Myth Monday: The Lay of Thrym – Thor is the Bride

*All direct quotes are italicized and taken from Thorpe’s translation of The Poetic Edda.

The Lay of Thrym: Thor is the Bride

One morning, Thor woke and found his hammer missing. The first thing he said was to Loki “Hear now, Loki, what I now say, which no one knows anywhere on earth, nor in heaven above; the As’s hammer is stolen”. The two went to Freyja and asked to borrow her feathered garment so that they could find the missing hammer. Freyja agreed and Loki flew out to Jotunheim. He found Thrym, Lord of the Thursars, sitting on a mound plaiting gold bands and smoothing his horses’ manes. He asked Loki “How goes the Aesir and the Alfar? Why have you come to Jotunheim alone?” Loki replied it is not well with the Aesir and asked Thrym if he had hidden Thor’s hammer. Thrym replied “I have Hlorridi’s hammer hidden eight rasts beneath the earth; it shall no man get again, unless he bring me Freyja to wife”. So Loki flew back to the courts of the Aesir and told Thor what he discovered. “I have had labour and success: Thrym has thy hammer, the Thursar’s Lord”. And he told him what Thrym said about only giving the hammer back if Freyja is brought to him for a wife. He went to Freyja and told her to put on a bride’s clothes and ride with him to Jotunheim. Freyja was so angered by this that the hall beneath her trembled and her famous necklace shivered and flew. So the Aesir immediately held council to determine what to do. Then Heimdall suggested they send Thor dressed as bride and to let him wear Fryeja’s necklace, and place stones on his breast and go pretend to be Freyja to get the hammer back. Thor said he would not do that because the Aesir would think he was womanish if he wore bride’s clothing. But Loki told him that the Jotun would take Asgard if he didn’t get his hammer back. So they dressed Thor in the bridal raiment and the necklace and Loki said he would dress as a servant-maid and go with him to help. As the two headed toward Jotunheim, Thrym told the other Jotun to deck the hall with decorations because Freyja was coming to marry him. He said he had many treasures, and many necklaces, and Freyja alone is all he lacked. Thor and Loki arrived early in the evening and the Jotun were served their beer. Then Thor, still disguised as Freyja, ate a whole ox, eight salmon, all the sweet meats given to women, and drank three salds of meade. Thrym asked about this voracious appetite so unusual for a woman. But Loki, still dressed as the serving-maid told Thrym “Freyja has not eaten for eight nights because she was so eager to come to Jotunheim”. Then Thrym peaked through the veil to salute Freyja but jumped back exclaiming “Why are her eyes so piercing? I believe fire burns from them”. But again, crafty Loki answered saying that Freyja had also not slept in those eight nights either because of her eagerness. Eventually, the time came for the wedding to take place. Thrym demanded, “Bring the hammer in, the bride to consecrate; lay Miollnir on the maiden’s knee; unite us each with other by the hand of Vor”. Then Thor’s soul laughed when he recognized his hammer. “He first slew Thrym, the Thursar’s lord, and the Jotun’s race all crushed;” the he slew Thrym’s aged sister. And that is how Thor got back his hammer. 

Thoughts: In this tale, 1) Thrym is referred to as the Lord of Thurs and the Jotun. But other places in the lore have named other Jotun as the essential king of the Jotun such as Thiassi, and Utgard-Loki. But not all the Jotun named as Lords in the various tales were necessarily related. This makes me wonder, what is the process of determining who takes over when one “Lord” of the Jotun is killed or dies?  2) Many people tell this story as part of Loki’s craftiness and how he came up with the idea. However, the myth tells us it was Heimdall that came up with it and Loki just offered help. So what is the reason people make this a Loki story? 3) What did it mean when it said he crushed all the Jotun’s race? We know there are still plenty of Jotun still left after that, so was this meaning that specific Jotun’s bloodline finishing off Thrym’s line? 

As always, feel free to discuss and comment and I will respond as able. That’s all for now. See you soon.

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