When the world settles into the cold brittle grip of winter it’s easy to imagine a realm of frost and ice. I live in an area that experiences four distinct seasons, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like to reside in a climate where winter holds dominion most of the year. It’s a place I might like to visit under the right circumstances, but definitely not somewhere I’d want to have make a permanent address. I’m much more of a tropical girl. Yet when December snuggles in, moon rise comes earlier and the mercury plummets, I start thinking of snow and ice.
Roll back the curtain to early Scandinavia when the first cosmic beings crawled from the ether. Among them was Ymir, father to the Frost Giants, also known as the Jotnar. Creatures who opposed the gods, these formidable beings had hair, beards and fingernails hewn from ice. Their eyes burned with glacial fire, and when they spoke, ice particles spewed from their mouths.
Despite their ongoing conflict with the gods, Frost Giants were related to them through numerous marriages. Some legends say that Odin, god of the Norse, was the great-grandson of Ymir. This, however, didn’t stop him from waging war against them. The battles were long and bloody with casualties on both sides.
In the end the gods were victorious, but even then they couldn’t destroy the race. A married couple among the Frost Giants managed to flee by sailing away on a sea of blood. They escaped to the Baltic where they gave birth to a new generation. Although these new Frost Giants thrived for a time, they ultimately perished in a final battle against the gods bringing an end to their race. Now, they are only than a memory.
Or are they?
When winter is brutal, punishing us with a deluge of cold and ice, I sometimes wonder if a shadow of the Frost Giants doesn’t still exist. In a time when we’re getting ready to bid goodbye to an old year and usher in a new, it might be good to recall some of our forgotten legends…
If only for sharing around a warm fire. 🙂