Welcome to Kaldheim
With Kaldheim coming out in February, there is lots of be excited about in the world of Magic. Inspired by Norse mythology, Kaldheim mentions the World Tree, Valkyries, and plane shifting Gods. But what exactly do these references mean?
Let’s go over the basics so you can enjoy of the mythological splendors ahead.
The World Tree
In Norse myth, the World Tree (also known as Yggdrasil) is the universe, holding all of the planes of existence. It is prophesied to exist until Ragnarök, the Apocalypse, that shall end the reign of Gods, and all of humanity.
Across the World Tree, there are a total of nine realms that exist – there is Asgard, the land of the Aesir (The Gods); Alfheim, the land of the Bright Elves; Jotunheim, the land of Giants; Nidavellir, the land of Dwarves; Nilfheim, a land of ice and mist; Svartalfheim, the land of Dark Elves; and Vanaheim, the land of the Vanir (More Gods).
I know what some of you are thinking – where is Valhalla? Isn’t that the whole thing for Vikings? All I want to do is scream ‘FOR VALHALLA!’, and you’re telling me I can’t?
Have no fear my ferocious brethren – Valhalla awaits.
Valhalla is not a plane of existence, but instead a mead hall in Asgard, where slain warriors go if they die in battle. The alternative to Valhalla, dying from sickness or any other non-violent, is going to Hel.
No, not Hell. The child of Loki one.
Let me explain.
Hel is one of the three children of Loki. That’s right kids – Tom Hiddleston got it on with a giant and is actually a baby daddy.
In the movie Thor: Ragnarok, Cate Blanchett plays the Marvel interpretation Hela. However, instead of being an Australian warrior woman in black and green spandex, Hel is a giant woman, with the head and torso of her natural form, but her legs nothing but bones and rotting flesh. Being banished from Asgard by Odin, the Father of all Gods, Hel tends to those who died outside of battle. It is not the worst place to go in death, but certainly not the best.
Instead, if you want to make it to that mead hall in Asgard to drink your cares away, you have to die in battle. Only then will you be visited by a Valkyrie.
The Valkyries are, simply put, the most badass angels in mythological history. Loyal servants to Odin, these warrior maidens fly down to capture the souls of those who died in battle in full battle regalia. They are known to smite warriors that they do not favour with ease, and guard heroes and vessels that were important to them.
So, you may be wondering – who else lives in Asgard? Who would you be able to be drinking buddies with after you have your over dramatic, super cool action movie death in the midst of battle?
Norse gods are placed into two different factions – the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir are warriors naturally, able to strike down waves of enemies with ease. The Vanir are innate magical casters, using subtly instead of brute strength.
This distinction means little in the later myths of the Gods but is significant in the beginning. The Aesir and the Vanir began as foes, erupting into full war. Eventually, the Aesir and Vanir grew wary and called for peace. In doing so, each God spat in a cauldron, and thus the God Kvasir was born, the God of Knowledge.
The most famous Gods in Norse mythology will be familiar from the Marvel universe – Thor, Loki, and Odin, the three Gods who would find themselves in trouble the most often in Norse myth.
Some other notable figures include Freya, a witch goddess; Tyr, the god of Justice who lost his right arm to bind the demigod Fenrir; and Hoenir, who was the Odin’s loyal little screw up. He doesn’t have any real divine powers, but always gets himself pulled into Odin’s schemes or adventures. He never does anything or saves anyone – he is there to be captured, or to mess up a plan.
So, if you are ever having a rough go of it, just remember – you’re doing better than Hoenir.
The Rich World of the Gods, Elves, and Valkyries
There is so much left to say about Norse mythology – Ragnarok, the gods travelling to different planes, the apples of Iun – the list is endless. And from this expansive world, Kaldheim is going to give you a taste and explore this endless and beautiful tradition, reminding the world of the magic of the Norse.
So go forth, warrior – seize your weapons, your magics, and claim your seat in Valhalla!
Are there other aspects of Norse myth that I missed in the article that you have spotted in the preview cards? Make sure to comment below your thoughts!
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