Svartalfheim/Nidavellir : Le Royaume des Nains dans la Mythologie Nordique

Svartalfheim/Nidavellir: The Kingdom of the Dwarves in Norse Mythology

In the mythology, the dwarves all dwell in Nidavellir and Svartalfheim . Although, more often than not, these two worlds are considered one and the same. Nidavellir can literally be translated as "dark fields", due to its underground location. This is also how the world of the dwarves is described in the Völuspa.

What do we know about Nidavellir, the world of the dwarves?

Nidavellir the world of dwarves

There are very few texts about Nidavellir, although the exploits of the dwarves are told many times. It is therefore difficult to say what the world of dwarfs could look like in Norse mythology . The only thing we really know for sure is that Nidavellir is below Midgard, and above Helheim . You can find more information about this in our article on the 9 Norse Worlds .

Some say that Nidavellir was surely an underground labyrinth , in which the dwarves made beautiful and large halls using precious metals. At the bends of the main roads, the dwarves dug their own dwellings. It was then possible to enter someone's dining room around a wrong turn.

And then all these roads and cellars must have been very badly lit. No question of bringing sunlight to Nidavellir . For light, the dwarves contented themselves with the fire of torches or that of the forges. For this, we imagine that it must undoubtedly be very cold and very dark in the world of the dwarves.

The Völuspa counts about sixty dwarves in total . Half would live underground . And the other half in the mountains .

Svartalfheim and Nidavellir, one and the same world?

Svartalfheim or Nidavellir?

For some , Svartalfheim and Nidavellir are indeed distinct . Svartalfheim would then be home to the dark elves , and Nidavellir to the dwarves .

The world of Svartalfheim would be much more difficult to access than that of Nidavellir. Indeed, the dwarves would have many more visitors and travelers in their lands than their neighbors the dark elves.

For others , they are actually one and the same world , part of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. We find there the dwarves as well as the dark elves . What if they, too, were only one and the same kind of humanoids? Indeed, the Vikings called the dwarves dark elves. They described them as small humanoids, but black in color.

Who are the dwarves in Norse mythology?

dwarfs in norse mythology

Dwarves were created by the god Odin and his two brothers, Vili and Vé, when the worlds were created. When they modeled Asgard with the corpse of the giant Ymir, the three gods also made the oceans, the mountains, the celestial vault, the trees and many more. And, from the larvae that developed in Ymir's flesh, Odin fashioned the dwarves .

Initially, dwarves lived in Ioruvellir, Aurvangard, and Svarinshaug. Then the gods sent them underground, to Nidavellir. Finding them far too ugly to live on the surface and in full view of the world, the gods condemned them to live hidden, in the shadows.

They would never have dared to come back to earth anyway. Indeed, the dwarves feared that the light would turn them to stone . The legend also says that the peak of Trold-Tindterne, located in Norway, would in reality be dwarfs, who would have been trapped by the rays of the sun.

The most famous dwarfs of Norse mythology

The most famous Viking dwarfs

Impossible to list all the names of the dwarves. However, some are more or less known in Norse mythology.

Here is a list of some dwarfs from Norse mythology :

  • Andvari is the dwarf who was turned into a pike by the god Loki, so that he would give him his treasure.
  • Brokk is one of the two blacksmith dwarves who made many magic items such as the Draupnir ring, Gungnir, or Mjöllnir.
  • Eitri is Brokk's brother. He helped the latter to make many magic objects.
  • Regin is the adoptive father of the hero Sigurd. He, with his brother Fafnir, killed his father to steal his fortune. He then asks Sigurd to kill his brother.
  • Fafnir is Regin's brother. He transforms into a dragon to guard the family treasure.
  • Austri, Nordi, Surdri and Vestri are the four dwarves who represent and carry the four cardinal points: East, North, South and West.
  • Alviss is the dwarf who asks for the hand of Thor's daughter. The god then questions him all night so that in the early morning, the sun will petrify him.

The powers of the dwarves

Dwarfs in Norse mythology can be cunning and dangerous , though some nonetheless possess great wisdom. But above all, the dwarves are far from useless.

Indeed, they are very great blacksmiths , as well as great magicians . They are the ones who make the various objects, but also the powerful weapons used by the gods. Some of the dwarves also seem capable of shapeshifting .

Nidavellir in popular culture

Nidavellir Avengers Dwarf

The world of dwarves appears in popular culture, especially in The Avengers . Thus, in the feature film "Avengers: Infinity War", Thor returns to Nidavellir after having broken his hammer. If all the dwarves have been eradicated by Thanos, only one remains: Eitri. It is he who will help Thor to make a new hammer . During this episode, Rocket also launches to Thor: “Nidavellir is real? Seriously ? I mean, this place is a legend. They craft the most powerful and gruesome weapons to torment the universe. I would love to go there, please. »

Nidavellir and the dwarves also appear in the video game adaptation " Thor: The Dark World" , as well as in the predella to The Avengers comic book "The Avengers: the Avengers initiative".

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