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Oct 9, 2013

Norse Gods Blogfest: Naglfar, the Ship made from Dead Men's Nails

Today I'm participating in the Norse Gods blogfest. Wanting to be a bit different, I'm not going to talk about a deity per se, but a magical ship called Naglfar ("Nail Ship").

The Norse envisioned the end of the world as a titanic battle between Gods and the forces of Surtr, which included giants, rival gods, and various other fell beings such as the giant wolf Fenrir.

Sailing against the gods is the ship Naglfar, captained by the trickster god Loki and made entirely from the fingernails and toenails of dead men. It's a vast ship carrying hordes of warriors. In this apocalyptic battle many of the gods are killed, the world is consumed by fire and then flooded, and then rises from the waves fresh and new. Some gods remain to rule over this new land.

Only two humans are going to survive that particular era in human history, a sort of Norse Adam and Eve who will repopulate the land. The Prose Edda warns us to make sure to trim the nails of the dead to keep the enemies of the gods from completing Naglfar, but since it's all fated to happen anyway, I don't see how we can stop it!

Below is a shot of the Tullstorp Runestone from Sweden, showing the wolf Fenrir and the ship Naglfar.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


  1. What an interessting post, and I learned something new! In my book I make referance to Skildbadnir. I love ships and the cover of your new book is fantastic! Thanks for participating in this blogfest.

  2. Made up from human nails - that is just creepy!

  3. Hi, A.J.

    Visiting from the blogfest.. Nice to meet you. What a cool history lesson. Thanks for bringing an interesting twist to this fest!

  4. *shivers* A ship out of fingernails of the dead!? ACK! So creepy (yet strangely fascinating). And I'd forgotten where the name Fenrir came from--nod to JK Rowling for making use of that!

  5. That's a whole lot of toenail clippings. - Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins

  6. That is seriously disturbing. And awesome. Happy Norse Gods Blogfest!

  7. I love it! Spooky... now how can I worm this into my next story? :) X

  8. Wow, liked that story and the Runestone. Good entry. Best of luck to Siv! (couldn't they think of something other than toenails and fingernails - yuk)

  9. The Nail Ship. What an interesting choice. This is a great bloghop. I feel I've learned so much.

  10. Okay, for real I love this myth. I think it's fascinating because it's a justification for good hygiene as well as an end of the world thing. Kind of like the equivalent of "Never leave the house with streaks on your underwear because you never know when you might end up in the hospital!"

    Awesome choice!!

  11. Loki happens to be my favorite Norse God. And I'm sure his part in the murder of his brother Baldr was predestined to start the war of the gods.


  12. Thanks for the story. Sorry I'm late making rounds on the hop.

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