Nidhogg The Legendary Dragon
An illustration of the Nidhogg Dragon presents his giant size and evil nature in the Hvergelmir springs
Nidhogg is a serpent dragon who gnaws one of the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree of life in Norse Mythology. He is considered very powerful, malicious and evil, with a legendary physical strength and gigantic size. It is also mentioned that Nidhogg chews the corpses of murderers and those who breaking the oaths in Nastrond. That's how Nidhogg found by the Vikings, seeing him to devour the most heinous criminals who end up in the Underworld, hence his name which means "malice striker" or "he who strikes with malice".
NIdhogg & Yggdrasil
The Serpent Dragon dwells in the center of Niflheim within the famous Hvergelmir, one of the three major springs at the roots of Yggdrasil. Several other serpents as well as Nidhogg's sons dwelling in Hvergelmir as it is mentioned in the Prose Edda. The Nidhogg's plan is to destroy the World Tree as he knows that the destruction of Yggdrasil will mark the end of Gods. If the mythical tree falls the Norse Cosmos will fall back into chaos. There is also the idea that the roots of Yggdrasil keep the Dragon trapped until Ragnarok Era. The prophecy says that when Ragnarok comes the serpent will be free again leading the Giants to attack the Norse Gods.
There is also another interesting story about Nidhogg that can be found in the Poetic Edda. While the serpent Dragon resides in the bottom of Yggdrasil a wise eagle lives on the top of the World Tree. Ratatoskr, the tricky squirrel, knowing that the Nidhogg and the wise eagle despise each other, enjoys to running up and down the tree spreading his lies between them, making up insults that the other supposedly said. In the storyline is mentioned that one day Nidhogg felt very offended and after his vow to kill the eagle, he shook the foundations of the mythical tree so hard resulting to tremble the entirety of the Nine Worlds and setting himself free of Yggdrasil's roots. The liberation of the Dragon and the shaking of the Nine Worlds considered to be two important signs of the coming of Ragnarok.
Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life in Norse Mythology which contains the Nine Worlds
Nidhogg In The Modern World
Nidhogg's myth and his legendary nature still inspires a lot of artists telling his story through books, movies, illustrations and much more. Nidhogg appears in several video games such as Age of Mythology, Ragnarok Online, World of Warcraft and the dedicated fencing game named Nidhogg, released in 2014. He is also appearing in fantasy books and in Marvel's movie Captain America: The First Avenger.