Saxo’s version (12th c.)

Snorri’s version, Gylfaginnung 49-50. (ca. 1220)


Balder tells of ‘perilous dreams’ of his death

Balder is a champion warrior, 

guarded by Valkyries, and made invincible, with venomed food

Aesir demand that all things be harmless to B, and mother Frigg takes oaths of all, ‘iron and stone, earth and tree, illness and venomed serpents’, etc.


They make a game of it at the Thing: ‘some shoot …hack, beat with stones’; with no harm done.


Loki is jealous and pries the secret out of Frigg, that harmless mistletoe was unsworn.

Hoder is a warrior (sighted), rival for Nanna. H learns of a magic sword held by ‘satyr’ Mimingus. With this he fights Balder; victory goes to one and then the other; Nanna chooses Hoder.

Loki takes the mistletoe to Hoder (the blind god) and urges him to join the fun: Hoder shoots the mistletoe at Balder (with Loki guiding it) and kills Balder.


Hermod,  at urging of Frigg and father Odin,  takes Sleipnir and rids to Hel,  to plead for Balder back.

Balder dying is carried about in covered wagon (like Freyr?).

But is finally, fatally wounded with Hoder’s magic sword. He dreams of Hel, a dream of doom. He is buried in a great mound.

Meanwhile  Balder is burned at sea (giantess Hyrroking launches the boat?). His wife Nanna is laid on the pyre; pyre is hallowed by Mjollnir (of course).

Odin gives Draupnir. Balder’s horse also is given to the flames.   All the gods ‘of all races’ attend.


Hermod rides 9 nights, to Hel-gate, where he found Balder sitting in the hall (apparently with Nanna beside him). Hermod pleads that all the gods are weeping, but Hel insists on a test: All must weep (without exception).  Hermod returns with this message.


Aesir send word that all must weep, ‘and all men did this, and quick things, and the earth, and stones, and trees, and all metals’. But the giantess Thökk/Loki said,Let Hel hold what she has!’

Odin plots vengeance on Hoder fathers another son (Boe) to be the avenger.

Aesir pursue Loki.  Kvasir discovers the pattern of a net in ashes of the fire,  and concludes that Loki has taken the form of a fish. They make a net on that pattern and use it to catch Loki.  Loki very nearly leaps out of the net, but Thor catches him by the tail.



(No obvious link to WorldsEnd?)

Loki is imprisoned in a cave with his 3 sons; one of the sons is turned into a wolf and he tears into another; from which the Aesir take the entrails (intestines) and tie to Loki to 3 stones. Skadi fastens a serpent above him, dripping its venom at his face (Sigyn holds a basin to catch what she can, but the rest makes Loki writhe causing earthquakes).


And thus he suffers until Ragnarok(r).