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Hrungnir (Old Norse "brawler"[1]) was a Jǫtunn in Norse mythology, slain by the thunder-god Þórr with his hammer Mjǫllnir. The account is documented in the Skáldskaparmál, in the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson.

Prior to his demise, Hrungnir engaged in a wager with Óðinn in which Óðinn stakes his head on his horse, Sleipnir, being faster than Hrungnir's steed Gullfaxi. During the race, which Sleipnir wins, Hrungnir enters Valhǫll, and there becomes drunk and abusive. After they grow weary of him, the gods call on Þórr to battle Hrungnir.

The Fight and Enchantment

Þórr and his servant Þjálfi challenge the giant, who hurls his whetstone weapon at Þórr. Smashed to smithereens by Þórr's hammer Mjǫllnir, fragments of the whetstone fall down to earth - and "thence... come all the flint-rocks"[2] - while one shard sinks deep into the god's forehead. Nevertheless, the hammer strikes Hrungnir dead, shattering his skull; but in his fall, Hrugnir's dead body topples over Þórr, leaving the god buried under one of his legs.

When both Þjálfi and the combined strength of the Æsir fail at pushing and pulling the giant's foot off Þórr's throat, Magni, Þórr's infant son with the giantess Járnsaxa, passes by and easily lifts the foot, rebuking his father for his weakness. Back in Ásgarðr, the sorceress Groa is called upon to remove Hrungnir's whetstone from Þórr's forehead. As her enchantments are beginning to show an effect, gradually loosening the stone, Þórr promises to generously reward her for her services, mentioning that he had recently helped her husband Aurvandill cross the icy river Élivágar and that it would not be long for her to be reunited with him. Rejoicing at these news, Groa, in her excitement, forgets all about her chants, thus leaving the whetstone locked in Þórr's forehead.


Hrungnir's head, heart and shield were made of stone.[3] His heart had a peculiar shape, it was triangular due to which both the Valknut and the Triquetra have been called Hrungnir's heart.

Source text

They regarded it very important who should gain the victory, and they feared the worst from Thor if Hrungnir should be defeated, for he was the strongest among them. Thereupon the giants made at Grjöttungard a man of clay, who was nine rasts tall and three rasts broad under the arms, but being unable to find a heart large enough to be suitable for him, they took the heart from a mare, but even this fluttered and trembled when Thor came. Hrungner had, as is well known, a heart of stone, sharp and three-sided; just as the rune has since been risted that is called Hrungner's heart. Even his head was of stone. His shield was of stone, and was broad and thick, and he was holding this shield before him as he stood at Grjottungard waiting for Thor. His weapon was a flint-stone, which he swung over his shoulders, and altogether he presented a most formidable aspect. On one side of him stood the giant of clay, who was named Mokkerkalfe. He was so exceedingly terrified, that it is said that he wet himself when he saw Thor.....But the hammer Mjölner hit Hrungner right in the head, and crushed his skull in small pieces. He himself fell forward over Thor, so that his foot lay upon Thor's neck. Meanwhile Thjalfe attacked Mokkerkalfe, who fell with but little honor.[4]


See also


  1. Orchard (1997:91).
  2. Skáldskaparmál:
  3. Cotterell, Arthur The Encyclopedia of Mythology, Hermes House. p.200
  4. from Skáldskaparmál


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