In Norse mythology, the best, wisest, and most loved of all the gods; son of Odin and Frigga; husband of Nanna. He was one of the Aesir (principal gods), but was killed unwittingly with a twig of mistletoe shot by Hodur, his blind brother; the tragedy was engineered by the god-giant Loki.
It had been foretold that the gods would be overthrown if Balder was struck down, so Frigga had made anything harmful, living or dead, swear not to injure him. Loki discovered that the mistletoe plant had been omitted, being considered too young and weak to be dangerous.
Hel, goddess of the dead, offered to restore Balder to life if all things wept for him, but Thokk (said to be Loki in disguise) refused to comply and Balder was lost. However, it was believed that after Ragnarök, the final battle between the gods and forces of evil, Balder would return as part of a renewed order, along with Hoenir another of the Aesir.
Mistelteinn, a magic sword, may have caused Balder's death in original versions of the Norse sagas; the mistletoe plant is unknown in Iceland.
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