The more monstrous members of Norse Mythology have been enjoying increased curiosity among horror fans recently, thanks to the appearance of a terrifying Jötunn in the supernatural survival shocker The Ritual (now streaming on Netflix). The creature is unique, but there are other nerve-shredding sub-deities populating the lore of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. We’ve seen examples in Trollhunter and Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.
Related Article: “The Ritual” (Now on Netflix) Is the First Truly Excellent Horror Movie of 2018!
Our friends at WatchMojo recently assembled a video Top 10 List of the coolest creatures of Norse Mythology. Get ready for an introduction to the likes of Draugar, Fossegrimen, Sleipnir, Ratatoskr, and many others! After watching, let us know which creatures you found most terrifying and/or intriguing in the Comments section!
If you can’t stream, the 10 creepiest creatures are listed below the video, along with descriptions courtesy of online encyclopedias of Norse Mythology. Enjoy!
Official Synopsis: Norse gods—like Thor, Loki, Frigga, and Odin—are cool, but some of the classic Norse mythological creatures can be even cooler. From legendary monsters, recognizable fairytale creatures, and some classic creatures you didn’t realize were Scandinavian, this list looks at them all. This WatchMojo list will be counting down the coolest creatures from Norse mythology.
The draugr, also called draug, dréag, draugar; draugur, dreygur, or draugen, is an undead creature from Norse mythology. The Old Norse meanings of the word are revenant, undead man, and ghost. Draugr live in their graves, often guarding treasure buried with them in their burial mound. They are reanimated corpses – unlike ghosts, they have a corporeal body with similar, physical abilities as possessed in life. (Source)
In Scandinavian folklore, the fossegrim, also known simply as the grim (Norwegian) or Strömkarlen (Swedish), is a water spirit or troll who plays the fiddle, especially the Hardanger fiddle, and can be induced to teach the skill. The fossegrim is described as an exceptionally talented fiddler: the sounds of forest, wind and water play over his fiddle strings. The Swedish strömkarl’s lay is said to have eleven variations, the final one being reserved for the night spirits because when it is played, “tables and benches, cup and can, gray-beards and grandmothers, blind and lame, even babes in the cradle” will begin to dance. (Source)
Sleipnir is an eight-legged stallion. He is the son of Loki (in the guise of a mare) and Svadilfari the stallion, but loyal to Odin. Sleipnir was sometimes said to have six legs with a foot in all of the worlds, and sometimes said to have a normal amount of feet. Sleipnir was, however, usually considered to be very strong and be able to travel between the worlds fairly easily. (Source)
In Norse mythology, Ratatoskr (Old Norse, generally considered to mean “drill-tooth” or “bore-tooth”) is a squirrel who runs up and down the world tree Yggdrasil to carry messages between the eagle and the hawk Veðrfölnir, perched atop Yggdrasil, and the dragon Níðhöggr, who dwells beneath one of the three roots of the tree. Ratatoskr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. (Source)
A Jötunn, some times anglicized as Jotun (pronounced yōtən), plural: jötnar or Jotnar, is a giant in Norse mythology, a member of a race of nature spirits with superhuman strength, described as standing in opposition to the races of Æsir and Vanir, although they frequently mingled with or were even married to these. Their otherworldly homeland is Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse cosmology, separated from Midgard, the world of humans, by high mountains or dense forests. Other place names are also associated with them, including Niflheimr, Utgarðr and Járnviðr. In some legends and myths they are described as having the same height as humans. (Source)
Related Article: (SPOILERS) Jötunn: The Monster of “The Ritual” Explained
Dwarfs (or the more common and modern version Dwarves) are creatures from Germanic mythologies, fairy tales, fantasy fiction, and role-playing games. They are highly skilled craftsmen and worshipers of Thor often in some myths. They are often depicted as being ugly as opposed to their craftsmenship being seen as great. (Source)
A Troll is a fearsome member of a mythical race from Norse mythology, and later English folklore. Originally more or less the Nordic equivalents of giants, although often smaller in size, the different depictions have come to range from the fiendish giants – similar to the ogres of England (also called Trolls at times, see Troller’s Gill) – to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living underground in hills, caves or mounds. In the Faroe islands, Orkney and Shetland tales, trolls are called trows, adopted from the Norse language when these islands were settled by Vikings. (Source)
The Krakens are aquatic monsters that originated from Norse mythology and have been said to dwell off the shores of Norway and Greenland. They are often depicted as gigantic octopi (or sometimes squids) that attack sailing ships. It is said that the Kraken would surface at Ragnarök. The Kraken legends and lore have been believed to have originated from giant squid sightings. Though giant squids live at great depths, they reportedly have attacked ships on the surface. (Source)
Fenrir is a giant wolf in Norse mythology. Other names for him include Hróðvitnir (“fame-wolf”), Fenrisúlfr (“Fenris wolf”), Vánagandr (“Monster of the Van river”) and Fenris. Fenrir is the son of Loki and Angrboda and the brother of Jörmungandr (the Midgard Serpent) and Hel. He is the father of Skoll and Hati (who are surnamed Hroðvitnisson), who will chase the sun and moon respectively until Ragnarök, when they will catch up to and devour their targets. (Source)
In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr (Old Norse: Jǫrmungandr, pronounced [ˈjɔrmuŋɡandr̥], meaning “huge monster”), often written as Jormungand, or Jörmungand and also known as the Midgard Serpent (Old Norse: Miðgarðsormr), or World Serpent, is a sea serpent, the middle child of the giantess Angrboða and Loki. According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki’s three children by Angrboða—the wolf Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungandr—and tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so large that it was able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail. As a result, it received the name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When it releases its tail, Ragnarök will begin. Jörmungandr’s arch-enemy is the thunder-god, Thor. It is an example of an ouroboros. (Source)
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