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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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.