Edward Pettit

Published On


Page Range

pp. 171-196

Print Length

25 pages

7. Freyr, Skírnir and Gerðr

  • Edward Pettit (author)
Chapter 7 focuses on ‘Skírnir’s Journey’, an Old Norse Eddic poem about the quest undertaken by Skírnir, Freyr’s emissary, to win for his master a radiant giantess called Gerðr. Pettit argues that this poem contains a series of overlooked parallels to Beowulf’s final confrontation with Grendel and his mother. Pettit compares the texts, along with other Old Norse accounts, to suggest that these poems may preserve variants of the same underlying myth. Pettit highlights similarities between the two poems in the locations of these confrontations and the weapons of the respective heroes, as well as providing a possible equivalent to the giant sword, similarly jealously guarded by a monstrous female, analogous to Grendel’s mother. Finally, Pettit highlights a passage from a twelfth- or thirteenth- century English chronicle that details a Christian ritual with apparent pagan roots, linking it to the symbolism of the giant sword.


Edward Pettit