7 Weapons Mentioned in Norse Mythology

Anyone who knows anything about the Vikings knows they used spears, axes, swords, and shields. What about the weapons in Norse mythology, though?

Were the weapons of the gods and heroes similar to those that actual Vikings used in combat?

Here are seven weapons mentioned in Norse mythology:

  1. Mjolnir
  2. Gungnir
  3. Freyr’s sword
  4. Hofud
  5. The mistletoe dart
  6. Lævateinn
  7. Gram

This article will explore these seven weapons, explaining their background and how the gods used them. It will also include several other powerful items in Norse mythology and their significance.

Also, see 7 Norse Tattoos to Avoid to learn more.

weapons Norse mythology
What is the Gungnir? See below

1. Mjolnir

Mjolnir is probably the most well-known weapon in all of Norse mythology. Even those who’ve never picked up a single book on the subject are familiar with it, thanks primarily to Marvel’s Thor and Avengers movies.

Mjolnir is Thor’s magical hammer, created for him by the dwarven brothers Brokkr and Sindri. [1]

Loki tricked the dwarves into making the hammer for Thor after he enraged Thor by cutting off his wife’s hair. 

The hammer is so heavy that Thor needs a belt of strength and special gloves to hold it, and it’s the most potent weapon against giants that the Asgardians have.

However, Thor can also use it to bestow divine blessings on others and to revive the magical goats that pull his chariot. 

2. Gungnir

Odin’s spear, Gungnir, isn’t as famous as Mjolnir, but many people still know of it. Loki also commissioned this spear from dwarves as penance for cutting off Sif’s hair.

He went to a different set of dwarves to make it, however. 

For this spear, Loki visited the sons of Ivaldi, who forged three items in total for him:

  • Gungnir
  • A new head of golden hair for Sif
  • Skidbladnir (Frey’s ship) 

The spear features engraved runes on its tip, imbuing it with magical powers. [2] When Odin throws it, it always strikes and kills its target.

Odin also hurls it over fighting armies as a way of giving glory to himself.

Also, see Norse Gods and Greek Gods Compared to learn more.

Norse weapon
What is the Hofud? See below

3. Freyr’s Sword

The Vanir god Freyr once owned the world’s most powerful sword, called only ‘The Sword of Freyr.’ However, according to Norse myths, he gave it away in an ill-fated act of love, which is why he died at Ragnarok. [3] This story appears in the Skírnismál.

Searching for his lost sister, Freyr ascended Hlidskjalf to sit in Odin’s high seat and look over the world.

While there, he saw and immediately fell in love with a beautiful giantess named Gerda. He sent a man named Skirnir to the giantess’ home to ask her father if he could marry her.

The man agreed to go in exchange for Freyr’s magic sword, which Freyr happily gave.

Freyr married the giantess. However, according to the myths, when Ragnarok comes, he will die because he gave up the only weapon he had capable of killing the giants.

4. Hofud

Hofud, or Hǫfuð, is the sword belonging to the god Heimdallr. The name translates to ‘man-head,’ and the weapon appears in chapter 26 of the Gylfaginning.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Heimdallr uses the sword to open and close the Bifrost. 

However, in Norse mythology, little is known about it. Some sources speculate that Heimdallr can draw energy from it, but that’s not necessarily made clear in the Eddas.

It is, however, likely the weapon he will use to kill Loki during Ragnarok. 

5. The Mistletoe Dart

Loki’s mistletoe dart is often overlooked in lists of powerful weapons of Norse mythology. However, it played a crucial role in some of the key Norse stories.

According to legend, Baldr, the son of Frigg and Odin, was beloved by everyone and everything in the nine realms. 

Except for Loki, of course.

Fearing that she would lose Baldr, his mother, Frigg, went around the world and made every single thing vow never to hurt him.

The mistletoe, though, was a young, inconsequential tree, so she didn’t stop to get its promise. Loki, discovering this oversight, created a dart from mistletoe.

A popular game among the Aesir was to throw axes, knives, and other weapons at Baldr and watch them bounce off him, leaving him unharmed.

Loki gave the mistletoe dart to Baldr’s blind brother Hodr and told him to join in on the fun and throw it at Baldr. 

Hodr did, and the mistletoe killed Baldr instantly. This event is the triggering one for Ragnarok, making the mistletoe dart a significant weapon indeed.

Also, see Norse Mythology and Christianity Compared to learn more.

Norse weapons
What is the Gram? See below

6. Lævateinn

Like Hofud, Lævateinn is another largely unknown weapon in Norse mythology.

Scholars and avid readers know the name but don’t know much about it. In fact, people aren’t even sure what it is. 

Some call it a wand; others a dart or arrow. It’s mentioned briefly in the saga Fjölsvinnsmál, which claims it was created by and belongs to Loki.

It’s also the only weapon capable of killing Víðópnir, the bird that sits on top of Yggdrasil. 

Unfortunately, Loki doesn’t carry the weapon. Instead, it was taken from him and remained locked away in Hel.

The sagas are unclear whether he will retrieve and use it to kill Víðópnir. 

7. Gram

Unlike all the other weapons on this list, Gram (literally ‘wrath’) doesn’t belong to a Norse god. Instead, it’s the sword of one of the Vikings’ greatest heroes, Sigurd, the dragon slayer.

Initially, Odin gave the shining, golden blade to Sigurd’s father, Sigmund.

However, Odin also broke the weapon when he sided with Sigmund’s opponent in Sigmund’s last battle. 

Later, Sigurd receives Gram, still in pieces, from his mother and has a blacksmith reforge it for him.

He then uses it to kill the dragon Fafnir with a single strike and kills his father’s enemies to avenge his death. [4]

When Sigurd and his wife die, the sword burns with them on their funeral pyre.

Other Significant Items in Norse Mythology

While not necessarily weapons, there are also plenty of other significant items in Norse mythology. Many of them were so special that they even had names. Some of the most important of these include:

  • Skidbladnir: Frey’s magical ship that could fold up small enough to fit in his pocket
  • Gleipnir: A powerful chain forged by dwarves to bind Fenrir until Ragnarok
  • Draupnir: Odin’s magical arm ring (or ring) that drops eight new golden rings every ninth night
  • Andvaranaut: A ring just like Draupnir; however, this one is cursed
  • Vidar’s Shoes: Powerful boots made from discarded leather that will allow Vidar to kill Fenris at Ragnarok
  • Gjallarhorn: The horn of Heimdallr that he’ll use to alert the nine realms when Ragnarok begins
  • Gullinbursti: Freyr’s golden boar that glows in the dark
  • Brisingamen: Freya’s golden, flaming necklace
  • Megingjörð: Thor’s belt of strength
  • Járnglófar: Thor’s gloves (or gauntlets)

Also, see Does Marvel Own Norse Mythology? to learn more.

[1] Source
[2] Source
[3] Source
[4] Source

Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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