Jörmungandr (ᛃᛟᚱᛗᚢᛝᚨᚾᛞᚱ) Is a huge serpent in Norse mythology who is said to surround the world biting its own tail. In the Prose Edda Jörmungandr is one of the three children Loki had with the giantess Angrboða. Odin tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean which encircles Midgård. In there it grew until it could encircle the world [1].
When Jörmungandr finally releases its tail Ragnarök is said to begin and during it, Jörmungandr will face Thor. Thor kills Jörmungandr but after walking nine paces he falls to the serpent's venom [2].
Jörmungandr Nemesis of Thor
Throughout the tales of Thor Jörmungandr has slowly become his nemesis. Outside of their final battle, there are two other encounters between them.
Thor Lifts a Cat
Their first encounter is when Thor is challenged by the giant king Útgarða-Loki. One of the challenges is for Thor to lift a cat which is actually Jörmungandr in disguise. When Thor tries he only manages to lift one of the paws slightly above the floor. The observers are astonished and fearful seeing his great strength [3]. It is said that if Thor would have succeeded he would have altered the boundaries of the universe [4].
Thor Fishing
The second encounter between them is when Thor goes Fishing with the giant Hymir. Hymir does not want to give any bait to Thor so in response Thor strikes down Hymirs largest Ox and takes its head to use for bait. When they are out at sea they are at a spot where Hymir previously had fished whale and as Thor fishes with the ox's head, Jörmungandr bites the line. Thor pulls up Jörmungandr who blows poison [5]. As Thor is to grab Mjölnir Hymir cuts the line in fear and Jörmungandr once more sinks into the sea [5,6].
In some early versions of the myth Thor manages to catch the serpent by striking its head with Mjölnir [6,7].
[2]: Snorri Sturluson (2016) Gylfaginning ch. li, pp. 78–80.
[3]: Snorri Sturluson (1916) Gylfaginning ch. xlvi, xlvii, pp. 65, 67.
[4]: Thury, Eva M.; Devinney, Margaret K. (2017). Introduction to Mythology (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 302–03. ISBN 978-0-19-026298-3.
[5]: Snorri Sturluson (1916) Gylfaginning ch. xlviii, pp. 68–70.
[6]: Meulengracht Sørensen, Preben; Williams, Kirsten (trans.) (1986). "Þorr's Fishing Expedition". In Steinsland, Gro (ed.). Words and Objects: Towards a Dialogue Between Archaeology and History of Religion. Oslo: The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture; Norwegian University Press. pp. 270–71. ISBN 82-00-07751-9Meulengracht Sørensen, Preben; Williams, Kirsten (trans.) (2002). "Þorr's Fishing Expedition (Hymiskviða)". In Acker, Paul; Larrington, Carolyne (eds.). The Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Mythology. London / New York: Routledge. pp. 130–31. ISBN 0-8153-1660-7.
[7]: Clunies Ross, Margaret (1989). "Two of Þórr's Great Fights according to Hymiskviða" (PDF). Leeds Studies in English. 20: 8–10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 April 2019.

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