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In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr (Old Norse: Jǫrmungandr, pronounced [ˈjɔrmunˌɡandr̥], meaning "huge monster"), also known as the Midgard (World) Wyrm (Old Norse: Miðgarðsormr), is a sea serpent, the middle child of the giantess Angrboða and Loki. According to the Prose Edda, Óðinn took Loki's three children by Angrboða—the wolf Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungandr—and tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Miðgarðr. The serpent grew so large that it was able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail. As a result, it received the name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When it releases its tail, Ragnarök will begin. Jörmungandr's arch-enemy is the thunder-god, Þórr. It is an example of an ouroboros.

The first part Jǫrmun is cognate with English name Irmin (also Ermin, probably not related to identical Latin-based name) and gandr is doublet with English gaunt (skinny) probably also cognate in obsolete sense (magical staff, wand). For other translations see Miðgarðr and wyrm.

Myths and Legends[]

There are three preserved myths detailing Þórr's encounters with Jörmungandr:

Lifting the cat[]

In one, Þórr encounters the giant king Útgarða-Loki and has to perform deeds for him, one of which was to lift the serpent in the form of a colossal cat, disguised by magic, as a test of strength. Þórr is unable to lift such a monstrous creature as Jörmungandr, but does manage to raise it far enough that it lets go of the ground with one of its four feet. When Útgarða-Loki later explains his deception, he describes Þórr's lifting of the cat as an impressive deed.

Þórr's fishing trip[]

Þórr goes fishing for the Midgard Serpent in this picture from an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript

Another encounter comes when Þórr goes fishing with the giant Hymir. When Hymir refuses to provide Þórr with bait, Þórr strikes the head off Hymir's largest ox to use as his bait. They row to a point where Hymir often sat and caught flat fish, where he drew up two whales, but Þórr demands to go further out to sea, and does so despite Hymir's protest.

Þórr then prepares a strong line and a large hook and baits it with the ox head, which Jörmungandr bites. Þórr pulls the serpent from the water, and the two face one another, Jörmungandr dribbling poison and blood. Hymir goes pale with fear, and as Þórr grabs his hammer to kill the serpent, the giant cuts the line, leaving the serpent to sink beneath the waves.

This encounter with Þórr seems to have been one of the most popular motifs in Norse art. Four picture stones that have been linked with the myth are the Altuna Runestone, Ardre VIII image stone, the Hørdum stone, and the Gosforth Cross. A stone slab that may be a portion of a second cross at Gosforth also shows a fishing scene using an ox head. Of these, the Ardre VIII stone is the most interesting, with a man entering a house where an ox is standing, and another scene showing two men using a spear to fish. The image on this stone is dated to the 8th or 9th century. If the stone is correctly interpreted as depicting this myth, it demonstrates that the myth was in a stable form for a period of about 500 years prior to the recording of the myth in the Prose Edda around the year 1220.

Final battle[]

Þórr fighting the Midgard Serpent, Emil Doepler painting.

The last meeting between the serpent and Þórr is predicted to occur at Ragnarök, when Jörmungandr will come out of the sea and poison the ocean and the sky. Þórr will kill Jörmungandr and then walk nine paces before falling dead, having been poisoned by the serpent's venom.

Analysis[]

John Lindow draws a parallel between Jörmungandr's biting of its own tail and the binding of Fenrir, as part of a recurring theme of the bound monster in Norse mythology, where an enemy of the gods is bound but destined to break free at Ragnarök.

Family[]

Jǫtunn genealogy in Norse mythology Names in Bold are Jǫtnar/Gýgr Names in Italics are Gods/Goddesses
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ymir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Þrúðgelmir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bergelmir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bǫlþorn
 
Naglfari
 
 
Narfi
 
Dellingr
 
 
 
Aurgelmir
 
 
 
Fornjótr
 
Ǫlvaldi
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mímir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Iði
 
Gangr
 
Þjazi
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bestla
 
Borr
 
 
 
 
Nótt
 
 
 
 
 
Dagr
 
Fárbauti
 
Laufey
 
Kári
 
Logi
 
Rán
 
Ægir
 
Gymir
 
Aurboða
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sister of Njǫrðr
 
Njǫrðr
 
Skaði
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vili
 
 
 
 
Auðr
 
 
 
 
 
 
Annarr
 
Helblindi
 
Býleistr
 
 
 
 
 
Glǫð
 
 
Eisa and Eimyrja
 
Nine Maidens
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gerðr
 
Freyr
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sigyn
 
 
 
 
 
Loki
 
 
 
 
Angrboða
 
Heimdallr
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Óðinn
 
Jǫrð
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Narfi
 
Váli
 
 
 
 
Jǫrmungandr
 
Hel
 
Fenrir
 
Hyrrokkin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Þórr
 
Sif
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Svaðilfari
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sleipnir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Skǫll
 
Hati Hróðvitnisson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Þrúðr
Frigg

Sources[]

"The children of Loki" (1920) by Willy Pogany.

The major sources for myths about Jörmungandr are the Prose Edda, the skaldic poem Húsdrápa, and the Eddic poems Hymiskviða and Völuspá. Other sources include kennings in other skaldic poems. For example, in Þórsdrápa, faðir lögseims, "father of the sea-thread", is used as a kenning for Loki. There are also image stones from ancient times depicting the story of Þórr fishing for Jörmungandr.

Gallery[]

Image gallery of Jǫrmungandr

References[]


This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Jormungandr (view authors). As with Myths and Folklore Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported).
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