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In Norse mythology, Narfi or Nörfi (Nǫrfi), also called Nörr (Nǫrr), is the father of Nótt, the personified night.

Textual attestations

According to the Gylfaginning section of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, Nótt is the daughter of the jötunn "Nörfi or Narfi".[1][2] However, in the Poetic Edda, Nótt's father is called Nörr (not to be confused with Nór), primarily for reasons of alliteration.[1] This name is only recorded in the dative form Nǫrvi (variant spelling Naurvi).[3]

The name of Nótt's father is recorded in several forms in Old Norse sources:[4]

Scholarly theories

The form Nörr has been related to narouua, which occurs in the fragmentary Old Saxon Genesis poem in the phrase narouua naht.[n 1] This and hence the giant's name, as first suggested by Adolf Noreen, may be a synonym for "night" or, perhaps more likely, an adjective related to Old English nearwe, "narrow", meaning "closed-in" and thus "oppressive".[5][6][7]

Various scholars have argued that Snorri based his genealogy of Nótt on classical models.[3][8] They relate Narfi to Erebus, which would make nipt Nera, used in "Helgakviða Hundingsbana I" for a Norn who comes in the night, an appellation derived from the Parcae, who were Erebus' daughters.[9]

In popular culture

In "A Great Man's Return", a song on their album Valdr Galga, the Swedish viking metal band Thyrfing refer to "Norve's starfilled sky".[10][11]

In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Part One, The Fellowship of the Ring, the dwarf maker of the Doors of Durin signed them "Narvi"; in drafts, Tolkien spelt the name Narfi as in the Prose Edda.[12][13]


  1. ^ Not in Old English, an error in Jan de Vries, "Nǫrr", Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, Leiden: Brill, 1961, OCLC 464189335, p. 414 (in German), repeated in Simek, p. 235.


  1. ^ a b "Nǫrr", Rudolf Simek, tr. Angela Hall, Dictionary of Northern Mythology, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1993, repr. 2000, ISBN 9780859915137, p. 235.
  2. ^ "Nótt (Night)", John Lindow, Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs, Oxford/New York: Oxford University, 2001, ISBN 9780195153828, p. 246.
  3. ^ a b "Nótt", Simek, p. 238.
  4. ^ Viktor Rydberg, Teutonic Mythology: Gods and Goddesses of the Northland, tr. Rasmus B. Anderson, Volume 2, Norroena Anglo-Saxon Classics 4, London/New York: Norroena Society, 1907, OCLC 605631726, p. 611.
  5. ^ Sophus Bugge, The Home of the Eddic poems: With Especial Reference to the Helgi-Lays, tr. William Henry Schofield, Grimm library 11, London: Nutt, 1899, OCLC 2857921, p. 99.
  6. ^ Hugo Gering and Barend Symons, Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda, Germanistische Handbibliothek 7(3), Halle: Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 1927, OCLC 277594015, p. 14.
  7. ^ Tette Hofstra, "A note on the 'Darkness of the night' motif in alliterative poetry, and the search for the poet of the Old Saxon Heliand", in Loyal Letters: Studies on Mediaeval Alliterative Poetry & Prose, ed. L. A. J. R. Houwen and A. A. MacDonald, Mediaevalia Groningana 15, Groningen: Egbert Forsten, 1994, ISBN 9789069800752, p. 104.
  8. ^ Bugge, pp. 100–01.
  9. ^ Bugge, p. 101.
  10. ^ "A Great Man's Return", Metal
  11. ^ "A Great Man's Return Lyrics", Lyrics
  12. ^ J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, Boston: Mariner / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994, repr. 2012, ISBN 9780547928210, p. 318.
  13. ^ Christopher Tolkien and J. R. R. Tolkien, The treason of Isengard: The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part Two, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989, ISBN 9780395515624, p. 188.