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For every hero, a thousand cowards. For every brave death, a thousand senseless ones. For every einherjeri . . . a thousand souls who enter my realm.

–Hel to Magnus Chase in, The Sword of Summer.

Hel (Hela in other versions) is the Norse goddess of the dishonorable dead. She is the daughter of Loki and Angrboða and the sister of Fenrir and Jormungand, as well as the half-sister of Sleipnir, Alex Fierro and Samirah al-Abbas. Hel also was the mother of Hladgunnr.

History

Birth

Hel was one of three children born to Loki and Angrboða. As the children's birth were one of the catalysts for Ragnarök, she and her brothers were placed under careful watch, with Hel becoming queen of the dishonorable dead.

Death of Balder

After the death of Baldr at her father's hands, she agreed to resurrect him only if all living things cried for the fallen god. All but a giantess (Loki in disguise) did not weep for him, so he will stay dead until Ragnarök.[1]

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

The Sword of Summer

Loki gives Magnus Chase a vision of Bunker Hill, where he meets Hel. While there, she tells the son of Frey that he can have his mother back if he abandoned his quest. However, Magnus refuses her offer and threatens to cut her in two if they ever met again. She then turns into snow and vanishes.

The Ship of the Dead

When Magnus, Sam, and Alex tried to approach Naglfar, Hel opens a hole that leads to Helheim. She torments them with the voices of deceased family. The voices of his mother and uncle lure towards Magnus to the hole, though he is stopped by Alex. She mentions that Hel inflicted her with her grandfather's and school friend's voice.

At the end of the book, Magnus decides that he has to eventually journey down to Helheim, to see what happened to his mother for himself.

9 from the Nine Worlds

Just Another Decapitated Head

Hel is mentioned as the mother of Hladgunnr. Hladgunnr used to be a Valkyrie, but was too much like her grandfather, Loki. This meant she was too mischievous. She once led Ratatosk to the Great Hall in Valhalla, which cause quite a commotion. The mead was spoiled for weeks because of Ratatosk's insults. It is eventually revealed that Hladgunnr was really Utgard-Loki the entire time. The latter reveals that Hladgunnr did come to him after she was kicked out, and told him all the mischievous stuff she did. She ended up dying, but Utgard-Loki promised her he would embarrass Odin for her.

Nice Doggy

Thomas Jefferson Jr. first witnesses Hel threatening his mother in a dream. Once he arrives at Helheim, she explains that Garm has run off. Since the Hellhound and T.J.'s father Tyr, are destined to kill each other at Ragnarök, Hel wants him to find the dog lest his mother be tortured. With the help of Balder, T.J. succeeds in luring Garm back to its cave, Hel transports T.J. back to Hotel Valhalla after Balder got his arrow back. She says his mother is safe and may even grant him permission to visit her from time to time, T.J. is glad and he asks her to go to Helheim.

Appearance

Hel

The left side of Hel's body and face is described as "heart-achingly beautiful, about twenty-five years old, with her ermine cloak shimmering like a snowdrift rippling in the wind." She has long dark hair and pale elven skin. The right side, however, is terrifying - withered skin, a skeletal hand, and leg, patches of blue ice covering decayed flesh, membrane-thin lips over rotten teeth, a milky-white eye and tufts of desiccated hair like black spider webs. She has a milky zombie gaze, which Magnus finds very unnerving.

Personality

Her half-sister, Samirah, describes Hel as even more deceitful than their father, Loki. She also appears to take pity on those in her realm. In Magnus's vision, Hel is described to be cold inside and out, and extremely bitter.

Abilities

Hel presumably possesses the standard powers of a goddess.

  • Cryokinesis: As her world is cold and ice ridden, she may have control over ice and the cold.
    • Snow Mimicry: She is able to turn into a flurry of snow, as she did when leaving Magnus.
  • Necromancy: As the Goddess of the Dishonorable Dead, she has control over her subjects.
  • Charmspeak (probably limited): Like her father and brothers, Hel can be much persuasive to manipulate persons and possible control them, like she tried to make with Magnus' in The Sword of Summer.
  • Portal Creation (presumably): It can be implied that Hel was the one who created the hole/portal to Helheim near the Naglfar since it is her realm.

Trivia

  • Hel's Greco-Roman equivalent is Hades/Pluto.
  • Her Egyptian equivalent is Osiris.
  • Her name Hel means "hidden".
    • Her name was also adopted by the Christians to refer to their inferno, Hell.
    • Interestingly, the Old Norse word for "rime" or "hoarfrost" is Héla.
  • Hel's appearance is similar to Melinoe's since one-half of their body is withered and the other half is pale. They also share scope as goddess of ghosts.
  • In some myths she is said to be the mother of Krampus, a horned creature from alpine lore.
  • It is very likely Hel can manipulate her appearance as she is one of Loki's children.

References

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
Core Series: The Sword of Summer | The Hammer of Thor | The Ship of the Dead
Main Characters: Magnus Chase | Alex Fierro | Blitzen | Halfborn Gunderson | Hearthstone | Loki | Mallory Keen | Samirah al-Abbas | Sumarbrander | Thomas Jefferson Jr.
Secondary Characters: Randolph Chase | Gunilla | Natalie Chase | Amir Fadlan | Alderman
Minor Characters: Annabeth Chase | Frederick Chase | Helgi | Hunding | Vala | Junior | Lars Alhstrom | Stanley | Inge | Percy Jackson | Stan | Alviss | Miles | Wildflower | Sunspot | John Henry
Norse Gods: Freya | Thor | Balder | Ullr | Frey | Odin | Heimdall | Vidar | Sif | Frigg | Tyr
Minor Gods: Skírnir | Mimir | Ran | Hod | Hel | Sigyn | Aegir | Nine Billow Maidens | Njord | Kvasir | Holler | Forseti | Glum | Lofn | Sól | Idunn
Jotnar: Surt | Gerd | Norns | Utgard-Loki | Harald | Ymir | Geirrod | Gjalp | Greip | Thrym | Thrynga | Tiny | Little Billy | Hrungnir | Red | Tattoo | Gunlod | Suttung | Baugi | Skadi | Hrym | Eggther | Norns
Monsters: Jormungand | Ratatosk | Vedrfolnir | Nidhogg | Fenris Wolf | Lindworm | Wight | Brunnmigi | Siersgrunnr | Garm
Magical Creatures: Dwarf | Elf | Sleipnir | Stanley | Marvin | Otis | Hulder | Nøkks | Vatnavaettir | Nisser | Troll | Raven | Hugin and Munin
Related Content: Rick Riordan | Hotel Valhalla Guide to the Norse Worlds | 9 from the Nine Worlds
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