Hel, Goddess of the Underworld: Her kingdom and role in Norse mythology

Nordic mythology, with its fascinating pantheon and epic tales, has always aroused curiosity and admiration. At the heart of these tales lies Hel, the goddess of the Underworld, ruling over a realm as mysterious as it is dark. This article delves into the icy depths of Helheim to explore the life, realm and importance of this powerful deity.

Norse Mythology

Before exploring Hel's domain, let's take a look at the fertile ground from which she emerges - Norse mythology.

  • Sources and ancient texts : The Eddas and sagas are our main pillars, literary treasures that link us to ancient Scandinavian beliefs.
  • Nordic pantheon and cosmology**: A rich array of gods and goddesses, and a universe structured into nine worlds around the cosmic tree Yggdrasil.
  • The afterlife in Norse belief**: Unlike the monotheistic heavens, the Old Norse had several destinations after death, Helheim being one of them.

Hel's origins and family

Hel has its roots in a family as illustrious as it is infamous.

  • Birth and kinship**: Daughter of the mischievous Loki and the giantess Angrboda, Hel comes from a line of power and fearsome reputation.
  • Monstrous brothers**: Her brothers, the wolf Fenrir and the serpent Jörmungandr, are just as famous in Scandinavian mythology.
  • Hel's description in ancient texts**: Often described as a figure divided between life and death, Hel's representation mirrors his kingdom.
  • Signification of the name "Hel ": Her very name evokes obscure connotations, referring to both her person and her infernal realm.

The Kingdom of Hel

Helheim is much more than a resting place for the dead.

  • Description of Helheim**: Nestled among the nine worlds of Yggdrasil, this icy territory reflects the essence of its mistress.
  • Geographical features: A snowy wasteland, where rivers run in inky black and light is a memory.
  • Kingdom residents**: Helheim is not for honored warriors, but for those who have met a more ordinary end.
  • Hel's creatures and servants: From Garm, the fierce dog, to the silent but faithful handmaidens, these are the goddess's devoted companions.

Hel's Role in Nordic Mythology and Beliefs

Hel plays a pivotal role in the legends that weave the fabric of Nordic culture .

  • Hel in myths and legends: From her judgment on souls to her intervention in Baldr's tragic story, Hel is a key player in ancestral tales.
  • The fate of the dead**: Every soul passed before her, and she alone decided their final fate.
  • The symbolism of death and rebirth: Far from being solely dark, she also represents transformation and the cycle of life.

From classic canvas to modern screens, Hel has inspired artists and captured the popular imagination.

  • Artistic representations: Throughout history, her image has evolved, but always retained a fascinating aspect.
  • Hel in modern literature and popular culture:
  • Literature: Many authors have drawn on the echo of its tales to weave new stories.
  • Movies and TV series** : The image of Hel and his kingdom has often been reinterpreted on the big and small screens.
  • Video games and comics**: From menacing presence to narrative force, Hel continues to reign in various forms of entertainment.


Nordic mythology, with its complex characters and interconnected worlds, is a vibrant testament to the human imagination. Hel, the goddess of the Underworld, remains an emblematic figure in this tradition, symbolizing both death and change. Her legacy lives on, not only in mythological studies, but also in our popular culture .


In keeping with good SEO practice, we invite you to consult the Eddas and sagas for an in-depth knowledge of Hel and the Scandinavian mythology. For a playful exploration, modern literature and current media offer fascinating interpretations of this ancient goddess and her continuing influence.