Regarded as the bodiless god of wisdom, Mimir is one of the popular and well-known gods in Norse Mythology. It’s said that Mimir, also called Mim transcends Odin’s powers. And he is acknowledged throughout the recordings of Norse Mythology as the people’s oracular heads, and more specifically, who the two main races, the Aesir gods and the Vanir gods, sought knowledge and wisdom from. Mimir also stands out in this mythological world for the active role he played while Odin reined and before Ragnarok, where Odin would visit Mimir to learn more and to gain more power over runes. This is the most important part of Mimir’s story, and it’s been highlighted and referred to quite a lot by both historians and philologists.
But this is not all that Mimir is known for, and though his association with Odin is a big deal in this part of the world, and he is said to have been quite impactful thanks to his exquisite wisdom. Also he’s associated with Yggdrasil’s at the foot of the renowned Tree of Life, the life, adventures, and escapades of Mimir all began even before Odin’s visit to him.
Mimir is known as the god that Odin would go to for knowledge about all the different world secrets. With this in mind, there is no doubt that Mimir was the wisest of all the gods recorded in Norse Mythology. He is known for his great deal of knowledge and the fact that his knowledge is believed to have been even higher than Odin’s.
According to Norse mythology, Mimir’s the wisest of the Norse gods, and his name means memory or the rememberer, which clearly indicates the vast knowledge that Mimir had. The son of jotünn Bölþorn, Mimir also had a sibling known as Bestla, married to Borr. He was, however, beheaded by Vanir after the Aesir-Vanir war, where his body was left in the wilderness to rot. His head would then be sent out to Odin, who tried to preserve Mimir’s head by embalming it. Odin used special herbs, even as he chanted some of the Old Norse magical songs called the Seiðrhljóð. Odin did not, however, attach Mimir’s body to the embalmed head, and this allowed him to successfully preserve the head. By doing this, Odin was able to draw back Mimir’s life force into his decapitated body, and he got to hold Mimir’s hands once again.
After getting Mimir back, Odin took him back to Asgard to his hall, where Mimir ended up guarding his own well known as the Mímisbrunnr. He’s spent countless hours going back with Mimir’s head in his hands, and Odin would always ask him for his wise counsel. This goes to show just how much Odin respected or even revered Mimir, he valued the friendship they shared, and as a result, they’d engage in long, intellectual talks, in pursuit of as much knowledge about the world as he could find,
Besides Mimir, Odin’s hunger for knowledge is the reason why he sought counsel from the other wise god known as Völva, who, in foresight, told him about Ragnarok and how there would be a lot of pain in the future.
With Odin’s thirst for knowledge and the fact that he needed to know more, all the time, and fast, he one day made up his mind, went down to the Mímisbrunnr, and asked if he’d drink from the well. Since this was a very special well that held a vast amount of knowledge, drinking from this well directly would mean that Odin gains an enormous amount of knowledge from Mimir.
But Wise Mimir wouldn’t allow Odin to just drink from the well, at least not without getting something nice in return – and even though he was Odin’s uncle. So, for Odin to be allowed to drink from this well of knowledge, Odin would have to sacrifice his right eye, which would be thrown to the bottom of the well.
It’s important to note that before his decapitation, Mimir was one of the most respected Aesir gods. The other notable thing about the life of Mimir is that as Odin’s uncle – this makes a lot of sense now because of how Mimir was considered to be of great value that he’d be traded to Vanir where he was to be held as a hostage, in a bid to secure peace when the two tribes were at war with each other. For this to happen, Mimir, and also for Odin’s brother, Hoenir, would be traded for Freya, Freyr, and Njörðr.
Myths about Mimir
There are two main myths about Mimir; the first is that of Mimir, the wise counsel for Odin – the mountain giant that guarded his sacred well of knowledge well, and a wise god whose beheaded statue would stand for long that it started growing, and eventually turned into a mountain. It is believed that Mimir would bear the entire Kjolen mountains on his shoulders, and it is believed that he still is the guardian of that living stone to date. Over the years, there has been artwork made showing him as the living statue that was carved from this huge mountain and the Well of Wisdom welling from his mouth.
Then there is the other myth that portrays Mimir as this tragic figure that lived during the Old Norse period. According to this myth, as is ascribed in Edda Prose among other ancient recordings and accreditations, Mimir was Bestla’s brother. Bestla is, according to Norse Mythology, a frost-giantess that gave birth to the gods of Odin, Ve, and Vili. And Mimir was the selected guardian/ keeper of the second sacred, well known as Yggdrasil. This is a well that springs from the roots of the incredible World Tree or the Tree of Life – this tree arise at Jotunheim, and the well was the Well of Wisdom. Anyone who would drink from this well would gain immense mental powers, knowledge, and wisdom. When Mimir’s sister got married to the Aesir tribe, Mimir would also be welcome there. This story is what Mimir is really known for – but it’s followed by his tragic death and decapitation by the Vanir, who were very much dissatisfied with the hostages’ exchange between the tribe, as mentioned above. Odin would then save his head to gain wisdom, later creating the well of wisdom Mimirsbrunnr and giving up an eye to drink from the well, which explains why Odin was one-eyed.
