technology of jotunheim

Unfortunately, we do not know how powerful jotunn magic could be, since we only see glimpses of the Casket’s power (worldhopping, freezing stuff), and the present-day jotunn ice manipulation we see is after a millenium of devastation and probably lost art.

I think that the jotnar we see with the ice blades at first are doing level one stuff; note that the ice never detaches from their bodies, and the blades are very erratically shaped. Then there are the jotnar who jump into the fight after, ‘at least make it a challenge for me!’ These jotnar are capable of throwing ice chunks as missiles, creating ice pillars and ice spikes; they are better at it. Laufey is probably either at their level or above it, being that he can send magic through the ground, raise himself on a platform, and create ice weapons that are not fused to his skin. However, much of their expertise has probably been lost.

Odin’s monologue shows jotnar standing on ground that glows slightly, and the rocks around the throne also have a hint of shimmering light. This may well be an effect of jotunn magic.

The possibilities, with what we know of it, are fantastic. They could, perhaps, create a ship of ice, that either glides along the surface or actually parts the ice in front of it. Fighting them on home territory would, presumably, be a nightmare as fortifications are flung up behind the fleeing jotnar in seconds. Perhaps their greatest places always shimmered with magical light, and were remade periodically depending on the occasion. They can create ice on walls, and so could announce their presence. They could create artwork of light in the ice.

Jotunheim seems to work in three layers. First, there is the lower layer of caverns and canyons that a lot of the rest tumbles into after Thor and Loki’s respective assaults. Second, there is a layer of ice and/or rock above it, and thirdly there is what I believe are the ruins of Jotunheim’s answer to Asgard’s shining city.

The jotnar live on the upper surface. Presumably this is because the lower surface is far too dark for them, even though they are probably fairly well-adapted to the dark; they’re certainly well adapted to the colour palette. It’s stable, quite possibly reinforced by centuries of jotunn magic prior to the loss of the Casket and not yet falling; perhaps it, like the buildings, is in the process of disintegrating.

However, it must be stable enough to be the foundations of this dark city (the ‘dark city’ is in Jotunheim and the 'shining city’ is in Asgard; I may attempt Norse translations), which is still partially standing. I would love to see Jotunheim in all its former… glory, find out how these buildings worked.

They do not appear to be inhabited outside of the immediate throne room area (I conclude this because bits fall off them, and personally I’d rather not live somewhere high that bits were falling off). It may be that they were constructed with magitek and engineering, and without the power source, the heart of the world, they are now disintegrating. Meanwhile the throne area is held together with the remnants of jotunn magic, because it’s the heart of Laufey’s power and he may well be the heart of jotunn magic.

Hmm. Thoughts about Jotunheim and the Casket, again. The Casket is called the source of their power, it appears in the temple to be connected to the world, although it can be removed. Its lack may be part of the reason why Svartgardr is crumbling, although this is also likely to be due to population loss and the damage inflicted by the war.

I do not now think (can’t remember if I have had different thoughts in the past) that the Casket is fundamentally important to the world itself; it may be very important to what Laufey’s culture made of that world, but Jotunheim itself is unlikely to need it to spin on. It looks jotunn-made. As a religious artefact (I get this from its placement in the temple complex) it is probably a thing that was said to have been created under divine tutelage/inspiration.

Even had it been a true ‘heart of the world,’ which would imply that the religion it is a part of would be widespread if not relatively universal, I would have expected rival denominations, heresies, sects and so on, creating a rich and complex religious patchwork on Jotunheim. Many would probably have been so different they counted as different religions. If it is not, then the variety is likely to be even greater, and conflict over the Casket as a piece of religious or secular technology is likely to be endemic.

In my last post, I discussed Jotunheim’s struggle for subsistence and their warriors. Now I go on to talk about other occupations they probably have.

Jotunheim does have a city (Svartgarðr) made of complex columns and cones, and this must have been built. Thus, they will have stone carvers and probably also iceworkers, engineers and architects; it’s a very complex architectural feat, so they must have the engineering and artisanal skill to pull that off.

Science and technology must have been a major part of their pre-war system, since they broke onto Yggdrasill with their own brand of Casket-led magic. They created or developed the Casket. It’s likely that Laufey and/or his predecessors were heavily involved with this, since Laufey is the one who wields it; I have speculated that Laufey is a sort of priest-king and that the Casket is a techo-religious artefact, probably heavily associated with the world, which means that this is probably a very prestigious section of the population.

They don’t appear to be a very deferential people, which means that they probably don’t do ‘service’ the way Asgard does, with its servants and silent, nonresponsive guards.

There are designs on the floors, which we don’t get a look at but suggest a level of creative endeavours from the population. There is also the fact that if Jotunheim is a single polity, whether as an empire or a world-wide nation, there will need to be a substantial amount of administrative staff to maintain that.

What might Jotunheim have been like, before its defeat and losses? We first see the jotnar on Midgard, beaming in with flashes of blue light with the Casket; we glimpse their world at the end of the war, and it is blue and barren as it was later; we see its central areas in the present day.

I have theorised that they were an emergent advanced civilisation, probably under a priest-king who wielded the Casket and led technological development of/from it. What we don’t know is how quick that process was, and how it went.

By the end of the war, Jotunheim was probably all but destroyed anyhow. Asgard was pressing in, they were probably down to very few adult soldiers leading civilian youths and elderly, Asgard’s magic may well have hampered theirs, the Casket’s power was being poured into the war effort, and so, probably, was everything else. They were probably struggling for food supplies, their infrastructure would have been collapsing and it may be that either they or Asgard was using a scorched-earth policy (Asgard as lesson and punishment, Jotunheim to deny Asgard native succour).

It may even be that starting the war gutted Jotunheim, if they weren’t quite ready; they probably diverted all the Casket’s power into the war effort and definitely removed it from their world, hurting everything they had built to run on that power. They may have militarised all their population, to the detriment of other walks of life. Developing the tech to do that may have caused a very long period of neglect of everything else. This is less likely if the excursion to Midgard wasn’t their first interrealm jaunt, though, and I’m not entirely sure that it is. It may just be that it’s the first that has targeted a planet Asgard sees as defenceless and worthy of protection, or that it’s the first time Asgard got involved, or it may simply be the first time they lost.

This post has developed into more of a ‘how did Jotunheim fall’ than 'how was it before it fell,’ so I will continue that another time.