Geirrod: Giant That Tried To Kill God Thor But Was Killed Himself

A. Sutherland  - - Thor's and Loki's journey to the giant Geirrod (Geirröd), was described by Eilífr Goðrúnarson, a 10th-century poet, considered to be the author of the poem Thórsdrápa, and also recounted in the 'Skaldskaparmal,' which is the second part of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda.

Geirrod: Giant That Tried To Kill God Thor But Was Killed Himself

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This early and famous poem tells of Thor's visit to the realm of the giant Geirrod and how dangerous this visit was.

It happened one day that Loki wandered around Asgard, and wanted to come up with new tricks.

Finally, he went to Freya, goddess of love, and asked her to lend him her falcon plumage.

"I want to fly to Jotunheim," he explained, "and see what the giants are up against us."

Freya rarely refused anyone any request, and soon Loki flew eastward, towards the country of giants, and approached the Geirrod's abode, where he saw a large hall. He sat down, looked in through the window, and soon attracted the attention of the giant, who ordered one of his servants to catch the bird and give it to him.

However, it was easier said than done. Loki flew around from place to place, and it wasn't easy to come up along the hall wall, so high it was.

Loki was so entertained at the clumsy attempts to catch him, that he, unfortunately, miscalculated his distance, and suddenly found himself a captive.

Captivity Lasted Three Months

Attracted by the bird’s bright eyes, Geirrod looked carefully at it and concluded that it was no real bird but a god in disguise.

As he was unable to force him to speak, he locked him in a cage for three months without food.

Finally, the giant took 'the bird' out again and said to him:

"You can only be free if Thor comes here without his hammer, without his belt of strength and his magic wand.”

Conquered by thirst and hunger, Loki was ready to reveal his identity, and obtained his release. He had not much choice.

“Let me go,” said Loki, “and I’ll convince Thor to come to you, I promise.”

And Geirrod let him go.

Obstacles On The Way To Visit Geirrod

There are no references on how Loki managed to persuade Thor to accompany him to the giant Geirrod, but he did.

The way to Geirrod, one of the strongest and most powerful giants, was dangerous. The mighty sky god Thor had to summon all his powers to cross a raging river, avoid being killed by Geirrod's two fearsome daughters, Gialf and Greip.

Giantess Grid Helped Thor

On the long way to the Geirood’s abode, Thor stopped at the house of Grid, a gigantic woman, mother of Vidar, the Silent. She received the god with frank hospitality but also asked:

“What is the cause of you taking such a long trip?

“I go to the home of the giant Geirrod; but I go without my hammer, without my power belt, and without my magic wand,” Thor explained.

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“You are in great danger if you enter the home of the cunning giant without carrying weapons! Geirrod will take advantage of it and beat you!

Thor desperately needed some weapons, because his dangerous visit in the hall of Geirrod was one big deception prepared by Loki and the giant himself.

According to Snorre Sturluson, the giantess Grid (Gríðr) lent to Thor Gríðarvölr ("Grids stave"); she also gave him her iron gloves and magical belt.

Powerful River Vimur And Furious Geirrod’s Daughter

Thor presently arrived at the banks of a great mythical river called Vimur, across which he was forced to wade. Girdling on his belt, Thor braced himself against the fast river current using the staff, while Loki held fast to the belt. By the time the two reached midstream, the water level was very high and flowed over their shoulders.

Thor’s next fight was Geirrod’s daughter Gjalp, who was responsible for the swelling of the waters. He picked up a boulder from the bed of the stream and threw it at her. The boulder found its mark, and now the current bore him so close to the bank, so he was able to catch hold of mountain ash.

Now he was able to pull himself ashore.

Fight For Survival In The Residence Of Giant Geirrod

Once at the giant's residence, Thor was lodged in a goat-house where there was nothing but a single chair.

Thor sat down in it but soon noticed that it was being raised with him up to the roof. He let all his weight sink slowly into the chair, so it crushed Geirrod's daughters Gjalp and Greip, who had lain beneath the chair.

thor's hammer

Now it was time for Geirrod to meet Thor, the enemy of the giants in a fight. The confrontation between the two of them took place in the hall lit by the light of great burning fires.

Just as Thor passed in front of Geirrod, the Giant picked up with his tongs a glowing bolt of iron and threw it at him. Thor caught it in his iron glove and raised it high up, but Geirrod jumped for refuge behind a pillar.

This maneuver, however, was not good enough. Thor threw the bolt with such tremendous force that it went through the pillar, through the giant Geirrod and the wall.

Then it buried itself in the earth.

Thor killed Geirrod, followed by all other giants he could find, including Geirrod's daughters, Gjalp and Greip.

Written by - A. Sutherland  - Senior Staff Writer

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Baeksted A. Nordiska gudar och hjältar

Sturluson S. The Prose Edda