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Jormungandr, the World Serpent, called also Iormungandr, Miðgarðsormr, or the Midgard Serpent, is a massive unique dragon of world-spanning size.

Appearance and personality[]

The World Serpent is a truly enormous serpent, measured at 25,000 miles long. He is so large that he encircles the entire world. His movement is what causes the crashing waves and storms at sea.

Such is Jormungandr's size and fame that the highest mountain range in Muspelheim, called the Serpent's Spine is named for the World Serpent.[1] The interdimensional World Serpent Inn is likewise named for him.

As the monstrous offspring of the trickster Loki, Jormungandr is chaotic evil in alignment.

Abilities[]

Jormungandr is so enormous and quick that it is nearly impossible to kill by striking its body, and only its head is vulnerable to attack. Even so, Jormungandr regenerates injury at an incredible rate, and may even survive complete decapitation. Should he somehow be slain, Jormungandr spews forth poison gas, killing all within fifty feet, even deities.[2] There is no known antidote to its poison.[3]

Jormungandr's poisonous bite is similarly lethal. It can also constrict with its body.

The World Serpent is highly intelligent, and not readily fooled by the same trick twice.

Lair[]

Jormungandr makes the entire world's ocean his lair, devouring anyone who attempts to leave Midgard, the Material Plane.[4]

Relationships[]

Family[]

Jormungandr is the offspring of the god Loki. By that relation, he is sibling to his younger sister Hel and the wolf Fenrir.[5][6] Their mother is the giantess Angur-boda.[2]

History[]

Origins[]

Jormungandr was born to the giantess Angur-boda, son of the trickster god Loki. Although small at first, Jormungandr began to grow quickly. Odin, unable to slay the son of his blood brother Loki, cast him into the ocean. A legend states that Jormungandr's cataclysmic thrashing opened a planar rift which allowed the linnorm dragons to enter the world.[6]

Jormungandr grew until he circled the entire earth. From this, he was given the name World Serpent.[2]

Conflict with Thor[]

Jormungandr has a long-standing enmity with the deity Thor of the Norse pantheon.

Thor, famed for his incredible strength, was once tricked into the impossible task of trying to lift Jormungandr. Incredibly, he succeeded in partially lifting the creature.[5]

In another instance, Thor attempted to catch Jormungandr with a fishing rod. Jormungandr's thrashing capsized ships and caused crashing waves as tall as mountains, and the giant Hymir cut Thor's line for fear that his boat would sink.[7]

In a second attempt to catch Jormungandr, Thor once upturned Hymir's cauldrons into the ocean and filled the entire world's sea with mead. Thor later drank the entire ocean, leaving Jormungandr in the mud, then urinated so much that he refilled the seas. He did not catch Jormungandr.[7]

Thor has attempted multiple times to slay the World Serpent, but has failed due to the creature's incredible stature.[2]

Prophecy[]

Thor and Jormungandr are destined to fight at the battle at Ragnarok.[5] Thor will finally defeat him then, but Jormungandr's poison will kill Thor in turn.[2]

Publication history[]

Original D&D[]

Iormungandr, the Midgard Serpent, first appeared in Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), p.34.

AD&D 1st edition[]

Jormungandr appeared in the original Deities & Demigods (1e) (1980), which depicted the Norse pantheon, and the substantially similar Legends & Lore (1e) (1984).

AD&D 2nd edition[]

Jormungandr appeared in the story Thor Goes Fishing, Dragon #168 (Apr 1991), p.59-62. It is described as one of the most famous linnorm by the HR1 Vikings Campaign Sourcebook (1991), p.45, and briefly mentioned in Legends & Lore (2e) (1990).

D&D 3rd edition[]

Jormungandr is mentioned in Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002) and in Ecology of the Linnorm, Dragon #356 (Jun 2007), p.60-65.

The Faerûnian yuan-ti deity Sseth, detailed in Shining South (3e) (2004), is also called the World Serpent, though no connection to the Jormungandr of Norse myth is known.

D&D 4th edition[]

The name "World Serpent" is mentioned in Dragon #373 (Mar 2009), p.69 as one of the primal spirits of the Earth who forced an end to the Dawn War. According to Dragon #374 (Apr 2009), p.42, this World Serpent's "coils" bind devas to the material world. Dragon #376 (Jun 2009), p.61 names it Ouroboros the World Serpent, a clear allusion to Jormungandr of Norse myth.

Other sourcebooks mentioning the World Serpent primal power were Player's Handbook 2 (4e) (2009) and Primal Power (2009). The connection between this World Serpent spirit and Jormungandr is unknown.

Creative origins[]

Jormungandr appears in Norse mythology. Its name in Old Norse means "huge monster", with the "J" pronounced like an English "Y".[8]

The name "Midgardsormr" literally means "Midgard's wyrm". The Old Norse "ormr" is cognate with the English "worm" and "wyrm", and refers to a serpent or dragon.

References[]

  1. Planes of Chaos, Book of Chaos (1994), p.123.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Legends & Lore (1e) (1984), p.104.
  3. Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976), p.34.
  4. Legends & Lore (2e) (1990), p.172.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Deities and Demigods (3e) (2002), p.192,223.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ecology of the Linnorm, Dragon #356 (Jun 2007), p.60-65.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Thor Goes Fishing, Dragon #168 (Apr 1991), p.59-62.
  8. Jǫrmungandr (Miðgarðsormr). Jackson Crawford, Youtube, 2018.
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