Norse Namesakes: Verdandi, Embla et al

The indoor water ride, Valhalla, in Blackpool, from

When you’re asked to give names from Norse Mythology, chances are, you’ll answer Thor and Freya. So let’s expand this knowledge, by looking at a handful of other names you could’ve answered with:


This one is a variant of Ask, but I think you’ll agree, this derivation would be better suited for an English-speaking child. It also would make a great alternative to Ashley, if it’s turned pink in your country. The reason for this is as in Old Norse, askr means ash tree.

According to Church teachings, Adam and Eve were the first humans, created by God and whom lived in the Garden of Eden (or as a friend once proclaimed in my RE class, a week before our exam, the Garden of Gethsemane, entirely different bible story), in the Norse version, they were instead called Ask and Embla.


This leads nicely onto our next name, Askr is our Ashley variant, and Embla could therefore be our Amber variant, should you so choose, although her close sound to emblem may pose a problem. Embla means elm.

The tree meanings for both names is as the pair of them were created by three gods from two trees.


A name like this, you may wonder whether it has any relation to mild violence, and you’d be right. Derived from the Old Norse elements, gunnr and arr, which mean war and warrior, respectively. This name also has relations with Gunther.

And his part in Norse Mythology? He was the husband of Brynhild, who had brothers fighting over her.


The infamous trickster, in Norse Mythology he was associated with magic and fire, a deadly combination, non? Over time, he became more and more evil, until he was eventually chained to a rock by the other gods.

As for the meaning of this name, not a well known. The most likely option is that he is derived from the Indo-European element, leug, meaning to break.


Another well known pick, and again, a meaning not exactly peace-inducing. He derives from Old Norse, and means inspiration, rage or frenzy. Ultimately, we could trace his roots back to Germanic.

In Norse Mythology, Odin was the highest of the gods, and he presided over art, war, wisdom and death. He lived in Valhalla, where warriors went after they were slain in battle.


My favourite name on this list, although I’m always at odds at to what to nickname a child named Verdandi: Vera, DaniDinah??. Either way, unlike some of the names on this list, this one wasn’t borne by a questionable god.

Verdandi was one of three goddesses of destiny, the other two being Skuld and Urd, thus you can see why Verdandi is on the list, as she appears the most usable these days. Each of the goddesses of destiny were responsible for one time frame, and for Verdandi, it was present. As such, it comes as no surprise that Verdandi means becoming, or happening.


One of the reasons I chose this name on the list is the lack of exciting alternatives to Victor and Vernon, plus this one has a great meaning, as he is said to mean forest warrior.

In Norse mythology, Vidar was the son of Odin and Grid. It is said that at the end of the world, called the Ragnarok, Vidar will avenge his father’s death.

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