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Mountain People by humon Mountain People by humon
A fairly quick picture.

The Scandinavian mythology creatures are separated into two groups, Mountain People (Bjergfolk) and Elf People (Ellefolk). The names are a bit deceiving though, because not all Mountain People live in the mountains, and not all Elf People are elves, but the general rule is that Mountain People live in mountain areas or have their homes underground, while Elf People live in the forest/bog/swamp/field (ghosts are their own category, because they're not a people).

As usual there are three trolls because they get bigger and meaner the father up North you get. The biggest has the lightest skin because they turn to stone during the day, so they don't get a whole lot of sun, obviously. Trolls often have magic powers, but it usually involve turning one thing into another, including living things.

Truthfully, the Ogre doesn't really belong in the picture because they're French/English/German, but they're often compared to trolls even though they're completely different species, and the trolls are a good deal older than ogres. Ogres also tend to be a lot meaner than trolls (Shrek not counting of course).

Giants and the trolls far North are often confused with each other, but giants look like ordinary but big humans, and surprisingly trolls are often bigger than giants. They can be either mean or gentle.

Unlike what Tolkien told us in Lord of The Rings, dwarfs are not a warlike people at all in Nordic mythology. They live quietly underground where they dig for metals or steal gold from burial places. They would much rather bribe their way out trouble than fight.

Finally there's the jotuns who are by far the most powerful of the peoples. They can control the wild nature and have magic powers and knowledge not even the trolls can compete with. They're incredibly strong, and back in the day people often dreamt marrying a jotun.
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:iconearthsdefenders:
earthsdefenders Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2016  Student Artist
they all look really cool and i especullay like the giant ^w^ how big are they all compared to humans?
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:icondarkomen94:
DarkOmen94 Featured By Owner May 19, 2015
Some jotuns could even rival the power of the norse gods and in fact many of the norse pantheon married jotuns or had ancestral origin from them. It says something about the strength and power the jotuns had. :)
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:iconclutzy101:
Clutzy101 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This is just adorable I like it a lot :D
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:iconaceking90:
aceking90 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015
It's a nice picture but honestly I am little under whelmed by their design. Now I am willing to bet that they are pretty close to the original mythology, but they just look like normal humans with strange facial features and some of them have tails. I'm sorry to say this because I love your work and I think you are an excellent artist, yet these creatures are just not that creative. 
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:iconhumon:
humon Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015
Yes exactly, they are meant to be close to the original mythology. People are getting to "creative" with these creatures designs these days I can hardly recognize them, so I like to go back to the original "boring" folklore.
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:iconkoomori:
Koomori Featured By Owner Edited Jan 22, 2016
People getting too "creative" is a valid argument if you're talking about things that are trying to emulate mythology (which, admittedly, a lot of fantasy does). But there's a lot of fantasy that mostly uses terms from mythology to get a connotation across and most writers aren't linguists prepared to make entirely new words. Not to mention that it's very handy to be able to say that someone is an "elf" because the audience will fill in a lot of description.
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:iconaceking90:
aceking90 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2015
Fair argument, but surly their are more imagitive Nordic mythological creatures? I mean doesn't the Kraken have its roots in Denmark or something. 
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:iconsirgodspeed:
SirGodspeed Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015
Well, there were the dragons, which were essentially giant serpents with acid breath. There is Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. There's Jormundgandr, the serpent that goes around the entire world. You've got all the different kinds of Jotuns, of course - like Surtr, the king of the Fire Giants, but we don't really know what they were supposed to look like. You also have a lot of exceptional beasts, like Thor's goats that pulled his flying chariot, or the wolves that continously chased the sun and the moon (themselves being chariots) across the sky each day, or Gullinbursti, the huge, golden boar that Frey, the god of agriculture and fertility rode, or the chariot drawn by giant cats which was ridden by Freya, the goddess of beauty and magic.

It should probably be noted that overall, Norse mythology wasn't as fond of mashing creatures together, like Greek or Egyptian mythology, to create hybrids, like gryphons or sphinxes. Norse mythology tended to either take a creature and give it an extremely exxagerated quality (like Jormundgandr's size) or some odd quality (like Sleipnirs eight legs, or Thor's goats' ability to be killed, eaten and magically revived the next morning so long as their bones were not broken.)

