Well this is it, gang. The final winter is upon us, the destruction of mankind comes not with explosions or the sound of gunfire, but crushed under mountains of snow. The Fimbulwinter has us in its grip.
What’s that? It’s just New England? Sorry about that, I could barely hear you through all the snow in my ears. If you are reading this please send help, I’m stuck in a snow bank.
For those of you living in warmer parts of the world, we’re getting quite a lot of snow up here in New England. The last week and a half has been a lot of fun what with all the shoveling and then shoveling some more and now shoveling once again. Does the fun never end? Seriously. Somebody please stop the fun, I’m exhausted. It’s a wonder I can even lift my pen or type thesaslg107-
Sorry, hands gave out for a minute there and I’m just too tired to go back and correct it!
The Fimbulwinter, or “great, awful winter” is an interesting bit of Norse mythology tied to stories of Ragnarok, the final battle of the gods and the end of mankind. Though it isn’t mentioned often in source materials, it is discussed briefly in the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, specifically in Gylfaginning (the first part of the Prose Edda) and Vafþrúðnismál (the third poem in the Poetic Edda). In Gylfaginning, we learn from the figure of High (probably one of Odin’s many pseudonyms) that the Fimbulwinter (or Fimbulvetr) is the first sign of the impending Ragnarok. High states that it is a winter that will last for three years with no summer, the sun will not warm the earth at all, snow will fly constantly and from all quarters, and that men will turn against one another, staining the snow with blood and breaking all bonds of kinship and friendship.
Definitely sounds like Massachusetts right now, am I right? People are ready to kill over their parking spots here!
In the poem Vafþrúðnismál, Odin engages in a battle of wits with the wise giant, Vafthrudnir, and mentions the Fimbulwinter in one of his questions. Hoping to one-up his opponent and show that he is truly the wisest and most knowledgeable being, Odin asks who will survive this dark and terrible time, to which Vafthrudnir replies that Lif and Lifthrasir will be the only mortal survivors of Ragnarok and the Fimbulwinter, hiding themselves in Hodimmis Holt. This Hold is presumably a wood or forest, though there are many theories on what it might actually mean. There are some arguments that this is actually a reference to the world tree, Yggdrasil, and that these survivors will take shelter under its roots.
Knowing all that, it’s hard not to see the constant snow here in the northeast as a sign of impending doom, but lucky for me, I know just what to do thanks to the examples of Lif and Lifthrasir. If anyone needs me, I’ll be taking shelter under the World Tree.
And they said studying mythology was useless! Have fun at Ragnarok, suckers!