"Giant-home." In Norse mythology, one of the nine worlds and the realm of the jötnar, the race of giants. It lies beneath the second of the three roots of Yggdrasil. Beneath this root lies also the Mímisbrunnr. Jötunheimr is separated from Miðgarðr, the world of man, by various rivers, such as the river Ífingr, but a wood called Járnviðr is often mentioned to serve a similar function. Another river that runs through Jötunheimr is the Vimur.
Jötunheimr is usually identified with a region in the north. In Gylfaginning, chapter 1, Gefjon
took from the north, out of Jötunheimr, four oxen which were the soils of a certain giant and herself. In Skáldskaparmál, chapter 1, Loki donned Freyja's hawk plumage and flew north into Jötunheimr, and in chapter 17 Thor bore Aurvandil in a basket on his back from the north out of Jötunheimr. In chapter 45 of Gylfaginning however, Snorri Sturluson says that Thor
began his journey eastward to Jötunheimr and clear to the sea.
Some notable events taking place in Jötunheimr are Thor's visit to Hymir to acquire the giant's cauldron; Thor's slaying of Geirröðr; the journey to the stronghold of Útgarða-Loki; the retrieval of Thor's hammer, which was stolen by Þrymr; the abduction of Iðunn by Þjazi; Odin's visit to Hrungnir, and the subsequent duel between Thor and Hrungir at Grjóttúnagarðar; Skírnir's wooing of Gerðr on behalf of Freyr; and Svipdagr's quest to find his fated bride Menglöð. Several of the giants' strongholds are also mentioned in the poems — Útgarðar, Gastropnir, and Þrymheimr.
The plural form Jötunheimar is also found, suggesting more than one area inhabited by giants.
- Fjölsvinnsmál, 13.
- Grímnismál, 11.
- Gylfaginning, 1, 10, 15, 34, 42, 49.
- Skáldskaparmál, 1, 17.
- Vafþrúðnismál, 16.
- Völuspá, 8, 52.
- Þrymskvida, 7, ff.