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Who Exactly Is Freya In Ragnarok Manhwa?

Saturday, April 19, 2014
freya, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, norse mythology, goddess
This post is also known as "why is Freya the villain / antagonist / bad guy in Ragnarok: Into The Abyss manhwa?" What could be wrong with the aforementioned being the case?

Aside from being the name of a character in the comic, Freya is also the name of a goddess in Norse Mythology.

But since the graphic novel is loosely based on Norse Mythology, it's not such a surprise to know about this. It's just like how the characters of Loki, Balder, Fenris Fenrir and Frigg, among many others in the manhwa, also share the names of mythological figures.

However, the keyword here is 'loosely,' so it's only to be expected that there are many differences between these characters regardless of the fact that they share the same name. In some cases, the only similarity between these people are the names they share. The same can be said for the two Freyas in question.
freya, norse mythology, goddes, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa
In Norse Mythology, Freya is associated with many things including being the goddess of love and beauty. For this reason, she can be said to be the counterpart of the Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Roman goddess Venus. She is also known as Freyja and she's got a brother named Freyr.

In contrast to all that, in the Ragnarok manhwa series, Freya is said to be the bad guy, the antagonist, the villain. When I first heard that that was the case, I had to wonder exactly why it had to be that way because there doesn't seem to be anything at all in mythology that would indicate or paint said goddess as an antagonist.

In fact, there are some sources that paint her or view her as a good person who protects the weak, who helps out the humans who seek it from her, etc. She was even said to have taught the other gods, like Odin (king of the Norse gods), magic, which is all the more reason to wonder why her counterpart in the comic would hate Odin enough to usurp him and take his position as the ruler of Asgard.

More than that though, it's not like the Freya in mythology doesn't already have a place that she presides over. She is actually the ruler of a heavenly afterlife field known as Fólkvangr, which is located somewhere in the realm of the gods (Asgard). Within this place is a hall known as Sessrúmnir. Half of the people who die in battle go to this place while the other half goes to Valhalla.

But, perhaps, one reason why Freya has been made the new ruler of Asgard in the graphic novel is because, in Norse Mythology, she can actually easily be mistaken to be Frigg or Frigga, the queen of the Norse gods and the wife of Odin because their names are rather similar, among some other reasons.

frigg, frigga, balder, chaos, odin, norse mythology, gods, goddesses, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa
There are even some sources which say that Freya was married to Odin.

However, while she is also sometimes seen as a warrior and death goddess, there doesn't seem to be any mention of her being portrayed as a dark and malevolent entity.

She is even described in a flattering way (some say she is very beautiful and that she is blonde and blue-eyed).

Anyway, the main point is that it doesn't really make all that much sense for Freya to be shown as the bad guy, considering how she really is in Norse Mythology. In fact, it would have made much more sense if some other figure was portrayed as the evil villain.

For instance, if we were told that the main antagonist was actually Hel, then that would have been more believable. This is because, in Norse Mythology, Hel is the name of the ruler of Niflheim, the Underworld. You can say that she's like the counterpart of the Greek god Hades and the Roman god Pluto.

Honestly, even Loki himself could pull off being the supreme evil overlord much better than Freya ever could especially since there's basis for this in Norse Mythology. Loki is actually a trickster and he has done a number of evil things such as cause the death of Balder (now, would you say it's kind of odd to see Chaos and Loki in the comic getting along pretty well?).

loki, norse mythology, balder, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa
Of course, it's okay for things to be different especially since the aforementioned graphic novel is only supposed to be loosely based on Norse Mythology anyway.

However, for those that are familiar with the name Freya and what she is and how she is, it's rather inevitable that when those people hear her name, they will think about the goddess in question even if this isn't the person that is being referred to.

Anyway, aside from the utter confusion and puzzlement as to why Freya just happens to be the main bad guy, there's also the question of exactly what her motives are? Why would she want to usurp Odin? Why does she want to rule Asgard and the rest of the world? In Volume 5, Chapter 44, we find out that Freya wants the shards of Ymir's Heart in order to recreate the world in her image.

That's nice and all, but, seriously, why would she want to do that? What's her motive and her reason for wanting to do something like that? What does she hope to gain by doing that? People should have a reason (believable, realistic and logical) as to why they would want to do whatever they're trying to do.

The same can be said for Freya. She can't just want to do this just because. She can't just be the villain just because. She can't just take on the role of the antagonist just because there isn't anyone else to fill that part. There should be a reason as to why, otherwise all this just falls flat and ends up becoming unbelievable and even contrived.

balder, norse mythology, god, baldr, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, chaos
For example, Sara Irine didn't just hate the city of Fayon and Lord Irine for the sake of hating them. She actually has a good reason as to why she would want to destroy the city and the people in it.

In contrast to that, we know pretty much nothing about Freya's motives and reasons. It's not just that though. Did you notice that we never actually got to see her, as in, at all, ever?

We've never met her. We've never been introduced to her. We don't even know how she looks like. Is she blonde and blue-eyed like how the goddess Freya in Norse Mythology is said to look like?

More than that though, the main question is why haven't we seen her? Why can't we see her? How come she is never shown to us? What's wrong with revealing herself to us, the readers?

After all, we've even seen other characters (for example, we met Arkana even before Chaos and the others met her) that our heroes haven't met, so it shouldn't be a problem to show Freya to us.

Even if the comic wants to keep Freya's identity and look a secret to create an air of mystery around her, we could, at the very least, be told about her reasons and motives. We could have been given just a bit more information about her.

After all, we already know her name and the fact that she's apparently evil and wants to find the heart shards. But why can't we be told the reasons for this? Without knowing much of anything, it just seems like Freya's actions don't make any sense and they don't come across as believable at all.

What do you think of the character of Freya in the Ragnarok manhwa? Does she fit the role of the villain? Does it make sense for her to be the main antagonist? Do you wish that we had been able to see how she looks like?

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki (CC:BY-SA) based on the image by hayashinomura, CC:BY-SA from deviantArt
- Image is meant to represent the goddess Freya in Norse Mythology because she is said to be blonde
- The rest of the pics are enlarged product images from Amazon.com; links shown above via Amazon's Native Shopping Ads widget

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