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Known As The “Mother Of Monsters,” She Was A Key Figure In Norse Mythology Believed To Be Able To Shape-Shift Into Animals

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In the centuries before Christianity became widespread, Norse mythology was filled with stories of deities that the people of northern Europe worshipped. Many of the narratives centered around the jötnar, a race of shape-shifting, supernatural giants, and their interactions with the gods.

One key figure in these myths was the giantess Angrboda. She was a female jötunn who could transform into animals and was considered “the mother of monsters.”

Her name means “the one who brings grief,” “she who offers sorrow,” or “harm-bidder” in Old Norse. She was mentioned only once in a collection of Old Norse poems called Poetica Edda, so not much is known about her.

However, the text did note that she was the lover of Loki, the trickster god, and they had three children together who were said to be the downfall of the world, causing an apocalyptic event referred to as Ragnarök.

Many experts believe that the story of Angrboda was created in the 12th century C.E., making it relatively modern.

According to legend, Angrboda had three children with Loki—Fenrir the wolf, Jörmungandr the serpent, and Hel, the goddess of the underworld. These monsters would bring about the end of the world.

In Norse mythology, the universe was divided into nine different realms. The gods and the jötnar represented order and chaos. When Angrboda and Loki got together, Odin, the All-Father of the Norse gods, was not pleased. Loki was already on shaky ground with the gods, and his partnership with the giantess did not help matters.

There was a prophecy that their children would spark an apocalypse, dooming the nine realms forever. It was said that Fenrir would eat the sun and swallow Odin during Ragnarök. Out of fear, Odin instructed the gods to capture Angrboda’s three children. They were split up and banished to three different realms.

Hel was left in the icy realm of Niflheim, where old and sick men were usually sent. Later on, she provided her father, Loki, with an army of the dead as he battled against the gods. Jörmungandr was thrown into the sea.

shatkhin – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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