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In Norse cosmology, Muspelheim (Old Norse: Múspellsheimr), also called Muspell (Old Norse: Múspell), is a realm of fire.

The etymology of "Muspelheim" is uncertain, but may come from Mund-spilli, "world-destroyers", "wreck of the world".[1][2]


Muspelheim is described as a hot and glowing land of fire, home to the fire giants, and guarded by Surtr, with his flaming sword. It is featured in both the creation and destruction stories of Norse myth. According to the Prose Edda, a great time before the earth was made, Niflheim existed. Inside Niflheim was a well called Hvergelmir, from this well flowed numerous streams known as the Élivágar. Their names were Svol, Gunnthro, Form, Finbul, Thul, Slid and Hrid, Sylg and Ylg, Vid, Leipt and Gjoll.[3]

After a time these streams had traveled sufficiently far from their source in Niflheim, that the venom that flowed within them hardened and turned to ice. When this ice eventually settled, rain rose up from it, and froze into rime. This ice then began to layer itself over the primordial void, Ginnungagap. This made the northern portion of Ginungagap thick with ice, and storms begin to form within.

In the southern region of Ginnungagap, however, glowing sparks were still flying out of Muspelheim. When the heat and sparks from Muspelheim met the ice, it began to melt. The sparks would go on to create the Sun, Moon, and stars,[4] and the drops of melted ice would form the primeval being Ymir: "By the might of him who sent the heat, the drops quickened into life and took the likeness of a man, who got the name Ymir. But the Frost giants call him Aurgelmir".[3]

The Prose Edda section Gylfaginning foretells that the sons of Muspell will break the Bifröst bridge as part of the events of Ragnarök:

In the midst of this clash and din the heavens are rent in twain,
and the sons of Muspell come riding through the opening.
Surtr rides first, and before him and after him flames burning fire.
He has a very good sword, which shines brighter than the sun.
As they ride over Bifrost it breaks to pieces, as has before been stated.
The sons of Muspel direct their course to the plain which is called Vigrid ... .
The sons of Muspel have there effulgent bands alone by themselves.

Depictions in popular culture[edit]

Muspelheim – called "Surt's sea of fire" – is mentioned in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Marsh King's Daughter."

Muspelheim appears in different kinds of Marvel Entertainment media.

The game Puzzle & Dragons features a monster entitled Flamedragon Muspelheim and Infernodragon Muspelheim.

In the game God of War, players can travel to Muspelheim where they can complete the six Trials of Muspelheim. When completing each trial, the player will receive rewards and will advance Kratos and Atreus closer to the top of a large volcano.

In the mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes, the land of Muspell is a prevalent part of the game's second book, which heavily features the battle between Muspell and Niflheim.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Tilton, Theodore (1897). The complete Poetical Works of Theodore Tilton in One Volume: With a preface on ballad-making and an appendix on old Norse myths & fables. London, UK: T. Fisher Unwin. p. 705. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
  2. ^ Vigfússon, Guðbrandur; Powell, Frederick York (1883). Corpus Poeticum Boreale: Court poetry. Vol. II. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. p. 471. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
  3. ^ a b Anderson, R.B., ed. (1879). The Prose Edda. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. pp. 16–21.
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of World Religions. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2006. p. 803. ISBN 978-159339266-6.

External links[edit]