Nidhogg, le serpent de l'arbre monde

Nidhogg, the snake of the world tree


Before reading this article, I strongly advise you to start by reading the one about Yggdrasil, the tree of life. It is a huge ash tree that carries the 9 worlds in the Nordic mythology. Discover the meaning of Yggdrasil by reading this article.

Nidhogg is a serpent dragon that gnaws on one of the roots ofYggdrasil, the tree of life in Norse mythology. It is considered very powerful, malevolent and evil, with legendary physical strength and gigantic size. It is also mentioned that Nidhogg chews the corpses of murderers and oath breakers in Nastrond. This is how the Vikings discovered Nidhogg, seeing him devouring the most heinous criminals who end up in the Underworld, hence his name which means "smiter of malice" or "one who strikes with malice" in Old Norse.



The Serpent Dragon lives in the centre of Niflheim, in the famous Hvergelmir, one of the three major springs at the root of Yggdrasil. Several other serpents as well as the sons of Nidhogg dwell at Hvergelmir, as mentioned in the Prose Edda. Nidhogg's plan is to destroy the World Tree, for he knows that the destruction of Yggdrasil will mark the end of the Gods. If the mythical tree falls, the Nordic cosmos will fall back into chaos. There is also the idea that the roots of Yggdrasil keep the Dragon trapped until the era of Ragnarok. The prophecy says that by the time of Ragnarok, the serpent will be free again and the giants will attack the Norse gods.

There is also another interesting story about Nidhogg found in the Poetic Edda. While the Dragon snake resides at the bottom ofYggdrasil, a symbol for the Vikings. A wise eagle lives at the top of the world-tree. Ratatoskr, the cunning squirrel, knowing that the Nidhogg and the wise eagle despise each other, amuses himself by climbing up and down the tree spreading his lies between them, inventing insults that the other would have said. In the story, it is mentioned that one day Nidhogg felt very offended and, after swearing to kill the eagle, he shook the foundations of the mythical tree to the point of shaking the entire Nine Worlds and freeing himself from the roots of Yggdrasil. The release of the Dragon and the shaking of the Nine Worlds are considered two important signs of the coming of Ragnarok.

bracelet tete de dragon


The myth of Nidhogg and his legendary nature still inspire many artists to tell his story in books, films, illustrations and more. Nidhogg appears in several video games such as Age of Mythology, Ragnarok Online, World of Warcraft and the dedicated fencing game named Nidhogg, released in 2014. He also appears in fantasy books and the Marvel movie Captain America: The First Avenger.

Pause your playback to listen to this video about Nidhogg.


Thank you for reading, it's a pleasure to write for Odin's Hall, the leading brand in accessories from Norse mythology.

You can visit our collections to find a jewel representing the dragon serpent Nidhogg.

You can continue your reading with other Viking stories, discover the story of Sleipnir the eight-legged horse of Odin for example.


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
You have successfully registered!
This email has been saved