make Sherlock Holmes look like Miss Marple. He also travels incognito under a variety of false names.

Sharing primeval God status with brothers Ve and Vili, the Great Odin helped bring the world as we know it into being, so we can forgive his little foibles. The legend tells that in the ice-laden wastes of Niflheim, he got into a rather catastrophic snowball fight with Ymir, the king of the Frost Giants. The Abominable Snowgiant was slashed into pieces and Odin made the world from all the bits. He even found a use for the eyebrows.

Odin’s dad is Bor, son of Buri, son of an ice cube. Married to Frigg (with the occasional Freya fling and flirtation with Rind), the family firm includes Balder, Hoder, Hermod, Thor and Vidar. See also Woden.

Odin Facts and Figures

Name: Odin
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Gangleri, Odinn, Othinn, Vak, Valtam
Name means: All Father

Gender: Male
Type: God
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Ruling
Area of expertise: Ruling

Good/Evil Rating: NEUTRAL, may not care
Popularity index: 44160

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Article last revised on September 22, 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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