Honestly, in a lot of ways, and as odd as it might sound, norse mythology can be quite subtle. For example, I suggest you read a story called "Thor's visit to Utgard-Loki", which is a story about how Thor is set to compete against a particular clan of Jotnar, but loses every challenge. He wrestles with an old lady, but collapses before her. He drinks from a cup, but can't empty it. He tries to lift a cap off the floor, but fails. Then it is revealed that he's been tricked, and that the capt he'd tried to lift was in fact Jormungandr, the cup was the entire world sea, and the old lady was *age* itself. So in the end, the jotnar strike a peace treaty because they are terrified by the fact that Thor came even *close* to managing those tasks. Kinda clever story really.
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:iconaceking90:
aceking90 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2015
Good to know but what about the Kraken? Is that from Norse mythology?
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:icondedyrks1:
DedYrks1 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2016
I think that actually has its roots in Greek mythology, and no I am not just pulling that from Clash of the Titans. Poseidon made many horrific sea monsters, and there were odd titans and other beasts that the Greek people thought lived in the ocean.
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:iconaceking90:
aceking90 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2016
But he never created the Kraken, that comes from Norway. Please actually check your facts before you post.  
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:iconsvesamikreteni:
svesamikreteni Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That Dwarf is like "Ah, me loincloth got stitches, plebs!" I must say, I love the word "Bjerg". It's so awesome!
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
I heard somewhere that in the original Norse mythology, a long time ago, Dwarves were not even short in stature, just dark-haired, treasure-loving mine-dwellers. Something about the image of Norse Dwarves changing due to Christian influence wanting to de-emphasize traditional religion, thus their image changed in order to poke fun at them, making them short and stumpy.
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:iconsirgodspeed:
SirGodspeed Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015
That's true. There are no references in Old Norse sagas about the Dwarves being small in stature.

On a related note, Jotuns - which are very often translated into English as "giants" - actually come in a wide array of sizes, most actually being human-sized.
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015  Professional General Artist
that's really interesting :)
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:iconthelastmatureone:
thelastmatureone Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Lol the dwarf is just like," Hot damn".
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:iconlonelynightrain:
lonelynightrain Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
WOW.
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:icon3892:
3892 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014
Aren't jotuns, giants, trolls and ogres really the same thing, just different names given to them at different time periods?
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:iconlynettedrac:
Lynettedrac Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014
Wohwohwoh No not at all. Jotun are as powerful as the asgardian gods for exemple ! Their name means "those who are great" or "noble". The "god" Loki was a jotun accepted by Odin as his brother (NO no noooooo the Thor movie NEVER EXISTED). Jotuns are the eternal rivals of the asgardian...
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:iconsirgodspeed:
SirGodspeed Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015
I'm not sure where you get the information that "Jotun" means "noble/great" from. From what I can tell, the most likely etymology is that it derives from a proto-Germanic word that means "to eat" (etunaz/etan). A more faithful translation might be "Devourers". The reason they're called giants in English is simply because English folklorists compared them to the Greek giants, as they were both divine beings that were opposed to the main pantheon (the Olympians and the Aesir respectively.). Superhuman size wasn't a uniform characteristic of the Jotuns.
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:iconlynettedrac:
Lynettedrac Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2015
got this information from a anthropologist teacher at university ^^"
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:iconclodiuth-matrix:
Clodiuth-Matrix Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014  Student Digital Artist
There's also Skadi, ice giant/goddess of winter and hunting. Legit woman.
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:iconmoonlighttyger:
MoonlightTyger Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Very nice ^^ Nice to have everything laid out so neatly, and explained, too! :)
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:iconpatrecher:
patrecher Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The far north Troll looks like my grand father. Maybe he really is a troll like my grand mother says... hmmm... Anyway, question, are the Jotun and the giants technically the same? My friend and I kind of got into a disagreement about it. She tried saying that they're exactly the same but I didn't think they were. Any help would be nice. I mean I know they aren't, but she just won't believe it unless she see's it (in this case reads it) from someone who actually knows their facts.
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:iconlynettedrac:
Lynettedrac Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014
this confusion came from the English translation of their name. Jotun means "those who are great" that can be associated with the size and become the "giant" BUT in the original meaning "great" is closer to "noble". Jotuns were godlike people, eternal rivals of the Asgardian wich are what we, in our innocence, call the Nordic gods. Loki was a Jotun accepted in the asgardian court by Odin for example (legend says he was the most beautiful and clever of all, not exactly the Giant archetype right ? XD) Interesting fact ; Jotuns were both male and female. Loki fathered as much children as he gave birth to ^^"
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:iconsirgodspeed:
SirGodspeed Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015
The first Jotun, Ymir, was certainly hermaphroditic, but the only reason Loki gave birth to anything was because he magically took the shape of a female horse. He's otherwise referred to exclusively as male in his normal form.

