"Terrible winter." The terrible winter that will precede Ragnarök. Snorri Sturluson describes Fimbulvetr thus:
The first is this, that there shall come that winter which is called the Awful Winter: in that time snow shall drive from all quarters; frosts shall be great then, and winds sharp; there shall be no virtue in the sun. Those winters shall proceed three in succession, and no summer between; but first shall come three other winters, such that over all the world there shall be mighty battles. In that time brothers shall slay each other for greed's sake, and none shall spare father or son in manslaughter and in incest.
In the eddic poem Vafþrúðnismál, Odin asks the giant Vafþrúðnir who of the human race shall survive Fimbulvetr, and the giant responds that Líf and Lífþrasir shall survive, having concealed themselves in Hoddmímir's forest.
- Gylfaginning, 51.
- Vafþrúðnismál, 44-45.