From Iceland — Gods Of Iceland: Ullr, The Hanoi Rocks Of The Norse Pantheon

Gods Of Iceland: Ullr, The Hanoi Rocks Of The Norse Pantheon

Published August 5, 2021

Gods Of Iceland: Ullr, The Hanoi Rocks Of The Norse Pantheon
Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
Hanoi Rocks 'Oriental Beat'

Superpowers: Unclear. Presumably super awesome and likeable.

Weaknesses: Too awesome and likeable.

Modern Analogue: Hanoi Rocks… just read the article.

Remember Hanoi Rocks? Man, they rocked! To this day, I can’t get enough of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” You feel me?

Stop lying. I know you don’t remember them—if you even have any idea who they are.

A brief history of (glam) time

For the uninitiated, Hanoi Rocks was a Finnish glam rock band from the 1980s. The group has been cited as a major influence by bands you might have actually heard of, such as Guns N’ Roses, Poison, and Mötley Crüe. Unfortunately, despite their prolific musical impact, Hanoi Rocks had a rather short lived career—debuting in 1979 and calling it quits in 1985 after the tragic death of their drummer Razzle following a party at Vince Neil’s house.

So while Hanoi Rocks arguably pushed a new sound, spawning some massive hits for other bands—c’mon “Paradise City” baby!—no one outside Finland or Sweden or basement glam rock aficionados really gives them any attention or recognition. They certainly don’t garner repeated plays at every strip club around the world or VH1 dating shows.

To sum it up, Hanoi Rocks are basically the Ullr of the glam rock world.

Who tf is Ullr?

Ullr is a rather enigmatic Norse God. He’s rarely mentioned in old writings, save for sparse appearances in the Grímnismál and the Atlakviða. At one point, there was apparently some glorious story about him sailing off the ocean, but whoever had that document probably thought it was too mainstream and threw it out like a worn copy of ‘The Da Vinci Code’.

“Humans—the elitist hipsters they are—deemed Ullr too popular and pretended they were never even into him.”

Wait, too mainstream? Well, the thing about Ullr is that his name was, in the times of old, adopted as the title of many locales in Southern Sweden and Western Norway, meaning that he was, at said time, an extremely influential deity. That said, we, in the times of new, know basically nothing about him, which is a shame, considering how other super popular ancient mainstream texts like ‘The Iliad’ are now studied intensely by Ivory Tower academics who would never even breathe on a copy of ‘The Da Vinci Code’.

So what do we know about Ullr? Well, his dad was the star Aurvandil. And we don’t mean star in the Mötley Crüe sense—he was literally a burning spheroid of plasma. Ullr was apparently also really good at archery. And there we go. That’s it. Ullr was basically Katniss Everdeen if she was born in the Andromeda galaxy and then everyone decided The Hunger Games and space were lame.

So Ullr was super famous at one point before humans—the elitist hipsters we are—deemed him too popular and pretended they were never even into him, turning their attention to more obscure gods like Þór and Freyr. Barf.

And Ullr was lost to history. Just like Hanoi Rocks.

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