It's "Aesir", by the way. Asgardian is a term invented by Marvel, unless I'm mistaken. Admittedly, not all residents of Asgard were Aesir (some where Vanir, the other clan of gods, and then there were all the fallen human warriors that formed the einherjar.)
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:iconlynettedrac:
Lynettedrac Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2015
I know I know but if you say Aesir or even the ancient form Arses half of the public won't understand what you're talking about. And Sleipnir was not the only child he gave birth to. They're just less known ;)
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:iconmossrygg:
Mossrygg Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Now this looks good! You pictured the Trolls perfectly! :D
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:iconalyndrea:
Alyndrea Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013
Aww! The far south troll is cute!
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:iconmurtauge:
murtauge Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013  Student General Artist
*A WILD GUST OF WILD BLOWS OFF THIER LOINCLOTHS*
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:iconthe-next-heir:
The-Next-Heir Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, the jotun is by far the hottest so I wouldn't really mind marrying him either XD.
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:iconerikvidmar:
erikvidmar Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012
aren't jotuns actually giant(giant being a word from greek, like ogre from french)? old english word for giants is ettins, which descended from jotuns
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:iconsirgodspeed:
SirGodspeed Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015
(This is a very late reply)

Not really. There are plenty of Jotuns in the Norse sagas that are of human size and shape. Loki is a good example, or Skadi, or Urd.

There *were* Jotuns that were giant in size (like Ymir, the first living thing, who was killed and turned into the world), but it's never a uniform characteristic.

The confusion comes from English folkorists comparing the Norse Jotuns to the Greek "Geantes" (giants), because they're quite similar in that they're both these sort-of-divine beings that frequently fight the gods.
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:icondihitsu:
dihitsu Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2012
Just curious... i read some factography about dwarves and elves - and there was an interesting topic there. In historic materials, there is nowhere said that dwarves are actually small. Since this is your native mythology (so i assume you know better) i would like to know if you do or do not agree with that.
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:iconsirgodspeed:
SirGodspeed Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015
That's correct, size is never mentioned. It's possible that they were conceived of as being small as time went on and they were compared to other mythical creatures, like pixies/brownies in Britain, the Scandinavian nisse/tomte, the Central European Kobold, etc.

It's also possibly that they were conceived of as being small after a while because they were seen as living underground, and so perhaps people thought that being small would help. There's really no way to know though.

Interestingly, in norse sagas, it's really hard to distinguish between elves and dwarves. Or rather, the term dokkalfar, meaning Dark Elves, was probably another term for dwarves. Rather ironic, considering how modern fantasy often contrast the two.
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:iconchromaeffulgence:
ChromaEffulgence Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012
*Squees*I like trolls alot!So this makes me happy :D <3
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:iconstevengordonart:
StevenGordonArt Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Reading your Nordic creatures reminds me of this awesome movie called "The Troll Hunter". I enjoyed the naturalistic approach it took, and the end...whoo boy, such epic suspense, and the Jotnar was probably the BIGGEST movie monster I've ever seen.

It was a Norwegian film, but I've heard it's going to be remade in england...hope that doesn't suck!
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:iconcherryhobbit:
cherryhobbit Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012
Im really glad you're posting these (or posted, I should say XD ) I adore mythology and I'll admit with the exposure of movies like Thor and Avengers I'm very curious about Norse mythology. I realize Marvel is far from accurate, so this only helps me understand the true mythos more. Thank you so much :D
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:iconpolionster:
Polionster Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That jotun has so much swag. I'm so happy to be Scandinavian! Scandinavian-five!
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:iconxarockolipsekittenx:
xarockolipsekittenx Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
people used to dream of marrying a Jotun??!! O.O -lookes at pic mulls it over- hemm . . . suppose everyone has thier fantisies And yes excluding shriek ogers are mean and cunning bullies in all pictures. and whyd you go and make the giant and Jotun incredibly good loking?
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:icondragondruids:
DragonDruids Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
Hope this helps [link]
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:iconspielodia:
Spielodia Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Professional
I like how they're kinda looking at each other and such XD
I wonder about gnomes and halflings. Some people talk about them as if they're the same creature, and they get compared (and confused as) to dwarves sometimes.


"not all Elf People are elves" mannn this stuff is pretty confusing. Like saying not all latinos are from latin america.
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:icongoodlook00:
goodlook00 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012
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:iconsamurai-poet:
Samurai-Poet Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Awesome lineup!
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:iconsolcannibal:
SolCannibal Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2012
Funny, i thought that jotun/jotnar was another word for giant - looks like i was quite mistaken.
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:iconemmersdrawberry:
EmmersDrawberry Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That is the sassiest Dwarf I ever did see!
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:iconsakora1:
sAkora1 Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Did you ever thought of drawing changelings before?
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:iconincrenublar:
Increnublar Featured By Owner May 17, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh god. My boyfriend has the exact body type as the Troll from the Far North. I'll never be able to look at him the same way.
Great fantastic work though!
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:iconyetiinpinkboots:
YetiInPinkBoots Featured By Owner May 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Huh. I never thought trolls would be bigger then giants.
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:iconsneere:
sneere Featured By Owner May 13, 2012
This is a subject which interest me. I now feel more educated. Thank you!
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