Does Loki Die in Norse Mythology? Get the Facts


In some cultures, gods are omnipotent, eternal beings who can’t be hurt, don’t age, and will never die; the gods in Norse mythology aren’t like that at all. It’s true that they don’t age (except for once, when they temporarily lost the source of their eternal youth), but they can certainly die.

Loki does not die in Norse mythology, even though he is fated to die at the hand of Heimdallr. But according to Norse beliefs, that hasn’t happened yet. The myths say that the two will fight during the giant battle of Ragnarok at the end of this age, and will kill each other.

This article will examine Loki’s fate in the days leading up to Ragnarok. It’ll also outline the end of his story and his battle with Heimdallr.

Loki Norse god
Why Was Loki Tortured and How? See below

Who Imprisoned Loki?

Several of the Aesir played a part in imprisoning Loki. After Loki fled Asgard, far-seeing Odin told the gods where to find him. Thor caught him, and the gods dragged him to a cave and imprisoned him. After he was bound, the giantess Skadi placed a poisonous snake above his head for extra torment.

Although many of the Norse myths contradict themselves on specific points, the story of Loki’s imprisonment is relatively consistent throughout all the different retellings of it.

According to Nordic beliefs, Loki is still bound within that same cave today. 

Furthermore, any time there’s an earthquake, Norse mythology claims it’s Loki shaking and creating tremors throughout Midgard (Earth). He’ll wait, bound in the cave, until Ragnarok.

Why Was Loki Tortured and How?

The gods imprisoned and tortured Loki after he caused the death of Baldr, prevented the Aesir from rescuing Baldr from Hel, and insulted and taunted them one too many times. Using his son’s entrails, they bound Loki to three rocks and placed a poisonous snake above him to drip venom into his face.

Although he didn’t always mean to do so, Loki was constantly causing chaos, turmoil, mischief, and destruction in Asgard. Several gods had threatened to kill him at various times for the tricks he’d played on them and the trouble he’d caused.

However, it wasn’t until after Loki, perhaps purposefully, perhaps not, caused the death of Baldr that the gods decided they’d had enough of him.

But exactly what role did Loki play in beloved Baldr’s death?

The Death of Baldr

Baldr was one of the most well-loved of all the gods, and by most accounts, he was also Odin’s favorite son. When he was born, his mother, Frigg, loved him so much that she made every god, mountain, animal, tree, and stone vow never to harm him.

She didn’t make the mistletoe swear the oath, however, claiming, “It seemed to me too young to swear.” [1]

Loki found out that mistletoe was the only thing that could hurt Baldr and waited for a time to use that knowledge against him. Because Baldr was practically invincible, the Aesir loved to throw things at him that would kill other men, such as stones, spears, or knives. It was one of their favorite games. 

Because he was blind, Baldr’s brother, Hodr, didn’t join in on the fun. One day, Loki asked Hodr if he wouldn’t like to play, as well. When Hodr said yes, Loki placed a sharpened piece of mistletoe in his hand and helped him aim it at Baldr. 

Hodr threw the mistletoe, thinking it would bounce off Baldr like everything else. It didn’t; it struck him in the chest and killed him.

How does Loki’s story end? See below (image: Baldur)

Insult to Injury

Loki then added to his misdeeds by ensuring the gods couldn’t retrieve Baldr from Hel

Finally, after a particularly nasty banquet where Loki insulted, mocked, and taunted the gods, the Aesir had had enough. Knowing he’d gone too far, Loki fled Asgard, but he wouldn’t escape.

They eventually caught him, and his punishment was severe.

They turned one of his two sons, Vali, into a wolf, which promptly attacked and killed his other son, Narfi. The gods then used Narfi’s entrails to bind Loki to three stones and placed a venomous snake above him to drip poison onto his head. 

His wife, Sigyn, stayed with him, holding a bowl above his head to catch as much venom as possible, but eventually, she’d have to leave to empty the bowl. Whenever she would, the snake would drop its poison into Loki’s face, scalding him. 

He would scream, jerk, and shake the world, which is, according to Norse mythology, what causes earthquakes. 

What Is the End of Loki’s Story in Norse Mythology?

Loki won’t die until he can witness the total destruction of the world. Once he does, he’ll perish, and his story will end. He’ll have no part to play in the “new world.” Loki will remain bound in the cave, Sigyn by his side, until Ragnarok.

When Ragnarok, or the Twilight of the Gods, starts, Loki will break out of his bindings, as will his wolf son Fenrir. Loki’s other son, Jormungandr, the Midgard Serpent, will rise from the ocean’s depths to fight, as well.

Odin will pull his warriors from Valhalla to fight beside him and the rest of the Aesir. 

With his sons, Loki will lead an army of Hel’s dead, frost giants, and the fire giant, Surtr, to fight against the forces of Asgard.

Heimdallr will blow his trumpet to signal the beginning of the battle; then he’ll come down to fight with Odin and the rest of the Aesir. Most of the gods, including Thor, Odin, Frey, and others, will die during the battle. 

Heimdallr and Loki will fight to the death, each dealing the other a mortal wound. 

Rebirth of the Gods

All the gods will die except for the following:

  • Vidar: Odin’s son
  • Vali: Odin’s son
  • Hoenir: One of the older Aesir, companion to Odin and possibly Loki
  • Magni: Thor’s son
  • Modi: Thor’s son
  • Njord: A Vanir, father of Frey and Freya
  • Sol: Sol’s daughter 

Magni, and perhaps Modi, will inherit Mjolnir and be able to use it as Thor did. 

Sol, daughter of Sol, will take over her mother’s duties and light the new world. Hod and Baldr will be reborn, and together, all the surviving gods will travel to a new place called Idavoll, which is described as a paradise.

Two humans, Lif and Lifthrasir, will also survive Ragnarok and will eventually repopulate the Earth.

Final Thoughts

Loki is the god of chaos, but his mischief and misdeeds will finally catch up with him. His story will end with imprisonment and death.

References:
[1] Source
[2] Source
[3] Source

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