Kaldheim; Behind the Myths, part 2

Welcome back everyone. I trust you have been enjoying all the wonderful previews Kaldheim has to offer and are already hard at work trying to find a home for all those new cards. And while yes, I’m excited to brew some more decks and go wild on the next few Commander ideas I have swimming around the old noggin, I am more excited by all the sweat Norse inspired lore this set is presenting us. So today I wanted to dive back into the myths behind these new cards and explore the wonderful inspiration behind this new set.

So, let’s not waste any time and jump right to it.

The World Serpent

Let’s start things of with another of Loki’s monstrous children, with the tale of Jörmungandr. The inspiration for Koma, Cosmos Serpent, Jörmungandr (also known as the Midgard Serpent) was a sea serpent and child of the giantess Angrboða and Loki. According to the Prose Edda (a manuscript and primary source for all our knowledge on Norse mythology) Odin took Jörmungandr and tossed him into the great ocean.. There he grew so large that he was able to surround the Earth and grasp its own tail. It was foretold that when Jörmungandr releases its tail, Ragnarök will begin, and the great serpent would battle with its archenemy, Thor.

However, Jörmungandr had many encounters with the god of thunder before this prophesied day, leading to some pretty epic tales. In one such story, Thor encounters the giant king Útgarða-Loki (no relation) and has to perform deeds in order to dine in his great hall. One of these tasks was a challenge of Thor’s strength, and Útgarða-Loki goads Thor into lifting colossal cat. Thor grabs the cat around the middle of its belly but is unable to lift the beast, although he does manage to raise the cat high enough so that one of its paws is lifted from off the floor. The cat however was actually Jörmungandr in disguise, and Útgarða-Loki reveals that if Thor had lifted it any higher, he could have broken the cosmos.

In another tale, Thor was fishing with the giant Hymir (anyone else notice that Thor likes hanging out with a lot of Giants?) and in a show of bravado accidently catches Jörmungandr. Fearing for his life, Hymir cuts the line before Thor can strike the beast, and it returns to its resting place at the bottom of the ocean. Will Koma, Cosmos Serpent be involved in similar tales in Kaldheim? We will have to wait and see.

A Weapon Fit for a God

Let’s continue with our favourite God of Thunder, and talk a bit more out Thor. Or more precisely, his hammer Mjölnir. As you would expect, Kaldhelm has a mythical hammer wielded by a god in the form of Toralf, God of Fury/Toralf’s Hammer. However, I would say that the tale of Mjölnir is far better represented with Sword of the Realms Sure, Toralf is literally Thor with his belt of strength and short handled hammer that can be thrown at your enemies. But if you look at the tale of Mjölnir creation, it lines up far closer with the events depicted in the saga’s The Trickster-God’s Heist and Forging the Tyrite Sword. 

As the story goes, Mjölnir was one of several iconic objects central to Norse mythology that were created by the dwarfs. You see, Loki (yet again trying to cause as much bother as he could) cut off the hair of the goddess Sif because he got bored one afternoon. There was only one problem with this cunning plan to sow mischief. Sif ways Thor’s wife. Upon hearing about this, Thor threatens to break every bone in Loki’s body. Been quite fond of his bones, Loki pleads to Thor and swears that he will have the dwarfs fashion a new head of hair for Sif out of gold. Loki is able to fulfil his promise to Thor as the Dwarfs forge not only a new head of hair for Sif, but also two other marvels in the ship Skíðblaðnir (which could fold up and fit in your pocket) and the spear Gungnir.

However, Loki doesn’t know how to quite while he is ahead and makes a bet with the dwarf Brokkr on whether his brother Sindri could make three more objects even more impressive than these. What is worst, Loki offers his head in the bet for some reason. Loki, unsurprisingly tries to cheat and transforms into a fly, biting at the dwarfs as they work. This causes them to make a slight mistake while making the third item, which is why Mjölnir has such a short handle. They then present these gifts to the gods, including a self-duplicating ring named Draupnir (which has also turned up recently as a card) and a marvellous golden boar.

The gods all agree that the dwarfs had out done themselves, and that they had won the beat. However, when they tried to take Loki’s head, he argued that he didn’t say anything about his neck. Unable to claim their prize without harming his neck, the dwarfs stitched Loki’s lips together as a comprises.

Given that Forging the Tyrite Sword show the creation of such a weapon, and The Trickster-God’s Heist depicts a trickster god deceiving the dwarfs as they create the Sword of the Realms, it’s not hard to see the inspiration the design team drew from. I can’t wait to see what other treasures we get out of Kaldheim in the next couple of days.

And that about does it for today lore dive. What do you think about Kaldheim so far? Please let me know in the comments below, and while you’re there you could like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.

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