Mimir god of war
While he’s known as the smartest man alive and subsequently nicknamed Head by Kratos, Mimir is regarded as the most knowledgeable Norse god to have ever lived. He was both knowledgeable and very wise, and this earned him a seat as Odin’s Advisor. He was also an ambassador for the Aesir gods; this was up until his imprisonment by Odin 109 years ago. But besides his wisdom, Mimir is also acknowledged as the tritagonist in the God of War (from 2018).
In accounts of Mimir as the god of war, Mimir, who hailed from a faraway land, was the Faerie king’s unofficial jester and the errand boy. He and the fairies were frequently nicknamed the Goodfellow’s, and they would talk among the mortals, sowings seeds of mischief for as long as the lord was amused – and they would always be spared the consequences. But after some time, Mimir’s king had grown weary of their antics, and Mimir was forced to leave.
Mimir traveled North, and after many years of travel, Mimir ended up in the Nine Realms where he learned about Odin, the AllFather, and the King of Aesir. Mimir was determined to prove his worth, and he approached him, giving him wise counsel and the Mímisbrunnr, the mystical knowledge well – but it’s said that the water from this well was, in fact, a hallucinogenic from powerful mushrooms – powerful enough to make Odin see visions. Given the powerful effects of the water, Odin had to tear out one of his eyes to be able to imbibe in the drink. Mimir would then be appointed head counsel to Odin. Over the years, Mimir would work on establishing peace between the realms in a bid to help avert Ragnarok. The advice only led to many more wars, unfortunately, with both sides left devastated. Mimir then suggested a truce – Odin was to marry Freya, daughter to Vanir, who was Odin’s deadliest enemy. This ended the war, but the two only got married after a lot of convincing.
With the passage of time, Mimir would befriend the giants from Jotunheim, and the giants bestowed him with the Bifrost crystals for his eyes. He even got them to get him crystals in his breasts.
Unfortunately, Mimir’s actions and all the time he spent traveling made Odin paranoid, especially because the rivalry between the tribes never really ended. That and his obsession with the prophesies, as well as letting Thor (his son) go out on a killing spree on giants, made things worse, especially because he suspected that Mimir was in cahoots with the giants. Odin then punished Mimir by imprisoning him in Midgard on the highest peak. He was bound to a tree that was also indestructible, even to Thor’s hammer. Odin also removed his bejeweled eye, stopping him from being able to travel across realms. These made Mimir learn that Odin had never really been drugged or fooled from the well incident; Odin would then go on to torture Mimir by himself, on a daily basis, to the point that Mimir yearned for his death.
Later, he’s visited by Kratos and his son Atreus, and Kratos kills him, albeit temporarily. However, he still takes them to Niflheim as they search for a cure.
Mimir is regarded as well-mannered and kind, and he is even cheery, save for his witty and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor. Even after he was beheaded, Mimir would still try to make the best out of the situation, even noting that he was finding the state he was in better than being imprisoned.
He is also quite knowledgeable and wise and knows a lot about the nine realms, monsters, deities, civilizations, and the popular figures in Norse mythology. And as some form of camaraderie to Kratos along with his son Atreus, Mimir always ended his phrases with the word brother – he’d even call Atreus ‘lad’ or ‘little brother.’ And because of his place and choice of words, perhaps even mannerisms, Mimir becomes the balancing force for the two as they travel. Here, he is emotionally sensitive and also insightful, and very aware. His awareness is noticeable when he instantly recognizes the dark changes in Atreus after learning of his godly heritage. He then goes on to instill the ideals of gods like Tyr to Atreus, encouraging and teaching him about being able to use one’s powers for good and with great wisdom. He’s also a very loyal ally.
But he’s imperfect and is quite angry and resentful towards Aesir gods – Thor and Odin. He is quite humble, though.
Mimir Powers and Abilities
- He boasts superhuman intelligence – which is why of all the names that stand out in Norse Mythology, his stands out as it’s associated with his intelligence and wisdom.
- He also had magic (crystal) eyes that gave him the power to travel through the Nine realms and to reveal secrets of far-off places.
- He also has superhuman durability, thanks to a very strong body structure compared to that of mortals – he was injured and decapitated, but he didn’t die.
- He can also breathe underwater, as was evident when he was decapitated. Perhaps this has to do with him not having lungs.