Njordr: The God of The Sea

Njordr is the god of wind and the sea, and one of the principal Vanir deities. He and his children …

Njordr is the god of wind and the sea, and one of the principal Vanir deities. He and his children were given as hostages to the Aesir.

Short Facts

Tribe: Vanir

God of: Crop fertility, Fair-weather, Fishing, The sea, Seafaring, Wealth, and Wind

Husband of: Hertha and Skadi

Father of: Freyja and Freyr

Brother of: Hertha

Other names: Njor, Njord, Njorth, Njorthr, Njordur, and Njoror

Njordr responsibilities

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Aiding hunters and seafarers, bestowing wealth, blessing journeys and voyages, bringing summertime, controlling the winds and sea, fair weather, and protecting travelers

Associated Animals with Njordr

A flock of Iceland gulls

Njordr weapon/domain of power

Coasts, his accumulated wealth, ports, ships, the sea, and his seaside home Noatun (The Place of Ships)

Sea lord and hostage

Njordr is the Vanir god of the sea and the wind. He is associated with fertility, fair weather and summer, fishing, hunting, and wealth. Sea travelers worshipped him and would pray for calm waters and safe voyages. He is a generous and lenient god who fills the fishermen’s nets and assists the hunters. Njordr is the father of the twin deities Freyja and Freyr from his sister and wife Hertha.

After the Aesir-Vanir war, he and his family agreed to be given as hostages in order to seal the peace. Odin Allfather however refused to accept Hertha because of her relation with Njordr (they were siblings as well as married) and so she stayed behind. His children Freyja and Freyr and he were then admitted into the Aesir ranks where they quickly became invaluable members of the Asgardians.

An unhappy marriage

As the richest god in Asgard, Njordr attended every feast and was always greeted with respect by the other gods. It was at one of those feasts where he met his second wife, Skadi. One day, the jotunn Skadi arrived at Asgard to avenge her father’s death, Thjazi, by the Aesir. But, Odin convinced Skadi to reconsider and accept their gifts thus making amends.

One of those gifts was that Skadi could choose a god to marry. Selecting only by the sight of the god’s feet, Skadi picked the most beautiful feet thinking they belonged to Baldur. But, it was Njordr she had chosen to marry. After the wedding, the couple spent nine nights in Thrymheim (Thunder-Home), Skadi’s residence, and nine nights in Noatun.

Njordr found Thrymheim to be a dreadful place; cold, dark and so high up in the mountains. Likewise, Skadi regarded the sunny coastal Noatun to be quite unpleasant; so noisy by the seabirds she couldn’t sleep. As was expected, they ended their marriage and went different ways.

Njordr In the old texts

In the Poetic Edda, he is mentioned as a survivor of Ragnarok in the poem Vaftprudnismal.

In the Grimnismal poem, Njordr appears living in Noatun. He is described as a kind and magnificent god, father of Freyr and husband to Skadi. 

In the Lokasenna poem, Loki and Njordr exchange insults.

In the Thrymskvida poem, he is also brought up as Freyja’s father.

Njordr is also mentioned in the poem Solarljod as having nine daughters and in the Skirnismal poem.

In the Prose Edda, Njordr appears many times in the books Gylfaginning and Skaldskaparmal. As well as Heimskringla and Egils saga.


Why did Njordr marry his sister?

According to the old texts, it is not clear if his sister is Hertha or not. Most refer to her as the unnamed sister. A possible explanation is that they were the same figures; an ancient hermaphroditic deity of nature. If that is the case then it makes good sense that Hertha gave birth to Njordr’s children. However, Odin’s denial of Hertha points to a mythological change regarding the origin of Njordr. Nonetheless, the acceptance of Njordr, Freyja and Freyr among the Aesir could imply evolution in the Norse fable.

What is the difference between Nehallenia and Njordr?

Another ancient deity, Nehallenia seems to have been the foundation for the creation of Njordr. The similarities are obvious. Both deities are associated with the sea and safe seafaring, fertility, and wealth. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to think that he was indeed inspired by Nehallenia.

Is Njordr a major god?

Absolutely. Even from the old days, Njordr was revered by the seafaring Vikings. Most of the old texts rank him high and there is an abundance of kennings about him. He was worshipped by many for his gentle winds and calm waters. Also, his riches were unimaginable and a saying was held in the old days about wealthy people. If a man was very rich they said that he was ‘as rich as Njordr.

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Vasilis Megas

Vasilis Megas (a.k.a. Vasil Meg) lives in Athens, Greece. He is a Greek- and Norse Mythology enthusiast. Vasilis has written and published 16 books - mostly fantasy and science fiction - and he is now working as a content writer, journalist, photographer and translator.