In Norse mythology, Angrboða (Old Norse: [ˈɑŋɡz̠ˌboðɑ]; also Angrboda, meaning: "The One Who Brings Grief," or "She Who Offers Sorrow") is a gýgr (giantess). In the Poetic Edda, Angrboda is mentioned only in Vǫluspá hin skamma (found in Hyndluljóð) as the mother of Fenrir by Loki. However, in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, she is referred to as a "giantess in Jǫtunheimr" and said also to be the mother of Fenrir's siblings Jǫrmungandr (the Midgarðr Serpent) and Hel, the Ruler of of the Underworld. She may be identical with Iárnvidia, 'She of Iron-wood', mentioned in the list of troll-wives in the Prose Edda list nafnaþulur.
Angrboða in the Poetic Edda
The poem Vǫluspá (stanzas 40–41 in most editions) speaks of a giantess dwelling in Járnviðr ('Iron-wood') whom commentators usually identify with Angrboda (and the Iárnvidia of the list of troll-wives):
- "The giantess old in Ironwood sat,
- In the east, and bore the brood of Fenrir; Among these one in monster's guise
- Was soon to steal the sun from the sky.
- There feeds he full on the flesh of the dead,
- And the home of the gods he reddens with gore;
- Dark grows the sun, and in summer soon
- Come mighty storms: would you know yet more?"
Angrboða in the Prose Edda
Snorri's Gylfaginning gives a prose explanation and a variant form of these stanzas. Brodeur's translation renders:
A witch dwells to the east of Miðgarðr, in the forest called Ironwood: in that wood dwell the troll-women, who are known as Ironwood-Women [Iárnvidjur]. The old witch bears many giants for sons, and all in the shape of wolves; and from this source are these wolves sprung. The saying runs thus: from this race shall come one that shall be mightiest of all, he that is named Moon-Hound [Mánagarm]; he shall be filled with the flesh of all those men that die, and he shall swallow the moon, and sprinkle with blood the heavens and all the lair; thereof-shall the sun lose her shining, and the winds in that day shall be unquiet and roar on every side. So it says in Vǫluspá:
- "Eastward dwells the Old One in Ironwood,
- And there gives birth to Fenrir's brethren;
- There shall spring of them all a certain one,
- The moon's taker in troll's likeness.
- He is filled with flesh of fairy men.
- Reddens the gods' seats with ruddy blood-gouts;
- Swart becomes sunshine in summers after,
- The weather all shifty. Wit ye yet, or what?"
Perhaps "moon's taker" and "moon hound" or alternately as "the one to steal the sun from the sky" as earlier mentioned was in reference to Hati or Skǫll, Fenrir's own children, since similar poems read that Skǫll and Hati were birthed by "the witch of the Ironwood."
In stanza 13 of the eddic poem Baldrs draumar Óðinn says to the prophesying seeress whom he has brought up from the dead:
- "No wise-woman art thou, nor wisdom hast;
- Of giants three the mother art thou."
This might refer to Angrboda as mother of the three monsters. The seeress states that she will never be charmed from the dead again until Loki is loosed from his bonds.
|Jǫtnar and Gýgjar|
|Jǫtnar||Alvaldi • Annarr • Auðr • Baugi • Beli • Bergelmir • Bǫlþorn • Býleistr • Eggþér • Fárbauti • Fjǫrgynn • Fornjótr • Gangr • Geirrǫðr • Gillingr • Gymir • Helblindi • Helreginn • Hrímgrímnir • Hrímnir • Hrungnir • Hrymr • Hræsvelgr • Hymir • Iði • Ím • Kári • Litr • Logi • Loki • Mímir • Mǫkkurkálfi • Mǫgþrasir • Naglfari • Narfi • Narfi Lokason • Søkkmímir • Surtr • Suttungr • Útgarða-Loki • Vafþrúðnir • Váli • Víðblindi • Vǫrnir • Ymir • Þjazi • Þrívaldi • Þrúðgelmir • Þrymr • Ægir|
|Gýgjar||Angrboða • Aurboða • Bestla • Eimyrja • Eisa • Fjǫrgyn • Gerðr • Gjálp • Glǫð • Greip • Gríðr • Gunnlǫð • Harðgreipr • Hljóð • Hrímgerðr • Hróðr • Hyrrokkin • Járnsaxa • Jǫrð • Laufey • Leikn • Nine Daughters of Ægir and Rán/Nine Mothers of Heimdallr • Nótt • Skaði • Sinmara • Þǫkk|