April 27, 2021 2 min read

In old Norse mythology, there were nine different worlds (we’ll talk about them in a future story) and many different kinds of creatures or “entities”.

Humans were among those entities as well as the Gods, the dwarfs, the animals, and the Giants!

The giants (also called trolls) were a kind of anti-gods.

One important thing here though is that the Giants were not necessarily “giant”.

The original name is “Jötunn” (meaning “devourer”).

The Giants had the same ancestry as the Gods! And sometimes they were smarter than the Gods.

Some of them were exceedingly beautiful while others were alarmingly grotesque.

Where do they live?

The trolls live in Jotunheim, land of the Jötunn which is one of the nine worlds that are connected to Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life.

Why are they considered anti-Gods?

It’s a representation of the two powers of positive and negative (like the Yin and Yang).

The Gods are the protectors of the civilizations and they want it to prosper and flourish. They are the power of order.

The giants represent darkness and are constantly trying to destroy the world and turn it into chaos.

Sometimes they’re described as “evil” but, actually, that word may be a little bit misleading. The proper word would be chaos. And chaos is not always evil. In fact it’s necessary.

We can see this in the story of creation in Norse mythology; which states that the world (order) was created from the body of Ymir who is one of the Giants. And that’s a deep idea that order emerges from chaos. An idea that we find in many religions and cultures.

A representation of the story of creation in Norse mythology. Odin and his two brothers slaying the Giant Ymir

Moreover, the Gods themselves are part gods, part Giants. Odin himself is half god, half Giant.

And that’s a representation of the importance of having two sides to the self. So one is not naively good nor corruptly bad.

Last but not least, the Gods don’t seek to annihilate the Giants. For they know that existence of chaos is necessary for the balance of the cosmos. What they try to do is to keep them in check.

What happens eventually?

Whenever we use the word “eventually” in Norse mythology, it almost always refers to Ragnarok. So what will happen when Ragnarok comes?

a drawing of the final battle of ragnarok

The Giants will win and will send the world into chaos! But that won’t be the end.

For the world (order) was created from chaos...

And when Ragnarok comes, chaos will prevail and the current order will end...

From the chaos, a new order will be reborn…

And that’s the story of birth, death, and rebirth.

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