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It is believed that Hyrrokkin is featured on the stone DR 284 (Hunnestad 3), depicting an animal ridden by a woman with two snakes in her hands.[1]

Hyrrokkin (Old Norse: [ˈhyrˌrokːenː]) is a female jötunn in Norse mythology. According to 13th-century poet Snorri Sturluson, she launched the largest of all ships at Baldr's funeral after the Æsir gods were unable to budge the vessel.[2][3]

Hyrrokkin was a relatively important figure in the last decades of paganism in Iceland.[4] She appears to be depicted on one of the DR 284 stones from the Hunnestad Monument near Marsvinsholm, Sweden.[1][5]


The Old Norse name Hyrrokkin has been translated as 'fire-withered' or 'fire-steamer'.[6][7] According to linguist Jan de Vries, it is a compound formed with the root hyr- ('fire') attached to hrokkinn ('curly; wrinkle').[8] Scholar John Lindow has proposed the translation 'fire-smoked', perhaps referring to a dark, shrivelled appearance.[9]


Prose Edda[edit]

It is told in Snorri Sturluson's Gylfaginning that at Baldr's funeral his wife Nanna died of grief and was placed alongside him on his pyre, thus joining her husband in Hel. Hringhorni, Baldr's ship, was the largest of all such vessels and was to serve as the god's funeral ship. No one, however, could seem to launch the boat out to sea.

The gods then enlisted the help of Hyrrokkin, who came from Jötunheimr, arriving on a giant wolf with vipers as reins. When she dismounted, Odin summoned four berserkers to look after the animal but they were unable to control it without first rendering it unconscious. With her seismic strength, the giantess rolled the boat into the water. This caused the earth to quake and the rollers to set on fire, which angered Thor. He was about to kill Hyrrokkin with his hammer Mjöllnir, but the other gods insisted that he spare her.

Hyrrokkin by Ludwig Pietsch (1865)

She is also mentioned in a list of troll women by an anonymous skald:[12]

Gjölp, Hyrrokkin,
Gneip ok Gnepja,
Geysa, Hála,
Hörn ok Hrúga,
Harðgreip, Forað,
Hryðja, Hveðra
ok Hölgabrúðr.

Skaldic poetry[edit]

The late 10th-century skald Þorbjörn dísarskáld, in two preserved fragments of the Skáldskaparmál (4) addressed directly to Thor, mentions Hyrrokkin among the jötnar killed by the thunder-god at Baldur's funeral:[3]

Ball í Keilu kolli,
Kjallandi brauzt þú alla,
áðr draptu Lút ok Leiða,
léztu dreyra Búseyru;
heftir þú Hengjankjöftu,
Hyrrokkin dó fyrri;
þó var snemr in sáma
Svívör numin lífi.

Guðni Jónsson's edition[13]

Thou didst smite the head of Keila,
Smash Kjallandi altogether,
Ere thou slewest Lútr and Leidi,
Didst spill the blood of Búseyra;
Didst hold back Hengjankjapta,
Hyrrokkin died before;
Yet sooner in like fashion
Svívör from life was taken.

Brodeur's translation (1923)[14]

[Mjöllnir] struck on Keila's skull,
Kjallandi you battered in full;
Lút and Leida you'd already killed,
Búseyra's blood you let flow;
Hengjankjapta you finished off,
Hyrrokkin died at an earlier stage,
and similarly Svívör, earlier still,
was likewise deprived of her life.

Andy Orchard's translation (1997)[15]

Hyrrokkin pushes the ship, angering Thor. Illustration by Emil Doepler, c. 1905.

The poem Húsdrápa ('House-Lay'), composed by Úlfr Uggason around 985 AD in western Iceland and partially preserved in the Prose Edda, also appears to refer to Hyrrokkin at Baldr's funeral: "The very powerful Hild of the mountains [giantess][a] caused the sea-Sleipnir [ship] to lumber forward, but the wielders of the helmet flames [warriors] of Hropt [Odin] felled her mount."[4]

In popular culture[edit]

Hyrokkin is featured in the 2020 video game, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, during the missions taking place in Jötunheimr. The missions being merely vision interpretations of the fictional precursor race, the Isu's history, an equivalence is made to Juno, who was mentioned in Assassin's Creed II but made her first appearance in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Price, Neil (2006). "What's in a Name? An Archeological Identity Crisis for the Norse Gods (and Some of their Friends)". In Andrén, Anders; Jennbert, Kristina; et al. (eds.). Old Norse Religion in Long-Term Perspectives: Origins, Changes, and Interactions. Lund: Nordic Academic Press. p. 181. ISBN 91-89116-81-X.
  2. ^ Orchard 1997, p. 95.
  3. ^ a b Lindow 2001, p. 196.
  4. ^ a b Lindow 2001, p. 197.
  5. ^ "Hyrrokkin". web.telia.com. Archived from the original on 2006-05-04. Retrieved 2023-11-30.
  6. ^ de Vries 1962, p. 276.
  7. ^ Orchard 1997, pp. 95, 194.
  8. ^ de Vries 1962, p. 259, 275–276.
  9. ^ Lindow 2001, pp. 196–197.
  10. ^ http://wayback.vefsafn.is/wayback/20070508133411/http://www.heimskringla.no/original/snorre/index.php [bare URL]
  11. ^
  12. ^ "skaldic poetry project". University of Sydney. Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2023-11-30.
  13. ^ http://wayback.vefsafn.is/wayback/20070508133411/http://www.heimskringla.no/original/snorre/index.php [bare URL]
  14. ^ "Skáldskaparmal XI-XX". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08.
  15. ^ Orchard 1997, p. 164.


  1. ^ Hild or Hildr in this context is simply a kenning for 'giantess' generally and Hyrrokkin specifically.

Works cited[edit]

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