Ratatoskr : The Mischevious Messenger
In Norse mythology, Ratatoskr lived in the Yggdrasil’s trunk with various other creatures. Some of these included a dragon-like creature known as Nidhogg, an eagle, and four stags. Everyone who lived in the area contributed to the suffering of the Yggdrasil.
The goal of Ratatoskr was to run across the Yggdrasil Tree of Life during the day. Since he was the one who delivered the message to the dragon and eagle, he and the two individuals were known to have a bad habit of insulting each other.
Ratatoskr was very happy to work, as he never showed any signs of retirement. He was also a fan of gossip, and he enjoyed watching the development of the conflict between Nidhogg and Verglnir.
Ratatoskr is a type of red squirrel. In ancient art, he was depicted with long ears, but this could have been an artifact from the time period, and not a significant statement about his appearance. Texts describing Ratatoskr don’t talk about his features, which are similar to those of other red squirrels.
Ratatoskr is often linked to Rati, which was a magical drill Odin used on his quest to find a magical mead, which was made from the blood of a wise man who lived in a mountain. Odin used the hole in the mountain to enter it in the form of a serpant, and he swallowed all of the wisdom and mead that was in it. He then turned into an eagle and left the mountain. Odin was still an eagle when he went to the top branches of the Yggdrasil to meet with the other gods.
Scholars believe that Ratatoskr represents Rati due to the numerous similarities between the two creatures. Both of them are referred to as “gnawing” creatures, and they both allow people to enter a higher place of wisdom. In addition, they both have a connection with an eagle and a snake-like creature. Some believe that the most accurate translation of Ratatoskr is “Rati’s tooth.”
Ratatoskr could be associated with the god known as Heimdall, who is known for his ability to hear and see across the realms. He guards the bridge connecting Midgard and the land of the Gods. He is also tasked with sounding a warning if it gets attacked. If Ratatoskr is truly meant to represent Heimdall and is not meant to cause trouble, then he would likely have a worse reputation than he did. It is his duty to warn the other worlds about the dangers of the other side as they are about to enter the top portion of the Yggdrasil Tree.
The name Ratatoskr contains two elements: rata- and -toskr. The element toskr is generally held to mean “tusk”. Guðbrandur Vigfússon theorized that the rati- element means “the traveller”. He says that the name of the legendary drill Rati may feature the same term. According to Vigfússon, Ratatoskr means “tusk the traveller” or “the climber tusk
Powers and Abilities
Ratatoskr is known as a troublemaker, as he enjoys causing conflict and fueling relationships. He sometimes adds his own twists to the messages sent by the eagle and the dragon. Scholars believe that instead of merely exacerbating the conflict between the eagle and Nidhoggr, Ratatoskr has bigger goals. He is said to have wanted to destroy the tree of life, as he could manipulate the dragon and eagle into attacking it.
After telling Nidhoggr about a cruel remark the eagle made about him, the dragon begins to bite the tree’s roots in an attempt to cause it to fall. Ratr then returns to the eagle to tell them that Nidhoggr is attacking the tree in an attempt to harm the bird. The eagle then begins to pull the branches out of the tree and rain them on their enemies. Ratatoskr is capable of doing great damage to a tree of life due to his well-positioned accusations. Sometimes, a squirrel might also contribute to the destruction.
Modern Day Influence
Ratatoskr can be found in his natural habitat in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. In 2018, a fragment of Ratatoskr called Bitter appears in video game God of War, where he can provide players with healing items. The real version of the character, voiced by SungWon Cho, appears in the sequel God of War 2022, where he is tasked with tending to the Yggdrasil Tree.
In the video game Smite, Ratatoskr can be played as a playable character. In Young Thor, he is an ally of the antagonist Hel. In Assassin’s Creed 2020, he can be seen engaging the player in a duel in Jtunheimr, which is a mythical realm.
Ratatoskr is featured in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl as a villain from Asgard who is seeking to destroy humanity. She was defeated by the titular character after she teamed up with other creatures such as Thor and Loki. She later teamed up with the squirrel girl to face the Frost Giants.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ratatoskr the god of?
Ratatoskr is considered to be the messenger of the gods in Norse mythology and is also known to help with the distribution of manna among the gods.
What are the powers of Ratatoskr?
The main power and ability of Ratatoskr is to be able to create discord and enmity between people. This is done by passing misinformation and gossip amongst people.
Is Ratatoskr a giant?
No. Ratatoskr is a small squirrel in Norse mythology and not a giant.
What does Ratatoskr mean?
Ratatoskr means drill tooth or bore tooth in old norse language.