Study Guide

Heimdall

  • Profile

    He can hear the grass grow and spot a fly on a giant's nose from a mile away. The sound of his horn strikes fear in the hearts of the gods—they know it means Ragnarök is close at hand. That's right: he's Heimdall, watchman of the gods and guardian of Asgard. Tasked with keeping constant tabs on traffic over Bifröst Bridge, the only entrance into the gods' homeland, it's Heimdall's job to keep the giants out. Work and play mingle for Heimdall: his house's convenient location where Bifröst meets Asgard means that he can enjoy a fine cup of mead in his banquet hall even as he scours Bifröst for signs of giants. On the few occasions when Heimdall abandoned his post, it was for good reason—once to recapture Freyja's stolen necklace from Loki, and another time to sire the three Middle-Earthling classes of serfs, craftsmen, and nobles.

    Basic Information

    Nickname

    The Watchman, Hallinskiði, Gullintanni (gold-toothed), Vindhlér (protector against the wind)

    Sex

    Male

    Current city

    Asgard

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Watchman (pretty self-explanatory, right?)

    Education

    Asgard Security Training Services

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Isolationist (The giants should stay out of Asgard!)

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Nine maids (all sisters); I don't know who my father is

    Siblings

    Nope, I'm an only child

    Children

    Þræll the serf, Karl the craftsman, and Jarl the nobleman

    Friends

    Freyja (I rescued her necklace)
    I'm on friendly terms with all the Asgard

    Enemies

    Loki (I got Freyja's necklace from him—oh, and he's the guy who will kill me at Ragnarök)

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Lover to the human women Edda, Amma, and Moðir

    Interested in

    Humans

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    Law and Order
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

    Quotations

    "May he who holds in his hands the destinies of nations, make you worthy of the favors he has bestowed, and enabled you with pure hearts and hands and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time, the great charge he has committed to your keeping."
    – J. Reuben Clark

    "One is not exposed to danger who, even when in safety is always on their guard."
    – Publilius Syrus

    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force."
    – Patrick Henry

    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    – Yogi Berra

    "All along the watchtower / Princes kept the view / While all the women came and went / Barefoot servants too."
    – Bob Dylan

    Books

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
    The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
    Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
    Watchmen by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore
    The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
    Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
    Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
    The Compleat Meadmaker: Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations

    Music

    All Along the Watchtower performed by Jimi Hendrix, music and lyrics by Bob Dylan
    The Police (everything they do, obvi)
    Tubthumper by Chumbawumba
    I Fought the Law performed by The Clash (Hear that giants? The law always wins!)
    Frank Sinatra (nothing beats Sinatra for kicking back with a glass of mead)
    Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day
    Someone to Watch Over Me by George and Ira Gershwin
    Everything Louis Armstrong

    Movies

    Watchmen (2009)
    Dances with Wolves (1990)
    Enemy at the Gates (2001)
    Chinatown (1974)
    L.A. Confidential (1997)
    The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
    Sherlock Holmes (2009)
    Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Mystery stories
    Mead
    Bridges
    The brass section (trumpets, horns, you know)
    The brass (police)
    Elaborate dental work
    Watchtowers and border walls

    Interests

    Hornblowing
    Horseback riding
    Detective work
    Surveillance and Security

    Groups

    Gods of Asgard
    Security Workers United
    Fathers of Mankind
    Mead of the Month Club

    • Spotter's Guide

      Heimdall rarely leaves his guard post at the border of Bifröst Bridge and the heavens—who'd protect Asgard from the giants if he did? There's no one better than Heimdall for this job, since he possesses hearing so keen he can hear grass grow, and eyesight so sharp he can see for hundreds of leagues, even in the dark. We're not exaggerating. On the job with him he has his horse, Gulltoppr; his sword; and his horn, Gjallarhorn, which he will blow to announce the end of the world. It's all very epic.

      Sex: Male
      Age: Old Enough
      Build: Strong
      Complexion: Extremely fair—in fact, almost white
      Hair Color: Blonde
      Facial Hair: Often bearded
      Scars/marks/tattoos: All of his teeth are gold…awesome
      Jewelry and accessories: A horn, Gjallarhorn
      Clothing: Medieval Viking style
      Armor: Sometimes carries a shield
      Type of Weapon: Sword; oh, and extremely keen senses of sight and hearing

      Typical Companions:

      His golden-maned horse, Gulltoppr

      Known Hangouts:

      His hall, Himinbjörg, at the juncture of Bifröst bridge with Asgard (he can't really leave his post all that often)

    • Sightings

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Saltfleetby Spindle Whorl

      The earliest appearance of Heimdall in writing is on the Saltfleetby spindle whorl, where his name appears in a runic inscription next to Odin's and Þjalfi's. We're still waiting for an ancient Shmoop inscription.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Heimskringla, by Snorri Sturluson

      In the Heimskringla,court poet Snorri Sturluson re-imagines the Norse gods as human ancestors of the Viking races. Pretty cool, right? Heimdall is one of the vassals to whom Odin (here a Swedish king) grants lands. What do you think: a fitting transformation?

      Dec 20, 1962

      Journey into Mystery #85

      In his Marvel Comics incarnation, Heimdall is the brother of the goddess Sif. He's still the guardian of Asgard, and still possesses spectacular powers of sight and hearing. Way to be accurate, Marvel.

      Dec 20, 1992

      Heimdall

      In this computer game, the gods create an infant, Heimdall, whose job it is to retrieve Odin's spear, Freyr's sword, and Thor's Hammer from Loki, who has stolen them. Go to it, Heimdall.

      Dec 20, 1999 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok

      In this anime manga comic, Loki is exiled to earth in a child's body, and Heimdall is sent to assassinate him. Loki vs. Heimdall? Sounds about right.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Stargate SG-1, "Revelations"

      Heimdall appears as a member of the alien, highly-advanced Asgard race in this sci-fi series. It's pretty modern stuff: he's a scientist working on problems in cloning.

      Dec 20, 2019

      And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer

      In this sequel to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer has Heimdall appear briefly as the keeper of the gates of Asgard. Three cheers for accuracy!

      Dec 20, 2019

      Thor

      Heimdall reprises his role from the Marvel Comics series in this live-action version. You know he's a cool dude—he's played by Idris Elba.