Study Guide

Bragi

  • Profile

    Bragi certainly has a way with words. When the giant Aegir asks him about the origin of poetry at an Asgard feast, Bragi gives him the long answer: a whole 50,000-word book about poetry's beginnings as the spit of the gods (yep, you read that right). Along with that comes a whole thesaurus of poetry, spoken by the Norse god of poetry himself. (How'd you like to have this guy as a dinner companion?)

    In fact, Bragi is so closely associated with poetry that the Old Norse word for it, bragr, may actually be derived from his name. In other words, poetry is "what Bragi does." In his list of the Norse gods, Snorri Sturluson tells us that Bragi a very wise guy. He knows more than anyone about being a "skald," or court poet. Maybe that's why he has the ultimate tattoo: runes (mysterious, magical word-symbols) carved right on his tongue (ouch!).

    Basic Information

    Name

    Bragi

    Nickname

    A poet who knows it and whose tongue shows it; "Husband of Idunn," the "Long-bearded God," "First Maker of Poetry," "Son of Odin" (all nicknames given him in Skáldskaparmál, book 10); The Wordinator, Bragster

    Sex

    Male

    Current city

    Asgard

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    God of poetry and skald extraordinaire

    Education

    Asgard School of the Arts, concentration in creative writing

    Beliefs

    Political views

    I support all endowments and initiatives to fund the arts, especially poetry!

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    (probably) Odin and (possibly) Frigg

    Siblings

    (probably) the other children of Odin:
    From Odin's wife Frigg, brothers Balder, Hod, and Hermod
    From Odin's lover Jord, a half-brother, Thor
    From Odin's lover, the giantess Grid, a half-brother, Vidar
    From Odin's lover Rind, a half-brother, Vali
    (A motley crew, I know!)

    Friends

    Aegir, a faithful student of my poetic teachings!

    Enemies

    Loki, who insults my battle skills when I refuse to let him enter Aegir's feast (come on, dude!)
    My wife Idunn's brother, whom I may possibly have killed for reasons that are a bit unclear

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Married to Idunn

    Interested in

    Goddesses

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    Once Upon a Time
    Glee


    A Game of Thrones

    Quotations

    "I mean, when it's time to rhyme rhyme, I can get down for mine."
    – Missy Elliot

    "I'm the interpreter. I'm the one who takes your words and brings them to life."
    – Aaliyah

    "A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language."
    – W.H. Auden

    "Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry."
    – Gustave Flaubert

    "Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all."
    – Winston Churchill

    "Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary."
    – Khalil Gibran

    Books

    The Aeneid by Virgil
    Beowulf
    The Iliad by Homer
    The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
    The Metamorphoses by Ovid
    Paradise Lost by John Milton
    Inferno by Dante Alighieri
    Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
    A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

    Music

    Hey Jack Kerouac by 10,000 Maniacs
    Dragostea din Tei (Numa numa, English version) by O-Zone
    Sun in My Mouth by Björk
    Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Iron Maiden
    Rave on John Donne by Van Morrison
    Piano Man by Billy Joel
    Losing My Religion by R.E.M.
    Storytime by Nightwish
    Thank You for the Music by ABBA

    Movies

    Dead Poets Society
    Bright Star
    Shakespeare in Love
    Total Eclipse
    Howl
    Rowing with the Wind (Remanda al viento)
    Wilde
    The Postman (Il Postino)

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Harps
    Art museums
    Stories
    Dictionaries
    Thesauruses
    Grammars
    Libraries
    Poetry slams

    Interests

    Literature
    Poetry
    Music
    Art history

    Groups

    National Poetry Slam
    Asgard School of the Arts Alumni
    Poetry Foundation

  • Spotter's Guide

    (Middle school level)

    As official poet of the Asgard, Bragi is a pretty busy fellow. He has a lot of notable deeds to commemorate, after all. He's also Odin's official "greeter," so you might find him in Valhalla, welcoming the souls of fallen Vikings with poems of praise. You'll recognize him because he'll probably be carrying a harp so he can accompany his poems with music. And, oh yeah—did we mention he has mysterious magical pictograms called runes carved on his tongue? That's right. Say ah, Bragi!

    Sex: Male
    Age: Old enough to be wise, young enough to be eternally youthful
    Build: Average
    Complexion: Fair
    Hair Color: Fair
    Facial Hair: Usually majorly bearded
    Scars/marks/tattoos: Rune carvings on tongue… NBD
    Jewelry and accessories: Harp
    Clothing: Medieval Scandinavian
    Armor: Only when necessary
    Type of Weapon: The mind (i.e., an encyclopedic knowledge of poetry and word-crafts)

    Typical Companions:

    His wife, Idunn
    His dinner-companion and pupil, Aegir

    Known Hangouts:

    The library
    Poetry slams
    Valhalla
    In the center of the mead-hall

  • Sightings

    Dec 20, 2019

    Eiríksmál

    Norwegian king Eric Bloodaxe is a Viking rock star. So naturally, Odin is super-stoked to learn that Bloodaxe has died and will soon arrive in Valhalla. But Bragi doesn't buy it. In this anonymous Skaldic/Eddaic poem, he questions how Odin knows it's really him and wonders aloud why Odin let such a brave man die.

    Dec 20, 0961

    Hákonormál by Eyvind Finnson Skáldaspillir

    Hákon the Good has died. His reward for being such an awesome Viking is a "welcome to the afterlife" party thrown by Bragi at Odin's request, complete with praise-poems and flagons of ale. Read all about it in The Lay of Hákon.

    Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

    Poetic Edda, Sigrdrífumál

    In this medieval work, a valkyrie (a totally fierce female warrior type) named Brynhildr shares her wisdom with the hero, Sigurd. Brynhildr recounts how runes—magical pictograms—are carved on many things, including Bragi's tongue. Ouch!

    Dec 20, 2019

    Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson

    Bragi first appears in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda in Gylfaginning, as part of Snorri's handy list of the Aesir gods. But his most important role is in the book called Skáldskaparmál. During a feast, Bragi tells Aegir the story of the origin of poetry. He also provides an extremely long list of poetic phrases called kennings and a handbook of poetic diction. What a fun dinner companion!

    Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

    Hrafnagaldr Ódins

    When Idunn falls from the world-tree, Odin freaks out. In the meantime, we're confused about what Idunn was doing climbing the world-tree in the first place. In any case, Odin sends three sleuths—Bragi, Heimdall, and Loki—to the underworld in search of the meaning of her fall. Is it a spooky omen or a tragic accident? Decide for yourself—if you read Norse, that is.

    Dec 20, 1984 - Dec 20, 2019

    Thor (Marvel comics universe)

    Bragi only appears twice in the Marvel comics featuring Thor. Why so little Bragi love, Marvel? But Marvel (partially) makes up for shorting Bragi on page time by giving him the ability to shape-shift into a white hawk.

    Dec 20, 2019

    Too Human (video game)

    In this role-playing game for Xbox 360, the Norse gods and goddesses are futuristic humans with computer parts in them. Bragi is still a poet here, but he also commands "The Valiants," a group of dead human warriors. We just hope he's got a good embalmer…