The Nine Realms

The First Level

Asgard – Asgard is the home of the Aesir Gods and sits in the uppermost branches of Yggdrasil. The Aesir are Gods of the Sky and these battle Gods consider themselves monarchs of the nine realms and guardians of Midgard.

Principal Gods are Odin, (The All Father); his queen Frigg (Goddess of Marriage); Thor (God of Thunder); Baldr (God of Light & Beauty) and Tyr (God of War & Law).

 

Vanaheim – Although the Vanir Gods of Vanaheim are a peaceful race of the Sea and Earth, they not to be underestimated as they are masters of magic and sorcery and thus extremely powerful.

There are three principal Vanir Gods; Njord (God of Sea and Winds) and his beautiful twins; Freyja (Goddess of Love and Beauty) and Freyr (God of Fertility and Farming). Freyr is also the ruler and protector of Alfheim.

 

Alfheim – Home to the Ljósálfar, the beautiful light elves. Typically of fair skin and golden hair, the light elves are happy, playful and mischievous. Their personalities are enthused by their passion for the arts, always singing, dancing and making music.

The Second Level

Midgard – Middle Earth. Home to humans, who are unaware of the protection by Asgard, a duty undertaken personally by Thor.

 

Svartalfheim – The dark elves reside underground in Svartalfheim as sunlight will turn them to stone. The opposite in appearance and nature to the light elves, Svartalfar have black hair and a malevolent streak. Venturing out only during the night, some are known as ‘mares’ for they seek to sit on the chest of a sleeper and whisper nightmares.

 

Jötunheim – Realm of the Giants. The land giants live in the dense forests and mountainous regions. They vary in size and appearance and can be a mixture of races. Some are troll like, and some are beautiful. Whereas the formidable Ice Giants reside within the City of Utgard.

 

Nidavellir – Resembling the Svartalfar, the dwarfs also live underground but at worse are bothersome and mischievous. The dwarfs are highly skilled craftsmen and makers of many of the treasures and weapons for the Gods: Mjöllnir, the famed hammer of Thor; Skidbladnir, Freyr’s ship and Freyja’s necklace, Brisingamen, amongst them.

 

The Third Level

Muspelheim – The first realm to be created and totally impassable to foreigners due to the heat and flames. Sworn enemies of Asgard, the Fire Giants are ruled by Surt who awaits with his flaming to sword to lead the sons of Muspell into battle.

 

Niflheim/Helheim – Is the land & realm of the dead, the ice cold, misty underworld of the nine realms. The Goddess Hel rules there with her pet hound, Garm and chooses the fate of all souls

 

Also important in the Norse Universe:

Yggdrasil – The ash tree which is central in the Norse universe. Its branches spread into each of the nine worlds of the Norse cosmos, also known as The World Tree or Tree of Life, Yggdrasil has three main roots, each one extending into one of the three levels, nourished by a well.

 

Bifrost – The bridge which connects earth (Midgard) to the sky (Asgard). Although it has the appearance of a rainbow, it has only three colours – red (fire), blue (air) and green (water). Unwanted visitors from other realms may not cross the bridge.

 

Heimdall – The golden toothed watchman. Also known as the white god because of his appearance. Heimdall resides beside the Bifrost in his hall, Himinbjorg, along with his horn, Gjallarhorn, which when blown can be heard in all worlds.

 

The Wells – There are three wells, one in each of the levels which waters the roots of Yggdrasil.

The Well of Urd is in Asgard and is protected by three Norn maidens. It is the Well of Fate. The Gods meet there each day for council.

The Frost Giants of Utgard guard the second well, the Well of Mimir is full of wisdom and intelligence.

In the underworld of Niflheim is the third well, Hvergelmir (Roaring Kettle) where the root of Yggdrasil is gnawed upon by the mighty serpent Nidhogg.

 

Norns (The Fates) – Norns are able to determine the fate of all beings within the nine realms. The three Norn sisters who live in the hall beside the Well of Urd are: Urd (Fate), Verdandi (Becoming) and Skuld (Obligation). In simple terms: Past, Present and Future.

 

Loki – Although Loki is known as the God of Mischief, he is no God but a master of disguise, a trickster who cannot be trusted. He has an unpredictable nature, sometimes a foe and sometimes a friend to the Gods.

 

The Nine Realms are split into three levels, each residing within the branches of

The World Tree, Yggdrasil.