Hodr is known from just one episode of recorded Norse Mythology titled the Death of Baldur. But do you know what or who Hodr is, or what he’s known for?
Pronounced as HO-der from the Old Norse word Höðr that means warrior, Hodr is the Scandinavian god associated with and only mentioned in the myth of the Death of Baldur. However, there are two very divergent versions relating to Hodr, who he was and what he was known for. Here, we’ll share insights into the more familiar stories about Hodr – the story about The Death of Baldur.
Baldur is believed to be the most popular and beloved of all the gods mentioned in Norse Mythology. Baldur was Odin’s son (Odin is pretty much the chief god), and also son to Frigg, a benevolent and powerful sorceress goddess. Baldur was known for his generosity, courage, and joyfulness. His positive spirit and goodness was highly contagious and felt everyone around him, as well as everyone who hanged out around him. So, when Baldur started getting ominous dreams about the grave misfortunes that would befall him, the gods grew weary and they were troubled. Odin was troubled too, and he set out a plan to uncover the meaning of Baldur’s dreams.
At the same time, Baldur’s father, Odin, would waste no time – he mounted his steed, the Sleipnir, riding down the underworld where he consulted the dead seeress who knew more about such matters. With a disguise on, Odin reached the misty and cold underworld where he came about endless halls that were all arrayed in great splendor, in a manner that said the seeress was preparing a huge feast. Odin would then wake up the seeress, questioning her about the festivities to which she answered that the feast was set for a honorable guest, which was no one than Baldur. During this encounter, the seeress recounted how Baldur would die, ultimately. She only stopped her chatter upon the realization that ‘Odin’s’ desperation meant something else, something more, a deeper connection to Baidur, which is how she learned who the wanderer really was.
But, despite the disguise and the seeress’ realization, what the seeress said was actually true.
In deep sorrow, Odin would then return to Asgard, his home and the celestial stronghold of the gods, where he informed all his companions about what he’d learned.
Learning this, Baldur’s mother, Frigg yearned for any possible chance to save her son, and to do this, she went to all the entities throughout the universe/ cosmos, to the living and the non-living, where she even get oaths against harming Baldur. After obtaining the oaths, the gods would then make the situation some kind of fun sport, throwing rocks and sticks, oat Baldur, even laughing at him because everything they threw at him would only bounce off, and Baldur, now, a shining god, wouldn’t be harmed.
Unfortunately, the ever disloyal and wily Loki senses that this would be a great opportunity for him to try something rather mischievous. So, in the most classic Loki-move, Loki disguised himself and reached out to Frigg, asking her if all things had sworn to protect/ spare his son from death. Frigg said yes, but she adds that she took oaths from pretty much all things, save for the Mistletoe. Frigg noted that that the mistletoe was too innocent, small, and harmless, and it felt unnecessary to ask a mistletoe to swear to not kill/ harm her son. Nothing that no harm could come to her son. As soon as Loki heard this, he sprang to action, locating the mistletoe, and carved out a spear of sorts from the mistletoe, and then he brought the mistletoe-turned spear to the new sporting ground for the gods, where Baldur was the star. Here, he approached Hodr, the Old Norse god, and touching his weakest point, noted how Hodr must have been feeling ignored and missing out since he was sitting all the way back and nowhere near the where all the fun was. Of course, the Hodr agreed with Loki, who then handed the god the mistletoe’s shaft. Loki informed him that he’s point his hand toward Baldur, and Hodr would join in on the fun and throw a brand on Baldur. Unknown to Hodr, he’d been handed the mistletoe which he threw towards Baldur. The mistletoe shaft pierced straight through the god, who fell and died instantly.
The gods gathered were dumbstruck, unable to fathom what had just happened. But even in their fear and anguish, they all somehow knew that the death of Baldur was the very first presage to Ragnarok, the beginning of death and the downfall of the gods, and not just for them, but for the entire cosmos they whose maintenance they were in charge of.
Hodr Mythology and Legends
From the story above, Hodr is known as the god that killed Baldur, Odin and Frigg’s son. This happened after he was deceived with Loki during a festival in Asgard where a number of gods were throwing things at Baldur who was at the time, invincible after Frigg has gone all around the cosmos, convincing all living and non-living things not to kill Baldur. Mistletoe is the only thing that has not be approached or made to swear an oath not to harm Odin’s son. So, Loki used this information to convince Hodr to strike Baldur – killing him.
After his win, Loki would then mention to the Magnus Chase about how he gave Hodr the mistletoe dark, guiding his blind hand, and killing Baldur in the process. And despite being tricked, Hodr would be the one responsible for the death of his brother. As a general rule for the gods, the death of Baldur would have to be avenged – Odin did this by tricking a giantess to conceive a child for him. Naturally this child would grow up rapidly, reaching adult age within a day, becoming god Vali. Vali would then journey to Midgard, killing Hodr with an arrow, to mirror Baldur’s death.
The death of Hodr would then signify the darkness’ rule over the light, and the nights would subsequently grow colder and longer, and the sun would fade away each year.
The legend of Hodr has since appeared in the Norse Sagas and Eddas. Under Prose Edda, Hodr is said to be blind but strong. In many related scripts and verses, he was described as the Blind god, the Thrower of the Mistletoe, Baldur’s slayer, Companion of Hel, Son of Odin, and the Foe of Vali.
Hodr Powers and Abilities
Hodr is the only known blind Norse god. His name means warrior, and it’s believed that he’ll be resurrected after Ragnarok by Hel.
Some of his abilities include the fact that he presumably carries all the standard powers of the gods. His other known powers include:
Cryokinesis – Hodr is the god of winter, and it’s said that this god has absolute divine authority and control over the cold and ice. (Think Game of Thrones and the depiction of Hodr).
Umbrakinesis – Hodr is also the god of the darkness, which he has total control and divine authority over.
Seasons’ Alteration – though this power is only limited to Winter, Hodr can control all the elements of the season.