Hel is a daughter of Loki and Angrboða and sister to the wolf Fenrir and serpent Jörmungandr. Along with her siblings, she was brought up in the land of Jötunheimr and the Gods prophesied that great mischief and disaster would arise from them all.
Odin gathered Loki’s children before him and threw Jörmungandr into the sea and threw Hel into Niflheim, giving her authority over the nine worlds. Just as Odin and Frejya each receive half of those slain in battle, Hel administers and provides board and lodgings to those who die of sickness and old age in a realm of the same name.
Hel has great Mansions, with extremely high walls and immense gates. One of the halls called Éljúðnir, meaning "sprayed with snowstorms" or "damp with sleet or rain", indicating that this hall may be a place of torment. Those who died of hunger, famine, or on the sick bed all find lodging in Hel, so it is appears to receive the deserving and undeserving. Hel also has two servants, Ganglati and the serving-maid Ganglöt to assist her.
Hel is described as half black and half flesh-coloured, but also downcast and fierce-looking. Frigg asks for someone from the Æsir to ride to Hel (the location) and offer Hel a ransom to return Baldr from the dead. Hermóðr volunteers and travels on the eight-legged horse Sleipnir to Hel. Hel says the love people have for Baldr must be tested and all alive or dead must weep for him to be returned. Eventually Baldr is returned from the dead.
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