Odin was known for having two ravens with him, Huginn and Muninn. They flew all of Midgard and collected stories that they told to Odin.

Since they are associated with 'thought' and 'memory,' I wonder if this was characterized in any way by them? Did either have tendencies or other facets of their nature?

  • 1
    From the perspective of mythological analysis in general, their names would refer to characteristics of Odin. @nooooooo 's excellent reference below may even be a wordplay joke. Classical mythology is full of puns and wordplay, and name meanings are exceptionally relevant. Prometheus, for instance, means "forethought" and the name of his brother, Epimetheus, means "hindsight". (Epimetheus is, of course, associated with the opening of Pandora's "box", where Prometheus is associated with such helpful things as the theft of fire.)
    – DukeZhou
    Aug 25 '16 at 0:18

Evidently they did have something to distinguish them, as Odin (while in disguise) said that he worries that Huginn won't come back, but he cares more for Muninn (Poetic Edda, Grímnismál).

Unfortunately, since they never say anything in what of the Norse myths are left, it's impossible to know their individual personalities.

  • Are the words "thought" and "memory" rendered specifically in the transcriptions / tellings? Are there other words besides those? e.g. two ravens = thought + memory. Huginn == memory, which 'maybe will not return'? Aug 12 '16 at 19:32
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    @NewAlexandria : It's my understanding that their names are derived from those words, but close enough to know that's what they mean. Some believe that they were metaphors for a shamanic journey, which ties nicely into Odin caring more for Muninn, since he would have been a lot more worried about losing his mind than his memory of the journey (Lindow, Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs). This is contested, though, by all the raven symbolism in Norse mythology prior to the first occurrence of their names (Simek, Dictionary of Northern Mythology).
    – nooooooo
    Aug 15 '16 at 21:13
  • See also mythology.stackexchange.com/q/419/197 "Why was Odin afraid that his ravens would not return back to him?"
    – b_jonas
    Feb 28 '17 at 18:29

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