The guardian of the gods, Heimdall was born of nine sisters.
Can you imagine the guilt trips from his mothers? Ugh. Or his Dad saying, “ask your mother” and young Heimdall thinking “sh!t, which one?”
Exactly who his mothers were is unclear — they could have been Aegir’s nine daughters, but that doesn’t agree with other accounts that say the nine were Jotunn women. I prefer the Aegir’s daughter’s explanation; it’s simpler.
In the Voluspa and Rigsthula, Heimdall is called Rigr and was said to be the father of all mankind. Which is inconsistent with other accounts that have Odin, Lodur and Hoenir performing a similar function.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that Heimdall guarded the Bifrost and that his senses (sight and hearing) are exceptional and that his abilities had a big impact on how my Jotunn society developed. Here are some of his other attributes:
- His home is Himinbjor, which is near the bridge.
- According to Simek, Heimdall may mean “the one who illuminates the world.”
- His teeth are made of gold, so he’s sometimes called Gullintanni (Goldtooth).
- Snorri calls him the “white As” (“As” meaning god or Aesir; I can’t help but think of the donkey…b/c I’m 12.)
- His horse is Gulltopr (Goldmane) and his sword is called Hofud (man’s head).
- It is likely that Heimdall was associated with the ram (the animal). The ram was a common sacrificial animal among the Germanic peoples.
- Heimdall winds the Gjallarhorn, which can be heard throughout the world, to warn the gods that Ragnarok had begun. He uses his horn at the end of my first book ( but it’s not Ragnarok).
This myths also have Heimdall and Loki battling each other and — spoiler! — killing each other during Ragnarok. I leave the original reasons for this antipathy obscure (it runs through at least one other myth), but I do refer to a conflict in which Loki stole Freyja’s Brisingamen (a bejeweled gold necklace).
In my book, Heimdall had a bit of a crush on Freyja, which she always thought was rather sweet. So, he used his amazing senses, found her necklace and its thief, beating the snot out of Loki in the process (they were both shapechanged into seals at the time).* Later, Loki had himself a double serving of cold revenge.
In my books, Heimdall is a non-POV character. He is present in multiple scenes, but is not quite the “god” described in the myths. Not yet. The antipathy between him and Loki also plays out “on stage” during Book 2 (which is not Ragnarok).
I ignore his portrayal as Rigr, the father of thralls, karls and jarls. But, I’m thinking there’ll be a fun opportunity in a future book to introduce that idea.
And, yes, the title is a reference to Rockwell — classic 80s music.
*Much of the Heimdall vs. Loki story is pulled from a reference in the Skaldskaparmal portion of the Prose Edda.