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Proposed merge from Hel (realm)[edit]

I think Hel (realm) should be merged into this article based on a lack of sources to indicate Hel was used to describe a place, and that such a place was in anyway different than Niflheim. If anyone can find any reliable and verifiable sources for keeping Hel (realm), we should kept these two separate, but otherwise they should be merged.
Asatruer— 06:02, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

It is used to describe a place: "But evil men go to Hel and thence down to the Misty Hel [Niflhel]; and that is down in the ninth world." [1] Haukur 08:31, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

The trick with dealing with the Prose Edda is how accurate the source, and since we are dealing with english translations, how accurate the translation. The translation by Rasmus Björn Anderson translates the section you quoted as follows, "The wicked, on the other hand, go to Hel, and from her to Niflhel, that is, down into the ninth world." [1] This is also the same translation used by wikisource. In the full text from Project Gutenberg, there is also an appendix which reports Hel as "The goddess of death; daughter of Loke." with no mention of Hel being a place.

Another source available from Project Gutenberg that was translated by I.A. Blackwell reads as follows, "but the wicked shall go to Hel, and thence to Niflhel, which is below, in the ninth world."[2]

Asatruer— 20:38, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

You can see the (normalized) text of the four original manuscripts here, they're almost exactly the same on this point: "en vándir menn fara til Heljar ok þaðan í Niflhel, þat er niðr í inn níunda heim". Clearly Niflhel is a place so it seems most natural to me to understand Hel as a place name too. Let me check other occurrences too. Haukur 22:06, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
I didn't really address your point on translations - the key words there are 'ok þaðan í Niflhel' which means word-for-word "and thence into Niflhel". Haukur 22:09, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

I can't find any example in Gylfaginning where Hel unambiguously refers to a place. Quite interesting, maybe Snorri didn't think of it that way. Vafþrúðnismál 43 does, though:

nio kom ec heima,
fyr niflhel neðan,
hinig deyia or helio halir.

The construction 'ór helju' = "out of Hel" is unambiguous - the preposition 'ór' can never refer to a person. Haukur 22:19, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Excellent! I checked a couple English translations of that bit and about half of them use Hel while the others use more ambiguous language. By the way, which case is helio / helju?
Asatruer— 01:34, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

It's dative; 'ór' always takes dative.[2] Haukur 07:58, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Someone needs to dig up a copy of HR Ellis Davidson's The Road to Hel: A Study of The Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature. I don't think this is as simple as a possible merger or increased contrast between the two articles. Professor John Lindow of the University of California, Berkeley, states in his book Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs that the original meaning of Hel was probably just "grave" (page 172). He says that Niflheim is "unknown in poetry, but is mentioned several times by Snorri." Niflhel is, on the other hand, found in the poetry. In Vafthrúdnismál, stanza 43, Odin says:

About the runes of the giants and of all the gods
I can tell the truth
Because I have come through each world.
From nine worlds I came below Niflhel:
Thither men die out of Hel.

Lindow continues to state that Niflhel is "some lower version of Hel." Also, he notes that the confusion is due to variation in manuscripts of Snorri's Edda. "Two of the four main manuscripts say... Niflheim, and the other two say... Niflhel." (pages 240-241).

I also dug up a copy of the Poetic Edda, Carolyne Larrington's 1996 translation, published by Oxford World's Classics. When referencing Loki's daughter, she is Hel, and when referencing a domain, it is simply hell. This is a translation, of course, but since it is not Snorri, there is no "Niflheim," that I could find. The above stanza translation, here Larrington writes instead that it is Vafthrudnir speaking stanza 43:

Of the secrets of the giants and of all the gods,
I can tell truly,
for I have been into every world;
nine worlds I have travelled through to Mist-hell,
there men die down out of hell.

These two translations differ, particularly on who is speaking, but they agree on Niflhel, the "mist-" or "fog-hell," not Niflheim, the "mist-" or "fog-world." ...I wish I had a copy of the Poetic Edda, not translated in English. --Trakon 08:38, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Looks like nothing has happened to this page for a while. The sources below seem to be the only legitimate ones, as the main article lists video games. Video games are a recent product of the ideas about the mythology and even if they follow canon, they should not be examples of the canon, at least until the canon is deciphered. I have been loosely following the Hel (realm) page. So far no one else has written anything meaningful. Both of these articles lack hard data and neither of them discuss ambiguities, they only dismiss them. I am sorry, but no mythology pre-1900 is concrete; they are all written from memory after being passed down for generations. Take the Bible. There are many branches from its mythology and these different interpretations have lead to or been part of many different religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc (all of which can be separated even further). I might change my mind on this, but one way to handle the different names for Niflheim and the distinguishing features between it and the nine worlds would be to make them explicitly marked, or to have this article pertain only to the prose and the poems, as Niflheim is not in the poetry.

