"Swan-battle." The doomed daughter of the hero Sigurðr and Guðrún, the daughter of Gjúki. Her story is found in Völsunga saga. The Gothic king Jörmunrekkr learned of her beauty and sent his son Randvér to Jónakr's court to woo her and bring her to be his wife. Jörmunrekkr counselor, Earl Bikki, joined him. On the voyage home, Bikki said that is was a better thing for Randvér to wed Svanhildr, since they were both young while Jörmunrekkr was old. This council pleased them.

When they returned, however, Bikki told Jörmunrekkr that the two had become lovers and urged the king to avenge the deed. Jörmunrekkr thereupon commanded that his son be seized and led to the gallows. Bikki then convinced the king to kill Svanhildr as well, since she was the cause of all his woe. She was bound to the gate of the burg and horses were driven at her to tread her down, but when she opened her eyes wide, the horses stopped. When Bikki beheld that, he had a bag cover her head, and she was trampled to death. In Skáldskaparmál, her death is a spontaneous and sudden act on the part of the king. As he came back from a hunting trip, Jörmunrekkr beheld Svanhildr as she sat washing her hair, so the party rode over her and trampled her to death.

The eddic poems Hamðismál and Guðrúnarhvöt describe how Guðrún avenged her daughter's death through her sons Sörli and Hamðir. They traveled to Jörmunrekkr's hall and hewed off his hands and feet. The king awoke and called upon his men to kill the intruders; Sörli and Hamðir fell, and with their deaths the house of Gjúki came to an end.



  • Guðrúnarhvöt.
  • Hamðismál.
  • Skáldskaparmál, 41.
  • Völsunga saga, 41.