Odin is the head of the Aesir and is therefore the supreme god of the Norse pantheon. Given his reputation, it might be surprising that he is a half-giant. Yet this is true: his mother was a giantess. He is the son of Bor and Bestla.

Odin is married to Frigg, the queen of the Aesir. He has two sons with her: Baldr and Hödr. Yet Odinhad many other lovers. He has several sons with giantesses, the most famous ones being Thor (who he conceived with Jord), Váli (who he conceived with Rindr) and Vidar (who he conceived with Gridr, Queen of the Danes). A few others are also mentioned as sons of Odin, but this title might merely mean that they represented him as his champions.

Together with his brothers (Vili and Ve), Odin created the universe as we know it by killing the primordial giant Ymir. When the three of them created the first humans, it was Odin who gave them the gift of life. This is how he earned the title, Allfather. But on top of that prestigious title, he was the master of many domains.

Odin will fall in battle during Ragnarök. Fenrir, son of Loki will kill him.


The king of Asgard has multiple special animal companions. His horse, Sleipnir, is the fastest one in all the nine realms. This eight-legged steed would carry him into battle and across the different realms. Two ravens and two wolves accompanied him as well. The ravens, Hugin and Munin, would seek out secrets and other information which they reported to Odin. The wolves, Geri and Freki, would sit at Odin’s feet during feasts, where he would feed them with meat from his table.

Odin is the god of war, battle, death, and victory. He and his Valkyries watch over the battlefield to seek out which warriors find an honorable death. The most honorable warriors are granted an afterlife filled with feasts and battle in Odin’s hall in Valhalla. They will be part of Odin’s army when Ragnarok comes.

God of knowledge

He is also the god of knowledge and wisdom. This is not strange, as he has an insatiable thirst for new knowledge and he would go to great lengths to obtain it for himself. This is why he sacrificed one of his eyes for a sip from the pool of knowledge. No wonder some of his worshippers would sometimes sacrifice part of their bodies for his blessing.

The greatest length that he went was to hang himself from the world tree, Yggdrasil. He was convinced that by killing himself, he would gain access to knowledge that had not been accessed by anyone else before. He had been hanging there for nine days and nights. When he came back to life, his wisdom was greater than ever before. We are sure that hanging himself is the reason why he is also considered to be the god of the gallows. An honor? Maybe.

Finally, he covered several mystic domains. Odin was the god of magic, the runic alphabet, and poetry. Again, it was his thirst for knowledge that helped him become the chief deity of these domains. He was always trying to understand the mysteries of magic. He first became a poet when he obtained the Mead of Poetry through an act of deception.

Our take on Odin

And that brings us to our final assessment of Odin’s character. He certainly is a formidable god. Not only because he masters many domains, but also because of his deceptive and treacherous nature. Loki is often seen as the Norse trickster god, but Odin would often cheat his way through gods, giants, and yes, sometimes death itself. All in all, not the most pleasant fellow.

Appearances in mythology

  • The Creation Story: the creation of the universe, involving the slaying of Ymir
  • The Aesir-Vanir war: in which he leads to Aesir to glory
  • The Creation of Humans: in which Odin and his brothers created us out of trees
  • The Mead of Poetry: Odin disguises himself and undergoes trials to obtain the mead of poetry.
  • The Death of Baldr: in which he loses his favorite son.
  • The children of chaos: he leads the hunt for the children of Loki.
  • The Binding of Fenrir: in which he deceives Fenrir to protect the realms (or at least himself)
  • The marriage of Njord and Skadi: in which he made a settlement with the giantess
  • The Discovery of Runes: Odin sacrifices himself to himself (yes)
  • The Wild Hunt: Odin leads the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the winter sky
  • The Sacrifice at Mimir’s well: Odin sacrifices his eye to gain wisdom
  • Ragnarök: in which he will fall.

Appearances in modern culture

Movies and series
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Odin, portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins, appears in the films “Thor” (2011), “Thor: The Dark World” (2013), and “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)
  • The Almighty Johnsons” (TV Series): A New Zealand comedy-drama series where the main character, Axl Johnson, discovers he is an incarnation of Odin and must find his Odin’s wife, Frigg, to restore his full powers.
  • Supernatural, Season 5, Hammer of the Gods: Odin is portrayed as an old man who is somewhat out of touch with current events, dismissing the conflict between angels as “just a couple of angels having a slap-fight.
  • American Gods
Video games