NANNA

Real Name: Nanna

Identity/Class: Asgardian goddess

Occupation: Goddess of fertility and beauty

Group Membership: The Asynjur, Gods of Asgard

Affiliations: Balder, Hela, Thor

Enemies: Karnilla

Known Relatives: Iwaldi (father), Freya (mother), Frey (uncle), Njord (grandfather), Gaea (grandmother, alias Nertha), Hnossa (half-sister), Idunn, Lofn, Sjofn, Sigyn, Snotra, Syn, Var (sisters)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Asgard

First Appearance: Thor I#305 (March, 1981)

Powers/Abilities: Nanna possessed the conventional powers of an Asgardian Goddess including superhuman strength (Class 25), longevity, vitality and resistance to injury. She is likely she possessed some mystical powers, but to an unknown extent.

History: (Norse-German Myth) - Nanna was the daughter of the goddess Freya and the dwarf Iwaldi, whose sons created many of the treasures of the gods. She was also a member of the Asynjur, seven goddesses who serve Frigga, Queen of the Asgardian gods.

(Thor I#305/2) - Nanna was manipulated from afar into incidents that allowed her into a chance encounter to meet Balder, the son of Odin and Frigga. Charmed by him, she became romanced by him and they fell in love. Realizing she could further manipulate their romance, Karnilla teleported them to Nornheim and lead them to her presence. She then placed chains on Nanna on her captive and told Balder that Nanna’s safety was depandant upon Balder marrying her. If they were wed, Karnilla would safely return Nanna to Asgard, but if he did not marry her, she would kill Nanna. As Balder decided, Nanna screamed that she would risk death to keep him from marrying Karnilla. Balder then realized that he could not stand to lose Nanna and sacrificed himself to marry Karnilla to spare Nanna.

(Thor I#306/2 (fb) - BTS)- Karnilla remained true to her word and Nanna was restored alone to Asgard.

(Thor I#306/2) - Unwilling to allow Balder to marry Karnilla, Nanna met Hermod in the Asgardian stables and asked him who was the fleetest of foot. Hermod answered that Odin’s eight-legged steed known as Sleipner was the swiftest, unaware that she intended to borrow Sleipner. Nanna returned to Nornheim as Hermod tried to stop her, but even he could not keep up with Odin’s steed. Since Karnilla had promised not to marry Balder if she had died, she stormed the wedding proceedings and pulled out a dagger as she plunged it through her cloak into herself. The wound proved fatal and Nanna died to keep Karnilla at her word not to marry Balder over her death. Karnilla’s pact broken, Balder realized he was free to leave and returned to Asgard with Nanna’s body.

(Thor Annual#14/3) - As Nanna’s body lay in state, Karnilla and a false image of Hela (cast by Karnilla) approached Balder. Karnilla claimed that Hela would restore Nanna to life using her life force if he would be her husband in the afterlife, but he refused and walked away as the false Hela faded away.

(Thor Annual#10) - All of Asgard stool in attendance at Nanna’s funeral except for the true Hela who was off entering into a pact with the gods of the dead from other underworlds. Balder presented Nanna’s body with a necklace meant for her on their wedding day. As Nanna’s funeral boat was cast afloat, Thor called upon lightning to set it aflame. In the resulting smoke, Odin’s Valkyries claimed her spirit for Valhalla.

(Thor I#361) - Nanna’s spirit was ordered by Hela to appear to Balder and lure him to his death as Thor searched for mortal souls who Hela had abducted from Earth. Balder just happened to realize a chasm opening behind him and reacted. When he asked Nanna why she tried to kill him, she answered it was because he was alive and that by killing him they could be together. Hela then stopped her from saying more by proclaiming that the secrets of her realm were for the dead and not the living. Confronting Thor, Nanna then confessed that she had been enslaved by Hela and that she did not truly live with having killed Balder and removing the world of light. Realizing he would see her as something corrupted, Nanna told Thor that Balder would now return to Asgard without her as she kept Thor to his promise not to tell Balder the truth.

Comments: Adapted by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, Keith Pollard and Chic Stone

In Norse myth, Nanna died of a broken heart after the death of Balder and was placed on his funeral pyre to burn with him. She accompanied him to the afterlife, but when Hermod entered Hel to petition Hela to allow them to return, she gave gifts to him to return to Asgard.

In the myth, Balder and Nanna were married and had a son named Forseti.

In Thor Annual#10, the Valkyries took Nanna to Valhalla, which leaves to question how she fell under Hela’s control in Thor I#361.
Perhaps Hela took her during her conquest of Valhalla in Defenders
I#66-68."  I agree this would have served as a nice explanation....but chronology does not work in our favor. Namely, Defenders I#66-68 came out in December 1978 to February 1979, long before Thor Annual#10, published in 1982. It also sadly not possible to move Thor Annual#10 around, because in that story someone refers to the events of Thor I#301, which suggest that Thor Annual#10 took place when it did (i.e. it was not out of order chronologically).
-- Per Degaton

Nanna was in Hel and supposedly perished during the Ragnarok in Thor II#85.

by Will U

CLARIFICATIONS:
Nanna is not to be confused with:

  • Aunt Nancy, Old Negro slave name of Anansi, African god of wisdom and culture, @ Amazing Spider-Man II#48
  • Inanna, Demoness who might have been the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna, @ Hellstorm#15
  • Kre’al N’an, one of 102 personalities assimilated by Death’s Head-Minion, @ Death’s Head & Die-Cut#1
  • Nana, African/Yoruba name of Gaea, Mother-Earth, @ Thor I#301
  • Nanabozho, Native American/Cheyenne trickster-god, @ Dr. Strange III#25
  • Nanaia, Hyborian Age slave who fought alongside Conan, @ Savage Sword of Conan#13
  • Nancy, Human female infected with Brood virus, X-Men/Brood: Day of Wrath#1
  • Nanda, extraterrestrial race, @ Shogun Warriors#19
  • David Nanjiwarra, Aborigine member of S.H.I.E.L.D., @ Marvel Graphic Novel: Wolverine/Fury: Scorpio Connection
  • Nanna, aka Sin, Mesopotamian/Sumerian god of the moon, (Not seen in the MU)
  • Nanny, robot employee of Magneto, @ X-Men I#112
  • Nanny, counterpart of Magneto’s Nanny in alternate Earth of Age of Apocalypse, @ Age of Apocalypse#1
  • Nanny, partner of Orphan Maker, @ X-Factor I#30

Images taken from:
Main Thor Annual#14, page 42
Thor I#306, page 26, middle left
Thor I#361, page 8, panel 3


Thor I#305-306 (March-April, 1981) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writers), Keith Pollard (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Thor Annual#10 (1982) - Mark Gruenwald & Alan Zelenetz (writers), Bob Hall (pencils), Rick Bryant, Joe Rubinstein, Andy Myshynsky, Al Gordon & Kevin Dzuban (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thor I#361 (November, 1985) - Walt Simonson (writer/artist), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Thor Annual#14 (1989) - Ralph Macchio (writer), Bo Hampton (artist), Ralph Macchio (editor)


Last updated: 07/05/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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