Gods Of Iceland: Baldr, The Really Hot & Perfect One

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Words byIona Rangeley-Wilson; Photo by18th Century Icelandic Manuscript

Superpowers: Really hot, has a big ship, really hot, did I mention he’s hot?
Weaknesses: Mistletoe, obviously.
Modern Analogue: Annoyingly handsome privileged frat boy who you can’t even hate because he’s nice.

Baldr was the god of beauty, light, purity, joy, and basically every other positive adjective you will never come close to being described as. And no wonder: he was the son of Odin, the supreme deity, and a goddess named Frigg. He could literally wander around Asgard saying, “My father will hear about this!” whenever anyone pissed him off, except he didn’t even do that because he was notoriously pure of heart. He’s perfect and we have to like him? Eugh, get out of here!

We wouldn’t be the first to have this reaction to Mr. Oh-So-Perfect. He wound Loki up the wrong way, too, particularly when Frigg started going on about how Baldr could probably kill him with his bare hands if he wanted to in the Völuspá:

“You know, if I had a son

like Baldr, sitting here

with me in Aegir’s hall,

in the presence of these gods,

I declare you would never come out

alive, you’d be killed shortly.”

And supposedly Baldr was invincible too because Frigg had extracted an oath from every object on Earth not to harm her son. Sometimes the gods would chuck knives and arrows at him just for the chat, like rugby lads playfully wrestling each other outside the pub. And Baldr would like, literally not even feel it, bro.

Only Frigg had forgotten to extract an oath from mistletoe. When Loki heard this, he made a dart out of it and got Baldr’s blind twin brother, Hodr, to launch it into Baldr’s chest, killing him instantly. Serves him right for being such a hot nerd, I guess.Baldr

‘Each arrow overshot his head’ (1902) by Elmer Boyd Smith

This article was originally published in Reykjavik Grapevine on Oct. 21, 2020.

Published by Jules William Press

Jules William Press is a small press devoted to publishing the best about the Viking Age, Old Norse, and the Atlantic and Northern European regions. Jules William Press was founded in 2013 to address the needs of modern students, teachers, and self-learners for accessible and affordable Old Norse texts. JWP began by publishing our Viking Language Series, which provides a modern course in Old Norse, with exercises and grammar that anyone can understand. This spirit motivates all of our publications, as we expand our catalogue to include Viking archaeology and history, as well as Scandinavian historical fiction and our Saga Series.

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