Also, these articles do not take into account where Balder went when he died. The articles should be contextual. --Trakon 03:12, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


  1. ^ Sturluson, Snorri. Prose Edda (Plain text). translation by Anderson, Rasmus Björn. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2006-11-3.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Sturleson, Snorri; Sigfusson, Saemund. The Elder Eddas of Saemund Sigfusson; and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson (Plain text). translation by Benjamin Thorpe and I.A. Blackwell. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2006-11-3.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help); Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

Contradiction with Hel (realm)[edit]

In the article Niflheim, it says that Hel is located within Niflheim, but on the Hel (realm) article, it says that they are completely different places. This is contradictory information; please verify & fix. --Wykypydya 01:45, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Nephilim Tag Request[edit]

I found this page by accident looking for “Nephilim” (in Jewish tradition the Nephilim were the offspring on angels and humans). It should not harm anything to have the “Did you mean "Nephilim"?” tag at the top of the page. (talk) 03:19, 8 June 2011 (UTC)A REDDSON

Niflheim is similar to Slavic Nav world[edit]

Nav was representing a world of "deceased ones", spirits who are "trapped into the material world" (ghosts) in "hell"(underworld). The cemetery is still called Nav. From the Nav came every year Veles (Taurus constellation) and appeared in the spring. The "9 world of Gods" was playing important role among old pagan Slavs too. The golden haired god Kresnik as an example was playing an important role among Slovenian mythology. The number 9 is among Slavs still called "Devet", which also represents a godly, holy number, and a respectful name for all women (Deve, Devas). There existed a week of 9 days among Balts and Slavs. I think that all these mythologies were related - number 9 was representing something very sacred and holy.

Inhabitants of Niflheim[edit]

I think this section may not be accurate. At the least, it does not agree with other wikipedia articles which cite more sources. After some checking, I think the source for these statements may be a roll-playing game called Blood Brothers [1]

"Two classes of legendary being were often labeled by scholars as the inhabitants of Niflheim — the Hrímthursar, widely known as the Frost Giants (or Rime-Giants) of Norse legend; and the Niflungar ("children of the mist"), a race of treasure-hoarding spirits better remembered as the Nibelungs, the titular creatures in Richard Wagner's opera Der Ring des Nibelungen."

I cannot find another source which names the Frost Giants as "Hrimthursar" except for the Wikipedia article on Hrimthurs [[3]] which I also find suspect. The only mention I can find on other mythology sites for "Hrimthurs" is the name of an individual giant who, with the help of his magical horse, built the walls of Asgard [2]. Based on the he Wikipedia article on Jötunn [3] the proper name for Frost Giants is "Jötnar" and they live in Jötunheim rather than Niflheim.

I have a similar objection to the section's definition of Niflungar. Wikipedia's article on Nibelung [4] features a scholarly discussion on possible meanings for the name. It is usually used as a Germanic name for the Burgundian royal family but there is a tradition that it may refer to a race of dwarves. In either case, there is no reputable source I can find that supports a definition of "treasure hoarding spirits" of the idea that these beings live in Niflheim. (talk) 03:39, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

This article is bad at the moment and needs some love; a rewrite would be the best approach. The same goes for our really terrible jötunn article. However, merging it to Hel (location) is not the answer. The website—"Timeless Myths"—you're citing from is also very bad. The solution to this is to simply sit down the usual suspects (the handbooks of Rudolf Simek, John Lindow, and Andy Orchard) and hammer out a better article here. I've got some other projects on the burner here, but I might be able to step in and clean this up. :bloodofox: (talk) 17:30, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Request for Edit[edit]

Greetings, I was actually looking for information on "Niflheim", an otome mobile app game when I found this page. Which is cool and all, but I felt that at the least, there could be a mention of the game on the page? The background information here really made the game click, since Niflheim is the realm in which the game takes place, only it feels more like an underworld instead of an ice world.

The app is available in the Google Play Store for free, and is one of many "Shall We Date?" otome games.

I hope you'll consider the addition, perhaps in a popular culture section as had been done with some other articles in this section. :)

Thank you for the information, and all the best! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:21, 5 February 2015 (UTC)

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