Tyr and Garm: Battle at the Gates of Hel

 

My latest painting Tyr and Garm: Battle at the Gates of Hel is dedicated to my dear friend Jason. In his day job as a criminal defense attorney, Jason regularly does battle with the monsters of duplicity, inequity, and vagaries in criminal law. When not engaged in his legal practice, Jason enjoys pursuing other avocations, including a more than passing interest in the hero stories from Nordic mythology. He has a particular affinity for Tyr, alternately referred to as the sky god, the god of war, and the god of weapons.

 

Tyr also earned a well-deserved reputation as the one-handed warrior god. His fellow warrior gods ridiculed him for his folly after Loki's monstrous wolf Fenrir bit off his right hand the moment the unruly beast realized Tyr had tricked him into allowing himself to be bound by a magical chain. The laughter died away when Tyr demonstrated he could fight equally well with only his left hand gripping a weapon.

 

In approaching a depiction of Tyr in his element I chose one from among the many stories of Ragnarok, the preordained apocalyptic war that brought the glorious and fearsome age of the Aesir elder gods to a close. In this scene Tyr joins in battle with Garm, the watchdog who stood guard at the gates to the demesne of his mistress, Hel, the dark bitch goddess who held dominion in the land of the dead. Tyr defeated Garm, and slew the creature; afterward he would succumb to the wounds it had inflicted on him during their combat. The Aesir gods were divine but not immortal, yet they live forever in the legends of Norse mythology, which continues to spin off new variations to the stories in modern times.

 

Bobby BeauSoleil

Summer 2019

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