Jormungand - the Midgard Serpent

artistic representation of midgard serpent Jormungand norse of norse mythology

Jormungand, pronounced “Your-mun-gand”, which translates from old Norse to “great beast” is also known as the Midgard serpent, is a dragon or snake-like monster who lives in the ocean of Midgard. He is thought to be so enormous that his body forms a complete circle around all of Midgard. It is prophesised that should it ever release its tail from its jaw, this will bring about the destruction of Midgard. Jormungand is one of three children of Loki and Angrbroda, a giantess. His siblings are Hel, the goddess of the underworld and Fenrir, the giant ravenous wolf.

The thunder god, Thor is Jormungand’s nemesis. They battled twice and have been recorded in the Eddas (a collection of medieval Icelandic literature). In the first encounter, Thor is fishing for Jormungand, but fails to pull it from the ocean due to the giant Hymir intervening and severing the fishing line, as he his terrified that this will bring about Ragnarok. The second encounter is said to take place when Ragnarok does eventually arrive, where both Thor and the serpent are destined to slay each other.