Narfi

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Narfi
Norse mythology character
In-universe information
AliasNörfi
SpeciesJötunn
GenderMale
ChildrenNótt

Narfi, also Nörfi (Old Norse Nǫrfi), Nari or Nörr (Nǫrr), is a jötunn in Norse mythology, and the father of Nótt, the personified night.

Name[edit]

The Old Norse name Nǫrr has been related to the Old Saxon narouua ('night'), a name which occurs in the verse narouua naht an skion of the fragmentary Genesis poem.[n 1] In adjectival form, the Old Norse nǫrr means 'narrow',[1] and the name Nar(f)i may have shared the same meaning.[2]

Thus, the jötunn's name, as first suggested by Adolf Noreen, may be a synonym for "night" or, perhaps more likely, an adjective related to Old English nearwe, "narrow", meaning "closed-in" and thus "oppressive".[3][4][5]

Snorri Sturluson cites Narfi as an alternative form of the name of the jötunn Nörfi, and the variants Nör and Nörvi also appear in Norse poetry.[2]

Attestations[edit]

According to the Gylfaginning section of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, Nótt is the daughter of the jötunn "Nörfi or Narfi".[6][7] However, in the Poetic Edda, Nótt's father is called Nörr (not to be confused with Nór), primarily for reasons of alliteration.[6] This name is only recorded in the dative form Nǫrvi (variant spelling Naurvi).[8]

The name of Nótt's father is recorded in several forms in Old Norse sources:[9]

Theories[edit]

Various scholars have argued that Snorri based his genealogy of Nótt on classical models.[8][10] They relate Narfi to Erebus, which would make nipt Nera, used in "Helgakviða Hundingsbana I" for a Norn who comes in the night, an appellation derived from the Parcae, who were Erebus' daughters.[11]

Legacy[edit]

In "A Great Man's Return", a song on their album Valdr Galga, the Swedish viking metal band Thyrfing refer to "Norve's starfilled sky".[12][13]

In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Part One, The Fellowship of the Ring, the dwarf maker of the Doors of Durin signed them "Narvi"; in drafts, Tolkien spelt the name Narfi as in the Prose Edda.[14][15]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See Behaghel, Otto (1933). Heliand und Genesis p. 245. Not in Old English, an error made in de Vries 1962, pp. 414–415, reproduced in Simek 1996, p. 235.

References[edit]

  1. ^ de Vries 1962, pp. 414–415.
  2. ^ a b Orchard 1997, p. 117.
  3. ^ Sophus Bugge, The Home of the Eddic poems: With Especial Reference to the Helgi-Lays, tr. William Henry Schofield, Grimm library 11, London: Nutt, 1899, OCLC 2857921, p. 99.
  4. ^ Hugo Gering and Barend Symons, Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda, Germanistische Handbibliothek 7(3), Halle: Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 1927, OCLC 277594015, p. 14.
  5. ^ Tette Hofstra, "A note on the 'Darkness of the night' motif in alliterative poetry, and the search for the poet of the Old Saxon Heliand", in Loyal Letters: Studies on Mediaeval Alliterative Poetry & Prose, ed. L. A. J. R. Houwen and A. A. MacDonald, Mediaevalia Groningana 15, Groningen: Egbert Forsten, 1994, ISBN 9789069800752, p. 104.
  6. ^ a b "Nǫrr", Rudolf Simek, tr. Angela Hall, Dictionary of Northern Mythology, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1993, repr. 2000, ISBN 9780859915137, p. 235.
  7. ^ "Nótt (Night)", John Lindow, Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs, Oxford/New York: Oxford University, 2001, ISBN 9780195153828, p. 246.
  8. ^ a b "Nótt", Simek, p. 238.
  9. ^ Viktor Rydberg, Teutonic Mythology: Gods and Goddesses of the Northland, tr. Rasmus B. Anderson, Volume 2, Norroena Anglo-Saxon Classics 4, London/New York: Norroena Society, 1907, OCLC 605631726, p. 611.
  10. ^ Bugge, pp. 100–01.
  11. ^ Bugge, p. 101.
  12. ^ "A Great Man's Return", Metal Kingdom.net.
  13. ^ "A Great Man's Return Lyrics", Lyrics Depot.com.
  14. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, Boston: Mariner / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994, repr. 2012, ISBN 9780547928210, p. 318.
  15. ^ Christopher Tolkien and J. R. R. Tolkien, The treason of Isengard: The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part Two, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989, ISBN 9780395515624, p. 188.

Bibliography[edit]