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Hræsvelgr (Old Norse) is a jötunn in Norse mythology. He is portrayed as the eagle-shaped originator of the wind.[1]


The Old Norse name Hræsvelgr has been translated as 'corpse-swallower',[2][3] or as 'shipwreck-current'.[3]

Hræsvelgr's name is sometimes anglicised as Hraesvelgr, Hresvelgr, Hraesveglur, or Hraesvelg. The common Danish form is Hræsvælg and the common Swedish form is Räsvelg.[citation needed]


In Vafþrúðnismál (The Lay of Vafþrúðnir), Odin questions the wise jötunn Vafþrúðnir about the origin of the wind, and the jötunn answers:[1]

He is called Hræsvelg,
who sits at heaven’s end,
a giant, in the shape of an eagle;
from his wings
they say the wind comes over all people.

— Vafþrúðnismál, 37, trans. J. Lindow, 2002.

This stanza is paraphrased by Snorri Sturluson in Gylfaginning (The Beguiling of Gylfi), when Hárr answers the same question, that time asked by Gangleri (Gylfi in disguise).[3] Snorri adds that Hræsvelgr sits at the north end of heaven, and that winds originate from under his gigantic eagle’s wings when he spreads them for flight.[3]


  1. ^ a b Lindow 2002, p. 181.
  2. ^ Orchard 1997, p. 192.
  3. ^ a b c d Lindow 2002, p. 182.


  • Faulkes, Anthony, trans. (1987). Edda (1995 ed.). Everyman. ISBN 0-460-87616-3.
  • Lindow, John (2002). Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-983969-8.
  • Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-34520-5.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson (1998). "Hræsvelgr, the Wind-Giant, Reinterpreted" in A Piece of Horse Liver: Myth, Ritual and Folklore in Old Icelandic Sources. ISBN 978-9979-54-264-3.