Have you ever met someone so pure and wonderful, you want to devote all of your attention to protecting them from the evils of the world? Perhaps it’s a friend, your child or younger sibling, or even your pet?That person is your Baldr.
You see, Baldr was a Norse god, the son of Odin and Frigg, and he was the most beloved of the gods. Everyone who met Baldr thought he was really just the tits, even though he didn’t really do much in the great scheme of things. He was considered to be the best of the gods– the wisest, coolest, and friendliest guy in Asgard.
Baldr had bad dreams though, and he dreamed a lot about himself dying. When he told his mama, Frigg, she was very upset. Because why should Baldr die if he’s the best of the best? She panicked, and immediately flew around the world and made everything she encountered promise that it would not kill her precious baby boy. She asked the animals not to maul him; she asked the sea not to drown him; she asked the metals not to pierce his flesh and the fire not to burn him. And because he was beautiful, loving Baldr, they all were like, “Oh yeah, no sweat.”
When the gods of Asgard found out about this, they were doubly excited because it meant that not only was Baldr safe forever more, but it also meant that he was invincible. Now, if you had a friend you knew couldn’t die, what would you best use him for?
If you said, ‘target practice,’ then you are truly thinking like a Norse god and you deserve a big ol’ pint of mead.
Of course, there had to be one turd in the punchbowl, and that turd in Norse mythology is always a big douchebag whose name rhymes with karaoke. Always striving to go against the grain, Loki hated Baldr. Some people think that Loki was jealous of the fact that everyone loved Baldr, but you and I know that Loki was just kind of a dick. And as a dick, hating Baldr is just in the job description.
So Loki disguised himself (as he so loves to do) and went to Frigg to ask if there was anything that could kill the god of light and beauty. Frigg thought about it for a moment, but the confided in totally-not-Loki that the only being she had neglected to ask not to hurt Baldr was the mistletoe, a tiny, little plant that could surely not be used to hurt anyone.
We all know where this is going.
But what you don’t know is just how much of a dick Loki decided to be. Instead of using the mistletoe to kill Baldr himself, he gave it to poor Hod, Baldr’s brother. Who was blind. And just wanted to join in on the games the other Norse gods were playing with their new, favorite target.
Loki gave Hod a dart made of mistletoe and told him to throw it directly at Baldr’s heart, since it obviously couldn’t pierce his flesh. Since Hod was blind, he even guided him with his hand to point at the exact spot.
Again, we know where this is going.
Baldr dropped down dead. Mayhem ensued. Everyone was yelling, grieving, screaming. This wasn’t supposed to happen– Frigg was supposed to have fixed this so it couldn’t!
In his grief, Odin sent a quick message down to Hel, Loki’s daughter, who ran the underworld (also called Hel), demanding that the god of light be returned. Despite being Loki’s daughter, Hel was actually pretty cool with the other Norse gods, so she agreed, but on one condition: every living thing in the world must weep for Baldr.
Again, we know where this is going. Because the turd in the punchbowl had to ruin everything one last time. Loki refused to weep for Baldr, and the god of light, purity, beauty, and all that wonder was taken from us.
But never fear. When Ragnarok comes, Baldr will be reincarnated– and his brother, Hod, who was killed in retribution, will be at his side.