Study Guide

Odin

  • Profile

    The Aesir gods respect Odin because of his great wisdom, which he worked very hard to get. At the beginning of the world, he even gave up one of his eyes in exchange for a drink from a wisdom-well. Odin may be missing an eye, but thanks to that sacrifice, he can see in his mind everything that happens in the past, present, and future. Odin's wisdom is what makes him such a good king.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Odin

    Nickname

    The Big Cheese, Wise Guy, the War God, Woden (Anglo-Saxon), Wotan (Old High German), Wotanaz (Proto-Germanic)

    Sex

    Male

    Current city

    Asgard

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    King of the Aesir Gods
    God of War, Battle, and Victory
    God of Wisdom, Knowledge and Poetry
    God of the Hunt

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Bor and Bestla

    Siblings

    Two brothers, Vili and Vé
    Sworn blood-brother, Loki

    Children

    With Frigg, sons Balder, Hod, and (possibly) Hermod
    With Jord, a son, Thor
    With the giantess Grid, a son, Vidar (slayer of Fenrir wolf)
    With Rind, a son, Vali (avenger of Balder)
    Adopted sons: all the slain Vikings that populate Valhalla

    Friends

    The Valkyries, who choose the best of the slain Vikings for my hall

    Enemies

    Fenrir-Wolf, who will kill me during Ragnarok (I may only have one eyeball, but I can see the future)
    Loki, who killed my son, Balder (though he did give me my horse, Sleipnir)

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Married to Frigg
    Lover to the giantess Jord
    Lover to Freyja (secretly)

    Favorites

    Quotations

    "If you command wisely, you'll be obeyed cheerfully."
    – Thomas Fuller

    "Knowledge is power." 
    – Francis Bacon

    "No man was ever wise by chance." 
    – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    "Only the dead have seen the end of the war." 
    – George Santyana

    "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." 
    – Albert Einstein

    "It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value." 
    – Stephen Hawking

    Books

    Anglo-Saxon poetry, including Beowulf and The Wanderer
    When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer by Walt Whitman
    If We Must Die by Claude McKay
    The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    The Harry Potter series (I see myself in Dumbledore)
    Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
    A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink
    Poetry magazine

    Music

    I love Sam Cooke, A Change Is Gonna Come
    The Eagles, Hotel California
    Joan Jett, I Love Rock N' Roll
    Tchaikovsky
    Richard Wagner
    Sergei Rachmaninoff

    Movies

    Lord of the Rings

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    My awesome hall Valhalla, where I host the slain Vikings
    My silver hall Valaskialf, from which I can watch the entire world Gladsheim, the hall from which I preside over Asgard and appoint the Diar, or Twelve Judges
    Gungnir, my magical spear of the finest dwarvish craftsmanship
    Draupnir, the gold ring that produces eight new gold rings every ninth night
    My eight-legged horse, Sleipnir
    Huginn and Muninn, the ravens of thought and memory
    My wolves, Freki and Geri

    Groups

    Kings of the Gods
    Wise Men
    War Leaders
    Sacrificial Lambs
    Big Cheeses of Asgard
    World Creators
    Mensa

  • Spotter's Guide

    Odin is an easy god to spot. Why? Because he only has one eye. That's not to say he's a Cyclops, just that he gave up one of his eyes in exchange for the gift of wisdom. When he's not in Asgard, he enjoys wandering Middle-Earth dressed up like the wizard Gandalf.

    Physical Description

    Sex: Male
    Age: 60s
    Build: Muscular
    Complexion: Pale
    Hair color: White
    Facial hair: A full, white beard
    Scars/marks/tattoos: Missing one eye
    Jewelry and accessories: When wandering Middle-Earth, Odin wears a wide-brimmed hat and carries a walking stick. He also owns a magical gold ring, called Draupnir.
    Clothing: Long robes
    Armor: When in battle, Odin often wears a helmet and carries a shield
    Type of weapon: Sword

    Typical Companions

    • Sleipnir, his eight-legged horse
    • The ravens of thought and memory on his shoulders
    • His two wolves on either side
    • Frigga, his wife
    • Freyja, his lover
    • The Valkyrie
    • Viking warriors

    Other Notes

    Known hangouts: When Odin isn't wandering through Middle-Earth, look for him in his hall, Valhalla, where he hosts the spirits of the bravest fallen warriors from Middle-Earth. You also might find him in his silver hall, Valaskialf, where he can see everything that goes on in the world. Otherwise, walk over to Yggdrassil, a sacred ash tree, to see if he's hanging out there.

    Escape vehicle: His eight-legged horse, Sleipnir

  • Sightings

    Dec 20, 2019

    Song of Myself

    Odin is name-checked, along with a bunch of gods from other cultures, in Walt Whitman's Song of Myself.

    Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

    The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

    The character of Gandalf in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was inspired by Odin in his Wanderer guise. J.R.R. Tolkien described the character as an "Odinic wanderer" (source: J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters, no. 107).

    Dec 20, 1962

    Marvel Comics

    Marvel Comics adds Odin to the Marvel universe. He shows up in the Thor and Journey Into Mystery series. He makes a great superhero.

    Dec 20, 1989 - Dec 20, 1994

    The Sandman

    Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels include plenty of Norse-inspired characters, including Odin, who mostly wears his wanderer disguise.

    Dec 20, 2019

    American Gods

    In the novel American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, Odin appears as a character called Mr. Wednesday (Wednesday is Odin's special day).

    Dec 20, 2019

    Thor

    Odin shows up as an angry dad in the movie Thor. He's cast his son, Thor, out of Asgard for misbehaving.