Fjalar and Galar

Norse dwarves Fjalar and Galar in Mythology

In Norse myths and legends, you will come across several creatures, including elves, spirits, giants, and dwarves, among others. In this write-up, we will focus on some Norse dwarves and their mythology. To be more specific, we will be discussing the story of two wicked dwarves – Fjalar and Galar.

Fjalar and Galar mythology

Fjalar and Galar mythology

In Norse mythology, Fjalar and Galar are two wicked dwarf brothers who greatly shaped relations between Norse creatures. They were wary of academics and learning, so they killed Kvasir – the poet and wisest of all beings – and distilled his blood in Odhrorir, the magic cauldron. They did all this because they wanted to get Kvasir’s wisdom and become the wisest dwarves in Nidavellir. Afterward, they mixed his blood with honey and turned it into the mead of poetry, which gave a heightened level of wisdom and poetic inspiration to anyone who drank it. Because they understood the benefits of the mead of poetry, they decided to keep it for themselves.

When the gods realized that Kvasir was missing, they sent a messenger to search for him. The messenger was told that the wise man had choked on his learning and died in the process. Later, when the frost giant, Gilling, and his wife visited the two dwarf brothers, the dwarves drowned Gilling and crushed his wife under a millstone because they thought that the two would report them to the Aesir gods. Gilling was the father of Baugi and Suttungr, and a grandfather to Gunnlod.

The giants’ son, Suttung, went in search of his parents when they failed to return home. When he found out what happened, Suttung seized the two dwarf brothers and carried them far out into the ocean to a small rock rising right above the oceanic waves. He threatened them and told them that they would drown if the rising tide eventually covered the rock.

Fjalar and Galar offered Suttung 3 containers of the mead of poetry in exchange for their lives. Suttung took the mead and created a chamber deep within the mountain Hnitbjorg, then asked his daughter Gunnlod to guard his mead by day and night. With time, Odin heard about what happened to Kvasir and the mead, so he disguised himself as Bolverkr and worked for Baugi in an attempt to recover the mead. He worked as a farmer for a full summer and eventually asked Baugi if he could sip some of the mead, but Sutting refused.

Baugi then made a small hole on the side of the mountain so that Odin could taste the mead without getting close to it. Odin shapeshifted into a snake and went through the hole. He then found himself next to Gunnlod, turned into a man, and spent 3 days with her in the mountain chamber. Odin managed to convince her to give him 3 sips of the mead, which she did, but instead, he drank all the mead, shapeshifted into an eagle, and flew away.

When Suttung saw him, he too changed into an eagle and chased after Odin. However, there wasn’t any success. Odin spat out all the mead into the Aesir gods’ containers, which they stored safely.